The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: secret

A Slavegirl that is Heir to Her Mistress and The Messiah’s Shofar by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

Ba'al ha-Sullam Portrait

A Slavegirl that is Heir to Her Mistress: The reason for hiding Kabbalah

Now you can understand the issue of the concealment of the hidden wisdom from the eyes of the outer ones, as well as what the Sages said, “A gentile must not be taught Torah” (BT Sanhedrin 59a). There seems to be a contradiction between this and the saying, “Even a gentile, even a slave, and even a slavegirl who sit and learn Torah, the Shekhinah is with them” (Tanna debei Eliyyahu, 9). Thus, why did the Sages prohibit teaching Torah to gentiles?

Teaching Torah to gentiles

Indeed, the Tanna debei Eliyyahu relates to a converted gentile, or at least to one who retired from idol worshipping, from superstition. Our sages, conversely, referred to one who did not retire from idol worshipping and wanted to know Israel’s law and wisdom in order to strengthen and fortify his idolatry. And you might say, “Why should we care if this gentile has become more devout in his idol worshipping because of our Torah? If it does not help, what harm will it do?” [see Maimonides on BT Sanhedrin 58b: ‘Resh Laqish said: A gentile who keeps the Sabbath, deserves death, as is written, And day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22), and a master has said: Their prohibition is their death sentence’—one is not permitted to make innovations in religion or to create new commandments. He has the privilege to become a true convert by accepting the whole Law’ (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Melakhim, 10, 9). On the prohibition against teaching Torah to gentiles (or the uncircumcised), see BT Ḥagigah 13a; Tanḥuma, Mishpatim 5; Tanḥuma (Buber), Mishpatim 3; Shemot Rabbah 30:12; Zohar 2:111b; 3:73a].

Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai’s weeping

Indeed, this is what Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai cried for before he explained an important secret in the hidden wisdom, as is written, “Rabbi Shim’on wept, ‘Woe if I say it! Woe if I do not say it! If I say it, sinners will know how to worship their Lord. If I do not say it, the Companions will be deprived of this word’” (Zohar 1:11b) [cf. ibid. 3:74b].

He was afraid lest this secret would come into the hands of idol worshipers and they would perform their idolatry with the power of this holy mind. This is what prolongs our exile and brings upon us all the afflictions and the ruins, as we now see before us, since the sages of the nations of the world studied all the books of the Children of Israel and turned them into delicacies to strengthen their faith, meaning their wisdom, called “theology” [cf. Zohar 3:14b].

The Messiah’s Shofar: Redemption only through the power of the Kabbalah

Know that this is what it means that the Children of Israel are redeemed only after the hidden wisdom is revealed to a great degree, as is written in the Zohar: “Because the Children of Israel are destined to taste of this Tree of Life, namely this סֵפֶר הַזֹּהַר (sefer ha-zohar), Book of Radiance, they will thereby come forth from exile through compassion” (Zohar 3:124b [RM]). This is because at that time there was hope of redemption with the composition of the Zohar, which began in the days of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai, during the days when Bar-Kokhba appeared. Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai’s master, said of him: “דָּרַךְ בָּר כּוֹכבָאדָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב (Darakh kokhav), a star steps forth, out of Jacob (Numbers 24:17)—(darakh bar kokhva), Bar Kokhba steps forth, out of Jacob” (JT Ta’anit 4:8, 68d). Thus, after the ruin of Beitar there was great hope [see JT, Ta’anit 4:5, 24a; BT Gittin 57b; Eikha Rabbah 2:5].

Composing the Zohar and hiding it

And because of that, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai permitted himself and revealed the hidden wisdom in his books, the Zohar and Tiqqunei ha-Zohar (Embellishments of the Zohar). However, it was with great care, since he only permitted Rabbi Abba, who was able to reveal so only the sages of the Children of Israel would understand, and the sages of the nations would not understand, for fear lest the wicked know how to serve their Lord [see Zohar 1:11b, cf. ibid. 3:74b]. Therefore, as soon as they realized that the time was not ripe for Israel’s redemption, they hid it. For we find much that the Savora’im, who wrote matters within the Zohar as is known [Savora’im (Opiners): Babylonian scholars of the fifth and sixth centuries C.E.].

Revealing the Kabbalah is the will of the blessed Holy One

Indeed, it was the blessed Holy One’s will that it would appear. This is why it found its way to the widow of Rabbi Moshe de León. She inherited the manuscript from her husband, and he probably told her nothing of the prohibition to reveal it, and she, by chance, put it up for sale.

Israel’s troubles are because of revealing the Kabbalah

Indeed, to this day, this was the cause of many a ruin in the house of Israel for the aforementioned reasons [cf. Rabbi Yeshayahu Bassan, Iggerot Shadal, 29].

Good from revealing the Kabbalah

However, there is no bad without good. And therefore, the predominance which the nations have acquired by stealing Secrets of Torah, caused great momentum in the expansion of holiness. And in my opinion, we are in a generation that is actually standing on the verge of redemption, if we only knew how to spread the hidden wisdom among the masses.

First benefit

Apart from the simple reason of Goods he swallowed he will vomit (Job 20:15), this will reveal “the difference between my son [Jacob] and the son of my father-in-law [Esau]” (BT Berakhot 7b), and the difference between the essence of the kernel and the outermost shell, from which all the sages of the nations of the world peeled. This is because all the camps of Israel that have denied the Torah are sure to return to the blessed Holy One and to His service.

Second benefit

There is another reason for it. We have accepted that there is a precondition for the redemption: all the nations of the world will know Israel’s Torah, as is written, For the earth shall be filled with knowledge [of the glory of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea] (Habakkuk 2:14), as with the exodus from Egypt, where there was a must that Pharaoh, too, know the true God and His commandments, and allow them to leave.

Redemption through divulging Kabbalah to the nations of the world

This is why it is written that each of the nations will take hold of a Jewish man and lead him to the Holy Land [see Zechariah 8:23: Thus says YHWH of Armies; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of every language of the nations, even shall take hold of the robe of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you]. And it was not enough that they leave by themselves. You must understand how the nations of the world would come by such a desire or notion. Know that this is through the dissemination of the true wisdom, so they will evidently see the true God and the true law [cf. BT Pesaḥim 87b].

Dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah the world over

And the dissemination of the wisdom among the masses is called a שׁוֹפָר (shofar), ram’s horn. Like the shofar, whose voice travels a great distance, the reverberation of the wisdom will spread the world over, so that even the nations will hear and know that there is divine wisdom in Israel.

The revelation of Kabbalah to all the nations is the revelation of Elijah

And this task was said about Elijah the prophet, since revealing Secrets of Torah is always referred to as “the revelation of Elijah.” It is as they have said, “set it aside until Elijah comes” [see M Sheqalim 2:5: “Rabbi Me’ir said, the excess funds for a specific dead person is set aside until Elijah comes”] and also, “תִּשְׁבִּי יְתָרֵץ קֻשְׁיוֹת וְאִבַּעְיוֹת (Tishbi yetarets qushyot ve-iba’eyot), the Tishbite [namely, Elijah] will resolve difficult questions and problems” [תִּיקוּ (tiqu), “It is undecided,” is taken as an acronym for the aforementioned saying, and is often employed in the Talmud. Cf. Zohar 3:27b (RM)]. For this reason, they said that three days (a wellknown hint) prior to the coming of the Messiah, Elijah would walk upon the hilltops and sound a great shofar, and so forth.

Revealing Kabbalah to all the nations is a necessity for the final redemption

You must understand these allusions: The matter of the shofar is only revealing the hidden wisdom to great masses, which is a necessity that must be fulfilled prior to the complete redemption.

And the books that have already been revealed through me in this wisdom testify to it, that matters of the greatest importance have been spread out like a gown for all to see. This is a true witness that we are already on the verge of redemption, and that the voice of the great shofar has already been heard, though not in the distance, for it still sounds very softly.

But indeed, any greatness requires prior smallness, and there is no great voice if it is not preceded by a soft sound, for this is the way of the shofar, that it grows progressively. And who better than I knows that I am not at all worthy of being even a messenger or a scribe for revealing such secrets, much less to thoroughly understand them. And why has the blessed Holy One done so for me? It is only because the generation is worthy of it, since it is the final generation, which stands on the verge of complete redemption. And for this reason, [the generation] is worthy of beginning to hear the voice of Messiah’s shofar, which is the revealing of secrets, as has been explained.

King David: כְּלִי-זֶמֶר (Keli-Zemer), Vessel of Song

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“Rabbi Yehudah said, The lyre of the Temple had seven strings, as is written: A satiety of joys in Your presence (Psalms 16:11); do not read, שֹׂבַע (sova), satiety, but שֶׁבַע (sheva), seven! In the days of the Messiah eight, as is said: For the leader player, on הַשְּׁמִינִית (ha-sheminit), the eight-stringed lyre (ibid. 12:1). Of the world that is coming ten, as is said: On ten-stringed instrument and on lute, on the lyre with chanted sound (ibid. 92:4). Furthermore, it is said: Acclaim YHWH with the lyre, with ten-stringed lute hymn to Him. Sing Him a new song, play deftly with joyous shout (ibid. 33:2). You could say also that [our Mishnah will be] in accord with Rabbi Yehudah: Since, in the world that is coming, it will have more strings and its sound will be stronger, like that of a lute” (BT Arakhin 13b).

“Rabbi Yehoshu’a son of Levi said: The Book of Psalms was uttered with ten expressions of שֶׁבַח (sheva), praise, namely: נִיצוּחַ (nitsua), leading [Netsaḥ], נִגּוּן (niggun), melody [Ḥesed], מַשְׂכִּיל‎ (maskil), insight [Binah], מִזְמוֹר (mizmor), psalm [Gevurah], שִׁיר (shir), song [Ḥokhmah]; with אַשְׁרֵי (ashrei), happiness [Keter], תְהִלָּה (tehillah), praise [Malkhut], תְּפִלָּה (tefillah), prayer [Yesod]; הוֹדָאָה (hoda’ah), thanksgiving [Hod]; with הַלְלוּיָהּ (haleluyah), hallelujah [Tif’eret]. The greatest of them all is hallelujah, which includes the Name [יָהּ (Yah)] and praise [הַלְלוּ (halelu)] simultaneously.

Rav Yehudah said in Shemu’el’s name: the Song in Torah was uttered by Moses and Israel when they ascended from the Sea [see Exodus 15:1–18]. And who recited this הַלְל (halel), praise? The prophets among them ordained that Israel should recite it at every important epoch and at every misfortune—may it not come upon them! And when they are redeemed they recite [in gratitude] for their redemption….

Our Rabbis taught: As for all the songs and praises to which David gave utterance in the Book of Psalms, Rabbi Eli’ezer said: He spoke them in reference to himself; Rabbi Yehoshu’a said: He spoke them with reference to the community; while the Rabbis maintain: Some of them refer to the community, while others refer to himself. [Thus:] those which are couched in the singular bear upon himself, while those which are couched in the plural allude to the community. נִיצוּחַ (Nitsua), leading, and נִגּוּן (niggun), melody, [introduce psalms] relating to the future; מַשְׂכִּיל‎ (maskil), insight [indicates that it was spoken] through an interpreter [since it shares a root with שָׂכַל (sakhal), instructive]; [the superscription] לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר (le-David mizmor), David psalm, intimates that the Shekhinah rested upon him and then he uttered [that] song; mizmor le-David, a David psalm, intimates that he [first] uttered [that particular] song and then the Shekhinah rested upon him. This teaches you that the Shekhinah rests [upon man] neither in indolence nor in gloom nor in frivolity nor in levity, nor in vain pursuits, but only in the joy of a mitsvah, for it is said, ‘But now, fetch me a lyre-player.’ And it happened, as the lyre-player played, the hand of YHWH was upon him (2 Kings 3:15)” (BT Pesaim 117a, cf. Rabbi Naḥman of Bratslav, Tiqqun ha-Kelali).

And this great fire let me not see again, that I may not die (Deuteronomy 18:16)—the blessed Holy One’s left [hand]. And what is that? The holy ḥayyot, living beings [whirling angels, wheels of the Chariot], and the holy seraphs, from the right and from the left. They are הַנְּעִימִים (ha-ne’imim), sweet melodies, which [ascend] high above, as is written, and still higher ones over them (Ecclesiastes 5:7). And it is also written, [… and their look and their fashioning as when a wheel is within a wheel….] As for their rims, they were high and they were fearsome, and their rims were filled with עֵינַיִם (einaim), eyes, all round the four of them […. And I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters…] (Ezekiel 1:18). And around Him are angels. Those around them also bow down before them, kneeling and declaring: YHWH He is God! YHWH He is God!” (Bahir §145, cf. Zohar Ḥadash 5d–6a [MhN]).

“Rise, Rabbi Shim’on, and let us hear new matters from you on this verse [For the lead player, on shushan-edut, a David mitam]. First: לַמְנַצֵּחַ (la-menatseaḥ), For the lead player (Psalms 60:1), contains נֵצַח (Netsaḥ), Victory—נִגּוּן צַח (niggun tsaḥ), pure melody [lit., shining white melody], and by it יהוה (YHWH) is called a Man of War towards the nations of the world, but of Mercy and Justice towards Israel. And the mystery of the matter is contained in: and when the wicked perish—רִנָּה (rinnah), glad song (Proverbs 11:10) [thus when the blessed Holy One is menatseaḥ, victorious, over the wicked there is niggun tsaḥ, pure melody]. מ (Mem) and ל (lamed) are the secret of the seventy names that He has. Together with Netsaḥ and Hod they amount to seventy-two, which is numerically equivalent to חֶסֶד (Ḥesed). And the mystery of the matter: delights in Your right hand נֶצַח (netsaḥ), forever (Psalms 16:11).

הוֹד (Hod): הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה (Hodu l’Adonai), Give thanks to YHWH (1 Chronicles 16:8). צַדִּיק (Tsaddiq), Righteous One [Yesod], it is written: רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים בַּיהוָה (rannenu tsaddiqim ba-Adonai), sing gladly, O righteous, of YHWH (Psalms 33:1), and also: רָנּוּ לְיַעֲקֹב שִׂמְחָה (rannu le-Ya’aqov simḥah), sing with gladness [Malkhut] for Jacob [Tif’eret] (Jeremiah 31:6). תִּפְאֶרֶת (Tif’eret) in Him: הַלְלוּ אֵל (hallelu El), praise God; הַלְלוּיָהּ (halleluyah): hallelu Yah, praise Yah (Psalms 150:1)—the Name of יְהֹוָה (YHWH). In נִגּוּן (niggun), melody, and in זֶמֶר (zemer), plucked song [cf. Song of Songs. 2:12]—Ḥesed and Gevurah. In שִׁיר (shir), song, and בְרָכָה (berakhah), blessing—Ḥokhmah and Binah. In אַשְׁרֵי (ashrei), happy—Keter. In תְהִלָּה (tehillah), praise—Malkhut.

מִזְמוֹר (Mizmor), a psalm [Gevurah], that has in it: רָז (raz), secret, and מוּם (moom), blemish, from the side of the זֶמֶר דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא (zemer de-orayyita), song of Torah, and זֶמֶר דִּצְלוֹתָא (zemer de-tselota), the song of prayer [cf. BT Sanhedrin 98b]. A zemer, plucked song, of the Other Side contains: זָר מוּם (zar moom), foreign blemish—‘Zemer in the house is destruction in the house’ (BT Sotah 48a). A menstruate, a slavegirl, a daughter of star and constellation worshipers, a prostitute—these are the letters of mizmor, a psalm [alluding to the offspring of any of these relations, namely, מַמזֵר (mamzer), bastard]. נִגּוּן (Niggun), melody [Ḥesed]—containing גַן (gan), garden [Malkhut]. And such is the beauty of the niggun, melody, which has in it הַלֵּל (hallel), praise, like: it is הוּא הַלַּיְלָה (hu-hallaylah), a night of watch, to YHWH, for His taking them out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:42) [in other words, not the whole melody is Loving-kindness but only the beauty of the melody tends towards it, which is the mystery of Hallel of the Exodus from Egypt]. אַשְׁרֵי (Ashrei), happy—with which everyone begins to offer praises [at the start of the AmidahAshrei, happy, is Keter, since א (alef) like Keter, is the beginning of the alefbet and the sefirot]. Ashrei, happy, the people who has it thus (Psalms 144:15). Of בְּרָכָה (berakhah), blessing, it is as in: אֲבָרְכָה (avarkhah), let me bless, YHWH at all times (Psalms 34:2) [בְּרָכָה (berakhah), blessing, is Binah, since the emanation of Binah is unceasing as blessings should be, see Zohar 3:290b (IR): ‘The world that is coming (Binah), constantly coming, never ceasing’]. תְהִלָה (Tehillah), praise: Always תְּהִלָּתוֹ (tehillato), His praise, in my mouth [Malkhut] (ibid.).

[For the lead player] עַל שׁוּשַׁן עֵדוּת (Al shushan-edut), on shushan-edut (Psalms 60:1)—Hod, a שׁוֹשַׁן (shoshan), rose, in which the red dominates the white, while with Netsaḥ the white dominates the red. But what is עֵדוּת (edut), testimony? The Righteous One [Yesod]—the covenant held by the heavens [Tif’eret/Ze’eir Anpin] and the earth [Malkhut]. As is written: הַעִידֹתִי (Ha-eidoti), I have called to witness, against you this day the heavens and the earth (Deuteronomy 4:26). What is מִכְתָּם (mikhtam), writ (Psalms 60:1)? It forms two words מָך (makh), humble, and תָם (tam), simple [alt., complete, consummate. Cf. Zohar 3:101a]. Humble—the Righteous One [Yesod]. Simple—the middle pillar [Tif’eret] on the rung of and Jacob was a אִישׁ תָּם (ish tam), simple man (Genesis 25:27). We consider the body and the covenant [Tif’eret and Yesod] to be one [which is why מָך (makh) and תָם (tam) are written as one word: מִכְתָּם (mikhtam), writ]. לְלַמֵד (Le-lamed), to teach—Ḥesed and Gevurah, for from there Torah was given ‘לִלמוֹד (Lilmod), to study, and לְלַמֵד (le-lamed), to teach’ (M Avot 4:5).

[Moses the Faithful Shepherd] said to him: What you say is all very well, however: To the lead player, הַשְּׁמִינִית (ha-sheminit), the eight-stringed (Psalms 12:1)—Netsaḥ should not move from Hod, which is the eighth sefirah, and that is why he says: לַמְנַצֵּחַ (la-menatseaḥ), To the lead player, the eight-stringed [rather than To the lead player on shushan-edut as you have it]. The Holy Lamp [Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai] responded: If that is so [i.e., if you want to be pedantic, one can ask an even more profound question]. Your rung is that of Binah; why, then, was it taught that ‘He gave Hod to Moses, as is written: And you shall set something of מֵהוֹדְךָ (me-hodekha), your grandeur, upon him (Numbers 27:20)?’

That is a good question that you have asked. The letter ה (he) ascends by the י (yod), five times ten, the fifty gates of Binah, expanding from esed to Hod. Indeed in each sefirah there are ten making fifty. Therefore, just one expansion from Binah to Hod [in other words Binah is included in Hod]. Subsequently the Righteous One [Yesod] comes and by himself takes all fifty gates, it being equivalent to all five [sefirot]. And it is called כֹּל (Kol), All [numerically equivalent to fifty], because it takes all fifty gates. And so too the כַּלָּה (kallah), bride [Malkhut], takes all of them [כֹּל (Kol), All, with the addition of ה (he) is feminine, i.e., kallah, bride]. He said ‘Now surely everything is falling into place.’

Moreover, לַמְנַצֵּחַ (la-menatseaḥ) can be rearranged as מַל עִם נֶצַח (mal im Netsaḥ), sputter within Netsaḥ. And that mal, sputter, is from חַשְׁמַל (ḥashmal), amber, from ח ש (ḥet, shin) [which are the first and last letters of חַיּוֹת אֵשׁ (ḥayyot esh), beings of fire]. And these are Hod and Netsaḥ, which correspond to two lips. Therefore lips are called חֵיוָן אֶשָּׁא מְמַלְּלָן (ḥeyvan esha memallelan), fiery beings speaking. And in Ḥagigah [12a–13b] the question is asked: ‘Until where is the Account of the Chariot?’ And the answer was given: From וָאֵרֶא (va-ere), and I looked (Ezekiel 1:4) until ḥashmal, amber (ibid., 27) [cf. Septuagint: ἠλέκτρου (elektron); Arabic: كهرباء (anbar)]. [חַשְׁמַל (Ḥashmal), amber, is an acronym for:] חַיּוֹת אֵשׁ מְמַלְּלוֹת (ḥayyot esh memallelot), fiery beings speaking. For from the side of Gevurah, they are called חֵיוָן אֶשָּׁא (ḥeyvan esha), beings of fire, and the river that flows from the humidity [lit., perspiration] of these living beings is Yesod. All three of them [Netsaḥ, Hod, and Yesod] form a chariot for the תִפְאֶרֶת אָדָם (Tif’eret Adam), Beauty of Man [Ze’eir Anpin]….

David removed [the shell called whirlwind] from his heart-mind and killed it, as is written: And my heart is חָלַל (ḥalal), pierced, within me (Psalms 109:22). And for this reason, he was privileged that a north wind should blow on his lyre [Malkhut], and about it is said: ‘Thus says YHWH God; Come from the four winds, O breath, [and breathe upon these slain, that they may live] (Ezekiel 37:9). And he used to play through it four kinds of melody on his lyre: a simple song, which is the secret of י (yod); a double song, which is the secret of יָהּ (Yah); a triple song, יהו (yod, he, vav); and, a quadruple song, יהוה (YHWH)” (Zohar 3:222b–227a, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineas).

And as you come into town there, you shall encounter a band of prophets coming down from the high place, preceded by harp and drum and flute and lyre, and they will be speaking in ecstasy. And the spirit of YHWH shall seize you, and you shall go into ecstasy with them and you shall turn into another man (1 Samuel 10:5).

And so, when the spirit of God was upon Saul, David would take up the lyre and play, and Saul would find relief, and it would be well with him, and the evil spirit would turn away from him (1 Samuel 16:23)

The Secret of Torah Must Be Closed Up and Sealed

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YHWH’s secret is for those who fear Him (Psalms 25:14).

“As the thigh is concealed, so are the words of Torah concealed” (BT Mo’ed Qatan 16a–b).

“What is meant by [But her trade and her whore’s pay shall be consecrated to YHWH. It shall not be stocked and shall not be stored, but her trade shall be for those dwelling before YHWH, eating their fill, and] לִמְכַסֶּה עָתִיק (limkhasseh athiq), for covering themselves in rich attire (Isaiah 23:18)? This refers to one who מְכַסֶּה (mekhasseh), conceals, things that עָתִּיק (Attiq), the Ancient of, Days concealed. What are those? Secrets of Torah. And some say: This refers to one who reveals things that the Ancient of Days concealed. What are those? Reasons of Torah [lit., Flavors of Torah]” (BT Pesaḥim 119a).

“May your feet run to hear the words of the Ancient of Days” (BT Berakhot 17a).

“Rav Huna in the name of Son of Qappara opened: Let lying lips תֵּאָלַמְנָה (te’alamnah), be silent (Psalms 31:19)—let them be bound, made dumb, and silenced. ‘Let them be bound’—as in the verse, And, look, we were מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים (me’allemim alummim), binding sheaves, in the field, and, look my sheaf rose (Genesis 37:7); ‘Made dumb’—as you read, Or who makes him אִלֵּם (illem), mute, or deaf, or sighted or blind? Is it not I, YHVH (Exodus 4:11); ‘and silenced’—as understood. That speak עָתָק (ataq), haughty, against the just in arrogance and contempt (Psalms ibid.)—against the Righteous One, חַי הָעוֹלָמִים (ḥai ha-olamim), Vitality of the Worlds, on matters which הֶעְתִּיק (he’ettiq), which He has covered, from His creatures. In arrogance—in order to be arrogant and say, ‘I expound on the Account of Creation.’ And contempt—to hold My glory in contempt! For Rabbi Yose son of Ḥanina said: Whoever honors himself by disgracing his fellow has no share in the World to Come. How much more so the Omnipresent’s glory! And what is written after it? How great Your goodness that You hid for those who fear You (ibid., 20)—Rav said: Let him have nothing of Your great goodness. When a king of flesh and blood builds palaces on a site of sewers, dunghills, and garbage, if one says, ‘This palace is built on a place of sewers, on a place of dunghills, and on a place of decay does he not disgrace it? Thus, whoever comes to say that this world was created out of welter and waste, does he not disgrace [Omnipresent’s glory]! Rav Huna said in Son of Qappara’s name: If the matter were not written, it would be impossible to say it: In the beginning Elohim created (Genesis 1:1); out of what? And the earth was תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ (tohu va-vohu), welter and waste (ibid., 2)” (Bereshit Rabbah 1:5).

Wine that gladdens the heart of man (Psalms 104:15). This is the wine of Torah, for יַיִן (yayin), wine, is numerically equivalent to סוֹד (sod), secret [cf. BT Sanhedrin 38a]. Just as wine has to be kept sealed so that it should not be used in a libation for idol worship, so also must the secret of Torah be closed up and sealed, and not be disclosed other than to those who fear Him. And it is not for nothing that several decrees are performed בַּיַיִן (ba-yayin), with wine, and blessings to the blessed Holy One are said with it. Wine comes in ב״ (two) colors: white and red, which are Judgment and Compassion. And this is why we have the added ב (bet) in בַּיַיִן (ba-yayin), with wine [ב (bet) is numerically equivalent to two and alludes to the two qualities of Judgment and Compassion]. It is like the rose which has in it both white and red, white from the right side, and red from the left side.

Why does it say לְבַב (le-vav), the heart, of man? It should have said לֵב (lev), heart? There is one heart [Binah] hidden within another heart [Shekhinah]. They are ל״ב (thirty-two) [iterations of] אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) in the Work of Creation. And the ב (bet) of בְּרֵאשִׁית (bereshit), in the beginning (Genesis 1:1), and the ל (lamed) of לְעֵינֵי כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל (le-einei kal yisra’el), before the eyes of all Israel (Deuteronomy 34:12) [i.e., the first verse and the last verse of the Five Books of Moses]. Twice לֵב (lev), heart, is sixty-four, which is eight less than seventy-two; [seventy-two is numerically equivalent to:] וַיְכֻלּוּ (va-yekhulu), and were completed (Genesis 2:1). These are the seven days of Creation. What of the eighth [to complete the seventy-two]? The seven days of Creation together with This is the book of the lineage of Adam (Genesis 5:1) [which is also considered to be a day of Creation]. And this seventy-two is also the sum of בַּיַיִן (ba-yayin), ‘with wine’” (Zohar 3:215b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas, cf. Zohar 2:124b).