Sunday, December 25, 2011

Miketz - The Second Dream of Pharaoh

He fell asleep again and had a second dream.

In the second dream, Pharaoh saw seven fat, good ears of grain growing on a single stalk, but now the river is not mentioned. Previously we discussed the meaning of Pharaoh's standing “on the river” in his first dream, but where is this river now?

The river Nile in the dream stands for Foundation, the life-giving force, the place of birth. In place of the river, in the second dream the ears of grain come from a stalk, kaneh (קנה). That, too, is a reference to Foundation. The gematria of the word stalk, kaneh, is 155. After you add to it 1, reprresenting the essence of the stalk, you get 156. That is the same gematria as the name of Joseph (יוסף). Joseph, too, was connected to Foundation: in the spiritual growth of humanity, he represented the Foundation of the Cosmic Man, Zeir Anpin.

This is where the second dream differed from the first. Now it was saying, “These things will come about through Joseph.” The ears were growing on a single stalk, literally “one” (אחד) stalk. This was the symbol of unity, and it is this that allowed Joseph to state with certainty, “The two dreams are one, and there is no division between them.”

Art: John Anster Fitzgerald - The Artist's Dream

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vayeshev – First Letters of the Words

These are the generations of Jacob, Joseph was 17...”

The first letters of this phrase are “ati yavesh” (אתי יבש), and the word yavesh (יבש), which means “dried-up” tells us that through the selling of Joseph, the upper stream of spirituality was destroyed and dried-up. That Joseph was 17 – a precise age which we don't need, since he is called “young lad” immediately after, is teaching us something else: the gematria of 17 is tov (טוב), or good. Joseph was that Righteous about whom the psalms say “Tell (call) the righteous that (he) is good.”

All generations, physical as well as spiritual, are created with the help of the Foundation. By stealing and selling Joseph, the brothers created a blemish in the upper spiritual Foundation. Joseph continued the spiritual stream of Jacob, and by being Righteous and by representing the Sefirah of Yesod (Foundation), he was in some sense their father, not brother. What the brothers ruined was the multicolored coat, or “ketonet pasim”. “Pasim” are the first letters of the phase “pitchon sigron yosef moshe” (opening, closing, Joseph, Moses), which is another name of the angel Metatron, and through the connection to the soul of Adam, Joseph and Metatron are one and the same.

Art: Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez - Joseph's Bloody Coat Brought To Jacob

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vayishlach – The Meaning of a Present

"...Jacob selected a present for his brother Esau from whatever came into his hand."

There are 310 worlds under the Throne of Glory, just as the numerical value of the word shai (שי) - present. Of these, 103 are the worlds of strictness; their influence ascends in the world after midday – the time of the influence of Isaac, the time of Minchah (offering, מנחה) prayer, whose numerical value is 103 = 40+50+8+5.

In general, all the judgments in the world come from the special five letters of mantzpach (מנצפך), and the first two letters of this group are the “man” (מנ) of minchah (מנחה). Following the “man” is the letter chet that represents the nose, and then the letter hei – the mouth of the Cosmic Man, and from these two come the sweetening of all judgments. At the end of days the mixed judgments of the minchah will change and become nechamah (נחמה) - consolation.

That is the meaning of the phrase “from whatever came into his hand”: Jacob took the strictness of the minchah, but with only one hand, and gave it to Esau, whose character was harsh, saying “Give him his due.” Esau hinted to Jacob that had he wanted to, he could draw strength from all of the 310 worlds, not only from the 103 strict ones, by noticing faults in others. Esau said, “I have (יש לי) a lot” hinting at shai (שי). Jacob pre-empted this, by enumerating his presents to Esau with the eight words that all end with the letter mem, hinting at the 8 unclean creepy crawlies mentioned in the Torah. Jacob also pointed out that there are eight words of holiness, used by the Torah to describe an offering (minchah) that also all end with the letter mem. Additionally, Jacob chose the word minchah to inflict a blemish (mum, מום) in the presents to Esau, so that they would not be fitting as idol sacrifices. And, so that the we would not think that eight worlds of holiness also received a blemish, he preceded to describe them as pure (temimim, תמימים).

Art: Auguste Toulmouche - Consolation

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vayetze - Jacob Setting the Stage for the Future

"Jacob set off briskly, and headed toward the land of the people of the East."

Literally, “Jacob took up his feet” - with his actions, Jacob was setting the events in the relatively near future, and the distant one, at the end of days. His fast departure was creating for later an equally fast departure from Egypt. His going to the east later led to going to receive the Torah.

The meaning of the well in the field and the large stone on top of it can be explained as follows. The stone represents all the hard questions and the possible answers that one finds on his way to truth. Since there are so many questions and so many possible answers, everybody seems right, but the truth remains unattainable. With his single-handed rolling of the stone, Jacob represented later great thinkers who could illuminate the minds, making things crystal clear, and water the flocks. That was only true in their generation however, since repeated arguments and repeated answers again obscured the truth and again made it unattainable.

In the future Jacob will be reincarnated and this time he will break the stone as a hammer that splits the rocks. He will then roll off the stone from the mouth of the well, this time without any questions or hard-to-understand concepts, and all his explanations will be true.

This is also hinting to the phrase “I am God your Lord.” The four letters of God's name “Havaya” (יהוה), are hinted to by two stone tablets and the ten commandments on them. Each tablet thus contained five commandments. The size of each tablet was six by six hand-breadths, altogether third-six, and the two tablets measured 72 (עב). That is the secret of the phrase “God said to Moses, 'I will come to you in a thick (עב) cloud, so that all the people will hear when I speak to you. They will then believe in you forever.'

Art: Feodor Alexandrovich Vasilyev - Storm Clouds