From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
Kabbalah illustrates the mystical level of grandparents.
"And these are the days of the years of the life of Abraham that he lived: one hundred seventy five years." (Gen. 25:7)
Abraham embodied the five states of chesed [of Imma] that spread through Zeir Anpin, who expresses the name Havayah spelled out with the letter alef, whose numerical value is 45.
chanoch adds: The five states are chesed – gevurah – tiferet – netzach – hod of chesed of Imma. Yesod receives all 5 levels yet does not have any states of its own.
The four major partzufim of Atzilut (Abba, Imma, Zeir Anpin, and Nukva) express the four spellings-out of the name Havayah (possessing the numerical values of 72, 63. 45, and 52), respectively.
The five states of chesed are expressed by five names Havayah [= 26], giving a numerical value of 130.
5 x 26 = 130.
When these names Havayah, whose numerical value is 130, are joined with and spread through Zeir Anpin, who expresses the name Havayah spelled out to equal 45, the sum is 175, the number of years in Abraham's life.
The beauty of the face of an old man is his beard….
However, the origin of these 175 [years] in particular is as follows:
As we have already explained, Abraham originates in the supernal face [of Arich Anpin], which shines forth 370 lights. Therefore, when these five states of chesed spread through the yesod of Zeir Anpin, they make "Joseph" - "of good form and good appearance" (Gen. 39:6) due to the beauty of the supernal face of Arich Anpin, the source of the five states of chesed.
Jacob personified Zeir Anpin; his son Joseph personified yesod of Zeir Anpin. In this context, Abraham, Jacob's grandfather, personifies Arich Anpin, the source of Abba and Imma, the "parents" of Zeir Anpin.
As you know, the beauty of the face is the beard, and therefore a eunuch has no "beauty of the face", i.e. no beard.
The phrase "You shall stand up in the presence of gray hair, and you shall honor the face of an old person" (Lev. 19:32) may be read, "You shall stand up in the presence of gray hair and the beauty of the face is the beard." This implies that the beauty of the face of an old man is his beard. We have identified the "beauty of the face" as the 370 lights, the source of the 5 states of chesed. These are expressed as the beauty expressed in yesod of Zeir Anpin, the "grandchild" of Arich Anpin, as we saw with the case of Joseph. A eunuch, whose yesod has been castrated, is thus deprived of the expression of the potential beauty of his face (his inner Arich Anpin) in his "grandchild" (his yesod, his procreative organ), and therefore this beauty is not expressed as a beard.
chanoch adds: It is important to remember that one translation of the Sefirah Tiferet is Beautiful. Tiferet is he essence of balance both vertically horizontally and in the third and more dimensions.
Now, in this face [of Arich Anpin] are expressed 8 names E‑l, whose numerical value is the same as that of "Abraham", who personifies this level.
"E‑l" is spelled: alef-lamed = 1 + 30 = 31. 8 x 31 = 248.
"Abraham" is spelled: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248.
The name E‑l is associated with chesed. Thus, the face of Arich Anpin, the source of the five states of chesed, embodies this name.
These [8 names] constitute the first of the 13 Rectifications of the Beard, which is [the name] E‑l.
The first of the 13 Attributes of Mercy is simply the name E‑l, signifying G‑d's loving kindness….
The 13 rectifications, or parts, of the Beard, correspond to the 13 Attributes of Mercy (Ex. 34:6), as we have explained previously. The first of the 13 Attributes of Mercy is simply the name E‑l, signifying G‑d's loving kindness.
As you know, it possesses 3 worlds (Zohar III:132), each of which is called E‑l.
The vessels of Tohu collapsed beginning with the sefira of daat. The first of the 13 attributes of mercy rectifies the fallen sefirot of daat, chesed, and gevura. These three manifestations of the name E‑l are the name E‑l as it combines with three other names, i.e. E‑l Sha-dai, E‑l Havayah, and E‑l Ado-nai.
In this connection, we will quote from an installment of parashat Lech Lecha:
This [first attribute of the thirteen] corresponds to the two upper corners of the beard [i.e. the sideburns], one to the right and one to the left. Thus, we have [so far] two names E‑l.
It is also known that each sideburn contains three names E‑l, i.e. [the manifestation of this attribute in] the three [lower] worlds, that issue from this rectification [of the beard], as we have explained in [our commentary on] the Idra (ibid.; see Shaar Maamarei Rashbi, ad loc.) These are: E‑l Sha-dai, in the world of Beriya; E‑l Havayah, in the world of Yetzira; and E‑l Ado-nai, in the world of Asiya.
Two of these names are found combined this way in the Bible. E‑l Sha-dai is found six times; an example of E‑l Havayah is in Psalms 118:26; E‑l Ado-nai does not appear in the Bible but is construed based on the other two.
There are thus six such names E‑l in the two sideburns.
There are two more names E‑l in the seventh rectification, which is the [lack of hair on the] two cheeks, known as "the two holy faces", as we have explained elsewhere. These are the 370 lights that shine from the face of Arich Anpin, corresponding to the two spelled-out names E‑l situated there.
"E‑l" is spelled: alef-lamed. When these two letters are spelled out, we have:
The word for letter alef is spelled: alef-lamed-pei = 1 + 30 + 80 = 111.
The word for letter lamed is spelled: lamed-mem-dalet = 30 + 40 + 4 = 74.
111 + 74 = 185. For the two names E‑l on the two cheeks, we have 2 x 185 = 370.
This yields 8 names E‑l, which together equal the numerical value of "Abraham".
Six on the two sideburns and two on the two cheeks.
In our discussion of the 175 years of Abraham's lifetime in parashat Chayei Sarah, we will explain this at greater length.
To continue with the present passage:
Thus we have 3 names E‑l to the right and 3 to the left. The two names E‑l are on the face itself to the right and to the left. We thus have 8 names E‑l, whose combined numerical value is the same as that of "Abraham".
And a suckling will play over the hole of a viper….
However, these two names E‑l situated on the face are derived from the two names Havayah situated on the face, one to the right and one to the left. They are spelled out with the letter yud. This is the significance of the two names Havayah that precede the 13 Rectifications of the Beard, as it is written, "G‑d, G‑d, is a merciful and gracious G‑d…."
In the verse listing the 13 Attributes of Mercy, G‑d precedes His proclamation of these attributes by saying His name Havayah twice. "And G‑d passed before him, and said, 'Havayah, Havayah, is a G‑d [E‑l] who is merciful and gracious…."
But these two names Havayah [each] possess a front and a back. Each back is manifest as a regressive iteration, as we know.
As we have seen previously, the withdrawal of the divine beneficence channeled through one of G‑d's names is indicated by the regressive iteration of that name. In the case of the name Havayah, this is yud yud-hei yud-hei-vav yud-hei-vav-hei.
The numerical value of the regressive iteration of the name Havayah spelled out with the letter yud is 184.
The regression of the name Havayah spelled out with the letter yud is:
yud-vav-dalet, yud-vav-dalet hei-yud, yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-yud-dalet, yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-yud-dalet hei-yud.
Numerically, this translates into: 4(10+6+4) + 3(5+10) + 2(6+10+6) + 1(5+10)
= 4(20) + 3(15) + 2(22) + 1(15)
= 80 + 45 + 44 + 15 = 184.
And the numerical value of the spelling out of the name E‑l is also 184 [plus the kolel, i.e. 185].
The spelling out of E‑l (alef-lamed) is:
Alef-lamed-pei lamed-mem-dalet = (1 + 30 + 80) + (30 + 40 + 4) = 185.
We thus see how from the backs of these two names [Havayah] are derived these two names E‑l.
Now, the numerical value of two times the spelling out of the name E‑l will be 370. These are the 370 lights that shine from the supernal face [of Arich Anpin].
2 x 185 = 370.
Let us now return to our derivation of the 175 years of Abraham's life.
When these two names Havayah that are manifest on the supernal face [of Arich Anpin] are transformed [using Atbash], they produce the letter-combinations mem-tzadik-pei-tzadik twice.
Atbash is one of several letter-substitution algorithms used in Kabbala. In Atbash, the first letter of the alphabet (alef) is replaced by the last (tav), the second (beit) by the second to the last (shin), and so on. These first two pairs (alef-tav-beit-shin) give this algorithm its name.
If we divide them [into four pairs of letters] and spell them out, we have mem-mem tzadik-dalet-yud and pei-alef tzadik-dalet-yud.
The letter tzadik is sometimes spelled out with a kuf at the end and sometimes without.
The numerical value of mem-mem tzadik-dalet-yud is 184, which is also the numerical value of [the spelling out of] the name E‑l [plus the kolel, as we saw above].
Mem-mem tzadik-dalet-yud: 40 + 40 + 90 + 4 + 10 = 184.
Similarly, the numerical value of pei-alef tzadik-dalet-yud is 185, which is again the numerical value of the spelling out of the name E‑l.
Pei-alef tzadik-dalet-yud = 80 + 1 + 90 + 4 + 10 = 185.
Thus, the transformation of the name Havayah via Atbash yields two names E‑l. Any transformation of a name indicates a tzimtzum, or contraction of the divine life-force channeled through that name.
We do the same with the second name Havayah, giving 4 names E‑l, which manifest as two sets of 370.
4 x 185 = 2 x (2 x 185) = 2 x (370).
For the first 370 [lights] are derived from the two names E‑l implicit in the first two letters of both [transformed] names, i.e. mem-tzadik, and they constitute the frontal 370 lights. The second 370 [lights] are derived from [the two names E‑l implicit in] the second two letters [of both transformed names], i.e. pei-tzadik, and they constitute the back 370 lights.
With reference to these two sets of 370, it is written, "And a suckling will play over the hole of a viper…." (Isaiah 11:8)
The Hebrew word for "play", "shiasha", is spelled shin-ayin-shin-ayin, which divides naturally into two sub-units of shin-ayin (=370) each.
For the numerical value of the word for "suckling" [in Hebrew, "yoneik"] is the same as the regressive iteration of the name Havayah spelled out to equal 63.
"Yoneik" is spelled: yud-vav-nun-kuf = 10 + 6 + 50 + 100 = 166.
The name Havayah spelled out to equal 63 is:
Yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-alef-vav hei-yud = (10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10) + (6 + 1 + 6) + (5 + 10) = 63.
The regressive iteration of this spelling out is:
yud-vav-dalet = 10 + 6 + 4 = 20
yud-vav-dalet = 10 + 6 + 4 = 20; hei-yud = 5 + 10 = 15
yud-vav-dalet = 10 + 6 + 4 = 20; hei-yud = 5 + 10 = 15; vav-alef-vav = 6 + 1 + 6 = 13
yud-vav-dalet = 10 + 6 + 4 = 20; hei-yud = 5 + 10 = 15; vav-alef-vav = 6 + 1 + 6 = 13; hei-yud = 5 + 10 = 15
total = 166
Thus, this verse alludes to the tzimtzum of the name Havayah (as expressed through its transformation via Atbash) to produce the two sets of 370 lights.
Why does this verse allude to the name Havayah spelled out to equal 63?
And it is known that the said 370 lights are derived from the name Havayah spelled out to equal 63, for the numerical value of the said 370 lights implicit in these said two names Havayah, together with their 8 original letters, is the same as that of the word for "electrum" ["chashmal"].
chanoch adds: chashmal, in modern hebrew has the meaning of n”electricity and also energy. In modern ntimes biblical understands chashmal to be energy also.
The 8 letters of the two four-letter names Havayah, each taken as a unit value, equal 8.
8 + 370 = 378.
"Chashmal" is spelled: chet-shin-mem-lamed = 8 + 300 + 40 + 30 = 378.
Chashmal is the protective garment around Zeir Anpin and Nukva, the precursor of the neutral realm of evil (kelipat noga, the "glowing shell").
chanoch adds: as one will see below this comment is misleading.
And chashmal is an allusion to "the light of the face of G‑d", mentioned in the Zohar (II:247a).
The Hebrew for "light of the face of G‑d" is "or penei E‑l"; this is spelled:
Alef-vav-reish pei-nun-yud alef-lamed = (1 + 6 + 200) + (80 + 50 + 10) + (1 + 30) = 378.
Its numerical value is the equal to that of "chashmal".
For [chashmal] is the light [shining out] of the supernal face [of Arich Anpin], drawn down through the two names E‑l spelled out as mentioned above. This is the mystical meaning of "the light of the face of G‑d".
Now, the numerical value [of "chashmal"] is the same as that of 6 times the name Havayah spelled out to equal 63.
6 x 63 = 378.
The grandparents are keter, and their fulfillment is when their grandchildren, Zeir Anpin and Nukva, are permeated with their heritage….
Thus, the 370 lights are derived from the name Havayah spelled out to equal 63, the numerical value of the regressive iteration of which is the same as that of the word for "suckling" ["yoneik"]. This is the mystical meaning of the phrase "A suckling will play."
It follows from all this that on the right side of the face are manifest 3 names Havayah spelled out to equal 63, and on the left side of the face are manifest another 3 names Havayah spelled out to equal 63.
Thus, the 175 years of Abraham's life express how the states of chesed originating in the shining face of Arich Anpin descend and manifest in Zeir Anpin.
G‑d promised Abraham, "You will be buried in ripe old age." (Gen. 15:15) Rashi explains this to mean that Abraham's son Ishmael would repent during his lifetime and that Abraham will die before his grandson Esau commits himself to a wicked lifestyle. In fact, Rashi continues, Abraham died 5 years before he was slated to in order that he not witness Esau go wicked. Esau in fact went wicked the day that Abraham died.
From this it is apparent that the fact that Abraham lived specifically 175 years (and not 180) is connected to getting satisfaction from children and grandchildren. We have seen here the mystical explanation for this. 175 signifies the five states of chesed of Arich Anpin - the "grandfather", or here, Abraham - (i.e. 5 x 26 = 130) manifest in Zeir Anpin - the "grandson", or here, Jacob (signified by the name Havayah spelled out to equal 45).
chanoch adds: In this comment I would exchange Jacob by the Name Israel as it is more closely aligned to Zeir Anpin.
As it is written, "The crown of the elderly is grandchildren." (Proverbs 17:6) The elderly, the grandparents, are keter, and their fulfillment is when their grandchildren, Zeir Anpin and Nukva, are permeated with their heritage, their five states of chesed shining forth from their glowing faces.
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah and Shaar HaPesukim; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."
Rebecca and Elijah and their pitchers of water rejuvenated the entire Redemption process.
From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
When Eliezer, Abraham's slave, arrived in Haran looking for a wife for Isaac, he asked G‑d that one of the signs identifying the right girl be that "the girl to whom I will say, 'Please tip your pitcher so that I may drink'" would respond "'drink, and I will give your camels also to drink.'"(Gen. 24:14) Before he had even finished this prayer, "Rebecca came out…with her pitcher on her shoulder…and she descended to the well, filled up her pitcher, and ascended back." (Gen. 24:15-16.)
The numerical value of the word for "pitcher" (in Hebrew "kad", spelled kaf-dalet = 20 + 4) is 24.
As you know, chesed of tiferet is divided into three parts, each of which is alluded to by the number 24.
The numerical value of chesed is 72 (chesed:
chet-samech-dalet = 8 + 60 + 4 = 72). 72 divided by 3 is 24.
During the exile, [chesed of tiferet] possesses only one of these three 24's. In the future, the Temple will be rebuilt [and the missing two 24's will be restored, this being alluded to by the fact that] the numerical value of the word for "house" is twice that of the word for "light".
The Temple is the "house" of G‑d, literally called the "house of the sanctuary". The numerical value of the Hebrew word for "house", "bayit", is 412:
Bayit: beit-yud-taf = 2 + 10 + 400 = 412.
The numerical value of the Hebrew word for "light", "ohr", is 207:
Ohr: alef-vav-reish = 1 + 6 + 200 = 207.
2 x 207 = 414. Presumably, the discrepancy implies that we are to add the kolel for each instance of "light". These two lights refer to the two 24's missing from chesed of tiferet when the Temple (the "House") is in ruins.
This is the mystical meaning of the verse, "I shall set your window [frames] with ruby…" (Isaiah 54:12)
These three names Havayah are three shades of creative energy used in the restitution of reality…
The Hebrew word for "ruby" ("kadchod", spelled kaf-dalet-kaf-dalet) may be seen as the word for "pitcher" ("kad", spelled kaf-dalet) doubled. This verse is part of a prophecy of the restoration of Israel's former glory that will be part of the Redemption. Thus, the ruby window frames allude to the restoration of the two 24's to chesed of tiferet that are missing during the exile.
It follows that Rebecca, who is synonymous with Nukva, has one "pitcher" [i.e. 24] inside her head and another "pitcher" [i.e. 24] above her shoulder, which is where the yesod of Imma terminates.
In this imagery, Rebecca/Nukva is seen to be bringing the two 24's back to chesed of tiferet (i.e. Zeir Anpin), thus signaling the end of the exile.
The text of this passage of the Torah [understood mystically] is referring to the moment of Redemption, when this "pitcher" [on Nukva's shoulder] will descend to the yesod of Imma. [Although Nukva must ascend in order to reach yesod of Imma,] this ascent is called a "descent" because the light [of Imma] descends to her. [Nukva] only receives her lights as reflected lights, as mentioned [elsewhere].
As we have mentioned previously, yesod of Imma is the drive of the intellect to actualize itself; it thus is the point where intellect is transformed into emotion, i.e. feeds Zeir Anpin and Nukva. In order for Nukva - the partzuf of expression - to rejuvenate Zeir Anpin - the emotions - it must return to its "mother", the intellect.
The Torah thus says, "she descended to the well," i.e. to the yesod of Imma, which is called a "well". She then "filled up her pitcher" from the well, the yesod of Imma, "and ascended", meaning that these lights reflect back up, causing her and her crown to mature. Thus, she acquires three thirds, just like her husband, Zeir Anpin.
Now, regarding these three "pitchers" [i.e. 24's], each one refers to another name Havayah. For there are three names Havayah depicted with eyes, each one of which is drawn with 24 circles, giving a total of 72, the numerical value of chesed, as mentioned elsewhere. Thus, each "pitcher" is another name Havayah, meaning that there are three names Havayah here.
In the vision of Ezekiel, the angels are described as having "backs, tall and frightening, for the backs of all four were covered all over with eyes." (Ezekiel 1:18) In the Zohar (Tikunei Zohar 70, 126b) this verse is interpreted as referring to the "backs", i.e. the separate strokes, used to write the four letters of the name Havayah. Each stroke is depicted as being formed by three eyes:
We see here that the four letters of the name Havayah are formed by 8 strokes, each here depicted as having 3 "eyes", giving a total of 24 eyes.
chanoch adds: It is important to visualize the spelling of HaShem's Name each letter with 2 strokes and 3 dots or eyes to be able to understand the above paragraphs.
Elijah… first had pitchers of water poured on the altar, in order to demonstrate that the fire that was about to descend from heaven…
Thus, although we usually associate the name Havayah with the number 26, its numerical value, we see here that "structurally" it can be associated with the number 24.
These three names Havayah are three shades of creative energy used in the restitution of reality being described here.
The following section refers to the story of Elijah the prophet and his contest on Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal. In order to demonstrate the falseness of this idol, Elijah assembled the people and told the prophets of Baal to prepare an offering to it, while he prepared an offering to G‑d. Everyone agreed that if one of the offerings would be devoured by fire, it would indicate that the deity to which it was offered was the true G‑d.
Try as they might, the priests of Baal could not get him to devour his offering with heavenly fire. When it was Elijah's turn, he first had pitchers of water poured on the altar, in order to demonstrate that the fire that was about to descend from heaven was indeed from heaven and not any trick he was performing. He poured so much water on his offering that it spilled over and filled the trench that he had dug around the altar. By pouring the four pitchers three times over his sacrifice, Elijah was reconstructing Nukva…
By pouring the four pitchers three times over his sacrifice, Elijah was reconstructing Nukva…
These [names Havayah] correspond to the pitchers with which Elijah the prophet, of blessed memory, filled the trench [around the altar he built]. When he said, "Fill four jars [with water…]", he intended these to correspond to the four letters of the name Havayah. [When he said, "…and pour it over the burnt offering and the wood", he intended this to correspond to the first third of chesed of tiferet.] When he said, "do it a second time", he intended this to correspond to the second third of chesed of tiferet. When he said, "do it a third time", he intended this to correspond to the third of three parts of chesed of tiferet.
By pouring the four pitchers three times over his sacrifice, Elijah was reconstructing Nukva, the conglomerate of the souls of Israel, giving it the three "pitchers" (24's), or thirds of chesed of tiferet, it is supposed to possess.
The female is to play a decisive role in the process of Redemption…
We see from the above exposition that the female is to play a decisive role in the process of Redemption. Indeed, at least in this scene, Zeir Anpin is depicted as being helpless and dependent on Rebecca/Nukva to restore its broken tiferet, or heart. We may perhaps visualize this as the jaded or cynical mood that affects those who have suffered too much and are worn down by the state of exile. Such people need a boost of inspiration to lift their spirits. This is provided, in the present scenario, by Nukva, the spouse, who, faced with a languid, uninspired husband, whose joie de vivre has been sapped, returns to her wise mother to draw inspiration and direction to revive him.
Alternatively, an individual can try to rejuvenate himself, to mend his own broken heart, by reinvesting his action, his means of expression, with new intellectual understanding. Doing so enables his expression to influence his emotion, for "the media" to make "the message", so to speak.
In either case, once the "wife" succeeds in re-inspiring her "husband", she restores him to his original vigor and the Redemption can proceed.
[Note wife…husband: As mentioned previously, each of us comprises a male and a female aspect, and therefore the roles of male and female partner as described can be reversed. Since the male aspect obviously dominates in the husband and the female in the wife, however, the usual case is the way it is described in the text.]
Understand this well, for what I have told you is a deep secret.
chanoch adds: As can be seen by the amount of the translator's comments this essay takes a significant amount of contemplation to understand how the redemption comes through the female partzuf. It will help to remember that Elijah did not ask permission to contest with the Prophets of Baal. Elijah just decided to challenge the Prophets of Baal and then expected HaShem to send down fire as Elijah requests. HaShem does soDo you think the modern day Prophets of Baal are the scientists or perhaps the orthodox Rabbi's?
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah and Sefer HaLikutim;
Sarah embodied royal rectification
From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
The portion of the Torah read this week begins:
The life of Sarah was one hundred twenty seven years [long], the years of the life of Sarah. Sarah died in Kiryat Arba, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and weep for her. (Gen. 23:1-2)
The numerical value of the word for "was" in [i.e., the first word of] this verse [va-yih'yu, vav-yud-hei-yud-vav] is 37. The mystical significance of this is that since Sarah personified the divine attribute of gevura, all her life-force was derived solely from the spelling-out of the name [Havayah, whose numerical value when spelled out] SaG, which is 37.
Sarah was the first matriarch of the holy Jewish people, …associated with the partzuf of Imma…
As we have explained previously, there are four principle ways the name Havayah (yud-hei-vav-hei) is spelled out in Kabbala, giving the four numerical values of 72, 63, 45, and 52 (abbreviated Ab, SaG, MaH, and BaN). To arrive at the value 63, the name is spelled out as follows: yud-vav-dalet, hei-yud, vav-alef-vav, hei-yud (10+6+4 + 5+10 + 6+1+6 + 5+10 = 63). If we consider only the letters used to spell out the four main letters, we see that their numerical value is 37.
These four ways of spelling the name Havayah correspond to the four main partzufim, Abba, Imma, Zeir Anpin, and Nukva, respectively. Thus, SaG is associated with the Imma, strongly associated with the sefira of bina, which is on the left side of the sefira-tree, and on the gevura-axis of the sefirot.
Sarah was the first matriarch of the holy Jewish people, and is thus naturally associated with the partzuf of Imma (the mother).
The life-force of Sarah [is revealed] when the light of yesod of Imma is revealed in the first third of its tiferet, for it is there that the states of gevura begin to become revealed.
The yesod of any partzuf is the drive of that partzuf for self-actualization. The self-actualization of Imma occurs when the mentality it embodies is transferred to the central, pivotal partzuf, Zeir Anpin. However, the mental brilliance and intensity of Abba or Imma is beyond the capacity of either Zeir Anpin or Nukva to assimilate, since the latter two partzufim are constructed out of the divine emotional attributes (chesed to malchut) rather than the intellectual ones (chochma and bina). Thus, it is the middot of the higher partzufim that become the intellect of the lower partzufim.
The general analogy for this in everyday life is based on the idea that Zeir Anpin and Nukva are considered the "offspring" or children of Abba and Imma. When someone wants to transmit his value-system or ideals to his children (or students, which are his children in the educational sense), it is a mistake to think that all he needs to do is educate them to intellectually appreciate the value of his philosophy. Rather, common-sense wisdom and experience asserts that serving as a role-model for one's pupils or children is not only the best way to educate them but the only way of educating them. Preaching will almost surely fail if the preacher does not practice what he preaches. Thus, the teacher's behavior (his netzach-hod-yesod) becomes the driving intellect (chochma-bina-daat) of his charges.
Furthermore, the teacher's emotional involvement and excitement with the subject he is teaching will ignite in his students their will to dedicate themselves to the cause and pursue its ends. In other words, his middot (chesed-gevura-tiferet) will become the will (keter) of his charges.
Thus, since tiferet is the central sefira of the emotions and is the combination of chesed and gevura, we are taught that the tiferet of Imma becomes the keter of Zeir Anpin.
Sarah thus becomes the keter [of Zeir Anpin]. This is alluded to in her name, since Sarah [shin-reish-hei, 505] is the same numerical value as the word for "the head" [ha-rosh, hei-reish-alef-shin, 506] with the kolel.The higher an entity is the greater its numerical value…
[As an expression of keter,] she lived as follows:
One-hundred years [were an expression] of the keter of keter, since the higher an entity is the greater its numerical value. Thus keter expresses the numerical idea of hundreds, inasmuch as all its ten aspects [sub-sefirot] are further subdivided into ten [sub-sub-sefirot].
Twenty-years [were an expression] of chochma and bina of keter, since these only express the numerical idea of tens.
Seven years [were an expression] of the seven lower sefirot of keter [i.e., from chesed to malchut], these expression only the numerical idea of units.
chanoch adds: The above 3 expressions is the method the Torah describes as the age of Sarah. Actually the words are 100 year – 20 year – 7 years.
The relative intensity of the sefirot is thus divided into three levels, that of the super-intellect, the intellect, and the midot. This relative intensity is reflected in the fact that the first level is represented numerically by hundreds, the second by tens, and the third by units. So we have (1 x 100) + (2 x 10) + (7 x 1) = 127.
This number thus was the number of years she was destined to live. Once she lived them out, they became the years of her life.
This explains the seemingly redundant phrase at the end of the first verse: "…the years of the life of Sarah."
[In addition,] Sarah embodied the divine attribute of malchut.
Bina and malchut are of course related, since bina is the feminine correlate of chochma and malchut is the feminine correlate of the middot. Bina is called "the higher mother," i.e., the mother of the middot, while malchut is called "the lower mother", i.e., the mother of the subsequent worlds that are created out of it.
The word "sarah" itself, moreover, means "ruler" or "prince", and is thus thematically related to malchut, which means "kingdom".
The keter of malchut is the fourfold expansion of the name Ado-nai.
This is why Kiryat Arba is also known as Hebron…
The name Ado-nai is usually associated with the sefira of malchut, since it means "my lord" or "my master". Specifically, however, the most complete iteration of this name, its fourfold expansion, signifies the highest level of malchut, the will to rule or keter of malchut.
The fourfold expansion of Ado-nai (alef-dalet-nun-yud) is how this name is spelled in a series of steps, the first step being its first letter and each subsequent step being the addition of another of its letters. Thus: alef, alef-dalet, alef-dalet-nun, alef-dalet-nun-yud.
This fourfold expansion comprises four states: alef, alef-dalet, alef-dalet-nun, alef-dalet-nun-yud. This is why Sarah died in Kiryat Arba.
"Kiryat Arba" literally means "the town of the four".
Yet, these four states all compose one unity and combination. This is [why Kiryat Arba is also known as] Hebron.
"Hebron" (in Hebrew, "chevron") literally means "combination" or "joining". The iteration of this expansion expresses the unity of the first letter with the subsequent letters, and so forth.
This is [another] reason why Sarah lived 127 years, as an expression of this name [Ado-nai], for this number is the same as its numerical value [i.e., that of its fourfold expansion, 126] plus the kolel.
(1) + (1+4) + (1+4+50) + (1+4+50+10) = 126.
* * * * * * * * * *
Days for weeping are less than those allotted for eulogizing…
A small number of letters in the Torah scroll are to be written either larger or smaller than usual, according to traditions going back to the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The word for "to weep for her" at the end of the second verse in our parasha ("likvota", lamed-beit-chaf-tav-hei) is written with a small chaf.
The reason why the letter chaf [in "to weep for her," livkota] is written small is because, as our sages say, "three days for weeping and seven days for eulogizing". (Moed Katan 27b) [The small chaf indicates that] the days for weeping are less than those allotted for eulogizing.
The seven days of mourning are thus divided into two periods: during the first three days the mourner is to both weep for and eulogize his lost relative, while in the four last days he is to eulogize him but not weep for him. Although, of course, feelings and emotional reactions cannot be legislated per se, the point is that there is a progression of stages in mourning, and Jewish practice is designed to help the mourner along these stages and encourage him to progress from stage to stage, thus making the mourning process into a transformational, spiritual growth process.
[As to why specifically the letter chaf is diminished,] the esoteric reason is because she [Sarah] was from the lower world, which is alluded to by a small chaf. In contrast, the final chaf always alludes to Imma, for she extends into Zeir Anpin, while the regular chaf refers to [the partzuf of] Rachel.
As we said above, Sarah in her essence personifies Imma, but in this world she also plays the role of Nukva, i.e., malchut. Relative to each other, these two feminine archetypes are called "the upper world" and "the lower world", just as we said above that they are also called "the higher mother" and "the lower mother".
The death of righteous individuals, serves to elevate…malchut from this exile…
Now, chaf is the first letter of the word keter, and is also shaped like a crown (on its side). It thus typically indicates this sefira. The two forms of the letter chaf allude to two crowns: the general form alludes to malchut, while the final form alludes to Imma. The difference between these two forms is that in the final form the bottom, flat base has been bent down to extend below the normative base line of the letters. Thus, in Hebrew, the two forms of the letter chaf are often referred to as the "bent" chaf and the "extended" chaf. The extended chaf, which extends below the base line, signifies a descent of a keter into a lower realm. Here, this refers to the extension of Imma into Zeir Anpin, which we described somewhat above. In contrast, the bent chaf refers to malchut, or as it is called her, the partzuf of Rachel. (Sarah is thus here playing the role that will, as an archetype, be most fully embodied in Rachel and therefore known after her.)
The chaf of Rachel is bent because she folds her legs upwards so as not [to extend them to the point where] the external forces can grab onto them.
Nowadays, during the exile, when she is (due to our sins) below, the departure of the righteous from this world causes their souls to elevate her. This is the esoteric meaning of the verse, "And he gathered his feet into the bed." (Gen. 49:33)
The condition of exile is that malchut is "caught" amongst the kelipot and prevented from returning home into Atzilut to couple with her husband, Zeir Anpin. In Chassidic terms, this means that our means of expression (thought, speech, and action) exist unnaturally within non-holy contexts, and are deprived of the true holy inspiration that is native to them. However, the death of righteous individuals, serves to elevate and at least partially extricate malchut from this exile.
When Jacob had finished blessing and commanding his sons on his deathbed, "he gathered his feet into the bed, and he expired, and was gathered unto his people."
Furthermore, [the chaf here is small] because [the letter chaf signifies keter, and since with her death] the attribute of keter was removed and lacking [from the world], it is written small.
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim, Likutei Torah, and Shaar HaPesukim;
Kabbalah illustrates the unique role of each of the terms used for the Cave of Machpela.
From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
In this portion of the Torah, we read about the cave of Machpela:
Abraham arose and bowed low to the people of the land, the Hittites, and he said to them, "If it is your wish that I remove my dead for burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Efron son of Tzohar, that he sell me the cave of Machpela that he owns, which is at the edge of his field. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your midst."
chanoch adds: Do you truly think Abraham would let Sarah's body decay and infect the community?
Efron was seated among the Hittites; so Efron the Hittite answered Abraham so the Hittites could hear - all who had entry to the gate of his town - saying, 'No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and I give you the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.'
Then Abraham bowed low before the people of the land, and spoke to Efron so the people of the land could hear, saying, "If only you would hear me out! Let me pay the price of the field; accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there."
Efron replied to Abraham, saying to him, "My lord, hear me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver - what is that between you and me? Go and bury your dead."
Abraham heard Efron's terms. Abraham paid out to Efron the money that he had named so the Hittites could hear - four hundred shekels of silver at the going merchants' rate.
So Efron's field in Machpela, near Mamre - the field with its cave and all the trees within the borders of that field- passed to Abraham as his possession, in the presence of the Hittites, of all who had entry to the gate of his town. And then Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpela, facing Mamre - that is Hebron - in the land of Canaan. Thus the field with its cave passed from the Hittites to Abraham, as a burial site. (Gen. 23:7-20)
The cave of Machpela is mentioned three more times in the Torah:
And his sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried [Abraham] in the cave of Machpela in the field of Efron the son of Tzohar the Hittite. (Gen 25:9)
Abraham knew that the Divine Presence was present in the field surrounding this cave….
"Bury me with my fathers, in the cave in the field of Efron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpela, opposite Mamre, in the Land of Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Efron the Hittite as a burial plot." (Gen 49:29-30)
And his sons carried him to the Land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpela, the field that Abraham bought for a burial plot from Efron the Hittite, opposite Mamre. (ibid. 50:13)
The question is raised in the Zohar (I:128b) as to why once [in this passage] it is written "the cave of Machpela", another time it is written "the field of Machpela", and yet another time it is written "the cave of the field of Machpela".
The Zohar explains that the word "Machpela" refers to malchut, for "Machpela" means "doubled", and malchut is signified by the second hei of the name Havayah, the only letter that is doubled in this name. The "field of Machpela" refers to the fact that malchut is also called "the field of holy apples". Abraham knew that the Divine Presence, the Shechinah (synonymous with malchut) was present in the field surrounding this cave, and that's why he wanted to bury Sarah there. But he hid this knowledge from the Hittites and referred to the cave simply as "the cave of Machpela", not mentioning the field. When the Torah itself describes the area, however it uses the word "field".
The Arizal now elaborates on this explanation.
The explanation is as follows:
Both the higher Imma, which is bina, and the lower Imma, which is malchut, are manifest through a name Havayah spelled out with the letter hei, and whose numerical value is 52 [known as "Ban", the numerical value of which is 52].
Ban is spelled: yud-vav-dalet hei-hei vav-vav hei-hei (10 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 6 + 5 + 5 = 52).
This [name] is actually the name Havayah doubled, for the numerical value of the letters used to spell it out is 26, just like the numerical value of the simple, root letters.
chanoch adds: In the paragraph below, the bolded expressions are connecting to revealed letters and then concealed letters to make various points.
yud-vav-dalet hei-hei vav-vav hei-hei: 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 26.
yud-vav-dalet hei-hei vav-vav hei-hei: 6 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 26.
Thus, the whole 52-name can be seen as a simple doubling of the name Havayah, 52 being twice 26.
[Furthermore,] each individual letter is doubled numerically. The numerical value of the [first] letter, yud, is 10, and the combined numerical value of the two letters used to spelling it out, vav-dalet, is also 10. Similarly, the last three letters [of the name Havayah], hei-vav-hei are spelled out with the same three letters, hei-vav-hei.
The last three letters are spelled out by simply doubling them.
Therefore, this name in general is called "the Machpela", for it is a double [of the name Havayah].
The word "Machpela" means "double", from the root kaf-pei-lamed.
The first hei of them all is the origin….
Now, this name possesses four hei's, i.e. the two hei's of the name Havayah and the two hei's used to spell them out. These correspond to four subdivisions of the supernal Imma, i.e. two states of Bina and two states of Tevuna, as we have explained elsewhere.
Elsewhere (Etz Chaim 14:9, principle 5; 27:4), however, the Arizal explains that the four subdivisions of Imma are as follows: Its chochma-bina-daat are called "the supernal Imma"; its chesed-gevura-tiferet are called "the first Tevuna"; its netzach-hod-yesod are called "the second Tevuna"; its malchut is called "the third Tevuna." According to this, there is one state of Bina and three states of Tevuna.
In general, Tevuna is "applied intellect" as opposed to Bina, which is "abstract intellect". It would thus make sense that Bina would only be the chochma-bina-daat of Imma, i.e. the intellect of the intellect, while the other components of the intellect would be its applications to emotion, behavior, and expression.
are the four partzufim within [Imma]. Sometimes these join together and are included together, and they are then called "the supernal Imma", which includes them all within herself.
This is the significance of the name Ban of the supernal Imma, which includes the four aforementioned subdivisions.
In a parallel way, the lower "mother", malchut, subdivides into four distinct subdivisions, corresponding to the four hei's in her Ban, which encompasses them all. Understand this well.
Rabbi Chaim Vital notes later, however, that it is not clear what these four subdivisions of malchut are.
There are thus three strata in the meaning of the word Machpela as "doubled": (1) the fact that the hei appears twice in the name Havayah, (2) the fact that each of these hei's is spelled out with another hei in the name Ban, giving four hei's, and (3) the fact that there is a name Ban in both Imma and Nukva, giving 8 hei's.
Having discussed what the four hei's are in both the Ban of Imma and the Ban of Nukva, the Arizal now considers again the original four hei's: the two hei's of the name Havayah and the two hei's used to spell them out.
The first hei of them all is the origin, and is called "the cave of Machpela". It by itself is called "the cave", but since implicit within it is the hei used to spell it out, it is called "the cave of Machpela".
The first hei by itself is called "the cave" since it something that has something inside it, just like a cave is a hollow that can contain something else. When it is considered together with its implicit contents, the hei used to spell it out, it is called "the cave of Machpela", i.e. the cave containing its own double.
The second hei, i.e. the spelling out of the first, origin-hei, is called "Machpela" by itself. As it is written, "So Efron's field in Machpela…," for it is the doubled hei, as we said.
In this verse, the word "Machpela" is used by itself, not describing a field or cave. The doubled hei is simply called "the double", "Machpela".
The third hei, the original lower [hei of the name Havayah], is called "the field of Machpela". The fourth hei, the one used to spell out the original lower hei, is called "the cave of the field of Machpela".
The second hei of the name Havayah refers to malchut, the partzuf of Nukva. This sefira/partzuf is synonymous with the Divine Presence, the Shechinah, which is also known as "the field of holy apples".
The imagery of the fourth hei, as a "cave", seems to be the reverse of the cave-imagery for the first hei. Here, the cave is the place where the thing in it is revealed.
There is also a fifth aspect, which is known only as "the cave" without any modifier. This is a manifestation of the letter hei spelled out with the letter yud or alef. In either of these cases, it is not doubled.
Sometimes the Machpela cave is referred to simply as "the cave", This refers to the letter hei when not doubled, but spelled out with either a yud (as it is in the name Av, =72, and Sag, =63) or an alef (as it is in the 45-name).
The numerical value of this name is also that of the word for "with everything" [in Hebrew, "bakol"], and it is known that the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, merited "with everything" ["bakol"], "from everything" [in Hebrew, "mikol"], and "everything" ["kol"]. (Bava Batra 17a) Therefore, the three of them were buried in this [cave].
chanoch adds: This phrase Bakol Mekol Kol is written in the Bearcat HaMazon. Learn this Kavenah for your saying the Bearcat.
Immediately after Abraham purchased the Machpela cave and buried Sarah in it, we are told that "Abraham was old, having arrived in days, and G‑d blessed Abraham with everything." (Gen. 24:1) The word for "with everything" is "bakol". The numerical value of "bakol" is 52: beit-kaf-lamed = 2 + 20 + 30 = 52.
chanoch adds: Avraham is “given everything”. A man without a daughter does not have everything. So Bakol must be the name of Abraham's daughter. More will be explained below.
G‑d gave the Patriarchs a foretaste of the Future World….
It is stated in the Talmud that G‑d gave the Patriarchs a foretaste of the Future World while they were still in This World. For Abraham, this is alluded to by the verse just quoted: "and G‑d blessed Abraham with everything [in Hebrew, 'bakol']."
For Isaac, the allusion is found in the episode wherein Jacob stole the blessings he intended to bestow on Esau. Jacob first fed Isaac some food, and about this food, Jacob later told Esau, "he brought it to me before you came and I ate of all [in Hebrew, 'mikol'] of it, and I blessed him, and blessed he shall remain" (ibid. 27:33); the Sages say (Rashi ad loc) that by this Isaac meant that he tasted all the tastes he sought to taste in it, i.e. that it was heavenly food, like the manna. When Isaac smelled Jacob before eating his food, he said that he recognized the smell of the Garden of Eden on him, so we may presume that this was the taste he sought to taste in the food (and did), as well.
For Jacob, the allusion is in the episode of his encounter with Esau after returning from Laban. Jacob prepared a gift for Esau, but Esau tried to refuse it. Jacob persisted, however, and said, "Please take my blessing, which has been brought to you, for G‑d has been gracious to me, and I have all ['kol']." (Gen. 33:11) Here also, this "all" refers to G‑d's grace beyond material bounty, the taste of the World that is Coming.
Inasmuch as the Machpela cave embodied the divine consciousness of the Shechinah, which will be revealed in the Future World, the Patriarchs were buried there.
This is [also] the mystical meaning of [the Sages' statement that] Abraham had a daughter named "Bakol" (Bava Batra 16b).
The Sages say that the verse quoted above, "and G‑d blessed Abraham with everything ['bakol']," also alludes to the fact that Abraham had a daughter named Bakol.
She personified the name Ban of malchut, which is the "daughter".
The four names Havayah (possessing the numerical values of 72, 63, 45, and 52, known as Ab, Sag, Mah, and Ban) correspond respectively to the four partzufim Abba, Imma, Zeir Anpin, and Nukva. Zeir Anpin and Nukva are the "son" and "daughter" of Abba (the father) and Imma (the mother).
The fact that this daughter is mentioned immediately after Abraham acquired the Machpela cave (even though she must have been born before this, i.e. before Sarah died) indicates that there is a thematic connection between her and this cave. This connection is the fact that the cave expresses the name Ban (=52) and that the numerical value of her name is 52. The Torah effectively tells us that Abraham was blessed with a "daughter", i.e. with malchut, the divine consciousness of the Future World, only when he purchased the Machpela cave, since this cave embodied this divine consciousness.
So did the master [i.e. the Arizal] explain this verse, saying that the numerical value of "Bakol" is the same as the name Ban [=52], spelled out with the letter hei. [This name] is called the daughter of Abraham, our father.
[I, Rabbi] Chaim [Vital], the recorder [of these teachings] would like to add:
The explanation of the aforementioned four subdivisions of malchut is not clear to me right now. It could be that [the partzufim of] Leah and Rachel correspond to the upper and lower hei [of the name Havayah of Imma], which in turn correspond to Bina and Tevuna. Each of these has its own malchut, which are two other hei's within the spelling-out of the first hei's.
As we have seen previously, Leah originates in malchut of Bina, while Rachel originates in malchut of Tevuna. Leah is associated with thought, which we use more to think about abstract intellect, while Rachel is associated with speech, which we use more to talk about applied intellect.
Or, it could be that all four are within Rachel, as we have explained in our exposition of Rosh Hashanah regarding the first blessing of the Standing Prayer, with reference to the four beginnings of the year. According to this, there are four partzufim within Rachel alone, which sometimes combine to form one collective partzuf, just like the supernal Imma.
In the Ultimate Future…there will be no need for the soul to experience such processed divine consciousness….
Based on the above, it is explained in Chasidut that the two hei's manifest in the cave of Machpela are the Lower and Upper Garden of Eden, the abode the soul in the afterlife. In the Lower Garden of Eden, the soul receives its reward for the physical performance of the commandments it fulfilled in this world, while in the Upper Garden of Eden it receives its reward for the intellectual and emotional intentions it invested into performing these commandments.
The two hei's become manifest as the two levels of the Garden of Eden because the form of the hei indicates expansion into dimensions: the three lines that make up the hei indicate the three dimensions of breadth, length, and depth (the disconnected leg of the hei is seen as a line going perpendicular to the plane defined by the two connected legs). In order for the soul to experience divinity, it has to assume "dimensions", that is, it has to be expressed in a way that a sentient being can integrate it into its own consciousness.
This "translation" of divinity into a form that the soul can integrate is indicated by the doubling of the hei. The second hei latent within the first is revelation of the expression implicit within the hei itself.
In contrast to the two hei's are the yud and the vav. The yud indicates tzimtzum ("contraction"), the initial contraction divinity must undergo in order for the process of creation to take place. The vav is seen as a further type of tzimtzum, a yud that has been extended downward as a straight line. These contractions are not a "fleshing out" of the divine consciousness with dimensions: the yud and vav are not spelled out with the letter hei. The yud is spelled out with a vav, which indicates further contraction, plus a dalet, which comes close to being a hei (and is its source) but still lacks the true relief of three dimensions. The vav is spelled out with another vav, indicating further contraction.
In the Ultimate Future, after the soul returns from its temporary abode in the afterlife and is resurrected in the rectified physical world, there will be no need for the soul to experience such "processed" divine consciousness, i.e. there will be no need for the name Havayah to be spelled out. The hei's of the name will be able to experience the yud and vav directly, and in fact the vav will not be necessary. In the Future, the name Havayah will be spelled yud-hei-yud-hei, indicating that both thought and speech will be able to express divine consciousness in its fullest form. This is alluded to in the verse, "On that day, G‑d [yud-hei-vav-hei] will be [spelled yud-hei-yud-hei] one, and His Name will be one." (Zechariah 14:9)
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah and Shaar HaPesukim, parashat Chaya Sara."
From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
© 2021 www.yeshshem.com All rights reserved. Site development by Eltitude