Parashat Vaera Advanced

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1. “And Hashem appeared to him”
There were numerous moments in history when the goal of eternal peace and unending happiness for all mankind was within reach. Both Adam and
Noach had the opportunity to cause universal change and bring about endless fulfillment. The Zohar likens the path to permanent peace to the
creation and care of a garden. Adam is compared to the force that causes rainwater to fall upon and nourish the land, and Noah represents a person
who manufactures the tools needed to tend the garden. The appearance of Avraham in our world corresponds to the force that influences the
flowers to grow and blossom. Now that Avraham’s name includes the additional letter Hei ?, signifying the ritual of circumcision, he is now prepared
to receive the great Light of the Creator as expressed through the Tetragrammaton ????, one of the Holy Names of the Creator that radiates His
spiritual energy.
The Relevance of this Passage
The path to personal peace is an arduous process that each of us must endure. We can, however, accelerate this process through our connection to
this portion. The Light of the Creator fills our soul through the merit and power of Avraham. The energy channeled through our Patriarch nurtures
our soul, inspiring us to seek higher levels of spiritual growth. The strength to blossom in all our spiritual endeavors is revealed through the Light of
these verses.
1. Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion: IT IS WRITTEN: “The flowers
appeared on the earth, the time of the singing of the birds has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land” (Shir Hashirim
2:12). “The flowers appeared on the earth,” MEANS THAT when the
Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He endowed the earth
with appropriate powers so that everything was on the earth BUT it
did not produce any fruit until Adam was created. As soon as Adam
was created, everything in the earth became visible, that is, the earth
began to reveal the powers and products that were implanted within
it. AND THEN IT WAS SAID: “THE FLOWERS APPEAR ON THE
EARTH.”
2. Similarly, the heavens did not give any powers to the earth until
humankind appeared, as it is written: “And no plant of the field was
yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet grown, for Hashem
Elohim had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a
man to till the ground” (Beresheet 2:5). All the offspring and
products were concealed in the earth. They did not appear, and the
heavens were prevented from pouring rain on the earth because
humankind did not yet exist. Because it had not yet been created,
the revelation of all things was delayed. As soon as humankind
appeared, however, “The flowers appeared on the earth,” and all the
hidden and concealed powers were now revealed.
3. “…the time of the singing of the birds has come” MEANS THAT a
recital was composed of songs and praises to the Holy One, blessed
be He. This was not done before humankind was created, “…and the
voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” This is the word of the
Holy One, blessed be He, which did not exist in the world before
humankind was created. But as soon as humankind appeared,
everything appeared!
4. After Adam sinned, everything disappeared from the world, and
the earth was cursed, as it is written: “Cursed is the earth for your
sake” (Beresheet 3:17), “When you till the ground, it shall not
henceforth give its strength to you…” (Beresheet 4:12) and “thorns
also and thistles it shall bring forth to you” (Beresheet 3:18).
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5. When Noach appeared in the world, he prepared spades and hoes,
WHICH MEANS THAT HE PREPARED TOOLS TO TILL THE GROUND.
THUS, IT IS WRITTEN OF HIM: “THIS ONE SHALL COMFORT US
FROM OUR WORK AND THE TOIL OF OUR HANDS…” (BERESHEET
5: 29). HE SHALL GIVE US TOOLS, SO THAT WE MAY BE FREED
FROM PRODUCTION USING OUR BARE HANDS, FOR WHICH WE
HAD BEEN DESTINED UNTIL NOW! Afterwards, however, “he drank
of the wine, and was drunk; and he was uncovered within his
tent” (Beresheet 9: 21). And later, the people of the world sinned
before the Holy One, blessed be He. And the powers of the earth
disappeared again. THUS, ALL THE IMPROVEMENTS OF NOACH
WERE LOST. And so it remained until Avraham appeared.
6. As soon as Avraham appeared: “the flowers appeared on the
earth.” THIS MEANS THAT the powers of the earth were amended
and revealed. “The time of the singing of the birds (also: ‘pruning’)
has come,” REFERRING TO THE TIME when the Holy One, blessed
be He, told him to circumcise himself. THE TERM ‘PRUNING’
ALLUDES TO THE REMOVAL OF THE FORESKIN. Thus, the time was
ripe for the covenant to appear in Avraham, MEANING when he was
circumcised. Only then was the verse, “THE FLOWERS
APPEARED…” fulfilled through him, and the word of the Holy One,
blessed be He, was revealed openly to him. as it is written: “And
Hashem appeared to him,” AFTER HE WAS CIRCUMCISED.
7. Rabbi Elazar began TO EXPLAIN THAT this verse refers to events
after the circumcision of Avraham. Before the circumcision, the Holy
One, blessed be He, spoke to him only through the lower grade–
SPOKE THROUGH “A VISION,” WHICH REFERS TO THE NUKVA
WHILE IT IS STILL AT THE STAGE OF THE ILLUMINATION OF THE
LEFT SIDE. AS IT IS WRITTEN: “AFTER THESE THINGS THE WORD
OF HASHEM CAME TO AVRAM IN A VISION…” The upper grades
were not attached to this grade, WHICH MEANS THAT THE UPPER
GRADES OF ZEIR ANPIN WERE NOT ATTACHED TO THE NUKVA.
As soon as Avraham was circumcised, “the flowers appeared on the
earth.” These are the lower grades, brought forth and established by
the lower grade THAT IS CALLED “A VISION,” SO THAT THEY MAY
BE UNITED WITH ALL THE UPPER GRADES.
8. “The time of the singing of the birds (also: ‘pruning’) has come…”
ALLUDES TO THE TIME OF PRUNING AND CUTTING OF THE BAD
BRANCHES, WHICH ARE the branches of the foreskin, BECAUSE
THIS KLIPAH WAS IN CHARGE BEFORE HE WAS CIRCUMCISED.
THIS IS ACCORDING TO THE SECRET OF THE VERSE: “A
WHISPERER SEPARATES CLOSE FRIENDS” (MISHLEI 16:28). “…and
the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” This is the voice
that comes from the innermost aspect of all. THE VOICE ALLUDES
TO ZEIR ANPIN, AND THE INNTERMOST ASPECT OF ALL IS IMA,
FROM WHOM ZEIR ANPIN EMANATES AND COMES FORTH. So that
voice, ZEIR ANPIN, is heard IN OUR LAND, WHICH IS THE NUKVA–
MEANING THAT ZEIR ANPIN MATED WITH THE NUKVA BY THE
MAYIN NUKVIN (FEMALE WATERS) THAT WERE ELEVATED
THROUGH THE PRECEPT OF CIRCUMCISION. And this is the voice
that cuts the word into an utterance. THIS MEANS THAT IT HAS THE
ABILITY TO ARTICULATE (LIT. ‘CUT THE SPEECH), thereby
achieving its perfection.
9. Come and behold: as long as Avraham was not circumcised, only
that grade dwelt upon him, as we explained–THAT IS, THE GRADE
OF NUKVA WHILE SHE WAS CALLED “A VISION.” But after he was
circumcised, it is written: “And Hashem appeared to him!” But it is
not mentioned to whom because it is not written: ‘And Hashem
appeared to Avram’! AND HE ANSWERS: IF IT WERE WRITTEN, ‘to
Avram,’ then what greater sort of praise would there be than that
which existed before he was circumcised? Because even then it was
written: “And Hashem appeared to Avram” (Beresheet 12: 7).
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10. The words: “And Hashem appeared to him” contain a secret.
THIS MEANS THAT HE APPEARED TO that grade that spoke to him.
IN OTHER WORDS, ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS YUD-HEI-VAV-HEI,
APPEARED TO HIM, NAMELY TO THE NUKVA. This had not
happened before he was circumcised WHEN THE NUKVA WAS
STILL SEPARATED FROM ZEIR ANPIN. And now the voice THAT IS
ZEIR ANPIN was revealed and was associated with speech, WHICH
IS THE NUKVA, when He spoke with him. THUS, AVRAHAM
BENEFITED FROM THE MATING OF MALE AND FEMALE, AND
BECAME A CHARIOT FOR BOTH OF THEM. THEREFORE IT IS
WRITTEN: “AND HASHEM APPEARED TO HIM,” WHICH ALLUDES
TO THE MATING OF MALE AND FEMALE.
11. The verse: “and he sat in the tent door” (Beresheet 18:1) says
“and he,” but does not identify “him.” AND HE REPLIES: the verse
reveals the wisdom that INDICATES THAT all the grades rested upon
that lower grade after Avraham was circumcised. SO THE PHRASE
TEACHES US THAT “AND HE,” REFERRING TO THE NUKVA, “SAT
IN THE TENT DOOR,” AS SHE BECAME THE GATEWAY FOR ALL
THE GRADES. Come and behold: “And Hashem appeared to him.”
This is the secret of the voice, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN, that is heard
and attached to the utterance (speech), NAMELY MALCHUT, and
revealed through it.
12. In the verse: “and he sat in the tent door,” THE WORDS, “AND
HE”alludes to the upper world, NAMELY IMA, that stands over him,
REFERRING TO THE NUKVA, to shine upon him. THE NUKVA IS
DESCRIBED AS “THE TENT DOOR,” BECAUSE SHE HAS BECOME
THE GATEWAY FOR THE LIGHTS. THE WORDS, “in the heat of the
day,” MEAN THAT the right side, WHICH IS CHESED, shone. This is
the grade to which Avraham cleaved. Another explanation of “in the
heat of the day” IS THAT IT REFERS TO the time when one grade
approached another with great passion, AS ZEIR ANPIN
APPROACHED THE NUKVA. THEN THEY WERE DESCRIBED BY THE
WORDS: “IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY.”
13. In explaining the words, “appeared to him,” Rabbi Aba said that
before Avraham was circumcised, he was blocked FROM RECEIVING
THE SUPERNAL LIGHTS. As soon as he was circumcised,
everything appeared, INCLUDING ALL THE LIGHTS, AS HIS COVER
WAS REMOVED. And the Shechinah rested upon him in full
perfection, as should properly be. Come and behold. IT IS WRITTEN:
“and he sat in the tent door.” “He” refers to the upper world, TO
BINAH, that rests upon the lower world, WHICH IS THE NUKVA. HE
ASKS: When DOES BINAH REST UPON THE NUKVA? AND HE
REPLIES: THIS IS WHY THE VERSE CONCLUDES WITH “in the heat
of the day”–when the passion of a certain righteous, WHO IS THE
YESOD OF ZEIR ANPIN, is aroused to rest IN THE LOWER WORLD,
WHICH IS THE NUKVA. THAT IS, WHEN THERE IS A MATING
BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE, THEN THE MOCHIN OF BINAH
DWELL WITHIN THE NUKVA.
14. Immediately AFTER THE MATING OF MALE AND FEMALE WAS
COMPLETED, IT IS WRITTEN: “And he lifted up his eyes and looked,
and lo, three men stood by him…” (Beresheet 18: 2) AND HE ASKS:
Who are these three men? AND HE SAYS: They are Avraham,
Yitzchak, and Ya’akov– OR CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET OF
ZEIR ANPIN THAT ARE NAMED AVRAHAM, YITZCHAK, AND
YA’AKOV. AND HE SAW THEM standing over that grade, WHICH IS
THE NUKVA, and from them the Nukva draws sustenance and
nourishment.
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24. And the Holy One, blessed be He, goes with YA’AKOV on the first
day of every month. And when the soul sees the glory of the mirror,
which is the Shechinah of ??? Master, THEN THE SOUL praises Him
and bows down in front of the Holy One, blessed be He. This is THE
MEANING OF “Bless Hashem, my soul…” (Tehilim 104:1)
25. Rabbi Akiva said: The Holy One, blessed be He, stands over THE
SOUL. And the soul begins by saying: “Hashem my Elohim, You are
very great…”, continuing with all the verses to the end, as the
passage reads, “Let the sinners be consumed out of the
earth…” (Ibid. 35)
Rabbi Akiva continued: As well as this, it praises the Holy One,
blessed be He, thanks Him for the body that is left in this world and
says: “Bless Hashem, my soul, and all that is within me, bless His
Holy Name” (Tehilim 103: 1). THE WORDS, “ALL THAT IS WITHIN
ME,” ALLUDE TO THE BODY. AT FIRST, THE SOUL PRAISES AND
THANKS THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, FOR ITS OWN
ACHIEVEMENTS. THEN IT SAYS: “BLESS HASHEM, MY SOUL!
HASHEM MY ELOHIM, YOU ARE VERY GREAT.” AND THEN IT
PRAISES AND THANKS HIM FOR THE BODY, MEANING THAT THE
SPLENDOR OF THE SOUL IS DRAWN DOWNWARD TO SHINE UPON
THE BODY. AND THEN IT SAYS: “BLESS HASHEM, MY SOUL, AND
ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME, BLESS HIS HOLY NAME.” THESE
PRAISES ARE OFFERED FOR THE LIGHT OF THE BODY.
26. And the Holy One, blessed be He, goes ALONG WITH YA’AKOV.
How do we know this? From the passage where it is written: “And
Hashem appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre.” This is
Ya’akov, WHO IS CALLED MAMRE. SO THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED
BE HE, DID INDEED GO WITH YA’AKOV. AND HE ASKS: Wherefore
is the name Mamre? AND HE ANSWERS: Because Ya’akov inherited
two hundred worlds in Eden, and he is the Throne BECAUSE HE
BECAME THE THRONE OF GLORY. And Rabbi Yitzchak explains:
The numerical value OF Mamre is 281. So there are the two hundred
of Eden WHICH YA’AKOV ATTAINED, as it is written: “and those that
guard the fruit thereof two hundred,” (Shir Hashirim 8:12) and 81 is
the numerical value of Kise (‘throne’). THUS, MAMRE’S NUMERICAL
VALUE OF 281 COMES FROM THE TWO HUNDRED WORLDS OF
EDEN, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF CHOCHMAH THAT IS CALLED
EDEN, AND FROM THE THRONE, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF
CHASSADIM THAT CLOTHE CHOCHMAH. For this reason, IT IS SAID:
“And Hashem appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre.” And for
this reason, YA’AKOV is called Mamre. HE INCLUDES THE ASPECT
OF EDEN AND THE ASPECT OF THE THRONE TOGETHER, WHICH
ARE THE SECRET OF MAMRE. HENCE “AND HASHEM APPEARED
TO HIM.”
27. Rabbi Yehuda asked: What is the meaning of: “by the
terebinths” (Heb. elonei)? IF MAMRE IS YA’AKOV, WHY DOES IT
SAY “THE TEREBINTHS OF MAMRE?” AND HE ANSWERS: It meant
to say ‘his might,’ as it is written: “by the hands of the mighty one of
Ya’akov” (Beresheet 49:24). THUS, “THE TEREBINTHS OF MAMRE”
BEARS RESEMBLANCE TO “THE MIGHTY YA’AKOV,” BECAUSE
ELONEI MEANS MIGHTY AND STRONG, AND MAMRE IS YA’AKOV.
The verse, “and he sat in the tent door” is as it is written: “Hashem,
who (Heb. mi) shall abide in Your tabernacle (or: ‘tent’).” (Tehilim
15:1) THIS MEANS THAT THE “TENT DOOR” IS THE SECRET OF
THE ILLUMINATION OF THE RIGHT COLUMN, WHICH IS THE
SECRET OF THE COVERED CHASSADIM. The verse, “in the heat of
the day” is as written: “But to you, that fear My name shall the sun of
righteousness arise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 3:20). THIS
REFERS TO THE ILLUMINATION OF THE LEFT COLUMN. AND THIS
IS THE SECRET OF THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH WITHOUT
CHASSADIM, WHICH IS DESCRIBED AS A ‘SUN COMING OUT OF
ITS SHEATH’ BECAUSE THE LIGHT OF CHOCHMAH DOES NOT
SHINE WITHOUT THE SHEATH OF CHASSADIM. AND WHEN IT
DOES SHINE WITHOUT CHASSADIM, IT BURNS. ACCORDING TO
THE SECRET OF THE VERSE, “IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY,” IS
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WHEN THE WICKED ARE CONDEMNED BY IT. BUT THE RIGHTEOUS
ARE HEALED BY IT BECAUSE THEY ELEVATE THE MAYIN NUKVIN
(FEMALE WATERS) AND DRAW DOWN THE CHASSADIM IN ORDER
TO CLOTHE CHOCHMAH.
28. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai said: At that time, WHEN THE SOUL
IS AT THE STAGE OF “THE HEAT OF THE DAY,” the Holy One,
blessed be He, WHO IS ZEIR ANPIN, SHARES HIS ABUNDANCE
WITH THE SOUL. And when the patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and
Ya’akov, heard the Holy One, blessed be He, REFERRING TO THE
ENTIRETY OF ZEIR ANPIN, move towards THE SOUL–MEANING
THAT THE PATRIARCHS WERE AWARE THAT THE SOUL WAS IN
THE STATE OF “THE HEAT OF THE DAY,” AND IN NEED OF THE
“PLACE OF THE CLOTHING OF CHASSADIM”–they asked Ya’akov
to go with them and welcome THE SOUL in peace.
29. And AVRAHAM AND YITZCHAK stand over THE SOUL. THIS
MEANS THAT AFTER YA’AKOV SHARED THE ABUNDANCE OF
CHASSADIM BY WELCOMING IT WITH PEACE, THE TWO COLUMNS
OF AVRAHAM AND YITZCHAK SHONE UPON IT. As it is written:
“And he lifted up his eyes and looked”– REFERRING TO THE
SOUL–“and lo, three men stood over him.” The “three men” are the
patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov, who stood by him,
observing the soul and the good deeds it has performed. THIS
MEANS THAT THEY EXAMINE THE MAYIN NUKVIN (‘FEMALE
WATERS’) OF THE SOUL AND SHARE WITH IT THE MAYIN DUCHRIN
(‘MALE WATERS’). “…and when he saw them, he ran to meet them
from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,” because
he saw the Shechinah of His Blessed Glory with them. Hence, it is
written: “…therefore do the young maidens love you” (Shir Hashirim
1:3).
30. Another explanation of: “And Hashem appeared to him by the
terebinths of Mamre.” The sages began with this verse that speaks
of the time of one’s demise. We learned that Rabbi Yehuda said that
at the time of a person’s death, which is the day of the Great
Judgment when the soul is separated from the body, no one leaves
the world before he sees the Shechinah, as it is written: “…for no
man shall see me and live” (Shemot 33: 20). And three ministering
angels accompany the Shechinah to welcome the soul of the
righteous, as it is written: “And Hashem appeared to him…in the heat
of the day.” This is the Day of Judgment that burns like a furnace in
order to separate the soul from the body.
3. The soul at the time of death
During sleep and upon the death of a righteous individual, the soul travels a certain course as it ascends to the Upper Worlds. If the soul is righteous, it
is welcomed to the Upper Worlds by the Patriarchs, specifically Ya’akov.
The Relevance of this Passage
The return of the soul to its original source is vital. It is through this process that the Creator absorbs the souls, which allows them to be born anew
each morning. This otherworldly journey occurs each night, whether or not we are cognizant of it. An individual’s degree of awareness, however,
and their personal level of spirituality [righteousness] determines the particular course the soul travels and the heights it can attain. The higher the
soul ascends is directly proportionate to the measure of Light it receives. This portion awakens a deeper awareness of the Light our soul can
achieve if it is righteous, as well as the ability to ascend to greater heights and receive greater revelations of spiritual energy during sleep.
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31. The verse, “and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three
men stood by him,” refers to those who criticize his behavior and
examine his deeds as he confesses them with his mouth. And
because the soul sees all this, it leaves the body and reaches the
gullet (pharynx), where it remains until it confesses and retells all
that the body did together with it in this world. Then the soul of the
righteous is happy with what it has done and is happy with its
deposit. We have learned that Rabbi Yitzchak said: The soul of the
righteous feels a great desire for the moment when it shall leave this
world, which is worthless, so that it may enjoy itself in the world to
come!
4. When Rabbi Eliezer became ill
The Zohar recounts the death of Rabbi Eliezer, the teacher, and master of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was the teacher and master of Rabbi Shimon bar
Yochai, the author of The Zohar. When a righteous soul departs this world, he reveals his greatest amount of Light and energy. This Light is the total
accumulation of his spiritual accomplishments during his lifetime. In addition, the Light that Rabbi Eliezer was unable to reveal during his lifetime,
also became manifest at the moment of his passing. Sadly, Rabbi Akiva was not present when his Master left this world. The grief Rabbi Akiva
endured was twofold: first for the physical loss of Rabbi Eliezar, and second, for the potential volume of Light that would not be revealed to
mankind. It is this unrevealed Light that gives the force of darkness a stronger hold on the world. Rabbi Akiva’s pain was for the repercussions of
this increased darkness and the suffering mankind would inevitably endure. Kabbalistically, the pain experienced by a devout person serves as a
Vessel to draw Light, a counterbalance that arouses the positive energy of the Creator in our physical world.
The Relevance of this Passage
All of our deeds and behavioral actions in this physical realm of existence, bear positive and negative repercussions, both personally and globally.
By raising our consciousness towards the importance of positive deeds, and the potential of positive deeds left unfinished, this portion stimulates
personal change in order to reveal greater spiritual Light. Our own vessel is expanded by connecting to Rabbi Akiva’s pain for the lack of Light in
our present world.
32. The sages discussed the time when the great Rabbi Eliezer
became ill AND WAS ABOUT TO DIE. The day was Shabbat Eve, and
Rabbi Eliezer made his son, Horkenos, sit to his right. He then
revealed great and deep secrets to him. But HORKENOS’S mind was
not ready to hear him AT FIRST, because he thought that his father’s
mind was not sufficiently clear. Only after he saw that his father’s
mind was completely clear did he receive 189 sublime secrets from
him.
33. When he reached THE SECRET OF the marble stones that are
mixed with the supernal Waters, Rabbi Eliezer wept and stopped
talking. He said: Get up and go over there, my son! He asked him
why. He replied: I see that I am soon to pass from the world. Go
along and tell your mother that my Tfilin shall disappear and reach a
higher place. IN OTHER WORDS, HE GAVE HER A HINT ABOUT HIS
APPROACHING DEATH. And after I have departed from this world, I
shall come to see them, THE MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY, but they
should not cry. Because those above are near, not those below,
though the human mind cannot grasp this.
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34. As they were still sitting, the wise men of the generation came by
to visit him. However, he cursed them for not coming to serve him.
As we have learned, it is greater to serve the Torah than study it. In
the meantime, Rabbi Akiva arrived. He asked: Akiva, Akiva, why have
you not come to attend to me? He responded: Rabbi, I had no spare
time. He was angry and said: Indeed, I wonder whether you shall die
naturally. On that account, he placed a curse on him so that his
death would be the worst of them all. THIS MEANS THAT HE
PLACED A CURSE ON THE OTHER WISE MEN WHO DID NOT COME
TO SERVE HIM, SO THAT THEY ALSO WOULD NOT DIE
NATURALLY. AND HE SAID THAT THE DEATH OF RABBI AKIVA
SHALL BE THE CRUELEST OF THEM ALL.
35. Rabbi Akiva wept and said to him: Rabbi, teach Torah to me!
Rabbi Eliezer opened his mouth AND, AS HE SPOKE about the
works of the divine Chariot, a fire surrounded them both. The wise
men said: From this we learn that we are not worthy; nor do we have
the privilege TO LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF HIS TEACHINGS. So
they sat outside the gate. After everything was over, the fire
disappeared.
36. And he taught THE SECRET of impure white spots (macula) as
bright as the snow, 300 halachic rules, and 216 explanations of the
verses of Shir Hashirim. Rabbi Akiva’s eyes poured with tears like
water. Then the fire reappeared AND SURROUNDED THEM BOTH
again. When he reached the verse “stay me with flagons, comfort me
with apples, for I am sick with love,” (Shir Hashirim 2:5) Rabbi Akiva
could not bear any more. He raised his voice and burst out bellowing
LIKE A BULL. And he could not speak out of fear of the Shechinah
that was there.
37. And he taught him all of the deep and sublime secrets that exist
in Shir Hashirim and made him solemnly swear that he would never
use any of these verses. If he did, then Holy One, blessed be He,
would destroy the world because of him, as it is not His desire that
people use it, because of its supreme holiness. Afterward, Rabbi
Akiva left and burst out crying, his eyes pouring with tears, and said:
Woe my teacher, woe my teacher, for the world is to remain an
orphan without you. All the otherwise men entered and stood by
him. They asked him questions about Torah and he answered.
38. Rabbi Eliezer felt confined. He raised both his arms and laid them
on his heart. He said: Woe to the world. The upper world has again
concealed and hidden all light and illumination from the lower
WORLD, JUST AS IT WAS BEFORE HE CAME INTO THE WORLD.
Woe to my two arms. Woe to the two parts of the Torah, as you shall
be forgotten by the world on this day. AND THE ZOHAR STATES that
Rabbi Yitzchak said: During the entire lifetime of Rabbi Eliezer, the
Halacha would ‘shine from his mouth’ as on the day it was given on
Mount Sinai.
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39. RABBI ELIEZER said: I have learned so much Torah, gaining
wisdom and serving SAGES, that even if all the people of the world
were to be writers, there would not be enough to write of it. And my
pupils have no lack of my wisdom; only as a kohl-pencil (mascara) in
the eye, AS MUCH AS A TEARDROP THAT IS SHED BY AN EYE
WHEN A DROP OF KOHL ENTERS IT. And I lack very little of the
wisdom of my teachers, perhaps only AS MUCH AS a person can
drink from the sea. AND THE ZOHAR CONCLUDES that he said this
only to show gratitude to his teachers and to hold them in more
favor than himself. THIS MEANS THAT WHAT HE HAS OMITTED
FROM HIS TEACHERS’ WISDOM, WHICH IS AS MUCH AS A PERSON
CAN DRINK FROM THE SEA, IS MORE THAN A DROP OF KOHL-
PENCIL IN THE EYE, WHICH HE SAID OF HIS STUDENTS’
OMISSIONS. THUS, HE SHOWS THAT HE FEELS GRATITUDE TO HIS
TEACHERS AND IS GRATEFUL TO THEM MORE THAN TO HIMSELF.
40. And they were asking him THE LAW of footwear of Yibum (the
levirate rite)–IF IT BECOMES DEFILED. As his soul left him, he
announced: It is pure. Rabbi Akiva was not there WHEN HE DIED. As
the day of Shabbat ended, Rabbi Akiva found him dead. As he ripped
his clothes and tore his flesh, the blood started to roll over his
beard. He wept and shouted as he stepped outside, and said:
Heavens, O heavens, tell the sun and the moon that the light that
shone more than they is darkened.
41. Rabbi Yehuda said: When the soul of a righteous person wishes
to leave THE BODY, it feels happy, because the righteous is
confident that he shall receive his reward as he dies. Therefore, it is
written: “when he saw them, he ran to meet them,” REFERRING TO
THE THREE ANGELS THAT ACCOMPANIED THE SHECHINAH AS
SHE CAME TO RECEIVE HIS SOUL with happiness, as he welcomed
THE ANGELS. Where DOES HE WELCOME THEM? As we have
learned, at “the tent door,” where he “bowed himself toward the
ground,” toward the Shechinah. THIS MEANS THAT THE SOUL
BOWED TO THE SHECHINAH THAT HAD COME TO IT, AS THE
SHECHINAH IS CALLED EARTH.
42. Rabbi Yochanan then opened the discussion by quoting: “…until
the day breaks, and the shadows flee away…Turn, my beloved, and
be you like a roe or a young hart” (Shir Hashirim 2:17). “Until the day
break” is a warning for a person who is still in this world; it is like
the “blink of the eye.” Come and behold: what does it say? “Even if
he lived a thousand years twice,” (Kohelet 6:6) on the day of his
death, it all seems as one day to him.
43. Rabbi Shimon said: The soul of a person warns him and says,
“Until the day break.” And it shall seem to you as the blink of the eye
while you are still in this world. The words, “and the shadows flee
away” are equivalent to the verse that reads: “because our days
upon earth are a shadow” (Iyov 8:9); so I beg of you, “Turn, my
beloved, and be you like a roe or a young hart.”
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44. There is another explanation for: “Until the day break…”
According to Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, this is a warning for
humankind, while still in this world, which is like the blink of the eye.
Just as the roe is swift of leg, so you should be as swift as a “roe or
a young hart” in performing your Master’s wishes, so that you may
inherit the world to come–which is mountains of spices, called “the
mountain of Hashem,” the mountain of Pleasure, the mountain of
Delight.
End of Midrash Hane’elam
5. “And, lo, three men”
As the white light of the sun refracts into the seven colors of the rainbow, the spiritual Light of the Creator refracts into many “colors” that express
all His various attributes. Kabbalistically, physical light is merely a lower frequency of the spiritual Light of the Creator. This infinite, all-inclusive
Light of the Creator includes a variety of frequencies and spectrum of colors, ranging from the green blades of grass, to the purple hues of
interstellar gases radiating from distant galaxies. Everything in the cosmos represents another color frequency in the spectrum of Creation,
including the four kingdoms of inanimate, vegetable, animal, and mankind, as well as intangible forces, such as mercy, judgment, pleasure, truth,
and fulfillment. Colors also manifest within angels. The angel Michael, who represents the positive Right Column Force of Sharing, radiates the
color white. The angel Gavriel, who represents the Left Column Force of Receiving and the negative principle in our universe, radiates the color red.
The angel Raphael represents the Central Column Energy of Balance and illuminates the color green. These three colors illustrate the unique
function and role that each angel plays in the ongoing process of creation. Michael is the conduit for the energy of general blessings. Gavriel is the
portal through which the force of judgment enters our world. Raphael channels the spiritual energy of healing.
The Relevance of this Passage
The awareness that the Creator manifests His attributes physically, inanimately, and as intangible forces, gives us the opportunity to connect to
each of the spiritual frequencies spoken of in this portion. The influence of these forces in our personal life is augmented when we understand their
purpose and relevance in the world.
Sitrei Torah (Concealed Torah)
45. The authority and will of the King, NAMELY THE SHECHINAH,
appears in three colors, AND THESE ARE THE THREE COLORS OF
THE EYE: WHITE, RED, AND GREEN. One color represents the eye’s
sight from afar. At this distance, the eye is unable to clearly visualize
what it sees until it achieves partial vision by contracting itself.
Thus, it is written: “Hashem has appeared from a far to
me…” (Yirmeyah 31:2) THIS IS THE SECRET OF THE ILLUMINATION
OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN, AS THERE CAN BE NO REVELATION
OF THE LIGHTS WITHOUT IT!
46. The second color represents the eye’s sight when the eye is
closed. This color is seen by the eye only through a slight shutting,
and therefore it is not a clear vision. THE WAY TO SEE is by closing
the eye and then opening it a little, to thereby receive this sight.
BECAUSE THIS VISION IS NOT CLEAR, it requires interpretation in
order to understand what the eye has perceived. Therefore, it is
written: “What do you see” (Yirmeyah 1:13)? THIS IS THE SECRET
OF THE ILLUMINATION OF THE LEFT COLUMN, WHEN THE LIGHTS
ARE STOPPED BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF CHASSADIM.
47. The third color represents the brilliance of the mirror, which can
be seen only when THE EYE is shut and it is rolled backward. As a
result of this rolling, the shining mirror is seen. THIS IS THE SECRET
OF THE ILLUMINATION OF THE RIGHT COLUMN. But THE EYE is
able to absorb this THIRD color only by envisioning the illumination
of the brilliance by shutting the eye, WHICH MEANS THE SECOND
COLOR IS INCLUDED IN THE FIRST COLOR.
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48. Therefore, it is written: “The hand of Hashem was upon
me…” (Yechezkel 37:1) and “but the hand of Hashem was strong
upon me” (Yechezkel 3:14). THIS ABILITY TO SEE BY SHUTTING
THE EYE IS ACCOMPLISHED BY WILL POWER AND IS RELATED TO
GVURAH. And all these are conceived by the true prophets, NAMELY
THE FIRST TWO COLORS. And only Moshe, the most faithful, had
the ability to see high above to the point at which THE BRILLIANCE
is not seen at all. THIS REFERS TO THE THIRD COLOR, WHICH IS
THE SHINING MIRROR. Of him it is written: “My servant Moshe is not
so, who is faithful in all My house” (Bemidbar 12:7).
49. The words “appeared to him” mean that the Shechinah appeared
to him through those grades that are attached to Her own aspects,
referring to Michael on the right side, Gavriel on the left side, Refael
to the front, and Uriel to the back. This is why the Shechinah
appeared to him by the terebinths (lit. ‘among those oak trees’), the
shadows of the world, to show them the first circumcision–the Holy
Imprint according to the secret of the Faith in the whole world.
50. Of the words “and he sat in the tent door,” HE ASKS: Where is
the tent door? AND HE ANSWERS: This is the place that is called the
covenant, which is the secret of faith, NAMELY THE NUKVA. The
phrase “in the heat of the day” refers to the secret to which Avraham
cleaved, WHICH IS the might of the right side–his own grade.
51. The “tent door” is the secret of the ‘gate of righteousness,’ the
gateway to the Faith, WHICH IS THE NUKVA AND THE SECRET OF
THE JUDGMENTS OF THE NUKVA. AND IT IS CALLED THE
GATEWAY because Avraham entered the Holy Imprint OF
CIRCUMCISION there. WITHOUT THIS, HE WOULD NOT HAVE
ENTERED THE COVENANT. THIS IS WHY IT IS CALLED A
GATEWAY.
“In the heat of the day” refers to THE ASPECT OF the righteous, the
grade of the ‘United Oneness,’ which is entered and joined by
whoever is circumcised and is signed by the Holy Imprint. Because
the foreskin has been removed from him, he enters into the
illumination of these two grades, THE RIGHTEOUS AND
RIGHTEOUSNESS, which are the secret of Faith.
52. The verse, “And, lo, three men,” refers to the three angels–
messengers who clothe themselves with air and come down to this
world in a human image. And they were three, just as there are three
above, NAMELY CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET OF ZEIR ANPIN.
The rainbow, THE NUKVA, appears only in three colors, white, red,
and green. This is exactly LIKE THE THREE COLORS OF CHESED,
GVURAH, AND TIFERET OF ZEIR ANPIN.