The Mystery of the Showbread

The loaves of bread in the Tabernacle allude to unifications in the spiritual worlds.

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

The portion of the Torah read this week discusses the architecture and vessels of the Tabernacle, including the Table and the Showbread. (Ex. 25:23-30) The details of the Showbread are given in parashat Emor. (Lev. 24:5-9)

[We will now discuss] the mystery of the Showbread, i.e. the twelve loaves that were always warm.

The loaves were baked on Friday, placed on the Table on the Shabbat, and eaten by the priests the following Shabbat. Miraculously, they stayed fresh for the whole week. (Menachot 96b)

You already know that above there are several types of couplings, which are [all] metaphorically referred to as "eating", as in the mystical meaning of the verse, "Eat, beloved ones". (Songs 5:1)

Eating is a euphemism for sexual relations….

Eating is a euphemism for sexual relations. Thus, we find that when Potiphar made Joseph in charge of his household and business affairs, "He left all that he had in Joseph's care, and with him in charge, he concerned himself with nothing except the bread he ate." (Gen. 39:6) Rashi comments: "This means his wife." And indeed, Joseph says when Potiphar's wife propositions him, "He has denied me nothing but you, being his wife." (Genesis 39:9)

Similarly, when Jethro heard that Moses had saved his daughters from a shepherd, he said to them, "Why did you leave the man [there]? Call him [here], and let him eat bread." (Ex. 2:20) Rashi comments: "Perhaps he will marry one of you," as Moses indeed did, as we are told in the next verse: "He gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses."

The verse quoted above is from the Song of Songs, the love poem between G‑d and Israel.

As to why eating should be a metaphor for sexual relations…

Now, the coupling of Abba and Imma is affected by the mazal of the beard of Arich Anpin. The numerical value of the word for "bread" [in Hebrew, "lechem", which has a numerical value of 78] is the same as that of the Aramaic word for mazal ["mazla"].

"Lechem" is spelled: lamed-chet-mem = 30 + 8 + 40 = 78.

"Mazla" is spelled: mem-lamed-zayin-alef = 40 + 30 + 7 + 1 = 78.

Divine consciousness…is channeled through the beard of Arich Anpin….

In order for a couple to unite in marital relations, there must be some inspiration that descends upon them from above. In the case of Abba and Imma, this inspiration is a spark of divine consciousness that descends upon them from the preceding parztuf, Arich Anpin, the will. Specifically, it is channeled through the beard of Arich Anpin, which, as we have discussed previously, subdivides into 13 "tufts", which in turn correspond to G‑d's 13 Attributes of Mercy. These attributes are called "mazalot" (pl. of "mazal"), meaning "channel of flow", since the root of "mazal" is nun-zayin-lamed, which means "to flow". Thus, the zodiacal signs are also called "mazalot", since they channel the divine beneficence into the natural world.

In other words, the will to live and enhance life is the motivation for Abba and Imma to couple. In prosaic terms, we might say that a couple can engage in marital relations either as an expression of love for each other or of their desire to become parents together. When focusing on the latter intention, their coupling is like that of Abba and Imma ("father" and "mother"), and the inspiration they draw upon to unite in this way comes from their own precedent, or parents. (The former intention is represented by the coupling of Zeir Anpin and Nukva.)

The names of the partzufim are in Aramaic, taken from the Zohar, as is this concept of mazal. That is why the numerical analysis uses the Aramaic term "mazla" rather than the Hebrew "mazal".

(The text refers to Arich Anpin by the Zoharic term Atika, not to be confused with the partzuf of Atik Yomin.)

[This mazal] is the sixth [of the thirteen], and [the letter representing the number 6, vav] is spelled out by doubling itself with another vav. These [two 6's] are manifest as the twelve loaves, arranged in two arrays of six each. They also manifest the two letters hei [of the name Havayah], whose numerical value when spelled out also equals twelve.

Coupling is referred to as heat….

One of the ways the letter vav, the third letter of the name Havayah, can be spelled out is vav-vav. These two vav's represent the two arrays of six loaves arranged on the Table.

The letter hei appears as the second and fourth letter of the name Havayah. One of the ways it can be spelled out is hei-alef; the numerical value of this combination is 5 + 1 = 6. So, the two hei's again give us two sets of six.

These twelve [loaves] derive from the three names Havayah present in the [said] mazal, which [together] comprise 12 letters.

The numerical value of these three names Havayah is the same as the numerical values of the words for "bread" and "mazal".

Yud-hei-vav-hei: 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 26. 3 x 26 = 78.

Since Abba and Imma couple continuously, this bread, i.e. the mazal that motivates them to couple, must be continuously on the table, as it is written, "[and you shall place] showbread on the Table before Me continuously." (Ex. 25:30)

For this reason also it was always warm, as it is written, "to place warm bread on the day it is taken off." (Samuel I 21:7) [It was always warm] to indicate that [the mazal, too,] is always warm, arousing the continuous supernal coupling [of Abba and Imma].

The Levite…exhibits no strict judgment….

Warmth and heat, in the vernacular also, are metaphors for sexual arousal. Rabbi Wolf Ashkenazi notes here that some texts add: "We find that coupling is referred to as 'heat', as it is written, '…whenever the flock are in heat.'" (Gen. 30:41)

[Only] the priests [were allowed to] eat this bread. This is because the priests manifested chochma, the beginning, the High Priest of all the ten sefirot.

The right axis of the sefirotic array alludes to the three types of priests: chochma to the High priest, chesed to the regular priests, and netzach to the assistant [segan] priests. The left side of the sefirotic tree alludes to the Levites. (See Sha'ar Ma'amarei Rashbi on the Idra, Zohar III:131b) The priests, who officiated at the sacrificial rites in the Temple, channeled the divine benficence downward to the people, and thus manifested the attribute of chesed, G‑d's lovingkindness. The Levites, in contrast, accompanied the Temple service with music, arousing the emotions of the people and focusing their consciousness upward, on G‑d. This ascent is an attribute of gevura, G‑d's strict judgment, for any ascent implies a transcedence or rejection of the lower level one is ascending out of.

Through this you may understand the meaning of the phrase: "The Levite Priests…" (Joshua 3:3) We see, in fact, that the Torah sometimes calls the Levites "priests", as it is written, "They will approach the priests, the children of Levi," (Deut. 21:5) and the like. The reason for this is that the archetypes for the priests and the Levites are chochma and bina, respectively. Since, as we have said, [these two sefirot] never part, the Levite on this level is "sweetened", i.e. [he exhibits] no strict judgment. He therefore is closely allied to the priests, and they all exist together, as one.

But below, [in their physical manifestation], the Levites manifest strict severity. They therefore cannot connect with the priests [as they do in their spiritual archetype]. This is why the showbread is eaten only by the priests, who manifest chochma.

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

Angels and Arks

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

Kabbalah teaches that the cherubs above the ark manifest various spiritual forms of love.

In this Torah portion, G‑d tells Moses to make an ark in which to house the Tablets of the Covenant. From the top cover of this ark protruded two cherubs.

Regarding the ark-cover and the cherubs, there are those of the opinion that the cherubs are [manifestations of] Zeir Anpin and Nukva, and there are others of the opinion that they are [manifestations of] netzach and hod [of Imma], and there are still others of the opinion that they are [manifestations of] Abba and Imma.

According to the Sages, the two cherubs represent the pairing of G‑d and the Jewish people. When G‑d was pleased with us, the cherubs faced each other; when not, they miraculously turned away from each other.

The Kabbalistic archetype for the romantic dynamic of union and estrangement is the relationship between the partzufim of Zeir Anpin and Nukva….

The Kabbalistic archetype for the "romantic" dynamic of union and estrangement is the relationship between the partzufim of Zeir Anpin and Nukva, whose union is intermittent, and depends upon the behavior of the Jewish people, whose souls are derived from Nukva. The more "mature" partzufim of Abba and Imma do not undergo such vicissitudes in their relationship, and their union is constant.

Inasmuch as all [opinions in the Torah] are true, know that [the cherubs] are in fact [manifestations of] Abba and Imma, which are like Zeir Anpin and Nukva [except that] they never, ever part.

They [also] manifest netzach and hod [of Imma], which enter into Zeir Anpin. For this reason, they had [middle-aged] adult faces, to indicate that they entered into Zeir Anpin. For if Abba and Imma were in their place, above, it would have been proper for them to have had elderly adult faces, rather than [middle-aged] mature faces. Rather, [you we must assume that] they were [manifestations of] netzach and hod that entered Zeir Anpin.

Three times a day…their faces would change from that of children to that of adults….

The Sages state that the cherubs on the ark-cover had the faces of children. (Chagiga 13b; Sukka 5ab) The Zohar states that three times a day, during the daily prayers, the cherubs would miraculously spread their wings, and at that time, when the Jews experienced expanded mature consciousness, their faces would change from that of children to that of adults.

In Kabbalistic terms, mature consciousness is the presence of the mentality of Imma in Zeir Anpin. The facet of Imma that can enter Zeir Anpin is its netzach and hod, as we have explained previously.

About this, it is said, "And spread over us the shelter of Your peace" In our Liturgy, second blessed after the recitation of the Shema in the evening service is, referring to the shelter of Solomon.

The word for "peace" [in Hebrew, "shalom"] is closely related to the name "Solomon" [in Hebrew, "Shelomo"].

This refers to the fact that when netzach and hod of Imma enter Zeir Anpin, Zeir Anpin's intellect matures and this quiets the internal strife going on inside us. The mentality of Imma [i.e. Imma itself, which cannot enter Zeir Anpin] "hovers" over us, acting as an inspiration, protecting us.

In any case, the union of the two cherubs signifies the union of Zeir Anpin and Nukva, who, when united, resemble the constant union of Abba and Imma.

Apparently, when netzach and yesod of Imma enter Zeir Anpin, this somehow completes yesod of Imma, as will be now stated, and this sets in motion the proper functioning of the cherubs/ark-cover, the revelation of G‑d's will through the Torah.

When yesod of Imma is completed, yesod of Abba - which is the Torah - becomes manifest. And where is it manifest? In the Ark [of the Covenant], which [manifests] malchut of Imma.

Insight is drawn into the mind when the mind has created in itself…an awareness that it needs to be filled….

When yesod of Imma, i.e. the womb of the mother, is ready, the yesod of Abba, the father's procreative organ, is aroused to fertilize it. Insight is drawn into the mind when the mind has created in itself a vacuum, a womb, an awareness that it needs to be filled. This is possible only if the individual feels a sense of selflessness, a willingness to relinquish his present imperfect worldview in favor of a more perfect one.

chanoch adds: This is the Kavenah to build a vessel. Lern it well and practice it intil it becom es who you are.

Malchut of Imma is the interface between Imma and the lower partzufim, the ability of the intellect to create emotions and their expression.

chanoch adds: Intellect does not create emotions except to act out emotions. Emotions are the protection and needs of the body. This my opinion.

Similarly, when we remove the Torah [scroll] from the ark [in the synagogue], we are [in effect] removing the Torah, i.e. chochma, from the ark, i.e. malchut of bina. We then take it to the reader's platform, i.e. malchut.

Reading the Torah is revealing G‑d's will into the world, i.e. manifesting the divine insight of chochma as developed into a new vision of reality in bina that is now ready to revitalize and re-inspire the world.

We will now describe how this dynamic is manifest in the array of angels in the higher worlds.

Similarly, we find reference to the seraphim - which are cherubs - being in Beriya, which is [associated with] bina, and to chayot being in Yetzira, and ofanim in Asiya.

There are two seraphim, even though innumerable camps of millions [of angels are derived and] issue from them. They correspond to yud-hei, i.e. chochma inside bina, which together enter Beriya.

The seraphim are the more "intellectual" angels, who personify divine consciousness based on intellectual comprehension of divinity. The letters yud-hei signify chochma and bina.

It is stated in the Zohar that the four worlds are dominated by the four levels of divine consciousness indicated by the four letters of the the name Havayah, respectively. Thus, the world of Atzilut is dominated by chochma/yud, pure divine awareness. Beriya is dominated by bina/hei, divine intellect. Yetzira is dominated by the midot/vav, divine emotion. Asiya is dominated by malchut/hei, divine expression.

This is the name Y-ah in the world of Beriya, as Rabbi Yishmael said, "I saw Akatriel Y-ah Havayah Tzeva-ot…." (Berachot 7a)

In Atzilut it is impossible for there to be any duality whatsoever….

Evidently, these four names of G‑d correspond to the four letters of the name Havayah, the four worlds, the four partzufim, etc. The name Akatriel is obviously related to keter, the super-rational sefira that serves as the source of insight given into chochma, and is thus associated with the world of Atzilut. Y-ah, as just stated, refers to chochma within bina, the experience of Beriya. Havayah is associated with tiferet, the central of the six midot. Tzeva-ot is associated with netzach and hod, which are manifest as G‑d's actions in the world of Asiya.

These are [the two archangels] Michael and Gabriel, who are termed "seraphim", and are the strength of the states of gevura.

Bina is on the left side of the sefira-tree, and therefore associated with gevura; thus seraphim, the angels of Beriya, are also associated with gevura. In particular, the word "seraph" means "fiery angel" or "burning angel", referring to the burning up of self-awareness that accompanies deep intellectual comprehension of divine reality. The relentless, consuming nature of fire is associated with gevura.

This is indicated by the fact that the numerical value of seraph [= 580] is the same as that of the word for "strength" ["tokef"].

"Seraph" is spelled: sin-reish-pei = 300 + 200 + 80 = 580.

"Tokef" is spelled: tav-kuf-pei = 400 + 100 + 80 = 580.

They are each twice the numerical value of the final letters.

The letters mem, nun, tzadik, pei, and chaf possess final forms, indicating a stopping or restraint (gevura) of the flow of divine life-force represented by the letters of the alphabet.

mem-nun-tzadik-pei-chaf = 40 + 50 + 90 + 80 + 20 = 280.

2 x 280 = 560.

Each one includes itself and its fellow with it.

This statement apparently completes the calculation from 560 to 580.

When we reach the world of Asiya, the forces of evil are quite abundant….

Below them are the chayot, in Yetzira. There are four chayot, in this order: netzach is included within chesed, hod is included in gevura, yesod is included in tiferet -this is three. The fourth is malchut, which issues from the back of tiferet; it is the fourth chaya. [The names of the chayot are] Michael, Gabriel, Nuriel, and Raphael. They are all aspects of Metatron, for he is the main chaya, while these [four] others are manifestations of him.

They are the six extremities, which are the six vav's, whose combined numerical value is 36.

The seraphim are above them, as it is written, "Seraphim were standing above Him." (Isaiah 6:2)

The word for "Him" in this verse is lo [lamed-vav], whose numerical value is [30 + 6 =] 36. Thus, the verse may be read, "The seraphim were standing above the 36".

The ofanim are below [these], in Asiya. In fact, there is only one ofan, as it is written, "And behold, there was one ofan on the earth" (Ezekiel 1:15), but innumerable camps [of derivative ofanim] issue from it.

All this is because in Atzilut it is impossible for there to be any duality whatsoever, but below Atzilut - even though the infinite light of G‑d spreads throughout Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya - it shines through veils. It shines into Beriya through one veil, into Yetzira through two veils, and into Asiya through three. [Therefore,] the infinite light of G‑d does not cling to them [i.e. these worlds], and they are therefore termed "worlds of separateness".

We can therefore speak of two or four [entities in these worlds], as is required a-propos to the matter.

When we reach the world of Asiya, the forces of evil are quite abundant there, and it is therefore termed "the world of death". For this reason, the ofanim, which are [the angels] in Asiya, possess no intrinsic life-force, being from "the world of death", rather, their life-force comes from Yetzira.

This is the meaning of the verse, "For the spirit of the chaya was in the ofanim" (Ezekiel 1:20). And, [as we know,] the chaya is in the world of Yetzira. Thus, the spirituality and life-force of Yetzira descends into the ofanim of Asiya, and there is no [life-force] in the ofanim except whatever reaches them from Yetzira.

This is why "when the chayot, the ofanim followed; when the former moved, the latter moved, and when the former stop, the latter stop" (Ibid.), for the spirit of the chaya is present in the ofanim, and the latter's life-force comes from the former.

chanoch adds: This whole essay provides hints to the world of Angels that are new to most people. It requires contemplation since the hints relate also to our understandings of the Sefirot and to Names of Angels. Look to the ending letters of the Names of Angels.

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

Developing Divine Dwellings

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

The ability to house the Divine Presence progressed over time.

In this Torah portion, G‑d tells Moses to build the Tabernacle. Maimonides writes:

The Tabernacle that Moses built was a temporary structure, as it is written, "For you have not yet come to the repose and inheritance that G‑d, your G‑d, is giving you." (Deut. 12:4) When [the Jews] entered the Land [of Israel, in the year 2488], they set up the Tabernacle at Gilgal, and it stood there for 14 years [until 2502], while they conquered and divided [the Land]. From there, they came to Shiloh and built there a stone structure and spread the tapestries of the Tabernacle over it; it did not have a fixed roof. The Tabernacle of Shiloh stood [thus] for 369 years [until 2871]. When Eli died, it was taken down. They went to Nov and built a sanctuary there; when Samuel died, it was taken down. They went to Givon and built a sanctuary there; after Givon they went to the permanent Temple. [The structures at] Nov and Givon [stood for a total of] 57 years, [until 2928, or 832 BCE, when the first Temple was built]. (Mishneh Torah, Beit HaBechira 1:1-2)

The significance of the Tabernacle [of the Sinai Desert], the Tabernacle of Shiloh, and the Temple [is as follows].

Know that in the Tabernacle, Zeir Anpin and Nukva were back to back on weekdays. This is the significance of the fact that the numerical value of the word for "Tabernacle" [in Hebrew, "Mishkan"] is 410, alluding to the two regressive iterations of the name Elokim. For the numerical value of the regressive iteration of the name Elokim, plus 5 units for the 5 letters of the name itself, is 205.

"Mishkan" is spelled: mem-shin-kaf-nun = 40 + 300 + 20 + 50 = 410.

The regressive iteration of the name Elokim (alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem):

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) = 5(1) + 4(30) + 3(5) + 2(10) + 1(40) = 5 + 120 + 15 + 20 + 40 = 200

This is the mystical significance of the verse, "And he came to the mountain of G‑d [Elokim] to Horeb": (Ex. 3:1) "Mountain" signifies the name Elokim, and therefore it is "Horeb" [rooted in the Hebrew word for "destruction"] for it signifies strict judgment, not settlement.

When they face back to back, everything is in a state of severe judgment….

The numerical value of the word for "mountain" is har", spelled: hei-reish = 5 + 200 = 205. 205, as we just saw, refers to the regressive iteration of the name Elokim. The word "Horeb" (in Hebrew, "chorev") means "destruction". Thus, this verse can be read, "And he came to the mountain, which signifies the name Elokim undergoing destruction," i.e. withdrawl, or regression. The name Elokim, we know, is anyways associated with gevura (judgment, severity), and its withdrawal signifies an especially negative situation, in which the divine beneficence is severly limited. The divine consciousness implied by such a situation is not sufficient to "civilize" reality, and therefore leaves reality outside its own realm a "desert" or "wasteland", devoid of divine consciousness.

Two times the numerical value of "mountain" [=205] equals the numerical value of "Tabernacle" [in Hebrew, "Mishkan", 410].

Thus, the two "mountains" of the "Tabernacle" are the two partzufim of Zeir Anpin and Nukva in their limited states of divine consciousness.

In fact, the two backs of Zeir Anpin and Nukva - signified by the two "mountains" just mentioned - were facing and clinging to each other [in the desert on weekdays]. This is why the Tabernacle existed in the desert, a desolate place. For it alluded to [Zeir Anpin and Nukva's] backs, since the numerical value of the word for "Tabernacle" is twice that of the word for "mountain", as mentioned.

When they face back to back, everything is in a state of severe judgment, signified by the name Elokim.

In the Tabernacle at Shiloh, [Zeir Anpin and Nukva] turned around to face each other, but [Nukva was manifest] only as the partzuf of Rachel, [whose stature extends] only from the chest [of Zeir Anpin] downward. Therefore, the structure [of the Tabernacle at Shiloh] had built [i.e. permanent] walls.

In the Temple, Zeir Anpin and Nukva were of equal stature….

The state of face-to-face is a more permanent and deeper union between the two partzufim. This was indicated by the construction of the Tabernacle, the "home" of the divine "couple", being built with permanent walls. But since this face-to-face union was not complete, only "from the chest down", the permanence of the structure was only in its lower half, not its ceiling/roof. Psychologically, this means that we are only able to express the lower half of the emotions, the aspect of the emotions directed toward expression. The higher aspect of the emotions, the emotions as they are informed by the intellect, the idea that produced them, is "truncated".

It would appear to me [Rabbi Chaim Vital] that after prayers [every day], [Zeir Anpin and Nukva] reverted to being back-to-back, and this is why it was still called a "Tabernacle".

Since the numerical value of "Tabernacle", as above, alludes to Zeir Anpin and Nukva being back-to-back.

This is also why the numerical value of "Shilo" is the same as that of "Moses" [in Hebrew, "Moshe"].

"Shiloh" is spelled: shin-yud-lamed-hei = 300 + 10 + 30 + 5 = 345.

"Moshe" is spelled: mem-shin-hei = 40 + 300 + 5 = 345.

For the numerical value of the shin [of Moshe, 300] is the same as that of the name Elokim spelled out with the letter yud.

alef lamed pei = 111

lamed mem dalet = 74

hei yud = 15

yud vav dalet = 20

mem mem = 80

total = 111 + 74 + 15 + 20 + 80 = 300

This serves to indicate that the original state [of Zeir Anpin and Nukva] was that of the "back" of the name Elokim [seen in its regressive iteration], but now, [in Shiloh], they are face to face, as indicated by the supernal form of the name Elokim, i.e. its spelling-out with the letter yud.

The letter yud signifies chochma, the highest conscious sefira, and whenever it is used to spell out a divine name (as opposed to the letters alef or hei), this indicates the presence of chochma in the state signified by that name.

The mem and hei [of Moshe] allude to the name Mah [= 45, Havayah] spelled with the letter alef.

The numerical values of mem and hei are 40 and 5, which together add up to 45, the numerical value of the name Havayah when it is spelled out with alef's, as follows:

yud spelled out = yud-vav-dalet = 10 + 6 + 4 = 20

hei spelled out = hei-alef = 5 + 1 = 6

vav spelled out = vav-alef-vav = 6 + 1 + 6 = 13

hei spelled out = hei-alef = 5 + 1 = 6

TOTAL = 20 + 6 +13 +6 = 45

This indicates that now, [at Shiloh,] Zeir Anpin is no longer manifesting the name Elokim, but rather the name Havayah as spelled out to equal 45, and also to indicate that it is facing [Nukva].

The name Havayah, associated with the attribute of mercy, indicates a much higher level of divine consciousness than does the name Elokim.

But in the Temple, Zeir Anpin and Nukva were of equal stature, and Nukva extended up to include the measure of the sub-partzuf of Leah. Therefore, the numerical value of the word for "Temple" ["Mikdash"] is the same as that of the word for "measure" ["midat"], as I have explained in regard to the mystical meaning of the verse: "…and the measure of my days, what it is" (Psalms 39:5) for Leah is called "the measure".

"Mikdash"is spelled: mem-kuf-dalet-shin = 40 + 100 + 4 + 300 = 444.

"Midat" is spelled: mem-dalet-tav = 40 + 4 + 400 = 444.

Leah is the expression of thought, as opposed to Rachel, which is the expression of speech and action….

The partzuf of Leah is the expression of thought, as opposed to Rachel, which is the expression of speech and action. Leah (thought) is more suited to express ideas and intellect, while Rachel (speech and action) is more suited to express emotion. Thus, Leah's position is opposite the upper half of Zeir Anpin, the aspect of the emotions that are still connected to the intellect.

This is the mystical meaning of our Sages' statement that in the days of King Solomon, the moon was full. (Shemot Rabbah 15:26; Zohar I:223b, 225b, III:46a)

King Solomon built the First Temple. The Midrash, counting Abraham as the first Jewish "king", counts 14 kings between him and King Solomon, and another 14 kings from King Solomon to the destruction of the First Temple. Thus, King Solomon is the 15th of 30 kings. These 30 kings correspond to the 30 days of a lunar month, and thus the institution of Jewish monarchy is seen as starting (as a "new moon") with Abraham, waxing until its greatest point in the person of King Solomon, and then waning as Jewish civilization became more decadent after him, until the destruction.

chanoch adds: List of Kings and the relationship to each day of each Hebrew Month:

Day 1 – Rosh Chodesh - Abraham

Day 2 – Isaac


Day 3 – Jacob

Day 4 – Yehudah Ben Yaacov – Progenitor of the Tribe that became the Nation of Jews.

Day 5 - Perez

Day 6 - Hezron

Day 7 - Ram

Day 8 - Aminadav

Day 9 - Nachshon

Day 10 - Salmon

Day 11 – Avimelech Ben Gideon – Judges 9:6

Day 12 – King Saul

Day 13 – Ish Bosheth

Day 14 – King David

Day 15 – Full Moon - King Solomen

Day 16 – Rehaboam – ruled 3 years and then the natin divided and Reboah was King in the northern Kingdom

Day 17 - Jereboam

Day 18 - Nadav

Day 19 -

Day 20 -

Day 21 -

Day 22 -

Day 23 -

Day 24 -

Day 25 -

Day 26 -

Day 27 -

Day 28 -

Day 29 -

Day 30 -

The above is not correct and also incomplete.

[Nukva] grew to equal the full stature of Zeir Anpin.

The moon is a correlate of Nukva, as can be seen (among other ways) in the correlation between the lunar month and the menstrual cycle. The full moon thus indicates the full maturation of the partzuf of Nukva, which occurred when King Solomon built the Temple.

Therefore, [when he dedicated the Temple], King Solomon made a fourteen-day feast, divided into two groups of seven, corresponding to Rachel and Leah.

"And Solomon celebrated the festival at that time, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from Levo Chamat until the wadi of Egypt, before G‑d, our G‑d, seven days and seven days, fourteen days." (Kings I 8:65)

Malchut is the seventh sefira of the midot, thus, the seven-day periods each correspond to the two aspects of malchut, the two sub-partzufim of Leah and Rachel.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sha'ar HaPesukim, parashat Terumah

Arks & Angels, Skin & Skulls

The layers of the Ark rectified the barriers of unholiness.

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

This portion of the Torah discusses the Tabernacle. The inner chamber of the Tabernacle housed the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Tablets of the Covenant, on which were engraved the Ten Commandments.

There were actually three arks, one inside the other. (Ex. 25:11, Rashi) This reflects the fact that there are three names Elokim in Zeir Anpin of Atzilut, corresponding to [its] bina, gevura, and malchut. The numerical value of these is 258, the numerical value of "Haran". Bezalel made three arks corresponding to these three names.

Elokim: alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem = 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 86. 3 x 86 = 258.

Haran: chet-reish-nun = 8 + 200 + 50 = 258.

The name Elokim signifies contraction, restriction [tzimtzum], judgment [din], and severity [gevura]. It can therefore be seen to signify any sefira that exhibits these properties.

As we have explained previously, bina is the faculty of the intellect whose function it is to analyze and evalute the insight of chochma, thereby purifying it from any admixtures of subjectivism it might contain. It is thus functions with judgement and severity. Gevura is the sefira whose task it is to limit the indiscriminate beneficence of chesed, in order that goodness is bestowed only upon recipients who deserve it.

The three arks…were intended to counterbalance these names Elokim…

Finally, malchut is the funnel through which the consciousness of one world passes to the next lower one, and thus becomes the ruling principle of that lower world. Since it functions in this context as the definer of the lower world, it is also clearly a principle of contraction and limitation.

Haran was the city in Mesopotamia where Abraham's family settled after leaving Ur of Chaldea. Abraham himself continued on to the land of Israel, leaving his extended family behind. Haran thus thematically represents the idea of opting out of answering the divine call to perfect the world and the preference to remain behind in order to indulge in the world's ungodly enticements. The last sentence (Gen. 11:31) of parashat Noach, which as a whole describes G‑d's displeasure with mankind's choice of the lawless life over divine discipline, which immediately precedes G‑d's call "go forth" to Abraham at the beginning of parashat Lech Lecha, is "and Terah (Abraham's father) died in Haran". (Gen. 11:32) Significantly, the word "haran" means "anger", signifying G‑d's frustration with mankind's rejection of Him prior to Abraham. (See Rashi on these verses.)

Thus, these three names Elokim constitute the full manifestation of G‑d's attributes of severity. The three arks that made up the Ark of the Covenant were intended to counterbalance these names Elokim.

Since the top of the supernal tree is bina and its bottom is malchut, the inner and outer arks were made of gold, whereas the middle ark, corresponding to gevura, was made of wood.

Since chochma in a way transcends human intellect and rationality, being a revelation of some insight from "beyond," it is, in contexts like this one, excluded from the full structure (or "tree") of consciousness. In such contexts, bina is the highest sefira and malchut the lowest. It thus follows that this model of consciousness is framed top and bottom by elements of gevura. This is because this structure is limited by the parameters of human rationality and intellect. Gold, a reddish color, signifies gevura.

Know also, that the Shechinah in Atzilut becomes vested in keter [of Beriya], and these are the three arks: Akatriel in Beriya, Metatron in Yetzira, and Sandalfon in Asiya.

chanoch adds: Arks = ArkAngels

These three names are names of angels. It is customary not to pronounce names of angels unless these names are also used for people, e.g., Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, etc.

In a famous passage of the Zohar, it is stated that bina of Atzilut "nests" in Beriya, Zeir Anpin "nests" in Yetzira, and Nukva "nests" in Asiya. This means that the levels of consciousness denoted by the three lower worlds derives from these partzufim in Atzilut. Bina is intellect; thus, the divine consciousness that defines the world of Beriya is intellectual consciousness of G‑d. Zeir Anpin is the partzuf of the emotions; thus, the divine consciousness that defines the world of Yetzira is emotional relationship to G‑d. Nukva is expression; thus, the divine consciousness that defines the world of Asiya is active, "practical" consciousness or relationship to G‑d.

Thus, the three names Elokim of Atzilut manifest themselves as the defining principles of the three lower worlds. This occurs first through the Shechina [malchut of Atzilut, the expression of divine consciousness in the lower worlds] being vested in the keter of Beriya, since keter is synonymous with will and, specifically, the will to become manifest throughout the world.

The word for "ark"…produces the numerical value of Akatriel plus that of Metatron plus that of Sandalfon…

Therefore, when the word for "ark" [in Hebrew, "aron"] produces the numerical value of "Akatriel" plus that of "Metatron" plus that of "Sandalfon".

Aron: alef-reish-vav-nun. Taking alef to refer to the number 1000, this creates 1000 + 200 + 6 + 50 = 1256.

Akatriel: alef-kaf-tav-reish-yud-alef-lamed = 1 + 20 + 400 + 200 + 10 + 1 + 30 = 662.

Metatron: mem-tet-tet-reish-vav-nun = 40 + 9 + 9 + 200 + 6 + 50 = 314

Sandalfon: samech-nun-dalet-pei-vav-nun = 60 + 50 + 4 + 30 + 80 + 6 + 50 = 280

Hence: 662 + 314 + 280 = 1256

Now, even though we said that the ark embodies three names Elokim, nonetheless, in times of divine favor the name Havayah and its spellings-out shine into these names, transforming G‑d's attribute of justice into that of mercy.

As we have explained previously, there are four principle methods of spelling out the name Havayah, the numerical values of which are 72, 63, 45, and 52. When these numbers are added to the numerical value of the name Havayah as it is normally spelled, 26, we have 72 + 63 + 45 + 52 + 26 = 258, the same numerical value of the three names Elokim mentioned above. Thus, the 258 of Elokim is exchanged for the 258 of Havayah. This is how the ark counteracts, or "sweetens," the three names Elokim.

Know as well that the ark is the secret of yesod of Abba.

Yesod of Abba is the drive within the initial insight of chochma toward self-actualization. It becomes the mochin, or divine consciousness, of Zeir Anpin, the emotional partzuf which is the principle partzuf of Atzilut. Housing the Tablets of the Covenant, which encapsulated the entire Torah, the ark can be seen as the vehicle through which G‑d's plan for creation is transmitted to the world. This, too, is how the ark transforms the world of Elokim, the ruthless and unrelenting laws of nature, into Havayah, the mercy and goodness of G‑d's presence.

As you know, yesod possesses three shells: the foreskin, the mucous membrane, and the blood. To counteract these, the gulgalta of Nukva issued as the ark, the word for "ark" ["aron"] having the same numerical value as a synonym for "crown" [in Hebrew, "nezer"].

Aron: alef-reish-vuv-nun = 1 + 200 + 6 + 50 = 257.

Nezer: nun-zayin-reish = 50 + 7 + 200 = 257.

The commandment of circumcision is designed to remove the shells surrounding the procreative organ (which is the bodily manifestation of the sefira of yesod), since these shells obstruct the full exposure of this sefira and thereby limit the divine beneficence that can issue from it. "Shells" in Kabbala are an appellation for "evil". The act of ritual circumcision consists of three separate procedures: removing the outer foreskin [mila], peeling back the mucous membrane [periya], and sucking off the blood produced by the operation [metzitza].

In order for the divine message embodied in yesod of Abba to penetrate the world, malchut reveals its will, i.e., its will to manifest divinity in the lower worlds. The skull [gulgalta] of any partzuf is the keter of that partzuf, and keter is synonymous with will, as we have explained.

The skull is the ark-cover, and the skin is the veil that separates between the holy and the mundane…

[Bezalel] therefore made three arks, one within the other, for the brain also possesses three shells: the thick membrane, the thin membrane, and the skull, above which is the skin.

Just as yesod possesses three "shells," so does chochma, or the brain in general.

The skull is the ark-cover [in Hebrew, "kaporet"], and the skin is the veil that separates between the holy and the mundane, i.e., the head from the body.

Here, the Holy of Holies is the "head" of Creation, while the outer chamber of the Tabernacle is the "body." The Holy of Holies measured three cubits long, while the outer chamber measured seven. This is a clear indication that the inner chamber [the Holy of Holies] is to be associated with the intellect [or "head"], comprising three sefirot, and the outer chamber with the emotions [or "body"], comprising seven sefirot.

The Torah [i.e., the Tablets of the Covenant] alludes to the brain within [the head], alluded to by the yud [of the name Havayah]. For the [Tablets] were initially one tablet, as indicated by the fact that the word for "tablets" ["luchot"] is written such that it can be read "tablet" [in Hebrew, "luchat"]. Because of the sin of the Golden Calf they were made into two.

"And He gave to Moses when He finished speaking with him on Mt. Sinai, the two Tablets of the Covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of G‑d." (Ex. 31:18) In this verse, describing how G‑d gave Moses the Tablets of the Covenant and Moses descended with them from Mt. Sinai (only to find the Jewish people engaged in the sin of the Golden Calf), the word for "tablets of…" [luchot] appears twice. Both times it is written without a vav before the final tav, the usual indication of feminine plural. Thus, the word can be vocalized also [as luchat] to mean "the tablet (in the singular) of….

"The original intention was for mankind to be…conscious of G‑d's unity much more directly…

Evidently, the original intention was for mankind to be aware and conscious of G‑d's unity much more directly than it is now. At the sin of the Golden Calf, the Jewish people insisted on an intermediary between them and G‑d; they originally thought of Moses as this intermediary, and in his absence demanded a substitute. Since this unfortunate development, the human mind functions on the principle of duality and balance, contrast and juxtaposition represented by the twin Tablets of the Covenant.

chanoch adds: Perhaps this explains why there are 5 of the Esser Debrot are written on each Tablet. Also the First set of Tablets would have been written differently with 3 Esser Debrot on 1 Tablet and 7 Esser Debrot on the other. There is also the possibility that the words and letters of the first Tablets are different than the second.

This most likely ties in with the teaching of the sages that had the first Tablets not been shattered, there would have been no need for the Oral Torah. This obviously is not referring to the part of the Oral Torah that explicates the written Torah, for that would have had to have been in any case. Rather, it is referring to the dialectic process of Talmudic logic and exegesis through which the teachings of the Torah are derived from the written text. This is a painstaking process of logic and argumentation, through which the truth emerges gradually as all other possibilities are examined and contraverted by opposing logic. When the first tablet(s) were/was shattered, the direct perception of G‑d's will and wisdom was shattered with them; the divine consciousness of Israel went down a notch. Since then and until the dawn of the Final Redemption, divine will is perceived through the indirect veil of human logic and dialectic.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim and Likutei Torah. From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky