The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Six Hundred Sixty and Six

Hoard_of_ancient_gold_coins“[The Egyptian sorcerers’] wisdom was great, and they observed the hour and examined the rungs and saw that in all aspects, בְּשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה (be-shesh Moshe), Moses was in six: in the first six hours of the day, over which they had no power; in six supernal rungs, linked with him. In all aspects he was in six, and in the crowns of the six he was destined to descend from the mountain, as is written: that Moses, בֹשֵׁשׁ (vo-shesh), lagged—[read instead:] was בְּשֵׁשׁ (be-shesh), in sixin coming down from the mountain (Exodus 32:1)” (Zohar 2:191b).

“When sixty years have passed over the threshold of the sixth millenium, the God of Heaven will begin attending the daughter of Jacob. From then, six more years, totaling seventy-three. In sixty-six, King Messiah will appear in the land of Galilee. One star in the East will swallow seven stars in the North, and a flame of black fire will dangle in the sky for sixty days. Wars will be instigated in the North, in which two kings will fall. All nations will join in battle against the daughter of Jacob, to drive her from the world. Of that time it is written: It is a time of distress for Jacob, but he will be delivered from it (Jeremiah 30:7). Then souls will be depleted from the body and will need to be renewed [cf. BT Yevamot 62a: ‘The son of David will not come until all the souls in the body have been depleted, for it is said: For the spirit enwraps itself before Me and the souls that I have made (Isaiah. 57:16)’]. Your mnemonic: All the souls of the house of Jacob who came to Egypt numbered sixty-six (Genesis 46:26–27)” (Zohar 1:116a–18b).

And the Holy Lamp [Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai] said: All the souls of the house of Jacob… numbered sixty-six (Genesis 46:26–27). Sixty—for the awakening of the first Messiah [Son of Joseph]. Six—for the awakening of the second Messiah [Son of David], and this leaves six years until seventy-two. To establish therein the verse: six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit (Leviticus 25:3) [alluding to the ingathering of the exiles]. As is said: Israel is holy to YHWH, the first fruits of his increase (Jeremiah 2:3). 

If it is so what is: רָנּוּ (rannu), sing with gladness, for Jacob (Jeremiah 31:6) [רָנּוּ (rannu) being numerically equivalent to 256]? There are to be four redemptions [cf. Exodus 6:6–7: I will take you out… I will rescue you… I will redeem you… I will take you to Me] corresponding to the four cups of wine at Passover since Israel are scattered into four directions of the world, and those who are among the nations that are far away, will be early, in רנ״ו (two hundred and fifty-six). The next group in sixty; the third in sixty-six; and the fourth in seventy-two.

And these redemptions will be with the four living beings [of the Chariot] in the name of יהוה (YHWH), who rides on them, as is written: that You did ride upon Your horses and Your chariots of rescue (Habakkuk 3:8). Opposite them will awaken below four standards and twelve tribes [cf. Numbers 2:2; Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7], in the mystery of: ‘יְהוָה מֶלֶךְ יְהוָה מָלָךְ יְהוָה יִמְלוֹךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד (Adonai melekh, Adonai malakh, Adonai yimlokh le-olam va-ed), YHWH reigns, YHWH reigned, YHWH will reign for ever and ever’ (Musaf) [cf. Psalms 96:10, 93:1; Exodus 15:18]. There are twelve letters here [i.e., three iterations of יהוה (YHWH)], corresponding to the twelve tribes, and the twelve faces of the three patriarchs about whom it has been said: The patriarchs are the Chariot. And these ten tribes—one thousand years. The other two tribes—two hundred years, and from the twelve letters are suspended the seventy-two names. And these seventy-two are the years after one thousand and two hundred years [the Zohar implies that these were auspicious times for Israel to repent, and that their redemption was dependent on their repentance (Sullam), cf. BT Sanhedrin 98a] (Zohar 3:252a, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

All Nursing of Hatred of Israel is Based on This

Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons (Genesis 37:3).

Rabbi El’azar opened, ‘Go, My people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for the slightness of a moment, until wrath passes (Isaiah 26:20). Come and see how greatly the blessed Holy One loves Israel! Because of His love for them above all other nations, He warns them and seeks to protect them in whatever they do.

Come and see: There are times during the day when judgment looms over the world, and when such a time arrives, one must protect himself from being attacked by judgment. Those times are well known and have been established [see for example Zohar 1:132; 2:21a (MhN)]….

Moreover, when judgment arouses in the world and prevails in the city, one should not walk alone in the streets, as we have established; rather, he should shut himself in so that he does not venture out—as they have established concerning Noah, who shut himself within the ark so as not to be found in the presence of the Destroyer.

So, Go, my people, enter your rooms—shut yourself in; and shut your doors behind you, so as not to be exposed in the presence of the Destroyer. Hide yourself for the slightness of a moment, until wrath passes, for once judgment has passed, the Destroyer has no power to destroy.

Come and see: Because of the love Jacob felt for Joseph—more than for his brothers—even though they were all his own brothers, what is written? They conspired against him to kill him (Genesis 37:18). All the more so, other nations toward Israel!

Come and see the consequences of that excessive love! It caused him to be exiled from his father, and his father to be exiled along with him; it inflicted exile upon them all as well as upon Shekhinah, who was exiled among them. Although a decree was issued, they have established that because the ornamented tunic that he made for him extravagantly, what is written? His brothers saw that it was he their father loved… (Genesis 37:4) [cf. BT Shabbat 10b]” (Zohar 1:183a, cf. ibid. 3:221a–b).

“An Israelite is forbidden to teach Torah to a Gentile, as is written: He tells His words to Jacob…. He has not done so for any other nation… (Psalms 147:19–20) [cf. BT Sanhedrin 59a; Ḥagigah 13a]. Consequently, Jacob thrust him away and Samuel thrust him away, so that he would have no share in holiness. All nursing of hatred of Israel is based on this” (Zohar 2:111b–12a).

“Even a gentile, even a slave, and even a slavegirl who sit and learn Torah, the Shekhinah is with them” (Tanna debei Eliyyahu 9, cf. Ba’al ha-Sullam, Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, A Slavegirl that is Heir to Her Mistress).

“Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai taught: ‘הֲלָכָה בְּיָדוּעַ (Halakhah be-yadu’a), the behavior is well-known: Esau hates Jacob [alt., וַהֲלאֹ יָדוּעַ (va-ha-lo yadu’a), isn’t it well-known, that Esau hates Jacob? Nevertheless, at that moment (Genesis 33:4) he was compassionate and kissed him wholeheartedly]’” (Sifrei, Numbers 59).

“One of the Rabbis asked Rabbi Kahana: Have you heard what הַר סִינַי (har sinai), Mount Sinai [implies]? He said: A mountain upon which נִסִּים (nissim), miracles, were performed for Israel. Then it should be called הַר נִיסַאי (har nisai), Mount Nisai? Rather, a mountain which made a good סִימָן (siman), sign, for Israel. Then it should be called, הַר סִימָנַאי (har simanai), Mount Simanai? He said to him: Why don’t you frequent [the academy of] Rav Pappa and Rav Huna son of Rabbi Yehoshu’a, who make a study of aggadah? For Rav Ḥisda and Rabbah son of Rav Huna both said: What is Mount Sinai? A mountain on which שִׂנְאָה (sin’ah), hatred, of peoples of the world descended [i.e., Israel’s hatred of the nations; alt., the nations’ hatred of Israel. Cf. BT Avodah Zarah 2b–3b; Zohar Ḥadash 28c]” (BT Shabbat 89a).

And Haman said to Ahasuerus: ‘There is a certain people, scattered and separate from the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their rules are different from every people’s and they do not observe the king’s rules, and it does not pay for the king to leave them in peace. If it pleases the king, let it be written to wipe them out, and ten thousand talents of silver will I measure out to the king’s treasury.’ And the king removed his ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, צֹרֵר הַיְּהוּדִים (tsorer ha-Yehudim), foe of the Jews (Esther 3:8–10).

“To what can we compare Ahasuerus and Haman at this point? To two men one of whom had a mound in the middle of his field and the other a ditch in the middle of his field. The owner of the ditch said, ‘I wish I could buy that mound,’ and the owner of the mound said, ‘I wish I could buy that ditch.’ One day they met, and the owner of the ditch said, ‘Sell me your mound,’ whereupon the other replied, ‘Take it for nothing, and I shall be only too glad.’ And the king removed his ring. Rabbi Abba son of Kahana said: This removal of the ring was more effective than forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses who prophesied to Israel; for all these were not able to turn Israel to better courses, yet the removal of the ring did turn them to better courses” (BT Megillah 14a, cf. Sanhedrin 97b).

In the lap the lot is cast, but from YHWH is all the disposing (Proverbs 16:33).

Water-streams, a king’s heart in the hand of YHWH, wherever He desires, He diverts it (Proverbs 21:1)—Rabbi Yishma’el said: Water-streams—just as when you put water into a vessel you can tilt it to whatever side you wish, so also when flesh-and-blood is elevated to kingship, his heart is placed in the hand of the blessed Holy One. If the world merits it, the blessed Holy One tilts the king’s heart toward good decrees; if the world is guilty, the blessed Holy One tilts his heart toward evil decrees. Thus each and every decree that issues from the king’s mouth originates from the blessed Holy One; hence it is said, wherever He desires, He diverts it” (Midrash Mishlei).

Only on Account of Israel

map-660x504

“The blessed Holy One scattered Israel among the peoples only so that they may accumulate converts, for it is said: And I will sow her for Myself in the earth; [and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them who were not My people, you are My people; and they shall say, You are my God] (Hosea 2:25)—surely, a man sows a se’ah in order to harvest many korin” (BT Pesaḥim 87b, cf. Zohar 1:244a).

“Come and see: All nations of the world and all kings of the world are empowered only on account of Israel. Egypt did not rule over the whole world until Israel came, entering exile; then they overwhelmed all nations of the world. Babylon overpowered all nations of the world only so that Israel would be exiled among them. Edom overpowered all nations of the world only on account of Israel—so that they would be exiled among them. For these nations had been subdued by other nations and were lower than all of them, but on account of Israel they became powerful…. Why? Because Israel alone corresponds to all nations of the world” (Zohar 2:6a).

Falling into the Hands of the Nations and being Ruled by Them

ump

I know that for my sake this great storm is upon you (Jonah 1:12).

“’What is the meaning of the verse Through you all families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3)?… Even the other families who live on the earth are blessed solely on account of Israel… even the ships that go from Gaul to Spain are blessed solely on account of Israel.’… Rabbi El’azar son of Avina said, ‘Punishment comes into the world solely on account of Israel, as is said, I have cut off nations, their corner-towers are devastated. I have destroyed their streets (Zephaniah 3:6): and it is written [after]: I said, ‘If you but fear Me, if you accept My reproof, [her abode will not be cut off, all that I had summoned against her] (ibid., 7)” (BT Yevamot 63a).

“[Rabbi Yehoshu’a son of Levi said:] Scripture says: [Away, away, flee from the land of the north, said YHWH,] for like the four winds of the heavens did I spread you out, said YHWH (Zechariah 2:10). What did He say to them? Should you say that the blessed Holy One said to Israel as follows: I have spread you out to the four winds of the world, if so, why did He say like the four [winds]? He should have said to the four [winds]! Rather, this is what He meant: Just as the world cannot endure without winds, so too the world cannot exist without Israel” (BT Ta’anit 3b, cf. Zohar 2:5b [MhN]).

“בְּרֵאשִׁית (Bereshit), In the beginning (Genesis 1:1)—first saying of all, it includes the Ten Utterances, and it is the בְּרִית אֵשׁ (berit esh), covenant of fire. From the left side it was given—Gevurah, red fire. Therefore it says, in a flame of fire (Exodus 3:2). And Moses was from the side of Levi [i.e., the left side].

Why was it made known from the bush (Exodus 3:2)? To teach She is caught between the thorns but not consumed because the roses, which are Her children [the Assembly of Israel], in the future would be exiled among the nations which are thorns [cf. Rashi, ad loc.]. This is the secret of [As for you, do not fear, My servant Jacob— said YHWH— for I am with you.] I will make an end of all the nations where I have dispersed you, but of you I will not make an end, [yet I will chastise you in justice, will surely not leave you unblamed] (Jeremiah 46:28)” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 27a).

Many are the wicked’s pains, but he who trusts in YHWH kindness surrounds him (Psalms 32:10).

“Rabbi Abba said, ‘What is the meaning of the verse Is YHWH among us or אָיִן (ayin), not? (Exodus 17:7). Now, were the Israelites stupid, not knowing this? They saw Shekhinah in front of them, and clouds of glory above, surrounding them—and yet they said, Is YHWH among us or not? People who saw the radiant glory of their King at the sea—and we have learned: A maidservant at the sea saw what the eyes of the prophet Ezekiel never saw—would they be so stupid as to say, Is YHWH among us or not?

Rather, Rabbi Shim’on said as follows: They wanted to discern between the Ancient One—concealed of all concealed, called אָיִן (Ayin), Nothingness—and the Short-Tempered One. Therefore it is not written Is YHWH among us or לֹא (lo), not?—corresponding to what is written: whether they will follow My teaching or לֹא (lo), not (Exodus 16:4)—but rather, Is YHWH among us or אָיִן (Ayin), Nothingness?

If so, why were they punished? Well, because they caused a separation and acted by testing, as is written: and for their testing YHWH (Exodus 17:7). They said, ‘If it is this, we will ask in one way; if it is that, we will ask in another way.’ Immediately, Amalek came… (ibid., 8)‘” (Zohar 2:64b).

Amalek came [and did battle with Israel at Rephidim] (Exodus 17:8)—Rabbi Yehoshu’a and Rabbi El’azar Ḥisma say: this verse is to be explained according to Job: Will papyrus sprout with no marsh, reeds grow grand without water? (Job 8:11). Is it possible for papyrus to grow with no marsh, or is it possible for the reeds to exist without water? So also is it impossible for Israel to exist unless they busy themselves with the words of Torah. And because they separated themselves from Torah the enemy came upon them. For the enemy comes only because of sin and offence. In this sense it is said: And Amalek came [עֲמָלֵק (Amalek) and סָפֵק (safeq), doubt, are numerically equivalent, see Fragment Targum on Genesis 4:8: ‘(Cain said to his brother Abel:) There is no judgment, and there is no judge’; סִיטְרָא אַחְרָא (Sitra Aḥra), the Other Side, is numerically equivalent to עֲמָלֵקִי (Amaleqi), Amalekite, in its full spelling (עַיִן מֵם לָמֶד קוֹף יוֹד)]….

Others say: רְפִידִים (Rephidim) means only רִפיוֹן יָדַיִם (riphyon yadaim), slack hands [cf. 2 Samuel 17:2; רְפִידִים (Rephidim) and שְׁמָד (shemad), annihilation, are numerically equivalent]—because Israel relaxed their hold on words of Torah the enemy came upon them. For the enemy comes only because of slack hands in upholding Torah, as is said: And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of YHWH, and all Israel with him (2 Chronicles 12:1). And what was the punishment for this thing? And it happened in the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. And he took the treasures of the house of YHWH and the treasures of the house of the king, and everything did he take, and he took all the gold bucklers that Solomon made (1 Kings 14:25–26)” (Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishma’el, Amaleq 1).

“Come and see: When the truly virtuous engage in Torah, all those potencies of other nations and all their forces are overturned and no longer rule the world…. But if not, the donkey causes Israel to go into exile, falling into the hands of the nations and being ruled by them” (Zohar 1:243a, cf. BT Ketubbot 66b).