Parshas Vayigash

Genesis 44:18 - 47:27

"Unity Of The Soul" ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Michael & Mrs. Chanah Sakash, may they rest in peace.

A favorite subject of our sages and present rabbium in Parshas Vayigash is the Torah statement, "All the soul{s} of the house of Yaakov that came to Mitzriam were seventy." Genesis 46:27 As we contemplate the importance of inner peace, we can draw great strength and knowledge from these seven {Hebrew} words of the Torah. Our sages point to the fact that even though seventy individual descendants of Yaakov came to Mitzriam the Torah does not use the plural word Nah Fi Shoos {meaning souls} when it says, "All the soul{s} of the house of Yaakov that came to Mitzriam were seventy." Instead of using the the word Nah Fi Shoos {souls} the Torah uses the word Neh Fehsh {meaning soul}. Neh Fehsh is singular. Our sages point out that the reason for this is that all the descendants of Yaakov were as "ONE" soul. And that all the descendants of Yaakov honored and served only One G-d, Hashem, as instructed by their father Yaakov, grandfather Yitzchok and great grandfather Avraham.

Our sages point to the fact that Yaakov's brother Eisov had only six Nah Fi Shoos, {souls}. The Torah states, "Eisov took his wives, his sons, his daughters, all the Nah Fi Shoos {souls} of his household, his livestock, all his animals, and all his possessions that he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and he went to a land away from his brother Yaakov {and away from his mother and father}." Genesis 36:6

Here the Torah uses the plural word for the six members of Eisov's mishpacha {family}. Our sages indicate the Torah does this when making reference to Eisov because his descendants each worshipped many gods thus represented by the plural word Nah Fi Shoos {souls} while Yaakov's descendants worshipped only one G-d, Hashem, represented by the singular word Neh Fehsh.

One should also notice that the direction of each letter of Ha Neh Fehsh, meaning "the soul" {of the house of Yaakov} progresses from right to left. This represents Hashem's command to Yaakov and his descendants {from the Torah} flowing from Hashem on the right to Yaakov and his descendants on the left. The Hey{5} flows from the right to the Nun {50} on the left to the Fey{80} which flows left to the Shin {300}. These letters are in accord. They are in progressive unison as Hashem intends for our inner being {our Neh Fehsh} to be with Him, the Torah and other Jews!

{from right to left}

Ha Neh Fehsh {the soul}
435 = Shin = 300 Fey = 80 Nun = 50 Hey = 5

Now let's observe the word Nah Fi Shoos {souls} representing Eisov's descendants. Nah Fi Shoos begins with the Nun {50} on the right then continues left to the Fey {80} and continues left to the Shin {300}. Nun Fey Shin spell Neh Fehsh. However Nah Fi Shoos continues on to a Vav {6} which stops the progressive flow from the right. It is interesting that the letter which stops the flow from the right is a Vav {6}. The Vav represents the six descendants of Eisov that worshipped many gods {G-d forbid!}. The Vav represents the sixth day in which Adam and Chava were removed from the Garden of Eden after they disobeyed G-d's commands... like Eisov's descendants... It is as if the sin on the sixth day of Creation broke the unity between G-d and man. Man represented by the six got in the way of G-d's flow. Man detoured G-d's intention!

{from right to left}

Nah Fi Shoos {souls}
836 =
Sav = 400 Vav = 6 Shin = 300 Fey = 80 Nun = 50

So in the Gematria of Neh Fehsh and the Gematria of Nah Fi Shoos we observe the difference between unity in the house of Yaakov and division in the house of Eisov. In comparing these two brothers we observe stark differences between them. It is this difference between Yaakov and Eisov that can either establish, build and support the unity and peace of the inner being or tear down and destroy the unity and peace of the inner being. We see in Yaakov's descendants what adds to our unity... the unified observance of Hashem, the only true G-d. We see in Eisov's descendants what destroys unity... the worship of many gods...

When we observe what is proper as descendants of Yaakov we are elevated to the level of Ni See Eem {meaning princes}. We are Ah Naw Sheem, meaning men {people} of distinction. When we fail to observe what Hashem has commanded, we unfortunately make our place among men like Eisov and his descendants. We lose our inner peace, our beauty of unity with G-d, with the Torah and with other Jews. Our inner being is divided by many tugs, by many attractions, by lack of unity. Our company is different. Our inner being is a shack instead of a palace! Our inner being is Noh Si Eem, meaning burdened {heavy} laden from all the disunity, from all the tugging that is going on inside. This inner battle is raging inside. When our inner being is confused, dissuaded, disobedient to G-d, disobedient to the Torah... we teeter on very dangerous ground. G-d forbid! We teeter on the same ground that Moshe spoke of in Parshas Eikev:

Ni See Eem {princes}
401 = Mem = 40 Aleph = 1 Yud = 10 Sin = 300 Nun = 50

Ah Naw Sheem {men [people] of distinction}
401 = Mem = 40 Yud = 10 Shin = 300 Nun = 50 Aleph = 1

Noh Si Eem {burdened [heavy] laden}
401 = Mem = 40 Aleph = 1 Yud = 10 Sin = 300 Nun = 50

"Hashem said to me, 'Get ready! Go down quickly from here {Har Sinai, where he [Moshe] received the Ten Commands} because your people have corrupted {themselves} -- whom you took out of Mitzriam; they have veered swiftly from the way that I commanded them; they made a molten image. Hashem said to me, to say, 'I have seen this people, and look, it is a stubborn people! Leave Me alone and let Me destroy them...'" Deuteronomy 9:12-14

The word Vi Ahsh Mee Daym {meaning "and let Me destroy them"} has the Gematria of 40. The words Ni See Eem {princes}, Ah Naw Sheem {men [people] of distinction} and Noh Si Eem {burdened [heavy] laden} each share the Gematria of 401. What is so significant about the Gematria 401? The difference between Ha Neh Fehsh {435} representing Yaakov and his descendants and Nah Fi Shoos {836} representing Eisov and his descendants is 401. Yaakov's descendants rise to the level of Ni See Eem {princes} and Ah Naw Sheem {men [people] of distinction} while Eisov's descendants sink under division and Noh Si Eem {burdened [heavy] laden}.

Vi Ahsh Mee Daym {and let Me destroy them}
401 = Mem = 40 Dalet = 4 Yud = 10 Mem = 40 Shin = 300 Aleph = 1 Vav = 6

Holy reader, the point to this lesson on Yaakov's descendants and his brother Eisov's descendants has to do with the power of the inner being. Yaakov's descendants are unified through One G-d, one Torah, one goal... Eisov's descendants are tortured and torn between many gods, religions, philosophies, goals, ideas, etc... Dear reader, inner peace develops and grows through unifying with G-d's Commands. One can remove the stressful tug of war... the pull in every direction by many ideas, thoughts, philosophies, etc. through unifying with the Torah. In so doing one can achieve great inner beauty and peace. Observing the Torah is a lesson of inner beauty!

Best wishes!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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