The Nut Garden

Gleanings of Zohar

Tag: Omnipresent

He is Sleeping Among His People

And Haman said to King Ahasuerus: ‘There is a certain people scattered and separate from the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their rules are different from every people’s and they do not observe the king’s rules, and it does not pay for the king to leave them in peace. If it please the king, let it be written to wipe them out, and ten thousand talents of silver will I measure out to the court overseers to bring into the king’s treasury.’ And the king removed his ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, foe of the Jews (Esther 3:8-9, cf. Exodus 1:8).

“Just as oil will not mix with other liquids, so Israel do not mix with the other peoples of the world, as is written, You shall not intermarry with them (Deuteronomy 7:3)” (Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah 1:21).

“[However,] Rabbi El’azar said: The blessed Holy One did not scatter Israel among the peoples except that converts be added to them, for it is said: And I will sow her [Israel] for Myself in the earth (Hosea 2:25); surely a man sows a se’ah in order to harvest many korin! And from this Rabbi Yoḥanan said: and I will have compassion upon her that had not obtained compassion [and I will say to them who were not My people, you are My people; and they shall say, You are my God] (ibid.)” (BT Pesaḥim 87b).

And Haman said to King Aheshurues: יֶשְׁנוֹ עַם-אֶחָד (Yeshno am ead), there is one people (Esther 3:8), the very same of whom it is said, [Hear, O Israel! YHWH our God, YHWH is] אֶחָד (ead), One (Deuteronomy 6:4)—יָשֵׁן לוֹ מֵעַמּוֹ (yashen lo me-amo), He is sleeping despite [or: among] His people” (Ester Rabbah 7:12, cf. BT Megillah 15b; Abba Guryon 5; Leqaḥ Tov 3:11, 5:14; Aggadat Ester 4:1, 17).

That night the king could not sleep [lit., the sleep of the king was shaken] (Esther 6:1). The heavens, the throne of the King of the King of Kings, the blessed Holy One, were shaken when He saw Israel in such distress. But is there sleep before הַמָּקוֹם (ha-maqom), the Omnipresent?! Is it not said, Behold, He neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalms 121:4)? Rather, in a time when Israel is in distress and the peoples of the world are at peace, it says, Awake, why sleep, O Master! (Psalms 44:24) [cf. BT Ḥullin 139b]. King Ahasuerus’ sleep was also disturbed, because he saw in a dream Haman seizing a sword to kill him, and he awoke in terror from his sleep and told his scribes to bring [the royal annals] the Book of Acts to see what events had occurred, and they opened the book and found how Mordecai had informed against Bigthan and Teresh. So when they said to the king, Look, Haman is standing in the court (Esther 6:5), the king said: ‘What I saw in my dream is true; he has only come at this time of day to kill me'” (Ester Rabbah 10:1).

“[Preparing to impale Mordecai] Haman went about looking for a stake fifty cubits long, but could not find any, save that was in his house, which Parshandatha his son had brought from Kedronia, which is Kerdos. Because Haman’s son was ruler there; and there he saw the stake, which was from Noah’s ark. And Haman uprooted it from his house, so that the curse of Darius might be fulfilled in him, as is written, [Also I have made a decree, that] whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be impaled (Ezra 6:11). And this word found favor with Haman, and he prepared a gallows for himself; he erected it and perfected it. A heavenly voice called out saying, ‘How proper and fitting is this gallows for you.’

That night [the king could not sleep…] (Esther 6:1): On that night sleep [deserted] the carpenters who were preparing the gallows for Haman. On that night sleep deserted the smiths who were preparing the nails to be set in the gallows. On that night sleep deserted the King of Kings. Were in not written, one would dare not say it, as is written: Awake, why sleep, O Master! (Psalms 44:24); And the Master awoke as one sleeping, [like a warrior shaking off wine] (Psalms 78:65). On that very night the blessed Holy One was revealed. [And they impaled Haman on the stake that he had readied for Mordecai, and the king’s wrath subsided (Esther 7:10). On the contrary, it was the Jews who dominated their foes (ibid. 9:1)]” (Targum Ester, see Kasher and Klein, New Fragments of Targum to Esther, p. 154-55).

“Secrecy within secrecy was prepared and arranged in a single skull filled with crystalline dew. Membrane of air, purified and sealed; those strands of clean fleece hanging evenly. Will of Wills is revealed through prayer of those below. Open-eyed watching, never sleeping, ever vigilant; supervision below by supervision of radiance above. Two nostrils of an official arousing breath for all [as a nose supervising commandingly]” (Zohar 2:176b, Sifra di-Tsni’uta).

“Eyes of the White Head are different from other eyes. There is no lid over the eye, nor any eyebrows. Why? Because it is written: Behold, He neither slumbers nor sleeps, the Guardian of Israel (Psalms 121:4)—Israel above. And it is written: that Your eyes may be open (1 Kings 8:52). And it has been taught: Whatever comes in Compassion has no lid over the eye, nor any eyebrows. All the more so, the White Head, which has no need.

Rabbi Shim’on said to Abba, ‘To what does this allude?’ He replied, ‘To fish, fish of the sea, whose eyes have neither lids nor brows, and they do not sleep and need no protection for the eye. All the more so, the Ancient of Ancients—who needs no protection; and all the more so, since He watches over all, and all is nourished by Him, and He does not sleep, as is written: Behold, He neither slumbers nor sleeps, the Guardian of Israel—Israel above.

It is written: Behold, the eye of YHWH is upon those who revere Him (Psalms 33:18), and it is written: The eyes of YHWH range over the whole earth (Zechariah 4:10). There is no contradiction. One refers to זְעֵיר אַנפִּין (Ze’eir Anpin), Small Countenance, and the other to אֲרִיך אַנְפִּין (Arikh Anpin), Elongated Countenance. Nevertheless, there are two eyes, turning into one. This eye is white within white, and a white including all whites” (Zohar 3:129b, Idra Rabba, cf. Zohar 3:137b-138a, Idra Rabba).

ספר יצירה (Sefer Yetsirah) The Book of Formation (MSS K)

et-si-nous-parlions-de-la-typographie-hebraique.jpgBy means of thirty-two wondrous paths of wisdom Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, the Living God, Almighty, high and exalted, dwelling for ever, and Holy is His Name (Isaiah 57:15), carved out. He created His world with three סֶפָרִים (sefarhim), ciphers: with ספר ,ספר and ספר.

The ten סְפִירוֹת (sefirhot) are the basis and the twenty-two letters are the foundation: three mother letters, seven double [letters], and twelve simple [letters].

The ten sefirot are the basis—like the number of the ten fingers, five opposite five and the covenant of the singular One is exactly in the middle in the covenant of the tongue and the circumcision of the flesh.

The ten sefirot are the basis—ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Understand with wisdom, and be wise with understanding. Test them and investigate them, and get the thing clearly worked out and restore the Creator to His place.

The ten sefirot are the basis: restrain your mouth from speaking, restrain your heart from thinking. And if your heart races return to the מַקוֹם (Maqom), Place, thus it is written: running and returning (Ezekiel 1:14). And concerning this matter the Covenant was made.

The ten sefirot are the basis. Their end is fixed in their beginning as the flame is bound to the burning coal. For the Lord is singular, and He has none second to Him; and before one, what can you count?

The ten sefirot are the basis; their measure is ten for they have no limit: dimension of beginning and dimension of end, dimension of good and dimension of evil, dimension of above and dimension of below, dimension of east and dimension of west, dimension of north and dimension of south. And the singular Lord, a trustworthy divine king, rules over them all from His holy abode for ever and ever.

The ten sefirot are the basis. Their appearance is like, the sight of lightning, and their end?—they have no limit. And His word is in them as though running and returning (Ezekiel 1:14), and they pursue His command like the storm wind, and before His throne they bow down.

The twenty-two letters are the foundation: three mother letters, seven double [letters], and twelve simple [letters].

Ten sefirot, that is to say: One—the Breath of the Living God. Twice blessed is the name of the Vitality of the Worlds. Voice, and breath, and word—this is the Holy Breath.

The ten sefirot are the basis: One—the רוּחַ (Rhuaḥ), Breath, of the Living God; two—אֲוִיר (awir), air, from the Holy Breath; three—מַיִם (mayim), water, from air; four—אֵשׁ (esh), fire, from water; and above and below, east and west, north and south.

Two—air from Breath: He carved and hewed in it the twenty-two basic letters—three mother letters, and seven doubles, and twelve simple [letters]. And the Breath is one of them.

Three—water from air: He carved and hewed in it תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ (thohu wah-vohu), welter and waste (Genesis 1:1), רֶפֶשׁ וָטִיט (rhefesh wah-tit), mud and mire (Isaiah 57:20). He carved them like a sort of garden-bed. He erected them like a sort of wall, and he wove them like a sort of roof [or: ceiling].

Four—fire from water: He carved them and hewed in it the throne of glory, and the ofanim and the serafim, and the holy living beings, and the ministering angels. And from the three of them He founded His abode, as it is said: He makes His messengers the winds, His ministers, glowing fire (Psalms 104:4).

Five—He sealed above. He chose three simple letters and fixed them in His great Name. And He sealed with them the six edges [of the world], and He turned upwards and scaled it. Seven—He sealed the east, and He turned downwards [in front] and sealed it. Eight—He sealed the west, and He turned behind and sealed it. Nine—He sealed the south, and He turned to his right and sealed it. Ten—He sealed the north, and He turned to His left and sealed it.

These ten sefirot are the basis: the Breath of the Living God; and air, water, fire; above, below, east, west, north and south.

The twenty-two letters: they are hewn out in the air, carved out by voice, fixed in the mouth in five positions: אחהע בומפ גיכק דטלנת זסשרצ (tsadhi resh shin samekh zayin, taw nun lamed teth daleth, qof kaf yod gimel, peh mem waw bet, ‘ayin he ḥeth alef) [קְדוּשָׁה (Qedhushah), Holiness].

The twenty-two letters are their foundation. It is fixed on a wheel with 231 gates. The wheel rotates backwards and forwards. And this is the sign: if for good, above—עֹנֶג (onej), delight; if for evil, below—נֶגַע (nega), affliction.

Twenty-two letters: He carved them out, He hewed them, He weighed them, He exchanged them, He combined them and formed with them the נֶפֶשׁ (Nefesh), Soul, of all creation and the נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), life-breath [or: vital spirit], of all that would be formed [cf. M Sanhedrin 4:5]. How did He weigh and exchange them? א (Alef) with them all, and all of them with א (alef); ב (bet) with them all, and all of them with ב (bet). And they all rotate in turn. The result is that [they go out] by two hundred and thirty-one [gates]; the result is that all creation and all speech go out by one name.

He formed substance from תֹהוּ (thohu), choas, and He made them its existence, and He hewed out great columns from אֲוִיר (awir), intangible air. This is the sign:

אל בת גש דר הק וצ זפ חע טס ינ כמ אב גת דש הר וק זצ חפ טע יס כנ למ אג דת הש ור זק חצ טפ יע כס לנ במ אד בג הת וש זר חק טצ יפ כע לס מנ אה בד ות זש חר טק יצ כפ לע מס גנ או בה גד זת חש טר יק כצ לפ מע נס אז בו גה חת טש יר כק לצ מפ נע דס אח בז גו דה טת יש כר לק מצ נפ סע אט בח גז דו ית כש לר מק נצ ספ הע אי בט גח דז הו כת לש מר נק סצ עפ אכ בי גט דח הז לת מש נר סק עצ ופ אל בכ גי דט הח וז מת נש סר עק פצ אמ בל גכ די הט וח נת סש ער פק זצ אנ במ גל דכ הי וט זח סת עש פר צק אס בנ גמ דל הכ וי זט עת פש צר חק אע בס גנ דמ הל וכ זי חט פת צש קר אפ בע גס דנ המ ול זכ חי צת קש טר אצ בפ גע דס הנ ומ זל חכ טי קת רש אק בצ גפ דע הס ונ זמ חל טכ רת יש אר בק גצ דפ הע וס זנ חמ טל יכ שת אש בר גק דצ הפ וע זס חנ טמ יל כת את בש גר דק הצ ופ זע חס טנ ימ כל

He looks and exchanges; He makes all creation and all speech one name. And a sign for the matter: twenty-two objects and one body.

Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). Their basis is the scale of acquittal and the scale of guilt, and the tongue of law holds the balance between them.

Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—a great mystery, hidden and ineffable, and sealed with six seals. And from it goes out fire, and water and air, and it is divided into male and female.

Three—fire, water and air; fire above, water below, and air is between them. And this is a sign for the matter that fire evaporates water.

Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). מ (Mem) lifts up, and ש (shin) hisses, and א (alef) is the balancing item.

Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). And from them were born three fathers from whom everything was created.

Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—in the world: air, and water and fire. Heavens were created first from fire, and earth was created from water, and light [air] was created from the רוּחַ (rhuaḥ), breath, holding the balance between them.

Three mother letters א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—in the year: fire, and water and air. Heat was created from fire, and cold was created from water, and humidity from air holding the balance between them.

Three mother letters א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—in a נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), person. The head was created from fire, the belly from water, and the chest from air holding the balance between them.

Three mother letters א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). He carved them, hewed them, combined them and formed with them the three mother letters in the world, and the three mother letters in the year, and the three mother letters in a person—male and female.

He made א (alef) rule over רוּחַ (ruaḥ), breath, and bound to it a crown, and combined them with each other, and sealed with them אֲוִיר (awir), atmosphere, in the world, humidity in the year, and the chest in a person—male with א מ ש (alef, mem, shin) and female with ש מ א (shin, mem, alef).

He made מ (mem) rule over מַיִם (mayim), water, and bound to it a crown, and sealed with it earth in the world, cold in the year, and the fruit of the belly in a person; male with מ ש א (mem, shin, alef), and female with מ א ש (mem, alef, shin).

He made ש (shin) rule over אֵשׁ (esh), fire, and bound to it a crown, and combined them with each other, and sealed with it heavens in the world, heat in the year, and the head in a person, male with ש מ א (shin, mem, alef), and female with מ א ש (mem, alef, shin).

How did he combine them? אמש אשמ מאש משא שמא שאמ (Alef mem shin, alef shin mem, mem alef shin, mem shin alef, shin mem alef, shin alef mem)—heavens/fire, air/breath, earth/water. Man’s head is fire, his belly water, his heart breath/air.

Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). There was formed with א (alef): breath, air, humidity, chest, law, and tongue. There was formed with מ (mem): earth, cold, belly, and the scale of acquittal. There was formed with ש (shin): heavens, heat, head, and the scale of guilt. This is א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). The end.

Seven double letters: בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). They are pronounced with the tongue in two different positions. Their basis is life and peace, wisdom, wealth, prosperity, beauty and mastery. They are pronounced with the tongue in two different positions: ב (bet, vet), ג (gimel, ghimel), ד (daleth, dhaleth), כ (kaf, khaf), פ (peh, feh), ר (resh, rhesh), ת (taw, thaw)—דָּגֵּשׁ (dagesh), and רָפֵה (rafeh), soft and hard, a paradigm of strong and weak. They are double letters because they are opposites. The opposite of life is death; the opposite of peace is evil; the opposite of wisdom is folly; the opposite of wealth is poverty; the opposite of prosperity is desolation; the opposite of beauty is ugliness; and the opposite of mastery is slavery.

Seven double letters: בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). Seven edges: a place of edges and a holy place; one—a place set within a place; two—the upper edge, three—the lower edge, four—the eastern edge, five—the western edge, six—the northern edge, seven, the eternal edge, and the holy Temple set in the middle and it supports them all.

Seven double letters: בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). He carved and hewed them, He combined them, and formed with them the planets in the world, the days in the year, and the gates in a person by sevens.

How did he combine them? Two stones build two houses; three build six; four build twenty-four; five build one hundred and twenty; six build seven hundred and twenty; seven build five thousand and forty [i.e., factorials]. From here on go out and ponder what the mouth cannot speak, and what the ear cannot hear.

And with them were carved out seven firmaments, seven earths, seven hours and seven times. Therefore He loved the seventh under the heavens.

These are the seven planets in the world: חַמָה (Ḥamah), Sun, נוֹגַה (Noghah), Venus, כּוֹכָב (Kokhav), Mercury, לְבָנָה (Levanah), Moon, שַׁבְתַאִי (Shabbethai), Saturn, צֶדֶק (Tsedheq), Jupiter, מַאְדִים (Ma’adhim), Mars. And the days in the year: the seven days of creation. And the seven gates in a person: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth [cf. Deuteronomy 16:18: Judges and overseers you shall set for yourself within all your gates].

Twelve simple letters: הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he, waw, zayinḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof). Their basis is sight, hearing, smelling, speaking, eating, sexual intercourse, action, walking, anger, laughter, contemplation, sleep.

Their measure is twelve diagonal lines [or: edges]: the north-eastern line, the south-eastern line, the upper eastern line, the lower eastern line, the lower northern line, the north-western line, the upper northern line, the lower western line, the south-western line, the upper western line, the lower southern line, the upper southern line. And they expand continually for ever and ever—arms עוֹלָם (olam), everlasting [alt., arms of the world] (Deuteronomy 33:27).

He made them a sort of lawsuit, He arranged them in battle array, One opposite the other God made them (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

Three—each one stands by itself; seven are at loggerheads—three against three, and one is the law which holds the balance between them. Twelve stand in battle array: three love but three hate; three give life but three kill. And the divine, trustworthy King rules over them all—one on top of three, and three on top of seven, and seven on top of twelve. And they all cling to each other.

Twelve simple letters: הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he, waw, zayin, ḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof). He carved them and hewed them out, He weighed them and exchanged them, and formed with them the twelve constellations in the world, twelve months in the year, and the twelve principal organs in a person. These are the twelve constellations in the world: in the world: טָלֶה (Taleh), Aries, שׁוֹר (Shor), Taurus, תְּאוֹמִים (Te’omim), Gemini, סַרְטָן (Sartan), Cancer, אַרְיֵה (Aryeh), Leo, בְּתוּלָה (Bethulah), Virgo, מֹאזְנַיִם (Moznayim), Libra, עַקְרָב (‘Aqrav), Scorpio, קַשָּׁת (Qashath), Sagittarius, גְּדִי (Gedhi), Capricorn, דְּלִי (Deli), Aquarius, דָּגִים (Daghim), Pisces. And these are the twelve months: נִיסָן (Nisan), אִייָר (lyyar), סִיוָן (Siwan), תַמוּז (Thammuz), אָב (Av), אֱלוּל (Elul), תִּשְׁרֵי (Tishrhei), מַרְחֶשְׁוָן (Marḥeshwan), כִּסְלֵו (Kislew), טֵבֵת (Teveth), שֵׁבֶט (Shevet), אֲדָר (Adhar). And these are the twelve principal organs in a person: the right hand, the left hand, the right foot, the left foot, two kidneys, the liver, the gall, the spleen, the gullet, the stomach, and the intestines. 

Three mother letters, and seven double letters, and twelve simple letters.

These are the twenty-two letters [on which] Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, the Living God, Almighty, high and exalted, dwelling for ever, and Holy is His Name [founded the world] (Isaiah 57:15).

Three fathers and their generations, and seven dominant ones and their hosts, and the twelve diagonal lines [or: edges]. And a proof for the matter—trustworthy witnesses: the world, the year and a person.

There is a law of ten, three, seven and twelve. They are officials over the תָּלִי (Tali) [alt., תְלִי (Theli)], Quiver, the Wheel, and the Heart. The Quiver in the world is like a king [reclining] on his throne; the Wheel in the year is like a king [touring] in a province; the Heart in a person is like a king at war.

When Abraham our father observed, and looked, and saw, and investigated, and understood, and carved, and hewed, and combined, and formed, and succeeded, the Lord of all was revealed to him. And He made him sit in his lap, and kissed him upon his head. He called him His friend and named him His son, and made a covenant with him and his seed for ever. And he trusted in YHWH, and He reckoned it to his merit (Genesis 15:6). He made with him a covenant between the ten toes of his feet—it is the covenant of circumcision. He made with him a covenant between the ten fingers of his hands—it is the covenant of the tongue. He bound twenty [-two] letters into his tongue, and the Omnipresent revealed to him His secret. He drew them out in water, he burned them with fire, he shook them in the air, he branded them into the seven, he led them into the twelve constellations.

(1) Air and temperate state and chest; earth, cold and the belly; heavens and heat and the head. This is א מ ש (alef, mem, shin).

(2) Saturn, Sabbath and the mouth; Jupiter, the first day of the week and the right eye; Mars, the second day of the week and the left eye; the Sun, the third day of the week and the right nostril; Venus, the fourth day of the week and the left nostril; Mercury, the fifth day of the week and the right ear; the Moon, the sixth day of the week and the left ear. This is בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw).

(3) Aries, Nisan, the liver; Taurus, Iyyar, the gall; Gemini, Siwan, the spleen; Cancer, Thammuz, the gullet; Leo, Av, the right kidney; Virgo, Elul, the left kidney; Libra, Tishrhei, the intestines; Scorpio, Marḥeshwan, the stomach; Sagittarius, Kislew, the right hand; Capricorn, Teveth, the left hand; Aquarius, Shevet, the right foot; Pisces, Adhar, the left foot. This is הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (hewawzayin, ḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof).

1 Three are hostile and these are they: the tongue, the liver and the gal.

2 Three love: the heart, the ears and the eyes.

3 Three give life: the two nostrils and the liver of the left side.

4 Three kill: the two lower orifices and the mouth.

5 There are three which are in man’s control: the feet, the hands and the mouth.

6 There are three which are not in man’s control: his two eyes, his ears and his nostrils.

7 Three evil things are heard by the ear: cursing, blasphemy and an evil report.

8 Three good things are heard by the ear: blessing, a good report and praise.

9 Three sights are bad for the eye: adultery, an evil eye and a deceptive look.

10 Three sights are good for the eye: modesty, a good eye, and a trustworthy look.

11 Three things are bad for the tongue: He who speaks in the presence of the slanderer, he who speaks one thing with the mouth but another with the heart, and he who speaks too much.

12 Three things are good for the tongue: silence, reticence, and speaking the truth.

Whoever understands this book and keeps it has the assurance that he is a son of the World that is Coming. This is the book of Abraham our father, peace be upon him, which is called The Book of Formation.

There is no limit to the wisdom of everyone who looks into it. And the mysteries of the upper and lower world will be revealed to everyone who occupies himself with it and studies it and knows its mysteries, and he has the assurance that he is a son of the World that is Coming. This book, which is called The Secret of Intercalation on which the whole world depends, should not be handed over to anyone except he who turns away from evil and fears God and waits and hopes for his Creator, as it is said, steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in YHWH (Psalms 32:10), and it says, Israel is saved by YHWH with an everlasting salvation, you will not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity (Isaiah 45:17).

The Graves of Lust

These are the journeyings of the Israelites who came out of the land of Egypt by their battalions, in the hand of Moses and Aaron. And Moses wrote down their departure points for their journeyings by the mouth of YHWH, and these are their journeyings by their departure points (Numbers 33:1-2).

Why is this place called תַּבְעֵרָה (taverah), Burning (Numbers 11:3)? Because each and every light that reaches there is burned immediately on account of its great purity. However, they said in The Mystery of Souls, ‘One light is drawn out from the blessed Holy One, and when coupling is performed, and the souls sparkle and mate with this light, and this light extends until תַּבְעֵרָה (taverah), Burning, its name is צְבָאוֹת (tseva’ot), Armies.’ Therefore I say that the souls in Burning remain. But as long as we have this wondrous wisdom we can understand what is written: And at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-Hatta’avah [you infuriated YHWH] (Deuteronomy 9:22)—Ḥokhmah (Wisdom) is found there along the entire way. The blessed Holy One said in His Torah, And at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-Hatta’avahthe place from which human beings desire and תַאֲוָה (ta’avah), crave, to attain good and to attain evil. Israel, seeing the greatness of these three places, were intent to know the Shepherd who sates them. They began to say ‘From the Omnipresent descends [both] the good and the evil. For this is the site of a great rung, yet without a ruler in it, since the majesty of the blessed Holy One does not oversee all His creatures. Rather He left three to act in His place as they please.’ Hence, [Israel] tried the blessed Holy One in every matter [cf. Zohar 2:64b].

The sages say three seraphs [alt., princes] whose rungs are without end receive from those three places. From Burning descends the brilliance of Ḥokhmah to the place, נַחַל אַרְנוֹן (naḥal arnon), River Arnon [lit., Ringing River. On Arnon, see Numbers 21:14, cf. Zohar 2:56a]. Its name is deep: אַדִירִירוֹן (Adiriron) the place of רִנָּה (rinnah), glad song, portent, and wisdom. It is the organ which sustains the entire body [אַדִירִירוֹן (adiriron): from a root meaning, ‘mighty,’ see Margaliot, Mal’akhe Elyon (Jerusalem, 1964)].

When the host on high see Ḥokhmah shining they begin to sing, as it says, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7) [cf. ZḤ 5b-6a (MhN)]. Ḥokhmah reaches them and they rise, certainly receiving from there Ḥokhmah and Gevurah and Gedullah. Ḥokhmah reaches from River Arnon to נַחַל עֲבָרִים (naḥal avarim), River Abarim, and from there returns to its place again [on Mount Abarim, see Numbers 27:12, 33:47-48; Deuteronomy 32:48-52].

The thirty-two paths grow stronger, rising and covering all the spheres and all the rungs and the worlds and all the abysses but near the brilliance of Ḥokhmah appear as naught. And above, the distance of a bow-shot of 600,000 [spans], they appear as a bowl [cf. Bemidbar Rabbah 13:14: ‘One silver bowl (Numbers 7:13)—the world He made is like a (mere) ball thrown from hand to hand’]. The thirty-two paths grow stronger rising and covering all the spheres and all their places.

They say Ḥokhmah is supernal man, known as Ezion Geber [see Numbers 33:35-36; Deuteronomy 2:8], as I said before. The River Abarim, which we already mentioned, is called מִשְׁבְּצוֹת (mishbetsot), Filigree (known by the permutation of the four letter Name, as I will explain with the vocalization of this matter) [on Filigree, see Exodus 28:13; Psalms 45:14]. We said of this expansive matter—the River Abarim—that in it certain sages erred grievously, such as Elisha the Other [see BT Ḥagigah 14b; Zohar 1:26b (TZ); 3:222b (RM); Berit Menuḥa: Eight Vowel. עֲבָרִים (Avarim), Abarim, alludes to עָבְרִים (averim), crossings, and עֲבֵרָה (averah), transgression]. However, the relic of the great and mighty sages of Israel, heads of the generations, standing in venerable places, took to restore what was lost and to save the sons of man.

Behold the chapter headings of this wondrous wisdom: Three times a day the wisdom increases higher and higher: at the first hour, at the sixth hour, and at the last hour [cf. Zohar 2:21b; ZḤ 5b-6a (MhN)]. In these hours everyone of the thirty-two paths is rooted in the first letter of יהוה (YHWH)—in the lower tip [of י (yod)] looking downwards. Since it looks down so too does Ḥokhmah (Wisdom), great in Gevurah (Strength) and Raamim (Compassion). But if it looks upwards even the angels and sons of man cannot attain Ḥokhmah and are as beasts of the field. Therefore it looks downwards and Ḥokhmah is received by creatures and as it saw, for it is vastly higher above all the rungs and none are higher than it, it directs its face to three places. First towards the north, the place of Gevurah, lowering its pride it remains bowed down in great trembling. This place is a place of awe, it is Burning, [the angel] אגלא (AGLA) [i.e., אַתָה גִבּוֹר לְעוֹלָם אֲדֹנָי (atah gibbor le-olam Adonai), You are eternally mighty Lord], included in Torah. It performs actions for the enlightened without purification with the line of awe. The second place is a place of humility, and its name is called מְנוּחָה (menuḥa), Rest, it is יְחִדרִיאֵל (Yeḥidri’el), אֱלֹהִי יִשְׂרָאֵל (Elohi Yisra’el), God of Israel. The third place is a place of שִׂמְחָה (simḥah), joy, and its name is called מפרישמיה (MPRISMYH) [see Rabbi Ḥayyim Vital, Sha’arei Qedushah, 4:1].

Whoever desires to learn wisdom should cleave to these three rungs: יִראָה (yirah), awe, עֲנָוָה (anavah), humility, and שִׂמְחָה (simḥah), joy—he יִראָה (yirah), fears, sin is עָנָו (anav), humble, and שַׂמֵחַ (sameaḥ), happy, with his lot [cf. Deuteronomy 28:47]. When he attains the discernment of these three rungs he attains Ḥokhmah [cf. M Avot 3:11; 4:1; 5:19]. These three places are bound to each other, and one is no different than the other; they are all one [cf. Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 5b]. And the angels who receive from these three places are הוֹרִיאֵל (Hori’el), גַּבִּיאֵל (Gabbi’el), and גַּבְרִיאֵל (Gavri’el), Gabriel [see Margaliot, Mal’akhe Elyon (Jerusalem, 1964), p. 42]. Names which bless and curse without need of purification and without need of permission from הָאֱלֹהִים (Ha-Elohim), the Judge, but act however they please. Yet they are names of goodness, for they are without inquiry and without limit. The first of these three places is daunting, it’s name is תַּבְעֵרָה שֶׂכֶל (taverah sekhel), Burning Intellect. The lights are fearful when they ascend lest it burn them with its great holiness. However, he who cleaves to the rung of awe escapes burning [cf. Numbers 11:3: And (Moses) he called the name of that place Taberah, for YHWH’s fire had burned against them].

The second [rung] is humility [called:] מַסָּה (massah), Trial (Deuteronomy 9:22). Without limit to its holiness and strength this place is very great. For when all the lights and all the lofty host pass through this place it is known who conducts himself faithfully or not, thus it is called Trial.

The third [rung] is joy, the site of קִבְרוֹת הַתַּאֲוָה (kivrot hatta’avah), the Graves of Lust (Numbers 11:34). Whoever does not reach this resting place, the Graves of Lust, does not see light and does not attain Ḥokhmah.

There is one place dwelling in the heavens [beyond the heavens…] (1 Kings 8:27), and there is אֵין סוֹף (ein sof), no end, to its discernment but its place is hidden because of the קַטנוּת (qatnut), puniness, of [our] intellect. And when the great luminaries grow, ascending, and see the banner standing in the middle of the palace-chamber they declare this place מְנוּחָה (menuḥah), Rest. They stand hoping to glimpse its glorious brilliance. When this hidden light increases abundantly, expanding, and emanates its brilliance outside the palace-chamber then they incline to see more and they ascend and reach the place of חֶשְׁבּוֹן (ḥeshbon), Reckoning [see Numbers 21:27; Ecclesiastes 7:27; Song of Songs 7:5]. But when they reach its border they are burned immediately by the purity of this great light—they are all burned standing in it and none of them ever emerge, for this place is called, in the language of parable, the Graves of Lust. Most of them that desired to know the essence were consumed in holiness and were not seen again.

Numerous lights and princes, brave and powerful, were consumed in this place called the Graves of Lust, an expression of the essence of יהוה (YHWH). But let me tell you the angels and the lights which were consumed in this place since the time of the Formation [of the world] were numerous, great, strong, and perfect in their degrees. Big and mighty angels were consumed by this great luminary, those from the camp of שָׂרָפִים (serafim) and from the camp of תַּרְשִׁישִׁים‎‎ (tarshishim) [two classes of angels] since it arose in their minds to strengthen themselves and ascend until this place but there they were consumed, as is written of them, For there the people buried the ones who had been craving (Numbers 11:34). Do not let evil arise in your mind, however, and think that words of Torah only accord with their plain meaning, you are forbidden from believing this. Happy is the man who delves to know, to attain Ḥokhmah in this place called the Graves of Lust” (Berit MenuḥaFirst Way: The Way of Wisdom).

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).