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New Year BlessingsNoach

Rosh HaShanah 5758: The Year of Noach

Secrets of the Jewish Year
Holiday Messages and Meditations on the Jewish Year

The Jewish Month of Tishrei

 Tishrei According to Sefer Yetzirah
 The Jewish New Year
 The Year of "zeh zeh" — Rosh HaShanah 5757
 The Year of "Noach" — Rosh HaShanah 5758
 Happy are the People that Know the Te'ruah — Rosh HaShanah 5759  
 The Voice of the Shofar — Rosh HaShanah 
 The Four Species  —  The Holiday of Sukkot
 A Joyous Heart —  The Holiday of Sukkot
 I am to My Beloved and My Beloved is to Me: Returning to God With Love

 

 

It is customary to interpret the Hebrew letters which represent the number of the new year as a phrase expressing our wishes and prayers for the coming year. In particular, the letters which stand for 5700 (hei tav shin) are interpreted to mean, "May it be a year of…." The remaining two letters of the date are then interpreted either as a word in itself or as an acronym for a phrase or idiom in Hebrew.

The number 58-nun chet-spells the word Noach (Noah), whose name means "rest." Noah, the tenth generation of mankind–"the tenth shall be holy for G-d" (Leviticus 27:32)–symbolizes the rest and peace that will bless the earth in the Messianic era. Lamech, Noah?s father, called him Noah for he was to bring rest and comfort to the earth which had been cursed.

In the time of Mashiach–may he come speedily in our days–the spiritual waters of "the knowledge of G-d" (Isaiah 11:9) will flood the earth (human consciousness), just as the physical waters flooded the earth in the time of Noah. Then, the flood came as "punishment" for the iniquity of mankind. In the time of Mashiach (the Noah of the future), the "flood" will come as "reward" and blessing for all mankind.

The final verse of the first Torah portion — Breishit — reads: "And Noah found favor in the eyes of G-d" (Genesis 6:8). The word for "favor" (or "grace")--chen (chet nun)–is Noach spelled backwards. The commentaries explain (Rabbi David Kimchi, Sefer HaShorashim s.v. ish) that in the pupil of the eye (in Hebrew: ishon, literally "a little man") the image of the man one sees in reality appears inverted. The brain continues to re-invert the image to appear right side up.

Of the Torah (of Mashiach–Noah) it is said: "turn it over and turn it over for all is in it" (Avot: 5:22). By turning the Torah over and over again, one reveals its most inner dimension (the manifestation of "all"–"for all is in it") which had previously been concealed in it.

From this we can imply that the coming year (the year of Noach and chen) is a year of "rest" (Noachturning into "grace" (chen) and "grace" (chenturning into "rest" (Noach). The first "turn" happens in the eyes. The second "turn" happens in the brain.

In our service of G-d, "rest" represents the general state of "peace of mind" (yeshuv ha?da?at) necessary for the devoted study of Torah. "Favor" represents the service of heartfelt prayer to G-d, the sincere effort of the heart and soul to find favor in His eyes that He hearken to our supplications for redemption.

Our Torah study (which initially is primarily the study of the revealed dimension of the Torah, its statutes and morals) is intended to inspire ("turn into") our prayers and our prayers then become the source of inspiration to reveal ("turn into") deeper levels of insight and true innovations in our Torah study (primarily its hidden dimension).

In particular, chen ("grace") is known as the acronym for chochmah nistarah ("the hidden wisdom"). When one studies the revealed dimension of the Torah with the pure and simple intention to learn how to fulfill G-d?s will for man on earth, the hidden dimension (the chochmah nistarah) of those very words of Torah (their inner "seminal" essence) becomes "pregnant" in the words of one?s (subsequent) heartfelt prayers to G-d. This is the reason that chochmah nistarah is alluded to in the chen of prayer, as described above.

From its "pregnant" state in prayer, the chochmah nistarah becomes born and fully revealed in the newly–inspired Torah with which one is blessed after his potent prayer. This new Torah is the Torah of Mashiach.

"May it be a year of [the full revelation of the] hidden wisdom," the "knowledge of G-d" that will flood all of reality with the revelation of Mashiach, Amen.

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