The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

All Her Paths are Peace

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Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, Living God, El Shaddai. Lofty and high One, who dwells forever and holy His Name (Isaiah 57:15) engraved thirty-two wondrous paths with wisdom” (Sefer Yetsirah §1).

“What are these thirty-two [wondrous paths of wisdom]?… A parable: To what can the matter be compared? A king ‘[residing] within the innermost chambers’ (BT Berakhot 10a), thirty-two in all. Now, each of the chambers has a path. Is it fitting for this king that everyone enter his chambers by way of his paths? You would say: No. Is it fitting for him not to display his pearls, his hidden treasures, his precious objects, and his filigree? You would say: No. What then does he do? He must touch the daughter, and include all the paths in her and in her garments. Whoever wishes to enter, let him look here” (Bahir §63).

“For look, every place called way in the Torah is a way open to all, like a road open to every person! So her ways (Proverbs 3:17)—ways opened by the patriarchs, who dug in the Great Sea [Shekhinah] and entered her… And all her paths are peace (ibid.). Who are her paths? Those paths emerging from above, all gathered by a single covenant named Peace, peace of the home [cf. BT Shabbat 152a], who conducts them into the Great Sea when it is agitated [alt., ‘when He is potent’], bringing it peace, as is written: and all her paths are peace (Proverbs 3:17)” (Zohar 2:31a–b, cf. ibid. 2:215a; 3:88a).

Every man shall revere his mother and his father, and My sabbaths you shall keep (Leviticus 19:3). These decrees are equal to each other; reverence for parents is equivalent to the honor due the Sabbath. With regard to one’s father, it first speaks of honor, as the verse states: If then I be a father, where is My honor? And if I be a master, where is My fear? (Malachi 1:6). כְבוֹדִי (Khevodi), My honor, reckons forty-two and comprises the Ten Utterances and thirty-two [iterations of] אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) in the Account of Creation. In every place, the wise inherit כָּבוֹד (kavod), honor (Proverbs 3:35). The sages explained that this כָּבוֹד (kavod), honor [numerically equivalent to thirty-two], refers to nothing but Torah, as the thirty-two אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) in Torah are His Honor [i.e., Binah, הָאֱלֹהִים (Ha-Elohim)]. These sages of Torah, who are wise in Ḥokhmah, inherit this Honor [the מוֹחַין (moḥin), minds, of thirty-two אֱלֹהִים (elohim) (Sullam)]. This is not so for the fools about whom it is written, fools take away disgrace (ibid.). How do we know that someone ignorant in Torah is called a fool? As is written: Nor does the fool understand this (Psalms 92:7). זֹאת (Zot), this—Torah, as is written: וְזֹאת (ve-zot), and this, is the Torah that Moses set [before the children of Israel] (Deuteronomy 4:44).

And said (Genesis 1). Father appears in every saying, as many as [thirty-two times] and so it was (ibid.). And She carried out what He said at once. Because She did His commands without any delay in the thirty-two paths with them were created everything in the Works of Creation. She is called כָּבוֹד (kavod), Glory, Honor: And in His palace all says glory (Psalms 29:9). Blessed be the glory of YHWH from His Place (Ezekiel 3:12); ‘Where is the Place of His glory to adorn Him?’” (Zohar 3:82a, Ra’aya Meheimna Qedoshim).

“It is written: Her ways… All her paths (Proverbs 3:6). What is the difference between them? Way—which all the feet of people tread. Path—recently opened. Of this is said: But the path of the righteous is like light’s radiance, ever brighter till day has come. The way of the wicked is like darkness. [They know not on what they stumble] (Proverbs 4:18–19)” (Zohar 3:88a, Ra’aya Meheimna Qedoshim).

“And this is the meaning of: Her lips alone moving and her voice not heard (1 Samuel 1:13)lips are wings of the living beings [of the chariot in Ezekiel’s vision]. For the חַשְׁמַל (ḥashmal), amber, was [previously] חֵיוָן אֶשָּׁא מְמַלְּלָן (ḥeyvan esha memall’lan), fiery beings speaking, while [now] they are silent [cf. BT Ḥagigah 13b]. And this is why silent prayer was ordained, and thus the Work of the Chariot is without sound, for he speaks there to himself in a whisper. Three prayers were ordained [Shaarit, Mina, and Ma’ariv] and in each one יהוה (YHWH) is [enunciated] eighteen [times], making seventy-two letters in each [Amidah] prayer, in the [concluding sentences of each of the] eighteen blessings, [and three times seventy-two] makes 216 [letters] that are included in חֶסֶד (esed) [numerically equivalent to seventy-two]. [Three times seventy-two], together with the thirty-two paths comes to 250 less two [namely, 248 which is numerically equivalent to אַבְרָהָם (avraham), Abraham, who corresponds to Ḥesed (see Bahir §8)] that are included in the middle pillar” (Zohar 3:230a, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineas).

And she is a path unknown to a bird of prey (Job 28:7), which is comprised of thirty-two paths, namely the thirty-two [iterations of] אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) [in the Account of Creation] from the aspect of supernal Mother [Binah] that is called Honor. And when they are included in the Daughter [Shekhinah] is called Heart and this is why there is Honor above and Heart below [כָּבוֹד (kavod), Honor, and לֵב (lev), Heart, are each numerically equivalent to thirty-two]” (Zohar 3:256b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineas, cf. Zohar 2:123a).

Through these Three Adam Attained a Change of Name, a Change of Place, and a Change of Deed

“Rabbi Yitsḥaq said, ‘Four things tear up a person’s verdict: charity, crying out, a change of name, and change of deeds. צְדָקָה (Tsedaqah), charity, as is written, But צְדָקָה (tsedaqah), righteousness, saves from death (Proverbs 10:2). Crying out, as is written, And they cry to YHWH from their straits from their distress He brings them out. [He turns the storm into silence, and its waves are stilled, and they rejoice that these have grown quiet, and He leads them to the realm of their desire] (Psalms 107:28). Change of name, as is written, Sarai your wife shall no longer call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name (Genesis 17:15); and it continues, And I will bless her and I will also give you from her a son (ibid., 16). Change of deeds, as is written, And God saw their acts, that they had turned back from their evil way, and God relented from the evil that He said to do to them, and he did not do it (Jonah 3:10). And some say a change of place, as is written, And YHWH said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your land [and your birthplace and your father’s house to the land I will show you] (Genesis 12:1), and afterwards, And I will make you a great nation [and I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing] (ibid., 2). And the other [namely, Rabbi Yitsḥaq, why does he not include this]?—in that case it was the merit of the Land of Israel which helped him” (BT Rosh ha-Shanah 16b).

And you shall hold them in estate for your children after you to inherit a holding forever (Leviticus 25:46). It is a command to have a Canaanite slave as a servant, as is written: A holding forever. They come from the side of Ham, who uncovered nakedness [of Noah], of whom it says, Cursed be Canaan, the lowliest slave shall he be to his brothers (Genesis 9:25). Why the lowliest slave? Because he is a slave to a slave עוֹלָם (olam), forever, which is the olam, world, of Jubilee [even at the Jubilee he will not be set free like other slaves (Sullam)]. It may be said that as he is a brother to Shem and Japheth, why should he not be like them? Also, seeing Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, was the descendant of Ham, why was he not like him but instead righteous? [Because] the blessed Holy One approved of the blessing Laban gave him [see Genesis 24:31].

Surely this pertains to the mystery גִלְגּוּלָא (gilggula), rolling: ‘Who גּוֹלֵל (golel), rolls away, light from before darkness’ (Evening Service)—Abraham’s servant who came out of darkness, the issue of Ham. It suffices for the servant to be like his master, Abraham, who came from Terah the idol worshiper! ‘And darkness from before the light’ (ibid.)—Ishmael who came out from Abraham, and Esau from Isaac.

The mystery is that this is caused by the mixture of drops in a place it does not belong. This is he who mingles his drop with a maid, Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael or a daughter of a strange god who are evil and darkness, while his drop is goodness and light: And God saw the light, that it was good (Genesis 1:4). He who mingles good with evil transgresses the words of his Master, who said, but from the tree of knowledge, good and evil, you shall not eat (Genesis 2:17).

The blessed Holy One rolls that which the man mingled together with him so as to receive punishment. If he repents, learns Torah and separates good from evil, forbidden from permitted, impure from pure, unfit from fit, that evil is separated from good, it says of him ‘A creation for good and a creation for evil’ [cf. BT Berakhot 61a: ‘וַיִּיצֶר (va-yetser), and formed (Genesis 2:7)—spelled with two letters י (yod) to show that God created two impulses, one good and the other evil’]. And through Torah he separates them, and the blessed Holy One bequeaths him a נִשְׁמְתָא (nishmata), soul, from Him, so he will rule them both, the one which is light, the World that is Coming, and the other, which is darkness, this world. Hence, it is written: And blew into his nostrils the נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (ayyim nishmat), breath of life (Genesis 2:7).

According to his merits and liabilities. As we have explained, ‘He who does one mitsvah is treated well. He who is average, is a person whose merits and liabilities are balanced, the half of merits is below and the half of liabilities below’ [see BT Qiddushin 40b; Sotah 3b]. This is the secret of What is your petition? and it shall be granted you, and what is your request? Up to half the kingdom, and it will be done! (Esther 5:6). In the case of a completely righteous man, all his merits are above and his liabilities below. For a completely evil man, his liabilities are above and his merits are down below.

The man who sins in public is of two grades. If he does penance in public [then he is seated] among the righteous [of that world], who are familiar with the laws of the blessed Holy One and refrain from sinning; [if] secretly [then] among the wicked men [who envy him his repentance] so that the eyes of the wicked will pine (Job 11:20) is fulfilled.

Adam’s sin was therefore against, And YHWH God commanded (Genesis 2:16)—we explained commanded referrers to idolatry since he sinned in idolatry. He formed him in תֶרַח (Teraḥ), Terah’s, drop of semen, in which he [the soul of Adam] רָתַח (rataḥ), enraged, the blessed Holy One by transgressing in idolatry. He did penance and smashed the images of idols and all the victuals. He mended the sins and smashed the sin and the evil structure he built. And he made the blessed Holy One and His Shekhinah rule over the whole world.

By sanctifying His Name in public, and by going into the fire to be burned, so that the words would be fulfilled the images of their gods you shall burn in fire (Deuteronomy 7:25). Furthermore, he caused his father, Terah, to repent and brought him, his mother, and all the rulers of that age to the Garden of Eden [cf. Zohar 1:77b]. He was thus purified as silver by fire [cf. Bereshit Rabbah 38:13: ‘When Abraham descended into the fiery furnace (of Nimrod he) was saved’], like the king’s coin forged with a mixture of lead. He was therefore put in fire, and the lead came out, which is Ishmael. Ishmael therefore was mocking and worshipped idols, while Adam remained purified by fire. This is the change of name. For when Adam was rolled he had to undergo a change of name, change of place, and change of deed.

Then came Isaac, and he became stronger through him, the second transgression of which it says, the human (Genesis 2:16), which refers to bloodshed. This brought the trial of Isaac by the cleaver [see Genesis 22:10]. He was cleansed by him, as food is picked from refuse. And the dross came out, which is Esau who sheds blood.

Then came Jacob who formed it to Laban and became his servant. Hence it says, I will serve seven years for Rachel your younger daughter (Genesis 29:18). Since he exchanged her with her sister, he served an additional seven years, in order to remove the two drops Adam spilt in a foreign place [cf. Bereshit Rabbah 20:11: ‘Throughout the entire one hundred and thirty years during which Adam held aloof from Eve the male demons were made ardent by her and she bore, while the female demons (Lilit and Naamah) were inflamed by Adam and they bore, as is written, so should he do wrong, I will chastise him with the rod men use and with the afflictions of humankind (2 Samuel 7:14)—Adam, which means, the children of the first man’]. This is incest, alluded to by saying, [‘From every fruit of the garden you may surely eat. But from the tree of knowledge, good and evil, you shall not eat, for on the day you eat from it, you are doomed to die’] (Genesis 2:16). He took them out of Laban the Aramean, the serpent.

Through these three Adam attained a change of name, a change of place, and a change of deed [the Patriarchs repaired the three cardinal sins: idolatry, murder, and sexual immorality]. He obtained a change of name through Abraham, a change of place through Isaac, and a change of deed through Jacob. And if it was said of him: Then He saw and recounted it [set it firm and probed it, too…] (Job 28:27–8), that if He accepted his repentance, all the more so that of others [who are not as great].

Therefore, for a good servant, the place brings it about, and for an evil servant, also, but as for other servants, a holding forever (Leviticus 25:46). The heads of the academy rose and said Happy the people who has it thus (Psalms 144:15). שֶׁכָּכָה (Shekakhah), has it thus, is [numerically equivalent] as that of מֹשֶׁה (Moshe), Moses. The Faithful Shepherd rose and said, ‘Happy the people whose God is YHWH’ (ibid.)” (Zohar 3:97a–111a, Ra’aya Meheimna Behar, cf. ibid. 3:217b).

I have rolled away from you the shame of Egypt (Joshua 5:9).