בס"ד

And the People Wept That Night

 

Eliyahu Rips

25 July 2007

 

According to Chazal, the root of the destruction of the Temple is the sin of the Spies in the Desert. Here is the passage from Talmud (Taanith 29A):

 

Fig. 1

 

The Gemara in Taanith 29A discusses the spies (highlighted in blue in Fig. 1), and the result of their evil report, which is Numbers 14:1 - ותשא כל העדה ויתנו את קולם ויבכו העם בלילה ההוא ("And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night" ) [highlighted in red in Fig. 1;]. We will see below that this verse constitutes a horizontal axis for several related words appearing as ELSs.

 

1. Nachum Bombach found that מרגלים (Spies) with minimal skip 204 in the Book of Numbers directly hits the verse Numbers 14:1 ("And the people wept that night"). It has an extension, forming the phrase עגל ומרגלים (Calf and Spies).  These are the two main sins that were committed in the Desert. 

 

Fig. 2

 

When we divide the length of the row by two, we see (Fig. 3) that this phrase passes near the prayer of Moshe Rabbenu ה' ארך אפים (HaShem is long-suffering) Num.14:18. It is interesting to notice that Rashi comments on this verse using a very similar expression בעגל ובמרגלים (at [the incident of] the Calf and at [that of] the Spies). In the bottom line of Fig. 3 (Num.14:36-37), the sin of the Spies is defined as דבה על הארץ or דבת הארץ (evil report or slander upon the land).

 

Fig. 3

 

2. The third minimum of ט' באב (the 9th of Av) with skip 22 appears near the same verse Num.14:1 (see Fig.4). The 9th of Av (highlighted in green in Fig. 1) is the date that the Gemara indicates that the weeping in Numbers 14:1 occurred (and it is the date on which many other calamities occurred throughout history, including the destruction of the Temple). The extension of the ELS for the 9th of Av in Fig. 4 is דבה (slander, evil report)!

 

Fig. 4

 

Some years ago, Dr. Leib Schwartzman introduced the idea of inverting the order of parts of an expression. When we additionally modify ט' באב to ט' אב (another form of writing the date 9th Av) we obtain the following tableau (see Fig. 5), which again has the same horizontal axis Num. 14:1.

 

Fig. 5

 

3. The best meeting of חרבן (destruction) with חרבן (destruction) is shown in the following tableau (Fig. 6). Here destruction with skip 1 meets with destruction with skip 11, the second minimal skip in the Book of Numbers. This meeting appears near the same verse Num.14:1.

 

Fig. 6

Now we observe that: (1) ט' באב דבה also appears on the same tableau; (2) the word היכל ([the inner part of] the Temple) appears in the same column as destruction:

 

Fig. 7

 

On Fig. 3, there appears יום צם (day of fast) parallel to Calf and Spies. In addition, the minimal skip 184 in the Book of Numbers for האבלות (the mourning) also appears with the same axis (Fig. 8).

 

Fig. 8

 

Let us be comforted by the rebuilding of the Holy Temple soon, in our days.