A recently Discovered Fragment of the Zohar edited by Henry Rasof



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The Forlorn Young Woman

A Recently Discovered Fragment of the Zohar

edited by Henry Rasof
Rabbi Shimon1 walked over to a fig tree2 and sat down3. Rabbi Eleazar, Rabbi Isaac, Rabbi Abba, and Rabbi Yose followed him and also sat down4. A mule driver5 sat down to the left of the rabbis, a little ways off, tending the animals6.
At that moment a young woman7 walked gracefully8 by on the nearby road, then seemed to disappear from sight9.
“Who’s the young lady10 with the big white head11 and long face12 who looks forlorn, as if her old man13 just threw her out of house and home14?” Rabbi Abba asked.
Rabbi Shimon's son, Rabbi Eleazar, replied: “Rachel15."
“Not the wife16 of Jacob17?” Rabbi Isaac asked.
“Yes," Rabbi Eleazar replied. All the rabbis said a prayer18.
Rabbi Yose now turned to survey the mule driver19, who sported a goatee,20 was smoking a water pipe21, and looked tired and ragged. “How do we always end up with such half-dead beats?” Rabbi Yose asked. “He looks like a gravedigger22 who just stepped out of his own grave23.
A cloud24 passed overhead at that moment, threatening rain25 on an already sultry day26.
Suddenly there was a cloudburst, it began raining27 cats and dogs28, and everyone got soaked, including the woman29. Then, just as suddenly, the rain stopped.
"Rachel"30 then adjusted her platinum-blonde sheitel31 and removed her heavy, wet32, waist-length jacket33, though of course remaining modestly covered34.
“Call the woman35,” Rabbi Abba called out to the other rabbis. “Maybe she has some food36 or can start a fire37, warm us up38, and dry us off39.
When she heard Rabbi Abba, she slung her soaking-wet jacket40 over her left shoulder41 and walked down to the river42, where it was cooler43. She gazed across the river44 at some children45 playing on the opposite bank.
Rabbi Eleazar, his back turned to the woman46 and thus oblivious of her movement away from the group of rabbis47, said, "Amen. But how did Rachel get here48, and what does it mean that she adjusted her sheitel49 and removed her coat50? Isn't this immodest?51 In fact, why was she wearing a heavy jacket in the first place?52 And, you'd think Rachel53, beloved wife of our patriarch Jacob54, would have a sheitel55 that fit perfectly56. There's a lot here to chew on, chevra57. What are the remez58, derash59, and sod60 levels of meaning? Surely she brings us an opportunity to board the sweet chariot61 swinging low and ride to the seventh heavenly hall62."
During the last three words63 the mule driver64 interrupted with a long sigh65 followed by a short sigh66, the way a mule might interrupt the neighing of a group of horses67. Then he said, "Huh?" and rolled his eyes. The mule driver, watching Rachel removing some of her garments, stated: "You are stripping the text of its peshat68, "leaving naked the higher meanings you asked about"69.
He then admonished the rabbis70: "Dudes71: You're in your heads72 too much. Dig the young lady73 and come down to earth74. Call a spade a spade and dig deeper75 in a straightforward way. Build a foundation76 and only then build your house77. Pray from your heart78, lift your eyes to heaven instead of chasing heavenly halls79, and throw caution80 to the wind81.
Then, seeming to have forgotten what he just said, he asked the astonished assembly of illustrious rabbis82: "Why does the beginning of the Torah say 'Elohim'―gods?83"
Rabbi Yose said, "I do not see how this connects with anything84. And besides, the Talmud85 and many midrashim86 comment extensively on this.87"

The mule driver kicked in: "It is true the question is common, as Rabbi Yose says, and often has been addressed by many famous commentators over the years. Sometimes, however, what is familiar is the most profound."


Rabbi Shimon then said: "Elohim is a reference to the sefirot88, of which there are ten, a plural number—three upper sefirot and seven lower ones." He then addressed the mule driver: "What can you add to this?"
The mule driver said: "Rabbi Shimon, the Holy Lamp89, has provided an astute explanation.90"
Rabbi Yose snorted.91
The mule driver opined: "However, in this case we must take 'Elohim' literally. Something that will be said in the future in a different context by a Jewish doctor may be relevant here: 'Sometimes a plural is just a plural.'92 And sometimes the peshat93 is all there is. It was too great an effort for just the one God of Israel, blessed be His name, whatever is said about Him and His powers. It was a joint effort—"
"—by the one God and some angels,94" Rabbi Yose said.
The mule driver said: "No. The world―or this world―was created by many gods. In fact, each of the seven days of Creation was overseen by a different, lesser god—95"
Rabbi Shimon cut him off, asking: "Are you saying there were seven gods in the beginning?"
The mule driver replied: "Ten, actually!96"
Rabbi Yose butted in: "Oh, now it's ten gods. What did the other three do97?"
The mule driver, ignoring the question, said: "It's actually a matter of perspective. Think of a chanukiah98. How many lights are there?"

"Eight," Rabbi Abba said.


"Imagine now a candelabra with ten lights all the same height," said the mule driver.
"So what?" Rabbi Yose challenged.
"If you view the lights from the end, what do you see?" the mule driver asked.
"One light," said Rabbi Shimon. "You are saying, then, that it's a matter of perspective. From one angle there are ten lights; from another, one. From one perspective there are many gods; from another, just one God."
"Yes," said the mule driver.
"What about the other three lights?" Rabbi Isaac asked.
"When the ten lights are viewed from one end and then from the other, can you tell any difference?" the mule driver responded.
"What about the shamash?" Rabbi Isaac asked.
The mule driver replied: "The shamash on a real chanukiah is higher than the other lights and of course is used to light them. All light comes from it99. The other lights are just illusion100. They only appear to be lit, even when viewed from the ends, since when a chanukiah with eight evenly arranged lights and one higher than the others is held at an angle, there is only one light101. To see the oneness of this light requires changing one's perspective.102"
"In that case," asked Rabbi Shimon, "why did you say that many gods created the heavens and the earth?"
Rabbi Yose said: "Because he was trying to trick us and show us up, and demonstrate that he is smarter than we are."
There was silence.
Rabbi Eleazar then said, as the group stood up and began walking a few feet to a small clump of cork trees next to the river: "I think he is trying to tell us something."
"Which is?" asked Rabbi Yose.

Rabbi Shimon observed: "We have a plethora of interpretations here, complicating the picture. From 'Elohim' the mule driver gets 'gods' and I get sefirot. Then from 'gods' he gets one God. I don't think he is trying to trick us, so I agree with my son, Rabbi Eleazar, that he is trying to tell us something."


The mule driver spoke: "As the Holy Lamp says, 'Elohim' can be read either as 'gods' or as 'sefirot.' Both are useful lenses with which to view the Creation, but at a deeper level both are just constructs and meaningless terms."
Rabbi Abba then asked, "If, like 'gods,' the sefirot are simply a construct and have no intrinsic meaning, what is their purpose? Why would anyone think up such a notion if it weren't based on some kind of reality, on something real? And, if God is One and indivisible, how else but through the sefirot is it possible to explain the diversity and multiplicity of Creation? Without them there are metaphysical problems.103 I maintain that the Holy One emanated the sefirot, from which the heavens and the earth were created."104
The mule driver responded: "God appears multiple when His Torah is interpreted either way. This apparent multiplicity has its uses, though. The sefirot are the lubricant of self-knowledge that leads to understanding our purpose in, and the purpose of, the universe. Rabbi Shimon sees the sefirotic tree, a multiplicity, in his mind's eye, which is a unity. To the ignorant, this separateness is real, when in fact it is illusion. This understanding comes only through opening to the influence of lovingkindness105 in its total, purest form106."
Rabbi Shimon asked, "But, Elohim is the judgmental aspect of God, not the lovingkindly, compassionat, merciful aspect."
To which the mule driver responded: "As I already said, there is only one God. It is just a certain perspective that yields the notion of a God with two aspects, or two Gods. Again, when viewed from a different perspective, there is just one God, and viewed from the special perspective I talked about before, the only God is the God of lovingkindness. And, it's not really the God of lovingkindness; God is lovingkindness; they are one and the same. To see things any differently is to see things from the world of illusion.107"
The rabbis, as one―including Rabbi Shimon―dropped their jaws and were speechless108. Rabbi Abba wept109. Then, as one body, the rabbis leaned toward the mule driver and kissed him on the forehead110.
Rabbi Eleazar then said: "In order to interpret Torah we need to humble ourselves like the mule driver111, dig into the text with crude tools112, and only then work through the higher levels of meaning with more subtle tools113. In the beginning, meanings will appear multiple and perhaps contradict what we have been taught114. But after a while it will become clear that these different meanings are illusory and that the text at hand has just one true, deep meaning. And this highest meaning will manifest from the one God, the God Whose identity is lovingkindness115, as does everything in Creation."
"Amen!" everyone responded in unison, including the mule driver.116 Even the mules collectively made a sound, as if joining in the response.117
Rabbi Isaac said: "The mule driver is onto something. But, who is he anyway, and why is such a man tending mules?118"
Rabbi Shimon and the companions then glanced to their right119, in the direction of "Rachel"120, who by now had moved even farther from the rabbis121.
"Where is the 'wise' mule driver to tend to the mules?"122 Rabbi Yose asked. He had calmed down and seemed somewhat forlorn now that he didn't see the mule driver.
The mule driver seemed to have vanished into thin air123.
As if on cue, the mules began to bray and kick124, alarming the rabbis125, who didn't know how to control them126. Fortunately the mule driver127, though hidden from the rabbis128, had stayed near the animals129 and led them first to an oat field scattered with husks130 and then upstream from "Rachel"131 to the river bank132.
Listening to the mules133, Rabbi Shimon134, the Holy Lamp, then said: "I am now convinced the mule driver is Rav Hamnuna Sava135, visiting from the next world to share with us some words of Torah. As my son, Rabbi Eleazar has more eloquently said than I, Rav Hamnuna Sava is right in saying that many things we think are diverse and multiple are indeed unitary and that we need to be careful not to mistake concepts, constructs, symbols and metaphors for what they stand for. Let us savor his teachings as we continue on our way."
The companions again said a loud, collective "Amen."
The woman―"Rachel"―also said "Amen" from where she was standing, in the water136.
At that very moment the river137 made a soft splashing sound on the woman's feet138, and from that point in its course139 seemed, to all who noticed140, to move with a profoundly new sense of mystery141.

References

The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts. Three volumes. Oxford and Portland, OR: Oxford University Press, 1989. Systematically arranged and rendered into Hebrew by Fischel Lachower (vols. 1 & 2) and Isaiah Tishby (vols. 1-3), with extensive introductions and explanations by Isaiah Tishby. English translation by David Goldstein.
The Forlorn Young Woman

A Recently Discovered Fragment of the Zohar

edited by Henry Rasof
Origins

In 2011 I was traveling in Spain and went to Ávila, home for a while to Moses de Léon, the author or editor of at least large parts of the Sefer ha-Zohar (usually referred to just as the Zohar), The Book of Splendor. Ávila also was the birthplace of Teresa de Jésus, later known as St Teresa of Ávila, who happened to be born into a family descended from conversos, Jews who had converted, either willingly or unwillingly, to Christianity.


While exploring this beautiful medieval walled city I decided to walk through one of the gates in the wall near old Jewish quarter, aptly termed in English the Gate of Bad Luck, down to the stream below. I wanted to try to imagine what it might have been like for De Léon and his fellow Jews to live in Ávila and to imagine whether the surroundings might have inspired the creation of the Zohar by rabbis wandering along the river and cork trees and perhaps further into the countryside, stopping periodically to talk Torah in their remarkable, mystical way.
Although I later learned that the Zohar was probably more likely written in Guadalajara, Spain, when I was walking along the banks of the river I noticed a hole that seemed to have been left by a large boulder that had washed away. I was curious and looked in the hole, and there saw what appeared to be the end of a metal trunk. Curious, I dug away with my bare hands, only to reveal a metal storage container. Inside this container, which I managed to open using some tree branches, was a handwritten manuscript--actually, just a few pages.
Remarkably, this manuscript, written on parchment, though dry, clearly had been wet in the past now but was remarkably intact. Debating whether to keep what I had found or turn it over to a museum or to the nearby Center for the Interpretation of Mysticism, I decided to keep the manuscript. In case something should happen to it before I returned home, I photographed the pages and also made a copy, which I mailed to myself.
Once home, I photocopied and scanned the manuscript and showed a copy to a scholar fluent in the Aramaic used in the Zohar, who translated the text into English. After she and I reviewed the manuscript, we realized it was probably a small but complete section composed in the style of the Zohar. I then showed the original and the translation to Rabbi Tirzah Firestone and sent copies as well to several well-known scholars of the Zohar, all of whom confirmed that yes, this was an authentic piece of Zohar, heretofore unknown.
Aspects of the text resembled other Zohar texts; the concepts were familiar but expressed and presented somewhat differently from the way they are expressed in other Zohar texts.
Overview

This piece of Zohar begins by appearing to related a story of five of the Zohar rabbis encountering a forlorn young woman.


Soon, though, the direction of the text changes, as the rabbis engage with their mule driver, who turns out to be Rav Hamnuna Sava, a personage found in other Zohar texts who appears incognito, and who here seems to lecture the rabbis on the proper way to interpret first the forlorn young woman and then a biblical text. (You will learn more about him when you read the text itself.) Then there is a surprise: The mule driver, his identity still unknown to the rabbis, launches into a commentary on the beginning of Genesis, focusing on the word Elohim. This in turn leads to a kind of debate about dualism reminiscent, say, of the debate in Indian philosophy of whether we, God, and the world are separate entities or one. (In fact, it has been suggested that these ideas actually come from Vedanta, the ancient Indian philosophy.) The main body of the Zohar comments on Genesis, as does Tikkunei ha-Zohar, another Zohar text. What is unusual here is the weaving together of these four seemingly different discourses.
The text contains some internal repetition and, like other Zohar texts, exhibits some inconsistencies and sometimes seems to raise as many questions as it answers. Possibly, what you see here are really two separate pieces of Zohar stitched together; the second piece would begin with the discussion of Elohim. That said, I decided, after consulting the experts, to leave the text as it was found--since there is a certain unity in spite of the apparent disparate parts--and not try to iron out the wrinkles.
Presentation

The Zohar material you now have in your hands contains three sections: 1) The text itself. 2) Copious endnotes to the text, prepared in the manner of the copious notes in The Wisdom of the Zohar, an anthology of readings arranged topically. 3) Analysis, interpretation, and commentary of the text; these are arranged in alternating fashion, often within the same paragraph: for example, an analysis of the first paragraph of the text, followed by commentary on the text, following by further analysis, further commentary, and so on.


I hope you learn as much from the text as I have and return to it as often as I have in editing, analyzing, interpreting, and commenting on it. And, perhaps you too will, on your travels, turn up many discoveries as wondrous as "The Forlorn Young Woman."
References
The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts. Three volumes. Oxford and Portland, OR: Oxford University Press, 1989. Systematically arranged and rendered into Hebrew by Fischel Lachower (vols. 1 & 2) and Isaiah Tishby (vols. 1-3), with extensive introductions and explanations by Isaiah Tishby. English translation by David Goldstein.

1Binah, understanding.

2The sefirotic tree, representing the ten kabbalistic attributes of God; the fig tree, the third tree mentioned in the Torah, represents the three upper sefirotketer, hokhmah, and binah: intellect, wisdom, and understanding.

3 Grounding himself in sefira yesod, foundation. Sefira is the singular form of sefirot.

4This describes the emanation of the sefirot.

5The sefira hokhmah―wisdom.

6 The sefirot.

7 The Shekhinah, or presence of God; also, the lowest sefira, malkhut, the queen.

8 Grace is one of the characteristics of the sefira chesed, usually interpreted as lovingkindness.

9 Into ayin, nothingness.

10 The Shekhinah, or divine presence, often termed "feminine." Also the sefira malkhut. The lady will turn out to be "Rachel," who in this piece of Zohar represents the sefira chesed, lovingkindness, although this association occurs nowhere else in the Zohar or other kabbalistic literature. However, since malkhut is intensely "feminine" in nature, and hence, traditionally, nurturing, assigning chesed to her is only inconsistent within the Zoharic symbol system, not within a broader social and psychological system.

11 The sefira keter, mercy/divine will.

12 The arikh anpin, the "long countenance," signifying "the world of absolute mercy" (see The Wisdom of the Zohar, vol. 1, p. 245).

13 The Atika Kadisha, the Holy Ancient One, the primordial divine image. Also, keter, divine will, the highest of the sefirot. In our text, "old man" does not mean the woman's husband.

14 Into galut, exile

15 Chesed, lovingkindness.

16 The Shekhinah, the divine presence. Also, as used in this Zohar text, chesed, lovingkindness, instead of malkhut, kingdom.

17 Tiferet, God/harmony/balance/mercy.

18 For the unification of chesed, lovingkindness; tiferet, God/harmony/mercy; and gevurah, strength/power.

19 Hokhmah, wisdom.

20 Reminding of Esau, the brother of Jacob, who had matted red hair, representing yesod, the primordial foundation.

21 Torah = water, so studying Torah.

22 An interpreter of Torah: In Hebrew, derash, "to dig," also means "to interpret."

23 The second lowest sefira, yesodfoundation—is also associated with earth.

24The shekhinah.

25 Shefa, an overflow, outpouring, of Torah.

26Already saturated with Torah.

27Ein-sof, the remote, infinite God emanating the sefirot, which water the earth like Torah.

28Hokhmah and binah, wisdom and understanding, the first two sefirot emanated.

29Chesed, lovingkindness.

30Chesed, lovingkindness.

31Wig, covering keter, the Godhead, intellect, will, crown, the highest sefira.

32With Torah = water.

33The outermost garment of Torah.

34 With fewer of the outer garments of Torah—for example, the stories and chronologies.

35Pray for chesed, lovingkindness.

36Talmudic knowledge.

37Kindle or release the primordial wisdom, hokhmah.

38Transfer some of that light to us.

39Evaporate any confusion resulting from immersion in so much Torah.

40The outer garment of Torah is soaked with the upper sefirot.

41Left = Gevurah, boundary.

42Of Torah flowing from the Garden of Eden.

43And where more Torah was available.

44Flowing from the garden of Eden.

45These are daughter letters of the Hebrew mother letters aleph, mem, and shin, representing the three main constituents of matter: air (aleph is the first letter of avir, the Hebrew word for "air"), water (mem is the first letter of mayim, the Hebrew word for "water"), and fire (shin is the primary sound of aish, the Hebrew word for "fire"). They also represent the infinite God, Ein-sof. Although the concept of daughter letters appears nowhere else in the Zohar and is obscure, we can surmise that since during the Creation when Ein-sof emanated the universe through the vehicle of the Hebrew letters, the three mother letters constituting the Ein-sof gave birth to three daughter letters from which the rest of Creation could proceed.

46Chesed, lovingkindness.

47Chesed, lovingkindness, separating from the other sefirot.

48What is the origin of chesed, lovingkindness?

49Covering keter, the Godhead/intellect/will/crown, the highest sefira.

50The garment soaked with Torah.

51Isn't it better to occlude our purest lovingkindness, lest it become contaminated by the lower sefirot?

52Why did she need to cover her true nature?

53Chesed, lovingkindness.

54Tiferet, God/beauty/harmony/mercy.

55Keter, crown/intellect/will/Godhead.

56A reference to keter of chesed, balancing head with heart.

57"Companions"/"friends."

58Symbolic.

59Metaphorical.

60Secret.

61The merkavah, assigned various sefirot, e.g., binah, understanding, or a group of four sefirot, namely, chesed/lovingkindness, gevurah/strength/power, tiferet/beauty/God, malkhut/kingdom.

62The highest of the halls (or palaces)—hekhalot—mentioned in the vision described in Ezekiel 1:1-28 and also described in the hekhalot literature (e.g., the Book of Enoch) and also elsewhere in the Zohar. The seventh hall is "'the holy of holies'"; binah, understanding; the Shekhinah, the divine presence; and Shabbat, the seventh day. See The Wisdom of the Zohar, vol. 3, p. 593.

63 The Hebrew mother letters aleph, mem, and shin, representing three main constituents of things: air (aleph is the first letter of avir, Hebrew for "air"), water (mem is the first letter of mayim, Hebrew for "water"), and fire (shin is the primary sound of aish, Hebrew for "fire"). They also represent the infinite God, En-sof. And, they refer to the three blasts of the shofar, the ram's horn blown on the Jewish High Holidays.

64 Hokhmah, wisdom.

65 Like the long blast of the shofar during High Holidays, or a reference to the sefirotic emanation described in Tikkunei ha-Zohar, one of the components of the Holy Zohar.

66 A reference to the short blast of the shofar during High Holidays, or to the sefirotic emanations described in Tikkunei ha-Zohar, one of the components of the Holy Zohar.

67 The way one sefira might interrupt the others.

68 Its plain meaning, through it's not always so plain. Along with remez, derash, and sod, these make up the four levels of interpretation, whose acronym is PRDS.

69 You can't divide the sefirot in half; they come in an indivisible package. To the mule driver, Rachel's "upper body" appeared naked—the sefirot were revealed— even though she was still modestly clothed.

70 A spirited interpretation.

71 Hokhmah, wisdom, emanating the lower sefirot.

72 The upper sefirot.

73 Engage with chesed, lovingkindness.

74 To a lower sefira like yesod, foundation.

75 Using the interpretive tool of derash―"to dig"―the metaphoric level of meaning.

76 Yesod.

77 The rest of the sefirot.

78 Tiferet, balance/beauty/harmony/centeredness; also, God.

79 A reference to the first line of Psalm 121—"I lift my eyes up to the mountains, from where my help comes." Also, he admonishes to look to keter, the highest sefira. See note 61 for more on the heavenly halls

80 Gevurah.

81 The ruach hakodesh, the Holy Spirit, though not the one in the Christian trinity.

82 He asked for answers from the totality of the sefirotic tree.

83 Why does the Torah begin with all of the sefirot and not just the highest one, keter—God, intellect—from which all the other sefirot flow?

84 His thinking is dualistic.

85 The ancient compendium of rabbinic wisdom.

86 Rabbinic commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, related to derash, "to dig."

87 He wants to know the relationship between the upper and lower worlds.

88 Attributes of God in Jewish mysticism.

89One of the epithets for Rabbi Shimon.

90 Again, the nature of reality has been explained many times through use of the construct of the sefirot, indicating that nothing is special or mysterious about reality―it is what it is.

91 Emanated a breath of Holy Spirit.

92 An obvious reference to Sigmund Freud, who once famously said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," meaning that not everything that looks phallic is phallic.

93 The plain reading of a text.

94 In Gen. 1:26 God says, "Let us make man in our image." Two readings of "us" are: It can mean a plural God, Elohim. Or, as Rabbi Yose says, it can mean that God was consulting with angels.

95 Normally, there would be notes here reading "gods" as sefirot, but in this case the mule driver is reading "gods" literally. Rabbi Shimon is the one reading "gods" as sefirot.

96As if subtly testing Rabbi Shimon by switching interpretations, the mule driver alludes to the ten sefirot on the sefirotic tree.

97He doesn't reply because the answer would be too complicated.

98 The candelabra used for Chanukah.

99 All light comes from lovingkindness.

100 At first the mule driver appears to be denying that the other lights are not real. But, he is speaking metaphorically: lovingkindness is the only true light. It is like the moon and the sun—the moon does not emit its own light.

101 This is not a trick.

102 When we change our perspective, we see the unity of the lights.

103 The question has challenged philosophers, metaphysicians, mystics, and theologians for at least two thousand years. Simply put, the main metaphysical problem is, as Rabbi Abba points out, how a God that is a unity could create a universe that is a plurality. The sefirot are one solution―they serve as a kind of intermediary―though not a perfect one. Other thinkers, Jewish and non-Jewish, have come up with similar types of solutions, though those too are not perfect.

104 From one come many.

105 Working backwards, chesed, if thinking sefirotically.

106 Which would be the Shekhinah, emodied here as "Rachel."

107 This skirts the traditional reading of Elohim and deftly deals with any mistaken idea that there might be two Gods, a gnostic concept meant to explain the existence of evil.

108 This is like the lights on the chanukiah merging into one light—the sefirot merge into one. Speechlessness is a high state, opening the way for Torah to come into them and for the ultimate oneness of God and His creation. Or rather, for the lack of distinctions between them. An indirect reference also to the times in the Hebrew Bible when God is said to speak, even though the philosopher Maimonides said such usage is not meant literally: God does not speak as we know speaking. The editors of The Wisdom of the Zohar, vol. 1, in discussing the Ein-sof (literally, "without end"), the transcendent God, quote a Zohar text: "The seventh palace, 'O Lord, open my lips,' is the most sublime secret, in a whisper, without a sound being heard."

109 He felt the flow of Torah in him.

110 The lower sefirot acknowledge the superiority of higher sefirot: here Rav Hanmuna is hokhmah, and the rabbis, seeing keter manifesting in him, kiss his forehead in acknowledgment and out of respect.

111 Hohkmah, wisdom.

112 Using peshat, the literal meaning; also, the lower sefirot.

113 The derash, the metaphorical meaning; remez, the hinted, symbolic meaning; and sod, the deepest, secret, most hidden meaning.

114 Many gods appear to be at work in the universe, even though the Jewish tradition teaches there is but one.

115 YHVH, chesed, lovingkindness.

116 The sefirot unite, as do lower and upper souls.

117 The mules, the animal soul, were united with the higher soul—the neshamah.

118 How is it that hokhmah, wisdom, looks after the lower sefirot; and that the higher soul, neshamah, tends the lower soul, the nefesh?

119 The rabbis opened up to the influence of chesed, lovingkindness.

120 Chesed, lovingkindness.

121 Although the sefirot united, the unity was only temporary. Chesed is really in a class of its own and draws its identity from God, Who is pure lovingkindness. She needs to draw closer to her own source, the way lovingly kind people want to be with other lovingly kind people and draw from one another.

122 Hokhmah controlling the lower sefirot.

123 Merging with the Ein-sof, the hidden, transcendent God.

124 The lower sefirot begin to emit light.

125 The upper sefirot now emit light.

126 (to harness the energies of the sefirot

127 Keter, the hidden God, the Ein-sof.

128 The upper sefirot.

129 The lower sefirot.

130 The klippot/husks/shells of negative energy.

131 Chesed.

132 One of the rivers flowing from the garden of Eden; also, the stream of Torah.

133 The lower sefirot.

134 Binah.

135 Hokhmah.

136 "Rachel," chesed, lovingkindness, is immersed in Torah.

137 The river of Torah.

138 "Rachel" = chesed, lovingkindness. The feet are malkhut, kingdom.

139 The course of the emanation of the sefirot from the Godhead.

140 This is the sefira da'at, knowledge, which is not part of the standard ten sefirot on the sefirotic tree but which appears in some mystical writings, mostly later ones. It is a signal of what the future holds in store.

141 Sod is the deepest mystery.




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