Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dvarim – Moses Cannot Find Men of Understanding

Moses asked the tribes, “Designate for yourselves men who are wise, understanding, and known to the tribes” , but all he found was “I selected wise and well-known men from among your tribal leaders, and appointed them as your leaders”. Why is it that he found nobody who could “understand things?” Even though they were wise?

There was a need for this in the spiritual worlds. One cannot acquire either wisdom or understanding unless he already has some of it in himself. As it says in the Torah about Betzalel, who was building the Temple, “Betzalel ... to whom God has granted the wisdom and understanding", and about his helpers, "Skilled individuals upon whom God had bestowed a natural talent.” Those who already possess wisdom and understanding can increase it, through study or prayer, and expect that they will be given more. Only adding to one's capacity is possible, but not giving it where there is none. However, these people will indeed be given in great measure, they will be “filled with the spirit of wisdom and comprehension”. Still, the Torah mentions only “comprehension” that Moses' generation had, but “understanding” was missing.

The spiritual entity of Supernal Mother was connected to “comprehension,” but it lacked “understanding”. Thus, her essence, or foundation, was not revealed in the world, and did not lead to her union with the Supernal Father. Instead, the foundation of the Supernal Father was extended and revealed, to achieve the union. That union led to the creation of the generation of Jews who were absorbed in spiritual matters in the desert for forty years. That is why they are called “Generation of Knowledge,” even though “understanding” had to be absent from the mix. Instead, this understanding was left for later, to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, his companions, and to the later students of Kabbalah.

Art: Vasily Polenov - Portrait of an Old Jewish Man

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Balak – Rachel Stole Lavan's Fetishes

"Rachel stole the fetishes that belonged to her father."

Earlier we discussed Balam and the Evil in the world, as well as Balak and the hatred they both had toward Israel. We also mentioned the connection of both, through reincarnation, to Lavan. The explanation of this goes back to Rachel stealing the fetishes (terafim) of her father Lavan.

But first, why did she do it? Some say that she wanted Lavan to stop worshiping idols, others – that she did not want him to use them for divination, to find out where Jacob was (and indeed, he did not know). Josephus says that she did it to gain her father's pardon.

What does this all have to do with the story of Balak?

Rachel and Leah are not only sisters, but they are also spiritual entities that complement each other in the spiritual worlds. Leah has a connection to strict judgment (her daughter was called Dinah, which means Judgment), and this is most manifest in the spiritual world where Leah's domain ends and Rachel's begins. This is Leah's heels, the place of least sensitivity and reduced light. They push and pierce through (“bolkim” in Hebrew), and reach the head of Rachel.

Evil forces immediately cling to the reduced light and have some hold in Leah's heels. They thus can push and pierce through into the head of Rachel. That evil force, hinted by “bolkim” is Balak. Thus he finds the place to dwell and to try to achieve dominion. The place where Leah's feet  go into Rachel's head is called "Terafim" or fetishes. When Rachel stole the Terafim, she took away this area, all to herself, and now the Evil could not enter there and could not cause trouble.

But why is it Balak who waits for diminished light between Leah and Rachel? Balak is in some sense a descendant of Jethro, he is connected to the bad side of Cain, and his name contains multiple hints to the highest spiritual universes. The evil is thus connected to good, has its root in good, and good itself cannot be without evil existing in the world also. Our task is to recognize that, but to limit the power of evil by adding to the good forces through our study, and especially the study of Kabbalah.

Art: Charles Le Brun - Daughters of Jethro