ARI – Para Aduma – Red Heifer

The 5 Strengths of the Para Adumah - Red Heifer – Female Baby Cow

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Bold font is the translation directly from the writings of the ARI. The translator's commentary is in the not bolded font. Chanoch's commentary is clearly identified.

Kabbala teaches us about harnessing the powers of severity. This Torah portion opens with the Mitzva - mitzvah of the red heifer. The ashes of the red heifer are used to purify a person from the impurity of close contact with a dead person. "Death" is spiritually a falling from one state of divine consciousness to a lower one (or lack of one). Thus, the mitzvah of the red heifer contains within it the mystical explanation of evil and the purification from defilement of evil/death, i.e. loss of divine consciousness.

chanoch's Commentary

The spiritual definition of “death” is falling to a lower spiritual level. There is no spiritual death – falling to a level which is a lack of a spiritual level. The spiritual definition of evil is a desire to receive for oneself alone. This is the level of the body without a soul. The soul level of Nefesh and ruach may leave the body and the body still lives since it is powered by the soul level of ruach. It is important to clarify the meaning and usage of the term harnessing the powers of severity. Satan and the negative system is referred to as the “other side”. This can be said to be the left side of the left column. It is important to realize that physical left leaves a body representing a desire for oneself alone. This consciousness is housed in a earthen vessel that requires destruction which we call decay and dissolution. Just as an impure earthen vessel requres destruction to make it return to a state of Kosher so does the human body.

"This is the Chok - statute of the Torah, which G‑d spoke, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they take for you a pure, unblemished red heifer which has never worn a yoke and give it to Elazar the priest. He will take it outside the camp, and someone will slaughter it before him. Elazar the priest will take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it toward the opening of the tent of meeting seven times. Someone will burn the heifer in front of him; he will burn its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its innards'…."

(Num. 19:1-5)

Know that the five final forms of the letters signify the five states of gevura. Their combined numerical value is 280, and when we add 5 for the five letters themselves, we have [285, the numerical value of] "heifer".

Five letters of the Hebrew alphabet have different forms that they assume at the end of a word. Since these final forms signal a pause in the flow of reading, they signify the five states of severity (gevura), or restraint. The letters with their numerical values are:

mem (40), nun (50), tzadik (90), pei (80), chaf (20). 40 + 50 + 90 + 80 + 20 = 280.

chanoch adds: five final letters, in this form

"Heifer": in Hebrew, "parah" — pei-reish-hei = 80 + 200 + 5 = 285.

The heifer must be red, because it is drawn from bina…

Alternatively, [the extra hei, whose numerical value is the 5 needed to equal the numerical value of "heifer", and signifies that the five states of gevura] descend to bina, which is referred to by the [first] letter hei [of the name Havayah] - or descend to malchut, which is referred to by the [second] letter hei [of the name Havayah]. Therefore the heifer is called the "parah", i.e. the cow ["par"] of the hei.

The end of Part One

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Of Cows and Divine Names

Kabbalah explains that death is a lacking in divine consciousness. Chanoch adds: See part one above.

This week's Torah reading opens with the mitzvah of the red heifer. The ashes of the red heifer are used to purify a person from the impurity of death. "Death" is spiritually a falling from one state of divine consciousness to a lower one (or lack of one). Thus, the mitzvah of the red heifer contains within it the mystical explanation of evil and the purification from defilement of evil/death, i.e. loss of divine consciousness. Chanoch adds: See part one above.

"This is the statute of the Torah, which G‑d spoke, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they take for you a pure, unblemished red heifer which has never worn a yoke and give it to Elazar the priest. He will take it outside the camp, and someone will slaughter it before him. Elazar the priest will take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it toward the opening of the tent of meeting seven times. Someone will burn the heifer in front of him; he will burn its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its innards'…."

(Num. 19:1-5)

This excerpt above is from the teachings of the Arizal from part one.

Regarding the essence of the [rite of the] red heifer, King Solomon, of blessed memory, said, "I said, 'I will become wise,' but it was far from me" (Ecclesiastes 7:23), as our sages explained. (Bamidbar Rabba 19:3)

The heifer must be red, to signify the state of severe judgment….

King Solomon was the wisest of all men, but even he could not understand how, as happens in the rite of the red heifer, the individual administering the purification rite himself becomes defiled by doing so.

Know that [this is because] the basis of the [rite of the] red heifer is [that it expresses] how malchut receives from the back of the Holy Names, and not from their front.

Since the rite of the red heifer exemplifies a state of reality in which the Divine Name is not showing its "face", but rather its "back", we sense ourselves in this context as being removed, or "far" from G‑d's presence. This is why King Solomon described his inability to fathom the workings of the red heifer rite as feeling "far" from wisdom.

Therefore the heifer must be red, to signify the state of severe judgment [to which malchut is subject].

Red is the color of gevura, severity. Someone who has been defiled by means of contact with death is in a state of extreme, severely limited divine consciousness. The stark confrontation with the reality of death carries with it the seeds of abject depression born of a nihilistic, fatalistic, pagan, or absurd attitude toward life. The individual must therefore "purify" himself from this defilement.

This is the end of part two.

Part 3 is Advanced teachings from the writings of the ARI

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Of Cows and Divine Names

Kabbalah explains that death is a lacking in divine consciousness. This week's Torah reading opens with the mitzvah of the red heifer. The ashes of the red heifer are used to purify a person from the impurity of death. "Death" is spiritually a falling from one state of divine consciousness to a lower one (or lack of one). Thus, the mitzvah of the red heifer contains within it the mystical explanation of evil and the purification from defilement of evil/death, i.e. loss of divine consciousness.

"This is the statute of the Torah, which G‑d spoke, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they take for you a pure, unblemished red heifer which has never worn a yoke and give it to Elazar the priest. He will take it outside the camp, and someone will slaughter it before him. Elazar the priest will take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it toward the opening of the tent of meeting seven times. Someone will burn the heifer in front of him; he will burn its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its innards'…."

(Num. 19:1-5)

The above excerpt from the teachings of the Arizal follows the previous installment, Of Cows and Divine Names - Part 2.

chanoch adds: This next paragraph will be explained further below.

The retrogressive spelling of the 72-Name, i.e. tet-hei-gimel dalet-tet hei-tet-hei dalet-tet, which is similar to tet-dalet-hei-dalet [being produced out of] yud-hei-vav-hei, the numerical value [of this spelling] is 62.

The loss of optimistic, forward-looking divine consciousness is reflected by the name Havayah "recoiling" backward in the alphabet.

The heifer embodies the retrogression of normal divine consciousness that results from contact with death….

When we consider the four letters of the name Havayah and substitute each letter with the letter preceding it in the alphabet, this is called the "retrogressive" spelling of the Name. Thus, yud-hei-vav-hei becomes tet-dalet-hei-dalet. There is also a "progressive" spelling of the name Havayah, in which each letter is replaced by the letter following it in the alphabet. In this way, yud-hei-vav-hei becomes kaf-vav-zayin-vav.

chanoch adds: While we will not use it in this essay there is a cedntral column spelling using the Atbash letter substitution method. These three methods of developing “Names of HaShem” meaning “Attributes of HaShem” is utilized in meditations during the Amidah prayer during the negative three wweeks.

The spellings-out of the name Havayah can also be spelled retrogressively. Here, though, we must point out that since there is no letter before the letter alef, the alef remains an alef even when "retrogressed".

chanoch adds: There are other Kabbalists who view the Aleph Bet not as a line but as a continuous circle. Then the Aleph will become a Tav. Both views are correct. It is recommended that students of Kabbalah contemplate rational explanations for both views. Also to meditate on these views and utilize your intuition meaning your connection to HaShem.

Following is the derivation of the usual and retrogressive spellings-out of the name Havayah:

regular spelling - - retrogressive spelling

The 72-Name (the yud-filling)

yud – yud-vav-dalet - - tet–tet-hei-gimmel

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - - 9 + 5 +3 = 17

hei – hei-yud - - dalet – dalet tet

5 + 10 = 15 - - 4 + 9 = 13

vav – vav yud vav - - hei – tet – hei

6 + 10 + 6 = 22 - - 5 + 9 + 5 = 19

hei – hei-yud - - dalet – dalet tet

5 + 10 = 15 - - 4 + 9 = 13

20 + 15 + 22 + 15 = 72 - - 17 + 13 +19 + 13 = 62

The 63-Name (the combined filling)

yud – yud-vav-dalet - - tet–tet-hei-gimmel

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - - 9 + 5 +3 = 17

hei – hei-yud - - dalet – dalet tet

5 + 10 = 15 - - 4 + 9 = 13

vav – vav alef vav - - hei – alef – hei

6 + 1 + 6 = 13 - - 5 + 1 + 5 = 11

hei – hei-yud - - dalet – dalet tet

5 + 10 = 15 - - 4 + 9 = 13

20 + 15 + 13 + 15 = 63 - - 17 + 13 +11 + 13 = 54

The 45-Name (the alef-filling)

yud – yud-vav-dalet - - tet–tet-hei-gimmel

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - - 9 + 5 +3 = 17

hei – hei-alef - - dalet – dalet alef

5 + 1 = 6 - - 4 + 1 = 5

vav – vav alef vav - - hei – alef – hei

6 + 1 + 6 = 13 - - 5 + 1 + 5 = 11

hei – hei-alef - - dalet – dalet alef

5 + 1 = 6 - - 4 + 1 = 5

20 + 6 + 13 + 6 = 45 - - 17 + 5 +11 + 5 = 38

The 52-Name (the hei-filling)

yud – yud-vav-dalet - - tet–tet-hei-gimmel

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - - 9 + 5 +3 = 17

hei – hei-hei - - dalet – dalet dalet

5 + 5 = 10 - - 4 + 4 = 8

vav – vav vav - - hei – hei

6 + 6 = 12 - - 5 + 5 = 10

hei – hei-hei - - dalet – dalet dalet

5 + 5 = 10 - - 4 + 4 = 8

20 + 10 + 12 + 10 = 52 - - 17 + 8 +10 + 8 = 43

Similarly, the numerical value of the retrogressive spelling of the 63-Name is 54, that of the retrogressive spelling of the 45-Name is 38, and that of the retrogressive spelling of the 52-Name is 43.

The combined numerical value of the four retrogressed root-letters, tet-dalet-hei-dalet, is 88. Tet-dalet-hei-dalet= 9 + 4 + 5 + 4 = 22. 4 x 22 = 88

[This plus] the combined numerical value of the all retrogressed names [285] is the same as that of the Hebrew word for "heifer" ["parah"]. Chanoch adds: As explained above in part one and two.

62 + 54 + 38 + 43 + 88 = 285.

Parah" is spelled: pei-reish-hei = 80 + 200 + 5 = 285.

Thus, the heifer embodies the retrogression of normal divine consciousness that results from contact with death.

Just as [the numerical value of the word for "heifer"] is produced from five instances of retrogressive spelling, so does it comprise five states of gevura, [as follows]:

It is termed "heifer" because of malchut, "red" because of hod, "pure" because of yesod, "unblemished" because of gevura, and "which has never worn a yoke" because of bina.

The sefirot in the above list are those on the left axis of the sefirot (bina, gevura, and hod) and the two final sefirot of the middle axis (yesod and malchut), which act as funnels for the preceding sefirot (including the three left ones).

chanoch adds: Malchut is a Sephira that changes its relationship to the three columns. In my opinion, this change is not transitional but instantaneous. Yesod in this discusion is only the crown portion and not the stem portion. When Yesod is connected to the left column the stem separates from the crown.

Know also that the red heifer purifies the defiled by means of the divine attribute of mercy, as well. Specifically, [this is] by means of the regressive iterations of the four Names Havayah, [as follows].

The numerical values of the regressive iterations of these four names are 184, 166, 130, and 144, as follows:

The 72-Name (the yud-filling) – for the divine attribute of mercy

1

yud – yud-vav-dalet yud – yud – vav - dalet

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - 10 + 6 +4 = 20

2

hei – hei-yud yud - yud-vav-dalet

5 + 10 = 15 - 10 + 6 + 4 = 20

3

hei – hei – yud

vav – vav – yud – vav

yud – yud – vav – dalet

hei – hei – yud

5 + 10 = 15

6 + 10 + 6 = 22

10 + 6 + 4 = 20

5 + 10 = 15

4

vav – vav - yud – vav

hei – hei – yud

6 + 10 + 6 = 22

5 + 10 = 15

The total for the 72-Name (the yud-filling) – for the divine attribute of mercy = 184

The 63-Name (the combined filling)– for the divine attribute of mercy

1

yud – yud-vav-dalet yud – yud – vav - dalet

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - 10 + 6 +4 = 20

2

hei – hei-yud yud - yud-vav-dalet

5 + 10 = 15 - 10 + 6 + 4 = 20

3

hei – hei – yud

vav – vav – yud – vav

yud – yud – vav – dalet

hei – hei – yud

5 + 10 = 15

6 + 10 + 6 = 22

10 + 6 + 4 = 20

5 + 10 = 15

4

vav – vav - aleph – vav

hei – hei – yud

6 + 1 + 6 = 22

5 + 10 = 15

The total for the 63-Name (the yud-filling) – for the divine attribute of mercy = 166

The 45-Name (the combined filling)– for the divine attribute of mercy

1

yud – yud-vav-dalet yud – yud – vav - dalet

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - 10 + 6 +4 = 20

2

hei – hei-alef yud - yud-vav-dalet

5 + 1 = 6 - 10 + 6 + 4 = 20

3

hei – hei – alef

vav – vav – alef – vav

yud – yud – vav – dalet

hei – hei – alef

5 + 1 = 6

6 + 1 + 6 = 13

10 + 6 + 4 = 20

5 + 1 = 6

4

vav – vav - alef – vav

hei – hei – alef

6 + 1 + 6 = 13

5 + 1 = 6

The total for the 45-Name (the yud-filling) – for the divine attribute of mercy = 130

The 52-Name (the combined filling)– for the divine attribute of mercy

1

yud – yud-vav-dalet yud – yud – vav - dalet

10 + 6 + 4 = 20 - 10 + 6 +4 = 20

2

hei – hei-yud yud - yud-vav-dalet

5 + 10 = 15 - 10 + 6 + 4 = 20

3

hei – hei – yud

vav – vav – yud – vav

yud – yud – vav – dalet

hei – hei – yud

5 + 10 = 15

6 + 10 + 6 = 22

10 + 6 + 4 = 20

5 + 10 = 15

4

vav – vav - vav

hei – hei

6 + 6 = 12

5 + 5 = 10

The total for the 52-Name (the yud-filling) – for the divine attribute of mercy = 144

The total of these four numerical values is 624.

184 + 166 + 130 + 144 = 624.

When we subtract from this the four iterated names themselves, each of which has the value of 72, we are left with 336.

The regressive iteration of the name Havayah itself, not being spelled out, is:

yud yud-hei yud-hei-vav yud-hei-vav-hei = 10 + (10 + 5) + (10 + 5 + 6) + (10 + 5 + 6 + 5) = 72. Thus 4 x 72 = 288. Also 624 – 288 = 336.

This is the numerical value of the words for "red heifer" [in Hebrew, "parah adumah"], plus the kolel.

"Parah adumah" is spelled: pei-reish-hei alef-dalet-mem-hei = (80 + 200 + 5) + (1 + 4 + 40 + 5) = 335."

Adding the Colel of 1 - 335 + 1 = 336.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim and Likutei Torah; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Golden Calf – Fixing the Mixing

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Kabbalah expounds the mystical background of the Golden Calf [In order to understand] the incident of the Golden Calf, we must understand what was the intention of the Mixed Multitude in making this calf at this point.

As the Sages note, - chanoch adds: from the Zohar and Talmud - it was the "Mixed Multitude"(Ex. 12:38) of non-Jews that accompanied the Jews in their exodus from Egypt who instigated the idolatry of the Golden Calf.

I have already informed you [in my comments] on the verse And there arose a new king over Egypt (Ibid. 1:8), about the idea of the Mixed Multitude, [in particular] how they were [derived] from the impurities and pollution of [the soul of] Moses, whose soul was [derived] from the daat of Zeir Anpin itself, [which is in turn derived] from the mentality of Abba.

Moses' soul was derived from daat, which means that he was an expression of the idea of taking the intellectual idea and translating it into personal relevance, producing emotional response and practical expression. The fact that daat is informed by the mentality of Abba means that it is the new, revolutionary, initial Divine insight that seeks to be made relevant and change reality.

But any initial insight appears in consciousness together with an admixture of impurity, in the form of illusions and deceptions, which have to be clarified out of the raw material of the insight via the process of bina. Moses' error was in not recognizing these aberrations in the insight granted him for what they were, thinking that they could be incorporated and elevated into the picture. In material reality, this was expressed as his inclusion of the Mixed Multitude in the Exodus.

chanoch adds: The above 2 paragraphs of commentary by the translaters do not make sense to me. This does not mean that they are wrong only that I do not understand the words used.

Laban the Aramean was reincarnated as Balaam…

Elsewhere, the Arizal explains that the Mixed Multitude was indeed meant to be elevated eventually, but Moses tried to do this prematurely. This is evidently a classic example of the Baal Shem Tov's teaching that every process of spiritual growth must proceed through the three stages of submission (of the ego, in order to gain new insight), separation (of good and evil, in order to refine and purify the insight), and sweetening (of the impure elements of the insight with the power generated by the pure, refined insight). Moses was trying to skip the middle stage of this process.

”b

chanoch adds: This 3 step teaching is being used by modern Kabbalists to integrate many teachings from other spiritual paths “back” into Kosher Orthodox Judaism. In my opinion that is premature also. It will depend on the physical manifestation of Mashiach which will happen after Mashiach consciousness manifestation.

Nonetheless, they still contained an admixture of sparks of holiness, and this is why Moses exerted all his energy to gather the Mixed Multitude under the wings of the Divine Presence, [that is, to convert them to Judaism].

We find a similar [phenomenon] with Balaam, about whom our Sages said, "[When the Torah says:] 'And there arose no prophet in Israel like Moses,'(Deut. 34:10) [it implies that] no [such prophet] arose in Israel, but among the [other] nations of the world one did arise, namely Balaam."(Bamidbar Rabba 14:19)

Balaam was thus somehow a fallen version of Moses.

chanoch adds: My understanding is very different then the translators comments. Bilaam is not a fallen spark of Moshe. Moshe and Bilaam are repositories for all souls with affinity to their souls. According to the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov as recorded in our teachings from the book “You are who you hate” all people will eventually grow spiritually to be Children of Israel and connect to the repository within the soul of Moshe. Obviously when that happens Moshe will become Adam HaRishon. The meaning of fallen spark may also be the human souls that have connected to the negative system, since all souls will eventually will be connected to Moshe.

I have also informed you [in my comments] on the verse: And Rachel stole her father's terafim (Gen. 31:19) that Laban the Aramean was reincarnated as Balaam son of Be'or, for Be'or was Laban's son and Balaam's father. This whole family was [derived] from the one common source we have mentioned; they were all impurities from the soul of Moses. This includes Laban, Be'or, Balaam, and [Balaam's] two sons Yunus and Yumbruce that are mentioned in the Zohar. (II:191a) Therefore, they were all great magicians and sorcerers, without equal anywhere in the world.

If Moses embodied the power to take divine insight and make it relevant, we may assume that magic is a perversion of this power. Magic is the combining of disparate forces in nature that appear at first unconnected and unrelated and harnessing them to produce results. This is possible only if the one attempting to manipulate these powers possesses some inkling of the fact that everything is indeed related somehow, and can therefore be connected.

Magic simply takes the insight of unity and ignores the divine essence…

The idea that everything is connected is derived, in its source, from the divine insight that G‑d created everything and sustains everything, and thus everything in the world is an expression of His power and is meant to express His presence. So the perversion of magic simply takes the insight of unity and ignores the divine essence of this unity.

chanoch adds: While the above paragraph may be true, the divine essence needs to be included even in the utilization of some aspects of the spiritual system. The major essence of magic is a desire to receive for oneself alone consciousness by the ptactitioner.

Thus, these souls, who were derived from the admixture of impurity in Moses' soul, possessed something of his insight into the unity of Creation, but either ignored or could not "divine" the divinity underlying this unity. They therefore possessed great magical powers.

Now, I have already informed you in "The Gate of Reincarnations" (Introduction 22) as well as in [my discussion of] the mitzvah of Grace after Meals, (Shaar HaMitzvot) how souls transmigrate progressively through the four kingdoms: mineral, vegetable, animal, and human. I told you there also that there is a fixed time for [their incarnation into] each of these levels, after which they ascend to the next level. Now, the time fixed for being incarnated into the vegetable kingdom is the first four months of the year, which are Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, and Tamuz. After this, the [reincarnated souls] ascend to be incarnated into animals.

Now, Be'or, the father of Balaam, was reincarnated into the vegetable kingdom, but he was not able to proceed in his rectification by ascending into the animal kingdom because of he was so polluted by evil. He was undoubtedly the highest aspect of the impurities in this soul-root, so therefore his grandsons Yunus and Yumbruce, who were the leaders of the Mixed Multitude, as is known (Zohar, loc. cit.) as well as the Mixed Multitude themselves, all wanted him to be rectified. For his elevation would mean an elevation for them.

Through this…they would be able to extricate the soul of their grandfather Be'or from the vegetable kingdom…

So they examined and understood through their magic that the only way it would be possible for him to ascend from there would be if they made the Israelites sin. Through this, the forces of evil would be strengthened, and they would be able to extricate the soul of their grandfather Be'or from the vegetable kingdom.

To [the sin of the Israelites] would be added the fact that the sin would occur through Aaron, the High priest, the holy one of G‑d.

The evil generated by a sin is greater the holier the sinner, for the holier the person, the more divine power he embodies.

Added to this would also be the fact that they possessed the same golden plate inscribed with the words, "Ascend, O ox!"

In Moses farewell blessing to the Jewish people, he describes Joseph as an "ox": "The most eminent, his [is the power of the] ox that is given to him…."(Deut. 33:17) In Jacob's blessing to Joseph, the same word for "ox" appears, although in a different meaning, that of "wall": "A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son above the [evil] eye; daughters tread over the wall [to gaze on him]." (Gen. 49:22) The words for "over the wall" in Hebrew are "alei shur", which if slightly revocalized can be read: "Ascend, O ox!" ["aleh" "shor"].

The Sages tell us that when Joseph died, his coffin was placed in the Nile River. When the Jews left Egypt many years later, Moses stood at the edge of the Nile and cast into it a golden plate inscribed with the words "Ascend, O ox!", and Joseph's coffin rose to the surface. In this way, Moses was able to fulfill Joseph's wish to have his bones removed from Egypt and buried in the Land of Israel. (Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Tisa 19) Obviously, this golden plate possessed great power.

By eating this grass, the limbs of the Calf became animated one by one…

Thus they devised to make the Golden Calf, which is also called an "ox", with the powerful magic tools in their mouths, which upset the order of the supernal realms. All the powers we mentioned combined together - that of the evil [generated by the Jews' sin], that of the magic [powers they possessed], that of the holiness of Aaron's, and that of the holy Name etched in the golden plate that was used to elevate Joseph from the Nile. This combination produced the Golden Calf, which was animated by the spiritual life-force of their grandfather Be'or. [Be'or] thus ascended from the vegetable to the animal kingdom, and [the Mixed Multitude] accepted him as their leader, who would inform them of the future and tell them whatever they would need to know. And all this was possible by the fact that they made the Israelites sin, as we mentioned.

The soul of the wicked Be'or, which was present in this calf, was who yelled out, saying "This is your G‑d, O Israel!" (Ex. 32:4) as our Sages have stated. (See Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer 25)

This is also the inner meaning of our Sages' statement (Pesikta Zutarti, Shemot 32:4) that they fed the Golden Calf grass, as it is written, "[They made a calf at Horeb, and bowed down to a molten image; they made their glory bitter] in the form of an ox eating grass." (Psalms 106)

To explain: since [Be'or] was incarnated in the vegetable kingdom as grass, [the Golden Calf] ate [this grass] in order to extricate [Be'or's] soul that was incarnated there. By eating [this grass], the limbs of the Calf became animated one by one, and [Be'or's soul] thus ascended from the vegetable to the animal kingdom.

They accomplished all this through the power of their magic.

And this is why they made the Golden Calf in the month of Tamuz, for that is the last month of the time of reincarnation ascending from the vegetable kingdom into the level of animals.

[Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Shaar HaPesukim, Ki-Tisa; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."]