Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chukat - You have to make the good out of the bad

“You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of” from “All King's Men” by Robert Penn Warren seems to ring true, but it is hard to understand how the good can come out of the bad. In fact, Warren's book is a proof that this is not possible. However, mystics are all talking about the same things, and it must be true in some other worlds.

In many respects the Red Heifer features the opposite side, “the back” of the good. This is not the complete bad, only second best, but compared to the real thing, it is the “back” of it.

The Red Heifer is burned not in the Temple, but on the Mount of Olives, opposite the Temple. The person supervising the burning is not the High Priest but the one next to him; in the original formulation in the times of Aharon, it is not him, but his son Elazar.

As we learned before, the Red Heifer is the “back” of holiness, and as such it can lead to complete purity – provided that it itself is completely annihilated, and only its ashes remain.

The “Malchut,” or Rulership is the lowest Sefirah, and it represents the “back” of the highest expansion of the name of God (יהוה), when it is spelled with the letter yud, thus forming the name whose gematria is 72 (יוד הי ויו הי). If we then take the “back” of that name, substituting each letter with the previous one (טהג דט הטה דט), we get the name whose gematria is 62. If we continue and take the back of the other three expansions, with gematrias of 63, 52, and 45, then their “back” expansions, totaled, give the gematria of “parah adumah,” Red Heifer.

Thus the Red Heifer is all composed of the secrets of the “back,” or second best, and perhaps for that reason it escaped the understanding of the first among the Sages, King Solomon. The reverse order of things is reflected in the description of the cow, as follows, “cow” is Rulership, “red” is Glory, “pure” is Foundation, “without a blemish” is Strength, and “which never had a yoke on it” is Understanding.

Art: John Frederick Herring, Jnr. - A Bull And Cows In A Wooded Landscape

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