Parshas Nitzovim
Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20

A Mountain Of Little Sins!!

A Real Jew! ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Gary Lee Belk and Mr. Donald Wayne Belk, may they rest in peace.

We live in a world where the things that are hidden from us represent zero responsibility. We cannot be judged or held accountable for "hidden things."

Now, does this mean ignorance is bliss? No! So just because I haven't taken the time or expended the energy to learn, that does not release me from my obligation of what is known! We do have a responsibility to understand what is revealed. Hidden things do not include areas that we lack the ambition to learn about! That being the position, we are addressing the areas of what is KNOWN! The Torah requires responsibility in the same way that our government does. If we break a law in our government, we are accountable regardless. We are accountable if we deliberately break the law. We are
accountable if we break the law out of carelessness. We are accountable if we are ignorant of the law. Our government holds us accountable for obeying all the laws within our government. So this means that we are responsible for obeying the laws we consider stupid, the laws we disagree with, the laws we consider outdated and the laws we consider trivial, minor and unimportant!

Now, holy reader, we acknowledge our responsibility to governmental law, at least to some degree. In the same fashion we must transcend from non-governmental law to the Torah. If we can understand our need to obey governmental law then we should also be able to understand our responsibility to G-d's law, the Torah.

Yet in both situations we grant ourselves certain considerations, certain immunities to the law without deep contemplation or consideration. Normally we grant these immunities throughout the normal course of our day. It is automatic. It is without thought.

- Immunities like speeding . . . We justify our actions of speeding. We're late! We're in a hurry!!

- Immunities like parking in a handicapped space... We justify these actions by thoughts like: "I'll only be a minute " or "I'll hurry in and out ." Then there are the times when we ourselves justify this because we feel handicapped, G-d forbid!

- Immunities like paying for work under the table. Again, we justify these actions by our thoughts: 'I already pay enough taxes to the government. This is such a small job I don't want to fool with paying taxes on it. This is for another Jewish brother. It will save him money. It will save me time and money. Who is being hurt? If no one knows who cares? It gives my Jewish brother a little break. It gives me a better price.'

- Immunities like eating 1-2-3-4-5 grapes in our local grocery store. We are buying the entire bundle of grapes so why not help ourselves to a few before we reach the checkout stand? This is fine if we are purchasing grapes by the bundle, BUT if we are purchasing grapes by the pound this is wrong. Say, for example, there are 50 grapes in a bundle and we eat five, we may be stealing as much as 10% from the grocer, G-d forbid! We may think,'A few grapes, what does it matter ... ?' Yet stealing is stealing!

- Immunities like asking our contractor to boost his charges slightly to cover the insurance deductibles. This seems harmless but it is unfair to the insurance company. Again, this is stealing. We are taking liberties-monies that do not belong to us. It is a form of fraud. Yet most of us do not consider this fraud. We think, we pay enough insurance. We justify our actions because the insurance companies are rich. We think, 'This is one way I can recoup some of my insurance payments.'

Holy reader, there are so many ways to take what does not belong to us, ways like lying, cheating, stealing and many other methods that we justify. We do this without giving it a second thought. It seems normal! Taking certain liberties seems natural. We take certain liberties that are wrong because we consider them quite trivial and minute!

Within the Jewish community we also take liberties. Some we may consider trivial and others we simply don't want to get involved in. We may see things or things may be brought to our attention but because it's a member of our community we choose to look the other way. On one hand this is understandable, but on the other hand it is wrong. Too often we jump at the opportunity to push Shabbos observance or kashrus or other obvious parts of Jewish law. This exterior of observance is only show; that is why I frequently refer to it as SHOWTIME or SHOWTIME Judaism. So, on the one hand we look the other way on areas that we do not want to be involved with, while on the other we promote exterior Judaism.

This is not living in a way that promotes the Torah!

When we do things like this it is like promoting a cover-up. It is like participating in a conspiracy. For example, do you know of anyone, of any individual, of any teacher, of any rebbe or of any rabbi who may have improperly touched someone? A lady who used to be employed by a Jewish school once related this story to me. She stated that she saw a rabbi grab a student improperly in the buttocks area. She reported the incident to an administrator who passed it off as "a rebbe's show of affection." The individual who saw the inappropriate action protested! She stated, "It was wrong to grab a boy in that area." Now, dear reader, I have investigated this matter. A former rebbe of that institution related that this was not the only time an incident of this nature occurred. He stated that he had spoken with parents who removed their child from that institution because of similar actions. A man in that community stated that he had spoken with a former student of that institution who removed himself from Jewish learning entirely because of an incident that occurred there. Here we have three separate incidents regarding the same institution and the same rabbi. I spoke with rabbium in that institution and the Rav of the community, and no one did anything!!

THAT IS WRONG! That is cover-up. That is looking the other way. That community continues to look the other way.

When a Jewish institution hires illegal immigrants to work in the kitchen and janitorial areas of their school, it is wrong. It is illegal to hire anyone who does not have a green card. To pay illegal immigrants under the table is also wrong. Looking the other way is wrong! Justifying these actions is wrong.

Dear reader, we are approaching Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur. So how can we continue to justify our actions if they are wrong? How can we continue to look the other way? And holy reader, it is time for us to stop justifying our sins and our cover-ups ... it is time for us to grow up to be REAL JEWS! We need to be the kind of a Jew that G-d intended for us to be!

In our parsha this week we have two Gematrial phrases:

First, ... " ... and the revealed (matters) are ours and our children's forever ... " Deuteronomy 29:28. We have five Gematrial words as follows:

VI Hah Neeg Los - Law Noo - Vool Vaw Nawi Noo - Ahd - Ooh Lawm = 954.

VI Hah Neeg Los
494 =
Sav = 400 + Lamid = 30 + Gimmel = 3 + Nun = 50 + Hey = 5 + Vav = 6

Law Noo
86 =
Vav = 6 + Nun = 50 + Lamid = 30

Vool Vaw Nawi Noo
154 =
Vav = 6 + Nun + 50 + Yud = 10 + Nun = 50 + Bais = 2 + Lamid = 30 + Vav = 6

74 =
Dalet = 4 + Ayin = 70

Ooh Lawm
146 =
Mem = 40 + Lamid = 30 + Vav = 6 + Ayin = 70

954 = 494 + 86 + 154 + 74 + 146

Second, several verses later we read, "and obey him exactly ... " Deuteronomy 30:2 = 954. In this Gematrial statement we have just two words
as follows:

Vi Shaw Mah Taw - Vi Koh Loh = 954

Vi Shaw Mah Taw
816 =
Sav = 400 + Ayin = 70 + Mem = 40 + Shin = 300 + Vav = 6

Vi Koh Loh
138 =
Vav = 6 + Lamid = 30 + Kuf = 100 + Bais = 2

954 = 816 + 138

The Gematrial union of these two phrases emphasizes our responsibility of observing exactly what Hashem has said in the Torah! When we observe what Hashem has said, then we realize our responsibility to live sinless, righteous lives and to stop justifying our petty indiscretions. We are to obey His Torah exactly!!

Unfortunately, most of us commit many more petty sins on a regular basis than we care to acknowledge. I dislike using the word petty because it gives the impression that these sins are unimportant. It gives the impression that these sins do not matter. THIS IS A FALSE IMPRESSION! In fact when we stand before Hashem on Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur, most of us will stand there not as murderers and not as bank robbers but as petty sinners who for the most part have ignored, overlooked and not considered these little "so-called petty matters ." Unfortunately, in our view of what is correct and what is wrong, we have mixed white with black and now have gray. Trivial sins seem to fall into an area that we label acceptable. We have labeled
what we consider to be insignificant, to be petty and have therefore negated the seriousness of these sins.

So when we stand on Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur praying, we need to focus on the purpose of Rosh Shanah and Yom Kippur. They are the days that Hashem set aside for repentance, for shuvah and for returning. That is exactly what this subject is about. The exact purpose of all this is to acknowledge not that we are murderers, not that we are bank robbers, but that we have failed in the trivial, in the seemingly insignificant and small, petty matters. Why? Because these are our areas of greatest failures! These are the areas that we do not give significant consideration to. It is about these areas that we need to repent and seek forgiveness.

Speeding, parking in the handicapped area, paying under the table, looking the other way, eating produce that's not paid for in the grocery store, avoiding taxes and other such areas ... these are the revealed areas to us and to our children. These are the areas that we need to observe exactly as the Torah instructs us! A real Jew will take these matters to heart and carefully observe them. A real Jew will stop issuing immunities for petty sins.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva  G. Belk

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