From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
Throughout history, the world undergoes the process of spiritual rectification.
This is the first installment of a series.
The portion of the Torah read this week begins:
"And G‑d said to Abram, 'Go forth from your land, and from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. I will make you [there] into a great nation'…" (Gen. 12:1-2)
The Ari develops the following:
As we have explained in our exposition on the partzuf of Nukvah, it has existed in various states of development and union with Zeir Anpin from the time the world was created until the destruction of the Second Temple.
Although Zeir Anpin and Nukvah are undergoing constant changes regarding their stage and state of development and union, these changes occur in the context of specific time cycles or progressions. There is, for example, the daily cycle, the weekly cycle, the monthly cycle, and the yearly cycle, etc. All the changing natures of these times, which occasion the various religious observances associated with them (prayer, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, holidays, etc.) are caused by the changing states of development and coupling of these partzufim.
Zeir Anpin is the male and Nukvah is the female; their coupling produces "offspring" in the form of the divine beneficence that grants existence and proper functioning of reality. The more developed and unified they are, the more the world (and all worlds) are in a state of heightened spiritual consciousness and harmonious, productive functioning.
The Arizal will now discuss the dynamics of the development and relationship of Zeir Anpin and Nukvah in the context of history.
We will now discuss whether or not Zeir Anpin and Nukvah coupled before the era of the Patriarchs, or during their era.
Before Abraham was born, Zeir Anpin and Nukvah did not couple, for in those days, Zeir Anpin was in the "nursing"-stage and still consisted only of the six extremities; [mature] intellect had not yet entered it. And as is known, the drop of "male water" [i.e. semen] can be elicited only from the mind. Therefore there was until then no coupling of Zeir Anpin and Nukvah.
A related article:
As Rabbi Wolf Ashkenazi points out, the Arizal is here referring to face-to-face coupling, since in order for the world to exist there has to be at least some type of coupling, however superficial, between Zeir Anpin and Nukvah. By way of analogy: if a married couple are not attuned to each other (let's say, because they are distracted by the exigencies of their careers/occupations) and their love for each other is very suppressed, they can still continue to keep their household running on "automatic pilot", communicating on only the most superficial level. But life in this house during this period will certainly be dull, dreary, and even somewhat oppressive. When their consciousness "matures" and they turn to each other in order to relate on a deeper level, the effect of this heightened type of relationship will spill over into all the element that make up life in their home.
Only when a certain amount of brains has been acquired does a person become fertile…
In any case, while Abraham, i.e. Zeir Anpin, remained in the "nursing" stage, i.e. selfishly connected to Imma, he was concerned only with its own maturation process. (As we have seen previously, there are three stages of consciousness: fetal-consciousness, nursing-consciousness, and intellectual-consciousness.) The six "extremities" are the six sefirot from chesed to yesod, which, as we know, are the raw material out of which the partzuf of Zeir Anpin is built. Its metamorphosis from these six, separate sefirot into a full-fledged partzuf is marked by its acquisition of "brains", i.e. mature intellect in the form of the sub-sefirot of chochmah, bina, and daat. The intellect is what allows for a perspective higher than total self-orientation; it is prepared to acknowledge the existence and value of other beings.
Thus, only when a certain amount of "brains" has been acquired does a person become fertile. Sexual maturity is the indication of a deeper process, that of at least potential mental maturity, through which the individual should be prepared to behave in an intellectually and emotionally mature way toward another human being. (On an allegorical level, all interactions are "sexual" in nature.) Specifically, the presence of a "female" (i.e. recipient) to receive and reproduce his seminal essence can only inspire a person to couple with that "female" if he is mature enough to sense the value of propagating himself (or his ideas) for the benefit of the outside world.
(Of course, on the absolutely physical level, all this ideal conceptualization of sexuality is subordinated to the G‑d-implanted nature of male-female "mating" instincts necessary for the survival of the species. Still, from the way things operate on an animal-physical level we can deduce, especially with the help of the Torah's insights, the way things are supposed to work spiritually.)
When Abraham was born, there started to be above an arousal toward the supernal coupling of Zeir Anpin and Nukvah…
When Abraham was born, there started to be above an arousal toward the supernal coupling [of Zeir Anpin and Nukvah]. This is why he was named "Abram", for this name alludes to the coupling of yesod of Zeir Anpin, known as the "limb" [in Hebrew, "eiver"] with the yesod of its Nukvah, known as the final mem.
As the Midrash relates, Abraham was blessed from a very young age with the ability to see through the sham of idolatry that was prevalent in his time, and with a concomitant urge to seek the truth about the world and its relationship with G‑d. Inasmuch as our actions in this world can and do influence the dynamics of the upper worlds, this "consciousness-raising" prepared the way for reunion of G‑d and His creation, respectively personified in the partzufim of Zeir Anpin and Nukvah.
Abram is spelled alef-beit-reish-mem. The first three letters spell the word for "limb", and the last letter is a final mem. The "limb" refers to the male sexual organ, which corresponds to the yesod of Zeir Anpin, and the final, closed mem refers to the virginal female sexual organ. Abram's name thus alluded to the union of these two principles.
Nonetheless, the supernal coupling did not actually occur until Abraham went to the Land of Israel; only then was he able to effect the supernal coupling.
This, of course, is because the spiritual nature of the Land of Israel is conducive to G‑d consciousness, and Abraham was only able to achieve the level of consciousness required to influence the dynamics of the partzufim once he was there.
This is the mystical meaning of G‑d's command to Abraham: "Go forth from your land, and from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you, and I will make you [there] into a great nation…." When he went to the Land of Israel, he caused Zeir Anpin to develop and mature into the level of "intellectual"-consciousness. It can then couple with its Nukvah.
Our sages state, "The air of the Land of Israel makes one wise." Thus, the maturation of consciousness that the Land of Israel induces in an individual is specifically that of intellect.
It follows that until this mature mentality entered Zeir Anpin, the partzuf of Leah was not revealed. This is because Leah emerges [from Zeir Anpin] only as a radiance of his mentality, as is know. Therefore, [until then,] all that was revealed was [the partzuf of] Rachel, which is known as "the lower land".
Jacob's two wives, Leah and Rachel, personify the two partzufim that develop as the Nukvah, or feminine correlate, of Zeir Anpin. Specifically, we know that Malchut in general is the principle of expression or medium, as opposed to Zeir Anpin, which is the content of the expression or the message within the medium. We also know that there are three modes of expression: thought, speech, and action. But action - in terms of consciousness - is more removed from the person than are his thought and speech.
Thought and speech are literally expressions of the idea in the person's head, voiced either in mental thought patterns or vocal words. Action is not as literal; I can perhaps deduce your ideas and philosophies from what you do, and to that extent your action is an expression of your idea, but it is not nearly as literal and exact as are thought and speech. (Action of course has its own advantage over thought and speech and is in some ways more eloquent, but that does not change the fact that it is less literal than the higher forms of expression.)
Leah is the partzuf of thought, while Rachel is the partzuf of speech…
This difference between thought and speech on the one hand and action on the other is seen in the form of the letter hei, which signifies expression: the connected upper and right lines correspond to thought and speech while the disconnected left line corresponds to action.
In any case, thought and speech are the two initial and primary forms of expression, and malchut develops a separate partzuf for each. Leah is the partzuf of thought, while Rachel is the partzuf of speech. Abraham, evidently, could appreciate or achieve the divine consciousness that is "spoken" into the world, but could not relate to divine "thought" until he reached the Land of Israel. Only then did he achieve mental consciousness of G‑d, and this produced "thought".
Thus, the meaning of "Go forth from your land" is [that Abraham is to ascend higher than the consciousness of the "lower land", i.e. the partzuf of] Rachel.
Since Abraham's ascent occurs on the left axis [of the sefira-tree], it is said of him, "Go forth from your land," meaning the sefira of netzach at the bottom of this axis, which is close to malchut, which is called "your land," [as stated].
Each of the three patriarchs personified one of the three axes of the array of sefirot. Abraham personified the axis of chesed, loving-kindness.
left axis – (Isaac)
center axis – (Jacob)
right axis – (Abraham)
1. Keter – Center
3. Bina – Left ------2. chochmah – Right
----------------(daat) – Center
5. Gevura – Left --------4. chesed – Right
----------------6. Tiferet – Center
8. Hod – Left --------------7. netzach – Right
---------------9. Yesod – Center
Center – Leah – Zeir Anpin of Malchut - 10
Left – Rachel – Malchut of Malchut - 10
chanoch adds: Do not be misled into thinking there are 2 Malchuts. There is only one Malchur – created from the left column and when sweetened moves to the center column.
The lowest station on the right axis is the sefira of netzach.
This structural array of the sefirot enables us to understand certain aspects of their inter-relationships. We note that there are three triads here, chochmah-bina-daat, chesed-gevura-tiferet, and netzach-hod-yesod. The role played by each "right-member", "left-member", and "center-member" of these triads is similar to the corresponding member in the other triads. In our case, chochmah, chesed, and netzach are all right-members, or "male" principles relative to their respective left-members. In this sense, netzach can be considered a projection of chesed onto the plane of active relationship; chesed can be considered a projection of chochmah onto the plane of emotion, and so forth.
He ascended to chesed, which is referred to in this verse as "your birthplace". [Chesed is called "birthplace"] because any drop of fertile seed is from chesed, which is "hidden in the mouth of Imma," as is known.
In Abraham's time, the principle maturation of intellect occurred in the brain of chochmah…
Although we said above that intellect is prerequisite for procreation, this does not of course negate the additional necessity for attraction, or ideally, love. In fact, if the intellect is functioning properly and there are no obstructions, it will naturally produce the emotional response appropriate to the intellectual understanding (Imma). In this case, the appreciation for the rectification of reality accomplished by "being fruitful and multiplying" one's divine self throughout reality, and the essential role played by the "female" in this process will bring the individual to appreciate, be attracted to, and love the "female".
He then ascended further from "your birthplace," i.e. chesed, to chochmah, which is referred to in this verse as "your father's house" because chochmah is the father of Abraham, who personifies chesed.
Chochma is situated directly above chesed on the sefira-tree since it is the source of chesed. Just as chochmah is the male-principle of the intellect, chesed is the male-principle of the emotions.
Once Zeir Anpin's mentality of chochmah has been developed, Abraham is commanded to "go…to the land that I will show you". This refers to Leah, the "supernal land", which only then becomes visible and revealed, and not before the development of the intellect, as mentioned.
Now, as we explained elsewhere, the coupling [of Zeir Anpin and Nukvah] that occurs on Rosh Chodesh is only at the level of netzach, that which occurs on Rosh HaShanah is only at the level of gevura, and similarly with regard to the other festivals, each one being different from the next. It was similar in the days of the Patriarchs.
Just like there are different types of coupling between the partzufim throughout the cycle of the year, so too, there was a progression in the level and type of sefirotic coupling that occurred parallel to the development of G‑d consciousness in the patriarchal family.
For in Abraham's time, the principle maturation of intellect occurred in the brain of chochmah, which is juxtaposed to chesed, which is personified by Abraham. Therefore, all the [supernal] coupling that occurred in his time was only in a manner of chesed. This is the mystical meaning of the statement, "I will make you into a great nation" [i.e. only you, chesed], for the maturation [i.e. becoming great] occurred in his times only in the brain of chochmah.
Abraham and Isaac…each personified necessary stages in the development of the idea of the Jewish people…
Afterwards, in the time of Isaac, the brain of bina matured, for it is on the left axis, juxtaposed to gevura, which is personified by Isaac. Therefore, all the [supernal] coupling that occurred in his time was only in a manner of gevura.
Finally, in the time of Jacob, the brain of daat was rectified, and then all three brains were fully mature, and there was complete coupling and reproduction. This is the mystical meaning of our sages' statement that Jacob's "bed was perfect", meaning that the [supernal] coupling that occurred in his time was a complete expression of all three aspects of the intellect.
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac was worthy to become one of the forefathers of the Jewish people, but Ishmael was not. He personified a fallen version of his father's chesed. This false chesed is the desire to please other people for egocentric ends, or excessive indulgence in the delights of this world. Similarly, Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob was worthy to continue the line, but Esau personified a fallen version of Isaac's gevura. This fallen gevura is the violence and murder. In contrast, all of Jacob's sons were considered worthy to carry on the line and serve as ancestors of the Jewish people. This is the simple meaning of the Sages' statement that "his bed was perfect".
Kabbalistically, the reason Abraham and Isaac produced unworthy offspring was because of their own psychological imbalances. These imbalances did not imply any error on their part, since each personified necessary stages in the development of the idea of the Jewish people, but their consequences were nonetheless such as they were.
chanoch adds: The Tree of Life and the traits of the Patriachs become more clear with the writings of the Ari as well as the commentary by the translator.
Please read the second section of this presentation, The Love of Abraham, to be listed on the Ari Landing Page
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Shaar HaPesukim; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."
From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
This is the second installment of a series; the first section of this presentation is Abraham Moves Out on His Own – See Above
[We will now explain] why the letter hei was added to Abraham's name and not to Isaac's or Jacob's name. This letter was added [to Abraham's name] for two reasons.
First: Zeir Anpin originally possessed no intellect, and it is known that [its intellect] is first clothed in the netzach-hod-yesod of Imma, identified with the first hei [of the name Havayah].
Before Imma can transfer intellect to Zeir Anpin, this intellect must be contracted and dimmed so that it can be vested in Zeir Anpin. It is thus funneled through the sub-sefirot of netzach-hod-yesod of Imma, whose function it is to contract the mentality of Imma in order to transfer it further.
Therefore, [the name "Abraham" - here referring to Zeir Anpin -] initially is missing the letter hei, and possesses only the letters alef-beit-reish and mem, signifying the two sub-sefirot of yesod [of Zeir Anpin and of Nukva] as we have explained, but unable to couple [in a face‑to-face manner].
After its intellect matures [i.e. is received from Imma], the first hei [of the name Havayah, signifying Imma] is added, as we have explained.
Secondly: The seminal drop of coupling derives from the states of chesed that issue from the brain of daat. Thus, when [Zeir Anpin's] intellect matured and it acquired the brain of daat, it was given these five states of chesed that produce the seminal drop[s]. This is the [second] mystical significance of the added hei.
Of the three "brains" of the intellect, daat is subjective intellect, or the ability of the mind to apply abstract comprehension to real life and make it relevant. It is thus the focal nexus between intellect and emotion, where intellect translates into emotional response.
Daat is the progenitor of the emotions…
Since daat is thus the progenitor of the emotions, it contains within it the potentials for these emotions. These potentials are the five states of chesed and the five states of gevura within daat, respectively the forces of attraction and repulsion to an idea as it is applied to reality. Chesed and gevura are the primary emotions, which give rise to all the others. There are five states of each because there are five emotions of content: chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, and hod. Yesod is a coalescence of the five emotions that precede it.
As was explained previously, the seminal drop of self-actualization is produced by Zeir Anpin's "love" of Nukva. The appreciation for the rectification of reality accomplished by "being fruitful and multiplying" one's divine self throughout reality and the essential role played by the "female" in this process will bring the individual to appreciate, be attracted to, and love the "female".
We have thus given two reasons for the addition of the hei [to Abraham's name].
From this [explanation] it will be understood why no additional hei was added to Isaac's or Jacob's name. Since any process is determined by its initial manifestation, and the [maturation of intellect] necessary for coupling [alluded to by the addition of the] letter hei was already alluded to in [Abraham's name], it is no longer necessary to allude to it in Isaac's or Jacob's name.
As explained previously, Abraham refers to the maturation of chochma of Zeir Anpin, Isaac to the maturation of bina of Zeir Anpin, and Jacob to the maturation of daat of Zeir Anpin.
Love, or caring, is what engenders all other emotions…
Furthermore, it is known that Abraham, who personified chesed, is known as "the day that accompanies all other days" (Zohar III 198b).
The seven middot correspond to the Seven Days of Creation. In the phrase, "G‑d will command His chesed by day," (Psalms 42:9) the word used for "by day" is "yomam", which can be translated "their day". Chesed is thus seen as the "day", or midda, that accompanies all the other "days". This means simply that chesed is the fundamental emotion, the basis of all the others. Love, or caring, is what engenders all other emotions, for if a person does not care about another person or thing, he will have no emotions toward it, positive or negative.
chanoch adds: in my opinion, indifference is an emotion that causes other emotions as well.
He is the one that transfers the five states of chesed to the mouth of Imma.
Although daat and bina are separate "brains", the abstract intellect of Imma also possesses latent, innate tendencies toward emotional response. Thus, daat is referred to in the Zohar as being present "in the mouth of Imma", poised to be expressed as emotions through speech.
Therefore, the five states of chesed [of daat] are alluded to in his [name] by the letter hei [whose numerical value is 5] and not in the names of Isaac and Jacob.
Since Isaac and Jacob allude to gevura and tiferet, which do not fulfill this role.
The name Elokim is considered the female relative to the name Havayah, since it acts as the medium for Havayah's message…
We will now explain the name of Sarah, [Abraham's] wife.
She personified the principle of the female, alluded to by the divine name Elokim.
The name Elokim is considered the female relative to the name Havayah, since it acts as the medium for Havayah's message.
It is known that the numerical value of this name when it is spelled out with the letter yud - signifying face-to-face coupling - is 300, corresponding to the shin of the name "Sarah".
As we have explained previously, the letter hei can be spelled in various ways. When it is spelled out hei-yud, and this spelling out is used to spell the name Elokim (alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem), we have:
alef – alef = 1 – lamed = 30 – pei = 80; = 111
lamed – lamed = 30 – mem = 40 – dalet = 4; = 74
hei – hei = 5 – yud = 10; = 15
yud – yud = 10 – vav = 6 – dalet = 4; = 20
mem – mem = 40 – mem = 40; = 80
total = 111 + 74 + 15 + 20 + 80 = 300
The letter yud here signifies chochma, and using this letter to spell the hei used to spell the name Elokim signifies full female consciousness, allowing full face-to-face coupling with the male.
Sarah is spelled shin-reish-hei. The numerical values of these three letters are 300, 200, and 5, respectively.
The numerical value of the simple progressive spelling of the name Elokim is 200, corresponding to the reish of "Sarah".
Elokim is spelled alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem. The progressive spelling-out of this name is thus:
Alef, alef-lamed, alef-lamed-hei, alef-lamed-hei-yud, alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem:
1 + (1 + 30) + (1 + 30 + 5) + (1 + 30 + 5 + 10) + (1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40) = 200.
The five letters that make up the name Elokim are signified by the hei of "Sarah"…
The five letters that make up the name Elokim are signified by the hei of "Sarah".
Therefore, when [Nukva] was fully rectified and made fit for coupling, it was called "Sarah", and [when it coupled with Zeir Anpin] it produced Isaac.
We will now once again explain the names Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, for they are all connected:
Know that Abraham personifies the attribute of chesed, which is signified by the divine name E-l, this being the mystical meaning of the verse, "The chesed of G‑d [E-l] is all day long", as is known.
The fact that the name of G‑d used in this verse is "E-l"indicates the association of this name with chesed.
Now, there are eight names E-l in the supernal faces of Arich Anpin. All of these are contained within the name Abraham, whose numerical value is 248, the numerical value of these 8 names.
"E-l" is spelled: alef-lamed = 31. 31 x 8 = 248.
"Abraham" is spelled: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248.
A further explanation:
It is known that the first rectification of the Thirteen Rectifications of the Beard [of Arich Anpin] is called "E-l", this being the mystical significance of the verse: "G‑d [E-l], merciful, gracious…" (Ex. 34:6) and of the verse: "Who is a G‑d [E-l] like You…," (Micah 7:18) as we have explained in our exposition on the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy recited in the weekday morning prayers. (Sha'ar HaKavanot, Va'ya'avor 6 and 7)
As we have explained previously, G‑d's Thirteen Attributes of Mercy listed in Exodus 34:6 are identified in Kabbala with the Thirteen Rectifications of the Beard of Arich Anpin.
This [attribute] corresponds to the two upper corners of the beard [i.e., the sidelocks], one to the right and one to the left. Thus, we have [so far] two names E-l.
Just as there are five states of chesed signified by Abraham, there are five states of gevura signified by Isaac…
It is also known that each sidelock 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. (Zohar III:132a. See Sha'ar Ma'amarei Rashbi in the Writings of the Ari.) 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 sidelocks.
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:
Alef is spelled: alef-lamed-pei = 1 + 30 + 80 = 111.
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 Chaya Sarah, we will explain this at greater length.
The numerical value of the name Isaac [in Hebrew, "Yitzchak"] is 8 times the name Havayah .
"Yitzchak" is spelled: yud-tzadik-chet-kuf = 10 + 90 + 8 + 100 = 208 = 8 x 26.
These eight [names Havayah] are the eight states of gevura of Isaac, each one corresponding to one name Havayah. The explanation of this is as follows:
It is known that there are five states of gevura, which are signified by five names Havayah, whose combined numerical value is 130. For just as there are five states of chesed signified by Abraham, there are five states of gevura signified by Isaac.
We mentioned the five states of gevura within daat above. 26 x 5 = 130.
There are another three states of gevura in yesod, these being the three states of gevura that are sweetened by the three exposed states of chesed [in yesod] as we will explain when we discuss the name "Joseph". It is known further that Isaac [Yitzchak] may be read "the end of the living [one]", which refers to yesod.
"Yitzchak" (is spelled yud-tzadik-chet-kuf) permutes to spell "keitz chai" (spelled kuf-tzadik chet-yud), "the end of the living [one]". Yesod is called "the living one", since in the body part to which it corresponds, the male reproductive organ, appears the properties of "life" (i.e. growth and change) relative to the more static (inert or "dead") limbs of the rest of the body.
We thus have 8 states of gevura, which are 8 names Havayah, which together equal [the numerical value of] Isaac [Yitzchak]. These 8 states are also explained in our exposition of the verse "on the day Isaac was weaned". Gen. 21:8)
The third installment of this series is: The Second Arbitrator. See below:
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Shaar HaPesukim;
lFrom the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky
[This is a third installment of a series, a continuation of Abraham Moves Out on His Own (the first installment) and Love of Abraham (the second installment). It is suggested that the reader review these previous installments before proceeding.]
The portion of the Torah read this week begins:
"And G‑d said to Abram, 'Go forth from your land, and from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. I will make you [there] into a great nation…'" (Gen. 12:1-2)
The Ari develops the following:
We will now explain the name "Joseph", for he is connected with Isaac, as we have mentioned.
We have already explained his [mystical] significance in our discussion of parashat Vayeshev, in reference to the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker.
In any case, the numerical value of "Joseph" [in Hebrew, "Yosef"] is 6 times that of the name Havayah.
"Yosef" is spelled: yud-vav-samech-pei = 10 + 6 + 60 + 80 = 156.
6 x 26 (the numerical value of Havayah) = 156.
The significance of these [six names Havayah] is as follows: We have explained in numerous contexts, including that of the commandment of circumcision in our discussion of parashat Lech Lecha, at length, that even though the five states of chesed spread throughout the body of Zeir Anpin, from chesed to yesod, nonetheless, the radiance of all the five states of chesed is absorbed in yesod; the five states of gevura descend into yesod as well.
The content of all the midot coalesces in yesod, where it is prepared to be transferred to expression in malchut.
Still, even though all five states of chesed and all five states of gevura descend [into yesod], their main states are the three revealed states of chesed, i.e. those present in tiferet, netzach, and hod, as is known.
three revealed states of gevura are sweetened by the three revealed states of chesed….
As we have mentioned previously, yesod of Imma extends until the upper third of tiferet of Zeir Anpin, meaning that the drive of the intellect to express itself is present in the midot produced by the intellect as far as the intellectual aspect of tiferet. From that point on, the midot "take over", and the dominant consciousness is that of pure midot, with the intellectual rationale for the midot present only in the background.
The three [revealed] states of gevura are sweetened by the three [revealed] states of chesed there [i.e. in yesod].
True, all five states of gevura are given to the feminine [partzuf, Nukva,] i.e. into her daat, as is known. And so too, all the five states of chesed are transferred to the feminine [partzuf] during the coupling [of Zeir Anpin and Nukva], as a drop of "male water" [i.e. seed]. Nonetheless, since [the lower three states] are revealed lights, [only] their source and radiance remains in yesod.
Though all five states of chesed and gevura that make up the sub-sefirot of chesed-gevura-tiferet-netzach-hod of Zeir Anpin pass through its yesod, what remains in it is the lower midot, i.e. the summation of chesed and gevura in tiferet and the orientation of the midot outward in netzach and hod.
Joseph … personified yesod….
These [states] are the three names Havayah of the [revealed] states of chesed and [those of] the three [revealed] states of gevura. [These six names Havayah] are the numerical equivalent of "Joseph".
Joseph, as is known, personified yesod.
With this knowledge, you can understand why yesod is called "the second arbitrator", for the said reason, namely, that in it the three [revealed] states of chesed are intertwined with the three [revealed] states of gevura, which are thereby sweetened.
The first "arbitrator" is tiferet, which reconciles chesed and gevura. Here, yesod reconciles the states of chesed and gevura above it.
With this you can also understand why this sefira is called "yesod". The reason is that this sefira tends to the left, this being the mystical meaning of "the live end", referring to yesod tending toward Isaac, which is the left axis.
The name "Isaac", in Hebrew, "Yitzchak" (spelled yud-tzadik-chet-kuf) can be rearranged to spell "the live end" ("keitz chai", kuf-tzadik chet-yud). The midot are also known as the six "ends" or "extremities", inasmuch as they define the six directions of three-dimensional space. Yesod is the "alive end", for it undergoes change (growth and shrinkage), thus exhibiting the properties of life.
The numerical value of the three states of gevura that remain in it, which are three names Havayah, is 78. Together with 1 for each of them, this sums to 81, the numerical value of "yesod" with the kolel.
3 x 26 = 78.
"Yesod" is spelled: yud-samech-vav-dalet = 10 + 60 + 6 + 4 = 80
The seven names…are called 'seven pearls'….
Another reason [this sefira] is called "yesod" is the following. What is written in the Zohar (II:92a, in Raya Mehemna) about the verse, "Remember the Shabbat day" (Ex. 20:8), concerning the seven names, is well-known. They are called "seven pearls", and the Shabbat is called "Y-ah Ado-nai".
These seven names are associated with the seven blessings of the Shabbat Standing Prayer (see third installment of parashat Tetzaveh), and that the fourth blessing of the Shabbat Standing Prayer, which is the only one that refers specifically to the Shabbat, is associated with the name Y-ah Ado-nai.
chanoch adds:Yah Adonai ha a gematria of 80 which is the same as Yesod.
It is also known that the Shabbat is associated with yesod, which is called "the Seventh".
Normally, we associate the Shabbat with malchut, the seventh midah. However, in the context of Zeir Anpin, malchut is not truly a separate sefira, but is called "the crown of the yesod", associated physically with the glans of the male reproductive organ. Malchut comes into its own only as the full partzuf of Nukva. Thus, the "seventh" of the midot within Zeir Anpin - and therefore, the Shabbat as well - can still be considered to be part of yesod.
Therefore, the numerical value of "yesod" is the same as that of the names Y-ah Ado-nai.
"Yesod" = 80, as above.
"Y-ah Ado-nai" is spelled: yud-hei alef-dalet-nun-yud = (10 + 5) + (1 + 4 + 50 + 10) = 15 + 65 = 80.
These two names correspond to the two aspects with [yesod]: yesod [itself] and its "crown". Yesod itself is called "Y-ah", and its "crown" is called "Ado-nai".
chanoch adds: Sod which is part of Yesod has a meaning of secret. Secret can be associated with concealed. The Name Yah is associated with the upper worlds which are concealed.
Furthermore, the yesod of Leah and the yesod of Rachel are [signified by] two final mem's, the combined numerical value of which is also that of yesod.
Leah and Rachel are the two partzufim of Nukva, as we know. The female yesod, the womb, is indicated by a final, closed mem, which depicts a closed, empty space that will be filled by the male seed. The numerical value of mem is 40, so the 2 yesod's of Leah and Rachel equal together 80, the numerical value of yesod.
indicates that yesod couples with the two yesod's of Rachel and Leah.
Now that we have explained the two names of Isaac and Jacob, and how both are manifestations of the states of gevura, we will now explain how these two names combine and thereby contain all the states of gevura.
The summation of all the states of judgment are the 288 sparks that were rectified by the 32 names Elo-him, which were other states of judgment, as is known. All together, these add up to 320 sparks.
When the vessels of Tohu shattered, 288 general sparks were entrapped in the fallen remains of these vessels….
As is known, when the vessels of Tohu shattered, 288 general sparks were entrapped in the fallen remains of these vessels. In the account of Creation, the Torah refers to G‑d exclusively by the name Elo-him, and this name is used exactly 32 times. The creation of this physical world, subsequent to the collapse of the world of Tohu, effected a certain rectification in the shattered vessels, preparing them for their further rectification by man.
Now, the combined value of "Yitzchak" [Hebrew for "Isaac"] and "yesod" is 288. This, too, will be explained more fully in our comments to parashat Vayeira, on the verse "…on the day Isaac was weaned".
"Yitzchak" is spelled: yud-tzadik-chet-kuf = 10 + 90 + 8 + 100 = 208. Yesod = 80, as above. 208 + 80 = 288.
The numerical value of the name "Yaakov" [Hebrew for "Jacob"] is equal to 7 times the name Havayah.
"Yaakov" is spelled: yud-ayin-kuf-beit = 10 + 70 + 100 + 2 = 182. 7 x 26 = 182.
These refer to the seven mentalities comprised within Zeir Anpin. We have already explained their significance in our comments to parashat Vayeitzei, how these seven mentalities are called "Beersheba" [literally, "the well of the seven"].
The seven mentalities of Zeir Anpin are its four original mentalities (chochma, bina, and the two aspects of daat - the source of chesed [attraction] within daat and the source of gevura [repulsion] within daat) and its three secondary mentalities (simply chochma-bina-daat) that it acquires when it ascends into Imma and is vested inside netzach-hod-yesod of Imma.
Alternatively, netzach-hod-yesod of Abba becomes vested in the chochma-bina-chesed-gevura of Zeir Anpin, while the netzach-hod-yesod of Imma becomes vested in the chochma-bina-daat of Zeir Anpin.
The first verse in parashat Vayeitzei is: "And Jacob went out from Beersheba and went to Haran." (Gen. 28:10)
There are in Zeir Anpin three more, immature mentalities, signified by the name Elo-him.
In contrast to the seven mature mentalities signified by 7 names Havayah, the immature mentalities are signified by names Elo-him.
These are alluded to in the phrase [that continues this verse:] "…and he went to Haran."
The numerical value of the names Elo-him (3 x 86 = 258) is the same as that of "Haran" ("Charan" is spelled: chet-reish-nun = 8 + 200 + 50 = 258).
As we explain there, the name Elo-him spelled out with yud's signifies [the partzuf of] Leah, the name Elo-him spelled out with hei's - this being the third spelling-out of the name Elo-him - signifies [the partzuf of] Rachel, and the middle spelling-out of the name Elo-him, using alef's, signifies [the partzuf of] Yaakov, which encompasses both of them, his two wives.
He is therefore called "Yaakov", for this name can be read "yud-akev", "akev" meaning "heel" in Hebrew. The numerical value of the word "akev" is that of two names Elo-him, i.e. that of Rachel and that of Leah. There are ten letters in these two names [Elo-him], 10 being the numerical value of the yud of [the name] Yaakov. This indicates that this yud comprises both names Elo-him.
Tiferet reconciles and harmonizes the preceding sefirot of chesed and gevura….
"Yaakov" is spelled yud-ayin-kuf-beit; the word for "heel" ("akev") is spelled ayin-kuf-beit. Thus, "Yaakov" can be read: "yud-heel".
Ayin-kuf-beit = 70 + 100 + 2 = 172.
"Elo-him" is spelled: alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem (5 letters) = 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 86.
2 x 86 = 172.
Let us now return to the general discussion of the three names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Jacob reconciles the first two, and therefore takes twice as much as they do, as follows.
Jacob signifies tiferet, and as we know, tiferet reconciles and harmonizes the preceding sefirot of chesed and gevura.
[The numerical value of] the name "Avraham" [Abraham] comprises [the numerical value of] the name "Yaakov" plus [the numerical value of] the name Ado-nai [plus the kolel].
"Avraham" is spelled: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248.
"Yaakov" is spelled: yud-ayin-kuf-beit = 10 + 70 + 100 + 2 = 182.
"Ado-nai" is spelled: alef-dalet-nun-yud = 1 + 4 + 50 + 10 = 65.
182 + 65 + 1 = 248.
[The numerical value of] the name "Yitzchak" [Isaac] also comprises [the numerical value of] the name "Yaakov" plus [the numerical value of] the name Havayah.
"Yitzchak" is spelled: yud-tzadik-chet-kuf = 10 + 90 + 8 + 100 = 208.
182 + 26 = 208.
Thus, Abraham took one value-of-the-name-Ado-nai more than the-value-of-the-name-Jacob, while Isaac took the-value-of-the-name-Havayah more than the-value-of-the-name-Jacob.
But Jacob took twice what they took, i.e. two names Havayah and two names Ado-nai, the combined value of which is the numerical value of "Yaakov".
(2 x 26) + (2 x 65) = 52 + 130 = 182.
Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sha'ar HaPesukim
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