Seven Crowns, Seven Firmaments, and Seven Planets: These Corresponding to those in Concealment of Words

by tillerofthesoil

ImageHe counts the number of stars, to all of them gives names (Psalms 147:4).

“Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘The blessed Holy One is called שָׁמַיִם (Shamayim), Heavens. And because He is called Heavens, all those firmaments included in this name number seven, and when they join as one they are called Heavens, and are called the Name of the blessed Holy One. Who are those firmaments? As we have learned: וִילוֹן (Vilon), Curtain, רָקִיעַ (Raqia), Firmament, שׁחָקִים (Sheḥaqim), Skies, זְבֻל (Zevul), Loft, מָעוֹן (Ma’on), Dwelling, מָכוֹן (Makhon), Site, and עֲרָבוֹת (Aravot), Clouds. So we have learned in the Aggadta of the House of Rav Sava [cf. BT Ḥagigah 12b].

Rabbi Yitsḥaq said, ‘These are barraitas of the House of Rav Sava, and there are many such treating all these aspects, as we have learned.’

Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘I have learned an outside barraita—that corresponding to all these seven crowns [sefirot] of the King are found seven firmaments and seven planets running back and forth. They are called by names for their names although all those thrones of firmaments and seven planets are equivalent. שַׁבְתַאִי (Shabbtai), Saturn; צֶדֶק (Tsedeq), Jupiter; מַאְדִים (Ma’adim), Mars; חַמָה (Ḥamah), Sun; נוֹגַה (Nogah), Venus, כּוֹכָב (Kokhav), Mercury, לְבָנָה (Levanah), Moon. These are equivalent to those, in concealment of words, regarding those of whom is written Let them stand and save you—the astrologers, the stargazers (Isaiah 47:13). All those matters are concealed, although these are not ways of Torah.

As for us, we follow ways of Torah, as is written: He gave them names like the names his father had called them (Genesis 26:18). We follow what the blessed Holy One spoke; and we follow Him, as is written: Walk in His ways (Deuteronomy 28:9).

Rabbi Yose said, ‘Matters are simple for the Companions and well known, although concealed.’

He said to him, ‘We have learned as follows—as Rabbi Yehudah said in the name of Rabbi Ḥiyya in our presence, and as they taught from those barraitas—’In the days of King Solomon, the moon assumed fullness.’ In many places, the words of those barraitas are well known’ [cf. Zohar 1:243b; Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 5:12; Shemot Rabbah 15:26; Berit Menuḥa].

Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘I raise my hands in prayer to the supernal Holy One, that these matters may be revealed by me in that world as they were concealed in my heart. We do not follow the ways of those barraitas; the ways of Torah we grasp!’

It has been taught: Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘Who can you find as great in wisdom as King David and King Solomon, within this crown known in those barraitas? The moon King David called Righteousness, since it is his, as is written: Open for me the gates of righteousness (Psalms 118:19). So too, King Solomon. It is called Righteousness, and the sun—who is called My Covenant—is called Justice; and they are Thrones of Glory for the King, as is written: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne (ibid. 89:15). Righteous One and Righteousness, similarly, are on a single rung.’

It has been taught: Seven crowns, as established, are called nine; and even in those barraitas those seven firmaments are nine.

Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘How long will the Companions read these words? Look, we follow the blessed Holy One, and we know matters; through us has been revealed what was not revealed to the ancient ones! [cf. Berit Menuḥa].

From here on, all these words and all these barraitas—put them aside for those who have not entered and emerged. Thereby, they will come to inquire; and when they inquire, the Companions will say, Woe to the generation from which Rabbi Shim’on has departed! But come and see: From here on, there will be no generation like this—nor Torah being revealed to the Companions’” (Zohar 3:287a-b).

“The Faithful Shepherd began by saying: It is written: ‘Though our lips were full of praise like the expansive firmament’ [Morning Service for Sabbath and Festivals]. And the firmaments are seven in number. וִילוֹן (Vilon), Curtain (Isaiah 40:22); רָקִיעַ (Raqia), Firmament (Genesis 1:8); שׁחָקִים (Sheḥaqim), Skies (Psalms 78:23), are so called because therein the millstones grind the mannah for the righteous in the world that is coming [Binah]. And the basis for the name שׁחָקִים (Sheḥaqim), Skies, is: וְשָׁחַקְתָּ (ve-shaḥaqta), and you shall pound it, to fine powder (Exodus 30:36). And they are Netsaḥ and Hod, about which it is said: And let the שְׁחָקִים (sheḥaqim), skies, pour down righteousness (Isaiah 45:8), which is the lower Shekhinah.

Curtain—for it pours in the evening, and brings out in the morning. FirmamentYesod, for in it the sun [Tif’eret] and the moon [Malkhut] give light, for they are the middle pillar and the lower Shekhinah, as it is written: And אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), set them in the firmament of the heavens to light up the earth (Genesis 1:17). And the Righteous One [Yesod] is a לְאוֹת (leot), sign (Exodus 13:16) when uniting Netsaḥ and Hod, and עֵדוּת (edut), testimony (Psalms 60:1) when uniting Tif’eret and Malkhut.

Netsaḥ and Hod are the two halves of a body, like תְּאוֹמִים (te’omim), twins [alluding to מַּזַּל תְּאוֹמִים (mazal Te’omim), constellation of Twins (Gemini). Cf. Exodus 31:18; Song of Songs 4:5, 5:2], which is why they are called שׁחָקִים (Sheḥaqim), Skies. The two of them together are ו ו (vav, vav) of וֶשֶׁט (veshet), esophagus [וֶשֶׁט (veshet) according to its expanded spelling contains two of the letter ו (vav)], from the left side, and they are the two molar teeth from the right side” (Zohar 3:235b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

“The King’s daughter [Malkhut] is bound by ropes in the prison of Her exile. She is a nest to Samael among the stars and the blessed Holy One swears Though you exalt yourself as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there will I bring you down, says YHWH (Obadiah 1:4). And Shekhinah is נוֹגַה (Nogah), Venus: The fire was נוֹגַה (nogah), bright (Ezekiel 1:13). Hence the בֵּית כְּנֶסֶת (beit kenesset), house of assembly, is called אֵשׁנוֹגַה (eshnogah), bright fire [in a foreign tongue, i.e., synagogue].

The fire of מַאְדִים (Ma’adim), Mars, derives from אוֹדֶם (odem), redness: A row of אוֹדֶם (odem), ruby, topaz, and malachite, the first row (Exodus 28:17). נוֹגַה (Nogah), Venus, is a white fire, and both are the face of the sun [Tif’eret], and the face of the moon [Malkhut]. Netsaḥ and Hod receive the whiteness from esed and the אוֹדֶם (odem), redness, from Gevurah; Aaron and David came from there; one received Compassion and the other received Judgment. David came from the left side: and he was ruddy (1 Samuel 16:12). Aaron is a man of esed, and the two true prophets [Netsaḥ and Hod] are from them. The face of Moses shines with prophecy from Binah, which is the supernal חַמָה (Ḥamah), Sun, whence his prophecy came.

In them are, Esau the wicked, [who is the] the servant אֱדוֹם (Edom), and his female מַאְדִים (Ma’adim), Mars, which is bloodshed in Israel. She caused it to be fulfilled in the Queen, he has made me desolate and faint all the day (Lamentations 1:13). הוֹד (Hod), turned דָּוָה (davah), faint [הוֹד (Hod), read backwards is דָּוָה (davah), faint], and they [שֹׁמֵמָה (shomemah), desolate, and דָּוָה (davah), faint] correspond to Netsaḥ and Hod. Jachin and Boaz on both of which the house is supported, since a house of assembly is named after them אֵשׁנוֹגַה (eshnoga), bright fire, as we said” (Zohar 3:282b, Raaya Meheimna Ki Tetse).

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