The Locks of Your Head are Purple

by tillerofthesoil

Tefillin3.jpg“Rabbi Avin son of Rabbi Adda said in the name of Rabbi Yitsḥaq, ‘How do we know that the blessed Holy One puts on tefillin? For it is said: YHWH has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength (Isaiah 62:8). By His right hand—this is Torah, as is said: From His right hand was a fiery law for them (Deuteronomy 33:2). And by the arm of His strength—this is tefillin, as is said: YHWH will give strength unto His people (Psalms 29:11). How do we know that tefillin are a strength to Israel? For it is written: And all the peoples of the earth will see that the name of YHWH is called over you and they will fear you (Deuteronomy 28:10), and it has been taught: Rabbi Eli’ezer the Great says, ‘This refers to tefillin of the head.’ Rabbi Naḥman son of Yitsḥaq asked Rabbi Ḥiyya son of Avin, ‘These tefillin of the Master of the Universe—what is written in them? He replied, ‘Who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth’ (1 Chronicles 17:2)” (BT Berakhot 6a).

I will take away My palm and you will see My back (Exodus 33:23). Rav Ḥana son of Bizna said in the name of Rabbi Shim’on ha-Ḥasid, ‘This teaches us that the blessed Holy One showed Moses the knot of tefillin [at the back of God’s head]’” (BT Berakhot 7a).

“[Shekhinah] Her hair, called ‘stars of a scepter,’ precisely: masters of measure, masters of balance, masters of severity, masters of reaping—all called ‘purple hair’” (Zohar 1:223b, cf. Otsar ha-Midrashim, Olam Qatan, 406).

“בְּרֵאשִׁית (Bereshit), in the beginning (Genesis 1:1)—אַשְׁרֵי (Ashrei). This is אַשְׁרֵי (ashrei), happy, the man (Psalms 1:1); and אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה (ehyeh asher ehyeh), I-Will-Be-What-I-Will-Be (Exodus 3:14)—Head of all heads [Keter], about it is said Your head upon you like כַּרְמֶל (karmel), Carmel (Song of Songs 7:6)—tefillin of the head; and the locks of your head are אַרְגָּמָן (argaman), purple (ibid.)—tefillin of the hand, and through it they praise the בַּת (bat), Daughter  [Shekhinah], with this אַשְׁרֵי (Ashrei) [prayer], as is written, And בְּאָשְׁרִי (be-ashri), what good fortune! For girls have acclaimed me fortunate (Genesis 30:13)” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 27a–b).

“בְּרֵאשִׁית (Bereshit)—בַּת רָאשֵׁי (bat rashei), First Daughter: אֵלֶּה (elleh), these, are the רָאשֵׁי (rashei), first, of their fathers’ houses (Exodus 6:14). Concerning a daughter the Masters of Mishnah have said: ‘[If a] daughter [is born] first—a good sign’ (BT Bava Batra 141a). She is the י (yod) of the name אֲדֹנָי (Adonai), a precious stone which includes all the colors [on אֵלֶה (elleh), these, as an appellation of Shekhinah, see Zohar 1:9a–10a. On רָאשֵׁי (rashei) as ‘first,’ and ‘heads,’ see Zohar 3:248a: ‘On the רָאשֵׁי (rashei), heads, of your new moon (Numbers 28:11). Now, how many heads does the moon have?…’]” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 10a).

“Therefore the blessed Holy One is the King bound in bonds. He is bound with them through the tefillin of the head, which is beauty of the head, because tefillin of the head are in the place of the bond of the brain. This is: [A king is] caught in the tangle (Song of Songs 7:6)—He is bound to them through the tefillin of the hand in the knot of the hand. This is as written, Bind the turban of your head upon you (Ezekiel 24:17). Because He is bound to them in the exile it says, ‘A prisoner cannot free himself from jail’ (BT Berakhot 5b). The Shekhinah is His jail—because of Her love He is bound to Her—and the mystery of the matter: A sachet of myrrh is my lover to me, all night between שָׁדַי (shadai), my breasts [puns on the holy name שַׁדַּי (Shaddai), see BT Yoma 54a] (Song of Songs 1:13)” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 21b).

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