Friday, November 26, 2010

Vayeshev – Zeir Anpin Goes to Egypt

These are the chronicles of Jacob: Joseph was 17 years old.

The Sages said, “Everything that happened to Jacob happened also to Joseph.” This is also true in the spiritual worlds, where Jacob represents the process of Zeir Anpin's maturing, and becoming wise and kind.

Jacob went down to Egypt with 70 souls. By then his part in Zeir Anpin amounted to Kindness, Strength, and two-thirds of Beauty, the hidden qualities of Zeir Anpin. The gematria of the name of God, יהוה, taken two times is 26 * 2 = 52. Add to this two-thirds, roughly 18, and you get 70.

The number of year that they were going to spend in Egypt is 430. This number is the gematria of the name of God אלהים, taken 5 times. These years were necessary for Zeir Anpin's maturing. The Understanding that Zeir Anpin was going to achieve there is represented by all possible permutations of this name of God, אלהים. Since one can take any of the 5 letters as the first one, this gives 5 possibilities to start. The next letter is one of 4, and this leads to 5 * 4 = 20 permutations. Then comes 3, then 2, and the result is 5*4*3*2*1=120, or 5 factorial (denoted as 5!). This is hinted to in the phase, “You placed him a little lower (מעט) than the angels (אלהים)”. The gematria of "a little lower" (מעט) is 119.

The growth of Zeir Anpin's Understanding begins to control his whole body, by going down through his neck, and pushes the non-rectified parts to the lowest areas of Victory, Glory, and Foundation, which are represented by Pharaoh's three Princes: the Prince of Wine, the Prince of Bread, and the Prince of Meat (Potifar). At the same time the lower levels reflect the higher ones, and the Prince of Wine (Wisdom) was returned to his place – since Wisdom is internal and is not directly under the control of man. However, the Prince of Bread was hung (תלה), literally, “brought up” - since Understanding and Judgment require more perfection and are brought about through man's work.

Art: Leonardo Da Vinci - Muscles of the neck and shoulders

Zeir Anpin

But what is Zeir Anpin? It is a spiritual entity roughly equivalent to how humanity interacts with God.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vayetze - Early Life of Zeir Anpin

"Jacob left Beer-sheba and headed toward Charan."

At first, Zeir Anpin, or the Cosmic Man, has immature intelligence, or "small brain." But what is Zeir Anpin? It is a spiritual entity roughly equivalent to how humanity interacts with God. The brain of Zeir Anpin is represented by the name of God - Elohim - repeated three times. The gematria of Elohim is 86, and three times that is 258, and this is exactly the gematria of Charan. Thus Jacob's going to Charan represents the progressing maturity of the Cosmic Man.

Jacob himself comes from a higher level, the Supernal Father, who is the father of Zeir Anpin. In fact, Jacob derives from the qualities of Victory, Glory, and Foundation of the Supernal Father, and this is the secret meaning of the phrase, "Jacob came out of Be'er-sheba," since Foundation is called "Be'er" - the well.

The last letters of the phrase, "And Jacob left," ו'צא 'עקב מבאר, constitute the word "Be'er," but they can also be read as אבר - organ - or foundation. Jacob leaving Be'er-sheba and going to Charan thus represents a progressive stage of the Cosmic Man's maturity, leading to his acquiring a "big brain," a process in which Jacob is instrumental.

We thus see that the physical Jacob represents spiritual changes in the world which occur through him and are hidden in him. In the same way, higher levels of spirituality hide inside lower levels and pretend that they are not there. Their relationship to the lower levels are that of the soul to the body, and in fact they are called the soul of the previous level.

Art: Eugene Delacroix - Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

Friday, November 5, 2010

Toldot - The Beard of the Long Face

These are the chronicles of Isaac son of Abraham: Abraham was Isaac's father.

Why is the fact that Abraham was Isaac's father repeated? Why, regarding Isaac's prayer for children, it says that he "turned over God's will," and not that "he prayed?" And why do the Sages insist that "Children, life, and sustenance depend upon luck and not merit," and why are "children, life, and sustenance" mentioned in this order? To all these questions Arizal gives answers, but to begin to understand them, we need to know about the Beard of the Long Face.

The Long Face, or Erech Anpin, is the spiritual entity that is higher than Supernal Father and Mother, and he hides in such a way that only the Father and Mother are seen, and they, in turn, hide in the spiritual entities of the Cosmic Man - also called Small Face - and his Female.

The structure of the beard of the Long Face reflects the secret nature of the world, and it was described by Rabbi Shimon to his students assembled in the glade, as related in the book "Edra Raba" - "Big Glade."

There are two kinds of "Luck," one consisting of thirteen parts, and another of eight, and both are found in the beard of the Long Face.

Isaac represents the eight-part luck, Understanding, and Judgement, and Rebecca is the thirteen-part luck and Rulership. When the two, having great love, combine, their love is on the level of a "Thousand," and it is higher than most other spiritual entities just mentioned. The hair of the Long Face represents light. The number "thousand" is born by the permutations of the Divine names in this hair. When the two lucks combine, they form "Merit," and when their lights combine, they form "Luck."

Thus, when Isaac prayed for Rebecca to have children, he combined the two lucks, 8-part and 13-part, overturned them, and by introducing Wisdom, caused their fusion and created Mercy.

Art: Jean Baptiste Camille Corot - Rebecca