The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: paths

Threads of the Mind: Any Time that You Make Your Way Through them Peace will be Upon You

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Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, Living God, El Shaddai. Lofty and high One, who dwells forever and holy His Name (Isaiah 57:15) engraved thirty-two wondrous paths with wisdom. He created His world with three סֶפָרִים (sefarim), ciphers: בְסֶפֶר וּסְפָר וְסִפֻּר (ve-sefer u-sefar we-sipur), with a scroll, and a count, and a recounting” (Sefer Yetsirah §1).

“What are these thirty-two [wondrous paths of wisdom]?… A parable: To what can the matter be compared? A king ‘[residing] within the innermost chambers’ (BT Berakhot 10a), thirty-two in all. Now, each of the chambers has a path. Is it fitting for this king that everyone enter his chambers by way of his paths? You would say: No. Is it fitting for him not to display his pearls, his hidden treasures, his precious objects, and his filigree? You would say: No. What then does he do? He must touch the daughter, and include all the paths in her and in her garments. Whoever wishes to enter, let him look here” (Bahir §63).

“What is the reason that we [tie] blue wool in the tsitsit? And what is the reason there are thirty-two threads? A parable: To what can the matter be compared? A king had a lovely garden with thirty-two paths. He placed a guard over them and made those paths known to him alone, saying to him, ‘Guard them and go on them each day, and any time that you make your way through them peace [will be upon] you.What did the guard do? He said, ‘If I am alone on these paths is it possible for one guard to maintain [all of] these paths? And what’s more, the world will say, “כִּי לוֹ (Ki lo), since [these paths are] his, he [must be] king of this [garden], and he guards this [garden] [alt., And what’s more, the world will say this king is כִּילַי (kilai), a churl, and he guards this (garden)].”’ Therefore, this guard put other guards over the paths—thirty-two paths.

And what is the reason for the blue? The guard said, ‘Perhaps these [other] guards will say the garden belongs to me.’ He gave them a sign and said to them, ‘See, this is the king’s sign, that this garden belongs to him. And these are the paths he maintains, they are not mine [see Heikhalot Rabbati §§244–45]. And, look: His seal.’ A parable: To what can the matter be compared? A king and his daughter had servants. They sought to go to a faraway land [but] they were terrified by the king’s dread (Proverbs 20:2). The king gave them his sign [of goodwill]. They were terrified of the daughter and she gave them a sign. She said, ‘From now on, with these two signs YHWH guards you from all harm, He guards your life (Psalms 121:7)’” (Bahir §§92–93).

“What is the earth from which the heavens were hewn? The Throne of the blessed Holy One. It is the אֶבֶן יְקָרָה (even yeqarah), precious Stone, and the sea of Wisdom, corresponding to the blue in the tsitsit. Rabbi Me’ir thus said: Why is blue chosen above all other colours? [‘Whoever fulfills the mitsvah of tsitsit is as though he greeted the face of Shekhinah,] for the blue resembles the sea, and the sea resembles the vault of the heavens, and the vault of the heavens resembles the Throne of Glory’ (Sifrei, Numbers 115) [cf. BT Menaḥot 43b: ‘(Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai taught:) Whoever is diligent with this mitsvah merits receiving the face of Shekhinah’]. Therefore it is written And they saw the God of Israel, and beneath His feet was like a fashioning of סַפִּיר (sappir), [blue] sapphire, pavement and like the very heavens for pureness (Exodus 24:10). It is furthermore written [And above the firmament that was over their heads was] the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of אֶבֶן סַפִּיר (even sappir), a [blue] sapphire stone: [and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it] (Ezekiel 1:26)” (Bahir §96).

Ḥokhmah—expanding in thirty-two directions and issuing from the Concealed Brain, from the radiance within. That which the Holy Ancient One shines into Ḥokhmah is the beginning of what is revealed. It becomes three heads, with one head encompassing them. These three expand in Ze’eir Anpin, and from these all shine” (Zohar 3:289b, Idra Zuta).

“חוּטֵי הַשֵּׂכֶל (Ḥutei ha-sekhel), threads of the mind [i.e., tsitsit], spread from the blessed Holy One, each one emanating to watch over Israel” (Berit Menuḥa: Sixth Way, Way of the Intellect, cf. BT Menaḥot 43b).

“And what [purpose does] ן (nun) [in אֹזֶן (ozen), ear, serve]? To teach you that the brain is the root of the חוּט הַשִׁדרָה (ḥut ha-shidrah), spinal cord, and from there it drinks תָּמִיד (tamid), perpetually (Exodus 27:20; Leviticus 24:2). If not for the spinal cord, the brain would not exist, for the entire trunk is for the sake of the brain, and if the entire trunk were not to exist, the brain would not exist. The spinal cord is the channel from the brain to the entire body, and this is the bent נ (nun). But this ן (nun) [in אֹזֶן (ozen), ear] is long. The long nun always comes at the end of a word to teach you that the long nun comprises the bent and the long, but the bent is the foundation. This teaches you that the long nun comprises male and female” (Bahir §83).

“[Of the ten sefirot] seventh is east of the world, whence comes the seed of Israel. For the spinal cord draws from the brain of man and reaches to the ‘middle finger’ whence comes seed [i.e., the phallus], as is written, From מִזְרָח (mizraḥ), the east, I will bring זַרְעֶךָ (zarekha)your seed (Isaiah 43:5) [cf. Bahir §73, §155, §159; BT Bava Batra 25a: ‘Rabbi Abbahu said, Shekhinah (receives) in the west’]. When Israel is good before the Omnipresent: I will bring your seed and you will have new seed. But when Israel is bad, the seed is from that which has already come into the world, as is written: A generation goes and a generation comes (Ecclesiastes 1:4)—teaching it has already come” (Bahir §155).

Wisdoms cry aloud outside, in the squares she lifts her voice (Proverbs 1:20)? This verse is difficult: first it is written Wisdoms cry aloud outside, and then, in the squares she lifts her voice—its beginning does not match the end, nor its end the beginning! However, Wisdoms cry out in the the streets—when it flows from the concealed brain of Arikh Anpin to the brain of Ze’eir Anpin through those strands, it is as if two brains join outside, becoming one brain. And when there is flow from one to the other, it is written she lifts her voice—in the singular.

Because of the flow from brain to brain through those strands, they are not coarse. Why? Because if they were coarse, nothing could flow through them to the brain. Thus, no wisdom emerges from a person who is coarse and angry, as is written: Words of the wise said gently are heard (Ecclesiastes 9:17). From here we learn that if the hair on a person’s head is coarse, wisdom does not settle within him [see BT Pesaḥim 66b: ‘Regarding any person who becomes angry, if he is a sage, his wisdom departs from him; if he is a prophet, his prophecy departs from him’].

Consequently, they are long, to bring benefit to all. What is meant by ‘all’? To enter חוּטָא דְּשִׁדְרָה (ḥuta de-shidrah), the spinal cord, which drinks from the brain. Therefore the hair of the head does not overhang the hair of the beard; for the hair of the head hangs and rises over the ears, behind, not overhanging the beard, because one must not mingle with the other, since each branches out on its own path” (Zohar 3:131b, Idra Rabba).

Come My Lover, Let Us Go Out to the Field

“Rabbi Yose [son of Beivah] said: The blessed Holy One appears to peoples of the world only in the hour when people generally take leave of each other, as it says, And to me came a word in secret… in musings from nighttime’s visions when slumber falls upon men (Job 4:12). Rabbi El’azar son of Menaḥem said: YHWH is far from the wicked (Proverbs 15:29)—the prophets of other nations; but the prayer of the righteous He hears (ibid.)—the prophets of Israel. And Elohim appears to the nations only like one who comes from afar, as you read, They have come from a far country unto me (Isaiah 39:3). But in connection with the prophets of Israel we read [And YHWH] appeared to him (Genesis 18:1), And He called (Leviticus 1:1)—implying, from the immediate vicinity.

What is the difference between the prophets of Israel and the prophets of other nations? Rabbi Ḥanina [son of Papa] said: A parable: A king was with his friend in a chamber but separated by a curtain; whenever he desired to speak to his friend, he folded up the curtain and spoke with him. However, He speaks to the prophets of other nations without folding the curtain back, rather from behind it. The Rabbis compared it to a king who has a wife and a concubine; to his wife he goes openly, but to his slavegirl he goes in stealth [cf. Ecclesiastes 2:7]. Similarly, the blessed Holy One appears to the nations only at night, as it says, And Elohim came to Balaam in the night (Numbers 22:20); And Elohim came to Laban the Aramean in a night-dream (Genesis 31:24); And Elohim came to Abimelech in a night-dream (ibid. 20:3)” (Bereshit Rabbah 52:3, cf. Tiqqunei Zohar 11b).

“Rabbi Abba son of Qahana opened, רִגְזוּ (Rigzu), quake, and do not offend (Psalms 4:5). David said to the blessed Holy One ‘How long will מִתְרַגְּזִים (mitraggezim), they rage against, me and say, Is he not of tainted descent? Is he not a descendant of Ruth the Moabite? Speak in your hearts on your beds (ibid.). You also, are you not descended from two sisters [namely, Rachel and Leah who married the same man]? Look upon your own genealogy and be still (ibid.). And Tamar who married your ancestor Judah—is it not a tainted descent? She was but a descendant of Shem the son of Noah [who married his sister, see Jubilees 4:11]. Do you then have an honorable descent?’…

Rav Huna said: It is written, ‘God has granted me other seed’ (Genesis 4:25)—seed from another place, referring to the Messiah.

Rabbi Berekhiah and Rabbi Shim’on said: We may illustrate with a parable: A king who was travelling from one place to another, when a precious pearl fell from his head. So the king and all his retinue stopped there. All the passers-by asked, ‘What are the king and his retinue doing here?’ They discerned the reason and said, ‘A pearl has fallen from his head.’ What did he do? He gathered all the soil into heaps and brought brooms [alt., sieves]. He had one heap swept, but did not find it; a second heap, and he did not find it; but in the third, he found it, and they announced ‘The king has found his pearl!’ So the blessed Holy One said to Abraham, Go forth (Genesis 12:1). It was to you that I looked forward. What need had I to record the lineage of Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, and Terah (1 Chronicles 1:24–26)? Only on account of you, Abram; the same is Abraham (ibid.); And found his heart faithful before You (Nehemiah 9:8). So said the blessed Holy One to David, ‘What need had I to record the lineage of Perez, Hezron, Ram, Aminadab, Nahshon, Salmah, Boaz, Obed, and Jesse? Only on account of you; I found David My servant (Psalms 89:21)” (Rut Rabbah 8a, cf. Bereshit Rabbah 23:5, 51:8).

“The Messiah, what is his name?… The House of Rabbi Yannai said: His name is Yinnon for it is written, May his name be forever. As long as the sun may his name יִנּוֹן (yinnon), bear seed (Psalms 72:17)” (BT Sanhedrin 98b).

“The name of Messiah was contemplated [before the creation of the world], as is written, As long as the sun may his name יִנּוֹן (yinnon), bear seed (Psalms 72:17)” (Bereshit Rabbah 1:4).

“They asked [Rabbi Berekhiah], ‘What is the letter צ (tsadi)?’ He said: יוֹ״ד (yod) נוּן (nun); tsadi—coupling of yod nun. As is written, צַדִּיק (Tsaddiq), the Righteous One, is a lasting foundation (Proverbs 10:25)” (Bahir §61).

“Why should the נ (nun) have two forms, bent and long? Because it is written, As long as the sun may his name יִנּוֹן (yinnon), bear seed (Psalms 72:17)—from נוּניִן (nunin), two nuns, the bent נ (nun) and the long ן (nun), and [the Messiah] must be [conceived] through a man and a woman” (Bahir §86).

“They asked [Rabbi Berekhiah]: And he took him to the Lookouts’ field [… and YHWH chanced upon Balaam and put a word in his mouth(Numbers 23:14–16). What is Lookouts’ field? As is written, Come my lover, let us go out to the field, [spend the night in the henna. There will I give my love to you] (Song of Songs 7:12). Do not read הַשָּׂדֶה (ha-sadeh), the field, but הַשִׁדָּה (ha-shiddah), the concubine [see Ecclesiastes 2:8]. And why the concubine? The blessed Holy One’s Heart said to Him, ‘Come my lover, let us go out to the concubine for a stroll and not always lie in one place.’

And what is His Heart? He said to him: If Son of Zoma is outside you are with him [see BT Ḥagigah 14b–16a]! The לֵב (lev) Heart, is ל״ב (thirty-two). These are sealed and with them the world was created [i.e., with the thirty-two iterations of אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) in the Account of Creation (Genesis 1), see Zohar 3:82b, 256b–257a (all RM), cf. Zohar 2:123a]. What are these thirty-two? He said: These are thirty-two paths [see Sefer Yetsirah §§1–2].

A parable: a king residing within the innermost chambers, thirty-two in all, each with its own path. Now, is it fitting for this king that everyone enter his chambers by his paths? Certainly not! But is it fitting for him not to display his pearls, his brocades, his hidden treasures, and his precious objects? Certainly not! What did he do? He designated [lit., נֶגַע (nega), touched] the daughter and included all the paths in her and in her garments. Whoever wishes to enter, let him gaze here! He married her to a king, and also gave her to him as a gift. Because of his love for her, he sometimes calls her ‘My sister,’ since they come from a single place. Sometimes he calls her ‘My daughter,’ for she is his daughter; and sometimes he calls her ‘My mother’ [cf. Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah on 3:11]” (Bahir §§62–63).

“[Rabbi Yose] opened, saying, ‘The abundance of the earth is in all, a king for a cultivated field (Ecclesiastes 5:8). The abundance of the earth is in all, indeed, since from there issue spirits, souls, and benefit for the world. A king for a cultivated field. Who is a king? The blessed Holy One. For a cultivated field—when properly tilled. A king—Supernal King, who unites with the field when it is cultivated. Who is the field? The field blessed by YHWH, as is written: like the fragrance of a field blessed by YHWH (Genesis 27:27), for when it is completely cultivated and tilled, the Supernal King unites with it.’

Rabbi El’azar said, ‘A king for a cultivated field. How many nuances of supernal mystery are embedded here! A kingShekhinah, who does not inhabit a house, establishing Herself there, unless a man is married, coupling with her to engender and yield fruit. Then She generates souls to dwell therein. So, לְשָׂדֶה נֶעֱבָד (le-sadeh ne-evad), for a cultivated field, for none other.

Alternatively, A king—a woman in awe of YHWH, as is written: A woman in awe of YHWH is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

Le-sadeh ne-evadEnslaved to a field—a strange woman, as is said: to protect you from a strange woman (Proverbs 7:5). For there is a field, and then, there is a field! There is a field planted with all kinds of blessing and holiness, as is written: like the fragrance of a field blessed by YHWH. Then, there is a field planted with all kinds of destruction, defilement, desolation, killing, and war. Sometimes this king is enslaved to this field, and then this verse applies: At three things the earth trembles: … at a slave who becomes king… and a slavegirl supplanting her mistress (Proverbs 30:21–23). 

The light of this king is concealed—darkened—until he is purified, uniting above. Therefore, the goat of the new moon, for that field is isolated, lacking the king’s blessings. When he is enslaved to a field, then this applies: For in the field he found her; the engaged girl screamed… (Deuteronomy 22:27). For in the field, as has been said” (Zohar 1:122a–b).

Reuben went out during the days of the wheat harvest (Genesis 30:14). We have learned: Cup of Blessing receives blessing only from this side; so as long as the right is aroused toward Cup of Blessing, the left provides no support. For the right finds warrant in that cup to arouse it toward the upper world.

This secret: Out went Reuben—south side; thus, his banner is in the south. For he is head of the twelve boundaries, and his desire—to find a means, an offering—for Matronita, to bless Her. What is written? [Hefound mandrakes in the field. He went searching amid all Her treasures and found, in this field, mandrakes. Of them is written The mandrakes give forth fragrance… (Song of Songs 7:14)—two cherubim, Her embellishments awakening arousal above. For among all those adornments, none arouse besides cherubim.

South side—when does He arouse toward Her, seeking cause to bless Her? During the days of the wheat harvest (Genesis 30:14)—when She distributes shares of fortune to Her legions and all the reapers of the field. At once, [hebrought them to Leah his mother—their fragrance and arousal wafted upward, toward Upper World, concealed world, arousing blessings for the Lower World.

Once She is blessed, those mandrakes collect, then bestow upon all worlds, as is written: the mandrakes give forth fragrance, at our doors all delicacies (Song of Songs 7:14). When they exude their aroma, south side absorbs it, arousing toward the Upper World. At once, at our doors all delicacies—no beneficence lacking from the world. 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]. 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. Zohar 2:100b).

All Her Paths are Peace

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Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, Living God, El Shaddai. Lofty and high One, who dwells forever and holy His Name (Isaiah 57:15) engraved thirty-two wondrous paths with wisdom” (Sefer Yetsirah §1).

“What are these thirty-two [wondrous paths of wisdom]?… A parable: To what can the matter be compared? A king ‘[residing] within the innermost chambers’ (BT Berakhot 10a), thirty-two in all. Now, each of the chambers has a path. Is it fitting for this king that everyone enter his chambers by way of his paths? You would say: No. Is it fitting for him not to display his pearls, his hidden treasures, his precious objects, and his filigree? You would say: No. What then does he do? He must touch the daughter, and include all the paths in her and in her garments. Whoever wishes to enter, let him look here” (Bahir §63).

“For look, every place called way in the Torah is a way open to all, like a road open to every person! So her ways (Proverbs 3:17)—ways opened by the patriarchs, who dug in the Great Sea [Shekhinah] and entered her… And all her paths are peace (ibid.). Who are her paths? Those paths emerging from above, all gathered by a single covenant named Peace, peace of the home [cf. BT Shabbat 152a], who conducts them into the Great Sea when it is agitated [alt., ‘when He is potent’], bringing it peace, as is written: and all her paths are peace (Proverbs 3:17)” (Zohar 2:31a–b, cf. ibid. 2:215a; 3:88a).

Every man shall revere his mother and his father, and My sabbaths you shall keep (Leviticus 19:3). These decrees are equal to each other; reverence for parents is equivalent to the honor due the Sabbath. With regard to one’s father, it first speaks of honor, as the verse states: If then I be a father, where is My honor? And if I be a master, where is My fear? (Malachi 1:6). כְבוֹדִי (Khevodi), My honor, reckons forty-two and comprises the Ten Utterances and thirty-two [iterations of] אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) in the Account of Creation. In every place, the wise inherit כָּבוֹד (kavod), honor (Proverbs 3:35). The sages explained that this כָּבוֹד (kavod), honor [numerically equivalent to thirty-two], refers to nothing but Torah, as the thirty-two אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) in Torah are His Honor [i.e., Binah, הָאֱלֹהִים (Ha-Elohim)]. These sages of Torah, who are wise in Ḥokhmah, inherit this Honor [the מוֹחַין (moḥin), minds, of thirty-two אֱלֹהִים (elohim) (Sullam)]. This is not so for the fools about whom it is written, fools take away disgrace (ibid.). How do we know that someone ignorant in Torah is called a fool? As is written: Nor does the fool understand this (Psalms 92:7). זֹאת (Zot), this—Torah, as is written: וְזֹאת (ve-zot), and this, is the Torah that Moses set [before the children of Israel] (Deuteronomy 4:44).

And said (Genesis 1). Father appears in every saying, as many as [thirty-two times] and so it was (ibid.). And She carried out what He said at once. Because She did His commands without any delay in the thirty-two paths with them were created everything in the Works of Creation. She is called כָּבוֹד (kavod), Glory, Honor: And in His palace all says glory (Psalms 29:9). Blessed be the glory of YHWH from His Place (Ezekiel 3:12); ‘Where is the Place of His glory to adorn Him?’” (Zohar 3:82a, Ra’aya Meheimna Qedoshim).

“It is written: Her ways… All her paths (Proverbs 3:6). What is the difference between them? Way—which all the feet of people tread. Path—recently opened. Of this is said: But the path of the righteous is like light’s radiance, ever brighter till day has come. The way of the wicked is like darkness. [They know not on what they stumble] (Proverbs 4:18–19)” (Zohar 3:88a, Ra’aya Meheimna Qedoshim).

“And this is the meaning of: Her lips alone moving and her voice not heard (1 Samuel 1:13)lips are wings of the living beings [of the chariot in Ezekiel’s vision]. For the חַשְׁמַל (ḥashmal), amber, was [previously] חֵיוָן אֶשָּׁא מְמַלְּלָן (ḥeyvan esha memall’lan), fiery beings speaking, while [now] they are silent [cf. BT Ḥagigah 13b]. And this is why silent prayer was ordained, and thus the Work of the Chariot is without sound, for he speaks there to himself in a whisper. Three prayers were ordained [Shaarit, Mina, and Ma’ariv] and in each one יהוה (YHWH) is [enunciated] eighteen [times], making seventy-two letters in each [Amidah] prayer, in the [concluding sentences of each of the] eighteen blessings, [and three times seventy-two] makes 216 [letters] that are included in חֶסֶד (esed) [numerically equivalent to seventy-two]. [Three times seventy-two], together with the thirty-two paths comes to 250 less two [namely, 248 which is numerically equivalent to אַבְרָהָם (avraham), Abraham, who corresponds to Ḥesed (see Bahir §8)] that are included in the middle pillar” (Zohar 3:230a, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineas).

And she is a path unknown to a bird of prey (Job 28:7), which is comprised of thirty-two paths, namely the thirty-two [iterations of] אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) [in the Account of Creation] from the aspect of supernal Mother [Binah] that is called Honor. And when they are included in the Daughter [Shekhinah] is called Heart and this is why there is Honor above and Heart below [כָּבוֹד (kavod), Honor, and לֵב (lev), Heart, are each numerically equivalent to thirty-two]” (Zohar 3:256b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineas, cf. Zohar 2:123a).