Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ki Tavo – Eleven Curses

Cursed is the person who makes a sculptured or cast idol.”

This is one of the 11 curses that was given on the mountain Eival. The 11 blessings negating these curses were given on mountain Gerizim, and they were the complete opposite: “Blessed is the person who makes a sculptured or cast idol”. There were also 11 goat skins used in the construction of the Tabernacle, and 11 spices in mix used for daily incense burning. Why are there eleven? One would expect ten, since there are ten Sefirot, the ways of God in the world. As the Sefer Yetzirah insists, “There are ten sefirot and not eleven”. There is a spiritual rule, “One who increases diminishes.” How can it be violated?

In truth, just as there are 10 ways of Holiness in the world, or 10 Sefirot, so there are 10 ways of evil, corresponding to them. There is an additional spark of life of holiness that gives life to all the 10 ways of evil. The secret of this is in the phrase “And His Kingship is ruling over everything” that is sung of Rosh HaShanah. 

However, there is a difference between the 10 ways of good and the 10 ways of bad, in that the 10 ways of good are called Thusness and Essence, and they are also called Vessels. It is this Essence that sustains and makes the good alive, and being of the same kind, it is mixed with them, and this is represented by the 10 coverings of the Tabernacle. It is different with the 10 ways of evil, whose Essence, being good, does not mix with them, but hovers above them, and this makes the whole group consist of eleven parts. The eleven curses, goat skins and spices all work on the bad, to subdue and ameliorate it.

Art: Barbieri - The Spice Shop Paolo Antonio

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