Zohar Chukat Section 4 - The Red Heifer

It is recommended to study / read / scan the section prior to reading the Synopsis

Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat Section 4.


We learn that the offering of a cow is to purify the unclean, and that red means a sentence of law. The cow must be without defect to indicate soft judgment, and without blemish since all blemishes are healed through the illumination of Wisdom. Rabbi Elazar explains why the offering was taken to the adjutant to Aaron and not directly to the high priest, saying that this would be improper because Aaron approaches from the holy side not the pure side. We hear about the seven washings, the seven years of Shmitah and the seven Sfirot. Rabbi Elazar says that throwing cedar wood on the burnt ashes weakens the energy of the unclean aspect, so the people become cleansed. We hear about the "water of sprinkling" that is for purification when the world dwells in Judgment, and Rabbi Elazar concludes by saying that defilement and purification are the most important rules of the Torah.

Pasook 18. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

"Speak to the children of Yisrael, that they bring you a red heifer..." (Bemidbar 19:2). This cow is for the purpose of cleansing to purify the unclean, WHICH IS MALCHUT that receives from the left. Who is on that left? It is the ox THAT IS GVURAH IN ZEIR ANPIN, as it says, "the face of the ox from the left side" (Yechezkel 1:10). Red means red as a rose, as written: "like the rose among thorns" (Shir Hashirim 2:2). RED MEANS a sentence of law, SINCE THE LAWS OF THE LEFT COLUMN ARE CONSIDERED RED.

chanoch's Commentary

Why is receiving from the left considered unclean? It does not say as we do, the desire to receive for oneself alone. The zohar is saying the word Adumah (Red) is a sentence of law and therefore unclean. In essence the Zohar says that a law is a limitation and any limitation must eventually be broken and removed. This is why there is always a time when each mitzvah is to be done even when the Mitzvah is to not do it. The opposite also applies to the positive Mitzvot.

Pasook 19. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

תְּמִימָה, מַאי תְּמִימָה. כְּמָה דְּתָנֵינָן, שׁוֹר תָּם וְשׁוֹר מוּעָד. שׁוֹר תָּם דִּינָא רַפְיָיא. שׁוֹר מוּעָד דִּינָא קַשְׁיָא. אוֹף הָכָא תְּמִימָה דִּינָא רַפְיָיא, גְּבוּרָה תַּתָּאָה, דָּא הִיא תְּמִימָה. גְּבוּרָה עִלָּאָה, דָּא הִיא דִּינָא קַשְׁיָא, וְהִיא יַד הַחֲזָקָה תַּקִּיפָא.

"...without defect (Heb. temimah)..." (Bemidbar 19:2). HE ASKS: IT IS WRITTEN, "WITHOUT DEFECT." What is the meaning? HE RESPONDS: It is as we were taught about a bull that has not gored (Heb. tam) and the bull that has gored thrice. The bull that has not gored MEANS lax, soft Judgment. The bull that has gored thrice is harsh Judgment. Here too, temimah MEANS a lax sentence that is lower Gvurah, MEANING MALCHUT, since one that is as such is without defect. Gvurah up high, THAT IS THE GVURAH IN ZEIR ANPIN, is the severe and mighty hand.

chanoch adds: Thank HaShem for revealing the codes in the Zohar. Without this verse we would not be able to make the full meaning of the code "without defect". The Zohar is explaining how having no defects means a frame of reference that is Malchut. There is defect in Zeir Anpin until Yesod because the desire of the 6 ends is to want what Binah - a vessel - has to share not what is the full desire of Malchut. This is how to understand this Pasook.

Pasook 20. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

אֲשֶׁר אֵין בָּהּ מוּם, כד"א כֻּלָּךְ יָפָה רַעְיָתִי וּמוּם אֵין בָּךְ. אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עוֹל. עַל כְּתִיב, כד"א וּנְאֻם הַגֶּבֶר הוּקַם עָל. מ"ט. בְּגִין דְּהִיא שְׁלוּמֵי אֱמוּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְעָלֶיהָ לָאו הִיא אֶלָּא עִמָּהּ. אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹל, הַיְינוּ דִּכְתִּיב בְּתוּלַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּתוּלָה וְאִישׁ לֹא יְדָעָה.

"...in which there is no blemish..." (Ibid.) is as it is written, "you are all fair, my love; there is no blemish in you" (Shir Hashirim 4:7). SHE SHINES WITH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, AND SHE IS CONSIDERED BEAUTIFUL SINCE ALL BLEMISHES ARE HEALED THROUGH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH. "...and upon which never came a yoke (Heb. ol, Ayin-Lamed)..." (Bemidbar 19:2). The word "ol" is spelled WITHOUT A VAV, which is as it is written: "and the man who was raised up on high (Heb. al, Ayin-Lamed)" (II Shmuel 23:1). What is the reason? It is because she is "the peaceable and faithful in Yisrael" (II Shmuel 20:19), and he is not above her but rather with her. "...and upon which never came a yoke..." is as it is written: "the virgin of Yisrael" (Amos 5:2), and, "a virgin, neither had any man known her" (Beresheet 24:16).

chanoch adds: Would you connect the concept of virgin or purity to not having a yoke? That is why there is a single hair that bends when a yoke is put on the animal. If the hair is bent she is not pure and can not be used in the ritual. Amazing Zohar.

Pasook 21. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

וּנְתַתֶּם אוֹתָהּ אֶל אֶלְעָזָר, מִצְוָותָהּ בַּסְּגַן, וְאוֹקְמוּהָ. מ"ט לֵיהּ וְלָא לְאַהֲרֹן. אֶלָּא אַהֲרֹן שׁוּשְׁבִינָא דְּמַטְרוֹנִיתָא. וְעוֹד דְּאַהֲרֹן לָא אָתֵי מִסִּטְרָא דְּטָהוֹר, אֶלָּא מִסִּטְרָא דְּקָדוֹשׁ, וּבְגִין דְּדָא אַתְיָיא לְטָהֳרָה, לָא אִתְיְיהִיב לֵיהּ.

"And you shall give her to Elazar" (Bemidbar 19:3). THAT IS BECAUSE the prescribed performing of the ritual is through the adjutant to the High Priest AND NOT BY THE HIGH PRIEST HIMSELF, and they established it that way. What is the reason? It is for ELAZAR and not for Aaron. HE RESPONDS: It is only because Aaron is the best man of the Queen. THEREFORE, HE WOULD BE IMPROPER FOR THE RITUAL OF THIS COW, WHICH IS HARSH JUDGMENT, and furthermore, he would be improper because Aaron does not approach this from the pure side but rather from the holy side. Since the primary function of the red cow is for purification, it is therefore not given to him.

chanoch adds: It is important for us to constantly remember the difference between Holy and Pure. The consciousness of purity is not holy ane consciousness of Holiness is already pure. Contemplate this till it is who you are: constantly pure and desiring to become Holy.

Pasook 22.from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

כָּל מִלָּה דְּהַאי פָּרָה, הִיא בִּשְׁבַע, ז' כִּבּוּסִים וְכוּ', וְהָא אִתְּמַר, מ"ט. בְּגִין דְּהִיא שְׁבַע שְׁנֵי שְׁמִטָּה, וּבַת שֶׁבַע אִתְקְרֵי, וע"ד כָּל עוֹבָדוֹי בְּשֶׁבַע. ת"ח, כָּל מַאי דְּאִתְעָבֵיד מֵהַאי פָּרָה, בְּגִין לְדַכְּאָה, וְלָא לְקַדְּשָׁא, ואע"ג דְּאִתְיְיהִיב לַסְּגָן, הוּא לָא שָׁחִיט וְלָא שָׂרִיף, בְּגִין דְּלָא יִשְׁתְּכַּח דִּינָא בְּסִטְרוֹי, וכ"ש אַהֲרֹן דְּאִיהוּ בְּדַרְגָּא שְׁלִים יַתִּיר, דְּלָא בָּעֵי לְאִשְׁתַּכְּחָא תַּמָּן, וּלְאִזְדַּמְּנָא תַּמָּן.

Every item that pertains to this cow, WHICH IS MALCHUT, is in seven, seven washings. And we were already taught that. What is the reason? It is because MALCHUT is the seven years of the Sabbatical year THAT CONTAINS SEVEN SFIROT ... CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD, YESOD AND MALCHUT, and is called 'Bathsheba' (lit. 'Daughter of Seven'). Therefore, all her rituals are in seven. Come and behold: all that is made from this cow is for the purpose of purification and not for sanctification. Although it was given to an aid OF THE PRIEST, THAT IS, ELAZAR, he does not perform the slaughtering or the burning so that no Harsh Judgment will be at his aspect. Even more so for Aaron, who is in a more perfected level THAN ELAZAR. He need not present himself or be available there.

chanoch adds: What are her rituals? This Zohar is saying there must be 7 sprinklings of the water/ash combination on each person or also the each person must be in some multiple of seven and many other regulations of the rituals what ever they are. i am only saying this show you how much there is to study from the Talmud and the Zohar. Does everyone need to study every section? No but do you know which section you are the root relationship. Either the root of your soul or the Torah being your root.

Pasook 23. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

הַאי פָּרָה, כֵּיוָן דְּאִתְעָבֵיד אֵפֶר, בָּעֵי לְמִשְׁדֵּי בֵּיהּ עֵץ אֶרֶז, וְאֵזוֹב, וּשְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת, וְהָא אִלֵּין אִתְּמָרוּ. וְאָסַף אִישׁ טָהוֹר, וְלָא קָדוֹשׁ. וְהִנִּיחַ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה בְּמָקוֹם טָהוֹר, דְּהָא טָהוֹר לָא אִקְרֵי, אֶלָּא מִן סִטְרָא דִּמְסָאֵב בְּקַדְמֵיתָא.

As soon as this cow turns into ashes, there is a requirement to throw into it "cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet" (Bemidbar 19:6) as we have already learned. "And a man that is clean shall gather up" (Ibid. 9) and not a holy man. "...and lay them outside the camp in a clean place..." (Ibid.) since nothing is called 'clean' except from the aspect that he was first unclean.

chanoch adds: unclean is only in comparison to clean. Is there a level that can be clean unless you can compare it to something clean. If you have rolled in the manure are you clean? Only in comparison to the person who has eaten the manure Has V'Shalom. The person who eats manure is impure inside as well as outside. Only in comparison to someone who has rolled in ashes.

Pasook 24. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

רָזָא דְּכֹלָּא, הַאי דִּכְתִּיב לְמֵי נִדָּה חַטָּאת הִיא, בְּגִין דְּכָל דִּינִין תַּתָּאִין, וְכָל אִינּוּן דְּאָתוּ מִסִּטְרָא דִּמְסָאֲבָא, כַּד אִיהוּ יַנְקָא מִסִּטְרָא אַחֲרָא, וְיָתִיבַת בְּדִינָא, כד"א מָלְאָה דָם הוּדַּשְׁנָה מֵחֶלֶב. כְּדֵין כֻּלְּהוּ מִתְעָרֵי וּמִסְתַּלְקֵי וְשָׁרָאן בְּעָלְמָא. כֵּיוָן דְּעַבְדֵי הַאי עוֹבָדָא דִּלְתַּתָּא, וְכָל הַאי דִּינָא בַּאֲתַר דָּא דְּהַאי פָּרָה, וְרָמָאן עָלָהּ עֵץ אֶרֶז וְגוֹ'. כְּדֵין אִתְחֲלָשׁ חֵילָא דִּלְהוֹן, וּבְכָל אֲתָר דְּשָׁרָאן אִתְּבָּרוּ וְאִתְחֲלָשׁוּ וְעַרְקִין מִנֵּיהּ, דְּהַאי חֵילָא דִּלְהוֹן אִתְחֲזֵי כְּגַוְונָא דָּא לְגַבַּיְיהוּ, כְּדֵין לָא שָׁרָאן בְּבַר נָשׁ, וְאִתְדַכֵּי.

The secret of all this is written: "for the water of sprinkling, it is a purification offering" (Ibid.). That is because all the lower Judgments and all that come from the aspect of Defilement RECEIVE THEIR STRENGTH FROM MALCHUT AT THE TIME when she sucks from the Other Side and dwells in Judgment, as it says: "filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness" (Yeshayah 34:6). At that moment, all THE SENTENCES FROM THE ASPECT OF DEFILEMENT are stirred up to rise and dwell in the world. As soon as they perform that ritual OF BURNING THE COW down below and the sentence is carried out in this place, in this cow, they throw on her the cedar wood. Then their energy is weakened, OF THE UNCLEAN ASPECT, and wherever they prevail, they break down and become weak and escape from there, since they see their might BROKEN AND SUPRESSED, AS IT WAS PERFORMED IN THE RITUAL OF BURNING THE COW. Then, they do not prevail on man and he becomes cleansed.

chanoch's Commentary

Here, in this Zohar Pasook we have a hint to the unity of everything. When the watrer of purification is sprinkled every entity of the negative system is constrained by this knowledge which is instantaneous. How much mankind lost when the Temple was destroyed. What a loss.

Pasook 25. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

וע"ד אִתְקְרֵי מֵי נִדָּה, מַיָּיא לְדַכְּאָה. כַּד עָלְמָא שָׁארִי בְּדִינָא, וְסִטְרָא מִסְאֲבָא אִתְפְּשָׁט בְּעָלְמָא, הָכָא אִתְכְּלִילָן כָּל זִינִין מְסָאֲבָא, וְכָל זִינֵי דַּכְיוּ, וּבְגִין כַּךְ טוּמְאָה וְטָהֳרָה, כְּלָלָא עִלָּאָה דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא, וְאוֹקְמוּהָ חַבְרַיָּיא. אר"ש, אֶלְעָזָר, עַבְדַּת דְּלָא יֵימְרוּן חַבְרַיָּיא מִלָּה אֲבַּתְרָךְ. רעיא מהימנא

Therefore, it is called "water of sprinkling (Heb. nidah)." THAT MEANS water for purification when the world dwells in Judgment and the defiled aspect expands in the world, AS BY THE UNCLEANNESS OF A MENSTRUATING WOMAN (HEB. NIDAH). Here are gathered together a variety of unclean things and a variety of methods of purification. Consequently, defilement and purification are the most important rules of the Torah, and the friends have already explained this. Rabbi Shimon said: Elazar, you have accomplished so much that your friends will not be speaking of anything following you, SINCE FROM THE GREAT WISDOM AND WHOLESOMENESS OF YOUR SPEECH THEY WILL BE SHY TO GIVE THEIRS.A Synopsis: Moses says that it is forbidden to plow during the Shabbat with an ox. He says that the lower Shechinah is a red cow from the aspect of Gvurah, and he goes on to talk about the aspect of the higher Shechinah that is liberty. The result of the offering is that there is no authority for the Other Side to rule.

chanoch adds: In the hierarchy of uncleaness the lowest is death. The impurity of menstruation is an aspect of death since the child was potentially capable of coming and did not get born.

Pasook 26. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Chukat

פָּרָה אֲדוּמָּה תְּמִימָה אֲשֶׁר אֵין בָּהּ מוּם וְגוֹ', אָסוּר לַחֲרוֹשׁ בְּשַׁבָּת חֲרִישָׁה דְּשׁוֹר, דְּאִתְּמַר עַל גַּבִּי חָרְשׁוּ חוֹרְשִׁים. וּשְׁכִינְתָּא תַּתָּאָה, אִיהִי פָּרָה אֲדוּמָּה, מִסִּטְרָא דִּגְבוּרָה. תְּמִימָה מִסִּטְרָא דְּחֶסֶד, דְּאִיהוּ דַּרְגָּא דְּאַבְרָהָם, דְּאִתְּמַר בֵּיהּ הִתְהַלֵּךְ לְפָנַי וֶהְיֵה תָּמִים. אֲשֶׁר אֵין בָּהּ מוּם, מִסִּטְרָא דְּעַמּוּדָא דְּאֶמְצָעִיתָא. אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עוֹל, מִסִּטְרָא דִּשְׁכִינְתָּא עִלָּאָה, דְּאִיהִי חֵירוּ. בַּאֲתָר דְּאִיהִי שַׁלְטָא, וְהַזָּר הַקָּרֵב לֵית רְשׁוּ לְסִטְרָא אַחֲרָא לְשַׁלְּטָאָה. לָא שָׂטָן, וְלָא מַשְׁחִית, וְלָא מַלְאָךְ הַמָּוֶת, דְּאִינּוּן מִסִּטְרָא דְּגֵיהִנָם. ע"כ רעיא מהימנא

Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd)"A red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish..." It is forbidden to plow during the Shabbat with an ox and plow, as it says, "the plowers plowed upon my back" (Tehilim 129:3), and the lower Shechinah, WHICH IS MALCHUT, is a red cow from the aspect of Gvurah. She is without defect from the aspect of Chesed, which is a level of Abraham, of whom it says, "walk before Me, and be perfect (Heb. tamim)" (Beresheet 17:1). "…In which there is no blemish…" She is from the aspect of the Central Column, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN THAT UNITES HER LEFT AND RIGHT. The verse continues, "and upon which never came a yoke," which is from the aspect of the higher Shechinah, which is liberty, MEANING BINAH at the location where she dominates, WHICH IS MALCHUT THAT IS COMPRISED OF EVERYTHING MENTIONED ABOVE. "And the stranger that comes near SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH." There is no authority for the Other Side to rule, not for Satan, not for the Destroyer, and not for the Angel of Death, all of which are from the side of Gehenom.End of Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd)

chanoch adds: The Faithful Shepherd which is Moshe is giving us another explanationof these code phrase relating to the Red Heifer. Hopefully that is clear to you and my comment is unnecessary.