רע (evil) spelled backwards is ער (awake). This coincides with the gemara (Kiddushin 30b); “Rav Shimon, the son of Levi said: every day the yetzer hara of a man strengthens itself seeking to kill him.” The yetzer hara seeks full spiritual annihilation of man. It does not sleep nor back down in this pursuit. To counter it, we must be alert every second of every day to fight this relentless war. Only then does man have a “chance” to persevere.
The word אמונה (faith) and the word קב (measurement) both equal 102. The message is that the level of one’s faith in G-d is the true measure by which to judge a man.
Rav Avrohom zt”l came to the United States each year to speak on behalf of Tschiben. One year we visited him in the apartment he was staying at during his stay. One of our family members witnessed that there was a specific request from someone that if Rav Avrohom would just make an in-person appearance he would give him $100,000 for one of the tzedakah’s he was collecting for, and so it happened. Rav Avrohom was involved in many tzedakahs.
Based on “drash,” the first two words of the Torah emphasize the need for creativity and the importance of health, perhaps the two necessities for survival. Scripture opens, “בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א – In the beginning G-d created” (Genesis 1:1). However, if we were to investigate the words further and place a comma between the words בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית and בָּרָ֣א , we could come out with an interpretation, In the beginning comes creativity (בָּרָ֣א – creation, creativity). Alternatively, if we read the words simply, the interpretation would be, In the beginning comes בָּרָ֣א, shorthand for בְּרִיאוּת, health. Indeed, to conquer this world one must be continuously creative which can only happen through the strength of a healthy body.
When I first met Rav Avrohom zt”l, I didn’t know of his stature. As I was waiting for him to go to shul, his upstairs neighbor was walking down and asked how I knew Rav Avrohom. I said I was a relative. He said “The Rav possesses Kol HaTorah Kula on his fingertips.” With time, I began to learn with whom I was with.
There is a well-documented gematria – the word “Amalek” (the nation of Amalekites) and “safek” (the word for doubt) both equal 240.
This is no coincidence.
The Gemara offers as the origin of the name “Haman” (a descendant of Amalek) the verse in Genesis which refers to Adam’s sin: “hamin haetz hazeh achal – from this tree did you eat?” (Genesis 3:11, Chulin 139b).
The theme of Haman (who “cooled down” our nation in the desert and introduced doubt) and the tree that was infringed upon, is doubt and questioning. HaShem confronts Adam regarding his actions – whether he acted with certitude to refrain from eating or did he allow doubt to overcome his being, causing a breach of G-d’s decree. We know the answer and from that time onward man became a manifestation of inner doubt and confusion. Amelek would forever dominate his existence.
Allegorically, a tree refers to Torah as the verse says, “She (the Torah) is a Tree of Life to those who embrace her” (Proverbs 3:18, Vayikra Raba 25:1).
Every day one must ask himself if he “eats” from the “Tree of Torah” with certainty leaving behind any doubts that this is not his mission. In addition, one must attack every undertaking relating to G-d’s service with confidence and certainty. Any iota of doubt embodying any life experience strips away the necessary strength needed to overcome all situations.
The “Mana” (containing two letters from the name of Haman) also brought about the destruction of Bnei Yisroel in the desert. If we would have approached the provisions of the Mana with confidence and certainty and not doubt and questioning, there never would have been complaints and thus destruction.
Doubt has brought to us destruction from the beginning of time and the antidote to overcome this manifestation is by assuming a philosophy of confidence and unbending faith in G-d who has the power to sustain us a nation and protect us from our adversaries.
Rabbi Chaim Luzzato says, “Gehenom, Purgatory, is the places for souls that are suited for punishment, and there they receive pain and sufferings in relation to what is applicable to them, in accordance to their respective situations. And there are “different levels of pain” as there are different levels of pleasure, and with this pain, the sinners shall bear their iniquities. However, if they are worthy of reward, after this, behold they will be purified from their sin and go to rest. If not, they will be punished until they are obliterated. And this thing will not occur to a descendant of Israel, a Jew, except in the most infrequent of cases.”
The Way of G-d – Ma’amar Ha-Ikkarim B’gan Eden V’Gehenom
If one reads this paragraph closely, it says – there are “different levels of pain.”
We can say that the proof to Rabbi Luzzatto’s words are found in a Gemara that’s quoted in the Igeret ha’Ramban where he says:
“Our Rabbis taught (Nedarim 22a), whoever flares up in anger is subject to ‘all types’ of Gehenom,” as it is written: “Banish anger from your heart and remove evil from your flesh” (Ecclesiastes 11:10). The evil mentioned here refers to Gehenom as it is written: “And the wicked are destined for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4).
The Gemara uses the words “all types” clearly indicating there are different types, levels of Gehenom.