The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: יוֹם כִּפּוּר

Israel Make Merry

IMG_0427.JPG“Come and see: There are times in the year when favor is found, and times in the year when Judgment looms. There are times in the month when favor is found, and times in the month when judgments loom over all. There are times in the week when favor is found, and times in the week when judgments appear in the world. There are times in the day when favor is found and the world is fragrant, and times in the day when judgments loom—and even in the hour. Thus it is written: [For everything there is a season,] and a time for every matter (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and similarly: [As for me, may my prayer to You, O YHWH, come] at a time of favor… (Psalms 69:14), and similarly: Why, YHWH, do You stand far off, and hide in times of trouble? (Psalms 10:1), and similarly: From afar, YHWH appeared to me (Jeremiah 31:3). And times when He is near, as it is written: Seek YHWH when He may be found, call to Him when He is near (Isaiah 55:6); YHWH is near to all who call Him (Psalms 145:18). Therefore, that he not enter at all times into the sanctuary (Leviticus 16:2)” (Zohar 3:58a–b).

“In the ninth [month Sivan] Israel was answered by the Sea. And the ninth [seasonal] hour is the time of merriment, blessing, and joy. It is the hour of the afternoon prayer in which Elijah was answered, as is written: And it happened at the hour of the afternoon offering that Elijah the prophet approached (1 Kings 18:36) [cf. BT Berakhot 6b]. It is a tradition to you that the ninth year of the Jubilee will be the most auspicious year, the ninth month, will be a month of favor, and it will be the most auspicious of months. The ninth day of the month will be the most auspicious day of the month, and the ninth hour of the day will be the most auspicious hour of hours. And the same occurs above, among the highest ones—the ninth is most auspicious” (Berit Menuḥa: Ninth Vowel, cf. Ecclesiastes 7:14; BT Ta’anit 29a).

“From the beginning of the month [of Tishrei] books are opened and judges sit in judgment. Every single day courts are empowered to open proceedings, until the day called ‘ninth of the month.’ On that day judgments all ascend to the Master of Judgment, and a supernal holy throne is prepared for the King. On that day Israel below should rejoice before their Lord, who is ready to sit over them on the holy Throne of Mercy, the Throne of Leniency… Consequently, eating and drinking on the ninth more than on any other day ” (Zohar 3:67a, 69b).

“On this day two radiances shine as one—Supernal Mother illumines Lower Mother. Thus it is written יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים (Yom ha-Kippurim), the Day of Atonements (Leviticus 23:27), as has been said…

There is one day a year to examine and inspect them, and when this day comes to pass, Supernal Mother—in whose hand is all freedom—appears, to observe Israel. And they gird themselves on this day with many rituals, prayers, and self-afflictions—all of them virtuous… Then She couples with the King in radiance, in joy, in perfection, in rapture, for She has raised children fittingly for the supernal King” (Zohar 3:102a–b).

“On Rosh Hashanah, the left arm is aroused to welcome the Matronita. The whole world is then in fear of Judgment, and the whole world has to be in complete repentance before the blessed Holy One. Later, on the ninth of the month [of Tishrei], the Matronita comes and the palace retinue, Israel, make merry and immerse themselves in the river to purify themselves for the mating of the Matronita, on the next day [Yom Kippur]. For Her mating is accomplished by His placing His left hand under Her head, in accordance with, His left hand beneath my head, [his right hand embracing me] (Song of Songs 2:6).

Then, on the tenth day Israel fast for their sins and are forgiven. For the Supernal Mother [Binah] looks kindly on Malkhut in the coupling and makes atonement for all of the retinue of the temple, Israel, since the left welcomes Her on this day, for the head of Malkhut rests on the left [hand]” (Zohar 3:213b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

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You May Say that Esther has a Bad Reputation yet She was Worthy that the Holy Spirit be Clothed by Her

??????????“Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yehotsadaq: By a majority vote, it was resolved in the upper chambers of the house of Nitza in Lydda that in every law of Torah, if a man is commanded: ‘Transgress and do not suffer death’ he may transgress and not suffer death, except for idolatry, incest [including adultery], and murder… But did not Esther transgress publicly?—Abbaye answered: Esther was merely soil [i.e., only the passive object of the king’s embraces]. But their personal pleasure is different; so here too [the king made Esther transgress for his personal pleasure, not because he desired her to violate her religion]” (BT Sanhedrin 74a-b).

“Rabbi Zera said: Why was Esther compared to a doe [see BT Megillah 15b]? To tell you that just as a doe has a narrow womb and is desirable to her mate at all times as at the first time, so was Esther precious to King Ahasuerus at all times as at the first time” (BT Yoma 29b).

The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won his grace and favor more than all the other virgins (Esther 2:17). Rav said, ‘If he wished to taste the flavor of a virgin he tasted it; the flavor of a married woman, he tasted it'” (BT Megillah 13a, cf. Zohar 3:58b).

[The Faithful Shepherd said:] ‘Rabbis: We are commanded to punish whoever defames someone’s character, as is written, And they shall fine him a hundred weights of silver and give it to the young woman’s father, for he put out a bad name for a virgin in Israel (Deuteronomy 22:19). This applies to after the wedding, since he says, ‘I found no signs of virginity for your daughter’ (ibid. 17). Not all bad names are alike, since the scouts who put out a bad name on the land were punished for it by dying and not meriting her, and a woman is as earth like the explanation that Esther was [merely] earth.

You may say that Esther has a bad reputation, that she was defiled with Ahasuerus, yet she was worthy that the Holy Spirit be clothed by her, as is written, Esther donned מַלְכוּת (Malkhut), royal, garb (Esther 5:1). Yet the blessed Holy One said, I am YHWH: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images (Isaiah 42:8). [And yet,] the Holy Spirit is the Shekhinah, a name that was clothed by Esther.’

… The Masters of Mishnah say: It is said of the Matronita: and מַלְכוּתוֹ (malkhuto), His kingdom, rules over all (Psalms 103:19). After Esther donned [royal garb, i.e., Shekhinah/Malkhut] she ruled over Ahasuerus and his people, and it is said of them, [And the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces assembled and defended their lives and had respite from their enemies] and killed of foes, [seventy-five thousand, but they did not lay hands on the spoils] (Esther 9:16). If you say that [Ahasuerus] coupled with her, perish the thought, though they were in the same house. Rather it was like Joseph [and the wife of Potiphar] of whom it says, and she laid out his garment by her (Genesis 39:16). בִּגְדוֹ (Bigdo), his garment—similarly treacherous dealers have dealt very בָּגָדוּ (bagadu), treacherously (Isaiah 24:16) [on the numerous parallels between the stories of Joseph and Esther, see BT Megillah 13b;  Midrash Abba Guryon 11b; Panim Aherot B, 64, 66, 72; Ester Rabbah 7:7].

There is a great סִתְרָא (sitra), mystery, here, which is why אֶסְתֵּר (Ester), Esther, is derived from סֵתֶר (seter), secret, as is written, You are סֵתֶר (seter), a hiding place, for me (Psalms 32:7)[cf. BT Ḥullin 139b], since the Shekhinah hid her from Ahasuerus and gave him a demoness instead while she returned to Mordecai’s arm. And Mordecai, who knew the explicit Name and the seventy tongues, did all this with wisdom [on having the knowledge of seventy languages, see BT Megillah 13b; Sanhedrin 17a]. And thus the Masters of Mishnah said a man must coo with his wife before he unites with her, for perhaps she has been swapped with a demonness [see BT Nedarim 20b]” (Zohar 3:276a-b, Ra’aya Meheimna Ki Tetse, cf. Zohar 2:277a).

“יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים (Yom ha-Kippurim), the Day of Atonements (Leviticus 23:27)—in the future we will delight in that day and transform it from suffering to delight [i.e., יוֹם כִּפּוּר (Yom Kippur), the Day of Atonement, will become יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים (yom ha-ki-Purim), the day like Purim (a joyous holiday)]… and just as on that day [the priest (Ḥesed)] adorns himself with the garments of atonement so too, regarding Esther it is written, she donned royal garb (Esther 5:1). Just as with these [white garments of the priest] he enters the innermost sanctuary [hoping to obtain atonement for Israel], so too, she stood in the inner court of the king’s house… and she found favor in his eyes (ibid. 2) [cf. Zohar 3:67a; ibid. 109a: ‘And with each and every mere (mention of), הַמֶּלֶךְ (ha-melekh), the king (in the Book of Esther), this is the blessed Holy One’].

Now, what caused the Shekhinah to suffer exile? The mystery of the matter: And so, I shall come to the king not according to rule (Esther 4:16). Because she came without her husband, of whom it says, at His right hand was a fiery law (Deuteronomy 33:2). They abandoned Torah and this caused the destruction of the First Temple and the Second Temple, as is written, and if I perish, I perish! [alluding to two destructions] (Esther 4:16).

Nevertheless, even though she entered without her husband, [namely] words of Torah, she still entered with the [merit of the] patriarchs [who are]: three days, night and day (ibid.), for which she fasted. They were witnesses that the young woman went before the king, as it says, and in this fashion would the young woman come to the king (ibid. 2:13). She who went in to the king indeed remained a virgin young woman, for no man knew her other than her husband.

… Regarding this it is written, and he became guardian to Hadassah (Esther 2:7) [cf. BT Megillah 13a]—[Mordecai] was faithful to her, and she was faithful to him, as is written: and Esther did what Mordecai said, for she was under his guardianship (ibid. 2:20)” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 21, 57b).

The Ship Threatened to Break Up

Image“Jonah, descending into the ship, is the human soul descending into this world to enter a human body. Why is she called יוֹנָה (Yonah), Jonah? Because as soon as she joins the body, she is יֹנַה (yonah), cheated, in this world, as is said: וְלֹא תוֹנוּ (Ve-lo tonu), You shall not cheat, one another (Leviticus 25:17). Then a person moves through this world like a ship in the great ocean about to break up, as is said: The ship threatened to break up (Jonah 1:4).

When a person is in this world he sins, and thinks that he can flee from the presence of the Lord, who pays no attention to this world [cf. Zohar 3:136b (IR): ‘Scrutinizing providence, not revealed except when the wicked must be called to account and their deeds examined’]. Then the blessed Holy One casts a mighty windstorm—the Decree of Judgment, which stands constantly before the blessed Holy One, demanding a person’s punishment. This is what torments the ship, calling attention to the person’s sins, to seize him.

Once the person is seized by that tempest, in his sick bed, what is written? Jonah went down into the hold of the ship, and he lay down and fell asleep (Jonah 1:5). Even though a person is lying in his sickbed, the soul is not aroused to return to his Lord to redeem his sins.

What is written? The captain approached him (Jonah 1:6). Who is the captain? The good impulse, who guides all. And said to him, ‘What are you doing sound asleep?…’ (ibid.)—this is no time to sleep, for you are being brought to judgment for all that you have done in this world. Repent of your sins!

Reflect on these things and return to your Lord. What is your work (Jonah 1:8), in which you engaged in this world? Confess it before your Lord. Where do you come from? (ibid.)—reflect on where you come from: from a putrid drop, and you will not be arrogant before Him. What is your country (ibid.)—reflect that from earth you were created and to earth you will return. And of what people are you? (ibid.)—reflect whether you have ancestral merit to protect you [cf. M Avot 3:1].

Once he is brought to heavenly judgement, that tempest—which is the Decree of Judgement raging against a person—demands from the King to punish those royal prisoners, and they all come before Him one by one. At that moment, the members of the court approach. Some pleas in his defense, others against him, and the Decree of Judgement demands punishment.

If that person is not found innocent, what is written? The men rowed hard to regain the shore, but they could not (Jonah 1:13)—those who pleaded for his innocence strive to restore him in this world, but they could not. Why? For the sea was growing stormier (ibid.)—the Decree of Judgement grows stormier from the person’s sins and overwhelms them.

Then three appointed messengers descend upon him: one who inscribes all the good deeds and misdeeds that the person performed in this world; one who produces a reckoning of his days; and one who was with him in his mother’s womb, as we have established and the Decree of Judgement does not subside until the time that is described: They picked Jonah up (Jonah 1:15). They picked up—when they carry him from his house to the cemetery… If he is wicked, the proclamation is: ‘Woe to so-and-so! Better for him if he had never been created!’

Then what is written? They threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased its raging (Jonah 1:15)—when they place him in his grave, the place of judgment, then the Decree of Judgement, that was storming, subsides from its raging. And the fish that swallowed him is the grave.

What is written? Jonah was in the מְעֵי (m’ei), bowels, of the fish (Jonah 2:1). The bowels of the fish is the belly of Sheol. How do we know? As is written: מִבֶּטֶן (mi-beten), from the belly, of Sheol I cried out (ibid., 3)—he was in the bowels of the fish and called it the belly of Sheol.

Three days and three nights (Jonah 2:1)—the three days that a person lies in the grave, when his belly bursts… Afterward, the soul ascends, while the body decomposes in the dust, until the time when the blessed Holy One arouses the dead… Of then, it is written: YHWH spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land (Jonah 2:11).

After that voice is aroused among the graves, every single grave will spew out the corpse it contains, as is written: The earth will cast forth spirits of the dead (Isaiah 26:19)” (Zohar 2:199a).