Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Secret Meaning of Blessings, third word, יהוה

The word יהוה represents synthesis, harmony, and beauty. Its source is kindness. It also implies all aspects of faith, since the essence of the belief of the Jewish people is in the name of God, יהוה.

Thus, when pronouncing this word, one should concentrate on the meaning above, and on all the additional names of God that are derived from יהוה.

Art: Odilon Redon - Meditation

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ki Tavo - The Female Lights and the Kohen

"The priest shall then take the basket (with the first fruit) from your hand and place it before the altar of God your Lord."

The mitzvah of the first fruit contains in it the secret of the return of the lights of the Female to kindness - represented by the Kohen - so that evil forces cannot cling to her. The gematria of הטנא - the basket - is the same as אדני - My Master, the name of God.

Rabbeinu Bechai explains this further. The first fruit remind us of God, who is First, and of the first three letters in God's name giving power to the fourth one. The Kohen taking the basket and waving it is symbolic of God setting the world in motion, for God is also called Kohen. The world is created for the sake of two "firsts" - Torah (which is called the beginning of His way) and Israel (called the beginning of God's harvest). In the same way, the basket is a container serving to receive the first fruit.

Furthermore, God not only directs the world from the outside, while being removed from it, but also penetrates every aspect of the world. The hint to this is in the basket being made of twigs, with a number of holes in between. God is described in the Song of Songs as "peering through the lattices."

Art: Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Girl At A Lattice

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Secret Meaning of Blessings, second word, אתה

The major intention of this word is Kindness. After the blessing starts to come down into the world from the Foundation of the Supernal Mother, it begins to be revealed. The Foundation of the Supernal Father, called “baruch,” is closed and hidden. That is why it is expressed in the form of “baruch” - blessed, and not “titbarach” - may He be blessed. The source of this blessing is always hidden, never revealed, and is constantly flowing.

The second word, “atah” - you – is the beginning of revelation and connection with the outside world. Accordingly, the world “atah” is connected to Kindness and expresses Openness. And who is this “You?” - This is the secret of Kindness, and it is called “Kohen.” The hint to this is in the phrase “You are a Kohen (priest) forever”, which has been said about Abraham. It is connected to the right hand of the Cosmic Man (Zeir Anpin), where Kindness begins to be revealed into the world.

Art: Vincent Van Gogh - Two Hands

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ki Teitze – Beautiful Captive

"When you wage war against your enemies, God will give you victory over them, so that you will take captives. If you see a beautiful woman among the prisoners and desire her, you may take her as a wife."

According to the view that the first intimacy is allowed right away, the Torah saw that man will not be able to control his Evil Inclination, and allowed this act. If so, then anything prohibited by the Torah, once a person can't control himself, should be allowed!

Additionally, why did the Torah promise a punishment of being taken back to Egypt, where nobody will want to buy you, and did not mentioned the other three exiles?

The four exiles correspond to the four letters in God's name. Egypt corresponds to the point at the end of the letter yud, which is special and most important of all the elements in God's name. In Egypt, the Jews have already selected all sparks of holiness. Although in any exile God's presence is with them, to find out the sparks of holiness in the converts, in Egypt there are none left, and thus “there will be no buyers.”

Back to the beautiful captive, this law applies only to voluntary, not defensive wars. And to such wars only completely righteous people could go. Anybody who had any fear of having transgressed any Torah law, such as talking between two prayer sections, was required to leave the army and go back. If so, the evil inclination overpowering them could only be a sign that this woman had unrectified sparks of holiness in her.

By allowing first intimacy right away, the Torah hoped that these sparks will re-connect to their source, and the woman will join the Jewish people. Still, a wayward and rebellious son was likely to come out of this union, because of the unrectified parts in their souls.

Art: Boreas - John William Waterhouse - Boreas

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Secret Meaning of Blessings, first word, ברוך

By “secret meaning” the Faithful Shepherd, or Moses, means the intentions that one needs to have in mind when pronouncing them, to arouse the source of blessings above, and to make it pour below. It applies when enjoying something in this world, or when performing a mitzvah.

Thus, ברוך, Blessed, represents the highest source of all blessings, the Foundation of the Supernal Father, called, “The Way,” through which the blessing directs itself into the Foundation of the Supernal Mother, the flow that never stops. It lights all the lights of the Cosmic Man, and through him – that of the Cosmic Woman.

Art: Kings Fairy Tale - Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shoftim – Appoint for Yourself Judges and Guardians in All Your Gates

Appoint for yourself” is in singular (תתן לך), as if one can appoint judges all by himself. Obviously, that is not true, so why was this language used?

As Rav Chaim Vital explained, this is a hint. Everyone in the Nation of Israel has many Gates: Gates of Seeing, eyes; Gates of Hearing, ears; Gates of Speech, mouth; Gates of Smell, nose; Gates of Feeling, hands and feet.

Therefore, everyone needs to appoint judges and guardians at his own Gates: guard himself from seeing unseemly things; from hearing improper things; not to say foul words or bad things about others; not to smell the perfume from someone he should not; not to touch prohibited things, and not to go to wrong places.

What is the reward? - “Open the gates, and let the righteous enter!

One also becomes deserving of the 310 worlds, reserved for every one who is righteous, and the gates of these worlds become open for him, since each world has a gate.

Art: Sebastien Stoskopff - Summer or the Five Senses

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don Quixote as an Allegory of the Four Spiritual Worlds

The Faithful Shepherd (Moses) said to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the Zohar:

"Too bad for those Sages who only eat the straw of the Torah and do not learn its secrets. For they rely only on their intellect and logic, eating from the Tree of Good and Bad, that is, wheat (חטה). But חטה consists of error (חט) and good (ה), and thus they inevitably have an admixture of falsehood in their learning."

"For the King and the Queen (Cosmic Man Zeir Anpin and his companion Nukva) in the World of Nearness do not ride on a donkey but on a horse. It is their servant, the angel Metatron, who rides on a donkey."

We thus see that the Knight on a Horse (Don Quixote) and the Servant on a Donkey (Sancho Panza) are parallel to the four spiritual worlds: Nearness and Creation on the one hand, and Formation and Action on the other.

"And if you tell me" - continues the Zohar – "that the Messiah should also arrive on a donkey, and that the Messiah is called poor (עני), hinting at the three hardest tractates of the Talmud (ערובין, נדה, יבמות), thus including all Talmud – that is only the beginning of his arrival, for he is not called King until he rides on a horse."

Many works of literature, fairy tales and myths contain hints to spiritual truths known to all mystics, and they resonate within the human soul.

Art: Salvador Dali - The Impossible Dream

Friday, August 6, 2010

Re'eh – Animal Slaughter as a Step in Reincarnation

When ... your natural desire to eat meat asserts itself, so that you say, 'I wish to eat meat,' you may eat as much meat as you wish.”

All that is created in this world contains in itself a mixture of good and bad. Therefore, the purpose of each creation is to improve on its physical nature and to progress spiritually. Human souls may be reincarnated in the bodies of domestic animals, wild animals, and birds. The kosher slaughterer, or the shochet, needs to have these two intentions in mind: to improve the physical nature of the world by sweetening the judgments found in it, and to complete the punishment of this reincarnation, preparing the soul to come into the body of a human at the time of birth, as other human souls born to proper people.

When the shochet sharpens his knife on the sharpening block, to remove a dent, and at the time when he examines his knife for dents, he should have in mind that dent (פגם) has the value of 123, or 3 times the word מא, and the value of this word, 41, corresponds to the number of letters in the name of God, its expansion, and the expansion of the expansion. All these names have the aspects of judgment in them, and the shochet should have the intention to sweeten these judgments. He then converts them into the names of 42 letters, which are all mercy.

Art: Jacopo Bassano - Animals Entering the Ark