The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

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A Dream not Interpreted is Like a Letter not Read

Charles-Freger-elephants-14

“Rabbi Shemu’el son of Naḥmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: A man is shown in a dream only what is suggested by his own thoughts, as it says, You, king, your thought has risen as you lay asleep of what will be in the time to come, and the Revealer of Mysteries has made known to you what will be (Daniel 2:29). Or if you like, I can derive it from here: that you may know your heart’s thoughts (ibid. 2:30). Rabba said: This is proved by the fact that a man is never shown in a dream a date palm of gold, or an elephant going through the eye of a needle” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“[Rabbi Amora’s] disciples asked: What is חֹלֶם (ḥolem)? He replied: Soul—if you heed her, your body will be תַּחְלִים (taḥlim), revived, in the time to come. And should you rebel against her? [Your requital] shall come back—חוֹלִים (ḥolim), diseases—on your head (Obadiah 1:15), and חֶלְיָה (ḥelyah), jewelry [or: illness], on her head. Furthermore, they say: Every חֲלוֹם (ḥalom), dream, is in the ḥolem. Every white precious stone is with חֹלֵם (ḥolem), a dreamer, as is written, and אַחְלָמָה (aḥlamah), crystal (Exodus 28:19)” (Bahir §41).

“Since a dream includes all, as we have said, all dreams of the world follow oral interpretation. This has been established, for it is written: As he interpreted to us, so it was (Genesis 41:13). Why? Because a dream contains falsehood and truth, and the word controls all, so a dream needs favorable interpretation. Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘Because every dream is of a rung below, controlled by Speech [Shekhinah], so every dream follows speech.’…

Joseph dreamed a dream and told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more (Genesis 37:5). From here we learn that a person should tell his dream only to one who loves him. Otherwise, he may prove decisive, for if that dream changes tone, he is the cause” (Zohar 1:183a).

“We should first introduce something said by the ancients in regard to those nighttime visions. For we have learned: ‘One who cohabits with his mother in a dream will attain בִּינָה (binah), understanding (BT Berakhot 57a), as is written: For you will call understanding, אֵם (Em), Mother (Proverbs 2:3) [according to the conventional vocalization: אִם (im)if, you call for understanding].’ Here one should examine. If this is because She is mother, fine; then it should have been written as follows: ‘One who sees his mother in a dream will attain understanding.’ But why ‘one who cohabits with’ her? Well, a supernal mystery! For he was transformed from below to above, ascending. At first, he was a son; once he rises above, the tree is overturned and he becomes part of the upper world, ruling over Her, attaining Binah” (Zohar 2:101a, Sava de-Mishpatim).

“Rav Ḥisda said: A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“There is a visionary mirror [Shekhinah] reflecting supernal colors [the upper sefirot], envisioned in that visionary mirror; there is vision within vision, and vision within vision, one above the other, all poised on specific rungs, presiding, called night vision (Daniel 2:19). Through them spread all dreams of the world, these resembling those above” (Zohar 1:196a).

“Rabbi Yoḥanan also said: Three dreams are fulfilled: A dream of the morning, a dream that one’s fellow dreamed about him, and a dream that is interpreted within a dream. And some say a dream that is repeated” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“Come and see: All prophets of the world absorb from a single facet, through two known rungs [the sefirot Netsaḥ and Hod are considered a single field of prophetic vision]. Those rungs appeared through a dim glass, as is written: בַּמַּרְאָה (ba-mar’ah)in a vision, I make Myself known to him (Numbers 12:6). Who is מַּרְאָה (mar’ah), vision? As has been said: a mirror in which all colors appear; this is the dim glass…. You cannot have a dream without false material intermingling… all dreams of the world follow oral interpretation [cf. BT Berakhot 55b]” (Zohar 1:183a).

He Killed Him with His Own Spear and No Man has Known His Burial Place to this Day

And Moses, YHWH’s servant, died there in the land of Moab by the word of YHWH. And he was buried in the glen in the land of Moab opposite Beth-Peor, and no man has known his burial place to this day. And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes had not grown bleary and his sap had not fled. And the Israelites keened for Moses in the steppes of Moab thirty days, and the days of keening in mourning for Moses came to an end (Deuteronomy 34:5–8).

“He opened, saying, ‘Benayahu son of Yehoyada (2 Samuel 23:20)….

He went down and smote the lion (ibid.)…. When sins prevailed, He descended to the rungs below, and He killed that lion, no longer willing to provide its prey.… On a snowy day—a day when sins prevailed, and judgment was decreed above by the celestial court…. Until here, mystery of the verse. What is written next? He slew an Egyptian, a man of good appearance (2 Samuel, 23:21)…. He slew an Egyptian man…. Who is it? Moses, as is written: They said, ‘An Egyptian man rescued us’ (Exodus 2:19).… The Egyptian had a spear in his hand (2 Samuel, ibid.)…. as is said: with the staff of God in my hand (Exodus 17:9)…. With this he sinned at the rock, as is said: He struck the rock with his staff twice (Numbers 20:11). The blessed Holy One said to him, ‘Moses, I did not give you My staff for this. By your life! [on the righteous being judged most strictly, see BT Ta’anit 8a]. From now on, it will no longer be in your hand.’ Immediately He went down to him with a club (2 Samuel, ibid.)—with severe judgment. And wrenched the spear from out of the Egyptian’s hand, for from that moment it was withheld from him and was never again in his hand. And killed him with his own spear. Because of the sin of striking with that staff, he died and did not enter the Holy Land, and this light was withheld from Israel” (Zohar 1:6b).

“In the future the blessed Holy One will return what was stolen from you—that staff—as is written, [And he struck down an Egyptian man, a man of daunting appearance, a spear was in the hand of the Egyptian. And he went down to him with a staff] and stole the spear from the hand of the Egyptian [and he killed him with his own spear] (2 Samuel 23:21) for it was you of whom is said an Egyptian man. And in your exile and your cycling, He will set aside for you towns of asylum to save yourself from your endless pursuers” (Zohar 2:114b, Ra’aya Meheimna Mishpatim).

Mother Comes and Grasps His Right Arm, So the Lash Remains Suspended

2677418229_2026512077_o“When Rav Yosef heard his mother’s footsteps he would say: ‘I will arise before the approaching Shekhinah’” (BT Qiddushin 31b).

“We should first introduce something said by the ancients in regard to those nighttime visions. For we have learned: ‘One who cohabits with his mother in a dream will attain בִּינָה (binah), understanding’ (BT Berakhot 57a), as is written: For you will call בִּינָה (binah), understanding, ‘Mother’ (Proverbs 2:3).’ Here one should examine. If this is because She is mother, fine; then it should have been written as follows: ‘One who sees his mother in a dream will attain understanding.’ But why ‘one who cohabits with’ her? Well, a supernal mystery! For he was transformed from below to above, ascending. At first, he was a son; once he rises above, the tree is overturned and he becomes part of the upper world, ruling over Her, attaining Binah” (Zohar 2:101a, Sava de-Mishpatim).

“Rabbi Yose said, There has never been a father as compassionate to His children as the blessed Holy One. This is indicated by a verse: Not a single word has failed of all His good words… (1 Kings 8:56). Come and see His compassion! If it be said Not a single word has failed of all His words, and nothing more, it would have been better for the world not to have ever been created. But since it says of all His good words, it leaves the bad behind, for He does not want to enact a bad word. And even though He threatens and raises the lash, Mother comes and grasps His right arm, so the lash remains suspended, does not descend, and is not implemented, because both of them share one plan: He by threatening, and She by holding back His right arm [cf. BT Makkot 22a–b]’” (Zohar 2:190b).

And God saw the children of Israel, and God knew (Exodus 2:25). What is and God knew? A parable: A king had a lovely wife, and had several children from her, and he loved them and raised them, but they went out to bad ways [lit., תַרְבּוּת רָעָה (tarbut ra’ah), wicked culture, i.e., foreign culture, cf. Zohar 3:281b–82a (RM)]. He hated them and their mother, and she turned to them and said: ‘My children, why do you do so that your father hates me and you?’ Until they repented and they returned to perform the will of their father. Their father saw this and loved them as before and remembered their mother. This is the meaning of And God saw… and God knew. This is also the meaning of In the midst of years make it known. [In wrath remember compassion] (Habakkuk 3:2)” (Bahir §76).

“A king had a lovely daughter, and others were lusting for her. The king knew about it, but could not fight with those who exposed his daughter to bad ways. He came to his house and warned her, saying, ‘My daughter, give no regard to the words of these enemies and they will not be able to overcome you. Do not leave the house, but do all your work at home. Do not sit idle, even for a single moment. Then they will not be able to see you and harm you.’ There is a single quality in them which departs from a good way and chooses every bad way. When they see man directing himself along a good way, they hate him. Who is he? הַשָׂטָן (Ha-satan), the adversary. Teaching that the blessed Holy One has a quality whose name is רָעָה (ra’ah), Evil [feminine noun]. It is to the north of the blessed Holy One, as is written: Out of the north הָרָעָה (ha-ra’ah), the evil, shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land (Jeremiah 1:14)—any evil that comes to all inhabitants of earth comes from the north” (Bahir §162, cf. ibid., §12).

“Come and see: As long as the people are distant from the King’s palace, Matronita, as it were, is distanced with them. Why? Because Matronita did not immediately apply a pint [of discipline] to this son, striking him so that he would follow the straight path. For the King never strikes a person, but rather leaves everything in the hand of the Matronita: to manage the palace and punish the son, guiding him on the straight way toward the King” (Zohar 3:74a).

O fairest of women (Song of Songs 1:8)—fine in kindness, for She bestows kindness upon Her children [Israel] secretly, covertly, and the blessed Holy One is very pleased by all that She does for Her children, even though they don’t deserve it. From here we learn that a father should love and appreciate everything that a mother does for her children secretly, covertly, even though their conduct is improper” (Zohar 3:197b).

 

Yearning of the Father is Always Exclusively for his Daughter

“A parable: a king once had a daughter who was good, sweet, lovely, and perfect. He married her to a royal prince, and clothed, crowned, and bejeweled her, giving her much wealth. Is it possible for the king to ever leave his daughter? You must say no. Is it possible for him to be with her constantly? You must say no. What then must he do? He places a screen between the two, and whenever the father needs his daughter, or the daughter needs her father, they can come together through this screen [cf. Shemot Rabbah 52:5]. Therefore it is written: All the princess’s treasure is inward, filigree of gold her raiment (Psalms 45:14)” (Bahir §54).

“From where [is it known] Abraham had a daughter? As is written, And YHWH had blessed Abraham בַּכֹּל (ba-kol), in all things (Genesis 24:1) [see BT Bava Batra 16b; cf. ibid., 25a]. It is also written, כֹּל (kol), All—called by שְׁמִי (shemi), My name: for My glory I have created him, I have formed him; yea, I have made him (Isaiah 43:7) [cf. Berit MenuḥaIntroduciton]. Was this blessing his daughter or not? Yes, it was his daughter.

A parable: A king had a servant who was innocent and perfect before him. He tested him with many trials and he endured them all [see Jubilees 17:17; 19:8; M Avot 5:3; Avot de-Rabbi Natan A, 33; B, 36; Midrash Tehillim 18:25; Pirqei de-Rabbi Eli’ezer 26]. The king said, ‘What will I give to this servant? What shall I do for him? There is nothing for me but to entrust him to my older brother [possibly Sandalfon], that he counsel him, guard him, and honor him.’ The servant returned with the older brother and learned his qualities. The brother loved him very much, and called him his lover, as is written, the seed of Abraham, My lover (Isaiah 41:8) [cf. Sefer Yetsirah §61 ad loc.]. He said, ‘What shall I give him? What shall I do for him? Behold I have made a lovely vessel, and in it are lovely jewels. There is nothing like them [in] treasuries of kings. I will give it to him, and he will be worthy in his place.’ This is, And YHWH blessed Abraham in all things” (Bahir §78).

“The Rabbis have taught: בַּכֹּל (ba-kol) (Genesis 24:1)—Abraham’s daughter, is not dead. She still exists, and whoever sees her has made a great find, as is said: [I, all my lovers I love,] and my seekers do find me (Proverbs 8:17)” (Mirash ha-Gadol).

“[Elijah] opened and said, [Moses] Faithful Shepherd, the blessed Holy One gave this bride of yours [Shekhinahהַכַּלָה (ha-kalah), the Bride, alluding to הֲלָכָה (Halakhah)] to Abraham to bring up for you. And since he kept her she is called his daughter. This is what is meant by the saying that ‘Abraham had a daughter named בַּכֹּל (Bakol)’ (BT Bava Batra 16b). By her he observed the whole Torah ‘Even to the עֵירוּבֵי תַּבְשִׁילִין (eruvei tavshilin), mixing of cooked dishes [a later rabbinic ordinance allowing one to cook on a holiday for the Sabbath]’ (BT Yoma 28b). This is the meaning of [Abraham has listened בְּקֹלִי (be-qoli), to My voice] And has kept My charge [My commandments, My statutes, and My teachings] (Genesis 26:5) [cf. Bahir §192]. And he brought her up, as written, And he brought up Hadassa (Esther 2:7). And the blessed Holy One blessed him for her sake, as written, YHWH had blessed Abraham in בַּכֹּל (ba-kol), all things (Genesis 24:1). He brought her up with every good quality and was kind to her. He raised her to greatness, with the quality of חֶסֶד (ḥesed), Loving-kindness, of Abraham. His house was, for her sake, wide open to do kindness to all the people of the world” (Zohar 3:277b, Ra’aya Meheimna Ki Tetse).

“Lower world does not arouse toward Upper World without the cherubim wafting fragrance toward the right. After they bestow aroma to the right, and the right arouses toward Upper World, at once Lower World arouses to petition for its needs. What is written? Rachel said to Leah, ‘Please give me’ (Genesis 30:14). Give me blessings from the arousal of mandrakes, aroused for you by the right side.

Then, Upper World joyfully, playfully, responded to her, saying, ‘Is your taking my husband a small thing?‘ (ibid. 30:15)—like a mother to her daughter. If so, the Husband of the Upper World must be Jacob! Not so! Yearning of the Father is always exclusively for his Daughter. His love is directed toward Her because She is the only daughter, among six sons [sefirot]. He doles out provisions, largesse, and gifts to each of those six sons—but He allocates nothing for Her, nor does She inherit anything. On account of all this, He watches over Her with greater fondness and love than all the rest.

Out of love for Her, He called Her ‘Daughter’ [cf. BT Bava Batra 16b]. This did not satisfy Him, so He called Her ‘Sister’ [cf. Genesis 20:1; Proverbs 7:4; Song of Songs 4:9, 10, 12; 5:1, 2]. This did not satisfy Him, so He called Her ‘Mother,’ in the name of His Mother [cf. Proverbs 2:3; BT Berakhot 57a]. This did not satisfy Him, so He called Her by His name, as is written: But הַחָכְמָה (ḥokhmah), Wisdom, found from אַיִן (ayin), Nothing (Job 28:12)—Ḥokhmah, actually! This is why Upper World said to Her, ‘Is your taking my husband a small thing‘—for all of His love is drawn toward You” (Zohar 1:156a–b, Sitrei Torah, cf. Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 1:3; Shemot Rabbah 52:5; Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah on 3:11; Zohar 2:100b).

Speaking Deceit

IMG_1041And he shall call, “Unclean! Unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45).

“All the afflictions man sees, outside his own affliction” (M Nega’im 2:5).

“He who declares ‘unfit’ is unfit and never speaks in praise. And Shemu’el said: With his own blemish he [stigmatizes others as] unfit” (BT Qiddushin 70a).

“It has been taught: The people of Israel are called holiness, and since they are holiness, one is forbidden to call his fellow a shameful name or to invent a nickname for him [see BT Bava Metsi’a 58b–59a]. The punishment for this is severe, all the more for other words. It has been taught: It is written, Keep your tongue from evil… [and your lips from speaking deceit] (Psalms 34:14). What does מֵרָע (me-ra), from evil, mean? That because of evil speech, מַרְעִין (mar’in), disease, descends to the world. Rabbi Yose said, ‘Whoever calls his fellow something he is not, or insults him, will be punished for something he did not do. For Rabbi Ḥiyya said in the name of Rabbi Ḥizqiyah, ‘Whoever calls his fellow wicked is cast down into Hell and struck on his jaws—except for those who are impudent toward Torah, whom one is permitted to call wicked.’

A certain man cursed his fellow. Rabbi Yeisa passed by and said to him, ‘You have acted like the wicked!’ [The man] brought him before Rabbi Yehudah. [Rabbi Yeisa] said to him, ‘I didn’t say ‘wicked,’ but ‘like the wicked,’ exhibiting behavior like the wicked; but I didn’t say that he was wicked! Rabbi Yehudah came and put the case before Rabbi El’azar, who said, ‘Surely, he is not guilty! How do we know? As is written: YHWH was like an enemy (Lamentations 2:5)—like an enemy, and not an enemy. For otherwise, not a stump of Israel would have remained in the world. Similarly, She has become like a widow (ibid. 1:1)—and not a widow; like a widow, [like a woman] whose husband has journeyed across the ocean and she waits for him. Rabbi Ḥiyya said, ‘From here it is proven—the essence of all—as is written: upon the image of the throne, an image like the appearance of a human (Ezekiel 1:26)—like the appearance of a human, and not the appearance of a human.’ Rabbi Yitsḥaq said, ‘It is written: Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men (Song of Songs 2:3)—like an apple, and not an apple; like an apple, variegated in its colors, and in colors unified.’ Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘If I have come here just to hear these words, it is enough for me!” (Zohar 2:122a, cf. ibid. 3:84b–85b).