The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: wife

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).

It is as Difficult to Match them as the Splitting of the Reed Sea

old-couples-having-fun-13__605.jpg“Our Rabbis taught: Has built a new house… has planted a vineyard… has betrothed a woman (Deuteronomy 20:5). The Torah has taught worldly advice: that a man should build a house, plant a vineyard, and then marry a wife” (BT Sotah 44a).

“Rav Shemu’el son of Rav Yitsḥaq said, When Resh Laqish began to teach about the unfaithful wife, he would say as follows: ‘A man is paired with a woman only according to his deeds; as is said: For the rod of wickedness will not rest on the portion of the righteous (Psalms 125:3). Rabbah son of Son of Ḥana said in the name of Rabbi Yoḥanan: It is as difficult to match them as the splitting of the Reed Sea; as is said: אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) brings the lonely back to their homes, sets free captives in jubilation (Psalms 68:7) [the verse is interpreted as comparing matchmaking to the release of prisoners, thus, the two are declared identical as regards difficulty, cf. Exodus 20:2: I am YHWH your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves]. But is that really so? After all, Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav, ‘Forty days before the formation of an embryo, a heavenly echo issues and proclaims, Daughter of so-and-so is for so-and-so! The house of so-and-so is for so-and-so! The field of so-and-so is for so-and-so!—there is no contradiction. The latter [their proclamation above] refers to the original couple [who are predestined for one another]; the former to a later couple [i.e., a second marriage, whose union depends on good deeds]” (BT Sotah 2a, cf. BT Sanhedrin 22a).

“Rabbi Yehudah [son of Simon] opened: אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) brings the lonely back to their homes, sets free captives in jubilation (Psalms 68:7). A matron asked Rabbi Yose son of Ḥalafta: ‘For how many days did the blessed Holy One create His world?’ He replied, ‘Six days, as is written, For six days did YHWH make the heavens and the earth (Exodus 20:10).’ ‘Since then what has he been doing?’ He replied, ‘He sits and matches couples: this man for that woman, this woman for that man.’ She said, ‘If that seems difficult, I can do it!’ She went and matched [her slaves], giving this woman to that man, and this man to that woman. After a while, those who had been matched started beating one another. This woman said, ‘I don’t want that man!’ This man said, ‘I don’t want that woman!’ He [Rabbi Yose] said to her [the matron], ‘If it seems easy to you, it is as difficult before the blessed Holy One as splitting the Reed Sea!’” (Bereshit Rabbah 68:4, cf. Vayikra Rabbah 8:1; Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 2:4).

“Come and see: All those images of souls destined for the world stand before Him in couples. Later, when they arrive in this world, the blessed Holy One matches couples.

Rabbi Yossi said, ‘The blessed Holy One matches couples, proclaiming: The daughter of so-and-so for so-so!’ Rabbi Yose said, ‘How can you make such an assertion? Look at what is written: There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)!’

Rabbi Yehudah replied, ‘The verse reads: under the sun. It is different above!’ Rabbi Yose said, ‘Why a proclamation here? Didn’t Rabbi Ḥizkiyah say in the name of Rabbi Ḥiyya: ‘At the very moment a human being issues into the world, his mate is destined for him’?

Rabbi Abba said, ‘Happy are the righteous whose souls are hidden away with the Holy King before they come into the world! For so we have learned: At the moment the blessed Holy One brings forth souls into the world, all those spirits and souls comprise male and female joined as one. They are transmitted into the hands of the emissary appointed over human conception [this angel is named לַיְלָה (Lailah), Night, see BT Niddah 16b in the name of Rabbi Ḥanina son of Papa. Cf. Job 3:3; Zohar 2:11a–b]. As they descend and are entrusted to him, they separate—sometimes one preceding the other—and he deposits them in human beings. When the time of their coupling arrives, the blessed Holy One, who knows those spirits and souls, unites them as at first and issues a proclamation. When they unite they become a single body, a single soul, right and left, fittingly. So, There is nothing new under the sun.

Now, you might say ‘But we have learned: Coupling accords only with a person’s conduct. So it is! For if he is virtuous and his actions seemly, then he attains his—uniting as when issuing.

Rabbi Ḥiyya said, ‘Where should one whose acts are seemly search for his mate?’ He replied, ‘We have learned; A man should always sell everything he owns and marry the daughter of a scholar,’ for in the hands of a scholar are deposited treasures of his Lord [cf. BT Pesaḥim 49a].’

It has been taught in the mystery of the Mishnah: ‘All those arriving through cycling souls can anticipate their mates by supplication.’ Concerning this our Companions aroused: Lest another anticipate him by supplication [see BT Mo’ed Qatan 18b]’

Well spoken: ‘another,’ precisely! So coupling is difficult for the blessed Holy One [since the recycled soul replaces the originally intended husband. In order to reunite the latter with his soul mate, God has to eliminate the interloper. See Zohar 1:73b], but still, the ways of YHWH are right… (Hosea 14:10).

Rabbi Yehudah sent a question to Rabbi El’azar: ‘I know the mystery of the matter, but those who arrive through cycling souls—where do they find their mates? He sent back to him: ‘It is written: How can we provide wives for those who remain? (Judges 21:7). And then: Seize for yourselves… (ibid., 21). The episode of the Benjaminites demonstrates this. Therefore we have learned: lest another anticipate him by supplication.’

Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘Now truly, coupling is difficult for the blessed Holy One! Happy is the share of Israel, whom Torah teaches the ways of the blessed Holy One and all the treasures hidden away with Him! Truly it is written: The Torah of YHWH is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of YHWH are sure, making wise the simple… (Psalms 19:8). Happy is the share of one who engages in Torah, not parting from her, for whoever parts from Torah for a moment is like one who parts from eternal life, as is written: She is your life and the length of your days (Deuteronomy 30:20), and similarly: They will bestow on you length of days, years of life and peace (Proverbs 3:2)” (Zohar 1:91b).

“When men become worthy, they are given a wife according to their deeds. All is revealed before the blessed Holy One, and according to virtuous deeds He matches couples. Sometimes they are balanced on scales, but if that man perverts his way, his mate is transferred to another until he rectifies his deeds. When he rectifies his deeds, or when his time arrives, one man is thrust out in favor of another, and this one comes to obtain what is his. This is the most difficult of all for the blessed Holy One: to thrust out a person in favor of another.

Therefore, it is the blessed Holy One who gives a man his wife, and from him couplings come. So, [House and wealth are inherited from fathers, butan insightful wife is from YHWH (Proverbs 19:14). The blessed Holy One provides a person with everything.

Now, you might say ‘An insightful wife, but not any other.’ Come and see: Even though the blessed Holy One prepares goodness to give to a person, if he deviates from the blessed Holy One toward the Other Side, then from that Other Side to which he clings comes one who brings all sorts of accusations and ills. These do not come to him from the blessed Holy One, but rather from that evil side to which he clung through those bad deeds he committed. Therefore, of a wife who is not insightful, Solomon exclaimed I find the woman more bitter than death (Ecclesiastes 7:26)—for through his sins a man draws this upon himself, through those deeds he has committed. Consequently, when the blessed Holy One delights in a man because of his worthy deeds, He designates for him a woman who is insightful and redeems him from the Other Side (Zohar 1:229a).

”Couplings are as difficult before the blessed Holy One as splitting the Reed Sea. Just as splitting the Reed Sea killed those on that side and saved these on this side, so too of couplings is written He lead out captives בַּכּוֹשָׁרוֹת (ba-kosharot), in jubilation (Psalms 68:7), and we have learned: בְּכִי וְשִׁירוֹת (bekhi ve-shirot), weeping and singing—one dies and He gives his wife to another, who is wicked and yet ends up with a fine wife. This is not just! But it is entirely concealed mysteries and all is just, and what the Companions have educed is certainly so” (Zohar 2:170b).

If he was husband to a wife (Exodus 21:3), having married and endeavored with his wife but unsuccessfully, such a man is not banished like the other [who did not even marry a wife]: he does not enter alone and does not leave alone. Rather, if he was husband to a wife, the blessed Holy One does not withhold the reward of any creature, even if they failed. What is written? His wife shall go out with him (ibid.)—both of them transmigrate, succeeding in joining as one, as before [in general, a woman soul does not undergo transmigration, see Zohar 3:216a (RM) on Job 33:29]. This man does not marry a divorcée, but rather the one with whom he endeavored at first and failed. Now they will succeed together, if they refine their deeds. Thus, his wife shall go out with him….

Gives him a wife (Exodus 21:4)—from here we learn that it is not in one’s power to take a wife; rather, all is to be weighed on scales (Psalms 62:10). Gives him a wife—for it does not lie in his power. And who is she? One who is not his and was not intended for him. Who is she? One who was designated for another, yet this man anticipates him by supplication and marries her [cf. BT Mo’ed Qatan 18b]. This one, whom he did not deserve, is given to him. The blessed Holy One sees from afar and foresees that this woman is ready to generate offspring in the world. This man anticipates by supplication, and she is given to him; and he generates fruit and sows seed in a garden not his. Therefore, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself (Exodus 21:4). O poor unfortunate one! How he exerted himself in vain, toiling and striving to bring forth fruit in a garden not his and emerging empty-handed!” (Zohar 2:106a–109a, Sava de-Mishpatim).