Come and Listen, Come and See

by tillerofthesoil

“Our Rabbis taught: שְׁמַע (shema), Hear, O Israel! YHWH our God, YHWH is One (Deuteronomy 6:4): this was Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi’s recitation of Shema. Rav said once to Rabbi Ḥiyya: I do not see Rabbi accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven. In the moment when he passes his hand over his eyes, he accepts upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven” (BT Berakhot 13b).

שְׂאוּ מָרוֹם עֵינֵיכֶם (Se’u marom eineikhem), Raise your eyes on high (Isaiah 40:26).

Unveil my eyes that I may look upon the wonders of Your teaching (Psalms 119:18).

“Rabbi Abba said, ‘It is written: All the people were seeing הַקּוֹלֹת (ha-qolot), the thunderings (Exodus 20:15). Were seeing—the verse should read were hearing. However, we have learned as follows: Those הַקּוֹלֹת (ha-qolot), voices, were engraved in that darkness, cloud, and dense fog, and were visible in them as a body is visible, and they saw what they saw and heard what they heard from within that darkness, dense fog, and cloud. From within the vision they saw, they were illumined by the supernal radiance and knew what later generations coming after them would not know. They all saw face-to-face, as is written: Face-to-face YHWH spoke [with you…] (Deuteronomy 5:4)” (Zohar 2:81a–b).

“Light Not Existing in Light, engraves, and the Spark of All Sparks bursts forth, striking within the Will of Wills, secreted within it, unknown. When this Will desires to ramify, this Spark—concealed within Will, befitting and not befitting to exist as color—shoots out. When this Will ramifies, this Spark—splaying color and no color—strikes, entering into that extension, splaying forth in its colors. It ascends, becoming actualized through its ascent within Will and its emanation. Will strikes its extension in concealment, unknown—emitting gossamer lights, coalescing as one. When they seek to emerge, that Spark, imbued with colors, strikes the extension and it becomes constricted. On account of the pressure, those diaphanous lights emerge, audible as one” (Zohar Ḥadash 57a).