The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: garment

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).

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Fools See Someone in a Good-Looking Garment and They Look No Further

image “Rabbi Akiva says: Torah speaks in the language of men” (Sifre, Numbers 112).

“These verses may be read literally, but words of Torah are sealed. How many words of wisdom are concealed in every single word of Torah! The pathways are known; for Torah does not consist of dreamy words, transmitted to whoever interprets them and conducted by the mouth—nevertheless, requiring appropriate treatment. Now, if this is so with dreams, how much more do words of Torah—delights of the Holy King—need to be followed according to the way of truth!” (Zohar 2:95a, Sava de-Mishpatim).

“Come and see: For a king of flesh and blood, it is undignified to engage in common talk, much less to write it down. Now, would you ever imagine that the supernal King, the blessed Holy One, had no holy words to write, with which to compose the Torah, so that he had to collect all of these words about commoners—such as words about Esau, about Hagar, about Laban with Jacob, about the donkey, Balaam, and Balak, about Zimri, and all the other stories that are written—and make a Torah out of them? If so, why is it called a Torah of truth (Malachi 2:6)—Torah of YHWH is perfect; the decree of YHWH is trustworthy; The precepts of YHWH are just; the command of YHWH is lucid; the awe of YHWH is pure? And it is written: more desirable than gold… (Psalms 19:8-11). These are words of Torah! But surely it is called Torah of YHWH, Perfect Torah, and every single word comes to demonstrate other, supernal matters. The wording of the story does not come to signify itself, but rather to signify something about the totality, as has been said…

Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘Woe to the person who says that Torah intended to present a mere story and ordinary words! For if so, we could compose a Torah right now with ordinary words, and more laudable than all of them. If to display matters of the world, even worldly potentates possess words more sublime. If so, let us follow them and make a Torah out of them! But all the words of Torah correspond to the following pattern.

Come and see: The world above and the world below are evenly balanced: Israel below, supernal angels above. Of the angels is written He makes His angels spirits… (Psalms 104:4). This pertains to the celestial realm. But when they descend below, although they descend, they don garments of this world. If they are not clothed in a garment befitting this world, they cannot not endure in this world, nor can the world endure them.

If this is so with angels, then concerning Torah—who created them and all the worlds, which exist for her sake—when she descends to this world, if she does not clothe herself in garments of this world, the world cannot endure. So this story of Torah is a garment of Torah. Whoever thinks that the garment is the real Torah and not something else, may his spirit expire! He will have no share in the world that is coming! Therefore David said: Uncover my eyes, so I can see wonders out of your Torah (Psalms 119:18)—what is beneath the garment of Torah.

Come and see: There is a garment visible to all. Those fools, when they see someone in a good-looking garment, look no further. Yet the significance of that garment is the body; the significance of the body is the soul. Corresponding to this pattern, Torah has a body—and words of Torah called ‘bodies of Torah.’ This body is clothed in a garment, namely stories of this world. Fools of the world look only at that garment, the story of Torah. Those who know more do not look at the garment, but rather at the body beneath that garment. The wise—servants of the supernal King, those who stood at Mount Sinai—look only at the soul, root of all, real Torah. And in the world that is coming, they are destined to gaze upon the soul of the soul of Torah… Happy are the righteous who look at Torah properly! As wine must sit in a bottle, so Torah must sit in this garment. Therefore, concerning Torah, one should look only at what is beneath the garment. So all these words and all these stories are garments” (Zohar 3:149b-152a).

“Happy is the share of one who engages in Torah constantly! What is written of him? But the Torah of YHWH is his delight, and on His Torah he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree (Psalms 1:2-3). Why is this adjoined to that? Well, whoever engages in Torah day and night should not be a parched tree, but rather like what? Like a tree planted by streams of water. Just as a tree has roots, bark, pith, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit—these seven types amounting to ten, and ten to seventy—so words of Torah have a simple sense, midrashic meaning, a hint alluding to wisdom, gimatriyya’ot, hidden mysteries, sealed mysteries, one above the other; unfit and fit, impure and pure, forbidden and permitted. From here on, branches spread out in every direction. He shall be like a tree, surely! And if not, he is not a master of wisdom” (Zohar 3:202a, cf. Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, Sheva Netivot ha-Torah translated in Idel, Language, Torah, and Hermeneutics in Abraham Abulafia, p. 82-109).

Let Us Make a Human in Our Image by Our Likeness

imageI am the first, and I am the last; and besides Me there is no God (Isaiah 44:6). I am the first—I do not have a father; I am the last—I do not have a brother; and besides Me there is no God—I do not have a son” (Shemot Rabbah 29:4).

And אֱלֹהִים (Elohimsaid, ‘Let us make a human’ (Genesis 1:26). It is not written הַאָדָם (ha-adam), the human, but rather אָדָם (adam), a human, indefinite—excluding the one above [i.e., the אָדָם קַדְמוֹן (adam qadmon), Primordial Human], who was made with a complete name [יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים (YHWH Elohim) (Genesis 2:7)]” (Zohar 2:178a, cf. ibid., 2:70a-b).

And אֱלֹהִים (Elohimsaid, ‘Let us make a human’ (Genesis 1:26). The secret of יְהוָה (YHWHis for those who fear Him (Psalms 25:14).

The Elder of Elders opened, saying, ‘Shim’on, Shim’on, who is He who said, ‘Let us make a human’—who is this אֱלֹהִים (Elohim)? Meanwhile, the Elder of Elders vanished. When Rabbi Shim’on heard that he called him Shim’on and not Rabbi Shim’on, he said to the Companions: This is indeed the blessed Holy One of whom is said, And the עַתִּיק יוֹמִין (attiq yomin), Ancient of Days, took His seat (Daniel 7:9). Now is the time to reveal this secret which was previously forbidden, and permission has now been given to reveal it.

This is like a king who had many buildings to build and he had an אוּמָן (uman), artisan. That artisan did not do anything without the permission of the king, as is written, I was by Him, an אָמוֹן (amon), intimate (Proverbs 8:30) [cf. Guide of the Perplexed 2:4]. The king is most certainly supernal חָכְמָה (ḥokhmah), Wisdom, above and the middle pillar [תִפאֶרֶת (tif’eret), Beauty; זְעֵיר אַנפִּין (ze’eir anpin), Small Countenance] is the king below. אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), the artisan above, is supernal Mother [בִּינָה (binah), Understanding]. אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), the artisan below, is the שְׁכִינָה (shekhinah), Divine Presence [מַלְכוּת (malkhut), Kingdom].

A wife is not permitted to do anything without the permission of her husband. Of all the structures that were in the way of אֲצִילוּת (atsilut), Emanation, Father would say to Mother, ‘Let there be’ such and such and it was done immediately. It is written: And said, ‘אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), Let there be light’ and there was light (Genesis 1:3). And said—spoken to אֱלֹהִים (Elohim)—‘Let there be light.’ So Father, uttered the words and the artisan, Mother, completed the task immediately. And this was the same with every structure in the way of אֲצִילוּת (atsilut), Emanation—Father, would say, ‘Let there be a firmament’ or ‘Let there be lights’ and Mother, would complete everything in an instant.

When the עָלְמָא דִפְרוּדָא (alma di-feruda), world of separation, came, which is the world of those divided [see Zohar 1:158a], the artisan said to the architect‘Let us make a human in our image, by our likeness’ (Genesis 1:26). The architect said: It is indeed good that man is made, but he will offend before you, because he is foolish, as is written, A wise son gladdens his father, but a foolish son is his mother’s sorrow (Proverbs 10:1).

She said: Because his crimes depend on Mother, and not Father, I wish to create him in My own image, as is written, And אֱלֹהִים (Elohimcreated the human in His image (Genesis 1:27)—She did not want Father, to have any share [although often depicted as the Divine Mother, Binah is also described as ‘World of the Male,’ encompassing the entire configuration of the sefirot from Ḥesed through Yesod. Together they constitute a masculine entity ready to join Shekhinah, see Zohar 1:147a, 149a, 96a, 160b, 246a-247a, 248b; 2:127b; ZḤ 72b (ShS)].

What is written at the time of the squandering? For your crimes, your mother was sent away (Isaiah 50:1). The king said to the mother, ‘Did I not tell you that he was destined to sin?’ In that instant, he exiled him and his mother. Therefore, it is written: A wise son gladdens his father, but a foolish son is his mother’s sorrow. A wise son—man of אֲצִילוּת (atsilut), Emanation [זְעֵיר אַנפִּין (ze’eir anpin), Small Countenance]. A foolish son—man of בְּרִיָּה (beriah), Creation.

All the Companions rose and said ‘Rabbi, Rabbi, could there be such separation between Father and Mother, [so much so that] from the side of Father he is in the way of אֲצִילוּת (atsilut), Emanation, but from the side of Mother in [the way of] בְּרִיָּה (beriah), Creation?! He said to them, ‘Companions, Companions, it is not so, because man of אֲצִילוּת (Atsilut), Emanation, is male and female, from the aspect of Father and from Mother. This is why אֱלֹהִים (Elohimsaid, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. ‘Let there be light’—from the side of Father. And there was light—from the side of Mother. So man had דוּ פַּרְצוּפִין (du partsufin), two faces [see BT Eruvin 18a].

But to him [of בְּרִיָּה (beri’ah), Creation] there is neither image nor likeness [of Father or Mother]. The supernal Mother has but one appellation: Light and… Darkness (Isaiah 45:7), which amounts to eighty-six: אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) [כִּנּוּי (kinnui), appellation, אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), and הַטֶבַע (ha-teva), nature, are each numerically equivalent to eighty-six, cf. Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, Get ha-Shemot, 101b (Ms Oxford, 1682)]. And that appellation is Light and Darkness [אוֹר וּחֹשֶׁךְ (or u-ḥoshek), Light and… Darkness, is numerically equivalent to יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisra’el), Israel]. And because of that appellation of darkness, Father said that man of בְּרִיָּה (beri’ah), Creation [אָדָם רִאשׁוֹן (adam rishon), First Man], was destined to offend because he is light of the supernal garment.

Light—light that the blessed Holy One created on the first day, hiding it away for the righteous alone [see BT Ḥagigah 12a]. Darkness—created on the first day for the wicked: And the wicked in darkness turn dumb (1 Samuel 2:9). On account of that darkness, which would cause that light to sin, Father did not wish to partake in his creation. Therefore, Mother said, ‘Let us make a human in our image, by our likeness. In our image—in that light. By our likeness—in that darkness which is a garment for light, just as the body is a garment for the soul, as is written: With skin and flesh You clothed me (Job 10:11). They all rejoiced, saying, ‘How happy is our share that we had the privilege to hear words that were not to be heard until now.’

Rabbi Shim’on delved further, saying, ‘See now that I, I am He, and no אֱלֹהִים (elohim), god, is by My side’ (Deuteronomy 32:39). Companions, listen to ancient words I wish to reveal since permission from above has been granted. Who is He who said, ‘See now that I, I am He’? He replied: The עִלַּת עַל כָּל עִלָּאִין (illat al kal illa’in), Cause above all Causes. He that is called עִלַּת הָעִלּוֹת (illat ha-illot), the Cause of Causes, is not high above all the supernal beings, but rather, is a cause among all the rest. Accordingly, every single one of these causes will not act unless permission comes down from the cause above him, as I said before with, Let us make a human

Let us make—two rungs, and each lower rung said to the one above him, Let us make a human. The lower rung cannot act without permission from the one over him and the one over him cannot act until direction comes down from his companion. But He that is called עִלַּת עַל כָּל עִלּוֹת (illat al kal illot), Cause above all Causes, has no equal above nor below, as is written: To whom then will you liken Me, or shall I be equal? says the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25). He said, ‘See now that I, I am He, and no אֱלֹהִים (elohim), god, is by My side’—from whom to take counsel, unlike him of whom is written: And אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) said, ‘Let us make a human.’

All the Companions rose and said, ‘Rabbi grant us permission to speak. Did you not already say that the Cause of Causes, said to Keter, ‘Let us make a human.’ He said to them: ‘Let your ears hear what your mouth speaks. Have I not just told you that he that is called the Cause of Causes is not He that is called the Cause above all Causes, for the Cause above all Causes has no second from whom He can take direction. He is יָחִיד (yaḥid), Singular, prior to all, and He has no partner [see Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith].

Accordingly, He said, ‘See now that I, I am He, and no god is by My side’ (Deuteronomy 32:39), from whom He should take counsel [cf. BT Sanhedrin 38b; Bereshit Rabbah 8:8]; for He has no second, no partner, and no reckoning. [However,] there is a oneness in partnership in the manner of male and female, of whom it is said, [Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bore you:] for one I called him [and blessed him, and increased him] (Isaiah 51:2). But He is one without reckoning and without partnership, thus, He says, no god is by My side.’ They all rose, bowed before him and said, ‘Happy is the man whose Master gives him consent to reveal hidden mysteries that were not even revealed to the holy angels.’

He said to them, ‘Companions, we should complete this verse because it contains many mysteries. I put to death and give life (Deuteronomy 32:39)—I put to death and give life by the sefirot. From the right-side life, and from the left-side death. But if both do not agree by mediation of the middle pillar—unless all three settle together—judgment cannot be carried out.

At times, all three agree to execute judgement. Then an outstretched hand appears to accept those who repent: יהוה (YHWH). That יַד (yad), hand, is equivalent to י״ד (fourteen) letters: four in the simple form of יהוה (YHWH) and ten in the fully spelled Name: יוד הא ואו הא (Yod He Vav He). The four letters allude to the sefirah כֶּתֶר (keter), Crown; the other ten to the sefirah חָכְמָה (ḥokhmah), Wisdom. This is the Shekhinah, which is the right hand from the side of חֶסֶד (ḥesed), Kindness, and the left hand from the the side of גְבוּרָה (gevurah), Strength. [It is also] called the Hand of יהוה (YHWH) from the aspect of the middle pillar. When one repents, these fourteen letters save him from judgement. But when the Cause above all Causes passes judgment [I smash and I also heal] and none rescues from My hand (Deuteronomy 32:39).

Furthermore, three times it has been said, אֲנִי אֲנִי אֲנִי (ani, ani, ani), I, I, I—[this verse has three] א (alef) [in its beginning and three] י (yod) [in its ending]. Here is the hint: יוד הי ואו הי (Yod He Vav He); יוד הא ואו הא (Yod He Vav He). [The verse also employs] three ווין (vavin), ands: וַאֲחַיֶּה (va-aḥayeh), and I give life... וַאֲנִי (va-ani), and I… וְאֵין (ve-ayin), and none They are also hinted at by these [two] names.

Despite this all the Companions have explained it concerning other אֱלֹהִים (elohim), gods, as is written: See now that I, I am He—the blessed Holy One and His Shekhinah. Of His Female is said, אֲנִי (ani), I am, הוּא (hu), He. And no god is by My side—[neither] Samael nor the serpent. I put to death and give lifeI kill with My Shekhinah whoever is guilty and give life with Her to whoever is righteous. And none rescues from My hand—the יָד (yad), hand, of יהוה (YHWH) which is numerically equivalent to י״ד (fourteen). יוד הא ואו הא (Yod He Vav He); and כוזו במוכסז כוזו (KWZWBMWKSZKWZW) [permutations of the Name]. All these explanations are true. But what we said before is that It is the Cause of Causes—the Cause above all others. This mystery was not even revealed to all the sages and prophets [but only the select few among them, such as Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai].

Come and see: How many causes, and rungs, are concealed and unknown. They are clothed and enveloped by the sefirot, which are chariots for them. These causes are hidden from the thoughts of man, as is written: For he who is high has a higher one watching him, and still higher ones over them (Ecclesiastes 5:7)—each higher light is brighter than its neighbor. So the recipients are dimmer than those above because they are the recipients, and that which is lower than its neighbor is dimmer than its neighbor. No light can bear the presence of the Cause of Causes, because all lights are darkened and diminished before It.

Another explanation of the Companions: Let us make a human in our image, by our likenessthe ministering angels spoke this. He [Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai] said to them: Since the angels already know the past and future, they already knew that he was destined to sin. Why would they want to make him?

Not only that, but Aza and Azael also opposed. When the Shekhinah said to the blessed Holy One, Let us make a human, they protested: What is a human creature that You should know him, [the son of man, that You pay him mind?] (Psalms 144:3). Why do You wish to create man when You know that he is destined to offend before You, with her who is darkness, since light is male and darkness female—left, darkness of Creation [see Bahir §13]. At that moment, the Shekhinah said to them: You will fall by the same reasoning that you denounce! [cf. BT Qiddushin 70a: ‘And he who declares unfit is unfit and never speaks in praise. And Shemu’el said: With his own blemish he stigmatizes as unfit’]. As is written: The sons of הָאֱלֹהִים (Ha-Elohim)God, saw that the daughters of men were comely, and they took themselves wives whomsoever they chose (Genesis 6:2), so they went astray after them. And the Shekhinah caused them to fall from their holy state.

The Companions said, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi, Aza and Azael did not lie! For man was certainly destined to offend with the female.’ He replied: This is what the Shekhinah said, ‘You have made accusations before me that go beyond those of all the hosts above. If you were better than humans in your actions, you would have had a right to accuse him, but man will offend with only one woman, while you [are destined to offend] with many women. Therefore, your offences surpass those of man, as is written: The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were comely, and they took themselves wives whomsoever they chose (Genesis 6:2). It is not written: the daughter of men, but rather the daughters of men. If man is liable, I have prepared תְּשׁוּבָה (teshuvah), repentance, for him to repair the offence.’

The Companions asked, ‘If so, why all this?’ Rabbi Shim’on replied: If the blessed Holy One had not created [the] good and evil [impulses], which are light and darkness, there would not have been any merit or liability for the man of בְּרִיָּה (beri’ah), Creation. So man was created with both, as is written: See, I have set before you today life and good and death and evil, that I charge you today to love YHWH your God, to go in His ways and to keep His commands and His statutes and His Laws (Deuteronomy 30:15). They asked him: Why all this? Better He had not created darkness. Then man would have no reward and no punishment, as opposed to being created and having to offend thereby causing much [cf. Zohar 3:159a].

He said to them: It was right to create him in this way because Torah was created for his sake, for it contains punishments for the wicked and rewards for the righteous. Thus, there can be no reward for the righteous or punishment for the wicked without the man of בְּרִיָּה (beri’ah), Creation. He did not create it a wasteland. He formed it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). They said, ‘Indeed, now we have certainly heard what we had never heard before. It is now clear that the blessed Holy One did not create anything unnecessary’ [cf. M Avot 4:3].

Furthermore, Torah of בְּרִיָּה (beri’ah), Creation, is the garment of Shekhinah. If man had not been created, She would have remained without clothing, like a pauper. Therefore, whoever transgresses acts as if he is stripping the Shekhinah of Her garments [cf. Leviticus 18:7]. This is the punishment for man.

Whoever performs the decrees of Torah clothes the Shekhinah in Her garments. Accordingly, about the garments of tsitsit and tefillin it says, For it is his sole covering, it is his cloak for his skin—in what can he lie? (Exodus 22:26). This applies during exile when the Shekhinah is stripped of Her garments.

Come and see: Darkness is the mystery of black [ink] of Torah. Light is the white [negative space] of Torah” (Zohar 1:22a, Tiqqunei ha-Zohar, cf. Bahir §198).

In these Garments the Rainbow Clothes Herself when She Appears Before the King

url“Rabbi Yose said, ‘The rainbow appears in order to protect the world. This may be compared to a king, who, whenever his son sins against him, comes to punish him—but the matronita appears in splendid garments of royalty. the king sees her, and eliminates his anger against his son and rejoices with her. Thus, I will see her, to remember the everlasting covenant (Genesis 9:16). Therefore the rainbow appears over the world only in splendid garments of royalty.

When there is a righteous person on earth, he himself is the covenant, fulfilling the covenant, and he protects the world. When there is no righteous person, behold, a rainbow, demonstrating that the world is poised on destruction—were it not for this rainbow.’

Rabbi El’azar said, ‘This rainbow is never clothed in anything but the garments of the primordial patriarchs: green, red, and white. Green is the garments of Abraham, imbued with this color when Ishmael issued from him [green is the traditional color of Islam]. Red is the color of Isaac, for red came imbuing when Esau issued from him, and that אָדוֹם (adom), red, spread until the planet מַאְדִים (Ma’dim), Mars, to which Esau is linked. White is the fine garment of Jacob, whose countenance never changed.’

Rabbi Abba said, ‘That is fine, but the Holy Lamp [Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai] said as follows: White is Abraham, who was whitened by the white-hot fire [when he was cast into a blazing furnace by Nimrod after refusing to worship idols]. Red is Isaac, surely. Green is Jacob, situated between two colors. Of Jacob is written Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face become white (Isaiah 29:22), for his whole bed was perfect. So it is: Jacob shall not now be ashamed—appearing red like Isaac, from who issued Esau. Neither shall his face become white—appearing white like Abraham, from whom issued Ishmael. Rather, he absorbs colors, adorning himself with them beyond his fathers. In these garments, the rainbow clothes Herself when She appears before the King’” (Zohar 3:215a).

“But how can the Queen put on garments of royalty in Exile? For in Exile the blessed Holy One draws away from the Queen. Now She is covered in gloomy darkness and says: Do not see me only as dark (Song of Songs 1:6)… When His anger at His son [Israel] leaves him, Then the king’s wrath was pacified (Esther 7:10). And the King says to Her, with the Amidah prayer before Him, What is your petition? and it shall be granted you: and what is your request (Esther 5:6). Then She asks for Her redemption and that of Her sons [of Israel], as it is said: let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request (Esther 7:3). But a rainbow that appears in the world during a time of Exile is of the slave [Metatron]. And sometimes She comes out completely, when Her sons act correctly, while at other times She does not come out completely, when Her sons do not act correctly” (Zohar 3:214a-b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

Nothing but Soul!

“‘… 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 [cf. BT Berakhot 5a], 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).

Mountains Hanging by a Hair, Baked Bread, the Bride and Her Royal Tailors

“The laws concerning the Sabbath, Festal-offerings and acts of trespass are as mountains hanging by a hair, for they have scant Scriptural basis but many הֲלָכוֹת (halakhot), laws” (BT Ḥagigah 10a, cf. Deuteronomy 30:12; BT Baba Metsi’a 59b).

“What is the difference between Scripture and Mishnah [i.e., the Written Torah and the Oral Torah]? They told a parable. To what may this be compared? To a king of flesh and blood who had two servants, whom he loved completely. He gave each of them a measure of wheat and a bundle of flax. The wise one of them—what did he do? He took the flax and wove it into cloth. He took the wheat and made it into flour. He sifted it, grounded, needed, and baked it, and then set it on the table and spread the cloth over it. He left it until the king arrived. The foolish of the two did nothing at all.

After sometime, the king came to his palace and said to them, ‘my children, bring me what I gave to you.’ One brought out the [bread baked with] fine flour on the table covered with cloth, and the other brought wheat in a box with the bundle of flax on top. Woe for that shame! Woe for that disgrace! You must admit: which of them is more beloved? Obviously, he who laid out the table with the [bread baked of] fine flower on it… When the blessed Holy One gave the Torah to Israel, he gave it to them as wheat from which to produce fine flour, and as flax from which to produce both” (Seder Eliyyahu Zuta 2, cf. Zohar 2:176b).

“Rabbi Shim’on opened, saying, ‘Oh, Let him kiss me with his mouth’s kisses (Song of Songs 1:2). Oral Torah said this to Written Torah—pursuing His sweetness, uniting with one another through those kisses.

When She is in the midst of her maidens’ dispute regarding Her adornment, all of them striving to be ornaments for Written Torah, She joins and is embraced by the Written Torah in bliss—in a single bond—and He kisses Her amorously. Then, invigorated by Him, She says to Him with affection, ‘How much more precious are Your caresses than Your wine! Your love has seized me, intoxicating me with the wine of love, securing Me to You!’

Oral Torah receives magnificent adornment from Her maidens, uniting with Written Torah. Mishnah—crown of the head, mystery of fitting adornment. Baraita—mystery of embellishment of thighs and feet. Body—maidens approach with the fitting array, coming close to decorate Her. One says, ‘מוּתָר (Mutar), Permissible,’ and one says, אָסוּר (Asur), Forbidden’—this is ornamenting the bride, as they adorn Her. One says, ‘This jewel goes like so,’ and the other responds, ‘No, not like that. Surely, regarding the adornment for the head, the headdress is אָסוּר (asur), tied, and the headdress is fastened like this.’ And the other one says, ‘The headdress is מוּתָר (mutar), loosened, on this side—and אָסוּר (asur), tied, and fastened on this side.’ ‘This golden brooch on the body’s garment—it is פָּסוּל (pasul), unfit, to have this ornament there.’ This one says, ‘It is כָּשֵׁר (kasher), fit, and appropriate to dislay this one together with that one’—all enhancement and adornment of the bride [in speaking of קִשׁוּט (qishut), ornament, an allusion to קֶשׁוֹט (qeshot), truth, may be intended, hinting at the significance of the rabbinic rivalries (Hecker)].

In any event, as long as they beautify, flinging disputes about ornaments, She is enhanced in power, beauty, color, and refinement by them—sitting gloriously among them, feeling beautified by more than a hundred-fold [cf. BT agigah 9b in the name of Hillel]. After She has been adorned by them, they all take hold of Her by Her ornaments and beautiful embellishments, bringing Her to the King—Written Torah. When Matronita sits with the King, refined in Her beauty, and the King sees Her exquisitely adorned, that ornament proclaims that the King should kiss Her—for that is the cleaving of love, being enfolded in one another.

Who initiates those kisses and that love? Those maidens who adorned Her. When She and the King wish to bestow goodness upon the maidens—gifts for them all—they are given to them all at once. Even though they have contended with one another about the ornaments, the King and Matronita bestow gifts and presents with goodwill and affections, endowing them with an inheritance of a thousand worlds of longing for the World that is Coming. All the more so for those who know mysteries of wisdom, adorning embellishments, for there is no measure of their inherited legacy. Of them is written So I may endow my lovers with substance, and fill their storehouses (Proverbs 8:21)'” (Zohar Ḥadash 64a).

“There are likewise a number of verses where the Masters of Mishnah expand or restrict, according to [the principles] of amplification and diminution, and there are also cases [in which a letter is] added, as is said: ‘Do not read מַה (mah), what, but מֵאָה (me’ah), one hundred’ (BT Menaḥot 43b)… Certain words that are written in the abbreviated spelling [are expounded] as though written out in full, and other [words] that are written out in full are as though written out in abbreviated form. About these and about all sorts of explanations that can be made to embellish the bride in Her ornaments, the blessed Holy One commanded us to do as they say, and to trust them, as is written: According to the teaching that they instruct you [and according to the judgment that they say to you, you shall do, you shall not swerve from the word that they tell you right or left] (Deuteronomy 17:11).

[This is like] a tailor who has cut cloth in order to make royal garments, and has made many pieces from them. Those who know the places where those pieces are missing [and are familiar with] the pieces which remain will be able to make the garments, for the pieces that have been collected together are placed where they are missing, and pieces that are too small are added to. And this is the true meaning of: According to the teaching that they instruct you. And you might well ask that, if this is so, what about the case where one of them occasionally errs and says, ‘I recant.’ Before issuing instructions concerning that matter about which there is a difference of opinion, the one who poses the difficulty can say, ‘I withdraw.’ For not all of those who make the parts of a bride’s ornaments know where each piece goes, until the ruling is made [and prior to when] resolutions to the arguments of the הֲלָכוֹת (halakhot), laws, have been given [הֲלָכָה (Halakhah), Conduct, alludes to the many ornaments made for הַכַּלָה (ha-Kalah), the Bride, Oral Torah, Shekhinah]” (Zohar 3:254b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).