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For millennia Jews have dreamed about the Holy City of Jerusalem, known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim. There is an interesting phenomena which we see in Tanach regarding the spelling of Yerushalayim. We find that the Hebrew spelling is only spelled 5 times as we know it, ירושלים. The rest of the instances are spelled without the latter letter yud and reads ירושלם. 

The Midrash (Talpiot 191) explains that the yud represents the yud in the names of Hashem of שד’י, אדנ’י, הוי’ה & אהי’ה. This means to say that if you remove the yud from שדי you get שד – destruction. If you remove the yud from הוי’ה you get הוה- another form of destruction. If you remove the yud from אדנ’י you get אדן – that we will be subjected to servitude. If you remove the yud from אהי’ה you get אהה, which is loosely translated as anxiety. We see that the removal of the yud from any of the names of Hashem will cause the destruction of the Jewish people. The Midrash explains that since there was a Gezeira of Galus, the yud was removed from Yerushalayim and the Shechina lifted up from resting therein.

What does the yud of Yerushalayim have to do with Galus and what does all this have anything to do with the names of G-d?

In order to understand this, we need to go back a few millennia in history. It was the year 2015 circ. and Avraham Avinu had just arrived in Canaan after a long sojourn from Ur Kasdim. Upon arrival, he was immediately thrust into the midst of “The Battle of The Kings”. During the battle, Avraham’s nephew Lot was captured by King Kdorlaomer and Avraham set out to defeat Kdorlaomer and rescue Lot. After he successfully won the battle, the other Kings grew nervous of him and extended their hands in peace. One of the kings was Malki Zedek, who was the ruler of Shalem and was a Kohen of Hashem. Rashi tells us that Malki Tzedek was Shem, the son of Noach. Malki Tzedek proceeded to bless Avrohom and went on to bless Hashem.

The Gemara (Nedarim 32b) tells us that because Malki Tzedek prioritized Avraham over Hashem when giving his brachos by blessing Avraham first, he was punished and the Kehuna was taken from him.

The Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 56;10) tells us that Avraham called the city Yirah and Malki Zedek called it Shalem.Hashem combined the two names and called the city Yerushalayim. We see that in the name Malki Zedek used, Hashem added the letter yud from His own name.

In the period of time preceding the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the Jewish people lost their sense of direction, and idolatry to the deities of astrology was rampant. In other words, they put the tools of Hashem as a priority before serving Hashem Himself. Therefore, Hashem took out his anger on Yerushalayim. As we see in the Midrash (Eicha Rabba 4;14), that Hashem pours out his wrath on sticks and stones and not on Yisrael.

It was at this time that Hashem took out the latter yud from Yerushalayim, which is the letter from his name which was inserted in the name “שלם”. This was the name that Malki Tzedek gave to Jerusalem. Now, the name of the city reverted back to ירושלם in order to remind us that the city was destroyed due to the Malkizedek’esque sin of not getting our priorities with G-d straight. When we constantly refer to Jerusalem as ירושלם, we are constantly reminded of the need for this essential Tikkun.

Over the past few decades, we have seen a subtle yet radical change in the spelling of Jerusalem, with its full spelling now being used. The reason seems to be to allow for proper pronunciation. Based on what we learned, this does not seem to be the correct and proper practice. Perhaps in an effort to resolve this, the practice was started to use the acronym י-ם to spell ירושלם.

In whichever way that we refer to the holy city, may we always remember to keep our priorities straight and merit to see the full Tikkun and the complete rebuilding of Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh.

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According to the Wex Legal Dictionary the definition for Mitigating Factor  is “any fact or circumstance that lessens the severity or culpability of a criminal act.  Mitigating factors include an ability for the criminal to reform, mental retardation, an addiction to illegal substances or alcohol that contributed to the criminal behavior, and past good deeds, among many others.  Recognition of particular mitigating factors varies by jurisdiction.”     (18 U.S. Code § 3592)

How does Judaism view the circumstantial or outside factors that may affect the motivations or actions of someone involved in a court case? Do we take into account their emotional and  psychological background?

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