Vitality of the World
“We learnt in the first part of the compilation: ‘The Other Side prefers most of all that Judgment should overwhelm a righteous one—for then he does not care about the [debts owed him by the] whole world and ignores them’ (Zohar 3:218a) [cf. Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 1a-b]. While [the Companions] were still discussing this, a shade [the spirit of Rabbi Pinḥas son of Ya’ir] came upon them and asked: ‘How do we know? We know this from Job. For the blessed Holy One, saw that generation was deserving of annihilation, and when the adversary came to denounce, the blessed Holy One said to him: Have you paid heed to My servant Job, for there is none like him on earth (Job 1:8), in order to save the whole generation through him. The matter can be likened to a shepherd when a wolf comes to devour his flock and destroy them. Being wise, what does the shepherd do? He gives the wolf a lamb that is stronger, fatter, and larger than the others, the leader of the flock, and the wolf, out of his desire to have control over the lamb, forgets about the rest of the flock. What does the shepherd do next? While the wolf is preoccupied with that lamb, he flees with the flock and brings them to safety. Later, he returns to the lamb and saves it from the wolf.
This is exactly what the blessed Holy One, did with the generation. He offered the righteous one for indictment in order to save the generation on his account. And if, like Jacob, he is strong, the verse says of him: and a man wrestled with him (Genesis 32:25). This is even more the case when he overcomes, until he says: Let me go (Genesis 32:27).’ He said: ‘O Shade, O Shade, that is just how it is. Happy is the portion of that righteous man who is strong in suffering afflictions, and how much more so the one who, by means of his [afflictions], manages to overcome his accuser who has his control over the whole generation, and it is accounted to him as though he had rescued them, and the blessed Holy One, appoints him as shepherd over them in the place [of the adversary]. This was how the Faithful Shepherd [Moses] came to be the shepherd over Israel, and not only that, but he will control them in the next world. And this was because he saved them that they should not be lost for he guided them in Torah and good deeds.’
While they were yet talking, the Faithful Shepherd himself came and said to them: ‘And why was the right arm afflicted? Because the way of all physicians is to draw blood initially from the right arm? Since the left arm is the one that is nearer the heart, why is blood not let from it [i.e., why is it that one righteous man is afflicted and not another (Sullam), cf. BT Mo’ed Qatan 28a]?’ He answered: ‘Because the blessed Holy One, does not want overly to strike, and one suffices. But if the bile is serious and spreads throughout the members of the body, blood is drawn from the left arm [too].’
He said to him: ‘If the two of them were not [afflicted] at the same time, that would be fine, but what about the case of the two righteous men, one of whom suffers from diseases and troubles, while the other is treated with kindness? Why is it that if the bile spread, blood is not drawn from both of them who are the two arms, so that healing may be given to all members. And in the case where the bile does not become more serious, and does not spread throughout the members of the body, why is more blood let from the right arm than from the left?’ He said to him: ‘Why don’t you give the answer?’
‘Certainly the body and the two arms correspond to the three patriarchs and the head to אָדָם קַדְמָאָה (Adam Qadma’ah), Primordial Man—the right arm corresponds to Abraham and the left arm corresponds to Isaac, the body corresponds to Jacob. Within the body, the liver is to the right, the spleen to the left—Esau and Ishmael. The heart is Jacob in the center [cf. Zohar 2:57b; Berit Menuḥa, Third Way on Isaiah 19:24]. The lungs and kidneys correspond to Abraham and Isaac—the lungs, water [Ḥesed], which draws in all sorts of elixirs; the kidneys, fire [Gevurah], cooking the seed that descends from the brain.
And since Abraham is water he places his offspring in the exile of Edom. This is why the liver and the gall that is in the liver are to the right of Abraham. [Edom’s] sword is the מְרֵרָה (mererah), gall, of which it is said: But in the end she’s as מָרָה (marah), bitter, as wormwood [sharp as a double-edged sword] (Proverbs 5:4) [cf. BT Avodah Zarah 20b]. And if the liabilities become greater in number among the children of Abraham, who are placed in the exile of Edom, and the מַרְעֵיהּ (mareih), bile, spreads over them from the side of the liver, they must be smitten and blood has to be drawn from the right arm. And ‘Whoever has his money taken is as though his blood was spilled’ (BT Bava Metsi’a 58b), for he remains poor, and a poor man is considered as dead [cf. BT Shabbat 129a-b; Gittin 70a; Zohar 3:227a (RM)].
But if the liabilities become greater in number among the children of Isaac they are exiled among Ishmael [cf. Zohar 2:17a (MhN)]. The bile spreads from the side of the spleen, on the left. And blood has to be drawn from the left arm, and not from any other.
And if liabilities become greater in number amongst the children of Jacob, who are scattered among the children of Esau and Ishmael, then the bile spreads over the body and blood has to be drawn from both arms [cf. Zohar 3:246a]. But if all three of them are afflicted as one, the bile then rises to the head and blood must be drawn from veins of the head. And these three became a chariot for Primordial Man and the patriarchs, and acquire from them strength to suffer torments and protect the generation throughout the four winds of the world.
Woe to the generation that causes the patriarchs and Primordial Man to be struck, for this includes also the righteous amongst them, for there is no difference between Primordial Man and the righteous and the patriarchs and Primordial Man. This is because those are their נִשְׁמָתִין (nishmatin), souls, and their illnesses, pains, and sufferings reach the patriarchs and Man. Just as when a number of rivers flow out of the sea and return to it murky and dirty, and the sea removes their murkiness and dirtiness. And because of the sea’s valor, for it is strong, it does not suffer from their filth, but expels it, and the rivers remain clear and pure, without that filth.
Just as a mother cleans dirt from her little ones. Indeed the patriarchs remove the liabilities and the filth from their sons, Israel, when there are people of righteous deeds among them who are strong enough to suffer torments for the sake of the generation. At that time there is no difference between them [namely, the righteous of the generation and the patriarchs].’ They all came and greeted him [Moses the Faithful Shepherd] and said to him: ‘Sinai, Sinai, through whose mouth the blessed Holy One and His Shekhinah speak, who is able to confront Him in anything? Happy is our portion that we have merited to renew matters in this first part of the compilation [of Zohar] through you, so that the Shekhinah may give light in exile.’
He said to them: ‘Rabbis of every generation, those who have been [or will be] during their time, and how much more so the Holy Lamp whose wisdom will shine in all the generations that come after him: do not give the blessed Holy One, quiet in Torah until the Holy Spirit is poured out on us’ …
None but you [Moses, Faithful Shepherd,] may use the great מְטַטְרוֹן שַׂר הַפָּנִים (Metatron Sar ha-Panim), Metatron Prince of the Countenance, since your name [מֹשֶׁה (Moshe), Moses] is intimated in the initials of his.
And now there is need of a physician to know by how many degrees the pulse of the patient, Israel, has increased in the exile of Edom, for it is said about him I am in a fever of love (Song of Songs 5:8). For a number of physicians gathered over him to consider the pulse in order to know when his illness would come to an end, but not one of them could understand them, for no physician is competent to read the pulse of this particular patient, for there are beats of Teqiah Shevarim Teru’ah Teqiah, Teqiah Shevarim Teqiah, Teqiah Teru’ah Teqiah, as the prophet said about them: Like a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and cries out in her pangs (Isaiah 26:17).
And all the ten shofar blasts are included in three תְּקִיעָה שְׁבָרִים תְּרוּעָה (Teqiah Shevarim Teru’ah). תְּקִיעָה (Teqiah)—the length of the exile. שְׁבָרִים (Shevarim), Moaning—the proximity of the exile. תְּרוּעָה (Teru’ah), Wailing Alarm—the coming redemption; teaching of the duress after duress with no respite between them [cf. BT Rosh ha-Shanah 33b-34a]. And clearly, since the other nations make Israel’s exile more difficult, it is the duress that they exert that brings redemption closer. And so too in our case of the patient’s pulse: beats come faster, one after the other, with no space between them, and the man’s נַפְשָׁא (nafsha), soul, leaves him.
קשר”ק קש”ק קר”ק (Teqiah Shevarim Teru’ah, Teqiah Teqiah Shevarim, Teqiah Teqiah Teru’ah, Teqiah)—קֶשֶׁר (qesher), conspiracy, to remove שֶׁקֶר (sheqer), falsehood, from the world [cf. BT Rosh ha-Shanah 16b]. Concerning this was the oath: מִלְחָמָה לַיהוָה בַּעֲמָלֵק (milḥamah la-Adonai ba-Amaleq), War for YHWH against Amalek for all time [the intial letters of which are numerically equivalent to ע”ב (seventy-two), cf. TZ 67a; TZḤ 115a] (Exodus 17:16). A simple, double, triple and quadruple song will arise in the world, where the letters [יהוה (YHWH)] will ascend: י יה יהו יהוה (Y YH YHW YHWH) [numerically equivalent to seventy-two, cf. ibn Ezra on Genesis 4:19]. At that time [the prayer] will be answered: ‘וּבְכֵן (U-vekhen), and therefore, the righteous shall see and be glad, the upright exult and the pious rejoice in song’ (Amidah for the Days of Awe). This additional “ו (six) [of ‘וּבְכֵן (U-vekhen)’ alludes to]—the Sixth Millennium. The Second Temple was destroyed קע”ב (one hundred and seventy-two) years before [the Sixth Millennium]. And following the completion of רע”ב (two hundred and seventy-two), as in the verse, At עֶרֶב (erev), evening, you shall know that it was YHWH who brought you out [of the land of Egypt] (Exodus 16.6). Also, For your servant became עָרַב (arev), pledge, for the lad (Genesis 44:32) [you should know that all these dates mentioned in the Zohar refer to an arousal from above, which occur at these times for redemption, however, certainly it depends on the people’s actions and repentance (Sullam)]” (Zohar 3:218a, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).
Vitality of the World (Daniel 12:7).