from Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh
(Blogger's note: A friend sent me this and my husband said I should post it here; which I thought was a great idea.)
This coming year, 5772, is the year of “I will make him a helpmate” ( אֶעֱשֶׂה לוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ ) a most central phrase appearing in the account of man’s creation whose value is 772, the partial and more commonly referred to value of year 5772. Man, in whom lies the purpose of creation, was created on Rosh Hashanah, and on every Rosh Hashanah man is in a sense recreated, and with him the entire world. It follows then, that every Rosh Hashanah, the process of man’s creation and completion with the formation of Everepeats: “Male and female He created them and blessed them and named them [together] ‘Man.’”
Likewise, the mystical Kabbalistic intentions for the holidays of Tishrei—Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Teshuvah, Sukot, and Shemini Atzeret—all revolve around the common theme of Eve’s separation from Adam and their reuniting, face to face, resulting in the union of the supernal facets of male and female, Ze’er Anpin and Nukvei, all allegorically related in the Biblical account of man’s creation.Three levels of domestic relationship
The expression, “I will make him a helpmate,” teaches us the basis for domestic peace (sh’lom bayit). In 5772 we will be blessed with true and inner peace, beginning with every individual Jewish household and ending with the Grand Wedding between the Almighty and the Congregation of Israel.
In Hebrew, the words, “him a helpmate” are three separate words, which describe the three possible states of relationship between a husband and wife (as explained in length in The Mystery of Marriage):
The first word, “[I will make] him” reflects the highest bond between man and woman, also appearing in the phrase, “My beloved is for me, and I am for him.” The sages state that the word “him” (in another related context) refers to a woman, suggesting that the highest state of relating to one’s wife is possible when she is completely devoted to her spouse, himself completely devoted to her and her needs.
The second word, “help” (ezer, in Hebrew) reflects a lesser bond which is based on mutual interest. At this level, a man and woman merit to help each other in all aspects of life. There is a sense of partnership, but their devotion and unification is not perfect.
In the original Hebrew, the third word, translated as “mate” (kenegdo, in Hebrew) actually suggests a state of opposition, a state occurring when the husband has not yet merited a higher relationship. His wife then seems to oppose him in all that he does, but the secret of this opposition is that it is meant to purify and cleanse her husband, subduing his hubris and rectifying his character and deeds.The righteous, the intermediates, and the wicked
Viewed in context of the relationship between the Congregation of Israel and the Almighty, these three levels are reflected in the three books that are opened before God on Rosh Hashanah: the book of the righteous, the book of the intermediates, and the book of the wicked.
The righteous (tzadikim) serve God with complete devotion void of any self‐interest or expectation of reward. They are absolutely dedicated to Him. Indeed the value of the word “him” ( לו ) in Hebrew is 36, the number of righteous individuals alive in every generation.
The intermediate (beinonim) serve God out of a sense of mutual devotion. I help God, as it were, by obeying His commandments, and so He helps me by filling my needs in life. That is why their relationship is similar to the level of “help.” In addition, the intermediate individual does not feel that his ability to subjugate his evil inclination is a sure thing, and therefore becomes consciously aware of his continual need for the Almighty’s help on the spiritual plane.
Finally, the wicked act in opposition to God’s will, reflecting the final state of “[opposing] mate.” Still, this too should be regarded as a relationship between man and God. Deep in their hearts, the improper conduct of the wicked represent a misguided cry against God’s less than clear Presence in the world. Therefore, we are promised by the Almighty, that not a single lost soul shall be eternally lost and the wicked shall also return to God, rebuilding their connection with Him based on a unique and novel relationship. As the sages state, “In the place of ba’alei teshuvah (individuals who have returned to God), the perfectly righteous cannot stand.” בס"ד Past , present, and future
The three stages indicated by the words, “him a helpmate,” connect with another numerical allusion to the year 5772. The partial value of the coming year, 772, also equals the three states of time, “past, present, and future” ( עָבָר הֹוֶה עָתִיד ), suggesting that this year will include the totality of the entire time continuum. Eachtype of individual, be it the righteous, the intermediate, or the wicked, senses time in a different way.
The Hebrew word for “transgression” ( עֲבֵרָה ) stems from the word meaning, “past” ( עָבָר ). Thus, the wicked individual is a transgressor caught in the past, unable to escape the reality of his transgressions, which tend to foster more negative behavior.
The intermediate experiences the present most strikingly, as every moment presents a new difficulty to surmount, a new temptation by the evil inclination which he feels he must overcome. The positive outcome of these clear and present challenges depends on the individual’s ability to dismiss past failures and not expect a rosy future free of hardship.
Even in the present moment, the righteous individual serenely experiences the promise of the wholly good and pure future, a future time in which the evil inclination will be no more, and God’s final purpose of, “I shall remove the spirit of evil from the earth,” has become a reality.Unification and rectification
Indeed, the challenge we face is to unite all three types of individuals by revealing that only together do the righteous, the intermediate, and the wicked constitute a congregation, and that time is made up of all three states: past, present, and future. When crowning God as our King on Rosh Hashanah, we rectify all three aspects of time in our consciousness. We can then truly say that, “God is King, God was King, God will be King forever and ever.”
When all aspects of time come together and become equally accessible, new dynamics are revealed. It is then that we discover that the righteous do not only dizzily experience the future, they can actually utilize the power of the far past—the great spiritual heritage imbued within our souls by previous generations—to empower the near future, making sure that their next act will perfectly align with God’s will.
Contrastingly, the ba’al teshuvah, the once wicked individual, through firm trust that the Almighty will eventually (in what seems the distant future) purify all souls, is freed from the frozen past of his transgressions. He is empowered by the future to reinterpret yesterday’s sins (the near past, i.e., all of his life to date, as present in his memory), transforming transgression into positive energy.
The two new dynamics revealed this year will be that of the righteous individual flowing from the (distant) past to the (near) future, and the once wicked individual turned ba’al teshuvah traveling from the (distant) future into his (near) past. Both pass each other in the present, imbuing the service of the intermediate individuals with new meaning, energy, and purpose. Each of us should see him or her self as an intermediate, focusing on the present, but with a temporal consciousness that is timeless, able to connect with past, present, and future at every moment. This is always true, but all the more so this year, 5772. This consciousness will empower us to be strengthened by the past (and rectify it where needed), to see the future (and utilize its energy), all in order to do the right thing in the present moment. We will then see how, “I will make him a helpmate” describes a single reality, all positive and willful, made complete by the multicolored character of different paths in the service of God, all expressing and rectifying the relationship between the Jewish People and the Almighty.
It is customary to end with words of blessing, also related to the uniqueness of the coming year: The full value of 5772 is the product of 222 and 26. 26 is the value of God’s essential Name, Havayah, while 222 isthe value of the word, “spoke” ( וַיְדַבֵּר ). Thus, this year’s full value alludes to the very common phrase,“God spoke….” This phrase expresses God’s affinity for the Jewish people as He reveals His willthrough clear (explicit) and direct speech. This phrase appears exactly 100 times in the Bible hinting to the 100 blessings which we will all merit to receive in God’s revealed (explicit) goodness, every day of he year 5772, blessings in life, livelihood, and family.
With blessings for a good inscription and seal, for a good and sweet year, in both matter and spirit,
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg