The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: flesh

An Almond which Becomes like Curdled Cheese

imageHe guards all his bones, one of them is not broken (Psalms 34:21).

“Hadrian (whose bones may they be ground, and his name blotted out) once asked Rabbi Yehoshua son of Ḥanania, ‘From what shall the human frame be reconstructed when it rises again?’ He answered ‘From the לוּז (luz), almond [Aramaic for the os coccyx, the ‘nut’ of the spinal column].’ ‘Prove this to me,’ said Hadrian. Then the Rabbi took the Luz and immersed it in water, but it was not softened; he put it into the fire, but it was not consumed; he put it into a mill, but it could not be pounded; he placed it upon an anvil and struck it with a hammer, but the anvil split and the hammer was broken” (Qohelet Rabbah 114:3).

“For a single bone surviving in a human being underground will become like leaven in dough, upon which the blessed Holy One will build an entire body” (Zohar 1:69a).

“The body beneath the dust, possessing endurance to rise from the dust” (Zohar 1:181b).

“Rabbi Pinḥas [son of Ya’ir] said, ‘I observed that תְּחִיַת הַמֵּתִים (teḥiyat ha-metim), revival of the dead, would be performed by the blessed Holy One, in one way, and that what is now first to leave will be the last. How do we know this? From those bones, the ones into which the blessed Holy One breathed life at the hands of Ezekiel. At the beginning it is written: And the bones came together, bone to its bone (Ezekiel 37:7), and then: And as I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up. And skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them (ibid., 8). From here, too, we can learn that what is removed first will be the last to be put on again [at revival of the dead]. Initially, man is stripped of spirit, and then his skin [rots], followed by the flesh [and then sinews], and finally the bones.

Rabbi Shim’on [son of Yoḥai] said: ‘The earlier teachers had difficulties with this passage [cf. BT Shabbat 13b], but the truth is that the blessed Holy One performed strange miracles and signs with these bones into which He breathed life.

Come and see: Recall, pray, that like clay You worked me, and to the dust You will make me return. Why, you pour me out like milk and like cheese you curdle me (Job 10:9). And then, in the following verses: With skin and flesh You cloth me, with bones and sinews entwine me (ibid., 10–11). When a person has rotted in the dust, and the time of the revival of the dead has arrived, the blessed Holy One will remake him from the remaining [Luz] bone, make it like dough and as cheese from milk and as flowing as a stream of pure clear milk. For the bone will be refined and polished as milk, curdled, and fashioned into a shape, like cheese. After this structure is done He will create anew the skin, veins and bones. Hence… all the verbs are in fact future tense. Not ‘You poured me out…’ this is because the reference throughout is to a future time” (Zohar 3:220b–21a).

“Rise Rabbi Shim’on and fashion new words with your hands, because permission has been granted you to reveal hidden mysteries which have not been revealed by another until now. Rabbi Shim’on opened saying, ‘Yours, O YHWH, is the greatness, and the strength, [and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O YHWH, and You are exalted as head above all]’ (1 Chronicles 29:11). Supernal ones listen, sleepers of Hebron. Faithful Shepherd awake from your sleep [see Pirqei de-Rabbi Eli’ezer 36, cf. BT Eruvin 53a; Zohar 1:127a]. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: [for Your dew is like the dew of lights, and the earth shall cast out the dead] (Isaiah 26:19). These are those righteous ones who are from the aspect of, I was asleep but my heart was awake (Song of Songs 5:2). They are not dead, thus it says, Awake and sing. Awake, Faithful Shepherd you and the patriarchs, awaken the Shekhinah asleep in the exile. Until now all the righteous sleep, asleep in their youth.

Immediately the Shekhinah aroused three voices for the Faithful Shepherd, saying to him, ‘Rise Faithful Shepherd, of whom it is said, Hark! my lover knocks (Song of Songs 5:2)—with His four letters. Saying, Open for me, my sister, my friend, my dove, תַמָּתִי (tamati), my perfect one [lit., my complete one] (Songs of Songs 5:2). Because, תַּם (Tam), Complete, is the punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion; He will no more carry you away into exile (Lamentations 4:22).’

For my head is filled with dew (Song of Songs 5:2). What is filled with dew? Rather, the blessed Holy One says, ‘Do you imagine that from the day the Holy Temple was destroyed I have entered My house, or I have entered My dwelling place? Not so! I have not entered at all since the time of your exile. Behold you have a sign: For my head is filled with טַל (tal), dew.’ הא (He, alef) [of the Holy Name spelled with ten letters] is Shekhinah in the exile [separated from Her lover the blessed Holy One]. Her completion and Her life is טַל (tal), dew, and this is יוד הא ואו (Yod, He, Vav) [which shares a numerical value of thirty-nine with טַל (tal), dew]. הא (He, alef) is the Shekhinah which is not of the טַל (tal), dew. But יוד הא ואו (Yod, He, Vav) equals ל״ט (thirty-nine). He fills the Shekhinah from the flowing of all the supernal sources. Immediately the Faithful Shepherd rose, and the holy patriarchs along with him. Until here the mystery of unification” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 17b).

Nothing but Soul!

“Rav Ami said: There is no death without sin, and there is no suffering without crime. There is no death without sin, as is written, The soul that sins, she shall die. The son shall not bear the crime of the father, neither shall the father bear the crime of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him (Ezekiel 18:20). There is no suffering without crime, as is written, I will requite their crime with the rod, and with plagues, their wrongdoing (Psalms 89:33)” (BT Shabbat 55a).

“Rava (some say, Rav Ḥisda) says: If a man sees that painful sufferings have befallen him, let him examine his deeds. For it is said: Let us search and examine our ways, and turn again to YHWH (Lamentations 3:40). If he examines and finds nothing [objectionable], let him attribute it to the neglect of Torah. For it is said: Happy the man whom Yah chastises, and whom from His teaching He instructs (Psalms 94:12). If he did attribute it [thus], and still did not find [this to be the cause], let him be sure that these are chastenings of love [see Zohar 1:180b, 181a]. For it is said: For whom YHWH loves He rebukes (Proverbs 3:12).

Rava, in the name of Rav Seḥora, in the name of Rav Huna, says: If the blessed Holy One is pleased with a man, he crushes him with painful sufferings. For it is said: YHWH delights in crushing him by disease (Isaiah 53:10). Now, you might think that this is so even if he did not accept them with love. Therefore it is said: to see if his soul would offer itself as a trespass-offering (ibid.). Even as the trespass-offering must be brought by consent, so also the sufferings must be endured with consent. And if he did accept them, what is his reward? He shall see his seed, He shall prolong his days (ibid.). And more than that, his learning will endure, as is said: and the will of YHWH shall prosper in his hand (ibid.)” (BT Berakhot 5a).

“When the blessed Holy One delights in the righteous, what is written? YHWH delights in crushing him by disease (Isaiah 53:10). This has been established, but the reason is that the delight of the blessed Holy One focuses only on soul, not on body; for soul resembles soul, while body is incapable of uniting above—even though the body’s image abides in supernal mystery” (Zohar 1:140b).

“When the human was created, what is written? You clothed me in skin and flesh (Job 10:11). What then is the human if not skin and flesh, and bones and sinews? But surely the human being is nothing but soul! And these that we have mentioned—skin, flesh, bones, and sinews are all merely a garment; they are a person’s clothing not the human. And when a person departs, he is stripped of those garments that he is wearing” (Zohar 2:76a).