Friday, December 31, 2010

VaEra – The Source of Prophesy

God spoke to Moses and said him, 'Now you will begin to see what I will do to Pharaoh.“

In order to receive prophecy, one needs to engage in contemplative meditation and to become a good and righteous person. There were schools of prophecy in Israel, and there has been a total of one-and-a-half million of prophets. Only the prophecies of the 24 prophets that were relevant to all times became canonized in the Writings.

When prophecy does come to a person, it comes from the “sapphire brick” under the feet of God. The Throne of Glory was seen as made of sapphire. The sapphire is blue, and it may be that they saw a vision of the sky as being below God. This stone is related to wisdom, and the Hebrew word sappir is related to sefer, a book. Some say that this 'sapphire' is like a 'third eye,' through which mystical vision is attained, and indeed, this third eye is associated with a sapphire blue color. It involves meditating on a single point and complete quietness of mind.

However, this is not the ultimate prophecy, since another name of the sapphire is “Glass that is not completely transparent.” The prophecy of Moses was from a higher world of Beriyah, the Word of Creation. The Sages say about Moses that he deserved to get Understanding, which is connected to the World of Beriyah, and to the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

The Torah phrase above hints to the different levels of God's communication with Moses. “God spoke to Moses” - Understanding. “And He said to him” - hints to the secrets of the highest Sefirah of Crown, or Will.

Art: John Singer Sargent - Blue Gentians

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shemot - Going Down to Egypt as a Soul Going Down into the World

These are the names of Israel's sons coming to Egypt with Jacob, each man came with his house.”

There are seventy ways to learn the Torah, the four most well known being "simple meaning," "hint," "moral lesson," and "secret." Here we have learning by the way of "hint." The story of the sons of Jacob going down to Egypt is a hint to the story of a baby who is still in his mother's tummy, limited by its walls. The word Egypt, Mitzraim, literally means “borders,” or “limits.”

Just as a body has 248 main members and 365 connecting tissues, the same are present in the soul itself, and they represent various strengths of the soul, which is going down into the world with its limitations.

“With Jacob” means that the strengths of the soul come into the body while it is yet unborn, and
"with Jacob" means "with the Good Inclination." "Coming" (and not "came") means that all the time that a man grows and develops, his souls keeps coming to him. Even though a man is holy, it is God who makes him holy. This is hinted to by the phrase “There is no one as holy as God, and there is nobody but Him.” Thus the strengths of the soul keeps coming to the baby as it develops, until he is born, when he becomes “man came with his house.”

And then “A new king who did not know of Joseph came into power over Egypt.” That is the Evil Inclination, an old and stupid king “over Egypt” - that is, while still unborn and limited by the tummy. “Who did not know of Joseph” means that he did not know God. Then the new stupid king says to his people – who represent the forces of impurity - “Look at the Children of Israel” - who represent the strengths of the soul - “They are stronger than us!” What does he do? He says, “Let's build cities” - body, and the name of one city is “Pithom” - “Pi tehom” - a mouth without end to its desires. The name of the other city is “Ramses” - “Ra” - bad, “Mses” - desires.

However, “the more they oppressed them, the more they grew” - just as man is given more desires that serve the Evil Inclination, at the same time he is supplied with more soul, allowing him to reach ever higher spiritual potential.

Art: Salomon de Bray - Joseph Receives His Father and Brothers in Egypt

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vayechi - The Good Years of Jacob

"And Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years..."

Jacob was a reincarnation of Adam. Adam was created on a Friday, sinned the same day, and was exiled from Gan Eden together with Eve. He then separated from his wife for 130 years, and these are his bad years, until the wives of Lemech told him to reunite with Eve - when he was trying to convince them to reunite with their husband Lemech.

These are the first 130 years of Jacob's life. When Jacob came to Egypt and met Pharaoh, he said that he was 130, and that his years were short and bad. That is what Jacob meant, that they corresponded to the 130 bad years of Adam.

Having fixed, through his life, the bad years of Adam, Jacob now had his own life, as the Torah says, "And he lived." These years were his good years. The Gematria of "tov" - good - is 17.

There is another hint to this relationship in the words of Lavan, when he said, "Good if I give her to you (Jacob), rather than to another man (Esau)." The two sisters whom Jacob married are the two large drops that fell away from Adam, and now Jacob has brought them back through his marriage.

Art: Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vayigash – Yehudah's Hints

Judah walked up to Joseph and said, "Please, your highness, let me say something to you personally."

Judah represents Kingship. He was appointed king among his brothers, and in the future King David and all the Jewish kings, David's descendants, will come from him. Joseph, on the other hand, represents Rulership (Foundation). He was the viceroy of Egypt. He was also Joseph the Righteous, which is Foundation, according to the phrase “The righteous one is the foundation of the world.

Thus their meeting is the meeting of these two spiritual entities. As the Zohar states, the verse in the Psalms, “Look, here are kings united together” refers to this meeting. When those two entities unite, there is no room for anybody else – which explains why the brothers commented “Let them fight, we don't care.”

The first thing that Judah said was “Please, your highness” - bi, adoni (בי אדני). The word bi (בי) has the gematria of 12, hinting at the 12 possible permutations of the name of God (יהוה). The first letter can be one of 4, the next – one of three, and so on. This is called factorial, denoted as 4!, and 4! = 24. However, two of the letters are the same, so the correct formula is 4!/2! = 12.

Judah continues, “I am your slave” - because the Kingship is nobler than Rulership but is subservient to it. The first letters of his speech (ואיובאי) have the gematria of 36, hinting at the fact that he was righteous. The second letters, third, fourth, and fifth also carry hidden messages.

Art: Franz Anton Maulbertsch Joseph And His Brothers

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Miketz – At The End of Two Years

"Two full years passed. Then Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing near the Nile"

There are 365 days in a year, which in gematria is (שסה). Two years are 730 days, that is (שסה+שסה) . Together with the 6 letters of these gematrias, we get 736, which is the gematria of God's name Adonai - 65 - (אדני), together with the full spelling of this name – 671 - (אלפ דלת נונ יוד) and 65 + 671 = 736. That is the true meaning of “two years,” which is also called “end of days” both below and above.

The Pharaoh was standing literally “on the river” - since he can only stand through the power of the river, and the river is Joseph, who is also called “lion” by the prophet Amos, and “lion” (יאור) is transposed into river (אריה).

The seven healthy (briyot) cows are a hint to the seven qualities of the world of Beriah (Creation), so the word “briyot” should be understood literally. The seven thin cows are a hint to the word of Yetzirah (Formation). The same is true of the next dream about stalks of grain. All sustenance of the world of Yetzira comes from the world of Beriah, and that is the meaning of eating in the dreams.

Art: Aelbert Cuyp - Cows In A River