The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: fortune

Leave Your Father’s House, Go to Yourself!

Image“[Abraham] already knew and tested all those rulers conducting the entire inhabited world; he already balanced and tested those who ruled throughout the world, conducting stars and constellations—who overpowered whom. He had succeeded in balancing the entire inhabited world, but when he reached this site [the land of Canaan] he saw an unbearable, impenetrable potency of depths.

Once the blessed Holy One saw his arousal and desire, He immediately revealed Himself to him, saying Go to yourself (Genesis 12:1), to know yourself to refine yourself. From your land—from that habitation to which you clung. From your birthplace—from that wisdom through which you envision and gauge your birth, the precise moment you were born, under which star and constellation. From your father’s house—do not consider your father’s house, whether you are rooted in your father’s house to succeed in the world. So, Go you forth!—from this wisdom, this speculation” (Zohar 1:78a).

“The emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshu’a son of Ḥananiah, ‘I wish to behold your God.’ … He went and placed the emperor facing the sun during the summer solstice. He said to him, ‘Look at it.’ He replied, ‘I cannot.’ Rabbi Yehoshu’a said, ‘If at the sun—which is but one of the ministering servants of the blessed Holy One—you admit you cannot look, how much more so the Shekhinah” (BT Ḥullin 59b–60a).

“Rabbi Ya’aqov of the village of Naburaya in Tyre expounded: To You silence is praise, God, in Zion (Psalms 65:1)—silence sums it all up, as regarding a priceless pearl, all who attempt to praise it [merely] diminish its value’” (JT Berakhot 9:1, 4f).

“Rabbi Yose and Rabbi iyya were traveling on the road. As they were going along, night dusked; they sat down. While they were sitting, the day lightened. They said, ‘Let us rise and go on.’ They rose and went on; morning began to glow.

Rabbi iyya said, ‘Look at the face of the east, how it shines! Now all those children of the East, of mountains of light, are bowing to this light and worshiping it before the sun comes out. For once the sun comes out, how many there are who worship the sun! But these are those who worship this light, calling this light—which shines in the zone of the sun before it emerges—‘God of the shining pearl,’ and their oath is by ‘God of the shining pearl.’

‘Now, you might say, ‘This worship is in vain.’ But since ancient, primeval days they have thereby known wisdom. When the sun lightens, before emerging, the prince appointed over the sun emerges, with holy letters of the supernal holy Name inscribed above the head of the sun. By the powers of those letters, he opens all the windows of heaven, striking them and passing. That prince enters the radiance shining around the sun, and there he remains until the sun comes forth, spreading through the world. That prince is in charge of gold and all rubies, and they worship that image there. With points and signs inherited from the ancients, from primeval days, they come to know the points of the sun, enabling them to find the location of gold and gems.’

Rabbi Yose said, ‘How long will all these rites persist in the world! Surely falsehood has no pillars on which to stand [cf. BT Shabbat, 104a]!’

The other one opened, saying, ‘The lip of truth will be established forever, but the tongue of falsehood lasts only a moment (Proverbs 12:19). Come and see: If all inhabitants of the world worshiped falsehood, it would be so. But the light and shining radiance are surely true; stars aloft in the sky are true. If out of stupidity and deficiency, they call them ‘God,’ the blessed Holy One does not wish to destroy His own creation. Even in the time to come, the stars and luminaries of the world will not be destroyed. But who will be destroyed? Those who worship them [cf. BT Avodah Zarah 54b]” (Zohar 2:188a).

Wheel of Fortune

image

For the pauper will not cease from the midst of the land (Deuteronomy 15:11)—it was taught, Rabbi El’azar ha-Qappar says: A man will always seek mercy over this measure, since if he does not come [to poverty] his son comes [to poverty]. And if his son does not come [to poverty], the son of his son comes [to poverty], as is said, בִּגְלַל (Bigelal), because for this thing (ibid., 10). The House of Rabbi Yishma’el taught: It is a גַּלְגָּל (galggal), wheel, that turns in the world. Rabbi Yosef said: We hold that a disciple of the academy will not suffer poverty. But we see that he does suffer poverty? Even if he suffers poverty, he [nevertheless] does not engage in begging.

Rabbi Ḥiyya said to his wife: When a poor man comes, be quick to offer him bread, so that others may be quick to offer it to your children. ‘You curse them?!’ She exclaimed. ‘A verse is written,’ he replied: בִּגְלַל (bigelal), because for this thing, whereon the Academy of Rabbi Yishma’el taught: It is a wheel that rotates in the world. It was taught Rabbi Gamliel son of Rabbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi] said: that YHWH may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, and have compassion upon you, and multiply you (ibid. 13:17). He who is merciful to others, mercy is shown to him by Heaven, while he who is not merciful to others, mercy is not shown to him by Heaven” (BT Shabbat 151b).

גַּם לִי גַם לָךְ (Gam-li gam-lakh), neither mine nor yours (1 Kings 3:26)—the mystery of the גַּלְגָּל (galggal), wheel (Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla, Ginnat Egoz 411).

“Rabbi Yehoshu’a son of Levi said: What is meant by, צְרוֹר הַמֹּר (Tseror ha-mor), a sachet of myrrh, is my lover to me, all night between my breasts (Song of Songs 1:13)? The Assembly of Israel said before the blessed Holy One, ‘Master of the Universe! Though my lover מֵּיצַר וּמֵימַר (metsar u-memar), distresses and embitters, me [casting me into exile, He remains] all night between my breasts.’

אֶשְׁכֹּל הַכֹּפֶר דּוֹדִי לִי בְּכַרְמֵי עֵין גֶּדִי (Eshkol ha-kofer dodi li be-kharmei ein gedi), a cluster of henna, my lover to me, in the vineyards of Ein Gedi (ibid., 14)—מִי שֶׁהַכֹּל שֶׁלּוֹ מְכַפֵּר לִי עַל עֲוֹן גְּדִי שֶׁכָּרַמְתִי לִי (mi she-ha-kol shelo me-khaper li al on gedi she-karamti li), He to whom everything belongs shall make atonement for me over the עֲו‍ֹן גְּדִי (on gedi), guilt of the kid [i.e., Golden Calf; alt., the goat of Azazel], which כָּרַמְתִי (karamti), ‘I stored up,’ for myself. Where do we learn that בְּכַרְמֵי (be-kharmei), in vineyards, is an expression of gathering? Mar Zutra son of Rav Naḥman: As we learned: ‘A launderer’s stool on which linen is כּוֹרְמִים (kormim), heaped up’ (M Kelim 23:4) [cf. Sanskrit: कर्म (kárman), action, work, deed; कर्मवश (kármavaza), fate, being in the power of, or subject to former actions]” (BT Shabbat 88b).