The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: understanding

The Blessed Holy One Placed More Understanding in Women Than in Men

And YHWH Elohim cast a deep slumber on the human, and he slept… And YHWH Elohim built the rib He had taken from the human into a woman (Genesis 2:21).

“A [Roman] Matronita asked Rabbi Yose: ‘Why [was woman created] by theft? He replied, ‘Imagine a man depositing an ounce of silver with you in secret, and you return him a litra [twelve ounces] of gold openly; is that theft!’ ‘Yet why in secret?’ she replied. ‘At first He created her for him and he saw her full of discharge and blood; thereupon He removed her from him and created her a second time.’ ‘I can corroborate your words,’ she said. ‘It had been arranged that I should be married to my mother’s brother, but because I was brought up with him in the same home I became plain in his eyes and he went and married another woman, who was not as beautiful as I.’

It once happened that a devout man was married to a devout woman, and they did not produce children. They said, ‘We are of no use to the blessed Holy One,’ whereupon they arose and divorced each other. The former went and married a wicked woman, and she made him wicked, while the latter went and married a wicked man, and made him righteous. This proves that all depends on the woman….

[Rabbi Yehoshu’a asked:] ‘And why is a man easily appeased, but not a woman?’ ‘Man was created from the earth,’ he answered, and when you pour a drop of water on it, it absorbs it immediately; but Eve was created from bone which even if you soak many days in water does not become saturated” (Bereshit Rabbah 17:7–8).

And YHWH God יִּבֶן (yiven), built, the rib He had taken from the human into a woman (Genesis 2:21)—the blessed Holy One placed more בִּינָה (binah), understanding, in women than in men” (BT Niddah 45b).

“נָבוֹן (Navon), understanding, one thing שֶׁמֵבִין (she-mevin), from, another” (BT Sanhedrin 93b).

“Wherever a distinction is drawn [the feminine noun] דְּרָכִים (derakhim), ways, is taught. Wherever there is no distinction [the masculine noun], דְּבָרִים (devarim), things, is taught’” (BT Qiddushin 3a).

“He [Moses] searched throughout Israel and could not find understanding ones, as is written: I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men (Deuteronomy 1:15), whereas it is not written בִּינָה (binah), understanding. Now, if you say that בִּינָה (binah), understanding, is a higher rung than wise—certainly so!” (Zohar 2:201a, cf. BT Eruvin 100b).

A Dream not Interpreted is Like a Letter not Read

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“Rabbi Shemu’el son of Naḥmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: A man is shown in a dream only what is suggested by his own thoughts, as it says, You, king, your thought has risen as you lay asleep of what will be in the time to come, and the Revealer of Mysteries has made known to you what will be (Daniel 2:29). Or if you like, I can derive it from here: that you may know your heart’s thoughts (ibid. 2:30). Rabba said: This is proved by the fact that a man is never shown in a dream a date palm of gold, or an elephant going through the eye of a needle” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“[Rabbi Amora’s] disciples asked: What is חֹלֶם (ḥolem)? He replied: Soul—if you heed her, your body will be תַּחְלִים (taḥlim), revived, in the time to come. And should you rebel against her? [Your requital] shall come back—חוֹלִים (ḥolim), diseases—on your head (Obadiah 1:15), and חֶלְיָה (ḥelyah), jewelry [or: illness], on her head. Furthermore, they say: Every חֲלוֹם (ḥalom), dream, is in the ḥolem. Every white precious stone is with חֹלֵם (ḥolem), a dreamer, as is written, and אַחְלָמָה (aḥlamah), crystal (Exodus 28:19)” (Bahir §41).

“Since a dream includes all, as we have said, all dreams of the world follow oral interpretation. This has been established, for it is written: As he interpreted to us, so it was (Genesis 41:13). Why? Because a dream contains falsehood and truth, and the word controls all, so a dream needs favorable interpretation. Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘Because every dream is of a rung below, controlled by Speech [Shekhinah], so every dream follows speech.’…

Joseph dreamed a dream and told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more (Genesis 37:5). From here we learn that a person should tell his dream only to one who loves him. Otherwise, he may prove decisive, for if that dream changes tone, he is the cause” (Zohar 1:183a).

“We should first introduce something said by the ancients in regard to those nighttime visions. For we have learned: ‘One who cohabits with his mother in a dream will attain בִּינָה (binah), understanding (BT Berakhot 57a), as is written: For you will call understanding, אֵם (Em), Mother (Proverbs 2:3) [according to the conventional vocalization: אִם (im)if, you call for understanding].’ Here one should examine. If this is because She is mother, fine; then it should have been written as follows: ‘One who sees his mother in a dream will attain understanding.’ But why ‘one who cohabits with’ her? Well, a supernal mystery! For he was transformed from below to above, ascending. At first, he was a son; once he rises above, the tree is overturned and he becomes part of the upper world, ruling over Her, attaining Binah” (Zohar 2:101a, Sava de-Mishpatim).

“Rav Ḥisda said: A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“There is a visionary mirror [Shekhinah] reflecting supernal colors [the upper sefirot], envisioned in that visionary mirror; there is vision within vision, and vision within vision, one above the other, all poised on specific rungs, presiding, called night vision (Daniel 2:19). Through them spread all dreams of the world, these resembling those above” (Zohar 1:196a).

“Rabbi Yoḥanan also said: Three dreams are fulfilled: A dream of the morning, a dream that one’s fellow dreamed about him, and a dream that is interpreted within a dream. And some say a dream that is repeated” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“Come and see: All prophets of the world absorb from a single facet, through two known rungs [the sefirot Netsaḥ and Hod are considered a single field of prophetic vision]. Those rungs appeared through a dim glass, as is written: בַּמַּרְאָה (ba-mar’ah)in a vision, I make Myself known to him (Numbers 12:6). Who is מַּרְאָה (mar’ah), vision? As has been said: a mirror in which all colors appear; this is the dim glass…. You cannot have a dream without false material intermingling… all dreams of the world follow oral interpretation [cf. BT Berakhot 55b]” (Zohar 1:183a).

Send Off the Mother: Let Understanding Go

Rav Raḥmai said: What is You shall surely send off the mother, and the children you may take for yourself? (Deuteronomy 22:7). Why does it not say, You shall surely send off the father? But it says, You shall surely send off the mother in honor of the one who is called Mother of the World, as is written, For you will call בִּינָה (binah), understanding, ‘Mother’ (Proverbs 2:3)” (Bahir §104–§105).

“Ten fingers of the hands, corresponding to ten sefirot by which the heavens and earth were sealed. And these ten correspond to the Ten Utterances [or: Commandments], and within these ten all 613 mitsvot are included: If you count the number of letters of the Ten Utterances you will find that there are 613 letters, comprising all twenty-two letters, except for ט (tet) which is absent. What is the reason? To teach that ט (tet) is the בֶּטֶן (beten), belly [Binah or Malkhut], and is not [reckoned with] the sefirot” (Bahir §124, cf. ibid. §84).

And the offspring you may take for yourself (Deuteronomy 22:7)…. This is a sign of compassion? Whoever says this has spoken folly! Someone with pity would have left the mother and children, and continued on his way!” (Zohar Ḥadash 77b, cf. TZ 23a).

“Mother crouches over them, suckling them, and of this is written Do not take the mother above the children (Deuteronomy 22:6). And we have learned: One should not increase his sins below, causing Mother to withdraw from the children. It is also written: She is your mother—do not expose her nakedness (Leviticus 18:7). Woe to one who exposes Her nakedness!” (Zohar 1:219a).

“The blessed Holy One conveys a flow of seven rungs below into that rung united with those seven. Now, you might say, ‘But there are six, and no more!’ Well, Mother is then sitting upon the fledglings, crouching over them, and we get Her to fly away, and we take those six children along with this rung below—fulling the verse that is written: Surely send off the mother, and the children you may take for yourself (Deuteronomy 22:7).

Rav Hamnuna Sava said, ‘On this day [Shavu’ot], Israel takes only five children, who are the five books of Torah.’

Now, you might say, ‘There are six!’ Well, really, there are seven, counting one bird found between the wings of Mother.

The people of Israel know how to hunt for great and precious game. What do they do? They draw out that bird [Shekhinah] from beneath the wings of Mother by murmuring of the mouth, whispering toward Her again and again. And that bird loves those murmurings and those sounds that they whisper to Her. Although She is beneath the wings of Her Mother, She raises Her head, gazes toward that whispering sound, and flies to them, emerging from beneath Her Mother’s wings.

As soon as the people of Israel receive Her, they hold Her tight, whispering to Her, binding Her in a bind so that She will not fly away. They immediately grasp that bond, and She tries to fly off but cannot get away. While that bond is in their hands, they whisper with their voices and She chirps along with them, flying up and descending.

When all those Sons beneath the wings of their Mother hear the chirping of their Sister—that bird—and that whispering sound, they immediately emerge from beneath their Mother’s wings and fly toward that bird, and the people of Israel take them and grasp them. Were it not for that bird whom they grasp at first, [the Sons] would never fly to them and they could not grasp them.

How do they capture this holy bird? They prepare precious food for Her joyously with all sorts of delights, entering the synagogue and house of study—chirping to Her, whispering to Her softly, fittingly. And She, concealed beneath Her Mother’s wings, raises Her head and sees prepared tables, with chirping toward Her fittingly; She emerges and flies to them, as has been said, with all those Sons grasping Her.

They send off the Mother who is crouching over them, and She goes away. Because from the seventh heaven and above—’What is concealed from you, do not explore or search.’ Send it off, for you will not be able to comprehend. Of this is written Surely send off the mother, and the children you may take for yourself, so that it may go well with you and you will prolong your days (Deuteronomy 22:7)” (Zohar 3:254b).