The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: love

Who Renews in His Goodness Every Day Continually the Act of Creation

“Rabban Gamaliel says: Just as the first days of months are renewed and made holy in this world, so will Israel be renewed and made holy in the world to come, as is said, Speak to all the community of Israelites, and you shall say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your God am holy’ (Leviticus 19:2). And the Sages say: The heavens and the earth are destined to pass away and to be renewed. What is written of them? [All the heavens’ array shall molder,] and like a scroll the heavens roll up, [and all their array shall wither as the leaf withers on the vine and the withered fruit on the fig tree] (Isaiah 34:4)—like a man [who] reads in Torah and he rolls it up, and he returns and he opens [it] and he rolls it up, thus the blessed Holy One is destined to roll up the heavens, as is said, and like a scroll the heavens roll up; and the earth worn out like a garment (ibid. 51:6)—like a man who spreads out his [prayer] shawl and folds it up, and he returns and he puts it on, and renews it in its place, as is said, and the earth worn out like a garment.

And all dwellers of the earth will taste the taste of death [for] two days—not a breath of man or beast upon the earth, as is said, and its dwellers like gnats die out (ibid.). And on the third day He renews all, reviving the dead, and raising [the house of Israel] before Him, as is said, He will revive us after two days, on the third day raise us up, that we may live in His presence (Hosea 6:2). 

Rabbi Eli’ezer says: All the array of the heavens are destined to pass away and to be renewed. What is written of this? And all their array [shall wither] as the leaf withers on the vine (Isaiah 34:4)—how a vine or fig tree withers and [remains] standing like a parched fire, yet returns, blossoming, glistening, and bringing forth fresh new leaves. Thus all the array of the heavens are destined to wither, return, and be renewed, to make known before Him that there is wearing out, but He is not worn out. And no longer hunger, nor evil, nor scourge, and no longer troubles, as is said, For I am about to create new heavens [and a new earth, and the former things shall not be recalled and shall not come to mind] (ibid. 65:17) [cf. Zohar 1:262b].     

Rabbi Yannai says: All the array of the heavens pass away and are renewed with each day. And what are the array of the heavens? The sun, moon, stars, and constellations. Know for yourself that it is so. Come and see: As when the sun stretches out to the west and bathes his lamp in the midst of the waters—from waters of the ocean the flames of the sun are put out, and he has no radiance. And there is no flame of the sun illuminating all the night in the world until he comes to the east. And when he comes to the east he bathes in a river of fire, like a man who kindles his lamp in the midst of the fire, thus the sun kindles his lamp and dons his flame, and rises to shine upon the earth, renewing with each day the act of Creation [lit., the act of ‘in the beginning’], thus until the evening comes. And at eventide the moon, stars, and constellations, bathe in a river of hail and rise to shine upon the earth. In the time yet to come the blessed Holy One will renew them and add to their light—light of the seven [primordial] days, as is said, And the light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold like the light of the seven days on the day YHWH binds up the breaking of His people and heals its smashing blow. On the day—this day comes on the day of redemption of Israel, as is said, on the day YHWH binds up the breaking of His people” (Pirqei de-Rabbi Eli’ezer 51).

As the new heavens and the new earth that I am making endure before Me…. (Isaiah 66:22). The verse does not read: I have made, but rather I am making, for He makes them continually out of those innovations and mysteries of Torah” (Zohar 1:5a).

“[YHWH founded the earth by wisdom;] He establishes the heavens by understanding (Proverbs 3:19). Why establishes [written in the future-tense and not past-tense like the verb founded]? Because He establishes, every single day ceaselessly. They were not arranged one at a time; rather, every day He arranges them. This corresponds to the mystery that is written: The heavens are not pure in His eyes (Job 15:15). Now, would you imagine that this indicates a defect in the heavens? Rather, their significance, because of the intense love and desire that the blessed Holy One feels toward them and His fondness for them. For even though He arrays them every single day, in His eyes they do not seem fittingly arrayed, because of His love for them and His desire to shine upon them constantly, ceaselessly; for the world that is coming radiates scintillating lights everyday continually, incessantly, illumining them. So, they are not pure in His eyes. It is not written merely they are not pure, but rather, they are not pure in His eyes. Therefore, He establishes the heavens by understanding” (Zohar 1:207a).

She Reveals Herself to No One but Her Lover

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“A bride who lives in the house of her father. So long as her eyes are beautiful her body needs no examination” (BT Ta’anit 24a).

She says: We are a bride adorned and crowned, and all the mitsvot are included within [us]. She is Treasury of the Torah and the betrothed of the blessed Holy One, as is written, ‘Torah did Moses charge us, a heritage for Jacob’s assembly! (Deuteronomy 33:4). Do not read מוֹרָשָׁה (morashah), a heritage, but rather מְאוֹרָסָה (me’orasah), the betrothed‘ (BT Berakhot 57a; Pesaḥim 49b) [cf. M Avot 2:17; Bemidbar Rabbah 8:2]. How is this so? When the people of Israel study Torah for her own sake, then she is the betrothed of the blessed Holy One, then she is the heritage of Israel. How is this so? When Israel engages in Torah for Her own sake, then She is the betrothed of the blessed Holy One, then She is the heritage of Israel” (Bahir §196).

“Who is a beautiful maiden without eyes, her body concealed and revealed, she emerges in the morning and is concealed by day, adorning herself with adornments which are not?… Torah [who] emerges from her sheath, is seen for a moment, then quickly hides away—certainly so, but when she reveals herself from her sheath and quickly hides, she does so only for those who know her and recognize her. This may be compared to a beloved, beautiful in form and appearance, concealed secretly in her palace. She has a single lover unknown to anyone—except to her, concealedly. Out of the love that he feels for her, this lover passes by her gate constantly, lifting his eyes to every side. Knowing that her lover hovers about her gate constantly, what does she do? She opens a little window in her hidden palace, revealing her face to her lover, then swiftly withdraws, concealing herself. No one near him sees or reflects, only the lover, and his heart and his soul and everything within him flow out to her. He knows that out of love for him she revealed herself for that one moment to awaken love in him. So it is with a word of Torah: she reveals herself to no one but her lover” (Zohar 2:94b–95a, 99a, cf. Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed 4b; Rabbi Moshe de Léon, Sheqel ha-Qodesh 113).

“He מְסַפֵּר (mesaper), ‘relates,’ with me neither at the beginning nor at the end of the night, but at midnight; and when he ‘converses,’ he uncovers a hand breadth and covers a hand breadth, and is as though he were compelled by a שֵׁד (shed), demon [alt., שָׁד (shad), breast]” (BT Nedarim 20b).