Our New Daughter’s Name, Rimon Hadasa, OR, What Do Purim, Pesach, Circumcision, And Wood Skewers Have In Common?

Thank God, we have another daughter. Everyone is healthy and the birth went well, though there was a scare that turned out to be nothing in the end, caused by a broken monitor that had a team of doctors rush in to do an emergency C-section. But the midwives stopped that and got control of the situation, got a new monitor, everything was fine, and 10 minutes later she was born. I was sitting at home working when my parents called to say Natasha was in labor and I should get to the hospital. So I leisurely started putting on my shoes and was starting to head out. By the time I got to the car my father came around the corner and asked me how many pounds is 2.8kg.

“Huh?” I said, “Already??”

She came out fast. It was the first birth I actually missed, but it’s OK. It was a good thing I wasn’t there during the emergency C-section scare. I would have freaked out. My mother and mother in law handled it all pretty well.

We named her on Shabbat, Rimon Hadasa Farber רימון הדסה פרבר. Here’s the story and meanings behind it.

Natasha’s grandfather (poppy) Murray, משה בן אסתר, passed away last year. He was 90. About a day or two before he died, we found out that Natasha was pregnant. It was a surprise for us, but a pleasant one. It was way too early to tell anyone. We had just found out, but we decided to tell grandma and poppy anyway because we all knew he was slipping away and he should know before he died. So on his deathbed, through Skype, we told him that we would name the baby after him.

We wanted an ‘R’ and ‘M’ sound in the name for Murray, and picked Rimon, Hebrew for pomegranate. I myself am named for two great grandmothers Raizel and Feigle, hence the R and F in my own name, so we did a similar thing here. Hadasa, Rimon’s middle name, is Queen Esther’s Hebrew name. Esther was her Persian name.

We were quite hesitant about the name Rimon at first. We liked it personally and it sounds nice to an American ear, but we both knew that to an Israeli it sounds like “hand grenade” which is another modern meaning. That wouldn’t have been a problem by itself but we also have a daughter named Serach (שרח) which is a name I love because I love the character and the story behind her. She is Asher’s daughter, Jacob’s granddaughter, who is mentioned in the list of 70 people going down to Egypt in Breisheet and also coming out of Egypt in Bamidbar. According to some sources, she – not Ruth – is the first convert, adopted by Asher. Given that she’s mentioned both going in and coming out of Egypt, she lived at least 210 years, and some Midrashic sources say she never died.

Anyway, we call her Serri and she is beautiful, I mean really. Many times Israelis stare at her and tell me that, and then ask her name. And I say her name is שרח. Then what usually happens is that they correct me and say something like “In Hebrew it’s pronounced Sarah, not Serach.” And then I have to insist that her name is not Sarah, and that I know my daughter’s name, thank you very much. I’ve had to do this many times, and those are the easy encounters. At worst, they look at her, tell me she’s pretty, and ask me her name, I tell them שרח, and they say, “Why did you give her such an ugly name?” Those are the really “Israeli” Israelis.

See, in Hebrew, Serach sounds like מסריח , which means “stinky”. We knew this. It has absolutely nothing to do with the name though, and we weren’t going to let that stop us from giving her a name that we actually wanted and admired.

Anyway, two days after Rimon was born, before she was named, I was at the post office with Serri and the same thing happened. We were the only ones there and the two clerks, both women, commented that’s she’s pretty and asked her name. I tell them Serach. And again, they correct me and say it’s not pronounced Serach, it’s Sarah. And again I insist that I am not a stupid American who doesn’t know Hebrew, I know what my daughter’s name is, and her name is SERACH. Asher’s daughter. It’s in the Tanach, in Hebrew.

“How do you spell it, with a ה or a ח?” one of them asks.

“A ח. שרחחחחחח,” I emphasize and extend the ח.

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

Then I made a mistake. They ask me if she has any other sisters. Absentmindedly I say that she just got a new sister two days ago.

“And what’s her new sister’s name?” they ask.

Not thinking, since you’re not supposed to tell people the name before the naming, I tell them “Rimon”. And they look at me weird, saying with their eyes, “Well here’s a crazy American naming his daughters ‘Stinky’ and ‘Hand Grenade,’ like one of those postmodern hippieish people who are into homeopathics and whatnot.“

A lesson – not telling people the name before the naming is important, because it can create doubts.

We were going to name her on Thursday but I didn’t wake up early enough for the 6:15 minyan, thinking that subconsciously maybe I was having second thoughts. So we thought it over again Natasha and I, and we decided, definitely Rimon. Here’s why.

I’m not the kind of person that looks into “signs from heaven”, but I don’t discount the possibility of them, or of God trying to tell me something, just an ordinary person. So the following I’ll just say that maybe God was trying to get me to name her Rimon, and maybe I’m just reading into things, but then these are pretty crazy coincidences. Interpret however makes you feel comfortable, but this all happened.

When we were first settling on Rimon, Natasha asked me where the word appears in the Torah. I remember it is featured a lot on the clothes of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, and remembered part of the verse describing his tunic because it repeats. פעמון ורימון פעמון ורימון are the words I remembered specifically, and that the pasuk must be in Tetzaveh or Pekudei, or both, which describe the whole priestly wardrobe. So I looked it up and sure enough, it’s there, in both places, slightly different in each place. Here’s the one from Pekudei:

וַיַּ֛עַשׂ אֶת־מְעִ֥יל הָאֵפֹ֖ד מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה אֹרֵ֑ג כְּלִ֖יל תְּכֵֽלֶת׃ וּפִֽי־הַמְּעִ֥יל בְּתוֹכ֖וֹ כְּפִ֣י תַחְרָ֑א שָׂפָ֥ה לְפִ֛יו סָבִ֖יב לֹ֥א יִקָּרֵֽעַ: וַֽיַּעֲשׂוּ֙ עַל־שׁוּלֵ֣י הַמְּעִ֔יל רִמּוֹנֵ֕י תְּכֵ֥לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֖ן וְתוֹלַ֣עַת שָׁנִ֑י מָשְׁזָֽר׃ וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ פַעֲמֹנֵ֖י זָהָ֣ב טָה֑וֹר וַיִּתְּנ֨וּ אֶת־הַפַּֽעֲמֹנִ֜ים בְּת֣וֹךְ הָרִמֹּנִ֗ים עַל־שׁוּלֵ֤י הַמְּעִיל֙ סָבִ֔יב בְּת֖וֹךְ הָרִמֹּנִֽים׃ פַּעֲמֹ֤ן וְרִמֹּן֙ פַּעֲמֹ֣ן וְרִמֹּ֔ן עַל־שׁוּלֵ֥י הַמְּעִ֖יל סָבִ֑יב לְשָׁרֵ֕ת כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

The robe for the ephod was made of woven work, of pure blue. The opening of the robe, in the middle of it, was like the opening of a coat of mail, with a binding around the opening, so that it would not tear. On the hem of the robe they made pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, twisted. They also made bells of pure gold, and attached the bells between the pomegranates, all around the hem of the robe, between the pomegranates: a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe for officiating in—as God had commanded Moses.

Now, about two weeks before she was born, when we were already mostly set on Rimon but I was still having some doubts, our community was honoring the חברה קדישא, the “Holy Gang,” volunteers who clean and dress the dead for burial. Thanks to my friend Ezra, I am on the Chevreh Kadisha. The week the shul was honoring the Chevreh was Parashat Pekudei, the Parasha about the Cohen Gadol’s clothing. They gave me שלישי, the third Aliyah, which begins with that exact passage about pomegranates and bells all around the Kohen Gadol. In no other place in the Torah does the word Rimon appear so frequently, five times in three psukim! I am imagining that God is ringing off the pomegranate bells that this is her name. Ding ding! Use it! פעמון ורימון פעמון ורימון OK OK I get the point!

But it didn’t stop there. Thursday night the next week, our parents are both with us helping to watch the kids, waiting for Natasha to give birth. The city is hosting a dinner at a nice restaurant for the Chevreh Kadisha and their spouses, and Natasha and I finally get to go out on a date to a nice restaurant without the kids thanks to our parents.

We go out to the “Chevreh Kadisha Party” and they present a gift to each person on the Chevrah Kadisha. It’s a cutting board. Here’s a picture of it:

Pomegranate Cutting Board

Rimonim all over the place. I get the point. Her name is Rimon. Rimon is coming.

The pomegranate has plenty of Halachic and religious significance. It’s the fifth fruit of the 7 Biblical fruits of Israel, which is the most well known aspect of the rimon. I won’t go into everything here, but there is one obscure importance to pomegranates that most people are not familiar with. Mishnah, Psachim 7:1

כֵּיצַד צוֹלִין אֶת הַפֶּסַח, מְבִיאִין שַׁפּוּד שֶׁל רִמּוֹן, תּוֹחֲבוֹ מִתּוֹךְ פִּיו עַד בֵּית נְקוּבָתוֹ, וְנוֹתֵן אֶת כְּרָעָיו וְאֶת בְּנֵי מֵעָיו לְתוֹכוֹ, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, כְּמִין בִּשּׁוּל הוּא זֶה, אֶלָּא תוֹלִין חוּצָה לוֹ

How is the Pesach offering roasted? We bring a skewer of pomegranate wood and stick it into the mouth and through the anus, and place its legs and entrails inside of it according to Rabbi Yosi Haglili. Rabbi Akiva says “This would be a kind of boiling. Instead we hang the entrails outside of it.”

Why pomegranate wood? Because the lamb must be entirely roasted by fire, and not by a material that the fire heats up, like a skewer. So we can’t use a metal skewer, which would get too hot and cook the meat that was in direct contact with the skewer. We also can’t use just any wood, because wood tends to sweat moisture when heated, and the escaping water would boil the meat at the point of contact rather than the fire roasting it. So pomegranate wood specifically is used because pomegranate wood is dryer than other woods and doesn’t sweat when heated.

Now, consider this. Every Pesach sacrifice needs a fairly long pomegranate wood skewer. That’s a lot of skewers. What must that have been like? Well, on Succot in Israel there these big open markets of the four species lulav, etrog, hadas, and arava and there are different kinds, different levels. Mehudar (pretty), super mehudar (super pretty), plain kosher, really big etrogs for those who want an extra beautiful one, etc. Hiddur mitzvah, getting the biggest and most beautiful, is a big thing with the four species. People are really into it. I’ve even seen a guy with what must have been at least a 10 foot long lulav. (Haha, yeah yeah, laugh it out.)

Imagine what Pesach would have looked like during the time of the Beit HaMikdash when everybody did the Korban Pesach. There must have been huge markets selling long sticks of pomegranate wood, some of them decorated maybe, carved with shapes in them, maybe pomegranates, plain kosher, mehudar, super mehudar, all that stuff. These things were probably given as gifts also. I can imagine in people’s homes at that time beautiful decorated pomegranate skewers for each Korban Pesach hung up on walls and such, one for each year, burnt edges, clean middle. This is what Pesach would have actually looked like, and very few people are aware of it, that pomegranate wood skewers were such a big part of the Passover holiday. The pomegranate to this day remains a very popular decoration in shuls and Jewish homes. (Cutting board case in point.)

Essentially, you cannot do the mitzvah of Korban Pesach correctly without a skewer of pomegranate wood. It’s there in the middle of it all, hanging it all up, stabilizing the whole animal, but not influencing or interfering with the process of the roasting at all. It knows its place. Unassuming, humble, but central to the whole mitzvah. Doing its part by staying cool, not sweating, and letting what needs to be done, get done, so the mitzvah can be completed. I hope Rimon ends up being just like that.

One last thought. We have one son, Efraim. We call him Fry. I struggled doing a brit milah (circumcision) on him, because that violates the non aggression principle, the holy of holies of libertarian halacha. This is what I wrote about that:

And in the end, Judaism forces me to be a minarchist, of a sort. To draw a line from my own personhood instead of from something outside myself. To have just a little intuition of my own. I circumcised my son without his consent, and thereby broke the NAP, the holy of holies of libertarian law. I hated it. I cried. And then even I, the uncontrollable libertarian radical teeming with hatred of the State, drew a line from within to circumscribe power. I did, and will do brit milah, and that’s it. I can’t explain why in any logical terms other than God told me to. And I will not go any further than that into the realm of power over other men. Not ever. Not one inch.

I didn’t want someone else to be my messenger for an act that I found problematic. It felt cowardly, so I did the cut myself. (The mohel did the setup obviously. I just did the cut.) After that, though maybe I shouldn’t have in retrospect, I asked God not to give me another boy because I just didn’t want to do that again. (Yes, I would have done it again if it came to that.) I only circumcised because I believe God told me to do it. That’s it.

What does this have to do with Rimon? Well, there are only two positive mitzvahs that failure to do them results in Karet, spiritual excision from the Jewish people. Very bad punishment though I don’t really know what it means. It’s just below the death penalty. One mitzvah is Brit Milah, circumcision. The other is Korban Pesach. They are both blood mitzvahs, the blood of circumcision, and the blood of the Pesach lamb that was smeared on the door posts in Pesach Mitzrayim. These two mitzvot tie the Jewish people to God in blood. This is what is referred to at a Brit in the pasuk בדמייך חיי, בדמייך חיי. By your blood you will live, by your blood you will live, repeated. One blood for circumcision, one blood for Korban Pesach.

Just like פעמון ורימון פעמון ורימון. A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, all around the Kohen Gadol, who actually executes the Pesach sacrifice. I’ve done the first blood in Brit Milah. And we named Rimon after the second, and after Murray, and after Murray’s mother Esther, Hadasa.

To an Israeli ear, Rimon is a boy’s name, another reason we were initially hesitant to name her that. I know two women named Rimon though, so I knew it wasn’t exclusively a boy’s name. Perhaps though, the fact that it is seen as a boy’s name is appropriate in retrospect, since she is named after the Korban Pesach, the parallel to a Brit Milah.

Born between Purim and Pesach, she has a name related to both, Rimon Hadasa. Related to circumcision, related to Murray, משה בן אסתר, and related to the blood mitzvot that tie all Jews together and to God.

And there is no fruit juice more deeply blood red than the blood of a pomegranate. Another Jew has come into the world. Thank God.

 

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A Purim lesson on the nature of government from Megillat Esther

Purim has a lot to say about the nature of government. What immediately comes to mind is that the public head of government, in the Megilla’s case Achashverosh (Xerxes), is almost always an idiot. In modern times it would be the equivalent of a Netanyahu or Obama or Sanders or Cruz or Trump or Hillary Clinton. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid people all around. For example I wouldn’t say Trump is a full blown idiot. But his view of trade is idiotic and extremely dangerous. People trade for mutual benefit, not competition. All of the public figures have issues they are absolutely idiotic about.

The people who really pull the strings of power are almost always behind the scenes. In Purim’s case Haman, or Harvonah (l’havdil), or Esther or Mordechai, or the myriad of advisors that give advice to the king when he’s feeling sexually frustrated because he killed his wife in a drunken rage. Some (Esther, Mordechai, Harvonah) try to steer power in a good direction, others (advisors, Haman) in a bad one.

But there’s a new lesson I spotted tonight. “A law written in the name of the king and signed with the king’s seal cannot be repealed.”

When Esther asks Achashverosh to get rid of a bad law to kill the Jews, the King responds that laws cannot be repealed. So instead he allows Mordechai and Esther to write another law in his name, which is not really a law at all, but a corollary of the non aggression principle. That is, if someone is coming to kill you, you can kill him first.

The lesson is subtle. It’s that government does not shrink. It never shrinks. It only grows. Once a law is passed, it can never be repealed. Even if it can in principle, it almost never is, with very few exceptions. The laws keep piling on and on until the government collapses, and then the process begins again, unless libertarians stop it.

Purim Chidushim for 5775

Here a list of new stuff I noticed in the Megilah this year that may be able to help you give a nice, good, drunken Dvar Torah at your Purim Seudah tomorrow. These are preliminary thoughts for development.

First, I noticed that, indeed, it was entirely Mordechai’s fault for endangering the entire Jewish people by exposing himself to Haman as a Jew. When Esther is kidnapped into the palace in a sadistic beauty pageant by a tyrant who wants a new plaything, Mordechai tells her not to tell anyone her nation or her heritage. את עמה ואת מולדתה are the words. כי מרדכי צוה עליה אשר לא תגיד. Mordechai commanded her not to say anything.

Why? What did he fear? Judging by Mordechai’s sitting at the gate, saving of the king, and respect for regulations (not going to the gate when he’s dressed in sackcloth), he was a political animal. So he probably didn’t want Esther to ruin her chances of coming out of this at least alive.  If Achashverosh killed Vashti, who knows what he would do with all the women he didn’t want. If she said she was Jewish, Achashverosh might have killed her.

Second, why, when pestered by the people at the gate as to why he does not bow to Haman, does Mordechai not follow his own advice and shut up about his nation and heritage? כי הגיד להם אשר הוא יהודי. Same words as he uses in telling Esther not to tell anyone. But he tells. Reluctantly, after they ask him again and again, but he breaks. After that, they tell Haman, who decides to go after everyone.

If either Esther had told the king at any point after she was chosen that she was Jewish, or Mordechai had not told anyone that he was, Haman would not have been able to go after the Jews as he did. If word came out that Esther was Jewish, Haman would never have been able to go after us. If Mordechai had kept his mouth shut, he would never have wanted to go after us in the first place.

But because Mordechai tells Esther not to say anything, but he himself doesn’t follow the same prudent course, Mordechai is responsible for this whole thing, and that’s why he rips his clothes. He reverses when he tells Esther to reveal herself at whatever cost.

Amalek vs Agagi, Israel vs Jew

The Torah reading for Purim starts ויבא עמלק ויילחם עם ישראל ברפידים. Amalek vs Israel. Full nation versus full nation. But Haman is never referred to as an Amalakite. He is referred to as an Agagi. Agag is the king of Amalek, just like Yehuda is the king of Israel. So the royal stock of the Jews, represented by Mordechai both as a Benjaminite (Saul) and a Jew (Yehuda) is fighting the royal stock of Amalek, Haman. Two shards fighting one last round, one never to recover (there is no more Amalek genetic line) one to return.

Haman has Esav Qualities

Maharal points out the language of ויבז with both Esav and Haman. ויבז עשו את הבכורה, vs ויבז בעיניו לשלוח יד במרדכי לבדו. Same personality, same language. Further, Esav in meeting with Ya’akov who offers him gifts says יש לי רב אחי, יהי לך אשר לך. I have much my brother, keep what you have. Ya’akov responds with כי יש לי כל, I have everything, please take my gift. Chazal make a big deal about the רב versus כל, that someone who has  רב always wants more, and someone who has כל is satisfied.

Haman has the same language. He tells his family, probably while drunk because he seems to be recounting his entire life story to his family who no doubt know it already, about his כבוד עשרו ורב בניו, his great riches and many sons. Not כל בניו, all his sons, but his many sons, same language as Esav.

 

 

A Jewish Interpretation of The Four Blood Moons. Some Purim Torah.

There’s some hoopla going on about the fact that there will be a tetrad of total lunar eclipses in the next year and a half that fall out on the first day of Pesach and first day of Succot 2014, and then again on the first day of Pesach and Succot 2015. In between those four “blood moons” so-called because the moon turns red with the Earth’s shadow, there will be a total solar eclipse on Rosh Chodesh Nissan 2015.

The last time this happened, when all four total lunar eclipses fell out on Pesach and Succot, was in 1967-68. The time before that was 1949-50. And then before that 1493-94. As for a total solar eclipse happening on Rosh Chodesh Nissan right smack in the middle, I don’t know if that has ever happened before.

Pastor John Hagee, who I have always found mesmerizing but rather creepy, is going all out about this stuff predicting the second coming of Jesus and whatnot. He wrote about it, was featured on Fox News about it, gave a three part sermon on the coming of the Rapture about it, music played in the background during the more emotional Jesusish parts, he kept saying over and over “the King is Coming” and referring to Psukim with bad translations and incorrect chapter/verse numbers.

Hagee wants to say that four blood moons signifies something about the Jews, 1493-94 being the expulsion from Spain (it was actually 1492), 1949-50 being the founding of Israel (it was actually 1948) and 1967-68 being the reunification of Jerusalem, which is on the dot. Therefore, something big is supposed to happen in 2014-15 involving the Jews and Israel, and Hagee expects it to be the Rapture, the Second Coming, either, both, whatever, I don’t know.

Hagee takes a verse from Yoel which he calls 2:32, but which does not actually exist. The verse is 3:4. He erroneously places it in chapter two because along with most Christians reading a book that is not theirs in a language not theirs, he doesn’t know how to read. Chapters 1 and 2 concern the past, being the locust plague Yoel describes. Chapters 3 and 4 concern the future, which Yoel is comparing to the locust plague that had just happened. In any case, the verse Hagee quotes is this one:

הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵהָפֵךְ לְחֹשֶׁךְ, וְהַיָּרֵחַ לְדָם–לִפְנֵי, בּוֹא יוֹם יְהוָה, הַגָּדוֹל, וְהַנּוֹרָא.

“The sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great terrible day of the Lord.”

Well, OK, that seems to be talking about a solar and lunar eclipse, so maybe there’s something to this. But there’s a lot that Hagee is missing. I’ll fill some of it in. Some of this stuff comes from a friend of mine who’s into seeing signs and such.

The three religions that sprang from ancient Israel are governed by three different calendars. Islam has a purely lunar calendar. Christianity a fully solar calendar. Judaism is a combination of both, with leap lunar years to compensate for the differences in the calendars. We are currently in such a lunar leap year. The moon represents Islam, which is loosely identified with Yishmael. The sun, Christianity, loosely identified with Edom, or Esav.

The generally accepted Rabbinic view of the battle of Gog and Magog on Israel is that Edom and Yishmael will battle each other on Israel’s territory. Israel will not be directly involved, but will only be caught in the crossfire. In other words, Christianity and Islam will duke it out over here for whatever reason.

The first question that occurred to me when seeing the coincident dates of 1493, 1949, and 1967 was 1967 and 1949 I get. But why 1493? Forget about being a year late, but really, was the expulsion from Spain all that cosmic? We’ve been expelled from lots of places. It was traumatic, but earth shattering day-of-the-Lord? Not really.

The answer is, a tetrad lunar eclipse, if it does signify anything, has nothing to do with Jews. The moon is Islam. It has to do with Muslims. And 1493 was indeed a big year for Islam. It was the year they lost Europe. So was 1949, the year the Muslims lost the war against Israel. They were still fighting in 1948. The armistice and defeat was in 1949. If the tetrad lunar eclipses signal something about Jews, it would have been 1948, but 1949 was the defeat of Islam in Israel, not the founding of the State. In 1967 they lost Jerusalem and it happened in 6 days, so that one was on the dot.

As for a solar eclipse happening on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, that was the day when the Jewish People received their first national commandment, the first מצוה. The Mitzva of the calendar.

הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים:  רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם, לְחָדְשֵׁי הַשָּׁנָה.

Rabbinically translated, “The new moon will mark the start of each month for you, and this month (Nisan) will be the first month of the year.”

Giving someone their own calendar is symbolic of freeing them from the forced calendar of slavery. But why should the new moon on the first signify a new month? Why not the full moon on the 15th, which would be counted as the first? In other words, why count from new moon to new moon rather than from full moon to full moon? After all, Israel were still slaves at that point, on Nissan 1. The 10th plague hadn’t happened yet. It wouldn’t happen for another two weeks. Why start the calendar now? At least wait until the deal is sealed and they’ve gotten out of Egypt.

In fact, now that I think of it, all of the beginning of Exodus chapter 12 is temporally displaced. Moshe warns Pharaoh of the 10th plague in chapter 11, warning that it will happen at midnight on the 15th. Then chapter 12 goes back in time 14 days about what God said to Moshe on the first of the month. Then it skips forward to the 15th and Israel gets out the next morning.

The answer is that by the first, God started the Mitzvot, which began with the calendar, and moved to the Pesach, Matza, the blood on the doorposts etc. By then, even though while technically still in Egypt, the fog of slavery had lifted, and all the people had to do was follow God and stay out of the way. Those who followed were saved. Those who didn’t, who knows.

If the solar eclipse next Rosh Chodesh Nisan means anything, and I’m not conceding that it does, then it could mean that Israel’s dependence on Christianity, Edom, AKA the US, will end on that date, just as its dependence on Egypt ended on that date even though Egypt didn’t give up until two weeks later.

So a combination of lunar eclipses on Pesach and Succot and a solar eclipse on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, if it signifies anything, would signify that both Christianity and Islam will block each other out, perhaps by fighting each other.

It is also significant that the final lunar eclipse of the four will occur on Succot, the very holiday focused on in the Battle of Gog and Magog on Israel. As for the significance of 2015 itself, my friend and I have been thinking about that for months before either of us knew about the four blood moons.

There are two things notable about 2015. First, it will be a shmitah year, when debts are liquidated. The last shmitah year was 2007-08, a year of a LOT of debt liquidation. The shmita before that was 2000-01, the end of the Nasdaq bubble and a LOT of debt liquidation. Another notable shmitah year was 1987, the year of the Black Monday market crash. Before that, 1980, the peak of interest rates and the 1980 gold bull top. 1973 was the year of stagflation, the first time the American economy experienced both stagnation and inflation together.

But 2015 has something else going for it. The Hebrew year will be תשעו, written fully התשעו, or rearranged תשועה, meaning “salvation”. That is 5776, starting in September 2015.

I am no kabbalist, but what follows is a translation from my friend’s blog. Let’s be cute and call this Purim Torah:

וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הוּא אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הַמֹּלֵךְ מֵהֹדּוּ וְעַד כּוּשׁ שֶׁבַע וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה מְדִינָה

“In the days of Achashverosh, that is Achashverosh who ruled from India to Ethiopia, 127 states.”

It is well known that the Book of Esther contains within it many hints and secrets regarding the final redemption. The book falls within the context of Ezra’s move to Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple which was postponed at the time. This parallels our time, especially since Esther and Mordechai are both from the tribe of Binyamin, and we are under the rule of Mashiach Ben Yosef of Binyamin.

(Rafi’s note, I don’t know what he’s talking about  with the Binyamin thing.)

וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר בְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן מַה שְּׁאֵלָתֵךְ וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְתֵעָשׂ

“And the King said to Esther at the drinking party, ‘What is your request and I will grant it, what is your wish? Up to half the kingdom and it will be done.”

The fact that the Temple is encoded into the Book of Esther we know from the Gemara in Megila:

Says the Gemara Megila 15B: “Up to half the kingdom and it will be done,” half the kingdom and not the whole thing, nor something that smacks of a kingdom. And what smacks of a kingdom? The Temple.

From here we can extrapolate the redemption of Mashiach Ben David. Achashverosh is limiting Esther, who represents Mashiach ben Yosef, up to the point of the Temple. The “up to” in “up to half the kingdom” comes from the blessing of Binyamin by Yaakov, which says “You will eat up to the morning”.

“Half the kingdom” – if Achashverosh rules 127 states, half of that would be 63.5. If we count from the beginning of the State of Israel, which is the beginning of the era of Mashiach ben Yosef, that turns out to be 2012, which is the beginning of the years of preparation for Mashiach ben David, which are 5772-5775. (Rafi’s note: He brings in a source here for that but I haven’t sifted through it.)

Therefore, the meaning of the verse is this: Up to half the kingdom and it will be done. “Up to half” means up to 5772 (2012). From then, Mashiach ben David begins to rise. And when is it complete? At the end of Shmitah, and when does that fall out?

It will be done is ותעש. Or תשעו. If you switch the letters. 5776.

My friend continues to point out that every time the word תשועה is mentioned in Tanach, it always has to do with David. No exceptions.

And there are other hints at 5776 throughout the Torah. Here’s a fun one though, one that I can proudly say I found. It’s in Breishit 38. Yehuda leaves his brothers after the sale of Yosef. Figuratively, after the downfall of Mashiach ben Yosef. Yehuda settles near a guy named Hirah, who has a friend named Shua. Yehuda marries the daughter of this guy Shua, and for the rest of the story this woman is only known as בת שוע, or Shua’s daughter.

It’s always bugged me why she doesn’t have a name.

When Bat Shua dies, Yehuda goes down to Timnah to sheer his sheep. Tamar, who has been sitting around waiting for Yehuda to give him his third son after the first two died, hears about it and follows him down. This leads to Yehuda thinking Tamar is a prostitute, sleeping with her and starting the Mashiach’s ancestral line.

So why Bat Shua?

אל תקרא בת שוע אלא ב-תשוע. Or 5776.

Also note that David’s wife, the one that gives birth to Shlomo, is בת שבע, or 5772.

And the fourth and final blood moon occurs on Succot, 5776, the holiday of Gog and Magog, when every nation is supposed to come to the temple to worship God.

All in all, this could all be nothing. I’d like to believe it, but can’t say that I do. But in case it isn’t nothing, let it be recorded here that I believed it plausible enough that I wrote it down as Purim Torah.

נכנס פורים יוצא סוד.