Shell Games

Evil may act as a husk which protects a fruit until it is ripe.

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

We are told that as part of the Yom Kippur sacrificial ritual in the Tabernacle/Temple, the High Priest must take two goats:

…and place them before G‑d at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Aaron will place lots on the two goats, one lot "for G‑d" and one lot "for Azazel". Aaron will take the goat on which the lot fell "for G‑d" and make it a sin-offering. The goat on which fell the lot "for Azazel" will be positioned live before G‑d to make atonement on it, to send it to Azazel into the desert. (Lev. 16:7-10)

The plain meaning of "Azazel" is a cliff; the goat sent to Azazel was thrown off a desert cliff to its death. (See Rashi on Lev. 16:8-10)

The mystical significance of Azazel is 'Satan' and the Nukvah of the luminous [shell], to whom the goat is given. They ['Satan' and the evil Nukvah], the male and female [principles of evil], are also called "the depths of the sea" - what remains after the dross of the kings [of Edom] are purified - and "the shadow of death".

As we have seen previously, 'Satan' is the name given to the evil partzuf of Zeir Anpin. Just as the partzufim exist in each of the four holy worlds, so do they exist in each of the four realms of evil. The four realms of evil are called "shells", contrasting with the fruit or meat of the nut within the shell, which signifies the holy realms. The significance of this imagery is that, just as the shell, which obscures the fruit within it, is inedible and must be discarded, so does evil obscure the power of holiness in the world; we must break through it and reject it in order to reveal goodness. On the other hand, just as the shell protects the fruit within it until it is ripe, so does evil (i.e. egocentricity) serve the purpose of protecting the good within it until it is ripe.

The fourth realm…can be absorbed and elevated into holiness…

Three of the four realms of evil are totally unable to be assimilated. The fourth realm is neutral, meaning that although it is a priori evil, meaning that it is evil only insomuch as it is not oriented by nature toward G‑d. If it is used for holy purposes, however, it can be absorbed and elevated into holiness. Conversely, if it is used for evil purposes, it descends into and becomes part of the three unholy realms. This neutral realm of evil is called the "luminous shell".

These four realms of evil are all alluded to in the vision of Ezekiel: "I saw, and behold, there was (1) a stormy wind coming from the north, (2) a great cloud, and (3) a flashing fire, and (4) a luminescence surrounding it…." (Ezekiel 1:4)

The "depths of the sea" refers to the verse, "He will return, He will have mercy on us; He will conquer our iniquities and cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19) The phrase "the shadow of depth" refers (among others) to the verse, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; Your rod and Your staff comfort me." (Psalms 23:4) As we will see, the Hebrew for these two phrases consists of the same letters.

The "kings of Edom" refers, as we have seen in other writings of the Ari, to the sefirot of the world of Tohu, which collapsed. The portions of these sefirot that were refined enough to be assimilated into holiness in the subsequently constructed world of Tikun became the sefirot of that world, while those elements that were too crass to be so assimilated became the realms of evil.

[This evil] is transformed into the defending counsel [for the Jews on Yom Kippur] by virtue of the good presented within it, as explained in the Zohar. (III:101)

This process will be explained here shortly.

Now, these two goats are [mystically] the equivalent of the two spies, chochma and bina of the evil Zeir Anpin of Atzilut, as mentioned there. (See also Zohar II:178b and 3:60b.)

The two spies Joshua sent to spy out the land of Israel correspond to chochma and bina of the evil Zeir Anpin (i.e. 'Satan').

The [goat/spy] of chochma is [a priori] more sweetened; this is why one lot is for G‑d. In contrast, the second [goat/spy], which is sent to die, manifests bina of [the evil] Zeir Anpin.

The experience of chochma is selflessness…

Since the experience of chochma is selflessness, there is some good in it even in a non-holy context. For example, if a person is laboring over some mathematical problem and is totally absorbed in thought over it, he is not focused on G‑d, but neither is he focused on himself. The very fact that he is at that moment not focused on himself makes the experience one that can be transformed into holiness, if, say, the individual remembers or realizes that mathematics is, after all, our way of describing G‑d's wisdom as it has been imprinted in nature.

Bina, in contrast, is the experience of self. The insight of chochma is evaluated and analyzed in the context of the individual's personal world-view he has developed during his life. If this is done in an evil context, there is no redeeming element that could make the experience holy.

chanoch adds: The above two paragraph are comments by the translator. Please remember the definition of evil is selfishness. Self Centered is human yet it is one step removed from evil. It is necessary to contemplate the meaning of conciousness in annevil context.

Azazel signifies 'Satan' and the Nukvah of the luminous [shell], which are positioned opposite Zeir Anpin and Nukvah of the worlds of Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya. Since [they receive the bina-goat] they are happy.

'Satan' and Nukvah of the three lower worlds receive the evil bina of the level of Atzilut.

Since [chochma and bina of the evil Zeir Anpin of Atzilut] are called "goats" - as mentioned in the Zohar. (II:108b) Zeir Anpin and Nukvah of the luminous [shells] of Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya, their children, are called "Aza" and "Azel".

The word for goat is "ez" (spelled ayin-zayin). The "children" of the goats of Atzilut are called "Aza" (spelled ayin-zayin-alef), a derivative, Aramaic form of "goat" and "Azel" (spelled ayin-zayin-alef-lamed), meaning "goat-god".

Together, [these two goat-offspring] are called "Azazel", just like the words for "the shadow of death" and "the depths" comprise both of them, "shadow" referring to the male and "death" to the female.

"Azazel" can thus be seen as a contraction of "Aza" and "Azel".

The word for "the shadow of death" is "tzalmavet", itself a contraction of the words for "shadow" ("tzeil") and "death" ("mavet"). The letters that form this word (tzadik-lamed-mem-vav-tav) can be permuted to spell "depths" (in Hebrew, "metzulot", spelled mem-tzadik-lamed-vav-tav).

The "shadow", or lack of light, is the active side of evil…

The "shadow", or lack of light, is the active side of evil, the obstruction of holy light, and "death" is the result or expression of this evil, i.e. being cut off from holiness, the source of life. Thus it is written, "The feet [of a forbidden woman] descend unto death." (Proverbs 5:5)

Thus, when the goat is sent to Azazel, "[G‑d] casts all their sins into the depths of the sea," (Micah 7:19) as is stated in the Zohar. (III:63)

This is so since Azazel and the "depths of the sea" are mystically synonymous, as stated.

Since these goats derive from the holy Nukvah and her leftovers, they manifest strong judgment, as stated in the Zohar. (III:41)

We have explained previously that Nukvah must evince strict judgment in order to differentiate between holiness and evil. When this judgment is exercised in an entirely evil context, however, it becomes prejudicial judgment.

Now, you know that the "luminous shell" is half good and half evil, and separates the holy realm from the evil realm. When a person transgresses a prohibition, [this neutral realm] serves to complete the three evil shells of his evil inclination, and becomes completely evil itself. This is his punishment for transgressing a prohibition.

When an element of the "luminous" shell is given over to the three completely evil shells, it "completes" them into a unit of four, mirroring the four worlds of holiness. This reinforcement of his inner evil, making it a power more difficult to reckon with, is the truest punishment for evil behavior. As the sages say, "One mitzva leads to another mitzva, and one sin leads to another sin." (Avot 4:2)

'Satan'…has received the divine beneficence…present in the goodness of that goat…

Now, on Yom Kippur, G‑d commanded us and permitted us through His good will to send 'Satan' one goat, which comprises good and bad [elements], as stated above. ['Satan'] then rejoices over the [additional power granted to the] three wholly evil shells, for [by receiving the goat] he has received the divine beneficence and life-force present in the goodness of that goat. As is known, the reason [the forces of evil] pursue holiness is so that they can enliven themselves; without [the life-force siphoned off holiness] they would die. Hence the great joy 'Satan' derives from this goat sent to Azazel, especially in light of the fact that [G‑d] gives it to him knowingly and ['Satan'] does not have to toil or exert himself [for it].

[After casting the lots over the goats] the High Priest would then confess [the sins of the Jewish people] over the goat's head. The power of this repentance would refine the portion of [the goat] associated with the world of Yetzira, separating the good [in it] from the evil. This is necessary for it is impossible for good and evil to be intermixed as they were before the sin, for, through sin, the power of evil increased, and the good would just be subdued before it.

As was stated above, good and evil are mixed together equally in the "luminous shell". Once a person sins, however, the evil is strengthened and the balance is upset. Repentance cannot be merely an attempt to return to the state of affairs that existed before the sin; it is too late.

The only avenue open is to align the potential good with actual good…

The initial innocence has been lost, and the only avenue open is to align the potential good with actual good, i.e. holiness, and let the evil that has been actualized assume its position with true evil.

For example, a kosher chocolate cake is in the realm of the "luminous shell". It is neither holy nor evil; what it will become depends on how it is used. If someone eats it for holy purposes, e.g., to add to the enjoyment of Shabbat, or to give himself a needed, temporary lift, or in order to experience the goodness of G‑d in having made delicious food, then the cake existentially enters the realm of holiness. If it is eaten for coarse purposes, e.g. to indulge in sensual pleasure, it descends into the realm of evil. The person who eats it will most likely be able to measure the purity of his intentions by the way he feels after eating the cake. To the extent that he feels uplifted or holier after eating, he succeeded in keeping his intentions pure. To the extent he feels coarser, he didn't.

This is the meaning of repentance. [Evil and good] are separated through this. Although they existed originally together in the "luminous shell", the evil has now been identified; it clings to the goat and disappears into the [realms of] complete evil. The good, meanwhile, returns to [the realm of] supernal holiness, no longer part of the "luminous shell".

'Satan'…is a fool and makes a mistake…

This is why 'Satan' rejoices. He sees that he has now been fortified [by this additional measure of energy from the "luminous shell"], and he accepts it with full consciousness. But he is a fool and makes a [fatal] mistake, for on the contrary, "he will be heaping coals on his own head" (Proverbs 25:22), meaning that evil was initially intermixed with good in the "luminous shell" and he had a strong foothold. Supernal holiness was forced to grant beneficence to the good with which this evil shared [the "luminous shell"]. This is the mystical significance of Israel's exiles amongst the idolaters.

When evil shares the "luminous shell" with good, it can more easily seduce man into sin, since it does not have to entice him into an explicit prohibition - only into using a neutral aspect of reality for egotistic purposes.

But now that evil has been separated from the good, 'Satan' has lost that portion [of divine beneficence] that was granted [to it] via the good [of the "luminous shell"]. It follows that 'Satan' has been tricked and has suffered a great loss. On the contrary, a situation that was originally complete [for him] is now the opposite. For, [as the verse paraphrased above continues:] "[G‑d] will surely reward you", meaning that the goodness [of the "luminous shell"] connects to and completes the holy soul of the person, while 'Satan' loses this good altogether.

This illustrates the tremendous power of repentance.

[Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah, parashat Acharei Mot; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."]

Teshuvah for the Generation of Rebirth

“For some time I have been struggling with an inner conflict, and a mighty force impels me to speak about teshuvah (penitence). All my thoughts are focused on this topic. Teshuvah holds a primary place in Torah and in life. All the hopes of the individual and of society depend on it.”


So begins Rav Kook’s introduction to Orot HaTeshuvah (Lights of Penitence), perhaps his most popular work, first published in 1925. The compact book was beloved by its author, and Rav Kook himself would study its teachings during the month of Elul after morning prayers.

One student reported hearing Rav Kook say, “I worked extensively on Orot HaTeshuvah. Whoever studies it properly will find light in every word.” He also declared: “Orot HaTeshuvah should be be studied endlessly.”

What is so special about the book’s outlook on teshuvah?

Teshuvah - a Return to Life

Orot HaTeshuvah illuminates the concepts of sin, punishment, and penitence. It explains that sin primarily harms the one who sinned, as it cuts him off from the roots of his very being, from the light of his soul. This estrangement is sin’s worst punishment. Teshuvah, on the other hand, redeems the sinner from this darkness. It rejuvenates him, restoring his previous state of life and joy.

The word teshuvah literally means “return.” It is not an escape from the world. On the contrary, it is “precisely through genuine, pure teshuvah that we return to the world and to life” (Orot HaTeshuvah 14:30).

Already in his introduction, Rav Kook described teshuvah as an underlying force that influences all aspects of life, not only the realm of the sacred: “Teshuvah holds a primary place in Torah and in life.” Thus one who frees himself from unhealthy habits – this is also a type of teshuvah.

Additionally, Rav Kook posited that this powerful force is not limited to the failings and triumphs of the individual. It also applies to failures and successes of the nation and the entire universe: “All hopes of the individual and society as a whole depend on it.”

National and Spiritual Revival

Rav Kook firmly believed that a secular national revival, the entire program of rebuilding the Land and the nation, could not succeed without a parallel revival in holiness, with lofty manifestations of this holiness expressed in both personal and public spheres.

But what path would lead the generation of rebirth to the gates of teshuvah? The routine approach is doomed to failure. One cannot reach out to the idealistic youth of such a generation, brimming with life, vigor, and creativity, with a severe demeanor and punctilious demands of small, everyday deeds - demands that they consider to be a sign of weakness and a feeble spirit.

No, the generation must be awakened via an optimistic spirit of greatness and courage. “Teshuvah comes not to embitter life,” Rav Kook taught, “but to make it pleasant” (15:6). “Teshuvah is essentially a return to our origins, to the source of supernal life and existence in their wholeness” (12:8).

In an article printed in HaYesod in 1934, he explained:

“Teshuvah is the great key to redemption. Many things inhibit teshuvah, but the major obstacle, particularly to collective teshuvah, is the misconception of Teshuvah as atrophy of the soul, as the enfeebling and debilitation of life. This false image also impairs the teshuvah of the individual. But more than anything, it hinders collective teshuvah, the teshuvah of the nation.

“We must disclose the secret that the genuine teshuvah of the entire nation of Israel is a mighty, powerful vision that provides reserves of might and strength, imbuing all of our spiritual and pragmatic values with a lofty spirit of vigorous, surging creative energy from the power of the Rock of Israel.

This living teshuvah flows not from isolated, fragmented souls, but from the treasury of the nation’s collective soul, Knesset Yisrael .... In this way, the united soul of Israel is prepared to return to its former strength, as in days of old.”

(Sapphire from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Mo'adei HaRe'iyah, pp. 52, 55; Celebration of the Soul, pp. 26, 28-29.)

The Finger of G-d: Part 3

The Book of Jonah allegorically describes the descent of the soul into the body.

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

To read Part 2: The Butcher in the Throat, See Below

This is the mystical meaning of the verse "G‑d prepared a kikayon - plant, and it rose up over Jonah to give shade upon his head": (Jonah 4:6) the Book of Jonah [allegorically] describes the [descent of] soul [into the body], and in fact we see that the numerical value of the word "Yonah" [= 71] is 45 plus the numerical value of the name Havayah - 26.

"Yonah" is spelled: yud-vav-nun-hei = 10 + 6 + 50 + 5 = 71.

26 + 45 = 71.

The text does not explain at this point what the significance of the number 45 is in this context.

To explain: [The soul of] a person comprises its "image" ["tzelem"] and its Nefesh-Ruach-Neshama [NR"N].

As we know, the soul comprises 5 levels: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida. The latter two are the soul's "image". In short, the Nefesh is the animating soul that enlivens the body. The Ruach is the emotions. The Neshama is the intellect. The Chaya is the will. The Yechida is the divine spark.

chanoch adds: These definitions and connections are the teachingsn of Chasidut. Thereb are other teachings as well.

The "image" enters [the body] at conception. As is explained in the (Zohar III:43a, 104b) would the mother and father merit, they would be able to see [their child's "image"] when they copulate [and conceive the child], the Nefesh when it is born, the Ruach when it turns thirteen, and the Neshama when it turns twenty.

Jonah - that is, the soul - descends [from its source], enters Zeir Anpin, descends via his spinal cord, enters his body (symbolized by the ship) and from there descends to the thighs, represented by the lower parts of the ship.

The child's father is the earthly representative of Zeir Anpin; his mother is the earthly representative of Nukva. The soul's journey through his future father is the process by which the spiritual soul becomes invested in the physical seed.

The idiom in Hebrew for "the lower parts" of the ship is "the thighs" of the ship.

Then it meets the large fish, signifying yesod, which swallows it up, and from there, it is given to the female. The three days and three nights Jonah was inside the fish correspond to the three days it takes for the male seed to be properly absorbed [into the womb].

This [feminine] "shadow" [mentioned above] is strength, meaning the states of gevura, as we have explained. [These states of gevura] guard [the soul] from harm. For opposite this "shadow" there is an evil "shadow".

In this context, the two "doors" (120 permutations of the name Elokim) sealing off Nukva and protecting it from evil would perhaps correspond anatomically to the cervix or the labia minora. The evil female "shadow" refers perhaps to the feminine evil forces that seek to appropriate male seed for themselves. The traditional amulets and inscriptions placed around women in and after childbirth are intended to ward off these evil forces by identifying the woman and her child as allied with holiness.

This explains the statement in the Zohar that "the more [the name Havayah] extends the better," (Zohar II:96a) for it always remains holy. But this is not the case with the states of gevura [of the name Elokim], for the limit of holiness is the final of these 120 [permutations] of the name Elokim. From that point on is the realm of evil, called "other gods" [in Hebrew, "Elokim acheirim"]. They are called "other" ["acheirim"] because they derive their sustenance from the back [in Hebrew called "achoraiyim"].

A certain amount of gevura, of constriction, is necessary in order for the world to exist in its finite form. However, if the force of contraction is allowed to progress beyond its proper limit, the divine energy becomes so limited that even evil can derive sustenance from it.

As we have explained previously, it is especially crucial to guard the female principle from this tendency toward excessive contraction and limitation. Due to its drive to actualize divinity in the material world, the female principle may overestimate the need to allow worldliness to exist. This is an open invitation for the forces of evil to stake their claim.

Shem personified chesed, Ham personified gevura, and Japheth personified tiferet….

We can now explain the verse. For Ham, the father of Egypt (Gen. 10:6), embodied the power of the [five] states of gevura. Shem personified chesed, Ham personified gevura, and Japheth personified tiferet. That is why [the latter] is called "Japeth" ["yafet", meaning "beautiful"], for [tiferet] is a blend of the two colors white and red.

Shem, Ham, and Japheth were the three sons of Noah. The name "Ham" [in Hebrew, "Cham"] means "hot"; hence the association with gevura. Egypt is thus also associated with gevura.

Now, when the 5 letters [of the name Elokim] produce 120 permutations, each letter produces 24. Thus, Ham took the power of 2 letters, which produce 48 permutations. That is why he was called Ham ["Cham", the numerical value of which is 48].

120 / 5 = 24. Thus, each letter of the name Elokim may be considered to be associated with 24 of its permutations.

"Cham is spelled: chet-mem = 8 + 40 = 48.

Ham, we just said, is associated with gevura, which in turn is signified by the name Elokim. Since the numerical value of Ham's name is 48, he may be considered to be associated with 48 of the permutations of the name Elokim. Since each letter of the name produces 24 permutations, Ham may be considered to be associated with 2 of the 5 letters of the name Elokim.

In a similar way, we can understand what is written of Rebecca: "and her pitcher was on her shoulder" (Gen. 24:15). She was holding one letter of the 5 states of gevura, i.e. one letter of the name Elokim.

The numerical value of the word for "pitcher", "kad", is also 24.

This is the mystical meaning of the verse "Let not the lowly return embarrassed" (Psalms 74:21), the initials of which spell the name Ado-nai, which signifies malchut, which takes 24 units from the name Elokim.

"Let not the lowly return embarrassed" in Hebrew is" "Al yashov dach nichlam". The needy "lowly one" is malchut, "who possesses nothing of her own" (Zohar II:215a) but owes all her contents to the sefirot above her. The numerical value of the word for "lowly one" [in Hebrew, "dach"] is also 24.

Rebecca also signifies malchut. These verses thus describes how malchut is constructed out of one of the five states of gevura originating in the name Elokim.

Thus Ham, the source of the states of gevura, produced the 5 states of gevura. These are 4 sons, for 3 states of gevura are sweetened and can therefore combine with 3 states of chesed. The other 2 cannot be sweetened. Similarly, when they were born, it was after this fashion, 3 [sons] matched with 3 [states of gevura], and 1 [son] matched with 2 [states of gevura] that join together, i.e. the last two letters of the name Elokim.

Ham had four sons. (Gen. 10:6) But if he, personifying gevura, produced the five states of gevura, we would have expected that he have five sons. This is solved here, for the first three letters of the name "Elokim", alef-lamed-hei, signify sweetened states of gevura, i.e. those states of gevura that serve a positive purpose in Creation. These three were personified by three of the sons of Ham. The last two letters of the name "Elokim", yud-mem, were not sweetened and were combined together in the fourth son (presumably Mitzrayim, i.e. Egypt).

It is for this reason that the first plague was that of blood, for [the plagues] took place in the throat [of holiness], which is a narrow part [of the body]. It is therefore called "Egypt" [in Hebrew, "Mitzrayim"], meaning "the constriction [in Hebrew, 'meitzar'] of the yud-mem." Since [Egypt] took the place of the two states of gevura, which is the place where the blood gathers and has its source, they were smitten accordingly.

The Hebrew for Egypt, "Mitzrayim", can be read "meitzar yud-mem", or "the constriction of the letters yud-mem", i.e. of the last two letters of the name Elokim.

One of the three channels of life-force in the neck, as we said, is the set of two blood vessels the supply the brain with blood. These evidently signify the two states of gevura embodied in Egypt. Since the forces of evil seek to appropriate the holy life force in these blood vessels, they were smitten with blood.

Of the plague of lice, the sorcerers of Egypt said, "It is the finger of G‑d," because the numerical value of the word for "lice" [in Hebrew, "kinim"] is 120, corresponding to the 120 [permutations of] the name Elokim. Since they could not produce them, they said that this plague was from the name Elokim.

Perhaps this means that they understood that here, too, they were being deprived of their power, which originated in the name Elokim.

This is also why the sea of reeds ["yam suf" in Hebrew] is called thus, for these two letters from the name Elokim spell the word for "sea" [in Hebrew, "yam"] and go after evil, signified by the end [in Hebrew, "sof"] of this name, smiting it.

The Hebrew word for "sea" ("yam", spelled yud-mem) is composed of the same two final letters of the name Elokim. The Hebrew word for "reeds", "suf" [spelled samech-vav-pei], is the same as the word for "end", "sof" [spelled samech-vav-pei]. The "sea of reeds" thus alludes, as well, to the last two letters of the name Elokim, the unsweetened gevura, taken by Egypt. The Egyptians therefore had to be smitten there, as well.

Thus, we have three instances of the Egyptians being smitten by the name Elokim. The plague of blood smote the Egyptian evil personified by the chief butcher and the blood vessels of the throat. Presumably, the plague of lice and the splitting of the sea correspond to the other two deputies of Pharaoh and their anatomical correlates, but this is not stated explicitly in the text.

We now return to the verse quoted in the beginning of this exposition.

Thus, the verse reads, "in order to place these signs of Mine in his midst."

The word for "these" in Hebrew, "eileh", spelled alef-lamed-hei can be seen as a combination of the name E-l [spelled alef-lamed] and the feminine suffix hei, whose numerical value is 5. The word for "these" is also the first three letters of the name Elokim.

The name E-l signifies chesed. The hei [of the word eileh, "these"] receives [divine beneficence] from chesed and transmits it to gevura. This is the meaning of "these signs of Mine in his midst". The name E-l plays the role of the male, while [the Egyptians, represented by Pharaoh] were connected to the sea, signifying the female, represented by the letter hei. Therefore, [these signs] had to enter him.

The Egyptians fed off the last two letters of the name Elokim, i.e. unsweetened gevura, as we saw above. In order to prevent this, unsweetened gevura had to be overcome by sweetened gevura, signified by the first three letters of the name Elokim. Thus, the phrase "in order to place these signs of Mine in his midst" can be mystically interpreted to mean: "in order to put the letters alef-lamed-hei of My name [Elokim] into him [i.e. into the last two letters of My name Elokim, from which he is trying to derive sustenance]."

Although above we said that "these signs of Mine" refer to the letters of the name Havayah, here it seems that these words are being referred to the first three letters of the name Elokim.

In terms of sefirot, the three letters alef-lamed- hei indicate the flow of chesed into gevura, sweetening it. The numerical value of the letter hei, which has a numerical value of 5, indicates the distribution of the chesed into all five states of gevura.

This is the mystical meaning of our sages' statement that "Every plague was really 5 plagues in one, and some say 50 plagues in one," (Passover Haggada) alluding to the two final letters of the name Elokim.

The numerical value of yud-mem is 10 + 40 = 50. The Sages said that every plague was really 5 to indicate that through the plagues all five states of gevura were sweetened and that every plague was really 50 to indicate that the final letters of the name Elokim were sweetened.

The 5 refers to the 5 letters of the name Elokim. This is why the exodus from Egypt is mentioned 50 times in the Torah, in order to disengage [the Jewish people] from the two final letters of the name Elokim to which they were connected.

The first exile was "these signs of Mine"; the second was "in order that you tell…and you know that I am Havayah," for when the name Havayah is revealed [evil] is annihilated completely. They did not recognize this until the [splitting of the] sea, as we explained.

This explains the verse well. [This is as much of the manuscript that I found.]

The first exile, Egypt, was taken care of by putting "these signs of Mine", i.e. the sweetened first three letters of the name Elokim, into the last two.

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