Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Shakespeare Was Wrong



What's in a name? that which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet
[Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare]

Actually it would not smell as sweet, and it probably wouldn't even be a rose.

Because the name of something is the very essence of it, and it is the name that enables the reality and characteristics of its existence.  

And here is the proof, citing Torah sources.


[Written by Rabbi David Katz]

Source: Brachot Ch.1 p.7b

Shavuot is the anniversary of the passing of Dovid HaMelech, who was the great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz, and this is one reason why we read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot.

The Talmud asks: why is she named ''Ruth''?  Rebbi Yochanan answers that she merited that David would come out of her, and that he would saturate Hashem with song and praise. The Talmud means here that the root of the word ''to saturate'' is the latent meaning of the name ""Ruth'' -  רות

But where do we find that a name causes/influences?   The Gemara answers in the name of Reb Eliezer, from the passuk in Tehillim 46 - ''go and gaze from the workings of Hashem that there He placed desolation in the land."  Don't read ''desolation'' [shamot] - שמות-  read "names": [shemot]. 

The Maharsha comments and clarifies upon the deeper meaning of resolving fate and free will within a name: since we know that the name Ruth caused that David should come out of her, we can establish from this principle as in Tehillim - we don't keep records of evil action or the causing of desolation by Hakodesh Baruch-hu, therefore we darshan [explain] that the word שמות represents the connotation 'names' - that the workings of G-d are drawn after the name of man.

''That he causes'' i.e. that he causes his offspring to have a name or that the named individual causes his actions, performed from his name and his being.

The Rif adds to the words of the Maharsha: we see that our interpretation is correct, because if it would be from the connotation of desolation then you would have to say that the name is literally in the land. Or that the names were placed in the lands.  ''in the land'' - it is not applicable that there would not be a lot of desolation in this way. Therefore you have to say, don't read 'desolation', rather read ''names'' - that the name causes.

[Thus when a person sins, with the soul expressed by his name, the retribution comes onto the land in retaliation for the evil done by the person not achieving his name's potential]. Note: this is free will. The name gives the potential, but we retain our free will to use that potential wisely or foolishly - for good or for not good.

On which note the Etz Yosef explains that the words of the Maharsha and the Rif must be correct, for if we were to take it literally a difficulty would arise in that we do not ascribe evil actions to G-d - that would be assuming that G-d is evil, and that goes against the Torah and Judaism. Furthermore, if we are to assume that the peripheral understanding of the passuk is in fact desolation, that is to say then that the name is placed in the land. Saying this is to say that just as animals sprout from the land, we would then be forced to assume that as Adam HaRishon came from the land, this would be denying that Hashem blew into his nostrils his soul. This would negate every foundational rule of Judaism that is based on the spiritual realm, such as the world to come, souls, divine providence etc - in other words, it is Aristotlean doctrine, thought, and ["provable"] belief.  Many places in the Torah are this way on the pshat level as well as sod, as seen in Adam and the Garden of Eden, and as the Ohr Chaiim points out in his commentary to the Torah. Therefore we say don't read ''desolation'' but rather ''names''.

And the commentary hakotev - הכותב - adds the final piece to the puzzle. HaKotev offers proof of the divinity of the name:

As the Talmud quotes regarding Leah's reasoning in naming Reuven:  Leah said ''Re-u'' ראו- look at that which is different between my son בן, ie. Re- u-ven ראו-בן- and the son of my fatherinlaw [Eisav]  - Eisav lost the bechor and wanted to kill his brother, Reuven lost the bechor and sought to save his brother - hence Re-u-ven - literally ''look at this son''], and by this means there is the place to be exact in the wording of ''look'' that it is visible that everyone can see what she spoke of.  Also the language of son [''ben''], and we say that it was a hint in the name, and in this name what is the difference between Reuven and Eisav?  Leah did not know of this future of Reuven but Hashem knows all of the future in relation to the name in her heart to call her son; as it is the name that she hinted at, and which spoke of the future. And this is the kavana [intention] of what we say that a name causes, that Hashem knows what the future will be, and this fashions the characteristics for ''from the remnant is its nature in relation to his name''. In other words, Hashem dictates reality according to the person's name;  which will result in the characteristics of the person. What comes of this is deemed his nature and his perception of nature, but does not take away his free will and choice to decide whether to do good or evil.

It is possible that just as we say in Pirkei Avos 3:19 : ''Everything is foreseen yet the freedom of choice is given''....   this is the explanation that names are placed in the land [this should alleviate any question on the nature of faith and free will] and you are forced to say this. That behold we say that Ruth ''saturated with song'', and when she was born in the midst of her nation in the field of Moav, they were neviím to be able to know that the future would go out from her descendant David. Therefore they called her name Ruth: a name speaks the truth, as told by the tradition of the rabbis.

And this is similar to perfect truthful faith [אמונה רבה] - of having knowledge of that which will arise in his future [in naming and the named].   And with all of this is the opportunity in the hand of man [i.e. name in hand - to KNOW/and REACH his name's potential; interface with the will of God - which is synonymous the kabbalistic sefira Keter- [which sheds light on the Pirkei Avos concept of "the Crown of a Good Name" - Keter Shem Tov] is to choose only the good ....perfected free will despite fate from the perspective of God/

This is to reach the potential of his name and eliminate the possibility of desolation, thereby sanctifying the goodness of G-d, revealing the spiritual reality and truth within creation.

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