Fractal Torah

by tillerofthesoil


“Why is ב (bet) closed on every side but open in front? To teach that she is the house of the world—“the blessed Holy One is the Place of the world… the world is not His place” (Bereshit Rabbah 68:10)—do not read בֵּית (bet), but בָּיִת (bayit), house, as is written, Through wisdom a house is built (Proverbs 24:3). To what can bet be compared? A man ‘fashioned through wisdom‘ (BT Berakhot 60b)—closed on every side but open in front. א (Alef) is open from behind. He said to him: The tail of bet is open from behind, otherwise the man could not survive. So too, the world would not exist if not for bet in her tail” (Bahir §15).

“From one tiny letter dangle a million, a billion worlds of yearning” (Zohar 3:106a).

“Ten סְפִירוֹת בְּלִימָה (sefirot belimah), ciphers of emptiness, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven… their measure is ten, yet they have no limit” (Sefer Yetsirah §4, §7).

“Rabbi El’azar taught, ‘In these ten utterances were engraved all the commandments of Torah, decrees and punishments, pure and impure, branches and roots, trees and plants, heaven and earth, ocean and depths. For Torah is the name of the blessed Holy One’” (Zohar 2:90b).

“This verse bears numerous nuances, as does every word of Torah, each and every one including countless colors, all fitting. So they are, the entire Torah assuming seventy aspects, seventy faces. So it is with every single word of Torah, and whatever emerges from each and every word diverges into numerous nuances in countless directions” (Zohar 1:54a).

“You cannot find a single word in Torah that is weak or broken; rather, when you contemplate and know it, you will find it as strong as a hammer smashing rocks. And if it is weak, this comes from you, as we have established, for it is written: For it is not an empty word from you (Deuteronomy 32:47). Thus it is written stronger and stronger (Exodus 19:19)” (Zohar 3:7a).

“In the academy of Rabbi Yishma’el it was taught: ‘Is not My word like fire,’ declares YHWH, ‘and like a hammer smashing rock?’ (Jeremiah 23:29). Just as a hammer splits into many sparks, so every single utterance issuing from the mouth of the blessed Holy One splits into many meanings” (Leqaḥ Tov, Exodus 20:2).

“The scroll of the Torah is written without vowels, so you can read it variously. Without vowels, the consonants bear many meanings and splinter into sparks. That is why the Torah scroll must not be vocalized, for the meaning of each word accords with its vowels. Once vocalized, a word means just one thing. Without vowels, you can understand it in countless, wondrous ways” (Rabbenu Baḥya ben Asher on Numbers 11:15).