Zohar Vayakhel Section 2 - "3 Night Watches "

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Zohar on Parasha Vayakhel Section 2 - "3 Night Watches"


Rabbi Elazar describes how the night's twelve hours are divided into three, each of which is allotted to a different host of angels. The first is appointed to praise their Master with love. At that time the souls of those on earth leave their bodies to go up: those that are not worthy are rejected and hover about the world, but the worthy ones travel up to see their Master on the holy mountain of Hashem, where their deeds and merits are written down. The second host recites poetry for two hours. These angels of the second watch bewail the destruction of the temple, and weep by the rivers of Babylon. God weeps two tears into the great sea, a flame is awakened and paired with a spirit from the north, and the flame goes to hover about the world. Rabbi Elazar refers to Esther and the secret of judgment of the Left Column, which is at this time. When at midnight God enters the Garden of Eden to commune with the souls of the righteous, all the trees of the Garden and the souls of the righteous open and say "Lift up your heads, O you gates." Then the souls of the righteous return to their bodies, and the angels of the third host encourage them and recite poetry until the light of morning. These last four hours are in the central column.In the morning all the stars and constellations praise their Master along with the archangels that govern by daytime. All Yisrael sings below and the sweet voice of the wheel of the sun sings above.

Pasook 14. of Zohar Vayakhel Section 2 of the Sulam Commentary


Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yosi were sitting one night, studying the Torah, before midnight. During that time the rooster crowed, MEANING THAT MIDNIGHT HAD COME. They recited the blessing, "WHO GAVE THE ROOSTER UNDERSTANDING TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN DAY AND NIGHT." Rabbi Elazar wept and said: come and see, until now the Holy One, blessed be He, has shaken and struck three hundred and ninety firmaments, shed two tears into the great sea, and tearfully remembered His children.

רִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר וְרִבִּי יוֹסֵי הָווֹ יַתְבֵי לֵילְיָא חַד, וְקָא מִתְעַסְקֵי בְּאוֹרַיְיתָא, עַד לָא אִתְפְּלִיג לֵילְיָא. אַדְּהָכִי קָרָא גַּבְרָא, בְּרִיכוּ בִּרְכָתָא, בָּכָה רִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר וְאָמַר, ת"ח, עַד הַשְׁתָּא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא אִזְדַּעְזָע, תְּלָת מְאָה וְתִשְׁעִין רְקִיעִין, וּבָטַשׁ בְּהוּ, וּבָכָה עַל חָרְבַּן בֵּי מַקְדְּשָׁא, וְאוֹרִיד תְּרֵין דִּמְעִין לְגוֹ יַמָּא רַבָּא, וְאַדְכַּר לִבְנוֹהִי מִגּוֹ בִּכְיָה.


For the night with its twelve hours is divided into three directions, RIGHT, LEFT AND CENTER. And if there are more THAN TWELVE hours to the night, they are considered to be day and not night, for only twelve hours belong to it, TO MALCHUT CALLED NIGHT. These twelve hours are divided into three directions and three hosts of holy angels are allotted to these three directions.

בְּגִין דְּלִתְלַת סִטְרִין אִתְפְּלַג לֵילְיָא, בִּתְרֵיסַר שַׁעְתֵּי דַּהֲווֹ רְשִׁימִין בֵּיהּ, וְאִי אִתּוֹסְפָן שַׁעְתֵּי בְּלֵילְיָא, אִינּוּן שַׁעְתֵּי דְּמִתּוֹסְפָאן, דִּימָמָא אִינּוּן, וְלָא אִתְחַשִׁיבוּ מִלֵילְיָא, בַּר תְּרֵיסַר דְּאִינּוּן דִּילֵהּ. וְאִינּוּן תְּרֵיסַר, אִתְפְּלָגוּ לִתְלַת סִטְרִין, וּתְלַת מַשִׁרְיָין דְּמַלְאָכִין קַדִּישִׁין, אִתְפְּלָגוּ בְּאִינּוּן תְּלַת סִטְרִין.


The first host is appointed to the first four hours of the night to praise their Master, NAMELY, IN THE RIGHT COLUMN, WHICH IS CHESED. What do they say? they say "The earth is Hashem's, and the fullness thereof…for He has founded it upon the seas…who shall ascend the mountain of Hashem?…He that has clean hands, and a pure heart" (Tehilim 24:1-4). What is the reason for saying this? It is because the night spreads its wings over the world, and then all the inhabitants of the world taste death, and their souls leave the body to go up. And these angels stand and say ABOUT THE SOULS, "who shall ascend the mountain of Hashem?" "The mountain of Hashem" refers to the Temple Mount; "His holy place" refers to the men's section. As it is in the celestial TEMPLE, WHICH IS MALCHUT, so it is in the terrestrial TEMPLE .

מַשִּׁרְיָיא קַדְמָאָה, אִתְמַנָּא בְּד' שַׁעְתֵּי קָמַיְיתָא, דְּשֵׁירוּתָא דְּלֵילְיָא, לְשַׁבְּחָא לְמָארֵיהוֹן, וּמָה קָאַמְרֵי. לַיְיָ' הָאָרֶץ וּמְלֹֹאָהּ וְגוֹ', כִּי הוּא עַל יַמִים יְסָדָהּ וְגוֹ', מִי יַעֲלֶה בְהַר יְיָ' וְגוֹ', נְקִי כַפַּיִם וּבַר לֵבָב וְגוֹ'. מ"ט דָּא. בְּגִין דְּכַד לֵילְיָא פָּרִישׂ גַּדְפּוֹי עַל עָלְמָא, כְּדֵין, כָּל בְּנֵי עָלְמָא טַעֲמִין טַעֲמָא דְּמוֹתָא, וְנַפְקֵי נִשְׁמָתַיְיהוּ לְסַלְּקָא לְעֵילָּא, וְאִינּוּן מַלְאָכִין קַיְימִין וְקָא אַמְרֵי, מִי יַעֲלֶה בְהַר יְיָ'. הַר יְיָ', דָּא הַר הַבַּיִת. מְקוֹם קָדְשׁוֹ, דָּא עֲזָרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל. כְּגַוְונָא דִּלְעֵילָּא, הָכִי נָמֵי לְתַתָּא.


Because in each firmament there are many chiefs and guards. When the souls leave, they want to go up, but if they are not worthy, they are rejected. Then the souls hover about the world and some troops of spirits take them and tell them some lies and some truths about what is to be in the near future. All this is as was explained.

בְּגִין דִּבְכָל רְקִיעָא וּרְקִיעָא, כַּמָּה מְמָנָן, וּכְמָּה סַרְכִין קַיְימִין תַּמָּן. וְכַד נִשְׁמָתִין נָפְקִין, בָּעָאן לְסַלְּקָא לְעֵילָּא, וְאִי לָא זַכְיָין אִינּוּן דַּחְיָין לוֹן לְבַר, וְאַזְלִין וְשָׁאטִין בְּעָלְמָא, וְנַטְלִין לוֹן כַּמָה חֲבִילֵי טְהִירִין, וְאוֹדְעִין לוֹן מִלִּין כְּדִיבָן, וּלְזִמְנִין מִלִּין דִּקְשׁוֹט, מִמַּה דְּאָתֵי לִזְמַן קָרִיב, כְּמָה דְּאוּקְמוּהָ.


And the souls of the righteous travel up and doors are opened before them, and they go up into that place which is called the mountain of Hashem which is like the secret of the terrestrial Temple Mount . Then they go up to that place, which is called His holy place. There all the souls appear before their Master. That place is like that TERRESTRIAL place, where Yisrael appear before the Holy One, blessed be He, in the men's (lit. 'Yisrael's') section. At the time when the souls are standing there, the joy of their master is to construct with them a place that is called Holy of Holies, where all their deeds and merits are recorded.

וְאִינּוּן נִשְׁמָתִין דְּצַדִּיקַיָּיא, אָזְלִין וְשָׁאטָן לְעֵילָּא, וּפַתְחִין לוֹן פִּתְחִין, וְסַלְּקִין לוֹן לְגוֹ הַהוּא אֲתָר דְּאִקְרֵי הַר יְיָ', כְּגַוְונָא דְּרָזָא דְּהַר הַבַּיִת לְתַתָּא. וּמִתַּמָּן עָאלִין לְגוֹ הַהוּא אֲתָר דְּאִקְרֵי מְקוֹם קָדְשׁוֹ. דְּתַמָּן אִתְחַזְיָין כָּל נִשְׁמָתִין לְקָמֵי מָארֵיהוֹן. כְּגַוְונָא דָּא הַהוּא אֲתָר, דְּאִתְחָזוּן יִשְׂרָאֵל קַמֵּי קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא, אֲתָר דְּאִקְרֵי עֲזָרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל. בְּשַׁעֲתָא דְּנִשְׁמָתִין קַיְימִין תַּמָּן, כְּדֵין חֶדְוָה דְּמָארֵיהוֹן, לְאִתְתָּקְנָא בְּהוּ אֲתָר, דְּאִקְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים. וְתַמָּן רְשִׁימִין כָּל עוֹבָדֵיהוֹן וְזַכְוָון דִּלְהוֹן.


The second host is appointed to recite poetry, in the second four hours. But they recite poetry only for two hours before midnight when the Holy One, blessed be He, THAT IS THE CENTRAL COLUMN, enters the Garden of Eden.

מַשִּׁרְיָיא תִּנְיָינָא, אִתְמַנָּא בְּאַרְבַּע שַׁעְתֵּי אַחֲרָנִין, וְלָא אַמְרֵי שִׁירָתָא, בַּר תְּרֵי שַׁעְתֵּי, עַד דְּאִתְפְּלַג לֵילְיָא, וְעָאל קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בְּגִנְתָּא דְּעֵדֶן.


And these ANGELS OF THE SECOND WATCH are the mourners of Zion AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE, for they bewail the destruction of the Temple. In the beginning of the second four hours, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF THE LEFT COLUMN, WHICH THE OTHER SIDE MAINLY HOLDS TO, they open and say "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, and also wept, when we remembered Zion" (Tehilim 137:1). And it is they, who weep by the rivers of Babylon, together with Yisrael. This is the meaning of the verse "and also wept," FOR THE MEANING OF "ALSO" IS THAT WE ALSO WEPT LIKE THE ANGELS. And how do we know that they cried there? It is written: "Behold, the mighty ones shall cry outside" (Yeshayah 33:7). What is outside? It is Babylon, for all the angels escorted the Shechinah to Babylon, sat there and wept with Yisrael, and therefore they opened with this, "BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON" and concluded with "remember, Hashem, against the children of Edom" (Tehilim 137:7).

וְאִלֵּין אִינּוּן אֲבֵלֵי צִיּוֹן, וְאִינּוּן דְּבָכוּ עַל חָרְבַּן בֵּי מַקְדְּשָׁא. וּבְשֵׁירוּתָא דְּאַרְבַּע שַׁעְתֵּי אֶמְצָעֲיָּן, פַּתְחֵי וְאַמְרֵי, עַל נַהֲרוֹת בָּבֶל שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ גַּם בָּכִינוּ וְגוֹ', וְאִלֵּין אִינּוּן דְּבָכוּ עַל נַהֲרוֹת בָּבֶל, עִמְּהוֹן דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמַּשְׁמַע דִּכְתִּיב גַּם בָּכִינוּ. וּמְנָלָן דְּבָכוּ תַּמָּן. דִּכְתִּיב הֵן אֶרְאֶלָּם צָעֲקוּ חוּצָה. מַהוּ חוּצָה. דָּא בָּבֶל, בְּגִין דְּכֻלְּהוּ אוֹזְפוּהָ לִשְׁכִינָה עַד בָּבֶל. וְתַמָּן בָּכוּ עִמְּהוֹן דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. וְע"ד פַּתְחֵי בְּהַאי, וּמְסַיְּימֵי זְכוֹר יְיָ' לִבְנֵי אֱדוֹם וְגוֹ'.


Then the Holy One, blessed be He, awakens along with His grades, and strikes the firmaments so that twelve thousand worlds are shaken. He roars and weeps as the verse says, "Hashem shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He shall mightily roar because of His habitation" (Yirmeyah 25:30). He remembers Yisrael, THAT THEY ARE IN EXILE, and sheds two tears into the great sea. Then a flame is awakened from the north. One spirit from the north joins that flame, AND THE FLAME goes to hover about the world. Midnight comes then, and the flame goes to beat the wings of the rooster, and he crows. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, enters the Garden of Eden.

כְּדֵין אִתְּעַר קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בְּדַרְגּוֹי, וּבָטַשׁ בִּרְקִיעִין כִּדְאַמָרָן, וְאִזְדַּעֲזָעוּ תְּרֵיסַר אַלְפֵי עָלְמִין, וְגָעֵי וּבָכֵי, דִּכְתִּיב יְיָ' מִמָּרוֹם יִשְׁאָג וּמִמְּעוֹן קָדְשׁוֹ יִתֵּן קוֹלוֹ שָׁאוֹג יִשְׁאַג עַל נָוֵהוּ, וְאַדְכַּר לוֹן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָחִית תְּרֵין דִּמְעִין לְגוֹ יַמָּא רַבָּא. וּכְדֵין אִתְּעַר שַׁלְהוֹבִיתָא חַד דְּבִסְטַר צָפוֹן, וּבָטַשׁ רוּחָא חַד דְּבִסְטַר צָפוֹן בְּהַהוּא שַׁלְהוֹבִיתָא, וְאַזְלָא וְשָׁאֲטָא בְּעָלְמָא, וְהַהִיא שַׁעֲתָא אִתְפְּלַג לֵילְיָא, וְשַׁלְהוֹבִיתָא אַזְלָא וּבָטַשׁ בְּגַדְפוֹי דְּתַרְנְגוֹלָא, וְקָארֵי, כְּדֵין קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא עָאל בְּגִּנְתָּא דְּעֵדֶן.


The Holy One, blessed be He, has no pleasure until He enters the Garden of Eden and enjoys Himself in the souls of the righteous. And the sign TO THIS UNION IS IN THE WORDS OF ESTER – WHO IS MALCHUT-TO THE KING – NAMELY, ZEIR ANPIN, "for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated" (Ester 7:4). THIS IS THE SECRET OF THE DOMINION OF JUDGMENTS OF THE LEFT COLUMN. And the King said: "who is he, and where is he..." (Ibid. 5), AND SHE SAID: "THIS WICKED HAMAN" (IBID. 6), NAMELY, THE KLIPAH THAT IS DRAWN FROM THE LEFT COLUMN. And then "And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden..." (Ibid. 7), THAT IS, TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN.

וְקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא לֵית לֵיהּ נַיְיחָא עַד דְּעָאל לְגִנְתָּא דְּעֵדֶן לְאִשְׁתַּעְשְׁעָא בְּנִשְׁמָתֵהוֹן דְּצַדִּיקַיָּיא. וְסִימָן כִּי נִמְכַּרְנוּ אֲנִי וְעַמִּי וְגוֹ'. וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ מִי הוּא זֶה וְגוֹ', וְהַמֶּלֶךְ קָם בַּחֲמָתוֹ מִמִּשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן אֶל גִּנַּת הַבִּיתָן וְגוֹ'.


When the Holy One, blessed be He, enters the Garden of Eden, all the trees of the Garden and all the souls of the righteous open and say "Lift up your heads, O you gates... Who is this king of glory... Lift up your heads, O you gates..." (Tehilim 24:7-8). And when the souls of the righteous that are on earth return to their bodies, then all those angels encourage them and say "Behold, bless Hashem, all you servants of Hashem" (Tehilim 134:1). We learned that the third host says this verse in the last four hours, WHICH ARE THE CENTRAL COLUMN.

בְּשַׁעֲתָא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא עָאל בְּגִּנְתָּא דְּעֵדֶן, כְּדֵין כָּל אִינּוּן אִילָנִין דְּגִּנְתָּא, וְכָל אִינּוּן נִשְׁמָתִין דְּצַדִּיקַיָּיא, פַּתְחֵי וְאַמְרֵי, שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָאשֵׁיכֶם וְגוֹ'. מִי זֶה מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד וְגוֹ'. שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָאשֵׁיכֶם וְגוֹ'. וּבְשַׁעֲתָא דְּנִשְׁמָתְהוֹן דְּצַדִּיקַיָּיא דִּי בְּאַרְעָא אָהַדְרוּ לְגוּפַיְיהוּ, כְּדֵין אַתְקִיפוּ בְּהוּ כָּל אִינּוּן מַלְאָכִין, וְאַמְרֵי הִנֵּה בָּרְכוּ אֶת יְיָ' כָּל עַבְדֵּי יְיָ'. וְאוֹלִיפְנָא דְּדָא מַשִּׁרְיָיא תְּלִיתָאָה קָא אַמְרֵי דָּא, בְּאַרְבַּע שַׁעְתֵּי בַּתְרַיְיתָא.


And the third host recites poetry until the light of the morning rises and then all those stars and constellations praise their Master and all those archangels that govern by daytime, NAMELY THAT ARE DRAWN FROM ZEIR ANPIN, all praise their Master and recite poetry. This is as said, "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy" (Iyov 38:7). THIS REFERS TO ALL THE ANGELS. BECAUSE AT NIGHT ONLY A PART OF THE ANGELS RECITE POETRY, MEANING THOSE WHO ARE DRAWN FROM MALCHUT. BUT DURING DAYTIME EVERYONE RECITES POETRY, EVEN THE ANGELS WHO ARE DRAWN FROM ZEIR ANPIN.

וְקָאֲמְרֵי שִׁירָתָא, עַד דְּסָלִיק נְהוֹרָא דְּצַפְרָא, דִּכְדֵין מְשַׁבְּחִין לְמָרֵיהוֹן כָּל אִינּוּן כֹּכָבַיָא וּמַזָּלֵי, וְכָל אִינּוּן מַלְאָכִין עִלָּאִין, דִּי שֻׁלְטָנֵיהוֹן בִּימָמָא, כֻּלְּהוּ מְשַׁבְּחָן לְמָארֵיהוֹן, וְאַמְרֵי שִׁירָתָא. הה"ד בְּרָן יַחַד כֹּכְבֵי בֹקֶר וַיָּרִיעוּ כָּל בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים.


When the sun comes out, by day, all Yisrael sing below and the sun above. This is as written: "May they fear You as long as the sun" (Tehilim 72:5). When the sun drives its wheels, a pleasant voice begins to sing. What is it singing? It sings "Oh give thanks to Hashem, call upon His name… Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him..." (Tehilim 105:1-2). And Yisrael praise the Holy One, blessed be He, by day. This is the meaning of the verse "May they fear You as long as the sun." And though we established this scripture, Rabbi Elazar said: if the inhabitants of the world were not hard hearted and blindfolded, they would not have been able to bear the sweet voice of the wheel of the sun, when it drives and praises the Holy One, blessed be He. THIS IS THE MEANING OF "MAY THEY FEAR YOU AS LONG AS THE SUN."

בְּשַׁעֲתָא דְּשִׁמְשָׁא נָפִיק, בִּימָמָא, יִשְׂרָאֵל נַטְלֵי שִׁירָתָא לְתַתָּא, וְשִׁמְשָׁא לְעֵילָּא, דִּכְתִּיב יִירָאוּךָ עִם שָׁמֶשׁ. בְּשַׁעֲתָא דְּנָטִיל שִׁמְשָׁא בְּגַלְגְלוֹי, פָּתַח קַל נְעִימוּתָא, וְאָמַר שִׁירָתָא. וּמִי שִׁירָתָא קָאַמְרֵי. הוֹדוּ לַיְיָ' קִרְאוּ בִשְׁמוֹ וְגוֹ'. שִׁירוּ לוֹ זַמְּרוּ לוֹ וְגוֹ'. וְיִשְׂרָאֵל מְשַׁבְּחָן לְקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בִּימָמָא, עִם שִׁמְשָׁא. הה"ד יִירָאוּךָ עִם שָׁמֶשׁ, וְאַף עַל גַּב דְּהָא אוֹקִימְנָא לְהַאי קְרָא, א"ר אֶלְעָזָר, אִלְמָלֵא דִּבְנֵי עָלְמָא אֲטִימִין לִבָּא וּסְתִימִין עַיְינִין לָא יַכְלִין לְמֵיקָם מִקָּל נְעִימוּתָא דְּגַלְגָלָא דְּשִׁמְשָׁא, כַּד נָטִיל וּמְשַׁבַּח קָמֵי קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא.