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Gleanings of Zohar

Listen to Your Soul


“His students asked: What is [the vowel] חוֹלֶם [ḥolem]? He replied: It is the נְשָׁמָה [neshama] soul – its name is חוֹלֶם [ḥolem]. If you תִּשְׁמַע [tishema] listen, your body will be תַּחְלִים [taḥlim] reinvigorated, in the future of its builder [cf. BT Berakhot 60b]. But if you rebel against it, there will be חוֹלֶה [ḥoleh] illness, on your head, and חוֹלִים [ḥolim] illnesses, on its head” (Bahir 40).

“When the human was created, what is written? You clothed me in skin and flesh [Job 10:11]. What then is the human if not skin and flesh, and bones and sinews? But surely the human being is nothing but soul! And these that we have mentioned – skin, flesh, bones, and sinews are all merely a garment; they are a person’s clothing not the human. And when a person departs, he is stripped of those garments that he is wearing” (Zohar 2:76a).

And She Took of Its Fruit

20140711-121156-43916671.jpg The letter מ [mem] was the first sign for Adam that מָוֶת [mavet] death, was ordained over the world, because this letter flew over Adam’s head at the time when, as is written: and she took מִפִּרְיוֹ [miprio], of its fruit [Genesis 3:6] – מ פִּרְיוֹ [alludes to fruit of מָוֶת death]. And this was waiting for the letters ת and ו at the time when it is written: וַתֹּאכַל and ate; וַתִּתֵּן and she gaveוַתִּפָּקַחְנָה and the eyes of the two were opened [ibid.6-7]. And thus was מָוֶת death, established over the world (Ra’aya Meheimna Pinḥas).



Happy Lag b’Omer!

Originally posted on The Nut Garden:


עִיר וְקַדִּישׁ מִן-שְׁמַיָּא נָחִת “And, behold, a watcher, a holy one came down from heaven” (Daniel 4:10, cf. Zohar 2:149b).

“The Torah is destined to be forgotten from Israel” (BT Shabbat 138b).

כִּי לֹא תִשָּׁכַח מִפִּי זַרְעו “It shall not be forgotten in the mouth of his seed” (Deuteronomy 31:21).

“I [Rabbi Shim’on bar Yohai] am able to exempt the whole world from judgment from the day that I was born until now” (BT Sukkah 45b).

“A band of outlaws cannot abide in the world, for Rabbi Shim’on son of Yohai has nullified them. Happy are you, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yohai, for your Master delights in your glory above all inhabitants of the world! Of Moses is written Moses implored (the presence of YHWH his God) [Exodus 32:21] – implying that he was seized with gout. Whereas you…

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All Blessings Above and Below Depend upon the Seventh Day

Mughal Jaisalmer India
“It was taught: They related concerning Shammai, the Elder [that] all his life he ate in honor of the Sabbath. [Thus] if he found a well-favored animal he said, Let this be for the Sabbath. [If afterwards] he found one better favored he put aside the second [for the Sabbath] and ate the first. But Hillel the Elder had a different trait, for all his works were for the sake of heaven, for it is said: Blessed be the Master day after day [Psalms 68:20]. It was likewise taught: House of Shammai say: מחד שביך לשבתיך [meḥad shabakh l’shabatikh] From the first day of the week [prepare] for the Sabbath [In Aramaic the saying rhymes and is a cue to prompt people to think of the coming Sabbath]; but House of Hillel say: Blessed be the Master day after day [Psalms 68:20]” (BT Beitza 16a).

“What is this שְׁבִיתָה rest? It is the absence of work. It is a cessation which is called שַׁבָּת Sabbath [Malkhut]. What is this like? A king had seven gardens, and the middle one contained a fountain, welling up from a living source. Three are at its right, and three are at its left. When it performed its function and overflowed, they all rejoiced, saying, ‘It overflowed for our sake.’ It waters them and makes them grow, while they wait and rest.

Do we then say that it waters the seven? But it is written, From the east [Tif’eret] I bring your seed [Isaiah 43:5]. This indicates that one of them waters it [Malkhut]. We must therefore say that [Tif’eret] waters the לֵב heart [Malkhut], and the heart then waters them all” (Bahir 159).

“You are a fountain in the garden, a well of living waters that stream from Lebanon” (Song of Songs 4:15).

“All blessings above and below depend upon the seventh day. And it has been taught: Why did manna not appear on the seventh day? Because from that day all six supernal days are blessed, and every single one conveys nourishment, each on its day, from the blessing bestowed upon it on the seventh day.

Therefore, whoever attains the rung of faith should arrange his table on the eve of Sabbath, so that his table may be blessed through out those six days [which is why House of Hillel say: Blessed be the Master day after day]. For at that time blessing is prepared for all six days of the week, and no blessing appears on an empty table. Consequently, one should arrange his table on Sabbath eve with bread and food.

Rabbi Yitsḥak said, ‘Even on the Sabbath day too!’” (Zohar 2:88a-b).

Prayer Should be Elevated Just as One Aims the Stone in a Sling

sling_shot_103“Rabbi Shim’on opened saying: Listen, all you celestial beings. Gather, all you earthly beings, the masters of the Academy above and below. Elijah, upon an oath, ask permission from the blessed Holy One to come down here because a great battle awaits you. Come down, Enoch Metatron, you and all the masters of the Academy under your supervision. I did not do this for my glory, but for the glory of the Shekhinah .

He opened as before explaining זַרְקָא֮ Zarka, מַקָּף Makaf etc., saying: Assuredly by the musical intonation, זַרְקָא֮ Zarka, the prayer should be elevated to that known place, just as one aims the stone in a sling. Just as one aims the stone carefully, so as not to miss the target, so should מַחֲשַׁבְתֵּיהּ thought, be elevated with concentration on prayer to that crown, which is the decorated and all-inclusive stone. Of this stone it is said that one should stand upright with the mention of the Name.

In that place, where he elevates Her to Her husband, one should not stop praying, even if a snake is wound around his feet, even though it is written of it: And you shall bite his heel [Genesis 3:15, cf. Psalms 91:13 and BT Berakhot 30b: Even if a king greets him (while in prayer) he should not answer him. And even if a snake is wound round his heel he should not break off]. Nevertheless, the stone is hinted at by the י of יַעֲקֹב Jacob, which is composed of י and עָקֵב heel, as it is written: Through the name of the Shepherd and Israel’s Stone [Genesis 49:24]. One should not cease from elevating Her to that place from where She was taken. One should elevate Her from the central pillar to the Endless Light. When he brings Her down from the Endless Light, it is said of him: ‘Whoever כּוֹרֵעַ kneels, kneels with the mention of בָרוּךְ blessed, because he should bring Her down to the Infinite endlessly, and not cause any separation between Her [and Ze’eir Anpin] above or below.

Sometimes He is Her husband [according to the mystery of] ו [which alludes to Yesod], the Righteous Who includes six parts of the two legs [namely the three joints of each leg]. Then She descends toward Him for the purpose of coupling according to the mystery of the two legs [Netsaḥ and Hod]. But at other times, He is Her husband [according to the mystery of] ו [that alludes to Tif’eret], which includes six parts [namely joints] of the two arms the beginning, middle and end. Then She grows and ascends to the two arms [Ḥesed and Gevurah]. At other times He [Ze’eir Anpin] is Her husband and stands between אַבָּא Father, and אִמָא Mother. This is when He is called the son of יה, and She should be elevated there to Him for coupling. At other times, Her husband is Keter with ו inserted between two י , thus: א. Then She should be elevated to Him, as She grows with Him and reaches exactly the same rung as He does. When She ascends to Keter, it is written of Her, the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone [Psalms 118:22].

When She rises up to the Head of all Heads the angels ask ‘where is the place of His glory to admire Him?’ And when She rises She becomes Keter, a crown on the head of א. When She descends; a point underneath [וִ]. So when She ascends She is called a crown according to the mystery of the intonations, and when She descends, She is called נְקוּדָה point. When She mates [with ו] She is in the form of [the vowel] שֻׁרֶק Shurek, thus: וּ. When She is a crown on the head [of ו] She is named ז. The sign of the covenant consists of this because it is the seventh letter in all. Indeed, this stone is the construction for all the worlds. Because of this a whole and honest weight-stone you shall have [Deuteronomy 25:15]. She is measurement between each and every sefirah, and every sefirah amounts with Her to ten. Her size is ו. Through Her, every cubit between each and every sefirah becomes ten cubits. This is the secret of ten cubits the length of the board [Exodus 26:16] and She is between them all. She is ten between every sefirah and ten multiplied by ten totals one hundred; when מֵאָה one hundred, is reversed [you are left with] אַמָה a cubit.

Each and every measure [that Malkhut measures] is called a world; that is, a measure of its own. Each one is a י and a ו that shows a size and a measurement. The ו is the weight of the light and the י is the measurement of it. The size of the measurement is five cubits long and five cubits wide. This corresponds to the size of every firmament, which is five-hundred parasangs long and five-hundred parasangs wide. This is the mystery of the two ה in the name יהוה; the first ה alludes to width and the lower ה to length, as explained elsewhere.

So here you have the stature of Him [Ze’eir Anpin] in יהוה, because ו alludes to firmament of the heavens [namely Tif’eret of Ze’eir Anpin]. Its five firmaments namely, the last ה of יהוה [which has a gematria of five] is called ‘the five heavens.’ This is the additional יהוה that indicates the five firmaments included in ‘the heavens.’ The upper five firmaments are called the ‘heavens of the heavens.’ These are ה ה of יהוה. The ו is their sixth firmament. י of יהוה is the mystery of Malkhut [which becomes the seventh firmament, and seven plus seven total fourteen]. Here are those lands, seven upon seven lands that cover each other like onion rings, which surround each other on all sides. They are all alluded to in the two eyes, and the three colors in the eye white, red and green. Its white color is Ḥesed, its red color, the red streaks, are Gevurah and its green color is Tif’eret. The two eyelids are Netsaḥ and Hod, the eye itself is Yesod and the black point is Malkhut.

The י in the name יהוה is called a small, or short, world. The ו in יהוה, which is Tif’eret, is the long world. Whomever wishes that his desires be fulfilled by the long world should pray at length, and whoever prays to the short world should pray quickly. Therefore, it has been explained that in a place where they are told to make it short a person should not pray at length [cf. Exodus 14:15: Why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the Israelites that they journey onward]. To pray quickly is like the prayer of Moses, who recited the following short prayer, אֵל, pray, heal her, pray [Numbers 12:13], as he addressed the point of י [which is the small, or short, world].

The place where it was recommended that one should pray at length during times when one is not allowed to curtail the prayer stems from an aspect of ו, as in ‘to fall down,’ as Moses did. The verse: וָאֶתְנַפַּל And I threw myself, before יְהוָה [Deuteronomy 9:18] is related to פ, because forty days and forty nights [Ibid.] add up to eighty, which is the numerical value of פ [So all this relates to the mystery of the letters פ and ו, which appear in the word וָאֶתְנַפַּל and I threw myself]. Everything appears in the two מ, one open מ and one closed final ם, with the י as a point in the middle, which forms the word מַיִם water. From the aspect of Ḥesed, one should pray at length.

In the Holy Name, יְהוָה rises by the רְבִיעַ fourth, tune of the musical intonations. And one should prolong this intonation, which is רְבִיעַ over the name of יְהוָה, the mystery of the תְקִיעָה [long sounding of the Shofar]. The place to make it short is from the aspect of Gevurah, the intonations of שְׁבָרִים [short sounding of the Shofar]. This is called the Tevir break, of the musical intonations. The middle, which is neither prolonged nor shortened, is the mystery of תְרוּעָה [a succession of notes of the Shofar]. This is the central pillar and is the mystery of the musical intonations called שַׁלשֶׁלֶת chain [which chains both the Right and Left Columns] as it intertwines them according to the mystery of the שֶׁקֶל shekel of the sanctuary.

Corresponding to רְבִיעַ intonation, which rises in the intonation, there is the חֹלֶם Ḥolam among the vowels, which is also Ḥesed. The שְׁבָרִים, or the Tevir of the intonation, is equivalent to the vowel שְׁבָא Sheva. In pronouncing this, רְבִיעַ, one should raise his voice and in pronouncing the other [referring to the Tevir, which is Gevurah], one should lower his voice. Because of this, it is called שְׁבָרִים [derived from שֶׁבֶר break] as the voice should be lowered [lit., שָׁבוּר broken]. This is done in secret, as it is written of the lower Shekhinah: And Her voice not heard [1 Samuel 1:13]. תְּרוּעָה is the mystery of the Central Column, which is called שַׁלשֶׁלֶת chain. This is also the mystery of the י, located between the two ם of אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה forty days and forty nights. This is the mystery of סְגוֹלְתָּא Segolta among the intonations.

The רְבִיעִי, of the musical intonations is for raising the voice, the Tevir of the musical intonations is for lowering the pitch. שַׁלשֶׁלֶת holds to the two Columns like a chain and joins them to each other. It is like the רְבִיעִי, with which one prolongs the word with melody. It is a vowel like the חֹלֶם Ḥolam. There is no vowel among the points that does not have a corresponding musical intonation. For example, the vowel סְגוֹל Segol corresponds to the סְגוֹלְתָּא Segolta intonation, the vowel שְׁבָא Sheva corresponds to the intonation זָקֵף גָּדוֹל Zakef Gadol. There is always a vowel corresponding to a musical intonation for all those who know the hidden secrets.

Rabbi Shim’on opened saying: זַרְקָא֮ Zarka, מַקַּף Makaf, שׁוֹפָר הוֹלֵךְ Shofar Ḥoleḥ, סְגוֹלְתָּא Segolta. The vowel to the right [which is the mystery of the vowel of חֹלֶם Ḥolam and Ḥesed] is יְהוָה מֶלֶךְ YHWH reigns [Psalms 96:10]. The vowel to the left [which is the mystery of the], שֻׁרֶק Shurek, or שְׁבָא Sheva, and Gevurah, is יְהוָה מָלָךְ YHWH reigned [Psalms 93:1]. The vowel in the middle [which is the mystery of the vowel חִירֶק Ḥirik] Tif’eret, is יְהוָה יִמְלֹךְ YHWH shall reign [Exodus 15:18]. Rabbi Aḥa said YHWH reigns is the supernal world, YHWH shall reign is Tif’eret, and YHWH reigned is the Ark of the Covenant” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar).

A Prayer of the Lowly When He Joins in Her Sorrow

Tisha bAv“If the prayer is not complete, many demons pursue it, as it is written: all her persecutors overtook her in her distress [Lamentations 1:3]. This is why people pray, וְהוּא רַחוּם Yet He is compassionate. (He atones for crime and does not destroy, abundantly takes back His wrath, and does not arouse all His fury) [Psalms 78:38]. Crime - this is Samael, who is the Serpent. Destroy - this alludes to the Angel of Destruction. Wrath, and… fury. And we pray that these four [shells, called crime, destruction, wrath, and fury] do not pursue the prayer, as many demons are attached to these. There are seven ministers, who have seventy more attached to them. Those seventy bring allegations in each and every firmament through which the prayer passes and seven-hundred million demons are attached to them.

If the prayer ascends complete, with the precept of covering of טַלִּית tallit, and תְפִלִין tefillin, of the head and of the arm, it is said of them: And all the peoples of the earth will see that the name of יְהוָה is called over you and they will fear you [Deuteronomy 28:10]. The name of יְהוָה – this has already been explained as the tefillin of the head. Whoever sees the name יְהוָה over the head in the prayer, which is the name אֲדֹנָיִ, shall immediately flee, as it is written: A thousand fall at Your side [Psalms 91:7].

Because Jacob saw through the Holy Spirit the oppression of the last exile, in the end of days, it is said of him, And Jacob was greatly afraid, and he was distressed [Genesis 32:8]. As a result, he divided the holy nation in exile into three parts, as it is written: And he placed the slavegirls and their children first [Genesis 33:2] – the first in the exile of Edom. And Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last [Ibid.]. Because he saw their eventual poverty and suffering, he prayed for them: if… I return safely to my father’s house [Genesis 28:21], so that they may have the merit to be redeemed and return to the Temple. He said in prayer: and give me bread to eat and clothing to wear (Ibid.) [that the shells will not overcome them to stop their abundance].

Because of this exile, David described the Shekhinah as hungry and exhausted and thirsty in the wilderness [2 Samuel 17:29], because he saw the Shekhinah desolate and withering and then joined in Her sorrow. After he saw that the children of Israel repented with joy, he composed ten types of psalms. At the end of them all, he said: A prayer of the lowly when he grows faint [Psalms 102:1]. This prayer encompasses all other prayers and ascends before all other prayers. The other prayers, sung with a melody, are delayed in being presented before the King, and do not enter, until the prayer of the poor does.

Which is the prayer of the lowly? It is the evening prayer. Since She is without Her husband, She is lowly and faint, lacking all abundance, and may be taken freely by anyone. The Righteous is withered and lowly under the rule of all nations of the world; all nations enslave them and rule over them. This is similar to the evening prayer, because it is the aspect of night in the exile.

The prayer of Sabbath is a charity given to the lowly as the sages of the Mishnah explained that the sun during Sabbath is charity given to the poor [BT Ta’anit 8b: Rabbi Isaac further said: Sunshine on the Sabbath is an act of kindness towards the poor, as it is said, But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up like calves of the stall]. Therefore, on all weekdays, a person should make himself a pauper at the gate of the King during the prayer of Amidah for the sake of the Shekhinah, which means that he should participate in the sorrow of the Shekhinah as did David. He should cover himself with the proper vestments, namely tallit with ṣitṣit, as a poor man stands at the gate to the הֵיכָל palace/chamber, of the King who is אֲדֹנָיִ, because the numerical value of אֲדֹנָיִ is equal to that of הֵיכָל palace/chamber. This is why it is said, אֲדֹנָיִ open my lips [Psalms 51:17].

When a person opens his lips during the weekdays at Arvit [the evening prayer], an eagle descends to carry the prayer of the night upon its wings. This eagle is called Nuriel. It is called Uriel from the aspect of Ḥesed and Nuriel from the aspect of Gevurah, which is a burning fire about which it is written: A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him [Daniel 7:10].

During Shaḥarit [the morning prayer], the lion descends to receive the prayer with its arms and wings – every living creature has four wings. This is the angel Michael. During Minḥah [the afternoon prayer], the ox descends to receive the prayer with its horns and wings, and this is the angel Gabriel.

On Sabbath, the blessed Holy One descends with the three Patriarchs [Ḥesed, Gevurah and Tif’eret] to receive His only daughter through them [Shekhinah]. This is the secret of the Sabbath which consists of ש and בַּת daughter. The three lines of ש refer to the three Patriarchs. Through them, the blessed Holy One receives the prayer of Sabbath [His only daughter]. At that time, the celestial living creatures that are called out to in the name of יְהוָה, as it is written: Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift up, eternal portals, that the King of glory may enter [Psalms 24:9].

At this time, seven chambers are opened. The first chamber is the chamber of Love, the second is the chamber of Fear, the third is the chamber of Compassion, the fourth is the chamber of Prophecy from the aspect of the shining mirror, the fifth is the chamber of Prophecy from the aspect of the dim glass, the sixth is the chamber of Justice and the seventh chamber is in the chamber of Judgment. These chambers correspond to the seven sefirot. The chamber of Love is Ḥesed, Fear is Gevurah, Compassion is Tif’eret, the shining mirror is Netsaḥ, the dim glass is Hod, Justice is Yesod and Judgment is Malkhut.

About them, it is written: בְּרֵאשִׁית with beginning [Genesis 1:1], which consists of בָּרָא שִׁית created six [alluding to the creation of the six chambers]; אֱלֹהִים is in the seventh chamber. There are seven chambers below, and seven chambers above. The seven voices that correspond to them appear in the psalm, Grant to יְהוָה [Psalms 29:1], which includes eighteen mentions of יְהוָה. By these mentions, the blessed Holy One glides through eighteen worlds according to the mystery of: The chariots of אֱלֹהִים are myriads beyond count, thousands of thousands [Psalms 68:18] and there are 180,000 worlds. Many guardians of the gates stand before the chambers to receive the prayers and no prayer enters without being measured and weighed.

No one can stand before the gate of prayers to prevent that prayer from entering. Of such a one it is written: [Like arrows in the warrior’s hand, thus are sons born in youth. Happy the man who fills his quiver with them] They shall not be shamed when they speak with their enemies at the gate [Psalms 127:5]. This is the gate of the King [namely the gate of the chamber]. Since the prayer is a precept and is the Shekhinah and Torah is the blessed Holy One they must not be separated. Torah and the precept should be elevated with Love and Fear [All the precepts, positive and negative, derive from the name יְהוָה as this mystery has been explained: This is שֵׁמִי, My name, forever, and this is זִכְרִי, My memorial (Exodus 3:15). שֵׁמִי plus יה (equals) 365, and זִכְרִי plus וה (equals) 248. All together (they are equal to) 613 given to the holy children so they will have a portion in His name. This is the meaning of, For the portion of יְהוָה is His people (Deuteronomy 32:9) (Ra’aya Meheimna Ki Tetze )].

There are the 248 words in the reading of Shema that were given in Love and Fear, and that are contained in the ה of יְהוָה. Therefore, the blessing: ‘He Who chooses His nation Israel with love,’ is recited before the reading of Shema to indicate that we draw solely the aspect of Love, which is the mystery of the 248 positive precepts. These 248 positive precepts are included within Abraham [because the numerical value of אַבְרָהָם Abraham, equals 248 and he is the quality of Love]. It is written of him: The seed of Abraham My friend [Isaiah 41:8].

Tefillin symbolize strength, as they were given from the aspect of Fear, which is the left. This is the name the פַּחַד Terror, of Isaac [Genesis 31:42], because all the prosecutors ascend to demand all the Judgments throughout the worlds. Thus, it is written: And by the arm of His strength [Isaiah 62:8]. This is why it is written: Love אֶת-יְהוָה, all His faithful [Psalms 31:24]. But Tif’eret of יְהוָה comprises all as it is the Central Column. Hence it says of Jacob, And, look, יְהוָה was poised over him [Genesis 28:13]. This was not mentioned in relation to Abraham or Isaac, because Jacob is the aspect of Tif’eret, which includes all. When called by the name Jacob, He includes the quality of Abraham, וה, and the 248 positive precepts. Later, when he was called Israel, he rose by יוד ,הא ,ואו ,הא. The mystery of יְהוָה [fully spelled with א] appears in the expression that Israel arose in thought [cf. Sifra di-Tsni’uta, Zohar 2:108b: Israel is the kernel of the world; Israel arose in thought. Other nations, who are the קְלִפָּה shell, preceded, as is written: אֵלֶּה these, are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Children of Israel (Genesis 36:31)], because מַחֲשָׁבָה thought, consists of [the letters of] מַה חַשָׁב what thought. מַה [gematria 45] refers to יְהוָה [fully spelled with א, which shares the gematria of 45], in which the Holy Name lies. Because of Jacob, who is called Israel, it is written: And אֱלֹהִים created the human in His image [Genesis 1:27] after the likeness of his Master.

Sons, life and sustenance [see BT Mo’ed Qatan 28a] are drawn down to the lower beings only through the aspect of the central pillar, about which it is written: My son, My firstborn is Israel [Exodus 4:22]. This is the Tree of Life, as it is written: The tree (that you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and its sight to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and its fruit much, and in it was) food for all; (under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation) [Daniel 4:20-21]. As for the Shekhinah [which dwells among the lower beings only] Israel below are considered Her life, Torah Her sustenance, and prayer an offering which offers the Shekhinah for a union [with Ze’eir Anpin]. During the exile, it is said that the Shekhinah said to Her husband [Ze’eir Anpin] Give me sons, for if You don’t, I am a dead woman! [Genesis 30:1].

The Shekhinah is an offering for the blessed Holy One which He receives with both the right and the left arm, and with the body. His coupling with Her is accomplished by the Righteous [who is Yesod that is called sign]. This is the sign of the tefillin, [but not on] Sabbath and the holidays. So when prayer [which is the Shekhinah] ascends [to Ze’eir Anpin] She should be joined with Him with all ten sefirot [because there can be no holiness with fewer than a quorum] which is His own holiness, His blessing and unity. Therefore, when a person wishes his prayer to ascend, he should raise it with all its movement of the cantillation marks and the vowels because the letters are the horses, the vowels the horsemen, and the cantillation marks the weapons. If the Serpent plans on disrupting the prayer, one should prepare a sling against it, and the secret of the matter lies in זַרְקָא מַקַּף שׁוֹפָר הוֹלֵךְ סְגוֹלְתָּא Zarka, Makaf, Shofar Holeḥ, Segolta” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar).

The Three Oaths


“Rabbi Zera was evading Rab Judah because he desired to go up to the Land of Israel while Rab Judah had said, ‘Whoever goes up from Babylon to the Land of Israel transgresses a positive commandment, for it is said, They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, says YHWH; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place [Jeremiah 27:22].’ And Rabbi Zera? [how could he act against this text?]  — this refers to the vessels of ministry. And Rab Judah? — it is also written: Daughters of Jerusalem, swear to Me by the gazelles, by the deer in the field… [Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5]  And Rabbi Zera? — this implies that Israel shall not go up [all together as if surrounded] by a wall [alter., ‘like a wall’]. And Rab Judah? — Another swear to Me is written in Scripture. And Rabbi Zera? — this is required for [an exposition] like that of Rabbi Yose son of Rabbi Hanina who said: ‘What was the purpose of those three adjurations [cf. Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5; 5:8]?  — One, that Israel shall not go up [altogether as if surrounded] by a wall; the second, that whereby the blessed Holy One adjured Israel that they shall not rebel against the nations of the world; and the third is that whereby the blessed Holy One adjured the idolaters that they shall not oppress Israel too much.’ And Rab Judah? — It is written that you will never awaken love until it is ripe [Song of Songs 2:7]. And Rabbi Zera? — That text is required for [an exposition] like that of Rabbi Levi who stated: ‘What was the purpose of those six adjurations [each of the three adjurations is repeated]?  — Three for the purposes just mentioned and the others, that [the prophets] shall not make known the end, that [the people] shall not delay the end [by their misdeeds], and that they shall not reveal the secret to the idolaters.’ By the gazelles, by the deer in the field – Rabbi Eleazar explained: The blessed Holy One said to Israel, ‘If you will keep the adjuration, well and good; but if not, I will permit your flesh [to be a prey] like [that of] the gazelles and the deer of the field’” (BT Ketubot 110b-11a).

“Resh Lakish was swimming in the Jordan. Thereupon Rabbah son of Bar Hana came and gave him the hand: If she is a wall, we will build a silver turret upon her. If she is a door, we will bolt her with beams of cedarwood [Song of Songs 8:9]. Had you [Assembly of Israel] made yourself like a wall and had all come up in the days of Ezra, you would have been compared to silver, which no rottenness can ever affect. Now that you have come up like doors, you are like cedarwood, which rottenness prevails over” (BT Yoma 9b).

“Rabbi Yose said to him, ‘All this is longer than the Companions have established, namely, one day of exile [which is one-thousand years] for Assembly of Israel, no more, as is written: He has made me desolate, faint all the day [Lamentations 1:13, cf. Psalms 90:4: For a thousand years in Your eyes are like yesterday gone].’ He replied, ‘So I learned from father in the mysteries of letters of the Holy Name, the duration of the world and the days of Creation – all a single mystery” (Zohar 1:116a-18b).


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