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2 The Written Bible

In Hebrew the word for Bible is Tanach – תנ"ך. Tanach stands for Torah (light) - תורה, Navi’im (prophets) - נביאים, and Ctovim (writings) - כתובים. These are the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings respectively. In order to practice authentic kabbalistic meditation, one should learn the Bible well enough to have questions. Questions are springboards in meditation, for probing the voice of G-d. The Torah in the Bible includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The questions that someone asks will teach you more about that person than the answers given. When God asked Ezekiel whether the dry bones in the Valley “could yet live,” Ezekiel learned more from God with the question than the answer. He learned that he should never give up hope because God still cared about the lost house of Israel, that He still loved them, and that He still wanted to save them.

The Prophet section of the Bible begins with the Book of Kings I. The prophets possessed ‘hochmah’ – wisdom, ‘gevurah’ – physical strength, ‘asher’ – wealth, and ‘anav’ – humility. They were capable of supporting their students with their own funds. Physical strength was an essential ingredient as much as wisdom and humility.[35] The table below illustrates that each kingdom had its own prophets whether amongst the divided monarchy in Israel or from rulership outside of Israel.

Table 2-1: Prophets and Nations
Prophets (P-Priest, I-Israel, J-Judah, B-Babylon)
Year (BCE)
Ruling Kingdoms (Northern Kingdom is Israel, Southern Kingdom is Judah)
Elijah (P in I)
900 (860)
Ahab is ruling in Israel
Elisha (I)
897 (845)
Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz are ruling in Israel



Jonah (I)
852-784
Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash ruling in Israel



Amos (from J spoke to I)
765-750
From the Judean village of Tekoa.
Hosea (I)
~760
Northern Kingdom height.
Joel (J)
699-643
Manasseh ruled in Judah
Isaiah
742-687-510
Damascus, Syria (Arameans) falls to the Assyrians (731).
Northern Kingdom annexed to the Assyrian empire (723-722). Judah existed uneasily as a tributary until Hezekiah’s anti-Assyrian policies lead to Judah’s subjection (701). Cyrus, King of Persia conquers Babylon (539)
Micah
~710
From the Judean village of Moreshet.
Zephaniah
640-609
Assaults from the barbaric Scythian hordes (630).
Jeremiah (P)
627-580
Josiah ruled in Judah. During his reign, Levites in the temple discovered a scroll that reinforced the faith of the king.
Nahum
626-612
Assyrian empire began its decline after the death of Asshurbanipal (630). Assaults from the Medes from North of Persian and the Chaldeans of Southern Babylon fell Asshur, Assyria (614) and then Nineveh (612).
Habakkuk
608-598
Lived during the height of Babylonian power.
Ezekiel (P in B)
593-563
Zedekiah ruled in Judah
Obadiah
587-586
Lived soon after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians
Joel
~500
Lived in Judah during the Persian period (539-331 BCE)
Zechariah (I)
~535
Under the reign of Darius of Persia
Daniel
541


167-164
Lived at the transition from Babylonian exile to the rise of Persian Cyrus who permitted the Jews to return to their homeland.
The book seems to have been put in final written form during the Hellenistic Period preceding the rise of Rome.

The last section of the Bible is the Writings and begins with the book of Job. For a timeline of biblical history see Biblical Dates.
A good way to remember the biblical dates is to use mnemonics.

Table 2-2: Mnemonics for remembering Biblical Dates
Biblical Figure
Date
Adam
‘A’ looks like a 4 for 4000 BC if you remove the left lowest leg.
Enoch
Backwards E is a 3 for 3000 BC
Noah
2 on its side is an ark, 3 is for water, 4 and 4 are sharks swimming in the sea. 2344 BC
Abraham
2000 BC
Joseph
1800 BC like l’havdil Joseph Smith 1800 AD
Moses
In 1492 BC Moses was placed on the water like Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492
Samson
Samson pushed apart the two pillars of the stadium, which are 11 for 1100 BC.
Solomon
$000 Daddy war books is 1000 BC
Elijah
Carrying two barrels (8) of water to contest the Priests of Baal is 800 BC
Isaiah
I is like a 7 for 700 BC
Malachi
Announcing that Elijah will come before the great day of the Lord begins the countdown 432 BC.
Greeks
Or Greeeks with three ‘e’s for 333 BC
Crusades
Two pillars adopted from the Solomon temple are Jachin and Boaz for 1100 AD.


2.1 Genesis – In the Beginning – Bereshis

2.1.1 Parsha Bereshis

2.1.1.1 Creation

Text 2-1: The First Seven Words
In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Bereshis Bara Elohim et hashamayim vet haaretz – בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

Genesis, the first book of the Torah, describes creation, with the first sentence encapsulating the order of creation in seven words. The very first word of scripture contains the word Rosh – ראש that means head as in the head of the Bible. The first three letters, of the first word are Bara – ברא, which means create, suggesting that G-d is creating the very beginning as well. Elohim – אלהים is the name of G-d as creator of natural law.[36] Hence, a kabbalistic translation of the first three words of the Bible is G-d created the beginning. What is Kabbalah? Kabbalah means ‘receiving’ as to receive an esoteric tradition and make it ones own. Still, kabbalah is far more personal and the ‘receiving’ is unique to each individual. This is our personal relationship to G-d, our personal wisdom and understanding of being in our world.

Text 2-2: Bahir 3 on the First Word
And why does the Torah begin with the letter Bet? In order that it begin with a blessing (Berachah – ברכה)...[37] The word ‘beginning’ (Reshit – ראשית) is nothing other then Wisdom. It is thus written (Psalm 111:10), ‘The beginning is wisdom, the fear of G-d.’ Wisdom is a blessing. It is thus written, ‘And G-d blessed Solomon.’ It is furthermore written (I Kings 5:26), ‘And G-d gave wisdom to Solomon.’...[38]

Rabbi Nehuniah ben HaKana, the author, explores the reason why the Torah begins with the second letter of the alphabet instead of the first letter.[39] The author suggests that G-d begins the Torah with a blessing, since the first letter of the Torah is the same as the first letter for the word for blessing. Thus, G-d alludes: one should always begin studying the bible by reciting a blessing for divine guidance. The author of the Bahir connects the beginning with wisdom. Consequently, he connects the idea of ‘blessing’ with ‘wisdom.’ Hence we learn: when we recite a blessing and study G-d will help us to obtain wisdom.

The word etאת in the first verse is a directive referring to the heavens and the earth. In another example of kabbalah, we find that et is composed of the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We may read et as an acrostic referring to all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.[40] Now the first verse says, In the beginning G-d created with the Hebrew Letters the Heavens and the Earth.[41]

Text 2-3: Shlomo Carlebach’s midrash on Bereshis
When God created the world he filled it with beginnings – בראשית ברא אלוהים. This is to teach us that we can always start over and never to give up hope.

Text 2-4: Genesis 1:2
Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep
And the spirit of G-d hovered over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

Vhaaretz haita tohu vbohu vhoshech al penai g’hom v rooach elohim mrahepet al pnai hamayim –
והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשך על-פני תהום ורוה אלהים מרחפת על-פני המים
Text 2-5: Bahir 2 on Tohu
Rabbi Berachiah said: It is written (Genesis 1:2), The earth was Chaos (Tohu – תהו) and Desolation (Bohu –בהו ). What is the meaning of the word was (haita –היתה ) in this verse? This indicates that the chaos existed previously [and already was]. What is Chaos (Tohu – תהו)? Something that confounds (Taha) people. What is Desolation (Bohu – בהו)? It is something that has substance. This is the reason that it is called Bohu, that is, Bo Hu — it is in it.

Chaos or Tohu is the place of the sefirot before the shattering. The sefirot received but did not give light, which eventually caused their shattering. Tohu is the source of evil and the shattered components of the sefirot are called the Klipah Nogah, the glowing shell. Where in the Tanach do we learn that Tohu is a source of evil?[42]

Text 2-6: Samuel on Tohu
And Samuel said to the people, Fear not; you have done all this wickedness; yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn not aside; for then should you go after vain [tohu] things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain [tohu].

After the shattering some of the vessels were reassembled into the Partzufim—group forms, which make up the sefirot as they behave today. The name of G-d in Tohu associates with the letters aleph mem shin – אמש – amesh.[43] In Bohu, the name of G-d associates with the letters yod heh vav – יהו. The Sefer Yetzirah labels אמש mother letters. The father letters יהו descend from them. The father letters make up the Tetragrammaton name of G-d. The mother letters represent the name of G-d in the preceding world of chaos. Some say Aleph derives Vav, Mem derives Yod, and Shin derives Heh.[44] This is one choice.[45] Retracing from Havayah leads to the great name MShASh – משאש, gematria 641 reducing to 11. Eleven does not reduce further by the rules of numerology and means restriction, conflicting forces, or a clenched fist. MShASh is the state of the sefirot before the shattering of the vessels. They retained the shēfa – שפעה, the feminine abundance of God’s energy, instead of letting the energy flow unto the world below.[46] Masculine energy flows upward and that is tefillah the masculine form that is shĕfa – שפע.[47] “There was not yet a man in the world to speak praise of God” and this is the reason for the “clenched fist”, why the shēfa did not flow downward. As the vessels swelled, they eventually became so big that they burst open, shattering the structure of the universe.

And six branches shall come from its sides; three branches of the lamp stand from the one side,
and three branches of the lamp stand from the other side;

Another possibility is Aleph derives Yod, Mem derives Heh, and Shin derives Vav. This leads to the great and holy name אמשם. Not to be barren, ועקרה, has the same gematria.

None shall miscarry, nor be barren, in your land; the number of your days I will fulfill.

There are several variations on the Mother names of G-d as there are with the father letters. After the restoration of the vessels into the Partzufim, the names MShASh – משאש and AMShaM – אמשם diminished in power. They associate with drought and pestilence respectively.[48]

Text 2-7: Father letters --- mother letters
The Sefer Yetzirah teaches that before there were the father letters of the holy Name Havayah; there were the mother letters of the holy Name MaShASh. Who can know the meaning of the World of Chaos where the former holy Name ruled supreme?

At that time the sefirot received the SHeefah but it did not flow and it was constrained and held fast until the sefirot shattered. Why did the sefirot not let the Abundance flow?

There was not yet a man in the world to issue praise of the Female and the energy did not descend.

Table 2-3: Mother and Father Letters of Creation
Dragons Before Eden
Substance of Creation
Name of G-d
Gematria
Numerology
Tiamat[49]
Tohu (chaos) – תהו
AMShaM – אמשם
(Mother letters)
381 – 12 – 3
12 – Sacrifice to the will of others.
3 – Fertility
Bahamut[50]
Bohu (emptiness) – בהו
YHVH – יהוה
(Father letters)
26 – 8
Prosperity

Text 2-8: Bahir on Tohu and Bohu
Rabbi Berachia said: It is written (Genesis 1:2), The earth was Tohu and Bohu. What is the meaning of the word was in this verse? This indicates that the Chaos (Tohu) existed previously [and already was]. What is Tohu? Something that confounds (Taha) people. What is Bohu? It is something that has substance. This is the reason that it is called Bohu, that is, Bo Hu – it is in it.[51]

What is the meaning of the verse (Ecclesiastes 7:14), Also one opposite the other was made by G-d. He created Bohu and placed it in Peace, and He created Tohu and placed it in Evil. Bohu is in Peace, as it is written (Job 25:2), He makes peace in His high places. This teaches us that Michael, the prince to G-d’s right, is water and hail, while Gabriel, the prince to G-d’s left, is fire. The Officer of Peace – שר שלום, reconciles the two.[52] This is the meaning of the verse; He makes peace in His high places.[53]

The Officer of Peace is the leadership quality of G-d, a partzuf after the shattering and reconstitution of the sefirot. He is Zer Anpin. He is Metatron. He is Meattah, Kimos, and Sanas.[54],[55]

Text 2-9: Song of Songs 5:10-16
My beloved is white and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.
His head is like the finest gold; his locks are wavy, and black like a raven.
His eyes are like doves by the watercourses, washed with milk, and fitly set.
His cheeks are like a bed of spices, like fragrant flowers; his lips like lilies, distilling liquid myrrh.
His hands are like circlets of gold set with emeralds; his belly is like polished ivory overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are like pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his countenance is like Lebanon, excellent like the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet; and he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Hesed, mercy, and El associate with water and Gevurah, judgment, and Elohim associate with fire. In the gematria expansion of Elohim, we see:

Text 2-10: Gematria Association of Elohim and Fire
G-d (as judge) – אלף למד הי יוד מם - אלהים 80+20+15+74+112 = 301 = 300+1 אש – Fire

Text 2-11: Light before the Sun
And G-d said, let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

This light preceded the creation of the Sun and refers to the good light Hashem has stored away for us in the world to come:[56]

Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun,
and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold,
as the light of the seven days.
(Isaiah 30:26)

The creation story illustrates the progression from general to specific. The seven days associate with the seven lower sefirot and seven character qualities.[57]

Table 2-4: Seven Days of Creation
Day (Corresponding Day)
Creation
Sefira
Weekday
1 (4)
Light, darkness and the Angel of Death
Hesed – kindness
Sunday
2 (5)
Sky, clouds, oceans Gehenom and higher angels
Gevurah – discipline
Monday
3 (6)
Land, trees, herbs, and the Garden of Eden
Tiferet – beauty/splendor
Tuesday
4 (1)
Sun, Moon, and Stars
Netzah – victory
Wednesday
5 (2)
Sea creatures, birds Leviathan and lower angels
Hod – gratitude
Thursday
6 (3)
Land animals, insects, man harmful spirits – the ghosts and demons
Yesod – righteousness
Friday
7
Shabbat – day of rest
Malchut – kingdom
Saturday

By drawing the creation process in the form of the Tree of Life, we can see the descent from general to specific:[58]

Text 2-12: Creations on Each Day
R. Levi said in the name of R. Hama b. R. Hanina: The Holy One, blessed be He, created three objects on each day: on the first, heaven, earth, and light; on the second, the firmament, Gehenna, and the angels; on the third, trees, herbs, and the Garden of Eden; on the fourth, the sun, the moon, and the constellations; on the fifth, birds, fish, and the Leviathan; on the sixth, Adam, Eve, and moving creatures. R. Phinehas said: In the sixth He created six things: Adam, Eve, creeping things, cattle, beasts, and demons. R. Banayah said: Which God created and made is not written here, but WHICH GOD CREATED TO MAKE: Whatever the Holy One, blessed be He, was to have made on the seventh, He created beforehand on the sixth.[59]

Figure 2-1: The 7 Days of Creation in Descent and the Form of the Partzuf Zer Anpin

jkm001.png


The creation of Light on the 1st day is completed on the 4th with the objects that manifest light. The creation of the Sky, Clouds, and Oceans on the 2nd day is completed on the 5th day with the Birds and Sea Life. Also G-d creates the great Sea Creatures, the Taninim – תנינם on the 5th day. The creation of Land and vegetation on the 3rd day is completed on the sixth day with Land Life.[60] The Garden of Eden existed in the heavenly realm until the sin of man whereupon man was wrapped in skin and descended into the physical world. The Midrash teaches that the Shabbat complained that it was not given a counterpart, but Hashem said Israel will be your counterpart and you will preserve Israel.[61]

The first three days correspond to the thought of G-d, while the next three to the physical creation. From here we learn that it is very important to develop ones thoughts before speaking.

Text 2-13: Genesis 1: Firmament
6. And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from the waters that were above the firmament; and it was so.
8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
...
14. And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years;
15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16. And God made two great lights; the large light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night; and he made the stars.
17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
The firmament is created on the 2nd day separating the waters below from those above and the stars are placed within the physical firmament on the 4th day. The firmament is a gift from G-d interacting the position of the stars with the course of worldly events. There is not a blade of grass that does not have a star causing it to grow.[62] G-d’s providence works through the angels, but the angels in turn work through the stars and planets.[63] G-d has brought the immensity of the Universe to our doorstep intimately connecting the heavenly lights with His world. Hence, we look to the stars as a source of wisdom; we look to the stars as a source of humility.

According to relativistic motion, the stars travel around the Earth as the Earth travels around the stars. The projection of the stars into the firmament is similar to an astronomer’s sky map. Here, Torah and science converge and enlighten. The 1st day of creation had neither sun nor moon; hence its day is not within our timeframe. Tohu vVohu, unformed chaos existed paralleling the original plasma of undifferentiated matter and there was light emanating from the energy. Millions of years passed until the Milky Way settled forming the Solar System on the 4th day. Hence the creations of the seas and land on the 2nd and 3rd days are not chronological. The Vilna Gaon suggests that the first 3 days of creation are in the mind of G-d and the later 3 are physical manifestations.[64] Science has paradigm shifts of understanding causing scientific revolution.[65] The Oral Torah interprets the written.

The Seven Days of Creation are ordered by G-d for man’s spiritual humility. They are the projection of cosmological and evolutionary theory.[66] Just as man is in the image of G-d, there are creatures reflecting the image of man. There is even common DNA showing that man evolved from common ancestry with other animals. This is the secret lesson of man being created on the 6th day that we are connected with all life. In truth all animals are evolved, many are smaller than their ancestors. So the 6th day teaches that we are connected to all other animals, which are also evolved for the same length of time; but we need to be humbled in our greater power. Additionally Jews must learn to inherit the land of Israel and not shirk their responsibility that was in G-d’s power to give them like G-d gave to Adam at the time of creation, see Text 2-14:

Text 2-14: Rashi on Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning,” said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from “This month is to you,” (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded, (for the main purpose of the Torah is its commandments, and although several commandments are found in Genesis, e.g., circumcision and the prohibition of eating the thigh sinew, they could have been included together with the other commandments). Now for what reason did He commence with “In the beginning?” Because of [the verse] “The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations” (Ps. 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],” they will reply, “The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper. When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.”

All creation rests on the foundation of the seven days since each day sustains a seventh of creation.[67] The Shaarey Orah teaches us that taking an oath – שבועה is to place creation upon ones words.[68] We should not break our word since this adversely affects the building – בנין of creation.[69]

Text 2-15: Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out her seven pillars
חכמות בנתה ביתה חצבה עמודיה שבעה
(Proverbs 9:1)

We must be careful with taking oaths and speaking words before those who attempt to ensnare, has vshalom.[70] Hazal taught to avoid taking oaths.[71] The place for oaths is in our relationship to G-d.[72] The oath is intended to raise us above ourselves to commit to a greater level of observance. One must train the mouth not to swear, not to utter cuss words and not to speak with foul language. The word one speaks taints the heart within. By studying writings like the ‘Sayings of the Righteous’[73] one will be reminded of the sanctity of speech.

The sixth day of creation includes harmful spirits – אף מזיקין – the ghosts and demons after the creation of man.[74] The demons can travel from Earth to Heaven and back in seconds. They eat, drink, give birth, and die. They reproduce like humans. They are half angels. They are super-human. Some were born when Adam separated from Eve to punish himself for 130 years after the events in Eden. During this time the original Shedos, female demons, came to Adam in his sub-consciousness, and mated with him at night. Their children are the Ngai Bnai Adam, the untouchable children of Adam, spirits half angel and half human. They live partially in heaven and partially on Earth. They have the power to transform themselves into anything they wish, human or otherwise.[75] Demons see the rewards and punishment of people and understand past, present, and future. They have feelings for the suffering, and see the fate and will of G-d in the world. They are neither good nor bad, but possessing of more emotion than angels.

Adam gave seventy years so that King David might live.[76] David bore Solomon who would master the demons, [77] but in the end, his mastery of them by imprisonment would cost him his freedom of mind.[78] Solomon sought for the worm that would help him quarry stones to build his temple. Upon learning the location of the great demon, Ashmedai, he sent Benaiahu with instructions on how to bring the demon to him in order that he may question it,[79] whereupon the following events occurred.[80]

Text 2-16: Demon Wisdom
Ashmedai saw a blind man straying from his way and he put him on the right path. He saw a drunken man losing his way and he put him on his path. He saw a wedding procession making its way merrily and he wept. He heard a man say to a shoemaker, “Make me a pair of shoes that will last seven years,” and he laughed. He saw a diviner practicing divinations and he laughed.
...
Benaiahu said to Ashmedai, Why when you saw that blind man going out of his way did you put him right? He replied: It has been proclaimed of him in heaven that he is a wholly righteous man, and that whoever does him a kindness will be worthy of the future world. And why when you saw the drunken man going out of his way did you put him right? He replied, They have proclaimed concerning him in heaven that he is wholly wicked, and I conferred a boon on him in order that he may consume [here] his share [in the future]. Why when you saw the wedding procession did you weep? He said: The husband will die within thirty days, and she will have to wait for the brother-in-law who is still a child of thirteen years. Why, when you heard a man say to the shoemaker, “Make me shoes to last seven years,” did you laugh? He replied: That man has not seven days to live, and he wants shoes for seven years! Why when you saw that diviner divining did you laugh? He said: “He was sitting on a royal treasure: he should have divined what was beneath him.”

The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil bestows enlightenment – להשכיל. This is not true wisdom, but a knowledge that lulls the mind into illusion. This is similar to the influence of cults who offer pleasures to deceive the minds of their followers; or philosophical movements such as Haskalah – Enlightenment who with popularity promote arts and sciences in place of faith and religion.

Text 2-17: Genesis 3:6
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
And that it was desirous for the eyes, and that the tree would dearly enlighten,
And she took from its fruit, and ate, and also with her, and he ate.[81]

Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden existed initially, in the spiritual realm. According to kabbalah, this place is in sefira Tiferet. Adam and Eve possessed spiritual bodies not unlike the angels. However, after eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve became physical beings with physical temptations.[82]

Text 2-18: Sublime Body of Adam
Accordingly, we find that in the beginning, before his sin, Adam was on a very high level – first, in point of his existence, that is in terms of the results of his deeds, which rose to the worlds heights as we wrote previously and second in point his form and the form of his deeds.
...
Note, then; what the Garden of Eden was, it will unquestionably continue to be – rarefied, spiritual abode, where the spirits abide even now. And the Torah testifies concerning Adam that he dwelt there and ate and enjoyed the fruits that grew there. But since we see it to be the present habitation of the souls, it must be that its fruits were not earthy gross things, but far more delicate, being at least as air compared to earth. And the eating of them, too, was not by a body coarse and gross, as at present, but by a rarefied, almost spiritual body, like that of Elijah or Hanoch, ...

Adam and Eve were not the first physical people in the world but the first people in the image of G-d. They existed in the spiritual realm until G-d placed them in exile in this world. Dust from the earth, afar min haadamah, is a sublime physical source for man’s body.[83]

Adonai Elohim then formed the man, dust from the earth,
and blew into his nostrils the soul of life.

Did G-d give all living things under his dominance – ‘rudoo’ – רדו and is he simply meant to conquer – keevshua’ – כבשה as traditionally translated in Genesis 1:28?

And God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and press – keevshua – כבשה and tread – rudoo רדו in it with the fish of the sea,
and with the birds of the air, and with every living thing that moves upon the earth.

We are partners with other life forms in this more proper translation. We ‘press’ through this world together and we also make trails like the animals. The root of ‘rudoo’ is ‘radah’ – רדה, which means to tread. G-d is telling us to develop roads and pathways to improve the world for travel. Radah also relates to the word for generation – dor – דור. Here, G-d is telling us that we must preserve the world in a good manner for the next generation.[84] Another cognomen is ‘yored’ – ירד, which is to go down. In this process, we must measure our ‘dominion’ with our relationship with G-d. We must see G-d’s beauty in nature and not go down and away from His Presence. Overly asserting ‘radoo’ leads to a rude behavior. The Torah teaches that cutting down a tree requires a legal decision in order to expand a house, etc. Olive trees were not supposed to be destroyed in a time of war. Overall, Halakha must be viewed as a unity and all aspects of law must be considered before one can simply assert dominion or mastery over the world.

Yet, how can we to understand Genesis 1:28 in the light that man still held a sublime body—dust, a spirit form from the earth? This is so we know that all life communicates on the spiritual plane of the Chaya. Even rocks, planets, and stars have a consciousness on this level.[85] Here in the Garden of Eden all life lives in harmony. The natural law of this world is not the same as our world. Similarly ‘when the lion shall lie down with the lamb’ may be symbolic or represent a return to the Garden of Eden. Hence, we know that there is a sublime dimension to all creation that existed in the Garden of Eden. And how was man to be fruitful and multiple in such a spiritual state? This is to teach us that our longings and thoughts can create nforshesh – souls in this world.

Though Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of Tree of Knowledge, repentance and forgiveness were still within reach. While disobeying the commandment and avoiding confession were the sins, dwelling on the guilt instead of repentance, resulted in the attachment to evil. God saw that only through expulsion, a change of venue from the Garden, a change that would force them into new movements and deeds, could their fixation on their own sinfulness be broken. Sadness or depression over sin attaches a person to evil, has vshalom, while joy and repentance turn sin into good deeds and change the past. The word for sadness – ‘atsoom’ is related to the word for idol and is like worshipping an idol.

The body of man descends from the sublime after his first sin in Genesis 3:21:

For Adam and for his wife the Lord God made coats of skins – כתנות עור, and dressed – וילבשם them.

What are ‘Katnot Oir’ – coats of skins. They may in fact be the literal skin of the body or leather clothing. The Even Ezra says, “In the beginning G-d made bone and the inner body and now attached upon them skin. And they say ‘coats of skin’.”

Text 2-19: Even Ezra on Genesis 3:21

אבן עזרא בראשית פרק ג פסוק כא
פרשנים לבראשית פרק ג פסוק כא

(כא) כתנות עור יש אומר כי בתחלה הי' עצם ובשר ועתה קרם עליהם עור. ויש אומרים כתנות לעורם. ואחרים
אומרים כי יש בהמה בדמות אדם, והשם צוה ונפשט עורה. ואין לנו לבקש בזאת, רק נאמין שהשם עשה לאדם גם לאשתו
כתנות עור, ומי ימלל גבורותיו, ומי יספר מעשיו ונפלאותיו, ואין חקר לגדולתו:



The root of Katnot is כתן, is difficult, perhaps to ‘cover’. A derived word is cotton. The phrase ‘dressed them’ is to conceal their nakedness. Here the idea of a sublime body covered with skin is contested as the word ‘lovash’ always means to dress someone, yet the Even Ezra uses the word ‘kerem’ – overlaid with skin. If someone can explain this mystery, please email me!

Even a great sage like Abraham teaches us a lesson on depression. After his tremendous victory over the four kings, Abraham distributes what he has captured back to the original owners and receives this vision:

Text 2-20: Abraham and the Stars
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram; I am your shield, and your reward will be great. And Abram said, Lord God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me you have given no seed; and, lo, one born in my house is my heir.

And, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, He shall not be your heir; but he who shall come forth from your own bowels shall be your heir. And he brought him outside, and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to count them; and he said to him, So shall your seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


Why does the Torah teach us that God brought Abraham outside first? This is to teach us that we must take ourselves outside of ourselves to pull ourselves out of depression, which is idolatry. There is not a constellation (Ayn Mazel) for Israel. This teaches us that the Jews attach themselves to Ayn – Nothing, which is God directly for their reward.

Text 2-21: Genesis 1:26-28
And God said, Let us make – נעשה man in our image – בצלמנו, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. And God created – ויברא the Man in His own image – בצלמו, in the image – בצלם of God (He) created – ברא him; male and female (He) created – ברא them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth...

Genesis 1:26-27 teaches that faith does not rest on any particular verse(s) of the Torah. While one verse intimates that God consults his court to take part in the creation of a man, the subsequent verse explains that God alone creates man. The first verse states, “vElohim omair” – “And God said” with the singular verb. There is never any doubt that there is just one God. Nevertheless, a Hasidic commentary on Rashi teaches that these verses give us “Bahira Hophshi” – “free choice”. While our soul calls out to one God, we by faith are choosing this belief again.

The word for ‘image’ is tzelem from the word for ‘shadow’ that is tzel. An image is like a projection. Tzel also means a cloud or ghost. The tzelem is the spiritual form that man possesses that is in the image of G-d that is the Tree of Life.[86]

2.1.1.2 Evolution

The discovery of prehistoric life is a greater testimony to the greatness of G-d than the belief that all was set forth 6000 years ago. Instead we are filled with awe and wonder when we realize the universe has been around for hundreds of millions of years. Our personal relationship with G-d is enhanced by Her expression in the name Elohim—in the force of nature. While approximately 6000 years of human history is recorded in the Bible, we ought not to preclude the pre-historical world. Furthermore, there is evidence that earlier man also perceived a relationship with the divine and possessed a sense of religion.

Instead, the quantity of prophetic revelation that agrees with science is amazing. For example, that the Bible recognizes the existence of light before stars reflects a perception of the first plasma energy before stars coalesced.

One can visit Dinosaur National Park[87] or any dinosaur museum and see actual fossils still embedded in rocks and be amazed that these creatures once walked upon the face of the earth. Considering the extraordinary length of earth’s existence, one can imagine the progression of life from single cell to sea creatures to land creatures to dinosaurs and finally to smaller life forms that could survive a cataclysmic event such as a large meteor impacting the Gulf of Mexico. That the size of the Sun changes through the course of its existence, suggests that at one point Venus held a similar pattern of temperatures that now exists on earth and in the future when life on Earth has passed, life on Mars may begin. The existence of life is actually encouraged in the time slice of a star’s life giving rise to long periods of diverse temperatures within each solar system.

The Bible also provides an interactive record of G-d’s revelation with man during a particular time slice of existence. That such mystical experiences really occurred can be validated by the techniques in this book. The historical record, kinship with nature, and the reproductive process are personal ways to relate to G-d. Each person in the world has a unique relationship with his or her Creator.

2.1.1.3 Lady, Life of the World

Adam was asleep when G-d took a rib from him and made the first woman. There is also a teaching that while Adam remained asleep G-d brought the woman to see him to see if she would accept him. From here we learn that a man must not criticize his wife for she accepted him first with all his faults. [88] Also we learn that a woman accepts a man as her husband. Overall, a husband and wife should overlook each other’s faults and accept each other.

Text 2-22: Mother of all Living
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living
ויקרא האדם שם אשתו חַוָּה כי הוא היתה אֵם כל-חי:

The name Havah alludes to a ‘tent, a village of nomads, a home’ and also means ‘to announce or relate’. More importantly, the name contains the last two letters of the name of G-d representing Zer Anpin and Nukvah, i.e. the prince and princess energy of G-d together. This teaches that a husband should express himself as a youthful prince towards his wife who in turn is forever his princess. The wife lives the eternal fairytale of youth with her husband, her prince.

Havah is similar to the word Hayah which means life as some claim the vav and yod are interchangeable. Hence, the analogy to the mother of all life in the posuk. The Nukva is often thought of without eyes, because she sees by her faith with a clearer vision. She believes without question.

2.1.1.4 Shabbat Meditation

This following meditation is for Shabbas in order to review the events of the week for improvement:[89]

Meditation 2-1: Weekly Review
Remember back to last Saturday night through the following night. This is Yom Rishon, the first day of the week. This day is dominated by the sefira of hesed that is loving-kindness. Recall acts of kindness and expressions of love you showed another on this day.

Remember back to Yom Sheni, this is the second day of the week from Sunday night through Monday. The day is dominated by the sefira of gevurah. Gevurah represents how we help others and ourselves grow through discipline, rigor, and organization. Try to remember what you did to help organize yourself or others that day. Recall any struggles and how those struggles served the purpose of helping people grow.

Remember back to Yom Shlishi, the third day in the week. This begins on Monday night through Tuesday. This day is dominated by sefira Tiferets, which is associated with compassion and balanced harmony. Recall events that brought you or others to a state of harmony on this day. Remember any acts of compassion you showed others.

Remember back to Wednesday, which is Yom Revaee, the fourth day in the week beginning Tuesday night through Wednesday. This day is dominated by the sefira netzah that represents the quality of enduring. Recall what events you saw this day that will have lasting impact on yourself and others. What did you do that required endurance for the day and served to rescue and help others?

Remember back to Thursday that is Yom Hamishi, the fifth day of the week from Wednesday night through Thursday. This day is dominated by Hod. Hod, which represents humbleness is not a passive trait but requires one to go out and interact with other people keeping a sense of humility in ones personality. This helps others grow.

Remember back to Friday that is Yom Sheshe, the sixth day of the week from Thursday night through Friday. The day is dominated by the sefira of Yesod that represents joining and bonding with others. What did you do on Friday to promote your relationship with significant others.

Remember back to Saturday, Shabbat, the seventh day of the week. Shabbat is the receptacle for all the deeds of the rest of week. Shabbat is dominated by the sefira of Malchut that is the kingdom of G-d in this world. Malchuts is the sum total of whom we are, which is our soul. There is a channel between Yesod and Malchuts and all of energy is deposited with Malchuts, which determines the quality of our soul.

2.1.1.5 Regression


While reading Scholem’s Jewish Mysticism and Cohn-Sherbok’s Jewish Mysticism (pp. 152-156), Erev Shabbas, I ran across Luria’s idea of the tzimtzum, the withdrawal and reentry of G-d in the process of creation.

Text 2-23: Moshe Hallamish on the Tzimtzum
Withdrawal occurs for the sake of expansion. Through the empty void, a line (kav) or thread (hoot) or the form of the letter yod emerges, a sort of beam of light that illuminates divine efflux and causes it to descend. Yet the line itself does not descend continuously; rather, recurring moments of contraction cause an alternation of hiddenness and revelation. “Every instance of new lights appearing is preceded by tzimtzum.”[90] It is the same process of breathing in and out suggested above.[91]


The following morning I did this meditation to unravel its secrets:[92]

Meditation 2-2: Back to the Beginning
I began to regress myself with the intention of going back to the beginning of time. I saw when I was 25 and living in Israel. I saw further back to 1968 and the Vietnam War. I saw World War I and then back to Lincoln giving an address from a train.[93] I saw the War of 1812. I saw French ships entering US seas in order to stave off the English in the Independence War. I saw back into the history of England.

I saw the Jews living in Spain and how they were both a thorn and a blessing here. Their stubbornness was a thorn to the Spanish Inquisitors who attempted to force their conversion to Christianity by torture. I saw the Second Temple standing in its magnificence and then the First Temple in smaller form. Finally, I saw the tabernacle at Shilo of simplistic beauty, perfectly dedicated to Hashem’s service. The tabernacle was a rectangular mound off the floor. There were stairs ascending from all sides. I saw an alter upon it with a pleasant smoke rising up to heaven. I heard G-d say:

How good is My nation, there is no other nation like them.

I heard a song like the following:

Dance with Israel, sing with Israel, pray with Israel, love with Israel ...

I wondered what made Israel so great and I heard the answer was in their simplicity of service to Hashem. Each tribe lived in its own area and had a unique service in the land of Israel. I saw tzitzits on their four-cornered garments but I also saw that their daily lives were not obsessed with learning. Instead, they learned to live, not lived to learn. They worked and kept the commandments, loved G-d and raised families, spending most of their lives nurturing one another and the land they lived on.

I went back further in time briefly glimpsing the life of Abraham, back to the time when Hanoch walked the land. Hanoch was righteous all his days:

And Enoch walked with G-d after he begat Methuselah three hundred years,
and begat sons and daughters:
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
And Enoch walked with G-d: and he was not; for G-d took him.[94]
(Genesis 5:22-24)

I saw when Hanoch became not. His soul was drawn out of his body swiftly leaving no remnant in his body, his bones losing all form returning to earth.[95]

[At this point Hashem granted an angelic voice to ask questions on the rest of the journey. During the review of this vision while walking to shul, I wanted to know the name of the voice, which I called Kol. The voice asked, Who am I? I responded, the angel Metatron who was formerly Hanoch. I asked to understand how Moshe communicated with G-d face to face; how his prophesy was from a higher source than the prophesy of others? I saw that G-d filled Moshe with the first light of divine truth— a stream of light filling an empty sphere, the tzimtzum. Few receive prophecy directly from Hashem; most receive prophecy through the angels who are of the same form as Moshe. The messiah will be like Moshe again— see the Tish B’Av vision.]

I went back further to the Garden of Eden and saw the creation of Eve. I saw how Hashem drew forth a rib from Adam, and fashioned a woman and placed her beside him as he slept. I saw the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge in the garden. The later was like a fruit tree of modest height. On the other hand, the Tree of Life’s height extended into the reaches of the sky and its width was too wide to fathom. The Tree called for an embrace. As I came close, a spiritual fire encompassed us and I felt myself cleansed of any taint of sin. [This was necessary to proceed further.]

I went back before the trees to the days of creation. I saw the creation of the animals, grass and all plant life; the creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars in the heaven. Finally, I saw the creation of the first light and the preceding Tohu and Bohu. The first light was the first line of light that flowed into the empty space (the place of G-d’s withdrawal in the tzimtzum). The chaos before was the emptiness of G-d’s withdrawal.[96] The emptiness represented the quality of Din, judgment or constriction.[97]

I plunged into the emptiness and felt the withdrawal of Hashem. The rate of withdrawal was beyond physical travel and I wondered how I would reach the receding point. The Kol said to travel by spirit and will to reach the boundary. I saw the edge of light in the distance.[98] I willed myself through the edge and now I stood in the undifferentiated form of the first light. I could not comprehend what was around me. I tried to recall some daat—some knowledge that would help me understand. This place was before and beyond the creation of the Sefirot. Not even the place of Hashem’s Ratzon – Will existed in this light.[99] I glimmered above the sefirot and the Kol asked what I saw. I told her I saw of BN, MH, SaG, and AV, the realm of the Hebrew letters.

I saw the Hebrew letters traveling in chains.[100] There were also the 10 numerals but they were separate like flying disks in space. I moved my mind to the source of the letters in the light and saw the primordial form of the Torah in the light. I heard this song:

Love the Torah, learn the Torah, dance with the Torah, dwell with the Torah ...

There were no angels yet created as there were no worlds but I still heard the Kol and wondered about its existence. I sought out the voice and noticed a small space in the light, a small tzimtzum. I saw a thread of light entering the space, which was like a mouth transmitting the words. Here, I learned how G-d speaks to Moses and the angels face to face, but to the rest of us through angels. The Torah was one of ten forms that existed prior to all creation.[101] (see Precreations)

There was no sense of a personal G-d in the Ayn Sof. I felt only Nothing and I didn’t understand why. I wanted to find my personal G-d but even this is a result of creation! The Kol asked me what I could know? I told him I could not know anything else while in my separate spirit and that to know further would result in the end of my own identity. I did not fear this kind of death strange enough since it was a merging with the Cosmos from whence I came. Nevertheless, I realized that even beyond the heaven of G-d’s creation and man’s comprehension, lies the Ayn Sof which dissolves all identity back into itself, the experience at the end of life. This ‘final experience’ is the end of knowledge and self-being, an utter nihilism of personal existence and yet beyond even thought or supreme consciousness as we imagine.

I asked the Kol to guide me and we proceeded forward out of this light into consciousness, and yet, I remained in a waking trance to memorize the vision. I would have to wait until the end of Shabbas to write it down. The Kol asked me how I would do this. I answered that I would review it forward until the point after creation and than review it backward from my own life. I reviewed it as I walked to shul. This morning I picked up the Book of Enoch and brought it upstairs subconsciously, to begin a new learning.

Smoke rising to heaven is ‘ashan’ – אשן. The Aleph denotes ‘olam’ – the world, the Shin denotes ‘shana’ – the year or time, the Nun denotes ‘nefesh’ – the soul. These are the three principles in creation. The Bahir calls them, the Teli, the Wheel, and the Heart. The Teli – תלי, related to the Tallis,[102] is the constellation Draco traveling a circular pattern around the North Star. All the stars hang from the Teli like all the commandments hang from the strings of the Tallis.[103] The Wheel is the endless cycle of time rolling around each year. The Heart is our soul rising in the smoke back to God.

There is a greater meaning to the Heart. The Heart is the image of G-d within us. That we should maintain a pleasant tone of voice with others is part of our heart. There is a secret hitbodeut to the Teli, Wheel, and Heart. We are inspired by the Teli to meditate, we meditate on how to become better is the Heart, and we visualize the future and bring it back to the present is the Wheel.[104] Is this not the entire transformational process of meditation and prophecy?

Text 2-24: Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi on the Chain of Creation

The kabbalah describes how G-d created the world not in one step, but rather in a gradated process called Seder Hishtalshelus — the chainlike scheme by which the creative Divine light undergoes successive stages of self-concealment in the course of its descent from G-d’s ethereal transcendence to the creation of the tangible physicality. Each successive link in the chain is a further concealment of the infinite, and a further revelation of the finite.[105]

Seder Hishtalshelus on a higher level are chains of Hebrew letters that form creation like the chains of genes composing the DNA structure. On a lower level, the sefirot form a chain from Keter to Malchut carrying the Shefa, the flow of G-d’s energy to creation.

2.1.1.6 Birthday of the World

The birthday of the world approaches.[106] The Shaarey Orah describes the story of Abraham and Isaac as a battle between kindness and judgment.[107] The gematria of kindness – Hesed – חסד, 4+60+8 is 72, which parallels the 72 names of G-d in the Great Name of triplets. The Great Name is composed from three sequential sentences in Exodus, each having 72 letters.[108] Abraham associates with kindness and mercy, and Isaac with judgment. When Abraham bound Isaac, mercy was binding judgment to show that mercy is greater.[109] Mercy is above judgment and acts first to release us as Abraham released Isaac.

Isaac, representing judgment, loved Esau for he saw that Esau’s descendents would be the instrument of judgment and also redemption for Israel. Isaac saw that Israel would go into exile and this would save them from utter destruction. They would atone in the oppression of the galut. Nevertheless, Isaac worried that the oppression would destroy Israel, until he saw the instrument of oppression would be the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau.[110] Hence, Isaac delighted in the food that Esau brought and blessed him with physical rewards. Esau would judge Israel with his descendants: the Edomites, Greeks, and Romans. Esau is the father of philosophy. Philosophy oppresses the spirit of the children of Jacob.[111] Nevertheless, philosophy is a tikkun for humility which in excess distorts ones identity.

Meditation 2-3: Shimmering of Light
I saw the angels descend around me each composed of a myriad of lights. I saw a cross-formed through me from Michael to Gavriel and from Uriel to Raphael.[112],[113] Eventually, the outer lines were connected into a square and lines rose from the vertices into a pyramid with a point intersecting over my head in the Shechinah.

Figure 2-2: The Angelic Meditative Focus
jkm002.png

The meditation became cosmological and I saw the initial fiery expansion of the universe with packets of light turning into galaxies. I went back in time and I saw that this expansion was preceded by another Universe contracting and expanding, And G-d made this King and he was not (Genesis). Each universe was one of Hashem’s tested worlds expanding and contracting into nothing and recreation. I sought to understand the concept of the first seven days that the Rambam teaches are seven days like our own in time. I saw this story played out on the higher spiritual plane. Kabbalah discusses the concept of an upper Eden that parallels the lower garden. This is like our upper soul, the neshamah, which exists in a higher plane while our body soul, the nefesh, exists here. Hashem modeled the spiritual counterpart of the physical world in seven days in the upper Eden. This is where Hashem placed the first soul – neshamah of Adam, 5756 years ago as well as the upper spiritual counterparts of all life. When Adam sinned, his nefesh dominated his mental reality and he found himself cast out into this world. Our whole world is the lower garden.

This world is paradise! We merely need to tend the Garden.

While attending services at Habad, I saw that the color of my tallis was like the color of angels, white from heaven. Angels descended around lifting me to the world of Yetzirah.[114] There, beautiful wreaths are weaved and placed on a stack to be carried to the throne of G-d. For a while I watched, and then I began to help, carrying the wreaths to an archangel who would carry them to the throne of G-d. I heard a voice that said this one should be permitted to see where they go. New angels descended and brought with them a Merkavah, a magic carpet. The carpet lifted and ascended beyond Yetzirah to an overlook of the world of Beriyah. Below was the throne of G-d, purple with a clear diadem sitting in its midst. Tallis wrapped apparitions stood around the throne speaking prayers. Wreaths were laid upon the throne and then consumed in a light that descended from on high. The crowd parted and I came close to the throne. There was power and danger in the light that descended for those standing close to the throne, but I embraced and merged into the light. There was an embrace in the light like the presence of G-d and something else. The color around was white, without past, present, or future. There is the color of sky blue in one region. This is the Presence of G-d with the nation of Israel.

As the presence ascended, I ascended with it taking the prayer wreathes to the world of Atzulut. In Malchuts, the shefa of G-d descended with bounty and reward for the world below. With the name El Chai, El Shaddai, the orange light of the setting sun, Yesod transmitted its bounty to Malchuts. In the green grasslands of Tiferet are tables with Torah scholars about learning and teaching under the yellow sunlight of G-d. The Shechinah lifts the wreaths of prayers to the King and they join revealing the black infinite floor of Keter where the Will of G-d takes form.

Three Seraphim speak for the past, present, and future. In the past, the seraph shows the waters of creation and the presence of G-d in the lightning of dark skies. In the present, there is the Kotel[115] where a seraph gathers prayers submitted quickly before sunset. In the future is the Third Temple, built to enclose completely the ‘Dome of the Rock’ where the holy of holies rests inside.

Most important is the shimmering. Like ripples of water in a babbling brook over shallow stones in bright sunlight, our eyes look upon others creating the ether of G-d. What is the ether? It is none other than the shimmering, the shimmering of beatific light around creation. G-d has endowed mankind with the power to create the ether.

And the Lord caused a deep sleep over Adam and He took from him a rib and made woman
and brought her to him.[116]

The Kabbalists of the Hasidei Ashkenaz taught that when we see—we emit light from our eyes that defines objects.[117] Hence, seeing the good in creation manifests the ‘shimmering of beatific light around creation.’ This is the Ether, the spiritual light around an object.

2.1.2 Parsha Noach

Noach was a ‘simple, righteous, man’ – איש צדיק תמים. The highest spiritual levels are achieved only through simplicity. Rabbi Nachman said that he achieved almost everything by simply reading the Psalms of David and talking to G-d. It is the same with all tzaddikim.

נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדרתיו את-האלהים התהלך-נח
Noach was completely righteous in his generation and Noach walked towards G-d.

The Torah teaches that Noach was not swept away in the tide of immorality prevalent in his generation, but walked with G-d instead. Noah’s obedience is amazing in that he stood outside his society immune to assimilation. This he achieved because he had no concept of self; thus, he had only obedience towards G-d.[118] This is the principle of ‘bittul’, self-nullification that leads to humility and keeping the Torah. Nevertheless, because he did not question G-d before flooding the world, Noah is not credited with the hesed of Abraham towards his fellow man.

Now the land – ארץ was in a state of ruin – שחת. This is to say that that the areas of civilization were like a house infested with termites.[119] There is no manner of repair possible and the damage is to the core. As the behavior of man goes so the nature of the world is affected. Hashem sends a flood to cover the land. The word again is Eretz. If the whole world would be flooded, the word would have been Olam. From here, we learn that only the civilized place of the world is flooded. Why were the children swept away with their parents in the flood? Does the apple fall far from the tree? Children are the shadow of their parents. They have their characteristics when they are young. When they get older they change, but they still have some of their characteristics.[120]

When Ham the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father, he told – v’ya’geed – ויגד, in a giddy manner about the state of his father. Perhaps Canaan was involved here and Ham failed to reprove his son. When Noach awakes from his sleep, he realizes ‘that which has been done’ – אשר-עשה to him. The text does not say that he heard what had been said about him. This teaches that to make fun of someone makes a situation that is not easily reparable. Similarly, in a Chofetz Chaim story, a person came to him to ask for forgiveness about gossip he had spread. The Chofetz Chaim told him to take a pillow and cut it open in the wind. When he returned, the Chofetz Chaim said, “Now gather the feathers that have spread—for as difficult as it is to gather all of these feathers is as difficult as it is to repair the damage of gossip.”

In Parsha Noach, God presents the laws given to the whole world. In Table 2-5 laws in green are from the Garden of Eden and those in brown are the Noahide laws, traditionally accepted as the seven universal comm[121]ments.121 The Noahide laws are mentioned in Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 56: “Our Rabbis taught: seven precepts were the sons of Noah commanded: social laws; to refrain from blasphemy, idolatry; adultery; bloodshed; robbery; and eating flesh cut from a living animal.” These laws are probably based on a legend recorded in the 2nd century BCE Book of Jubilees[122]20-28:122

Text 2-25: Jubilees 7:20-28
And in the twenty-eighth jubilee [1324-1372, since the creation] Noah began to enjoin upon his sons' sons the ordinances and commandments, and all the judgments that he knew, and he exhorted his sons to observe righteousness, and to cover the shame of their flesh, and to bless their Creator, and honor father and mother, and love their neighbor, and guard their souls from fornication and uncleanness and all iniquity. For owing to these three things came the flood upon the earth ... For whoso sheddeth man's blood, and whoso eateth the blood of any flesh, shall all be destroyed from the earth.

Table 2-5: Garden of Eden and Noahide Laws
Laws
Commentary
Source/Sefira
Learning about nature and providing names for everything.
That we may know G-d’s creation.
Keter or Daat
Giving a name is the use of will with knowledge.
Tending the gardens of the world.
To beautify the world G-d has given us. To tend his plants and animals.
Hochmah
All wisdom is obtainable by working with plants and animals.[123]
Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth.
(Genesis 9)
Commanded to Adam and Eve and thus the world
Binah
Understanding is motherhood.
Not to murder.
(Genesis 9:6: “If one sheds the blood of the man [HaAdam], by man shall his own blood be shed.”)
Every man is in the image of G-d.
Hesed
Kindness is not to murder by slander that is the essence of love thy neighbor.
Not to worship idols.
(Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before me.”)
These include money, work, or any interest that divides ones mind from G-d.
Gevurah
We restrain ourselves from material idolatry.
Not to curse G-d.
(Leviticus 24:16: “He who blasphemes the name of the
Lord [Hashem] shall die.”)
That everything G-d does for us is for the good.
Tiferet
We see the beauty of all creation and never curse G-d for our lot.
To establish courts of justice.
(Genesis 18:19: “For I have known him so he will command [yitzaveh] his children after him to keep the way of the Lord and
righteousness and justice.”
That the world may be civilized with commerce and honesty.
Netzah
Moses established courts of justice forever.
Not to commit adultery or incest.
That we respect the marriages of our neighbor and the sanctity of our soul.
Hod
Appeasement may lead to these sins.
Not to steal.
(Leviticus 19:11: “You shall not steal; you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another.”
Respecting the property of ones neighbor.
Yesod
Joseph never took advantage of his position, never stole a single item, especially the wife of his master.
Not to eat flesh from a living animal.
(Genesis 9:4: “You must not, however, eat flesh with its life- blood in it.”)
Respecting animals.
Malchut
We respect all life in the physical world.

These laws depict the sefirot in the Torah. While the Ten Sayings of Creation are earlier, the first ten laws additionally show the separation between the mentalities – moachin – מוחיןמחין and characteristics – מידות – midos. The root of moach – מח means fatten referring to the marrow or brain. These are “states of consciousness” according to the Baal Shem Tov.[124] This would be Hochmah – source wisdom consciousness, Binah – analytical productive consciousness, and Keter – the creative synthesis: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.[125] On the other hand Midah – מידה means measurement in terms of human quality.

In Hebrew the word for idols – e’li’lim – אלילים occurs in the second psalm of the Pseukei D’zimra service on Shabbat. Here we are told that the gods of other nations are idols having no power within them. Yet, one may infer from Exodus 20:3 that at this time the religion did not preclude the existence of other deities. In addition the phrase, the Lord your G-d is redundant unless other gods existed. Exodus 20:1 can be contrasted with Exodus 25:1 to see the declaration of the godhead vs. the personal relationship between Hashem and Israel.

G-d commands Noah to make a Tsohar – צהר in the ark to provide light. The Tsohar is an opening for the light of the sky to enter. At noon – tzaharayim – צהרים the light of the sky is overhead and would illuminate brightly into the ark from an opening in the top center. Hence tsohar came to refer to a double measure of light. At night the Tsohar would permit those inside to see by starlight. Tsahar means to press out oil and suggests that a tsohar presses out light into a place. The root of tsohar is har – הר that means mountain. The ancient meaning of tsohar probably alludes to sunrise which would usually appear from behind a mountain in any hilly country. The letter Tzadi referring to tzedek, G-d’s righteousness, and ‘har’ to the mountain of G-d.

The Kuzari discusses another origen for the Seven Noahide laws:

Text 2-26: Kuzari on Seven Noahide laws
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying: 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat'

From The Kuzari (3:73), "God, the Almighty commanded Adam saying, 'From all the trees of the garden you may eat'" (Bereishis, 2:16) is an allusion to the seven Noachide commandments.

The interpretation of this verse is as follows:
"commanded" refers to laws (concerning monetary matters),
"God" refers to blasphemy,
"Almighty" refers to idolatry,
"Adam" refers to murder,
"saying" refers to adultery,
"from all the trees of the garden" refers to thievery,
"you may eat" refers to eating the flesh of a live animal.

2.1.3 Parsha Lech L’hah

Take yourself out of your place. One of the hardest things to do is move. This was one of the ten tests given to Avraham Avinu. In this Torah portion Hashem reveals to Avraham the name El Shaddai meaning Almighty. We call upon the Almighty to overcome our most difficult challenges. This name is associated with fruition and the sefira of Yesod.

The passage, “G-d will raise you up on wings of eagles to bring you back to the homeland.” In operation Magic Carpet, Yemenite Jews felt that silver birds taking them to Israel fulfilled this prophecy.

At the beginning of the parsha, the Torah teaches us to make souls:[126]

Text 2-27: Lech L’hah—“Walk for yourself”
1. And the Lord had said to Abram, Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you;
2. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing;
3. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you; and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the body-soul that they had made in Haran; and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan; and to the land of Canaan they came.
6. And Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the terebinth of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
7. And the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your seed will I give this land; and there he built an altar to the Lord, who appeared to him.”
8. And he moved from there to a mountain in the east of Beth-El, and pitched his tent, having Beth-El on the west, and Hai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.
9. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the Negev.
10. And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was severe in the land.

It is through Avraham that whole world is blessed. He established the paradigm of the personal relationship between G-d and man. Moreover G-d loved Avraham, not just in the unconditional love of the Infinite, but also on a personal level. As Avraham was beloved by mankind so he was beloved by G-d. While he followed G-d’s will, he also strove to pursue the mercy of G-d even upon the wicked, i.e. in his search for the good men of Sodom and Gomorrah. In reward, G-d showed mercy to all of Avraham’s descendents and G-d blesses him to become the father of many nations. G-d did not forsake Ishmael nor forget Isaac both who strove for the love of their father.

There is a tikkun that Abraham should not have sent Ishmael away despite the words of Sarah the prophetess, but he should have challenged G-d to show that he could take the time to fully embrace his son with discipline and love. After discipline, love must return and one needs to spend time with ones children. King David made the same error with some of his children who were raised mostly without his help. We should try as Abrham and David to foster an environment that does not appear as favoritism to any of his children and take the time to make it happen.

L’havdil, the word for curse here is “kallel” which is to harm. On the other hand, Hashem uses the word “arror” to denote a burden that will benefit. When Hashem says that he will make the land difficult to work for Adam and Hava after their sin, he is saying that the land will be arid and difficult to work; yet, they can succeed. When he uses the word curse here it is in harm. Hence, all the descendents of Avraham must learn to accept each other to avoid this harm. They should not deny each other’s legitimacy. Ishmael must recognize the inheritance of Isaac to Israel even as his discendents inherited and penetrated the cultures of the rest of the Middle East. Esau inherited the lands of Edom and must also be loved by Jacob even as he accepts the inheritance of his brother. Avraham Avinu understood—“Lord, do not forsake his great love for humanity and let his children bless themselves in his name before You. We are all children of Avraham Avinu, we respect each other, and we will get along.”

Abraham converted the men as Sarah converted the women, and together they constituted a single body of followers of the Lord. The Hebrew for body-soul is “et haNefesh” – this specific body. HaNefesh, literally, the soul, can also mean souls, which some translations prefer.

Text 2-28: Genesis 3:14-20
14. And the Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life;
15. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
16. To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply the pain of your child bearing; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.
17. And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life;
18. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field;
19. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.
20. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

The word here is again “arror” denoting the snake will have greater difficulty with motion though he can be successful and denoting the ground will be difficult work, but it is “for your sake”. The word “ba-Ahvorecha” translated as “for your sake” means literally “in your passing” through the land. The difficulty of “arror” is the purpose of exercise to make us stronger and better. This in fact is the purpose of the physical world, which provides opportunities for souls to grow that cannot be accomplished in Sheol where souls reside after death. That life is a gift is indicated by the belief in resurrection of the dead, that our bodies are part of our souls and that we will yet live in this world again, if only to be able to perform a “cartwheel”.[127]


The earliest record of conversion in Judaism is Abram’s creation of souls in Haran:[128]

Text 2-29: Genesis 12:5: The Making of Souls
...and the soul they had made in Haran...
ואת-הנפש אשר-עשו בחרן


When a person prays to G-d and does not see souls in heaven that may join with him, one may choose instead to create souls here on Earth. How does one create a soul? One meditates on the person who has accepted the Torah, visualizing their image (tzelem) ascending to heaven, accepted by the angels of G-d with great rejoicing. The Ribono Shalom takes great pleasure in these souls and brings them to Sinai to accept the Torah.[129] All of our souls are connected. Abraham made a soul in Haran. The soul is the Chaya consciousness of all the people in Haran that Abraham raised to the gates of heaven, Shaarei Shamayim.[130]

Perhaps the more plain interpretation is to see Nefesh as referring to the “life they had built” for themselves in Haran, as opposed to “souls they had acquired”. In other words, they did not leave any personal attachments behind.

The first ten verses of this Torah portion parallel the kabbalistic paradigm:

Table 2-6: Lech L’hah and the Secret of Relocation
Verse
Sefira
1. And the Lord had said to Abram, Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.
(Will of God – Keter)
2. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing;
(The Root of Blessing – Hochmah)
3. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you; and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
(Source of Families – Binah)
4. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
(With the help and kindness of God – Hesed)
God helped a man of 75 years start a new life.
5. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the soul that they had made in Haran; and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan; and to the land of Canaan they came.
(With his possessions – Gevurah)
6. And Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the terebinth of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
(Seeing the beauty and truth of the land – Tiferet)
7. And the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, To your seed will I give this land; and there he built an altar to the Lord, who appeared to him.
(Eternity and prophecy – Netzah)
8. And he moved from there to a mountain in the east of Beth-El, and pitched his tent, having Beth-El on the west, and Hai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.
(The priestly altar – Hod)
9. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the Negev.
(Righteousness will be found in the Desert – Yesod)
10. And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was severe in the land.
(Kingship was in Egypt – Malchut)

The personage of Melchizedek is introduced in Genesis 14.

Text 2-30: Genesis 14:18-22
18. And Melchizedek king of Shalem brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God.
19. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth;
20. And blessed be God the Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.
21. And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.
22. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand to the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth.

In Genesis 14:22 the name, Hashem, is added to the Melchizedek blessing. Perhaps Melchizedek did not know G-d by this name? Later we find Moses saying by that name, Hashem, our ancestors did not know Him so Abram would not have used this name, but instead El Shaddai. Abram or an editor wanted to clarify that Hashem is the true Owner of the heaven and earth, thus transforming the proper noun, Most High God to a descriptor of Hashem.

Text 2-31: Genesis 14:22
כב וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָם, אֶל-מֶלֶךְ סְדֹם: הֲרִמֹתִי יָדִי אֶל-יְהוָה אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom: ‘I have lifted up my hand to Hashem, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth’

Text 2-32: Exodus 6:3
ג וָאֵרָא, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב--בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי; וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה, לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם. 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Hashem I did not make myself known to them.

Perhaps in Genesis we have an editor’s hint not to read too much into the personage of Melchizedek, a warning that was not heeded years later. As Jethro was a priest of Midian, Melchizededek is described as a priest of El Elyon, a Canaanite deity.[131]

2.1.4 Parsha Vayera


Text 2-33: Genesis 18:1-2
1. And the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground,

From here we learn that G-d appeared to Abraham in a spiritual sight for he had not yet lifted up his eyes. And what is this appearance. This is the presence of G-d that Abraham felt, the Shechinah. That the Shechinah can rest in the house of a Tzaddik is clear, but this does not suggest that the Shechinah would become incarnate, a pagan idea.

Text 2-34: Genesis 20:1

And Abraham Journeyed from thence, toward the land of the South (Negev)

Abraham separates himself from the place where Lot dwells with his daughter. The Southern desert purifies the soul. To understand the South is to know its Hebrew names:[132]

Table 2-7: The Hebrew names for South
Southern Names
Commentary
Source
Darom – דרום – South
Literal direction

Negev – נגב – Dry region
The name of the Israel desert.
North of the Sinai
Teman – תמן – Tubular or pillar formations
A beautiful area on the way to Eilat with Solomon’s Pillars. There are also ancient wall paintings in the area
The copper mines
Yamin – ימן – Right
Hesed is on the right and also is in the South

Hadar – חדר – Precious


Yam – ים – Sea
Referring to the Sea of Aqaba or the Red Sea

Sinin – שנין – Hated
Mt. Sinai, the land that is hated. The Sinai is Israel. Though she is despised and wandering in the world she will reclaim her glory.
South of the Negev
Midbar Harim – מדבר הרים – wilderness
The rock formations and mountains of the region
“For neither from the East nor the West nor the South comes success. For G-d is the judge, one he humbles and one he raises.”[133]

If one follows the central valley south through the Dead Sea, one enters the Aravah. Here there are craters (machteshim) of great depth showing layers of rock carved out by numerous of flash floods (shitafot). The land is fearsome and inspirational. Together, they move one to dread and prophecy. Stop at Solomon’s pillars on the way to Eilat and one will see wall paintings from primitive man and some of the earliest copper mines in the Lavant.

We also read the story of Avraham sending away his other wife and child. From here we learn that Sarah knew that polygamy is destructive. When Hagar was sent away safety returned to the feeling of Sarah and Isaac. Similarly, in the story of Jacob, we learn that the house of Israel hung by a thread. Ultimately Sarah did not rear children through her handmaid for she could not substitute for the real mother.

Text 2-35: Genesis 21:9-21
9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, mocking.
10. And she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave and her son; for the son of this slave shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac.
11. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.
12. And God said to Abraham, Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your slave; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called.
13. And also of the son of the slave will I make a nation, because he is your seed.
14. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
16. And she went, and sat down opposite him a good way off, as it were a bowshot; for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.
17. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, What ails you, Hagar? fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
18. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in your hand; for I will make him a great nation.
19. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad to drink.
20. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and lived in the wilderness, and became an archer.
21. And he lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took for him a wife from the land of Egypt.

Rebekah has a dream and she is told by G-d that the younger will be greater than the older son.[134] Yet from the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we know the harm that parents can do in favoritism of one child over another. It was not until the sons of Joseph were born that Israel overcame this trait. Hence, each Shabbat we bless our sons to be like Ephraim and Manasseh without jealousy. And why did they not have jealousy? This is only because of their father and mother who loved them both without favoritism.

2.1.5 Parsha Vayeshev

2.1.5.1 A lions whelp

Text 2-36: Genesis 37:1
א  וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב, בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו--בְּאֶרֶץ, כְּנָעַן.
1 And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.
The interesting word mgorai – מגורי is from the word gore – גור which can mean to tear up or the English meaning of torn flesh. A lions whelp in Hebrew is a gore. Gar – גר means to live in a place. From the meaning we can see that to live in a place may require force with ones neighbors. Jacob tried to live peacefully with his neighbors, but there was a conflict with the city of Schem. Another related word is ger – גיר that has come to mean convert, but this is not really correct. The person who lives with Israel is like a lions whelp learning and straining with his or her way. Of course this is not always a bad thing as we can see from the messianic lineage descending from Ruth. Another quality is that where a person dwells causes one to assimilate ideas from that locality. For example, the rigors of the Babylonian Talmudic academies were enhanced by that culture. The biblical text that returned from Babylonian was preferred over the edited expansionist approach in Israel.

2.1.5.2 Joseph

How are we to understand the goodness of Joseph? In his later years he is a hero, in his youth of questionable behavior.[135] In the final analysis who can judge Joseph, a child who grew up in slavery and servitude, who lost his mother when he was little and his father in slavery. Who can judge the suffering of Joseph’s life? Is there anything wrong he could have ever done? I say no, ‘He is Yosef haTzaddik’ the Righteous one—the Messiah of our people Forever and Ever, Amen. May we also grow from our suffering and may we live like Him who had little to drink—on the drink of prayers, who had little to eat—but fed on the Torah of Yaakov, and who had paltry clothes—but wore the clothes of good deeds. A Tzaddik Forever was He, bearing the suffering of his brothers and even his father and mother. The Tzaddik is a gift to the world whoever raises His Flag raises the Flag of haKodesh Baruch Hu—the Holy Blessed Be Hu.

Text 2-37: Israel’s Love of Joseph
Joseph of seventeen years was shepherding the sheep with his brothers
And he was a lad [136] with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah,[137] the wives of his father
And Joseph brought their bad words – דבתם to their father
And Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons for he was the son of old age
And he made for him a striped coat.

From here we learn the consequences of favoritism. Though Joseph brought a bad report of his half brothers, Israel did not reprove him for these reports but loved him even more, rewarding his questionable behavior with a “coat of many colors.” How can Joseph learn etiquette, with his father encouraging him as a spy over his brothers and spoiling him at this same time? How can the brothers of Joseph learn unity, when they live with favoritism of one brother over another? To this day the Jewish people maintain a taint of this favoritism as we call ourselves incorrectly by the name of Jew from Judah instead of the name of Israel inclusive of all the brothers. By separation, Joseph will learn manners – Derech Eretz, the brothers will learn about love and unity, and Israel will learn the most important lesson of all—temperance and balance in raising his children.

Text 2-38: Genesis 37:19-24
יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אִישׁ אֶל-אָחִיו: הִנֵּה, בַּעַל הַחֲלֹמוֹת הַלָּזֶה--בָּא. 19 And they said one to another: 'Behold, this dreamer cometh.
כ וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ, וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת, וְאָמַרְנוּ, חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ; וְנִרְאֶה, מַה-יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say: An evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.'
כא וַיִּשְׁמַע רְאוּבֵן, וַיַּצִּלֵהוּ מִיָּדָם; וַיֹּאמֶר, לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָפֶשׁ. 21 And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand; and said: 'Let us not take his life.'
כב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן, אַל-תִּשְׁפְּכוּ-דָם--הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל-הַבּוֹר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר, וְיָד אַל-תִּשְׁלְחוּ-בוֹ: לְמַעַן, הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ מִיָּדָם, לַהֲשִׁיבוֹ, אֶל-אָבִיו. 22 And Reuben said unto them: 'Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him'--that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father.
כג וַיְהִי, כַּאֲשֶׁר-בָּא יוֹסֵף אֶל-אֶחָיו; וַיַּפְשִׁיטוּ אֶת-יוֹסֵף אֶת-כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ, אֶת-כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו. 23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colours that was on him;
כד וַיִּקָּחֻהוּ--וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתוֹ, הַבֹּרָה; וְהַבּוֹר רֵק, אֵין בּוֹ מָיִם. 24 and they took him, and cast him into the pit--and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

Joseph called upon G-d in his distress. From here we learn that we can all call upon G-d, no matter what pit we find ourselves in. Whether it is the pit of depression or some inescapeable circumstance—G-d is always there to rescue us. Mitzraim refers to the straits that imprisoned Israel in Egypt, but one day a redeemer will come to lead us out.[138]

There is a question as to who sold Joseph into slavery. Perhaps the brothers delayed in selling Joseph and walked away from the pit where they placed him, only to return and see that others had taken him with their original intentions.[139]

Text 2-39: Joseph Searches for His Brothers
And Israel said to Joseph, Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I beg you, see whether it is well with your brothers, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, saying, What do you seek? And he said, I seek my brothers; tell me, I beg you, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They have departed from here; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan.

And when they saw him from far away, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer comes. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and throw him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast has devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams. And Reuben heard it, and he saved him from their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him from their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

And it came to pass, when Joseph came to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, his coat of long sleeves that was on him; and they took him, and threw him into a pit; and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing gum, balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said to his brothers, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brothers were content.
Then there passed by Midianite merchants; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out from the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver; and they brought Joseph to Egypt.

And Reuben returned to the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. And he returned to his brothers, and said, The child is not; and I, where shall I go? And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; and they sent the coat of long sleeves, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found; know now whether it is your son’s coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces. And Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning. Thus his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.

The difficulty in the text is the word they which is in proximity to the Midianites instead of the brothers of Joseph. Rashi maintains, “The children of Jacob drew Joseph from the hole and sold him to the Ishmaelites who then in turn sold him to the Midianites who sold him to the Egyptians.” However, the text states that the Ishmaelites were going to Egypt not the Midianites.

A simple reading of the text suggests that Joseph’s brothers may not have done the crime directly. Perhaps, passing Midianites saw the captive boy and decided to take advantage of the situation before the brothers got back to the pit from where they were eating. The text suggests, ‘The Midianites drew him from the pit, sold him to Ishmaelites who brought him into Egypt. The Ishmaelites then sold him back to Midianites who sold him into slavery in Egypt.’ Two problems here, first finding a lost boy and selling him into slavery after he explains who he is and what has happened seems unrealistic, and second the text does not say that the Ishmaelites sold him back to Midianites in Egypt.

Joseph’s wife’s name was Asenath,[140] an Egyptian name like Einat. A legend teaches she was the daughter of Dinah.[141] Asenath means ‘holy to Anath.’ Yahu, brought to Egypt around 600 BC with the Hyksos invaders combined with Egypt’s Anat a virgin warrior goddess.

Text 2-40: Anat-Yahu
In Elephantine, a military outpost, (modern Aswan) in Egypt, the 5th century BC Elephantine papyri make mention of a goddess called Anat-Yahu (Anat-Yahweh) worshiped in the temple to Yahweh originally built by Aramaen or Jewish refugees from the Babylonian conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. These suggest that “even in exile and beyond the worship of a female deity endured.”[5] The texts were written by a group of Aramaens or Jews living at Elephantine near the Nubian border, whose religion has been described as "nearly identical to Iron Age II Judahite religion".[6] The papyri describe the Aramaens worshiping Anat-Yahu (or AnatYahu). Anat-Yahu is described as either the wife[7] (or paredra, sacred consort)[8] of Yahweh or as a hypostatized aspect[9] of Yahweh.[10][11]

5. Gnuse, Robert Karl (1997). No Other Gods: Emergent Monotheism in Israel. T&T Clark. p. 185. ISBN 978-1850756576.
6. Noll, K.L. Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: An Introduction. 2001: Sheffield Academic Press. p. 248.
7. Day, John (2002). Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan. 143: Sheffield Academic Press. ISBN 978-0826468307.
8. Edelman, Diana Vikander (1996). The triumph of Elohim: from Yahwisms to Judaisms. William B. Eerdmans. p. 58. ISBN 978-0802841612.
9. similar to the relationship of Jesus to God the Father
10. Susan Ackerman (2004). "Goddesses". In Suzanne Richard. Near Eastern archaeology: a reader. Eisenbrauns. p. 394. ISBN 978-1575060835.
11. Noll, K.L. Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: An Introduction. 2001: Sheffield Academic Press. p. 248.

2.1.6 Parsha Vayishlach


In the story of Tamar, we find that Hashem overlooks the incest of Judah with his daughter-in-law and elevates their children to the messianic line.

Text 2-41: Genesis 38:23-30
23. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed; behold, I sent this kid, and you have not found her.
24. And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by harlotry. And Judah said, Bring her out, and let her be burned.
25. When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child; and she said, Discern, I beg you, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
26. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She has been more righteous than I; because I did not give her to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
27. And it came to pass in the time of her labor, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
28. And it came to pass, when she labored, that one put out his hand; and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
29. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out; and she said, What a breach you have made for yourself. Therefore his name was called Perez.
30. And afterward came out his brother, who had the scarlet thread upon his hand; and his name was called Zarah.

From here we learn that the Oral Law must always accommodate the righteous as in the case of Tamar.

2.1.7 Parsha Chaya Sarah

Sarah’s prophecy exceeded Abraham’s. She knew that polygamy was against the Torah long before the rabbinical prohibitions when she requested the banishment of Hagar. She also recognized the significance of the natural birth mother in sending her son with her. Abraham acquiesces to Sarah’s greater wisdom, while teaching the Torah with Sarah’s encouragement. Safety returns to Avraham’s family by eliminating polygamy. In contrast, we see the dangers that existed in Jacob’s family. Sarah was the crown of Abraham. Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah – מערת המכפלה (Ma’arat haMachpelah) for her burial was purchased at a significant premium to show honor for his wife and that there could be no doubt about its legitimacy. To this day the burial site is respected and preserved by all faiths.

Torah portion Chaya Sarah begins with Abraham burying his wife, Sarah Imanu in a place called Kiryat Arbah that means Four Corners. The name may derive from four giants who lived there in ancient times. These were Anak and his three sons. Alternatively, the name foreshadows four famous couples who would be buried there:
  1. Adam and Eve
  2. Abraham and Sarah
  3. Isaac and Rebekah
  4. Jacob and Leah

These four couples are the four corners of the house of all Israel. They are mystical structure that sustains us in every generation with their great love and trials together. The dynamics of their relationships are spelled out more explicitly than others in the Torah. From them we learn the paradigm of love between a man and a woman. They correspond to the four worlds of creation.

Adam and Eve depict the world of Atzulut in that their lives were adjacent to G-d in every way until they sinned. Their love is the highest paradigm between man, woman, and G-d.

Abraham and Sarah are the world of Beriyah for they created new souls in Haran that they took with them. Out of nothing, this pair created souls that became their friends and companions. From them we learn that love includes a joint effort to reach out to others in the world and bring them close and to create within them new souls for love of G-d.

Isaac and Rebekah led a life of service. Their love was like that of farmers as they struggled to get by and take care of their children. Angels spend their life in service as depicted by the world of Yetzirah, the world of formation. Esau built a house for himself and his wives while his ancestors lived in tents. He served his father like an angel, but like an angel he did not serve himself.

Jacob and Leah depict the world of Asiyah. Asiyah is the world of doing, akin to Malchut that is having children and preparing a kingdom for G-d.

Chaya Sarah teaches the community should complete the reciting of the Torah once every three years. To this end, the folk of the bible studied in smaller quantities and greater depth. Today we are always trying to study increasingly, yet we do not seem to know even the simplest matters with any surety.

G-d blessed every action of Abraham. This is because he completed every action with intention as a mitzvah of G-d. L’havdil, today we view our actions as chores and irrelevant to the higher purpose of creation.

Abraham made his servant Eliezer promise to take a wife for Isaac from his own people. To signify the event, Abraham placed Eliezer’s hand under his thigh, his Yerach. The Targum Onkelos also uses this word. Rashi and other commentators say that Yerach refers to the loins of a man. Nevertheless, it would be immodest and immoral for such contact between men. The Peshitta chooses a different word. The Peshitta is the Syrian bible translation completed during the 1st century consigned by those living in captivity during the Assyrian exile. The Assyrian Christians adopted the Peshitta as their biblical standard much like the Greeks adopted the Septuagint. In the Peshitta, the Aramaic word for ‘Yerach’ is ‘Kaissa’ which means girdle. Middle Eastern men would wear a vest to hold items. The custom when making a promise was to place ones hand under the vest on the person’s side[142] or perhaps near the heart.[143]

A midrash states the Eliezer had his own daugther, who Abraham did not want Isaac to marry. The word Aelu – ‘Perhaps’ is missing a vav in the Torah, which transforms the word ‘perhaps’ into ‘to me’ changing the statement, “Perhaps she will not want to return to me”, to “To me she will be for Isaac.” There are two verses for the use of this verse 24:5 and 24:39.[144]

Text 2-42: ‘Perhaps’
Rashi comments on the later verse, and not the first verse, for an obvious reason. The first time Eliezer expresses his doubt, he asked Abraham a reasonable question. He had to know what to do if the woman refused to come with him. But he repeated his doubts when he retold the story to Rebekah's family. Why? That was completely unnecessary. This time Eliezer's words were really redundant. It was because of this that Rashi saw the need to comment, in order to explain away the difficulty in the verse. He also points out that the second time Eliezer says "perhaps the woman etc" the Hebrew word for "perhaps" is spelled oddly and it could be read as "aily" meaning "to me" (to Eliezer i.e. this woman would come to Eliezer as new daughter-in-law.) Considering all this, we can understand that Rashi had a need to comment here on this verse and not on the previous one, even though it was identical and even though the midrash itself did comment on that earlier verse.

Text 2-43: Genesis 24:4-6 and 24:39 and Rashi
4. But you shall go to my country, and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.
5. And the servant said to him, Perhaps – אולי the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land; must I need bring your son again to the land from where you came?
6. And Abraham said to him, Beware that you bring not my son there again.
...
37. And my master made me swear, saying, You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live;
38. But you shall go to my father’s house, and to my family, and take a wife for my son.
39. And I said to my master, 'Perhaps – אלי the woman will not follow me?'
40. And he said to me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you, and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family, and from my father’s house;

Rashi: Perhaps the woman will not follow me. It [the word אֻלַי (perhaps)] is written [without a“vav” and may be read] אֵלַי (to me). Eliezer had a daughter, and he was looking for a pretext so that Abraham would tell him, to turn to him, to marry off his daughter to him (Isaac). Abraham said to him, “My son is blessed, and you are cursed [Eliezer was a descendant of Canaan who had been cursed by Noah], and an accursed one cannot unite with a blessed one.”

A midrash says Eliezer resembled Abraham physically, chief steward of the house. Yet, Rashi alludes that Abraham recalls the curse of Noah.
Text 2-44: Genesis 9:24-9:27
So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: ‘Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.' And he said: Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant.'"

Seems strange that Rashi would suggest that Abraham referred to the ancestry of Eliezer even after he had become a follower of his G-d! One does not deride a convert of his ancestry. Instead a better explanation for Abraham overlooking Eliezer’s daughter is simply that she was not the right match for Isaac. Although Eliezer was a follower of Abraham and his G-d, Eliezer’s wife might not have shared the same spiritual interest. The Torah shows the significance of the mother by mentioning the spiritual lineage of the wives of Joseph and Moses, suggesting that the sons of Joseph and Moses followed after their father’s religion, because they inherited a spiritual appreciation from their mothers who were converted daughters of priestly families of Egypt and Midian respectively. Qualities of a true Jewess include a refined sense of kindness[145] and consideration, although an additional spiritual refinement was required for the blessing of Isaac.

2.1.8 Parsha Toldot

Hashem prepared Rebekah to save the Jewish people in her generation. Her prophecy sets plans into motion for the continuation of the Jewish people who otherwise would have been lost in the blindness of Isaac’s unalterable principles on the birthright of the first born. Nevertheless, after Rebekah’s plan unfolds, Isaac realizes the Truth and sends Jacob away to a place where he can find his intended after realizing the consequences of Esau’s wives.
Text 2-45: Genesis 25:19-34
19. And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son; Abraham fathered Isaac;
20. And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah for his wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Padan-Aram, the sister to Laban the Aramean.
21. And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22. And the children struggled together inside her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.
23. (K) And the Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
24. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25. And the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27. And the boys grew; and Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.
28. And Isaac loved Esau, because he ate of his venison; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29. And Jacob cooked pottage; and Esau came from the field, and he was famished.
30. And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I beg you, with that same red pottage; for I am famished; therefore was his name called Edom.
31. And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright.
32. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point of death; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33. And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore to him; and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
34. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way; thus Esau despised his birthright.

Text 2-46: Genesis 27:6-9
6. When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-Aram, to take a wife from there; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;
7. And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-Aram;
8. And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;
9. Then went Esau to Ishmael, and took, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.

From here we see that Esau would also have married Leah to please his father, but he was not aware of her existence. From Esau we can learn everything about honoring ones father. Esau and Leah were originally intended to propagate the line of the moshiach – anointed leadership, but the shidduch - match was lost.

2.1.9 Parsha Vayetzei

Hazal suggest that the rocks Jacob placed around his head for a pillow were also to protect him from wild beasts, yet why were stones not placed around the rest of the body? Hence, we learn that the stones were not to protect against outside animals, but against the yetzer harah or beast within.

In 28:11 we see that multiple stones were taken, but in 28:18 there is only one stone removed from under his head:

Text 2-47: Genesis 28:10-22
10. And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and remained there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed;
14. And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15. And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that about which I have spoken to you.
16. And Jacob awoke from his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
17. And he was afraid, and said, How awesome is this place! this is no other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon its top.
19. And he called the name of that place Beth-El; but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
20. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and garment to put on,
21. So that I come back to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God;
22. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you shall give me I will surely give the tenth to you.

Text 2-48: Midrash Rabbah Genesis 68:11

11. AND HE TOOK OF THE STONES OF THE PLACE (XXVIII, 11). R. Judah said: He took twelve stones, saying: ‘The Holy One, blessed be He, has decreed that twelve tribes should spring forth. Now neither Abraham nor Isaac has produced them. If these twelve stones cleave to one another, then I know that I will produce the twelve tribes.’ When therefore the twelve stones united, he knew that he was to produce the twelve tribes. R. Nehemiah said: He took three stones, saying: ' The Holy One, blessed be He, united His name with Abraham; with Isaac too He united His name. If these three stones become joined, then I am assured that God's name will be united with me too.’ And when they did thus join, he knew that God would unite His name with him.’ The Rabbis said: [He took] the least number that ' stones ' can connote, viz. two, saying: ‘From Abraham there came forth Ishmael and the children of Keturah; from Isaac there came forth Esau. As for me, if these two stones join, I will be assured that nought worthless will come forth from me.’

He took 12 stones and they became one in the morning and placed that stone upon a pillar.

When Jacob found Rachel he rolled the stone off of the well easily because of his love for her. Normally all of the shephards would have had to gather to move the large stone, but Jacob was enthused with an extra measure of strength.

Text 2-49: Genesis Chapter 29
1. Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east.
2. And he looked, and saw a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for from that well they watered the flocks; and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
3. And there were all the flocks gathered; and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
4. And Jacob said to them, My brothers, where are your from? And they said, Of Haran are we.
5. And he said to them, Know you Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6. And he said to them, Is he well? And they said, He is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter comes with the sheep.
7. And he said, Behold, it is yet high day, nor is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water the sheep, and go and feed them.
8. And they said, We can not, until all the flocks are gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we will water the sheep.
9. And while he still spoke with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she kept them.
10. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
11. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father.
13. And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
14. And Laban said to him, Surely you are my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him a month.
15. And Laban said to Jacob, Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?
16. And Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17. Leah had weak eyes; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.
18. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.
19. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man; stay with me.
20. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
21. And Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.
22. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
23. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in to her.
24. And Laban gave to his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an maidservant.
25. And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban, What is this that you have done to me? did not I serve with you for Rachel? why then have you deceived me?
26. And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27. Complete her week, and we will give you this also for the service which you shall serve with me yet seven other years.
28. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter for his wife also.
29. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his maidservant to be her maid.
30. And he went in also to Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31. And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
32. And Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, Surely the Lord has looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
33. And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said, Because the Lord has heard that I was hated, he has therefore given me this son also; and she called his name Simeon.
34. And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined to me, because I have born him three sons; therefore was his name called Levi.
35. And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she said, Now will I praise the Lord; therefore she called his name Judah; and ceased bearing.

Jacob meets Rachel and desires to marry her but is tricked into marrying her older sister first. Hazal teach this is measure for measure. When Jacob met Leah, he should have considered the situation of his brother and arranged a shiduch for him. Leah would have corrected the life of Esau and had the Hittite wives who displeased Isaac and Rebekah put away. Because Jacob did not do so when he had the opportunity, the sorrows of his life increased with the number of his wives.

2.1.10 Parsha Vayechi

Jacob’s prophecy was complete and he knew the future of Joseph’s sons. Yet, Jacob had not learned the lesson of favoritism and the harm that it does. Ephraim and Manasseh were beyond jealosy and would not be harmed.

Text 2-50: Genesis 48:15-20
16. The Angel who redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
17. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; and he held up his father’s hand, to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
18. And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father; for this is the firstborn; put your right hand upon his head.
19. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
20. And he blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh; and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

Joseph sought a special blessing from his father for his children, because he feared that his wife being Egyptian would cause his children not to be accepted in Israel. Joseph living in exile could not have found a Hebrew wife. A Midrash on his marriage to Dina would not make sense here, as then he would not have needed a special blessing for his children.

The Mei HaShiloach teaches that the attribute of Isaac was Gevurah so therefore he wanted to bless Esau. That Esau would associate more with Gevurah while interesting was not the reason. Instead, the Mei Hashiloach teaches that Isaac could not go against the judgment that the eldest son receives the blessing. Megillah 31b teaches that Moses heard from the mouth of Gevurah that the judgment cuts through the mountain, which means to follow the judgment under all circumstances. Jacob on the other hand always looked toward the will of God. The Mei Hashiloach explains, “The blessed God supports the pure of hand, for the hands are branches of the heart, and his heart was pure and refined; then the result was that Jacob would bless without his own knowledge.” Hence, God guided Jacob on crossing his hands to bless Ephraim and Menasheh.

When Jacob is blessing his sons Simeon and Levi he says,

Text 2-51: Genesis 49:6 – The Honor of Jacob
å  áÌÀñÉãÈí àÇì-úÌÈáÉà ðÇôÀùÑÄé, áÌÄ÷ÀäÈìÈí àÇì-úÌÅçÇã ëÌÀáÉãÄé:  ëÌÄé áÀàÇôÌÈí äÈøÀâåÌ àÄéùÑ, åÌáÄøÀöÉðÈí òÄ÷ÌÀøåÌ-ùÑåÉø.
6 Let my soul not come into their council; unto their assembly let my glory not be united; for in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they houghed[146] oxen.

The term Kavodi – כבדי means ‘my respect,’ ‘my honor,’ or ‘my glory’ as translated above.[147] The gematria of the term is 36 alluding to the ‘lamed Vavniks’ or 36 righteous people in the world at any one time for whom G-d sustains the world. Jacob recalls his glory with a term of endearment for the good deeds of his life that is his glory in this world.

The names of the sons of Israel are missing the four letters: Koof, Tzaddik, Het, and Tet. The first two allude to the unknown end of time with the word Ketz – End. The second pair teaches that the children of Israel were free of intentional sin – Het that entwines one into further sins. The Midrash teaches these missing letters allude to the coming of moshiach, a great king in Israel. If Israel removes sin (end of intentional iniquity) then the end will come sooner. This is the purpose of the chastisement of Jacob on his deathbed so that his children should listen and remember his words to become good. From here, we learn to chastise the deeds, but not the person for we love our children and only wish to see their good. If the children do not repent, the end will come and a great leader will arise out of Jacob and he will turn the hearts of the children back to their fathers.

2.2 Exodus – Names – Shemot

2.2.1 Parsha Shemot


2.2.1.1 Redemption from the 49th Level of Impurity


Text 2-52: Exodus 1:7-10
And the people of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. And there arose up a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph. And he said to his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come on, let them give us their wisdom; lest they multiply, and it may come to pass, that when there would be any war, they should join our enemies, and fight against us; and so get them out of the land.

The land was ‘filled’ with them because of assimilation. The Israelites intermixed with the Egyptians and fell into their impurity. The Midrash teaches the Israelites descended until the 49th level of impurity and if they had fallen one more rung, they would not have been able to recover. Hence, by natural law, Elohim’s providence brought a new Pharaoh to power that would oppress the Israelites and save them from assimilation. Israel is a nation that only rises to its greatness through oppression, unlike the other nations, who prosper in tranquility.

‘Who knew not Joseph’ that is a king from a different power in Egypt. Joseph rose to power during the reign of the Hyksos, an Asiatic invader who conquered Egypt. After some time the old power of Egypt rose again to strength and overthrew the Hyksos, turning their allies into their enemies. All this is the providence of G-d to save the Israelites from assimilation.

‘Let them give us their wisdom’ that is the Egyptians sought to take the blessing of Israel due to their fall into impurity. Instead, their oppression led to their cleansing, dissimilation, and redemption.

2.2.1.2 Zipporah

Zipporah says to Moses after she circumcises their child:

Text 2-53: Blood Groom
You are a blood groom, you are mine

Here Zipporah transforms the performance of a commandment of God into a symbol of unification with her husband. As “blood brother” refers to the close bond between two people, the blood groom is the bond of husband and wife in Torah.

Text 2-54: Moses and the Lost Lamb
While Moses was feeding the sheep of his father-in-law in the wilderness,
a young kid ran away. Moses followed it until it reached a ravine,
where it found a well to drink from. When Moses reached it, he said,
“I did not know that you ran away because you were thirsty. Now you must be weary.”
He carried the kid back. Then G-d said,
“Because thou hast shown pity in leading back one of a flock belonging to a man,
thou shalt lead my flock, Israel.”[148]

The name Moses in Hebrew is Moshe – משה. Similarly, the book of Exodus in Hebrew is Shemot – Names – שמת. Mem – מ represents wisdom and water. Shin – ש represents understanding and fire. Having wisdom and understanding together leads to knowledge.[149] In the case of the name of Moses, the Heh – ה refers to knowledge of G-d. When one knows the true name of a person or object one has complete wisdom and understanding, thus knowledge. Knowledge leads to power as in the easing of the human struggle.

Aryeh Kaplan has the following to say on the letters shin and mem that make up the word for name in Hebrew:[150]

Text 2-55: Mems and Shins
It is easy to understand why the shin and mem are important. The shin has the sound of s or sh, and hence, of all the letters in the alphabet, it has the sound closest to white noise. White noise is sound that contains every possible wavelength, and is usually heard as a hissing sound. On an oscilloscope, the s sound would appear as a totally chaotic jumble with no structure whatsoever.

The opposite of white noise is pure harmonic sound. This is a hum, like the sound of a tuning fork. On an oscilloscope, this would appear as a perfect wavy line, the epitome of order and regularity. This is the sound of the mem.

The shin thus represents chaos, while the mem represents harmony. The Sefer Yetzirah says that the shin represents fire, while the mem represents water. The shin denotes a hot, chaotic state of consciousness, while the mem denotes a cool, harmonic state. This is significant, since in many meditative traditions, the ‘m’ sound is seen as one that leads to tranquility and inner peace. The sound itself seems to be conducive to the harmony that one seeks in the meditative state. The s or sh sound, on the other hand, is more closely associated with our normal, everyday level of consciousness. It is also interesting to note that the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) in which Elijah heard G-d is translated by the Sefer Yetzirah as a “fine humming sound.” It appears that the m sound was closely associated with prophecy.

Many of the Hebrew words that tend to focus the mind on a single object are made up of these two mother letters. Thus, the Hebrew word for “name” is shäm – שם, which is spelled shin mem. Similarly, the word for “there” is shâm – שם.[151] Both of these words have the connotation of the transition from the chaos of the general to the harmony of the particular. A name separates a single object from the chaos of all objects, while “there” separates a place from the chaos of all places. Both words therefore denote the transition from the concept of the shin to that of the mem.

In Exodus 1 we read:

Text 2-56: Seventy Souls of Jacob
ואלה שמות בני ישראל הבאים מצרימה את יעקב איש וביתו באו

Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, who came into Egypt with Jacob;
Every man came with his household:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah;
Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin;
Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls;
and Joseph was in Egypt already.

The number seventy is the numerical value of the Ayin – ע that is the last letter of the word Shema – שמע, which begins the declaration, “Hear O Israel the Lord your G-d the Lord is One.” The Ayin alludes to the seventy nations of the world and the seventy languages.[152] This is to teach that all Israel must listen to Hashem to redeem the seventy nations of the world.

2.2.2 Parsha Va-aira

I appeared to Avraham, Isaac, and Jacob as G-d Almighty,
But by my name Hashem, I did not make myself known to them.

G-d as Elohim – אלהים commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but by the name of Adonai – יהוה, he stopped Abraham. From here we learn that the second name G-d is known for mercy. In Egypt, the Israelites lived under the aspect of judgment – דין and they did not know G-d by His name of mercy – יהוה.

Because the Israelites were lacking food in Caanan, G-d brought them down to Egypt. G-d Almighty – El Shaddai – אל שדי brought them down to Egypt under Joseph to sustain them. El Shaddai alludes to the breast of G-d that feeds Her people. By this name G-d increased their numbers in Egypt.

Abraham speaks to Melechizedek and says that Hashem G-d helped him, so if Abraham had not known this name how could he proclaim it? Moses may have added the title to distinguish between Melechizedek’s relationship with G-d and Abraham’s.

2.2.3 Parsha Yitro

When the people tell Moses their reply, he returns to G-d to tell them what the people said. Yet surely G-d already knows this. Rashi teaches that Moses is teaching us the lesson of Derech Eretz, the proper manners of the culture. Even though G-d already knows what the people have said, Moses goes before him and tells him once more. This is courteous behavior and also helps Moses better understand how G-d perceived the response of the people.

G-d tells Moses that the people will believe in him forever. This is strange wording since we learn that we are not supposed to place our faith in men, but only in G-d. Nevertheless, here Judaism displays that we accept the validity that Moses brought down the True word of G-d. Judaism is a religion that changes according to the authority of its rabbis within the framework of G-d’s original revelation.[153] This creates authority for the prophets that will come after him as well.[154]

From this Parsha Yitro we know that the Torah calls Yitro, Moshe’s father in law even though he is not Jewish. We know that Zipporah is Moshe’s wife even though she is not Jewish as she remained with her father during Moshe’s mission. We know that Moshe had two sons that are accepted as Jews as they are brought out to join him. We know that Moshe and the elders of Israel ate the sacrificial meal of Yitro even though a non-Jew prepared it. Basically this Torah portion teaches us that we respect our in-laws even if they are not Jewish. The Torah is emphatic about reminding us that Yitro is Moshe’s father-in-law since this is mentioned each time his name is mentioned to honor him. From here we also know that Moshe’s prophecy has some basis in the inspiration he received from his in-laws. Finally, this suggests that Moshe’s mission to rescue the Hebrews owes some debt of gratitude to Jethro’s family. Hence the Torah says that Moshe prostrated himself before his father-in-law when he met him at Mt. Sinai.

2.2.3.1 Ten Commandments

The Aseret haDibrot – The Ten Words are:
  1. Ani Elohecha... I am your G-d who took thee out of the land of Egypt
  2. Lo Yiyeh... Thou shalt not have – לא יהיה other gods
  3. Lo Ta’aseh... Thou shalt not make – לא תעשה for yourself an idol.
Thou shalt not raise – לא תשא up the Name of the Lord your G-d in vain.
  1. Zachor Et... Remember the day of your Holy Sabbath
  2. Cavod Et... Honor thy father and mother
  3. Lo Trtzach... Thou shalt not murder – לא תרצח
  4. Lo Tenaf... Thou shalt not commit adultery – לא תנאף
  5. Lo Tgnav... Thou shalt not kidnap – לא תנגב
  6. Lo Taneh... Thou shalt not reply – לא תענה with your neighbor until falsehood
  7. Lo TaChmad... Thou shalt not exalt – לא תחמד the house your neighbor, Thou shalt not exalt the wife of your neighbor, and his servant, and his maid, and his ox and his donkey.

The Tet is not found in the first version of the Ten Commandments, but occurs in the second to teach us the second were considered Good – טוב, as they were not broken. Honor – כבד has a dagash in the Bet to denote that we should also honor our bayit that is our household that is our wife.

Why ten one might ask? In the movie “History of the World”, the comedian Mel Brooks starts with three tablets and fifteen commandments, but drops one by accident and then there are ten. For G-d, there is no significance of one number over another. Moses explicitly saw two tablets with five statements on each side. Looking at the Hebrew literally one can discern fourteen distinct commandments: I have numbered the original ten in blue.[155] In Hebrew they are referred to as the Aseret haDibrot – the Ten Sayings.[156] Dibrot is from dibor – ‘word’. Decalogue refers to ten logos or ten words or sayings from the Greek. From the explicit Hebrew command form, I have numbered in red the commandments within.

Text 2-57: Ten StatementsFourteen Commandments
1. And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 2. (1) You shall have no other gods before me.
(2) You shall not make for yourself any engraved image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (3) You shall not bow down to them, (4) and you shall not serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy to thousands of those who love me, and keep my commandments.
3. (5) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 4. (6) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; (7) in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy. 5. (8) Honor your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you. 6. (9) You shall not kill. 7. (10) You shall not commit adultery. 8. (11) You shall not steal. 9. (12) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 10. (13) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, (14) you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s. And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they were shaken, and stood far away.

Fourteen commandments divide into seven commandments on each tablet. In this partition, the Sabbath is two commandments pertaining to both preparation and observance. The eighth command that is to honor ones parents sits at the top of 2nd tablet instead of at the bottom of the 1st. The right and left tablets associate with the right and left pillars of the Tree of Life respectively.

In the breakdown of the fourteen commandments, we find five against idolatry, two against violating the Sabbath, two about respecting others, three about ethics, and two against jealousy. These correspond to the name of Hashem, holding all creation together:

Table 2-8: Hashem
Letter
Principle
Tip of the Yod
Against idolatry, the oneness of G-d
Yod
Sabbath
Heh
Respecting others
Vav
Ethics
Heh
Avoiding jealousy


From five commandments, we learn of the grievousness of the sin of idolatry. Idolatry steals ones mind from G-d and one’s entire purpose in the world. The struggle against idolatry in biblical times was extraordinary. Superstition was prevalent everywhere. Moral values varied with holidays at the whims of various deities. Today the battle against idolatry has been modernized, but it cannot be compared to the tuma – impurity that the Israelites left behind in Egypt.

Violating the Sabbath deprives one from rest and the ability to share ones life with God. Losing Respect for parents is to lose respect for G-d and to slander others is also to slander G-d. Ethical living is a principle for all nations. Jealousy robs the mind from God and voids the soul. In those areas that a man might take lightly, Idolatry, Sabbath, and Jealousy, God has provided multiple commandments within.

Table 2-9: The Fourteen Commandments on Two Tablets in Numerical Interpretation
Number
Commandment
Commandment Interpretation
1 (i)
You shall have no other gods before me.
There is only one God and no other gods before me.
2 (i)
You shall not make idols.
No duplicate images of any object
3 (i)
You shall not worship idols.
One may not be a third party bowing down before other gods.
4 (i)
You shall not serve idols.
One may not serve them or work for them, four representing work.
5 (i)
You shall not swear by the Name of God in vanity. (A fence around this law is not to use foul language or cuss words)
Not taking the name of God in vain is not to make pentacles, swear, looking for other divine powers.
6. (s)
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Six days do we labor to prepare for the Sabbath. We should remember on each of these days that the work on this day is also for the Sabbath.
7. (s)
You shall not work on the Sabbath.
On the seventh day is the Sabbath. We rest and experience the blessing and holiness of God.
8. (r)
Honor your father and mother.
The second tablet begins with honoring ones parents. This connects one with immortality and the world to come, and spirituality. Isaac honored his parents strictly. In addition to a long life, honoring ones parents is a tikkun for prosperity associating with the eight days of Hanukah.
9. (e)
You shall not kill.
You shall not kill, nine denoting violence.
10. (e)
You shall not commit adultery.
Committing adultery damages the divine image that is the complete ten sefirot.
11. (e)
You shall not steal.
You shall not steal, even taking from one to give to another. Eleven depicts the ‘clenched fist’ or holdfast nature that shattered the original sefirot.
12. (r)
You shall not slander your neighbor.
To bear false witness is the sin of the 12 tribes of Israel against each other. This is an aspect of the evil eye that may ruin a person’s chance for fertility.
13. (j)
You shall not be jealous of your neighbor’s house.
To become a Bar Mitzvah is to build up ones own house, not to covet the house of another.
14. (j)
You shall not be jealous of your neighbor’s wife, servants, ox, ass, or anything that is his.
One must not covet the moving property of ones neighbor, that is his wife and livestock.

What is the significance of fourteen commandments? Fourteen associates with movement in numerology. These represent the commandments that moved Israel from a place of slavery to a place of freedom. In Hebrew, fourteen is numerically equivalent to YaD, the hand of God that brought us out of Egypt. Significantly, the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the mother letter Mem, as Moses and God brought forth the newborn nation of Israel, through the birth canal and the divided waters of the Reed Sea.

Text 2-58: Fourteen Commandments

א ח
ב ט
ג י
ד יא
ה יב
ו יג
ז יד
-------
77+28
105
6

The first seven commandments denote the four weeks of the month and our relationship to G-d in time. The second seven encapsulate the first in space and teach us how to win with each other to live in peace.
Together we see that G-d gave the commandments out of love for our good. In the heavens, G-d prepared His most precious gift to give us. Though they seem stringent, we know He gave them to us in love.[157]

Nevertheless, Deuteronomy 4:13 states that there are Ten Statements –עשרת הדברים on two tablets.

Text 2-59: Deuteronomy 4:13 – Ten Statements on Two Tablets
And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, ten statements; and he wrote them upon two tablets of stone.

Deuteronomy teaches that Moses saw Ten Sayings. Moses saw a quantity of significance, a tenfold increase.[158]

Meditation 2-4: The Significance of Ten

What is the significance of ten? There is a tenfold increase in ones mind. This is a larger size than we completely grasp. This is a significant amount or quantity that we should not overlook.

I summoned the angel Michael to my right, Gabriel to my left, Uriel before me, and Raphael behind me. They lifted me while I was on my back into the sky. This is Netzah and Hod the realm of prophecy. One may enter Netzah and Hod directly as the lowest sefirot according to the Bahir arrangement.[159] But in this ascent, they are the highest heights.[160] This is the manner in which Moses communed with God. He raised his hands to the sky and the Israelites were victorious. God gave us the sky so that we may quickly come close to Him.

The gematria of the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet allude to the Ten Statements on two tablets:

Text 2-60: Ten Statements

א ו
ב ז
ג ח
ד ט
ה י
-------
40+15
55

The Book of Deuteronomy represents a transition to a culture where number has greater intrinsic meaning. After the Greek period, we have the Midrash Perkei Avot Chapter 5, illustrating a culture that held an even greater significance to number:[161]

Text 2-61: Ten Utterances

By Ten utterances was the world created. And what does this teach us? Surely, the world could have been created by one utterance. It means to emphasize that God will exact punishment from the wicked who destroy the world which was created by ten utterances; and will richly reward the righteous who sustain the world which was created by ten utterances.

Rambam comments on What does this teach us? “There was a separate utterance for each act of creation to emphasize the importance of everything that exists and the beauty of its order. Man is thus taught that he who destroys any part of nature, destroys something of sacred value and conversely a person who improves it, improves something of great value.”[162]

Jewish ideas are likely to have predated and influenced Greek philosophical development in numerous areas. Jews carried ideas orally in their travels. Greeks recorded them in their detailed writings.

Here is a mnemonic for the Ten Commandments based on the chiastic principle that there is a parallel between the first and last five with the center two being the most ‘concrete’ and the periphery being ‘abstract’.[163]

Table 2-10: Mnemonic for Remembering the Ten Commandments
Left Tablet
Between Human and God
Commentary by Trac_Ron
Right Tablet
Between Human and Human
Honor your father and mother.
For they gave one life and are co-creators that is the opposite of murder. (most concrete)
You shall not murder
Observe the Sabbath Day
Keeping the Sabbath is the principle sign of faith.
In the affirmative this is to be faithful to ones spouse.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord.
Swearing falsely is to try to obtain something that does not belong to one and is not intended by the Will of God.
You shall not steel.
You shall have no other gods beside Me.
To follow other gods is to believe in falseness analogous to bearing witness.
(more abstract and somewhat hidden)
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
I the Lord am your God
Recognizing the sole Creator is to know what is truly important.
Coveting is to want something ones neighbors have at their loss.
(most abstract and in the realm of thought)
You shall not covet

The Midrash explains that the first two commandments are in first person as G-d spoke them to the whole house of Israel directly. After Israel heard these and was afraid, she asked Moses to hear the remainder for her and relate them. The remaining eight commandments are thus, in second person.[164]

And they said to Moses, Speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

The giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai represents the transition of the Jewish people from a family to a nation. The Ten Utterances contain the legal boundaries necessary for a nation to function. Despite all of the dissension amongst the Hebrews in their wanderings, all agreed on the revelation at Mt. Sinai. Not one person refused to believe in the revelation. That is quite an amazing testimony to the validity of the revelation.

When people are suffering, they desire to believe in miracles. This was true during the oppression of WWI and WWII, but Hashem can use oppression, has vshalom, to prepare people to receive revelation and to purge idolatry. Often when one has lost something or material wealth one remembers more important values once held. Similarly at Sinai, the Israelites had lost the comfortable living they had in Egypt, but rediscovered their G-d.

2.2.3.2 Mt. Sinai experience

2.2.3.2.1 Exodus Chapter 19

א  בַּחֹדֶשׁ, הַשְּׁלִישִׁי, לְצֵאת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם--בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, בָּאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינָי.
1 In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
ב  וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים, וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי, וַיַּחֲנוּ, בַּמִּדְבָּר; וַיִּחַן-שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל, נֶגֶד הָהָר.
2 And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount.
ג  וּמֹשֶׁה עָלָה, אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים; וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו יְהוָה, מִן-הָהָר לֵאמֹר, כֹּה תֹאמַר לְבֵית יַעֲקֹב, וְתַגֵּיד לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying: 'Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
ד  אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם, אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי לְמִצְרָיִם; וָאֶשָּׂא אֶתְכֶם עַל-כַּנְפֵי נְשָׁרִים, וָאָבִא אֶתְכֶם אֵלָי.
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself.
ה  וְעַתָּה, אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-בְּרִיתִי--וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים, כִּי-לִי כָּל-הָאָרֶץ.
5 Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine;
ו  וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ-לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים, וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ:  אֵלֶּה, הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר, אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
6 and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.'
ז  וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה, וַיִּקְרָא לְזִקְנֵי הָעָם; וַיָּשֶׂם לִפְנֵיהֶם, אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּהוּ, יְהוָה.
7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD commanded him.
ח  וַיַּעֲנוּ כָל-הָעָם יַחְדָּו וַיֹּאמְרוּ, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר יְהוָה נַעֲשֶׂה; וַיָּשֶׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָעָם, אֶל-יְהוָה.
8 And all the people answered together, and said: 'All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.' And Moses reported the words of the people unto the LORD.
ט  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי בָּא אֵלֶיךָ בְּעַב הֶעָנָן, בַּעֲבוּר יִשְׁמַע הָעָם בְּדַבְּרִי עִמָּךְ, וְגַם-בְּךָ יַאֲמִינוּ לְעוֹלָם; וַיַּגֵּד מֹשֶׁה אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָעָם, אֶל-יְהוָה.
9 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee for ever.' And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
י  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵךְ אֶל-הָעָם, וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם הַיּוֹם וּמָחָר; וְכִבְּסוּ, שִׂמְלֹתָם.
10 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments,
יא  וְהָיוּ נְכֹנִים, לַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי:  כִּי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִשִׁי, יֵרֵד יְהוָה לְעֵינֵי כָל-הָעָם--עַל-הַר סִינָי.
11 and be ready against the third day; for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
יב  וְהִגְבַּלְתָּ אֶת-הָעָם סָבִיב לֵאמֹר, הִשָּׁמְרוּ לָכֶם עֲלוֹת בָּהָר וּנְגֹעַ בְּקָצֵהוּ:  כָּל-הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהָר, מוֹת יוּמָת.
12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying: Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it; whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death;
יג  לֹא-תִגַּע בּוֹ יָד, כִּי-סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל אוֹ-יָרֹה יִיָּרֶה--אִם-בְּהֵמָה אִם-אִישׁ, לֹא יִחְיֶה; בִּמְשֹׁךְ, הַיֹּבֵל, הֵמָּה, יַעֲלוּ בָהָר.
13 no hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live; when the ram's horn soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.'
יד  וַיֵּרֶד מֹשֶׁה מִן-הָהָר, אֶל-הָעָם; וַיְקַדֵּשׁ, אֶת-הָעָם, וַיְכַבְּסוּ, שִׂמְלֹתָם.
14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their garments.
טו  וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-הָעָם, הֱיוּ נְכֹנִים, לִשְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים:  אַל-תִּגְּשׁוּ, אֶל-אִשָּׁה.
15 And he said unto the people: 'Be ready against the third day; come not near a woman.'
טז  וַיְהִי בַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בִּהְיֹת הַבֹּקֶר, וַיְהִי קֹלֹת וּבְרָקִים וְעָנָן כָּבֵד עַל-הָהָר, וְקֹל שֹׁפָר, חָזָק מְאֹד; וַיֶּחֱרַד כָּל-הָעָם, אֲשֶׁר בַּמַּחֲנֶה.
16 And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a horn exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled.
יז  וַיּוֹצֵא מֹשֶׁה אֶת-הָעָם לִקְרַאת הָאֱלֹהִים, מִן-הַמַּחֲנֶה; וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ, בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
יח  וְהַר סִינַי, עָשַׁן כֻּלּוֹ, מִפְּנֵי אֲשֶׁר יָרַד עָלָיו יְהוָה, בָּאֵשׁ; וַיַּעַל עֲשָׁנוֹ כְּעֶשֶׁן הַכִּבְשָׁן, וַיֶּחֱרַד כָּל-הָהָר מְאֹד.
18 Now mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
יט  וַיְהִי קוֹל הַשֹּׁפָר, הוֹלֵךְ וְחָזֵק מְאֹד; מֹשֶׁה יְדַבֵּר, וְהָאֱלֹהִים יַעֲנֶנּוּ בְקוֹל.
19 And when the voice of the horn waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.
כ  וַיֵּרֶד יְהוָה עַל-הַר סִינַי, אֶל-רֹאשׁ הָהָר; וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָה לְמֹשֶׁה אֶל-רֹאשׁ הָהָר, וַיַּעַל מֹשֶׁה.
20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, to the top of the mount; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
כא  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, רֵד הָעֵד בָּעָם:  פֶּן-יֶהֶרְסוּ אֶל-יְהוָה לִרְאוֹת, וְנָפַל מִמֶּנּוּ רָב.
21 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
כב  וְגַם הַכֹּהֲנִים הַנִּגָּשִׁים אֶל-יְהוָה, יִתְקַדָּשׁוּ:  פֶּן-יִפְרֹץ בָּהֶם, יְהוָה.
22 And let the priests also, that come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.'
כג  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-יְהוָה, לֹא-יוּכַל הָעָם, לַעֲלֹת אֶל-הַר סִינָי:  כִּי-אַתָּה הַעֵדֹתָה בָּנוּ, לֵאמֹר, הַגְבֵּל אֶת-הָהָר, וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ.
23 And Moses said unto the LORD: 'The people cannot come up to mount Sinai; for thou didst charge us, saying: Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.'
כד  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהוָה לֶךְ-רֵד, וְעָלִיתָ אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן עִמָּךְ; וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהָעָם, אַל-יֶהֶרְסוּ לַעֲלֹת אֶל-יְהוָה--פֶּן-יִפְרָץ-בָּם.
24 And the LORD said unto him: 'Go, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee; but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest He break forth upon them.'
כה  וַיֵּרֶד מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-הָעָם; וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲלֵהֶם.  {ס}
25 So Moses went down unto the people, and told them. {S}


2.2.3.2.2 Exodus Chapter 20
א  וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים, אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר.  {ס}
1 And God spoke all these words, saying: {S}
ב  אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:  לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי.
2 I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
ג  לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה לְךָ פֶסֶל, וְכָל-תְּמוּנָה, אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל, וַאֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת--וַאֲשֶׁר בַּמַּיִם, מִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ.
3 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
ד  לֹא-תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהֶם, וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם:  כִּי אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֵל קַנָּא--פֹּקֵד עֲוֹן אָבֹת עַל-בָּנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים, לְשֹׂנְאָי.
4 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
ה  וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד, לַאֲלָפִים--לְאֹהֲבַי, וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מִצְוֹתָי.  {ס}
5 and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments. {S}
ו  לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת-שֵׁם-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לַשָּׁוְא:  כִּי לֹא יְנַקֶּה יְהוָה, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ לַשָּׁוְא.  {פ}
6 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. {P}
ז  זָכוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ.
7 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
ח  שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד, וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל-מְלַאכְתֶּךָ.
8 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work;
ט  וְיוֹם, הַשְּׁבִיעִי--שַׁבָּת, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ:  לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה כָל-מְלָאכָה אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ, עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ, וְגֵרְךָ, אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ.
9 but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;
י  כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת-יָמִים עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֶת-הַיָּם וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּם, וַיָּנַח, בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי; עַל-כֵּן, בֵּרַךְ יְהוָה אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת--וַיְקַדְּשֵׁהוּ.  {ס}
10 for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. {S}
יא  כַּבֵּד אֶת-אָבִיךָ, וְאֶת-אִמֶּךָ--לְמַעַן, יַאֲרִכוּן יָמֶיךָ, עַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ.  {ס}
11 Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. {S}
יב  לֹא תִרְצָח,  {ס}  לֹא תִנְאָף;  {ס}  לֹא תִגְנֹב,  {ס}  לֹא-תַעֲנֶה בְרֵעֲךָ עֵד שָׁקֶר.  {ס}
12 Thou shalt not murder. {S} Thou shalt not commit adultery. {S} Thou shalt not steal. {S} Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. {S}
יג  לֹא תַחְמֹד, בֵּית רֵעֶךָ;  {ס}  לֹא-תַחְמֹד אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ, וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ וְשׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ, וְכֹל, אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ.  {פ}
13 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; {S} thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. {P}
יד  וְכָל-הָעָם רֹאִים אֶת-הַקּוֹלֹת וְאֶת-הַלַּפִּידִם, וְאֵת קוֹל הַשֹּׁפָר, וְאֶת-הָהָר, עָשֵׁן; וַיַּרְא הָעָם וַיָּנֻעוּ, וַיַּעַמְדוּ מֵרָחֹק.
14 And all the people perceived the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the horn, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off.
טו  וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, דַּבֵּר-אַתָּה עִמָּנוּ, וְנִשְׁמָעָה; וְאַל-יְדַבֵּר עִמָּנוּ אֱלֹהִים, פֶּן-נָמוּת.
15 And they said unto Moses: 'Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.'
טז  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם, אַל-תִּירָאוּ, כִּי לְבַעֲבוּר נַסּוֹת אֶתְכֶם, בָּא הָאֱלֹהִים; וּבַעֲבוּר, תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ עַל-פְּנֵיכֶם--לְבִלְתִּי תֶחֱטָאוּ.
16 And Moses said unto the people: 'Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before you, that ye sin not.'
יז  וַיַּעֲמֹד הָעָם, מֵרָחֹק; וּמֹשֶׁה נִגַּשׁ אֶל-הָעֲרָפֶל, אֲשֶׁר-שָׁם הָאֱלֹהִים.  {ס}
17 And the people stood afar off; but Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. {S}
יח  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, כֹּה תֹאמַר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:  אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם--כִּי מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם, דִּבַּרְתִּי עִמָּכֶם.
18 And the LORD said unto Moses: Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel: Ye yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
יט  לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן, אִתִּי:  אֱלֹהֵי כֶסֶף וֵאלֹהֵי זָהָב, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם.
19 Ye shall not make with Me--gods of silver, or gods of gold, ye shall not make unto you.
כ  מִזְבַּח אֲדָמָה, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לִּי, וְזָבַחְתָּ עָלָיו אֶת-עֹלֹתֶיךָ וְאֶת-שְׁלָמֶיךָ, אֶת-צֹאנְךָ וְאֶת-בְּקָרֶךָ; בְּכָל-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אַזְכִּיר אֶת-שְׁמִי, אָבוֹא אֵלֶיךָ וּבֵרַכְתִּיךָ.
20 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt-offerings, and thy peace-offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come unto thee and bless thee.
כא  וְאִם-מִזְבַּח אֲבָנִים תַּעֲשֶׂה-לִּי, לֹא-תִבְנֶה אֶתְהֶן גָּזִית:  כִּי חַרְבְּךָ הֵנַפְתָּ עָלֶיהָ, וַתְּחַלְלֶהָ.
21 And if thou make Me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast profaned it.
כב  וְלֹא-תַעֲלֶה בְמַעֲלֹת, עַל-מִזְבְּחִי:  אֲשֶׁר לֹא-תִגָּלֶה עֶרְוָתְךָ, עָלָיו.  {פ}
22 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto Mine altar, that thy nakedness be not uncovered thereon. {P}


2.2.3.2.3 Exodus Chapter 21
א  וְאֵלֶּה, הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים, אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים, לִפְנֵיהֶם.
1 Now these are the ordinances which thou shalt set before them.
ב  כִּי תִקְנֶה עֶבֶד עִבְרִי, שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים יַעֲבֹד; וּבַשְּׁבִעִת--יֵצֵא לַחָפְשִׁי, חִנָּם.
2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
ג  אִם-בְּגַפּוֹ יָבֹא, בְּגַפּוֹ יֵצֵא; אִם-בַּעַל אִשָּׁה הוּא, וְיָצְאָה אִשְׁתּוֹ עִמּוֹ.
3 If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he be married, then his wife shall go out with him.
ד  אִם-אֲדֹנָיו יִתֶּן-לוֹ אִשָּׁה, וְיָלְדָה-לוֹ בָנִים אוֹ בָנוֹת--הָאִשָּׁה וִילָדֶיהָ, תִּהְיֶה לַאדֹנֶיהָ, וְהוּא, יֵצֵא בְגַפּוֹ.
4 If his master give him a wife, and she bear him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
ה  וְאִם-אָמֹר יֹאמַר, הָעֶבֶד, אָהַבְתִּי אֶת-אֲדֹנִי, אֶת-אִשְׁתִּי וְאֶת-בָּנָי; לֹא אֵצֵא, חָפְשִׁי.
5 But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;
ו  וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֲדֹנָיו, אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים, וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֶל-הַדֶּלֶת, אוֹ אֶל-הַמְּזוּזָה; וְרָצַע אֲדֹנָיו אֶת-אָזְנוֹ בַּמַּרְצֵעַ, וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם.  {ס}
6 then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. {S}
ז  וְכִי-יִמְכֹּר אִישׁ אֶת-בִּתּוֹ, לְאָמָה--לֹא תֵצֵא, כְּצֵאת הָעֲבָדִים.
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do.
ח  אִם-רָעָה בְּעֵינֵי אֲדֹנֶיהָ, אֲשֶׁר-לא (לוֹ) יְעָדָהּ--וְהֶפְדָּהּ:  לְעַם נָכְרִי לֹא-יִמְשֹׁל לְמָכְרָהּ, בְּבִגְדוֹ-בָהּ.
8 If she please not her master, who hath espoused her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed; to sell her unto a foreign people he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
ט  וְאִם-לִבְנוֹ, יִיעָדֶנָּה--כְּמִשְׁפַּט הַבָּנוֹת, יַעֲשֶׂה-לָּהּ.
9 And if he espouse her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
י  אִם-אַחֶרֶת, יִקַּח-לוֹ--שְׁאֵרָהּ כְּסוּתָהּ וְעֹנָתָהּ, לֹא יִגְרָע.
10 If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her conjugal rights, shall he not diminish.
יא  וְאִם-שְׁלָשׁ-אֵלֶּה--לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה, לָהּ:  וְיָצְאָה חִנָּם, אֵין כָּסֶף.  {ס}
11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out for nothing, without money. {S}
יב  מַכֵּה אִישׁ וָמֵת, מוֹת יוּמָת.
12 He that smiteth a man, so that he dieth, shall surely be put to death.
יג  וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא צָדָה, וְהָאֱלֹהִים אִנָּה לְיָדוֹ--וְשַׂמְתִּי לְךָ מָקוֹם, אֲשֶׁר יָנוּס שָׁמָּה.  {ס}
13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God cause it to come to hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he may flee. {S}
יד  וְכִי-יָזִד אִישׁ עַל-רֵעֵהוּ, לְהָרְגוֹ בְעָרְמָה--מֵעִם מִזְבְּחִי, תִּקָּחֶנּוּ לָמוּת.  {ס}
14 And if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from Mine altar, that he may die. {S}
טו  וּמַכֵּה אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, מוֹת יוּמָת.  {ס}
15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. {S}
טז  וְגֹנֵב אִישׁ וּמְכָרוֹ וְנִמְצָא בְיָדוֹ, מוֹת יוּמָת.  {ס}
16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. {S}
יז  וּמְקַלֵּל אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, מוֹת יוּמָת.  {ס}
17 And he that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death. {S}
יח  וְכִי-יְרִיבֻן אֲנָשִׁים--וְהִכָּה-אִישׁ אֶת-רֵעֵהוּ, בְּאֶבֶן אוֹ בְאֶגְרֹף; וְלֹא יָמוּת, וְנָפַל לְמִשְׁכָּב.
18 And if men contend, and one smite the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keep his bed;
יט  אִם-יָקוּם וְהִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּחוּץ, עַל-מִשְׁעַנְתּוֹ--וְנִקָּה הַמַּכֶּה:  רַק שִׁבְתּוֹ יִתֵּן, וְרַפֹּא יְרַפֵּא.  {ס}
19 if he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. {S}
כ  וְכִי-יַכֶּה אִישׁ אֶת-עַבְדּוֹ אוֹ אֶת-אֲמָתוֹ, בַּשֵּׁבֶט, וּמֵת, תַּחַת יָדוֹ--נָקֹם, יִנָּקֵם.
20 And if a man smite his bondman, or his bondwoman, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall surely be punished.
כא  אַךְ אִם-יוֹם אוֹ יוֹמַיִם, יַעֲמֹד--לֹא יֻקַּם, כִּי כַסְפּוֹ הוּא.  {ס}
21 Notwithstanding if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his money. {S}
כב  וְכִי-יִנָּצוּ אֲנָשִׁים, וְנָגְפוּ אִשָּׁה הָרָה וְיָצְאוּ יְלָדֶיהָ, וְלֹא יִהְיֶה, אָסוֹן--עָנוֹשׁ יֵעָנֵשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יָשִׁית עָלָיו בַּעַל הָאִשָּׁה, וְנָתַן, בִּפְלִלִים.
22 And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
כג  וְאִם-אָסוֹן, יִהְיֶה--וְנָתַתָּה נֶפֶשׁ, תַּחַת נָפֶשׁ.
23 But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
כד  עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן, שֵׁן תַּחַת שֵׁן, יָד תַּחַת יָד, רֶגֶל תַּחַת רָגֶל.
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
כה  כְּוִיָּה תַּחַת כְּוִיָּה, פֶּצַע תַּחַת פָּצַע, חַבּוּרָה, תַּחַת חַבּוּרָה.  {ס}
25 burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. {S}
כו  וְכִי-יַכֶּה אִישׁ אֶת-עֵין עַבְדּוֹ, אוֹ-אֶת-עֵין אֲמָתוֹ--וְשִׁחֲתָהּ:  לַחָפְשִׁי יְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ, תַּחַת עֵינוֹ.
26 And if a man smite the eye of his bondman, or the eye of his bondwoman, and destroy it, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.
כז  וְאִם-שֵׁן עַבְדּוֹ אוֹ-שֵׁן אֲמָתוֹ, יַפִּיל--לַחָפְשִׁי יְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ, תַּחַת שִׁנּוֹ.  {פ}
27 And if he smite out his bondman's tooth, or his bondwoman's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake. {P}
כח  וְכִי-יִגַּח שׁוֹר אֶת-אִישׁ אוֹ אֶת-אִשָּׁה, וָמֵת--סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל הַשּׁוֹר, וְלֹא יֵאָכֵל אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ, וּבַעַל הַשּׁוֹר, נָקִי.
28 And if an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die, the ox shall be surely stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.
כט  וְאִם שׁוֹר נַגָּח הוּא מִתְּמֹל שִׁלְשֹׁם, וְהוּעַד בִּבְעָלָיו וְלֹא יִשְׁמְרֶנּוּ, וְהֵמִית אִישׁ, אוֹ אִשָּׁה--הַשּׁוֹר, יִסָּקֵל, וְגַם-בְּעָלָיו, יוּמָת.
29 But if the ox was wont to gore in time past, and warning hath been given to its owner, and he hath not kept it in, but it hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.
ל  אִם-כֹּפֶר, יוּשַׁת עָלָיו--וְנָתַן פִּדְיֹן נַפְשׁוֹ, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יוּשַׁת עָלָיו.
30 If there be laid on him a ransom, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.
לא  אוֹ-בֵן יִגָּח, אוֹ-בַת יִגָּח--כַּמִּשְׁפָּט הַזֶּה, יֵעָשֶׂה לּוֹ.
31 Whether it have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.
לב  אִם-עֶבֶד יִגַּח הַשּׁוֹר, אוֹ אָמָה--כֶּסֶף שְׁלֹשִׁים שְׁקָלִים, יִתֵּן לַאדֹנָיו, וְהַשּׁוֹר, יִסָּקֵל.  {ס}
32 If the ox gore a bondman or a bondwoman, he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. {S}
לג  וְכִי-יִפְתַּח אִישׁ בּוֹר, אוֹ כִּי-יִכְרֶה אִישׁ בֹּר--וְלֹא יְכַסֶּנּוּ; וְנָפַל-שָׁמָּה שּׁוֹר, אוֹ חֲמוֹר.
33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein,
לד  בַּעַל הַבּוֹר יְשַׁלֵּם, כֶּסֶף יָשִׁיב לִבְעָלָיו; וְהַמֵּת, יִהְיֶה-לּוֹ.  {ס}
34 the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall give money unto the owner of them, and the dead beast shall be his. {S}
לה  וְכִי-יִגֹּף שׁוֹר-אִישׁ אֶת-שׁוֹר רֵעֵהוּ, וָמֵת--וּמָכְרוּ אֶת-הַשּׁוֹר הַחַי, וְחָצוּ אֶת-כַּסְפּוֹ, וְגַם אֶת-הַמֵּת, יֶחֱצוּן.
35 And if one man's ox hurt another's, so that it dieth; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the price of it; and the dead also they shall divide.
לו  אוֹ נוֹדַע, כִּי שׁוֹר נַגָּח הוּא מִתְּמוֹל שִׁלְשֹׁם, וְלֹא יִשְׁמְרֶנּוּ, בְּעָלָיו--שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם שׁוֹר תַּחַת הַשּׁוֹר, וְהַמֵּת יִהְיֶה-לּוֹ.  {ס}
36 Or if it be known that the ox was wont to gore in time past, and its owner hath not kept it in; he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his own. {S}
לז  כִּי יִגְנֹב-אִישׁ שׁוֹר אוֹ-שֶׂה, וּטְבָחוֹ אוֹ מְכָרוֹ--חֲמִשָּׁה בָקָר, יְשַׁלֵּם תַּחַת הַשּׁוֹר, וְאַרְבַּע-צֹאן, תַּחַת הַשֶּׂה.
37 If a man steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it, he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

2.2.3.3 What the people saw at Mt. Sinai


Text 2-62: Exodus 20:14-15
יד  וְכָל-הָעָם רֹאִים אֶת-הַקּוֹלֹת וְאֶת-הַלַּפִּידִם, וְאֵת קוֹל הַשֹּׁפָר, וְאֶת-הָהָר, עָשֵׁן; וַיַּרְא הָעָם וַיָּנֻעוּ, וַיַּעַמְדוּ מֵרָחֹק.
14 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the horn, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off.
טו  וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, דַּבֵּר-אַתָּה עִמָּנוּ, וְנִשְׁמָעָה; וְאַל-יְדַבֵּר עִמָּנוּ אֱלֹהִים, פֶּן-נָמוּת.
15 And they said unto Moses: 'Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.'
The simplest reading would suggest that they saw the source of the thunder that is the lightning, and the voice of the shofar that was hidden by the mountain smoking. The people did not want to approach further. After seeing the awesome site, they chose to let Moshe intermediate for them by hearing the word of G-d.

However Rashi says they heard the first two commandments and only then asked Moshe to translate the rest for them. This leads to the theory that three million Jews simultaneously experienced revelation.[165]

יז  וַיַּעֲמֹד הָעָם, מֵרָחֹק; וּמֹשֶׁה נִגַּשׁ אֶל-הָעֲרָפֶל, אֲשֶׁר-שָׁם הָאֱלֹהִים.  {ס}
17 And the people stood afar off; but Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. {S}
יח  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, כֹּה תֹאמַר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:  אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם--כִּי מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם, דִּבַּרְתִּי עִמָּכֶם.
18 And the LORD said unto Moses: Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel: Ye yourselves have seen that I have talked with you (plural) from heaven.
From the heaven that is Shamayim would be like Shemesh – Sun and Mayim - Water combined. This could be the fire and smoke of the mountain perhaps, or more significantly direct group prophecy for the passage refers to ‘with you’ – עמכם in the plural form, “And the Lord said to Moses, Go and speak to the children of Israel saying, You have seen – for from the Heavens, I have spoken with them.” But if the people actually heard themselves then why is Moses asked to tell them this.

כד  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהוָה לֶךְ-רֵד, וְעָלִיתָ אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן עִמָּךְ; וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהָעָם, אַל-יֶהֶרְסוּ לַעֲלֹת אֶל-יְהוָה--פֶּן-יִפְרָץ-בָּם.
24 And the LORD said unto him: 'Go, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee; but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest He break forth upon them.'
כה  וַיֵּרֶד מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-הָעָם; וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲלֵהֶם.  {ס}
25 So Moses went down unto the people, and told them. {S}

This suggests the people did not hear any specific words of the prophecy, but experience the dark cloud and other surrounding effects. A couple of points here, if the first two commandments had been heard literally by all the people, one would expect an explicit record here, as opposed to having to derive it. Perhaps they were experienced in the internal prophetic voice, but simultaneous prophecy of the exact same experience is not the nature of prophecy. Instead this would have to be a unique higher prophecy like G-d spoke directly to Moshe face to face. But no other person is ascribed to have this type of experience. There is also a question as to whether such a direct experience would exceed the limits of what faith challenges us to become. The Sinai experience is used to distinguish our religion as having greater veracity, since it is validated by an entire nation and not just a singular prophet. There does appear to be a national experience here of thunder, lightning, shofar, and smoke. The voice of the shofar is the only non-natural component. Maybe these were soundings in response to G-d. As for the witness, G-d says, “They have seen, from the heavens I have spoken with all of you.” That statement has never been challenged throughout history. In the final analysis, there was something that everyone shared and it was more than a vision, but there were also words heard by all.[166]

2.2.4 Parsha Mishpatim


And these are the sentences that thou shall place before them.
(Exodus 21:1)

If they would have waited a single day more before sinning in the Garden of Eden, they would have received these ‘sentences’ and been permitted to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. This verse follows the revelation at Mt. Sinai to teach that revelation alone is not sufficient to achieve G-d’s purpose. The Zohar teaches that there is an allusion to reincarnation here by understanding Exodus 21:1, “And these are the families[167] (Gilgulim - reincarnations) which you shall place before them.”

Text 2-63: Gittin 88b
Abaye once found R. Joseph sitting in court and compelling certain men to give a bill of divorce. He said to him: Surely we are only laymen, and it has been taught: R. Tarfon used to say: In any place where you find heathen law courts, even though their law is the same as the Israelite law, you must not resort to them since it says, “These are the judgments which thou shalt set before them”, that is to say, ‘before them’ and not before heathens.

From here we learn that a Jew resorts to the law that G-d has commanded him and not the laws of men even if they are the same. Hence, a Jew marries under Jewish law or divorces under Jewish law. Hazal relate a story where a Jewish man wished to immigrate to Israel. He asked his wife, who said she would not attend him and refused to make this trip with her children. He divorced his wife and moved to Israel in any case. There he married again and had eight children. Some suggest that the man was inconsiderate of his children, let alone his wife. Nevertheless a man may divorce his wife for being a “bad cook”, how much more so in not willing to support him in fulfilling a mitzvah. The children would learn from the example of their mother and not their father if he would not divorce her.

2.2.4.1 Enoch


Exodus 23:20-23 alludes to the role of a great angel:

Text 2-64: Exodus 23:20-24
Behold, I send an Angel before you, to guard you in the way, and to bring you to the place, which I have prepared. Take heed of him, and listen to his voice, do not provoke (raise yourself tall – תמר over) him; for he will not remove (lift off of you – ישא) your transgressions; for my name is within him. But if you shall indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak;[168] then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries. Thus, My Angel shall go before you and bring you to the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off. You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works; but you shall completely overthrow them, and break down their images in pieces.


This angel is an emissary from Hashem to assist the Israelites in defeating her enemies. Similarly, Hashem placed an angel with a sword at the doorway of the Garden of Eden to prevent any return. Similarly, Hashem placed an angel to strike down Baalim from his path to prevent him from cursing His people. Yet, this angel in Exodus is described as having the name of G-d within him, so that his words are the words of the Living G-d. He is called the little god. The Rabad taught that this was the angel Metatron.

Enoch became the angel Metatron, highest of the angels. Metatron – מטטרון from mattara means service, post, watch, or guard. Eleazar of Worms interprets Metatron from metator – מטיטור, meaning leader from Genesis Rabbah v.4: “He, was made a metator for the waters, ... for He is the Prince of the World.” Ron – רון means to utter praise to the Holy One.[169] Metatron lived 365 years, which encompasses the sefirot: Three hundred in hundreds for Keter, Hochmah, and Binah, sixty in tens for Hesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod. Five represents Heh, the final letter of the name of G-d and Malchuts.[170] He is called the Great Eagle – Nesher – נשר or child – נאר. The top three sefirot allude to Ayn – Nothingness of G-d. Aleph is for Keter. Yod, the first letter of the name of G-d, is for Hochmah. Nun is for Binah. Rabbi Ishmael received this explanation:[171],[172]

Text 2-65: Metatron in the Hebrew Book of Enoch

III ENOCH: Chapter Four

METATRON IS IDENTICAL WITH ENOCH WHO WAS TRANSFORMED
AND ASCENDED TO HEAVEN AT THE TIME OF THE FLOOD.

1. I asked Metatron and said to him: Why art thou called by the Name of Thy Creator,
by seventy Names? Thou art greater than all the princes, higher than all the angels,
beloved more than all the servants, honored above all the mighty ones in kingship,
greatness, and glory. Why do they call thee ‘Youth’ in the high heavens?

2. He answered me and said to me: Because I am Enoch, the son of Yared.

3. For when the generations of the Flood sinned and were confounded in their deeds,
saying unto God (Job 21.14): ‘Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of
Thy ways’, then the Holy One, blessed be He, removed me from their midst to be a
witness against them in the high heavens to all the inhabitants of the world, that they may
not say: The Merciful One is cruel’.[173]

4. Hence, the Holy One, blessed be He, lifted me up in their lifetime before their eyes to
be a witness against them to the future world. And the Holy One, blessed be He,
assigned me as a prince and a ruler among the ministering angels.

5. In that hour three of the ministering angels, Uzza, Azza, and Azzael came forth and
brought charges against me in the high heavens, saying before the Holy One, blessed be
He: Said not the Ancient Ones (First Ones) rightly before Thee: Do not create man!
The Holy One, blessed be He, answered and said unto them (Isaiah 46.4): I have made
and I will bear, yea, I will carry and will deliver.

6. As soon as they saw me, they said before Him: Lord of the Universe! What is this one
that he should ascend to the height of heights? Is he not one from among the sons of (the
sons of) those who perished in the days of the Flood? What doeth he in the Raqia (Firmament – רקיא)?[174]

7. Again the Holy One, blessed be He, answered and said to them: What are ye, that ye
enter and speak in My Presence? I delight in this one more than in all of you, and hence
he shall be a prince and a ruler over you in the high heavens.

8. Forthwith all stood up and went out to meet me, prostrated themselves before me and
said: Happy art thou and happy is thy father for thy Creator doth favor thee.

9. And because I am small and a youth among them in days, months, and years, therefore
they call me Youth (Naar – נער).

The Talmud teaches that the gematria of Metatron and Naar are 320.[175] G-d created the higher angels on the 2nd day and the lower angels on the 5th day. Hanoch, who became Metatron, was born a few generations later. The Hebrew book of Enoch continues with the idea that G-d created the world with letters. G-d created the sefirot—will, wisdom, understanding, (knowledge), kindness, justice, truth, victory, acquiescence, righteousness, and leadership with letters. Above the sefirot are four worlds of letters, BN, MH, SG, AV, expansions of the names of G-d with different spellings.

Text 2-66: Hebrew Book of Enoch or Enoch III

III ENOCH: Chapter Forty One

“Metatron Shows Rabbi Ishmael the Letters Engraved on the Throne of Glory by
Which Letters Everything In The Earth Has Been Created.”

Rabbi Ishmael said: Metatron, the Angel, the Prince of the Presence said to me:

1. “Come and behold the letters by which heaven and the earth were created,[176]
the letters by which were created the mountains and hills,
the letters by which were created the seas and rivers,
the letters by which were created the trees and herbs
the letters by which were created the planets and constellations,
the letters by which were created the globe of the moon and the globe of the sun,
Orion, Pleiades, and all the different luminaries of Raqia (Firmament).”

2. “The letters by which were created the Throne of Glory and the Wheels of the
Merkabah, the letters by which were created the necessities of the worlds;

3. The letters by which were created wisdom, understanding, knowledge, prudence,
meekness, and righteousness by which the whole world is sustained.”

4. And I walked by his side and he took me by his hand and raised me upon his wings
and showed me those letters, all of them, that are graven with a flaming style on the
Throne of Glory. And sparks go forth from them and cover all the chambers of Araboth.[177] (see Seven Heavens)

The name Metatron – מטטרון has a beautiful meaning. The pronoun suffix on – ון means ‘yours’ or ‘theirs’ in Aramaic. Metar – מטר is ‘rain’ which the Torah associates with mercy from G-d. Hence Metatron means ‘Your Rain.’ This is the rain of G-d who sustains the world like a mother supplying milk to her baby. The gematria of Metatron is 314 that of Shaddai, which means ‘breast’ or ‘almighty’. The Talmud refers to Metatron as a youth, naar – נער. Other etymological explanations include:[178][179]

Text 2-67: Name of Metatron According to Scholem

The origin of the name Metatron is obscure; it is doubtful whether an etymological explanation can be given. It is possible that the name was intended to be a secret... or as a result of glossolalia.[180] ....

Among numerous etymological derivations given, three should be mentioned:
¨ from [Aramaic] matara, keeper of the watch;
¨ from [Aramaic] metator, a guide or messenger...
¨ from the combination of the two Greek words meta and thronos such as metathronios, in the sense of “one who serves behind the throne.”
However... the Greek word thronos does not appear in Talmudic literature. (Kabbalah; p. 380)

According to the Zohar, the primary text of Rabbinic Kabbalah, the term “Metatron” points to the “keeper” of Israel from Psalm 121:4: “What shall I do for him [Metatron]? I will commit my whole house into his hand, ...”. Henceforth be you [Metatron] a KEEPER as it is written (Ps. 121:4) “The KEEPER of Israel...” (Zohar; Amsterdam Ed. vol 2 Ex. p. 51)

It is therefore likely that “Metatron” comes from the Aramaic MATARA (keeper) -ON (our) or perhaps even Aramaic METATOR (guide) -ON (our).

2.2.5 Parsha Terumah

The tabernacle consisted of walls of cloth colored in a blue-green dye from an unknown sea creature. The Hebrew color is t’chelet that is the origin of the English word ‘teal’. This is a bluish color with a lightness and hint of green.

We learn in Parsha Terumah that the ark was laid with gold both on the outside and the inside. This is analogous to our soul and behavior which must be pure as gold internally and externally. The ark was measured to a half unit to teach us that we must break our midos down to measure them carefully and improve.

G-d intended the ark to be of pure gold, but to lesson the burden of carrying it G-d permitted the ark to be made of acacia wood and to have gold layers on top. This teaches us that we should try to lesson the burdens of our neighbor.[181]

The Hoshen Mishpat, the breastplate with lines of gems is often mistranslated as ‘breastplate of judgment’. In this case, ‘mishpat’ is like sentences and refers to the four rows on the breastplate that represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Because God placed the lights of the Urim and Tumim in the breastplate, there was a means of revealing God’s will to the community on matters of state where difficult decisions had to be made frequently and on the spur of the moment. Urim, which means lights and Tumim which means simplicity embodied the essence of prophesy.

2.2.6 Parsha Chaya Sarah


Text 2-68: Exodus 25:1-2
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
And she bore him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

From here, we learn that Jethro who was Priest of Midian was a descendent of Abraham and believed like him in One G-d.

2.2.7 Parsha Ki Thissa

The giving of a half shekel reveals that the shekel was not a coin, but a particular weight of silver at that time. In fact coin manufacturing came about later.[182] The mystery of the Red Heifer is connected to the Golden Calf in duality. Red and Gold both relate to the side of judgment. The Israelites drank the dust of the Golden Calf to realize their idolatry. The Red Heifer is killed and burned into ash to create waters of purification that cleansed the Jews upon entering the temple. The impurity exists upon the one carrying out the act, and he must enter the mikvah before returning to the camp. The remaining ash lacking any remnant of blood is clean and in this case mixes with waters to create the waters of purification.[183]

The association of the Red Heifer with Golden Calf reminds the Israelites of their sin, humbling them each time. By applying the waters of the Red Heifer, their guilt is assuaged once again recalling the drinking of the waters of the Golden Calf.

There is a teaching in the Torah that for every sickness, G-d has already prepared the remedy. Similarly for the sin of the Golden Calf, G-d prepared the Red Heifer as an antidote.

The Abravenel defines a stiff-necked person as someone who cannot turn his head to either side to see what is coming his way after he decides on a path to head down.

2.2.8 Parsha Pekudey


Text 2-69: Exodus 38:26
A bekah – בקע for every man – לגלגלת, that is, half a shekel, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one who went to be counted, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty men.

‘Bekah’ refers to ‘cut in half’ as in the verse, ‘Hashem cut the sea in half and the Jews passed through on dry land’.[184] Above ‘bekah’ refers to the half shekel offered to the temple for counting. The phrase ‘bekah lgilgulut’ is that each person in the generation is cut into the covenant (like to cut a covenant alluding to the two tablets of the Ten Commandments[185]). Eliezer gave Rebekah a half shekel of gold in a ring alluding to the covenant he would make with her on behalf of Abraham as Isaac’s wife. Abimelech cut a covenant – כרת with Abraham at Beersheva.[186] The ‘bekah’ or half-shekel is a promise to each generation that Hashem will save you, that you too have a marriage right, and that you too are part of the covenant of Abraham.

2.2.9 Parsha Mikeitz

Mikeitz, ‘from the end’, teaches that salvation is laid from the end of times.

Text 2-70: Midrash Rabbah Genesis 91:7
The Holy One, blessed be He, never leaves the righteous in distress more than three days.

Joseph would not keep his brethren in captivity without determining their fate for more than three days.

Text 2-71: Genesis 42:13-24
13. And they said, Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.
14. And Joseph said to them, That is what I spoke to you, saying, You are spies;
15. Hereby you shall be tested; By the life of Pharaoh you shall not go from here, except if your youngest brother comes here.
16. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there is any truth in you; or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.
17. And he put them all together under guard for three days.
18. And Joseph said to them on the third day, this do, and live; for it is to the Lord that I fear.
19. If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in the house of your prison; you go, carry grain for the famine of your houses
20. But bring your youngest brother to me; so shall your words be verified, and you shall not die. And they did so.
21. And they said one to another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.”
22. And Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not speak to you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and you would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”
23. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spoke to them by an interpreter.
24. And he turned himself away from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and talked with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

Text 2-72: Midrash Rabbah Genesis 91:7 (cont)
AND JOSEPH SAID UNTO THEM THE THIRD DAY, etc. (XLII, 18). Thus it is written, After two days He will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence (Hosea VI, 2): on the third day of the tribal ancestors.

Text 2-73: Midrash Rabbah - Genesis 56:1
ON THE THIRD DAY. etc. (XXII, 4). It is written, After two days He will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence (Hos. VI, 2). E.g. on the third day of the tribal ancestors: And Joseph said unto them the third day: This do, and live (Gen. XLII, 18); on the third day of Revelation: And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning (Ex. XIX, 16); on the third day of the spies: And hide yourselves there three days (Josh. II, 16); on the third day of Jonah: And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah II. 1); on the third day of those returning from the Exile: And we abode there three days (Ezra VIII, 32); on the third day of resurrection: ‘After two days He will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up’ (Hos. VI, 2); on the third day of Esther: Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel (Esther 5:1)-i.e. she put on the royal apparel of her ancestor. For whose sake? The Rabbis say: For the sake of the third day, when Revelation took place. R. Levi maintained: In the merit of what Abraham did on the third day, as it says, ON THE THIRD DAY, etc. AND SAW THE PLACE AFAR OFF. What did he see? He saw a cloud enveloping the mountain, and said: ‘It appears that that is the place where the Holy One, blessed be He, told me to sacrifice my son.’

The quote from Hosea refers to healing of our soul, the renewal of our bodies:[187]

Text 2-74: Hosea 6
1. Come, and let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck, and he will bind us up.
2. After two days he will revive us; in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3. Let us know, let us follow on to know the Lord; his going forth is sure as the morning; and he shall come to us as the rain, as the latter rains that water the earth.
4. O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your goodness is like the morning mist, and like the dew that early goes away.
5. Therefore have I hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth; and your judgments are as the light that goes forth.
6. For I desired loyal love, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7. But they like Adam have transgressed the covenant; there have they dealt treacherously against me.
8. Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity, and it is polluted with blood.
9. And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so does the company of priests; they murder on the way to Shechem; for they commit lewdness.
10. (K)[188] I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel; there is harlotry in Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
11. Also, O Judah, he has set a harvest for you. When I would have returned the captivity of my people,

There is unusual legend that is not found in the Midrash:

Text 2-75: Legends of the Jews Vol. 2 Joseph Cast into the Pit
To avoid hearing Joseph's weeping and cries of distress, his brethren passed on from the pit, and stood at a bow-shot's distance. The only one among them that manifested pity was Zebulun. For two days and two nights no food passed his lips on account of his grief over the fate of Joseph, who had to spend three days and three nights in the pit before he was sold. During this period Zebulun was charged by his brethren to keep watch at the pit. He was chosen to stand guard because he took no part in the meals. Part of the time Judah also refrained from eating with the rest, and took turns at watching, because he feared Simon and Gad might jump down into the pit and put an end to Joseph's life.


The Holy One, blessed be He, never leaves the righteous in distress more than three days.[189]


Genesis 49:22 has come to some notoriety as a segulah. The vav must be left out of porat in both places as it is written in the Torah, עין בן פרת יוסף בן פרת עלי. ‘It is traditional to the Jews of North Africa to say this verse aloud when trying to deter the Evil Eye after talking about their good fortune.’

‘...meaning: “Joseph is a fruitful bough even a fruitful bough by a well...”. This verse comes from the blessing of Jacob to his favorite and beloved son Joseph, whose decedents are liked to a fruitful prosperous tree that grows on a fountain. In Jewish tradition the decedents of Joseph are believed to be protected from the “Evil Eye” or the misfortune that comes from the envy of others in ones success. It is known Joseph was not only successful in life but also rose to greatness while overcoming jealousy and vengeance from even his own brothers, and others who wished him harm. He did so by being truthful and generous.’

Text 2-76: Genesis 49:22
א  וַיִּקְרָא יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-בָּנָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר, הֵאָסְפוּ וְאַגִּידָה לָכֶם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִקְרָא אֶתְכֶם, בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים.
1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: 'Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the end of days.
ב  הִקָּבְצוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ, בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב; וְשִׁמְעוּ, אֶל-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲבִיכֶם.
2 Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
ג  רְאוּבֵן בְּכֹרִי אַתָּה, כֹּחִי וְרֵאשִׁית אוֹנִי--יֶתֶר שְׂאֵת, וְיֶתֶר עָז.
3 Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the first-fruits of my strength; the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.
ד  פַּחַז כַּמַּיִם אַל-תּוֹתַר, כִּי עָלִיתָ מִשְׁכְּבֵי אָבִיךָ; אָז חִלַּלְתָּ, יְצוּעִי עָלָה.  {פ}
4 Unstable as water, have not thou the excellency; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it--he went up to my couch. {P}
ה  שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי, אַחִים--כְּלֵי חָמָס, מְכֵרֹתֵיהֶם.
5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; weapons of violence their kinship.
ו  בְּסֹדָם אַל-תָּבֹא נַפְשִׁי, בִּקְהָלָם אַל-תֵּחַד כְּבֹדִי:  כִּי בְאַפָּם הָרְגוּ אִישׁ, וּבִרְצֹנָם עִקְּרוּ-שׁוֹר.
6 Let my soul not come into their council; unto their assembly let my glory not be united; for in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they houghed oxen.
ז  אָרוּר אַפָּם כִּי עָז, וְעֶבְרָתָם כִּי קָשָׁתָה; אֲחַלְּקֵם בְּיַעֲקֹב, וַאֲפִיצֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.  {פ}
7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel; I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. {P}
ח  יְהוּדָה, אַתָּה יוֹדוּךָ אַחֶיךָ--יָדְךָ, בְּעֹרֶף אֹיְבֶיךָ; יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְךָ, בְּנֵי אָבִיךָ.
8 Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; thy father's sons shall bow down before thee.
ט  גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, מִטֶּרֶף בְּנִי עָלִיתָ; כָּרַע רָבַץ כְּאַרְיֵה וּכְלָבִיא, מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ.
9 Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up. He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?
י  לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה, וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים.
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, as long as men come to Shiloh; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
יא  אֹסְרִי לַגֶּפֶן עִירֹה, וְלַשֹּׂרֵקָה בְּנִי אֲתֹנוֹ; כִּבֵּס בַּיַּיִן לְבֻשׁוֹ, וּבְדַם-עֲנָבִים סוּתֹה.
11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washeth his garments in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes;
יב  חַכְלִילִי עֵינַיִם, מִיָּיִן; וּלְבֶן-שִׁנַּיִם, מֵחָלָב.  {פ}
12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. {P}
יג  זְבוּלֻן, לְחוֹף יַמִּים יִשְׁכֹּן; וְהוּא לְחוֹף אֳנִיֹּת, וְיַרְכָתוֹ עַל-צִידֹן.  {פ}
13 Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea, and he shall be a shore for ships, and his flank shall be upon Zidon. {P}
יד  יִשָּׂשכָר, חֲמֹר גָּרֶם--רֹבֵץ, בֵּין הַמִּשְׁפְּתָיִם.
14 Issachar is a large-boned ass, couching down between the sheep-folds.
טו  וַיַּרְא מְנֻחָה כִּי טוֹב, וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ כִּי נָעֵמָה; וַיֵּט שִׁכְמוֹ לִסְבֹּל, וַיְהִי לְמַס-עֹבֵד.  {ס}
15 For he saw a resting-place that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant under task-work. {S}
טז  דָּן, יָדִין עַמּוֹ--כְּאַחַד, שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
יז  יְהִי-דָן נָחָשׁ עֲלֵי-דֶרֶךְ, שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי-אֹרַח--הַנֹּשֵׁךְ, עִקְּבֵי-סוּס, וַיִּפֹּל רֹכְבוֹ, אָחוֹר.
17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider falleth backward.
יח  לִישׁוּעָתְךָ, קִוִּיתִי יְהוָה.  {ס}
18 I wait for Thy salvation, O LORD. {S}
יט  גָּד, גְּדוּד יְגוּדֶנּוּ; וְהוּא, יָגֻד עָקֵב.  {ס}
19 Gad, a troop shall troop upon him; but he shall troop upon their heel. {S}
כ  מֵאָשֵׁר, שְׁמֵנָה לַחְמוֹ; וְהוּא יִתֵּן, מַעֲדַנֵּי-מֶלֶךְ.  {ס}
20 As for Asher, his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. {S}
כא  נַפְתָּלִי, אַיָּלָה שְׁלֻחָה--הַנֹּתֵן, אִמְרֵי-שָׁפֶר.  {ס}
21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. {S}
כב  בֵּן פֹּרָת יוֹסֵף, בֵּן פֹּרָת עֲלֵי-עָיִן; בָּנוֹת, צָעֲדָה עֲלֵי-שׁוּר.
22 Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain; its branches run over the wall.
כג  וַיְמָרְרֻהוּ, וָרֹבּוּ; וַיִּשְׂטְמֻהוּ, בַּעֲלֵי חִצִּים.
23 The archers have dealt bitterly with him, and shot at him, and hated him;
כד  וַתֵּשֶׁב בְּאֵיתָן קַשְׁתּוֹ, וַיָּפֹזּוּ זְרֹעֵי יָדָיו; מִידֵי אֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב, מִשָּׁם רֹעֶה אֶבֶן יִשְׂרָאֵל.
24 But his bow abode firm, and the arms of his hands were made supple, by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, from thence, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,
כה  מֵאֵל אָבִיךָ וְיַעְזְרֶךָּ, וְאֵת שַׁדַּי וִיבָרְכֶךָּ, בִּרְכֹת שָׁמַיִם מֵעָל, בִּרְכֹת תְּהוֹם רֹבֶצֶת תָּחַת; בִּרְכֹת שָׁדַיִם, וָרָחַם.
25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee, and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee, with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that coucheth beneath, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
כו  בִּרְכֹת אָבִיךָ, גָּבְרוּ עַל-בִּרְכֹת הוֹרַי, עַד-תַּאֲוַת, גִּבְעֹת עוֹלָם; תִּהְיֶיןָ לְרֹאשׁ יוֹסֵף, וּלְקָדְקֹד נְזִיר אֶחָיו.  {פ}
26 The blessings of thy father are mighty beyond the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the prince among his brethren. {P}
כז  בִּנְיָמִין זְאֵב יִטְרָף, בַּבֹּקֶר יֹאכַל עַד; וְלָעֶרֶב, יְחַלֵּק שָׁלָל.
27 Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he devoureth the prey, and at even he divideth the spoil.'
כח  כָּל-אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר; וְזֹאת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר לָהֶם אֲבִיהֶם, וַיְבָרֶךְ אוֹתָם--אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כְּבִרְכָתוֹ, בֵּרַךְ אֹתָם.
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is it that their father spoke unto them and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
כט  וַיְצַו אוֹתָם, וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם אֲנִי נֶאֱסָף אֶל-עַמִּי--קִבְרוּ אֹתִי, אֶל-אֲבֹתָי:  אֶל-הַמְּעָרָה--אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׂדֵה, עֶפְרוֹן הַחִתִּי.
29 And he charged them, and said unto them: 'I am to be gathered unto my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
ל  בַּמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׂדֵה הַמַּכְפֵּלָה, אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי-מַמְרֵא--בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן:  אֲשֶׁר קָנָה אַבְרָהָם אֶת-הַשָּׂדֶה, מֵאֵת עֶפְרֹן הַחִתִּי--לַאֲחֻזַּת-קָבֶר.
30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place.
לא  שָׁמָּה קָבְרוּ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם, וְאֵת שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ, שָׁמָּה קָבְרוּ אֶת-יִצְחָק, וְאֵת רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ; וְשָׁמָּה קָבַרְתִּי, אֶת-לֵאָה.
31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
לב  מִקְנֵה הַשָּׂדֶה וְהַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר-בּוֹ, מֵאֵת בְּנֵי-חֵת.
32 The field and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth.'
לג  וַיְכַל יַעֲקֹב לְצַוֹּת אֶת-בָּנָיו, וַיֶּאֱסֹף רַגְלָיו אֶל-הַמִּטָּה; וַיִּגְוַע, וַיֵּאָסֶף אֶל-עַמָּיו.
33 And when Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and expired, and was gathered unto his people.


2.3 Leviticus – And Called – Vayikra

Leviticus is Torat haCohanim – the Manual of the Priests. Originally it was intended for the priests who mastered the laws of purity and were instructed in the laws of the people. These became public laws that have enabled Israel to survive, although dispersed amongst the nations. Joseph resisted the temptations of Potifer’s wife by respecting the value system of his father who followed G-d according to these rules. Here there are laws against incest, sleeping with a mother and daughter, against abominations, etc. These laws are stepping stones to heaven, each precious and essential to our survival.

2.3.1 Speech

And the Lord called unto Moses, and spoke unto him out of the tent of meeting saying:
ויקרא אל-משה וידבר יי אליו מאהל מועד לאמר


The first word of Leviticus differs from the other words in that its last letter, the aleph – א is smaller then the other letters. This is a carryover from the original text, which did not have spaces and the same letter could serve the purpose of ending the previous word and beginning the next. The letter aleph in Hebrew contains the Gematria for the name of G-d:
א
The aleph can be seen as composed of 2 yods – יי and a vav – ו. Together they have the numerical value of 26, which is the same as the value of the Tetragrammaton.
yod + vav + yod = 10 + 6 + 10 = 26
heh + vav + heh + yod = 5 + 6 + 5 + 10 = 26

Another type of gematria we can do is based on the name of the letter itself: aleph – אלף has the gematria 80 + 30 + 1 = 111 => 3. This is depicted in the shape of the aleph as having 3 components. The bottom aleph can be seen as a person calling up to G-d. The vav is the channel or ladder to climb and the top aleph is the point from which G-d responds or calls out to man. This is the image of prayer, of Jacob’s Ladder, and the process of revelation. Thus, the word yikra – יקרא, calling out teaches us that speech in general is an act in the image of G-d.

2.3.2 Laws

The book of Leviticus contains the laws of holiness. Torah laws fall into the following categories. The chukim – חקים – decrees are laws of holiness. The karbanos – קרבנות – offerings are those that deal with sacrifices. The Hebrew root is karov – קרב, which teaches us that sacrifices bring us closer to G-d. The mishpatim – משפטים – ethical laws or sentences pertain to morality and the justice system. The edoth – עדות – testimonies are commandments that are associated with our history and/or remind us of religious truths: i.e. holidays, tefillin, and mezuzahs.

2.3.3 Incest

Lev. 20:12. And if a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed unnatural sin; their blood shall be upon them.

Judah slept with Tamar and their children were accepted into Israel. The law of illegitimacy, mamzerim was not applied. The Oral Law should teach that the Written Law is intended to discourage, but that the children would not be alienated. L’havdil demon rabbis today spend their time questioning conversions and alienating children in contradistinction.

2.3.4 Abomination


Lev. 20:13. If a man also lies with men, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

The Hebrew word here is to,ay,vah – תועבה which has the root of the English word abomination.

Text 2-77: Leviticus 20:22-26
22. You shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them; that the land, where I bring you to dwell in it, vomit you not out.
23. And you shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you; for they committed all these things, and therefore I loathed them.
24. But I have said to you, You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess it, a land that flows with milk and honey; I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.
25. You shall therefore differentiate between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean birds and clean; and you shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by bird, or by any manner of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
26. And you shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from other people, that you should be mine.

2.3.5 Wickedness

The Hebrew word is zeemah – זמה.

Table 2-11: Wickedness
Location
Verse
Lev. 20:14
taking wife and mother





2.3.6 Disgust

The Hebrew word here is sheketz and refers to eating non-kosher sea life.

2.3.7 Offerings and Sacrifices

In biblical times, animals and meals were forms of money and offered like charity (See Table of Offerings in 13.8.2[190].658).190

Table 2-12: Offerings
Offering
Hebrew
Item
Purpose
Leviticus
Whole burnt
(Genesis)
‘olah – עלה
Whole animal
Brought as a pure gift or atones for troubling thoughts
1:3-17
Grain
(Exodus)
Minchah
Flour and oil
Meal and gift to God
2:1-16
Peace
(Deuteronomy)
Shelamim
Unblemished animal
Fellowship
3:1-17
Unintentional sin offering
(Leviticus)
Chatta’t
Bull, goat, lamb, doves, pigeons, flower
Atonement for transgression (pesha)
4:1 - 5:13
Ashamed guilt offering
(Numbers)
‘Asham
Ram
Restitution for deliberate acts, crime, iniquity (avon)
5:14-26


The ‘olah offering is not described as eaten, nevertheless; it is also not described as utterly consumed by fire. Lev. 1:9 states, “And the innards and legs will be washed in water and the Cohen adds fragrance to all of the alter, an ascendant fire offering, a restful fragrance to the Lord.” Nevertheless commentaries explain that the ‘olah was not removed; hence it was not eaten. Since the ‘olah was offered on Shabbat as well as all holidays, it was a spiritually elevating sacrifice, a pure gift to G-d. But why would G-d want such a gift while there is starvation in the world?

Meditation 2-5: Completely consumed offerings
While praying, visualize the temple alter with flames upon it. There may also be an offering thereupon of your own choosing. While you are praying the flames are moving. What is the meaning of the all consumed offering during Shabbat services? Why was it so important?

When there is no partaking of the sacrifice, there is no greed, jealousy, or corruption. The alter fire consumes corruption. Without consumption of the sacrifice, the basis of greed and jealousy dissolve away.

Flames rising between the offering, like a burning bush that is not consumed,
Corruption’s dissolution,
A spirit rising pure and free.

Concurrent prayer is pure without thought of gain. There is a parallel with studying Genesis and the ‘olah offering.[191] The ‘olah returns ones heart to innocence. The ‘olah does not bring nourishment to any person.[192]

Meditation 2-6: Sherry H. Blumberg

A close reading of the text suggests other ways in which we can draw close to God. In verse 4, the text says that the one who brings the olah (burnt offering) should place his hand upon the head of the animal, “thus formally designating the animal as his sacrifice” (W. Gunther Plaut, The Torah: A Modern Commentary, New York: UAHC Press, 1981, p. 757) and signifying that the animal was from the person who brought it. But does this act also signify something else? Is not the act of placing one’s hand upon the head of the living animal similar to what we parents do when we bless our children on Shabbat?

In addition, when a person placed his hand upon the head of the animal he brought, the life of that animal was still present, its heart was still beating, and its skin was still warm. But soon that same animal was to be killed, cut up, and burnt upon the altar. What a stark reminder of the fragility of life, of the momentary powerlessness and yet awesome power of being a human! Perhaps in that moment, the penitent understood God’s power and love, and by placing his hand upon the head of the still-living sacrificial animal, he was able to draw close to God. This emotional response was further heightened by the sprinkling of the blood of the animal all around the altar.[193]

Another way of drawing close to God lay in the act of choosing the perfect animal—“a male without blemish.” This commandment to choose the best of one’s animals reminded the penitent that service to God requires offering one’s entire soul and being—the very best that one has to offer. The prophet Malachi scolded Jews who brought sickly or lame animals to sacrifice (Malachi 1:8). It is possible to imagine the conflict a person might have felt about which animal to bring to God and which to leave behind in the herd. This internal conflict, which required honesty in choosing the perfect animal for God, could have led the penitent to experience love and respect for and, therefore, a closer connection with God.

Lastly, in the case of the olah, the animal is completely burned except for the hide. Thus, as both Rashi and Radah point out, olah, which means “goes up,” is an offering that is completely burned because it went up in smoke to God. How liberating it must have felt to stand and watch the olah, knowing that this sacrifice bore with it the guilt and sin one might have been holding inside! The freeing of these emotions—the evaporation into the air as smoke—could leave a person feeling elevated and lighter, allowing awe, wonder, and gratitude to fill the space that guilt once held.

Sacrifice is the process of becoming closer to G-d by giving away property. In most instances animal sacrifices are eaten by the Priests and Levites and the person who brought the offering, so it resembled a barbeque. In fact the death of the animal is elevated to a higher meaning than in a barbecue as the entrails are burned making a ‘pleasing’ aroma for G-d while ones property is shared with others. The aroma is pleasing because of repentance. Studying the Torah is equivalent to practicing the offerings:[194]

Text 2-78: Rabbi Yaakov Culi quoting Zohar on the Offerings
When a person studies the book of Genesis, it is counted as if he sacrificed a burnt offering (Olah). The book of Exodus is considered like a meal offering (Minchah); Leviticus is like a sin offering (Chatath); Numbers like a crime offering (Asham); and Deuteronomy like a peace offering (Shelamim). When a person studies all five books of the Torah, it is counted as if he has brought all the sacrifices.

In general, when a person studies the Torah so as to know which laws he must keep, it is considered as if he had observed the entire Torah.

The literal idea of sin transference or scapegoat derives from the following text:[195], [196]

Text 2-79: Leviticus Source Text for the Scapegoat
And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat,
and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel,
and all their transgressions in all their sins,
putting (give – נתן) them upon the head of the goat,
and shall send him away by the hand of an appointed man into the wilderness;

A community shares committed sins, just as her good deeds are rewarded. Hence, it is important for an entire community to experience atonement and for the sins to depart for evil to be far away.[197] In this mystery we can understand the commandment of G-d to Joshua to utterly destroy the evil nations in Israel. Furthermore, the idolatry of the people infected the animals and they too had to be killed.

In this manner, sins, which derive from our animal instinct, return to their source.[198] The theatrical gesture of this process brings the sinner to see his sins returning to their animal source and dismissed.[199] Animal avarice is the source of sin and we symbolically cast it back to the animal and the earth from whence it came. Like a lightning rod, our sins are drawn away from us during the offering process and we are renewed and cleansed, as the sins are unmade. In Judaism when a person repents, it is as if his sin was never committed so it is ‘removed’ or carried off – נאש, by the goat in a symbolic sense.[200]

Text 2-80: Moses Maimonides Guide to the Perplexed on the Goat Sent into the Wilderness
The goat [of the Day of Atonement] that was sent [into the wilderness] served as an atonement for all serious transgressions more than any other sin-offering of the congregation. As it thus seemed to carry off all sins, it was not accepted as an ordinary sacrifice to be slaughtered, burnt, or even brought near the Sanctuary; it was removed as far as possible, and sent forth into a waste, uncultivated, uninhabited land. There is no doubt that sins cannot be carried like a burden, and taken off the shoulder of one being to be laid on that of another being. But these ceremonies are of a symbolic character, and serve to impress men with a certain idea, and to induce them to repent; as if to say, we have freed ourselves of our previous deeds, have cast them behind our backs, and removed them from us as far as possible.

Rambam’s opinion is not final here, as some believe, “When the priest laid his hands on the head of the goat he was vicariously seeing himself inside the goat literally transferring the sins of the people to the goat.”[201] I do not agree with this belief. The use of a goat, which has a tendency to get into trouble, is apropos.

The word sacrifice is from Greek. In Hebrew, the offering on Yom Kippur above is a CaPaRaH – כפרה. The Hebrew word, כפרה, means ‘ransom’, in that we are paying G-d to free a hostage.[202] We must give G-d something to free ourselves from the kidnapper. The kidnapper is the ‘bad’ desire, selfishness that derives from our animal or bodily instincts that we must dismiss. Paying a ransom breaks the walls of selfishness. CaPaR – כפר also means repair. Paying reparation is similar to a ransom.[203]

Text 2-81: Leviticus 17:10-14 on Blood Consumption and blood atonement
And whoever there is of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you,
who eats any kind of blood; I will set my face against that soul who eats blood,
and will cut him off from among his people.

For the soul-Nefesh-BodySoul of the animal is in the blood;
and I have given it to you upon the alter to ransom-CaPaR your souls,
for this blood, with this soul, I will ransom you.

Therefore I said to the people of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood,
nor shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. And whoever there is of the people of Israel,
or of the strangers who sojourn among you, who hunts and catches any beast or bird that may be eaten;
he shall pour out its blood, and cover it with dust.

For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for its life;
therefore I said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any kind of flesh;
for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.

While blood is sprinkled upon the altar for atonement, it is not only means to atonement. In addition, the context of Leviticus 17:11 is the avoidance of consuming the blood of animals. The emphasis is on a reason not to consume blood.[204] The soul was considered to be in the blood, which belonged to G-d. Moreover one was not permitted to partake of the sacrifice consuming the blood, as this was a practice for communing with spirits practiced by pagans.[205] Yet Leviticus 5:11 shows that atonement could also occur with a flower offering:

Text 2-82: Leviticus 5:11-13 on Atonement Flower Offering
But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, nor shall he put any frankincense on it; for it is a sin offering. Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, a memorial part of it, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him in regard to his sin that he has sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him; and the remnant shall be the priest’s, as a meal offering.

Rashi says the Priest is giving the blood of the animal, which is a soul in place of ones, own soul. Maimonides says that these ideas were from the sacrificial cult and designed to wean the people away from Pagan customs. Religiously this is the idea of the scapegoat – שעיר לעזאזל.[206] Politically, this is the concept of the ‘fall guy’, also known as a ‘whipping boy’.

Sefer haHinukh says that the sinner is similar to an animal and returns to G-d through sacrifice by seeing himself in the place of the animal that he gives unto G-d. The sinner has an affinity for the animal. He feels for its suffering and this feeling brings him to remorse ala Isaiah 53.

Text 2-83: Sefer haHinukh, the Book of Education, on Animal Sin Offering
Furthermore, the human heart is more deeply touched by animal sacrifices
due to the great similarity between man and animal. The only respect in which the two differ
is that man possesses intelligence and the animal does not. When man sins,
intelligence forsakes him at that moment and he enters the category of animal.
Man is therefore commanded to bring a body most resembling himself,
to the place chosen for the elevation of the intelligence (namely, the Temple),
and have it burned and completely annihilated there...
Thereby, it will be impressed upon his heart
that his former state of body without intelligence has been completely destroyed.

The sinner brings gifts to accomplish these tasks. The animal representing our animal instinct receives our sins symbolically in the process as they are nullified. One kabbalistic answer to the goat that has the sins of Israel ‘put’ upon its ‘head’, lies not in the goat or the sins but instead, with the thread by which the appointed one leads the goat and a similar thread hung on the temple door. This thread starts as scarlet, but turns white by the end of the journey, and then is released from the goats neck, symbolically unbundling the sins of the house of Israel. The appointed man leads the goat away to freedom. We, the house of Israel are also free of the sins that bind us. The scarlet thread around our neck has turned white. G-d has removed the thread and we are free to wander around the pristine earth.

Text 2-84: Mishnah Yoma 68b
R. ISHMAEL SAID: BUT THEY HAD ANOTHER SIGN TOO:
A THREAD OF CRIMSON WOOL WAS TIED TO THE DOOR OF THE TEMPLE,
AND WHEN THE HE-GOAT REACHED THE WILDERNESS THE THREAD TURNED WHITE,
AS IT IS WRITTEN: [207] THOUGH YOUR SINS BE AS SCARLET
THEY SHALL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW.

The previous Mishnah in Yoma 67a discusses that at one point in Temple history the appointed person would push the goat over a cliff to be killed. How abhorrent! Like Isaiah 53 the people should repent out of guilt, for causing the suffering of the innocent goat or an innocent person.

Text 2-85: Mishnah Yoma 67a
WHAT DID HE DO? HE DIVIDED THE THREAD OF CRIMSON WOOL,
AND TIED ONE HALF TO THE ROCK, THE OTHER HALF BETWEEN ITS HORNS,
AND PUSHED IT FROM BEHIND. AND IT WENT ROLLING DOWN
AND BEFORE IT HAD REACHED HALF ITS WAY DOWN HILL IT WAS DASHED TO PIECES.
HE CAME BACK AND SAT DOWN UNDER THE LAST BOOTH UNTIL IT GREW DARK.
AND FROM WHEN ON DOES IT RENDER HIS GARMENTS UNCLEAN?
FROM THE MOMENT HE HAS GONE OUTSIDE THE WALL OF JERUSALEM.
R. SIMEON SAYS: FROM THE MOMENT HE PUSHES IT INTO THE ZOK.

Another kabbalistic explanation involves the angel Azazel, the angel of dismissal of sin. The goat sent to wander in the wilderness is a resting place for dismissed sins much as one recites the Grace After Meals, benshing,[208] at a table to provide a resting place for G-d’s blessing.[209]

Moshe Cordovero in the Tomer Devorah explains that Tashlich contains the secret of the goat that carries the sins of the people away:[210]

Text 2-86: Moshe Cordovero in Palm Tree of Deborah on Animal Sin Offering

Yet the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is not content with saying to Israel, “Repent!” and then no further evil will befall them, for Haman, Pharaoh, or Sancheriv will be removed from them. This is not enough; instead, the iniquity of Haman reverts onto his own head, and so, too, with Pharaoh and Sancheriv.

The reason the Holy One, Blessed be He, conducts Himself in this manner is to be found in the secret contained in the verse “The goat will bear all the sins of Israel upon it to the land of Gezerah...” (VaYikra 16:22). The explanation is that the goat itself bears the punishment for their sins! Now this is very hard to understand, for if Israel sinned, why should the goat be responsible?

This explanation returns to the idea that the afflicter of Israel’s punishment will also be punished for his sin and that the punishment of Israel is placed upon him as well. Similarly, the goat, who is in the midst of Israel’s sin, becomes party to the sin. Likewise, G-d destroyed most of the animals at the time of the deluge. These sections of the Bible are difficult to understand. There are mystical interpretations where evil angels who punished Israel became culpable for their sins and are destroyed by G-d with the sins of Israel. An important principle here is that the party G-d punishes is not innocent.

The priests did not eat the sin offering. Instead, this offering was made at a remote location and the entire animal was consumed by fire. Symbolically this represents that the entire sin of the one who brought the offering is consumed or destroyed. Nevertheless, this type of offering in which none of the animal is used for food seems a waste of the animal’s life in a practical sense. In a similar vain, Shabbat lights left on to avoid the sin of work use resources while one is asleep.

Overall, there is a pagan remnant to the sacrifice. Jeremiah taught that the laws of sacrifice were not originally given to Israel. This is to say until the sin of the golden calf,[211] Israel did not need to be weaned off of the Egyptian Pagan culture.[212] Hence, the Torah’s ordinances restrict sacrifice to a chosen place and by the Kohanim.

Text 2-87: Jeremiah 7:22
For I spoke not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of Egypt concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices.

Text 2-88: Abravanel on Jeremiah 7:22
At the beginning God did indeed only command Israel civil laws and not sacrificial ones. But after they made the golden calf and He observed their sinful ways and moral weaknesses He was constrained to provide an antidote for their spiritual disease. The sacrifice filled this function, each one of them for particular offences and weaknesses. They would not have been commanded to sacrifice had they not sinned. This is the meaning of Jeremiah’s words that God had not commanded them — i.e. ‘originally’ regarding the sacrifice worship — on the day I brought them out of Egypt.[213]

Abravanel sites an ancient rabbinic comment to explain the reason of sacrifice:[214]

Text 2-89: R. Pinhas on Sacrifice
They (Israel) had a passion for idolatry and brought their sacrifices to the satyrs, in defiance of God’s law. Said the Holy One blessed be He: Let them sacrifice their offerings in the Tent of Meeting and they will give up idolatry.

Pragmatically, the limitation that sacrifice could only be brought to the temple in Jerusalem is evidence that it cannot serve as the only form of atonement for a nation whose members would one day spread across the world. Maimonides explains that sacrifice serviced to wean the Israelites off of the pagan forms by limiting its place and the times of offerings:

Text 2-90: Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed on Sacrifice
But the general mode of worship in which the Israelites were brought up, consisted in sacrificing animals in temples containing images, to bow down to those images, and to burn incense before them. It was in accordance with the wisdom and plan of God, as displayed in the whole Creation, that He did not command us to give up and to discontinue all these modes of worship; for to obey such a commandment would have been contrary to the nature of man, who generally clings to that to which he is used; it would in those days have made the same impression a prophet would make at present if he called us to the service of God and told us in His name, that we should not pray to Him, not fast, not seek His help in time of trouble; that we should serve Him in thought, and not by any action. For this reason God allowed these rituals to continue;...[215]

Text 2-91: Guide for the Perplexed – Ch. 32
Many precepts in our Law are the result of a similar course adopted by the same Supreme Being. It is, namely, impossible to go suddenly from one extreme to the other: it is therefore according to the nature of man impossible for him suddenly to discontinue everything to which he has been accustomed. Now God sent Moses to make [the Israelites] a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exod. xix. 6) by means of the knowledge of God. Comp. "Unto thee it was showed that thou mightest know that the Lord is God (Deut. iv. 35); "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord is God" (ibid. v. 39). The Israelites were commanded to devote themselves to His service; comp. "and to serve him with all your heart" (ibid. xi. 13); "and you shall serve the Lord your God" (Exod. xxiii. 25); "and ye shall serve him" (Deut. xiii. 5). But the custom which was in those days general among all men, and the general mode of worship in which the Israelites were brought up, consisted in sacrificing animals in those temples which contained certain images, to bow down to those images, and to bum incense before them; religious and ascetic persons were in those days the persons that were devoted to the service in the temples erected to the stars, as has been explained by us. It was in accordance with the wisdom and plan of God, as displayed in the whole Creation, that He did not command us to give up and to discontinue all these manners of service; for to obey such a commandment it would have been contrary to the nature of man, who generally cleaves to that to which he is used; it would in those days have made the same impression as a prophet would make at present if he called us to the service of God and told us in His name, that we should not pray to Him, not fast, not seek His help in time of trouble; that we should serve Him in thought, and not by any action. For this reason God allowed these kinds of service to continue; He transferred to His service that which had formerly served as a worship of created beings, and of things imaginary and unreal, and commanded us to serve Him in the same manner; viz., to build unto Him a temple; comp. "And they shall make unto me a sanctuary" (Exod. xxv. 8); to have the altar erected to His name; comp. "An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me" (ibid. xx. 21); to offer the sacrifices to Him; comp. "If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord" (Lev. i. 2), to bow down to Him and to bum incense before Him. He has forbidden to do any of these things to any other being; comp. "He who sacrificeth unto any God, save the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed" (Exod. xxii. 19); "For thou shalt bow down to no other God" (ibid. xxxiv. 14). He selected priests for the service in the temple; comp. "And they shall minister unto me in the priest's office" (ibid. xxviii. 41). He made it obligatory that certain gifts, called the gifts of the Levites and the priests, should be assigned to them for their maintenance while they are engaged in the service of the temple and its sacrifices. By this Divine plan it was effected that the traces of idolatry were blotted out, and the truly great principle of our faith, the Existence and Unity of God, was firmly established; this result was thus obtained without deterring or confusing the minds of the people by the abolition of the service to which they were accustomed and which alone was familiar to them. I know that you will at first thought reject this idea and find it strange; you will put the following question to me in your heart: How can we suppose that Divine commandments, prohibitions, and important acts, which are fully explained, and for which certain seasons are fixed, should not have been commanded for their own sake, but only for the sake of some other thing: as if they were only the means which He employed for His primary object? What prevented Him from making His primary object a direct commandment to us, and to give us the capacity of obeying it? Those precepts which in your opinion are only the means and not the object would then have been unnecessary. Hear my answer, which win cure your heart of this disease and will show you the truth of that which I have pointed out to you. There occurs in the Law a passage which contains exactly the same idea; it is the following: "God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt; but God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea," etc. (Exod. xiii. 17). Here God led the people about, away from the direct road which He originally intended, because He feared they might meet on that way with hardships too great for their ordinary strength; He took them by another road in order to obtain thereby His original object. In the same manner God refrained from prescribing what the people by their natural disposition would be incapable of obeying, and gave the above-mentioned commandments as a means of securing His chief object, viz., to spread a knowledge of Him [among the people], and to cause them to reject idolatry. It is contrary to man's nature that he should suddenly abandon all the different kinds of Divine service and the different customs in which he has been brought up, and which have been so general, that they were considered as a matter of course; it would be just as if a person trained to work as a slave with mortar and bricks, or similar things, should interrupt his work, clean his hands, and at once fight with real giants. It was the result of God's wisdom that the Israelites were led about in the wilderness till they acquired courage. For it is a well-known fact that travelling in the wilderness, and privation of bodily enjoyments, such as bathing, produce courage, whilst the reverse is the source of faint-heartedness: besides, another generation rose during the wanderings that had not been accustomed to degradation and slavery. All the travelling in the wilderness was regulated by Divine commands through Moses; comp. "At the commandment of the Lord they rested, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord and the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses" (Num. ix. 23). In the same way the portion of the Law under discussion is the result of divine wisdom, according to which people are allowed to continue the kind of worship to which they have been accustomed, in order that they might acquire the true faith, which is the chief object [of God's commandments]. You ask, What could have prevented God from commanding us directly, that which is the chief object, and from giving us the capacity of obeying it? This would lead to a second question, What prevented God from leading the Israelites through the way of the land of the Philistines, and endowing them with strength for fighting? The leading about by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night would then not have been necessary. A third question would then be asked in reference to the good promised as reward for the keeping of the commandments, and the evil foretold as a punishment for sins. It is the following question: As it is the chief object and purpose of God that we should believe in the Law, and act according to that which is written therein, why has He not given us the capacity of continually believing in it, and following its guidance, instead of holding out to us reward for obedience, and punishment for disobedience, or of actually giving all the predicted reward and punishment? For [the promises and the threats] are but the means of leading to this chief object. What prevented Him from giving us, as part of our nature, the will to do that which He desires us to do, and to abandon the kind of worship which He rejects? There is one general answer to these three questions, and to all questions of the same character: it is this: Although in every one of the signs [related in Scripture] the natural property of some individual being is changed, the nature of man is never changed by God by way of miracle. It is in accordance with this important principle that God said, "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me," etc. (Deut. v. 26). It is also for this reason that He distinctly stated the commandments and the prohibitions, the reward and the punishment. This principle as regards miracles has been frequently explained by us in our works: I do not say this because I believe that it is difficult for God to change the nature of every individual person; on the contrary, it is possible, and it is in His power, according to the principles taught in Scripture; but it has never been His will to do it, and it never will be. If it were part of His will to change [at His desire] the nature of any person, the mission of prophets and the giving of the Law would have been altogether superfluous.

I now return to my theme. As the sacrificial service is not the primary object [of the commandments about sacrifice], whilst supplications, prayers, and similar kinds of worship are nearer to the primary object, and indispensable for obtaining it, a great difference was made in the Law between these two kinds of service. The one kind, which consists in offering sacrifices, although the sacrifices are offered to the name of God, has not been made obligatory for us to the same extent as it had been before. We were not commanded to sacrifice in every place, and in every time, or to build a temple in every place, or to permit any one who desires to become priest and to sacrifice. On the contrary, all this is prohibited unto us. Only one temple has been appointed, "in the place which the Lord shall choose" (Deut. xii. 26); in no other place is it allowed to sacrifice: comp. "Take heed to thyself, that thou offer not thy burnt-offerings in every place that thou seest" (ibid. v. 13); and only the members of a particular family were allowed to officiate as priests. All these restrictions served to limit this kind of worship, and keep it within those bounds within which God did not think it necessary to abolish sacrificial service altogether. But prayer and supplication can be offered everywhere and by every person. The same is the case with the commandment of tzitzit (Num. xv. 38); mezuzah (Deut. vi. 9; xi. 20); tefillin (Exod. xiii. 9, 16); and similar kinds of divine service.

Because of this principle which I explained to you, the Prophets in their books are frequently found to rebuke their fellow-men for being over-zealous and exerting themselves too much in bringing sacrifices: the prophets thus distinctly declared that the object of the sacrifices is not very essential, and that God does not require them. Samuel therefore said, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord" (1 Sam. xv. 22)? Isaiah exclaimed, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord" (Isa. i. 11); Jeremiah declared: "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offering or sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my, voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people" (Jer. vii. 22, 23). This passage has been found difficult in the opinion of all those whose words I read or heard; they ask, How can Jeremiah say that God did not command us about burnt-offering and sacrifice, seeing so many precepts refer to sacrifice? The sense of the passage agrees with what I explained to you. Jeremiah says [in the name of God] the primary object of the precepts is this, Know me, and serve no other being; "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people" (Lev. xxvi. 12). But the commandment that sacrifices shall be brought and that the temple shall be visited has for its object the success of that principle among you; and for its sake I have transferred these modes of worship to my name; idolatry shall thereby be utterly destroyed, and Jewish faith firmly established. You, however, have ignored this object, and taken hold of that which is only the means of obtaining it; you have doubted my existence, "ye have denied the Lord, and said he is not" (Jer. v. 12); ye served idols; "burnt incense unto Baal, and walked after other gods whom ye know not. And come and stand before me in this house" (ibid. vii. 9-10); i.e., you do not go beyond attending the temple of the Lord, and offering sacrifices: but this is not the chief object.--I have another way of explaining this passage with exactly the same result. For it is distinctly stated in Scripture, and handed down by tradition, that the first commandments communicated to us did not include any law at an about burnt-offering and sacrifice. You must not see any difficulty in the Passover, which was commanded in Egypt; there was a particular and evident reason for that, as will be explained by me (chap. xlvi.). Besides it was revealed in the land of Egypt; whilst the laws to which Jeremiah alludes in the above passage are those which were revealed after the departure from Egypt. For this reason it is distinctly added, “in the day that I brought them out from the land of Egypt.” The first commandment after the departure from Egypt was given at Marah, in the following words, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments" (Exod. xv. 26)." There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them" (ibid. ver. 25). According to the true traditional explanation, Sabbath and civil laws were revealed at Marah: "statute" alludes to Sabbath, and "ordinance" to civil laws, which are the means of removing injustice. The chief object of the Law, as has been shown by us, is the teaching of truths; to which the truth of the creatio ex nihilo belongs. It is known that the object of the law of Sabbath is to confirm and to establish this principle, as we have shown in this treatise (Part. II. chap. xxxi.). In addition to the teaching of truths the Law aims at the removal of injustice from mankind. We have thus proved that the first laws do not refer to burnt-offering and sacrifice, which are of secondary importance. The same idea which is contained in the above passage from Jeremiah is also expressed in the Psalms, where the people are rebuked that they ignore the chief object, and make no distinction between chief and subsidiary lessons. The Psalmist says: "Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt-offerings, they have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds" (Ps. l. 29).-- Wherever this subject is mentioned, this is its meaning. Consider it well, and reflect on it.

2.3.8 Parsha Shemini

Text 2-92: Zohar Vayikra Shemini 41b-42a
Happy is the portion of Israel in that the holy King delights in them and desires to sanctify and purify them above all others because they cling to Him. It is written, “Israel in whom I am glorified” (Isa. XLIX, 3). If the Holy One, blessed be He, takes pride in Israel, how can they go and defile themselves and cling to the other, unclean side? Therefore it is written, “Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy, for I am holy”; he that is in the likeness of the king should not depart from the ways of the king. Happy the portion of Israel of whom it is written, “All that see them shall acknowledge them that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed” (Isa. LXI, 9). Whoever eats of these unclean foods cleaves to the other side and defiles himself and shows that he has no portion in the most high God and comes not from His side, and if he departs in this state from this world he is seized by those who belong to the side of uncleanness, who punish him as a man spurned of his Master, and there is no healing to his defilement and he never escapes from it.’ R. Jose said: ‘King Solomon wrote in his wisdom: “All the labor of man is for his mouth” (Eccles. VI, 7). This signifies that all the punishment which a man undergoes in the other world is on account of his mouth, because he did not guard it and through it defiled his soul.’ R. Isaac said: ‘For one to defile himself with unclean foods is like serving idols; just as he who serves idols quits the side of life and of the domain of holiness for another domain, so likewise he who eats unclean foods is defiled both in this world and the next, for these were assigned to the idolatrous peoples, who are already unclean and come from the side of uncleanness.’

The above verse teaches that we must guard our mouth in terms of what we eat and in terms of what we say. The Chofetz Chayim discusses how God punished Miriam for questionable words. In the story of Elijah, we find, when God asks Elijah in the cave what he is doing there, he responds, “Lord, only I am left that is righteous unto you.” The Midrash teaches that God responded, that you are not the only one left who is righteous. For this small claim, each Passover we set a chair for Elijah who visits us and says, “Lord, look at how many righteous Jews are in Israel.”

2.3.9 Parsha Ki Tazria

Text 2-93: Zohar on the 325 Sparks of Gevurah
Now it has been taught: From the Lamp of Darkness [Tr. note: v. Zohar, Gen., 15a.] issued three hundred and twenty-five sparks traced out and linked together from the side of Gevurah, and when these entered the Body it was called Ish.’ Said R. Judah: ‘Why so?’ R. Isaac could not answer. So they went and asked R. Simeon, who replied: ‘Because the lower judgments are attached to the hair of this one, [Tr. note: According to the anthropomorphic symbolism of the Sifra di-Zeniutha.] he is called “Stern Judgment”.

The 325 sparks derive from a particular gematria, known as Mispar Kidmi for the letter Ayin.[216]

Text 2-94: Origin of Mispar Kidmi Gematria
The Tree of Life was planted by G-d in the "primordial Garden of Eden" (gan b'eden mikedem). The word for "primordial," kedem, alludes to the method of calculation in Kabbalah referred to as "primordial number" (mispar kidmi). According to this method, each letter is given the value of the sum of all letters from alef to itself. In "primordial numbering," the ayin of etz - עץ equals 325 (the sum of all 16 letters from alef to ayin) and the tzadik of etz equals 495 (the sum of all 18 letters from alef to tzadik). Thus, in mispar kidmi, etz - עץ = 820 (325 plus 495).
The letter Ayin is the primordial origin of the 325 sparks since its Mispar Kidmi is:
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+20+30+40+50+60+70 = 280+35+10 = 325.

God applied the letter Ayin to establish a structure that preserves crookedness in this world. With this structure man overcomes his limitations and straightens his ways since a man grows through non-overwhelming resistance.[217],[218] The Merciful One bound 320 sparks of wisdom with the five judgments so that we may know how to straighten the crooked.[219]

Text 2-95: Rabbi Pinchas Winston (Aish HaTorah) on Sparks
“The eighth blessing of the silent prayer known as the Amidah, or the Shemoneh Esrai reads:

‘Return our judges as in previous times and our advisors as at first.
Remove from us sadness and sighing and reign over us,
You, God, alone, with compassion, and justify us through judgment.’”
השיבה שופטינו כבראשונה

The prefix letters – השכ allude, by addition, to 320 – שכ wisdoms that once gathered and used will help us identify five great judges, and afterwards the sparks will return to Hochmah, plus 5 – ה judges that once properly gathered will prepare and help us to identify the messiah and afterwards will return as sparks to Gevurah.[220] With the wisdom of the people will arise great judges; after the period of judges will begin a period of messianic kings; after the messianic kings, God will see His reflection and smile.[221]

“When Adam Kadmon has absorbed and realized all the experience of everything that has been brought into being, then the image of the Divine knows Who is within and without. In this mirror, Face gazes upon Face, and total union occurs then I AM THAT I AM is One, and existence vanishes, leaving God alone.
God has beheld God.”[222]

(Winston continued)
“Unfortunately, today, many judges and advisors—that is, our leaders—give us cause to groan and to ask God for better times.[223] In addition to giving us new leaders, we also ask God to rule over us so that no one can doubt His existence. In order to be able to appreciate the centrality and depth of this blessing, an explanation is required.”

“The Kabbalists explain that just before the creation of the physical world took place, God put into place the spiritual "materials" that He would use to create the world, and provide it with life.
These "materials" include the "holy sparks", which we spoke about in the last installment in this series, and which are "packets of spiritual energy" responsible for energizing all that physically exists, including man. They are not physical but spiritual realities that function in very much the same way our souls do. They are invisible, yet, the very source of life that allows our bodies to function.

“For very deep mystical reasons, God arranged for three "groups" of sparks originating from three separate levels in the sefirot (called chochmah, binah and da' at) to "fall" into the place in which creation would eventually exist. Since each sefirah represents a unique channel of spiritual energy, each group of sparks that fell was also unique, and the amount of sparks in each group was determined by God based upon all the needs of physical creation, present and future.

“Thus, 320 sparks fell from the sefirah of chochmah; 280 sparks fell from the sefirah of binah; and, 288 sparks fell from the sefirah of da'at.”

There are a total of 288 fallen sparks. The others listed above may be sub-sparks. The house of Israel includes 600,000 souls or sparks for example.

“(There is added significance to these numbers because of the Hebrew letters they represent, but that is too complex a discussion for this essay.)”

“Depending upon the moment in history, what needs to be accomplished at that time, and who is performing the act, the sparks are drawn and used from any one or more of these groups of sparks.”

“Some of them were used just to create the world; some were left over for man to use throughout history, to help bring the purpose of creation to fruition. When all of these sparks are used up, then, history as we know it will come to end, and the Messiah will reign.”

“BACK TO THE SOURCE
History is like an upside-down hourglass. Normally, with respect to a conventional hourglass, time is measured by the amount of granules that make their way from the upper chamber to the lower one. When it comes to the holy sparks, it is just the opposite: time is measured by how many sparks make their way from the lower spiritual level on which we live to that of the sefirot above, considered to be the "home" and source of these sparks.”

“Just like fumes from spent gasoline rise upward, so, too, do the sparks that we use up through our actions spiritually rise upward, back to their sources in the sefirot. When all the sparks are returned to their home, then all of history, as we know it, will come to an end.”

“According to the great 16th century Kabbalist the Ari (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria), that is really the Kabbalistic meaning of this blessing, alluded to by the first letters of the first three words: heh, shin, chof. Numerically, these three letters add up to 325, a number, according to the Ari, which alludes to the 320 sparks we have already mentioned, and, something else called the "five gevurot." The "five gevurot" are lights that exist within creation constricting God's light and "hiding His face." Thus, these lights too require "rectification" through our deeds, as their inclusion in this blessing indicates.

“These are the "judges," Kabbalistically speaking, that we want "returned" so the Messiah can come, and history can proceed to its ultimate destination.”

“RAISING THE SPARKS
By praying and having the right intention, we are asking God to help us to do that which is necessary to cause the sparks to ascend to their rightful places in the sefirot, so that history can come to a glorious close, and only good will reign.”

“They can also be called "judges," because our personal judgment will be a function of the sparks we used up for the sake of performing mitzvoth.”

“Although we may not understand this fully, the Men of the Great Assembly, who constructed each blessing of the Shemoneh Esrai, word by word, letter by letter, using prophecy and mystical knowledge to instruct them in their holy work, probably didn't expect us to. Then, what was the point of embedding such holy meanings if, for the majority of the people, they won't trigger anything significant? Because, just having a general intention for the simple words of the blessing, and keeping in mind that, behind those simple words, there is sublime meaning, is enough to trigger all kinds of profound responses in the sefirot, and, ultimately, within the world in which we live. Kabbalah, we may leave for the Kabbalists, but prayer, and the service of the heart, is something that all of us can do, and in doing so, have an intense effect on creation.”

2.3.10 Parsha Metzora

If one develops a blemish, has vshalom, one must take it as a sign that one must improve by avoiding gossip and slander.[224]

Text 2-96: Zohar on Life
R. Eleazar said: ‘When a man is on the point of leaving this world, his soul suffers many chastisements along with his body before they separate. Nor does the soul actually leave him until the Shekinah shows herself to him, and then the soul goes out in joy and love to meet the Shekinah. If he is righteous, he cleaves and attaches himself to her. But if not, then the Shekinah departs, and the soul is left behind, mourning for its separation from the body, like a cat which is driven away from the fire. Afterwards both are punished by the hand of Dumah. The body is punished in the grave and the soul in the fire of Gehinnom for the appointed period. When this is completed she rises from Gehinnom purified of her guilt like iron purified in the fire, and she is carried up to the lower Garden of Eden, where she is cleansed in the waters of Paradise and perfumed with its spices, and there she remains till the time comes for her to depart from the abode of the righteous. Then she is carried up stage after stage until she is brought near like a sacrifice to the altar. Hence it is written, “This shall be the law of the leper on the day of his cleansing: he shall be brought to the priest”, to wit, to the angelic Priest above. This is the fate of a soul which has not been defiled overmuch in this world, and which can yet be healed in this way; but otherwise, “that which is crooked cannot be made straight”.’

Similarly we are healed in this world and the world to come. Each day we live is a purification, an elevation, an offering with the words of Torah that are on our lips, eyes, and mind.

If someone still has all his or her immediate family living, one does not partake in Yiskor, the mourning service during the Yom Tovim – holidays. The reason is that one walks in the direction that one is going and one should not invite death by mourning prematurely. Similarly, one does not study the laws of mourning if all of ones immediate family is living.

Durning the first year of mourning some say Yiskor while others leave the shul with those who do not. Kaddish is said instead by the mourner. This custom should be kept when the child has another parent who is living.

2.3.11 Parsha Aharei Mos

After the death of Aaron’s two sons, Moses tells Aaron that God has forbidden him from coming before the Ark of the Lord to spare his life. G-d is protecting Aaron who in his current state of mourning might die from this experience. Instead G-d instructs him:

Text 2-97: Leviticus 16:7-10
And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the Tent of Meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be for Azazel, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go to Azazel into the wilderness.

Morphologically, azazel breaks down into two words ‘ez ozel’ – the goat that moves or the goat that escapes, alluding to the sinful desires that depart from us.

The Perkei D’Reb Eliezer states that goat for Azazel is to please the enemy so that even on Yom Kippur he will be turned to praise Israel. In this case, Azazel is one of the accusing angels and he is distracted from accusing Israel on Yom Kippur by the goat offering. In a similar vain, we do not blow the shofar on the morning of Erev Rosh Hodesh Tishrei so as not to forewarn the Accuser of the impending New Year.

Azazel is a shedu, one of the demons of the world. The sheduim carry out the attribute of Gevurah, regardless of mercy and kindness. Azazel’s home is in the wilderness. There he applies the forces of nature to reward or punish those who enter according to their deeds. The operative word in the passage from Vayikra is “alive”. One must lead the goat alive into the wilderness so that Azazel may act according to the natural law. This may mean that the goat led across a stream and released may bathe in the stream and find his way back to a herd or journey to a foreign land or simply become a wild goat of the desert. In Tractate Pesachim, R. Hiyya encounters a shedu who because of his merits cannot harm him. Instead R. Hiyya bans the sheduim from urban areas on all but, Tuesday and Friday night, when Jews generally remain home. Later another sage extended the ban to all urban areas at any time.[225]

The later custom of tossing the goat over a cliff desecrated the commandment. Instead Azazel receiving the goat alive permits his natural law to determine the goat’s fate. Azazel is a dark demon living deep in the flames of the earth where magma resides. The sheduim are lonely in that they exist in solitude to carry out their unique tasks in the different wild places of the world. To appease his loneliness, the high priest sends a goat each year to Azazel.

2.3.12 Parsha Kdoshim

Kdoshim covers the laws that separate Israel from other nations, those laws that make a holy people. Leviticus 19:9-18 covers laws of civil contact. Leviticus 19:19 is explicit to the species of cattle. Leviticus 19:34 accepts those live amongst you implicitly as converts. Leviticus 20:10-21 covers the laws of morality in relationships.

Text 2-98: Leviticus 19

1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2. Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.
3. You shall revere every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths; I am the Lord your God.
4. Turn you not to idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods; I am the Lord your God.
5. And if you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it of your own will.
6. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day; and if anything remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire.
7. And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is abominable; it shall not be accepted.
8. Therefore every one who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the consecrated thing of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
9. And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.
10. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and stranger; I am the Lord your God.
11. You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie one to another.
12. And you shall not swear by my name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.
13. You shall not defraud your neighbor, nor rob him; the wages of he who is hired shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
14. You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God; I am the Lord.
15. You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; you shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
16. You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people; nor shall you stand against the blood of your neighbor; I am the Lord.
17. You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reason with your neighbor, and not allow sin on his account.
18. You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
19. You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with mixed seed; nor shall a garment mixed of linen and woolen come upon you.
20. And whoever lies carnally with a woman, who is a slave betrothed to a man, and not wholly redeemed, nor freedom given her; inquiry shall be made; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
21. And he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord, to the door of the Tent of Meeting, a ram for a guilt offering.
22. And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has done; and the sin which he has done shall be forgiven him.
23. And when you shall come into the land, and shall have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count its fruit as uncircumcised; three years shall it be uncircumcised to you; it shall not be eaten.
24. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy for praise giving to the Lord.
25. And in the fifth year shall you eat of its fruit, that it may yield to you its produce; I am the Lord your God.
26. You shall not eat any thing with the blood; nor shall you use enchantment, nor observe times.
27. You shall not round the corners of your heads, nor shall you mar the corners of your beard.
28. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you; I am the Lord.
29. Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot; lest the land fall to harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness.
30. You shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary; I am the Lord.
31. Regard not those who are mediums, nor seek after wizards, to be defiled by them; I am the Lord your God.
32. You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear your God; I am the Lord.
33. And if a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not wrong him.
34. But the stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
35. You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in measures of length, of weight, or quantity.
36. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall you have; I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37. Therefore shall you observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them; I am the Lord.

Text 2-99: Leviticus 20

1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2. Again, you shall say to the people of Israel, Whoever he is of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who gives any of his seed to Molech; he shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
3. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he has given of his seed to Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
4. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he gives of his seed to Molech, and kill him not;
5. Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all who play the harlot after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
6. And the soul who turns after those who are mediums, and after wizards, to play the harlot after them, I will set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
7. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God.
8. And you shall keep my statutes, and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
9. For every one who curses his father or his mother shall be surely put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
10. And the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
11. And the man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
12. And if a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed unnatural sin; their blood shall be upon them.
13. If a man also lies with men, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
14. And if a man takes a wife and her mother, it is wickedness; they shall be burned with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
15. And if a man lies with a beast, he shall surely be put to death; and you shall slay the beast.
16. And if a woman approaches any beast, and lies down to it, you shall kill the woman, and the beast; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
17. And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
18. And if a man shall lie with a woman having her menstrual sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood; and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
19. And you shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, nor of your father’s sister; for he uncovers his near kin; they shall bear their iniquity.
20. And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
21. And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.
22. You shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them; that the land, where I bring you to dwell in it, vomit you not out.
23. And you shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you; for they committed all these things, and therefore I loathed them.
24. But I have said to you, You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess it, a land that flows with milk and honey; I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.
25. You shall therefore differentiate between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean birds and clean; and you shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by bird, or by any manner of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
26. And you shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from other people, that you should be mine.
27. A man or woman who is a medium, or who is a wizard, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.

The punishments are mentioned to show the spiritual consequence of the violation of the commandment. This is similar to the style of Shaarei Tshuvah. When the Sanhedrin enforced the Torah by witch hunting and execution during the Roman occupation further calamity befell the Jewish people. Hence, only the civil laws of public conduct are enforced while the others are between man and G-d.

2.4 Numbers – In the Wilderness – Bamidbar

And the Lord spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying:

וידבר יי אל משה במדבר סיני באהל מועד באחד לחדש השני בשנה השנית לצאתם מארץ מצרים לאמר

The Book of Numbers begins similar to Leviticus. The English name derives from the second sentence where it says: “Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, by their polls”. An interesting Gematria that alludes to the purpose of the Israelites wandering in the desert is contained in the word bamidbar – במדבר:

Equation 2-1: The Positive Commandments of the Wilderness
bet + mem + dalet + bet + resh = 2 + 40+ 4 + 2 + 200 = 248

Two hundred and forty eight is the number of positive commandments identified in the Torah by our sages. The 248 Positive Commandments combine with the 365 Negative Commandments to make up the 613 – taryag – תריג commandments identified by hazal – הזל – the elders of the Torah. The time spent in the wilderness gave the people of Israel the freedom to practice positive commandments. For example, we could now keep Shabbat, while in slavery; the Egyptians forced us to work on that day. There is no greater love than the commandments. The structure that they provide us in life is more about love than the transient physical and emotional pleasures we cling to. Observance of the commandments is the clothing of the soul and our very identity.[226]

The gematria of the name of Abraham is 248, representing his mastery of the positive mitzvoth. A word for light in Hebrew is ‘orah’ – אורה and with the At-Bash – את בש transformation we obtain Torah – תורה. The gematria of ‘lights’ – אורות has the value 613, the total number of commandments:[227]

Equation 2-2: The Lights of the Mitzvot
אורות = aleph + vav + resh + vav + tav = 1 + 6 + 200 + 6 + 400 = 613

2.4.1 The Positive Commandments

  1. To believe that there is a G-d.
  2. To believe in the unity of G-d, i.e. that there is only one G-d.
  3. To love G-d with all one’s heart, soul, and might—Shema[228]
  4. To fear G-d.
  5. To sanctify G-d openly.
  6. To walk in the ways of G-d with all one’s ability.
  7. To pray every day to G-d.
  8. To recite the Shema morning and evening.[229]
  9. ...


The Book of Numbers is about the number of commandments in the Torah. There are various reductions that provide direction on achieving the whole:

Text 2-100: Makkos 23b – 24b
Simlai when preaching said: Six hundred and thirteen precepts were communicated to Moses, three hundred and sixty-five negative precepts, corresponding to the number of solar days [in the year], and two hundred and forty-eight positive precepts, corresponding to the number of the members of man's body. Said R. Hamnuna: What is the [authentic] text for this? It is, Moses commanded us torah, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob, ‘torah’ being in letter-value, equal to six hundred and eleven, ‘I am’ and ‘Thou shalt have no [other Gods]’[230] [not being reckoned, because] we heard from the mouth of the Mighty [Divine]. David came and reduced them to eleven [principles], as it is written, A Psalm of David. Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy mountain? — [i] He that walketh uprightly, and [ii] worketh righteousness, and [iii] speaketh truth in his heart; that [iv] hath no slander upon his tongue, [v] nor doeth evil to his fellow, [vi] nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour, [vii] in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but [viii] he honoureth them that fear the Lord, [ix] He sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not, [x] He putteth not out his money on interest, [xi] nor taketh a bribe against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved. ‘He that walketh uprightly’: that was Abraham, as it is written, Walk before Me and be thou whole-hearted. ‘And worketh righteousness,’ such as Abba Hilkiahu. ‘Speaketh truth in his heart,’ such as R. Safra. ‘Hath no slander upon his tongue,’ that was our Father Jacob, as it is written, My father peradventure will feel me and I shall seem to him as a deceiver. ‘Nor doeth evil to his fellow,’ that is he who does not set up in opposition to his fellow craftsman. ‘Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour;’ that is he who befriends his near ones [relatives]. ‘In whose eyes a vile person is despised;’ that was Hezekiah the king [of Judah] who dragged his father's bones on a rope truckle-bed. ‘He honoureth them that fear the Lord;’ that was Jehoshaphat king of Judah, who every time he beheld a scholar-disciple rose from his throne, and embraced and kissed him, calling him Father, Father; Rabbi, Rabbi; Mari, Mari! ‘He sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not,’ like R. Johanan; for R. Johanan [once] said: I shall remain fasting until I reach home. ‘He putteth not out money on interest,’ not even interest from a heathen. ‘Nor taketh a bribe against the innocent,’ such as R. Ishmael son of R. Jose. It is written [in conclusion], He that doeth these things shall never be moved. Whenever R. Gamaliel came to this passage he used to weep, saying: [Only] one who practised all these shall not be moved; but anyone falling short in any of these [virtues] would be moved! Said his colleagues to him: Is it written, ‘He that doeth all these things [shall not fall]’? It reads, ‘He that doeth these things’, meaning even if only he practises one of these things [he shall not be moved]. For if you say otherwise, what of that other [similar] passage, Defile not ye yourselves in all these things? Are we to say that one who seeks contact with all these vices, he is become contaminated; but if only with one of those vices, he is not contaminated? [Surely,] it can only mean there, that if he seeks contact with any one of these vices he is become contaminated, and likewise here, if he practises even one of these virtues [he will not be moved].

Isaiah came and reduced them to six [principles], as it is written, [i] He that walketh righteously, and [ii] speaketh uprightly, [iii] He that despiseth the gain of oppressions, [iv] that shaketh his hand from holding of bribes, [v] that stoppeth his ear from hearing of blood, [vi] and shutteth his eyes from looking upon evil; he shall dwell on high. ‘He that walketh righteously,’ that was our Father Abraham, as it is written, For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, etc.; ‘and speaketh uprightly,’ that is one who does not put an affront on his fellow in public. ‘He that despiseth the gain of oppressions,’ as, for instance, R. Ishmael b. Elisha; ‘that shaketh his hand from holding of bribes,’ as, for instance, R. Ishmael son of Jose; ‘that stoppeth his ear from hearing of blood’, one who hears not aspersions made against a rabbinic student and remains silent, as once did R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon; ‘and shutteth his eyes from looking upon evil,’ as R. Hiyya b. Abba [taught]; for R. Hiyya b. Abba said: This refers to one who does not peer at women as they stand washing clothes [in the court-yard] and [concerning such a man] it is written, He shall dwell on high.

Micah came and reduced them to three [principles], as it is written, It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of thee: [i] only to do justly, and [ii] to love mercy and [iii] to walk humbly before thy God. ‘To do justly,’ that is, maintaining justice; and to love mercy,’ that is, rendering every kind office; ‘and walking humbly before thy God,’ that is, walking in funeral and bridal processions. And do not these facts warrant an a fortiori conclusion that if in matters that are not generally performed in private the Torah enjoins ‘walking humbly,’ is it not ever so much more requisite in matters that usually call for modesty?

Again came Isaiah and reduced them to two [principles], as it is said, Thus saith the Lord, [i] Keep ye justice and [ii] do righteousness [etc.]. Amos came and reduced them to one [principle], as it is said, For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye Me and live. To this R. Nahman b. Isaac demurred, saying: [Might it not be taken as,] Seek Me by observing the whole Torah and live? — But it is Habakuk who came and based them all on one [principle], as it is said, But the righteous shall live by his faith.

Said R. Jose b. Hanina: Our Master Moses pronounced four [adverse] sentences on Israel, but four prophets came and revoked them. Moses said, And Israel dwelleth in safety, alone, at the fountain of Jacob; Amos came and revoked that, as it is said, Then said I, O Lord God, cease, I beseech Thee; how shall Jacob stand [alone]? for he is small, and it goes on saying, The Lord repented concerning this; ‘This also shall not be,’ saith the Lord God. Moses had said, And among those nations thou shalt have no repose; Jeremiah came and said, Thus saith the Lord, The people that were left of the sword have found grace in the wilderness, even Israel, when I go to afford him rest. Moses had said, The Lord is . . . visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children's children, unto the third and unto the fourth generation; Ezekiel came and declared, the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Moses had said, And ye shall perish among the nations; Isaiah came and said, And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great horn shall be blown; [and they shall come that were lost in the land of Assyria, etc.] Rab observed: I have misgivings about that verse, And ye shall perish among the nations. R. Papa demurred at this [apprehension of Rab] saying: Could it not perhaps rather be taken in the sense of something lost and searched for, as it is written, I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, etc.! is burnt down by fire, and should we then not weep? He replied: Therefore, am I merry. If they that offend Him fare thus, how much better shall fare they that do obey Him! Once again they were coming up to Jerusalem together, and just as they came to Mount Scopus they saw a fox emerging from the Holy of Holies. They fell a-weeping and R. Akiba seemed merry. Wherefore, said they to him, are you merry? Said he: Wherefore are you weeping? Said they to him: A place of which it was once said, And the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death, is now become the haunt of foxes, and should we not weep? Said he to them: Therefore am I merry; for it is written, And I will take to Me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the Son of Jeberechiah. Now what connection has this Uriah the priest with Zechariah? Uriah lived during the times of the first Temple, while [the other,] Zechariah lived [and prophesied] during the second Temple; but Holy-Writ linked the [later] prophecy of Zechariah with the [earlier] prophecy of Uriah, In the [earlier] prophecy [in the days] of Uriah it is written, Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field etc. In Zechariah it is written, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, There shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem, so long as Uriah's [threatening] prophecy had not had its fulfilment, I had misgivings lest Zechariah's prophecy might not be fulfilled; now that Uriah's prophecy has been [literally] fulfilled, it is quite certain that Zechariah's prophecy also is to find its literal fulfilment. Said they to him: Akiba, you have comforted us! Akiba, you have comforted us! — But it was the latter part of that verse [that perturbed Rab]: And the land of your enemies shall eat you up.43 Mar Zutra then demurred, saying: Might it not be [understood] in the way that cucumbers and pumpkins are eaten?44

Long ago, as Rabban Gamaliel, R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah, R. Joshua and R. Akiba were walking on the road, they heard the noise of the crowds at Rome [on travelling] from Puteoli, a hundred and twenty miles away. They all fell a-weeping, but R. Akiba seemed merry. Said they to him: Wherefore are you merry? Said he to them: Wherefore are you weeping? Said they: These heathens who bow down to images and burn incense to idols live in safety and ease, whereas our Temple, the ‘Footstool’ of our God is burnt down by fire, and should we then not weep? He replied: Therefore, am I merry. If they that offend Him fare thus, how much better shall fare they that do obey Him! Once again they were coming up to Jerusalem together, and just as they came to Mount Scopus they saw a fox emerging from the Holy of Holies. They fell a-weeping and R. Akiba seemed merry. Wherefore, said they to him, are you merry? Said he: Wherefore are you weeping? Said they to him: A place of which it was once said, And the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death,1 is now become the haunt of foxes, and should we not weep? Said he to them: Therefore am I merry; for it is written, And I will take to Me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the Son of Jeberechiah. Now what connection has this Uriah the priest with Zechariah? Uriah lived during the times of the first Temple, while [the other,] Zechariah lived [and prophesied] during the second Temple; but Holy-Writ linked the [later] prophecy of Zechariah with the [earlier] prophecy of Uriah, In the [earlier] prophecy [in the days] of Uriah it is written, Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field etc. In Zechariah it is written, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, There shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem, so long as Uriah's [threatening] prophecy had not had its fulfillment, I had misgivings lest Zechariah's prophecy might not be fulfilled; now that Uriah's prophecy has been [literally] fulfilled, it is quite certain that Zechariah's prophecy also is to find its literal fulfillment. Said they to him: Akiba, you have comforted us! Akiba, you have comforted us!

2.4.2 Balak

Balak, king of Moab, sent messengers to try to induce Balaam, a prophet of the area to curse the people “that came out of Egypt and covers the face of the earth.” In the first two instances Balaam refuses to go with them, finally acquiescing in the third instance in the story of the talking donkey. Here are the prophecies sent to Balaam concerning Israel in these instances:

And G-d said unto Balaam: ‘Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed.’
(Numbers 12:12) ויאמר אלהים אל-בלעם לא תלך עמהם לא תאר את-העם כי ברוך הוא

Balak sent messengers that were more prestigious in the next round with offers of greater wealth and honor. Instead of sending these messengers away right away, Balaam said:

Wait here also this night that I may know what more the Lord will speak to me. And G-d came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him: ‘If the men are come to call thee, rise up, go with them; but only the word which I speak unto thee, that shalt thou do. (Numbers 12:19-20)

Here we see the danger of the will of a prophet impinging on the will of G-d.

Text 2-101: Balaam and his Donkey

And Balaam rose up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. G-d’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the Lord placed himself in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his donkey, and his two servants were with him. And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the donkey turned aside out of the way, and went into the field; and Balaam smote the donkey, to turn her into the way. Then the angel of the Lord stood in a hollow between the vineyards, a fence being on this side, and a fence on that side. And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; and he smote her again. And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the donkey with his staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said unto Balaam: ‘What have I done unto thee, that thou hast struck me these three times?’ And Balaam said unto the donkey: ‘Because thou hast mocked me; I would there were a sword in my hand, for now I had killed thee.’ And the donkey said unto Balaam: ‘Am I not thine donkey, upon which thou hast ridden all thy lifelong unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee?’ And he said: ‘Nay.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed his head, and fell on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him: ‘Wherefore hast thou smitten thine donkey these three times? behold, I am come forth for an adversary, because thy way is contrary unto me; and the donkey saw me, and turned aside before me these three times; unless she had turned aside from me, surely now I had even slain thee, and saved her alive.’

At the point of Balak’s curse request, Balaam has this to say,

How shall I curse, whom G-d hath not cursed? And how shall I execrate,
whom the Lord hath not execrated?

For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him:
Lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
Who hath counted the dust of Jacob, or numbered the stock of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous, and let mine end be like his!

כי-מראש צרים אראנו ומבבעות אשורנו הן-עם לבדד ישכן ובגוים לא יתהשב
(Numbers 23:9-10) מי מנה עפר יעקב ומספר את-רבע ישראל תמת נפשי מות ישרים ותהי אחריתי כמהו



Text 2-102: Numbers 24
1. And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.
2. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.
3. And he took up his discourse, and said, The speech of Balaam, the son of Beor; the speech of a man whose eyes are open;
4. The speech of him who heard the words of God, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes open;
5. How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, and your tabernacles, O Israel!
6. Like winding brooks, like gardens by the river’s side, as aloes which the Lord has planted, and like cedar trees beside the waters.
7. He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
8. God brought him out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of a wild ox; he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
9. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion. Who shall stir him up? Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.
10. And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, I called you to curse my enemies, and, behold, you have blessed them these three times.
11. Therefore now flee to your place; I thought to promote you to great honor; but the Lord has kept you back from honor.
12. And Balaam said to Balak, Did I not speak also to your messengers which you sent me, saying,
13. If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not go beyond the command of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own mind; but what the Lord said, that will I speak?
14. And now, behold, I go to my people; come therefore, and I will advise you what this people shall do to your people in the latter days.
15. And he took up his discourse, and said, The speech of Balaam, the son Beor, and the speech of a man whose eyes are open;
16. The speech of one who heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes open;
17. I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not near; there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall strike the corners of Moab, and destroy all the sons of Seth.
18. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession; and Israel shall do bravely.
19. Out of Jacob shall come a ruler, and shall destroy he who remains of the city.
20. And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his discourse, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that of everlasting perdition.
21. And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his discourse, and said, Strong is your dwelling place, and you put your nest in a rock.
22. Nevertheless the Kenite shall be destroyed. Where shall Assyria carry you away captive?
23. And he took up his discourse, and said, Alas, who shall live when God does this!
24. And ships shall come from the border of Kittim, and shall afflict Assyria, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish forever.
25. And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place; and Balak also went his way.

On Numbers 24:17, Rashi says “all the sons of Seth: All the nations, for they are all descended from Seth, the son of Adam [lit., the first man].” Better this is a reference to the Children of Set(h) son of Ra, ‘who personified evil, darkness, thunder, storm and all things inexplicable.’ Later Seth would be personified as Aries son of Zeus. Also from Egypt there is an association with Mercury and ‘Sebek, 'the excellent one', depicted by a human headed figure and symbolized by a scroll.’[231] Another possibility is Baalam is prophesying the destruction of Shem and Eber, hoping that these may pass on to Israel their descendents, since he could not curse them directly.

2.4.3 Numbers 15

The alien–ger living amongst the Jews are those in their community who live in their manner and are assimilated. They are required to follow the same laws as Jews. These laws make them eligible to serve in a minyan to pray that is the replacement for the sacrificial service.

Text 2-103: Numbers 15:13-016
“ ‘Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the Lord, he must do exactly as you do. The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the Lord: The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.’ ”


"The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien
living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to
come. You and the alien shall be the same before the Lord: The same
laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living
among you."


Its a kal vechomer , a simple rule implies a strict rule. If they are required to keep the law of offering, then they are required to keep all laws as they live amongst you. That includes Shabbat, Kashrut, all laws. And they would be eligible to be counted in a minyan as to hear the reading of the Torah also applies to them.

The Noahide laws only apply to those who are not living amongst the Israelites. Now outside of Israel if a person chooses to live amongst the Jews, he becomes liable for the commandments to the extent that
any Jew is liable outside of Israel. This question is raised by Rav Kook who says outside of Israel, all commandments are merely practice. Nevertheless, the ger amongst the Jews outside of Israel must
practice as well.

2.4.4 Matos


Standup for Israel – נקם נקמת בני ישראל

Text 2-104: Standup for Israel
1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2. Avenge the people of Israel of the Midianites; afterwards shall you be gathered to your people.

The word translated above as “avenge” has the root “standup”. G-d is asking Moses to stand up for the people of Israel to stand up against the Midianites followers of Baal Peor.

Text 2-105: Numbers 25:5-8
ה  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-שֹׁפְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:  הִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֲנָשָׁיו, הַנִּצְמָדִים לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר.
5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel: 'Slay ye every one his men that have joined themselves unto the Baal of Peor.'
ו  וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא, וַיַּקְרֵב אֶל-אֶחָיו אֶת-הַמִּדְיָנִית, לְעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה, וּלְעֵינֵי כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְהֵמָּה בֹכִים, פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד.
6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting.
ז  וַיַּרְא, פִּינְחָס בֶּן-אֶלְעָזָר, בֶּן-אַהֲרֹן, הַכֹּהֵן; וַיָּקָם מִתּוֹךְ הָעֵדָה, וַיִּקַּח רֹמַח בְּיָדוֹ.
7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand.
ח  וַיָּבֹא אַחַר אִישׁ-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל-הַקֻּבָּה, וַיִּדְקֹר אֶת-שְׁנֵיהֶם--אֵת אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאֶת-הָאִשָּׁה אֶל-קֳבָתָהּ; וַתֵּעָצַר, הַמַּגֵּפָה, מֵעַל, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
8 And he went after the man of Israel into the chamber, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
The Hertz Chumash commentary explains that the Israelite was a prince of the tribe of Simeon who was placed in the South and bordered on the land of Midian. Hence they were more easily influenced. Still the prince brought the woman into the camp of Israel and his assimilation is not proven. Moshe’s wife was also from Midian. The distinguishing fear here is the threat of the religion of the Baal Peor entering into the House of Israel.

2.5 Deuteronomy – Words – D’varim

D’varim provides the cement for the belief in One G-d. While from Genesis to Numbers, the Jews only believed in Hashem, other powers are not disavowed from existing. At the time of D’varim all of these powers are subjugated to mere manifestations of the one G-d. This text may be dated to the time of Zechariah. If this is the scroll discovered by the priest Hilkiah during the kingdom of Josiah, then its final compilation would be in the vicinity of the life of Jeremiah.[232] Nevertheless, Deuteronomy merited to be included in the Five Books of Moses.[233] Interestingly the Essenes believed Deuteronomy was sealed and placed in the Ark of the Covenant from the time of the Judges and had not been opened even by King David.[234]

2.5.1 Va'etchanan and the Shema

The watchword of Jewish faith is found in the prayer called the Shema.

Text 2-106: Deuteronomy 6:4
Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad
שמע ישראל יי אלהינו יי אחד
Hear O’Israel the Lord our G-d the Lord is One

Baruch sham cavod malchuto l’olam vaed
ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד
Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom in this world forever
(Must be recited silently; aloud on Yom Kippur)

v’ohavta et Adonai Eloheha behal lvav’vha oovhal nafsheha oovhal m’odeha
ואהבת את השם אלהיך בכל-לבבך ובכל-נפשך ובכל-מאדך
And you shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart and all your soul and all your might.

והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על-לבבך
And these words, which I command you this day shall be upon your heart

ובננתם לבניך ודברת בם בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך ובשכבך ובקומך
And you shall teach them to your children and speak of them when sitting in your house, when walking along your way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

In the first line of the Shema, the letters ‘ad’ – עד are larger than the rest, spelling the word meaning witness. The English word ‘aid’ originates here containing the Torah concept of helping someone as a witness.[235] Such aids would include notaries, wedding witnesses, and other legal witnesses.

When we call out Shema Yisrael, when we hear Hashem’s words, we are acting as a witness to Him as Creator. Hashem like a father will come to our aid. Hashem gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. As punishment is helpful for showing a person that he has sinned, a witness who hears our testimony assists us in returning to a better way of life.[236]

The “Lord is one – Echad” teaches us to believe in one God. Why is this important? To appreciate the spiritual significance of the different forces of nature does not require a belief in one god. In fact, it may even be possible to connect to these forces more closely with a polytheistic belief system. Nevertheless, we know from kabbalah that Oneness – Echad is the same as Love – Ahavah from the numerical equivalence of the word. To believe in one G-d is to believe that all that happens to us is out of love. Hence, the different forces of nature that impinge upon us have their source in love ultimately for our good.[237]

The second verse of the Shema is “Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom in this world forever,” which is recited aloud only in the presence of G-d, i.e. the Shechinah. The Israelites recited the blessing after the high priest recited the name of G-d upon emerging from the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur day. To recite the blessing without the Divine Presence would be in vain and not to recite the blessing with the Divine Presence would be a forgotten blessing. Hence, we recite the blessing with our lips, but without sound, except on Yom Kippur day at the Cohen haGadol service. While, one can say the blessing aloud when one is feels the ruach hakodesh – the chill wind of the spirit of G-d, but one should pray as ones congregation.[238]

Text 2-107: There is Nothing Bad that does not Turn Out for the Good
A common Jewish saying is “There is nothing bad that does not turn out for the good.” During the Holocaust, Grandmother fasted Mondays and Thursdays to save food for the rest of her family, while they were in hiding. Meanwhile, Grandfather would search out new places and move the family often to avoid being located by the authorities. In the end, they were amongst a handful of witnesses who survived from the city of Kolomea[239] whose original Jewish population numbered close to 60,000. Grandmother attributed their survival to being a witness for G-d.

Hashgafah pratlus, providence is more evident to those occupied with business than others.[240] An acrostic for one journeying forth based on the Shema is Saoo Meromim Anayim – lift up your eyes on high. If we look to the sky when we are on our business journeys, we are reminded of G-d’s providence.[241] This was the advice given by the Mittler Rebbe to one of his followers who was departing on a journey for business.[242]

The word Shema – שמע is an acrostic for Shaddai Melekh Olam – שדי מלך עולם – Almighty King of the World—witnessing that the Almighty is King of the world. The word echad – אחד – also has a meaning in its individual letters. Dalet stands for the four directions in our world. Het is the seven heavens and the earth below. Aleph says that there is only one G-d ruling over all.[243] The Shema is also a meditation for rectifying the world:[244]

Text 2-108: Luzatto’s Kavannah while Declaring Shema
One should have in mind to transmit the illumination of God’s holiness and the yoke of His Kingdom to his children and all other descendants. The reading therefore goes on to say “You shall teach them to your children...” He should furthermore have in mind to rectify man’s state in general, as it continues, “[and you shall speak of them] while you remain at home and when you go on your way.”

As a rectification for one’s home Luzatto teaches:[245]

Finally, one should have in mind to rectify his house, as it concludes, “You shall write them [in the Mezuzah] on the doorposts of your house...”
And to repair in examination his house – ולתקן בחינת הבית שלו

When one focuses the mind on repairing the spiritual aspect of the house while reciting this passage of the Shema, he will in fact be writing these words upon the doorposts of the house and repairing all within. Mezuzah literally means doorpost, but is practiced today as a parchment inserted into a container attached to the doorpost. The Mezuzah reminds us that G-d is our savior—His right hand protects. The house is like a temple and the protection is more for when one leaves than when one returns, but the Mezuzah is traditionally hung on the right side for when one enters, he thanks G-d by kissing it from his right hand for his safe return.

The following blessing is recited before the mezuzah is installed:

ברוך אתה יי אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לקבוע מזוזה

The better way to install the Mezuzah is on the open edge of the doorway where it can be noticed most easily on both entry and exit from the household. If it is installed on the hinge side it is less likely to be seen. On the open end of the doorway, the Mezuzah will remind one to be a Jew both when one enters and exits the house.

2.5.2 Re’eh and sacrificial locations

Deuteronomy 12 reminds Israelites that there are specific locations for public sacrifices. No doubt this was to insure that sacrifices remained public and were shared. To be a Jew is to be part of a community. To be part of a community means sacrifices must be allowed in regions for community gatherings.

Text 2-109: Deuteronomy 12

5. But to the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, to his habitation shall you seek, and there you shall come;
6. And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks;
7. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households, because the Lord your God has blessed you.
...
10. But when you go over the Jordan, and live in the land which the Lord your God gives you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety;
11. Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; there shall you bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to the Lord;
12. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite who is inside your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.
13. Take heed to yourself that you offer not your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
14. But only in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.

In the divided kingdom, there were two central locations, one for each kingdom. Would this have occurred if Deuteronomy 12:14 were already extant and known? Perhaps Deuteronomy 12 was only in reference to a single tabernacle or temple,[246] but the ‘high places’ with altars would continue to exist in the remote reaches of Israel per Exodus 20:21, ‘An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt-offerings and thy peace-offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come unto thee and bless thee’. Moreover Deuteronomy authorizes another altar on Mount Ebal.[247] As always these contradictions in the Torah require a Gzera Shav a third verse to reconcile.[248]

Text 2-110: Deuteronomy 27:4-5
4. Therefore it shall be when you have gone over the Jordan, that you shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.
5. And there shall you build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones; you shall not lift up any iron tool upon them.

Some would say that Deuteronomy served to strengthen the religious institutions of Jerusalem that supported the monarchy. Furthermore, there are many commandments that can only be kept in the land of Israel. Judaism, on the other hand, adapted to the galut–exile to some extent; but the heart and soul of this religion requires living in Israel, a rebuilt temple, and living at a distance feasible for pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Text 2-111: Deuteronomy 13:1
à  àÅú ëÌÈì-äÇãÌÈáÈø, àÂùÑÆø àÈðÉëÄé îÀöÇåÌÆä àÆúÀëÆí--àÉúåÉ úÄùÑÀîÀøåÌ, ìÇòÂùÒåÉú:  ìÉà-úÉñÅó òÈìÈéå, åÀìÉà úÄâÀøÇò îÄîÌÆðÌåÌ.  {ô}
1 All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. {P}

How careful was Deuteronomy about not adding to or diminishing the law that preceded it? Deuteronomy is putting a tamper proof lock on its contribution to Judaism.

2.5.3 Shofteem Deut 17

Shofteem means judges from the first word of the Torah portion.

Text 2-112: Parsha Shofteem
Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, throughout your tribes; and they shall judge the people with just judgment.

Today judges persevere in a secular role, elders have limited respect, and we await the return of prophets and kings. One of the interesting paragraphs in this portion deals with rules for kings. Kings were not above the law. Shofteem teaches that kings should write for themselves “this Torah” the Mishnah Torah.

Text 2-113: Deuteronomy 17:14-20 on Rules for Kings
14. When you come to the land which the Lord your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall live in it, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me;
15. You shall set him king over you, whom the Lord your God shall choose; one from among your brothers shall you set king over you; you may not set a stranger over you, who is not your brother.
16. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; for as much as the Lord has said to you, You shall henceforth return no more that way.
17. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; nor shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
18. And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah in a book from that which is before the priests the Levites;
19. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to do them;
20. That his heart be not lifted up above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

What I find most interesting about this text is G-d’s permission to establish a king, while Samuel the Prophet replies to Israel that G-d is your King. Because of Samuel’s righteousness, one might suspect that Samuel did not know of this text otherwise he would have expected the people’s request. Furthermore, one would assume that King Solomon would not violate the law (Deut. 17:17) concerning too many wives (>18 from Sanhedren). This has led historians to reason that Deuteronomy is the scroll that the Levites revealed during the reign of King Josiah.[249] Moreover, the book appears to be written for the welfare of the kings of Israel.

Meditation 2-7: Talking with Moses

Imagine taking a walk on a park trail and seeing a fox.[250] After seeing the fox cross your trail, follow him into the woods, but do not startle him. Afterwards proceed further into the woods until one comes to a creek. There one will see something in the water. Pick up the gift and take it with you. Cross the river and enter the forest. The colors are of deeper hues and everything is more beautiful. The forest opens to a clearing and there are several pools of water here. Choose one and enter fully. The water feels so good and cleansing. Rise out of the water and lay on the adjacent bed of soft moss under the warm sun until dry.

When ready continue walking and you will see a mountain in the distance. Head towards the mountain that is at the end of the forest. At the base one will see people in camps. They are taking care of their families. Someone will come over and talk with you and may invite you into his or her tent for refreshments. When you emerge from the tent one will see the tent of Moses in the distance and there are people exiting and entering. Make your way through the throngs to the tent. There one will encounter a guard. He will ask what you want and you may say that you have come to talk with Moses and that you bathed in the pools below and are cleansed. He will pull open the curtain and you may enter. Inside there is light, but one cannot discern its source. One sees Moses’ face and he talks with you.

After the conversation, one backs out of the tent all the while with ones face towards Moses. Then one returns the way one came through the camp, past the pools, through the radiant forest, across the brook where one may return the gift one found, through the beautiful forest into the brush where the fox waits and out onto the trail that takes you home. Count from one to five and say that one will remember all that one saw and heard before awakening.

I found a square piece of brass in the stream and placed it on my forehead. A natural pool of water is a mikvah that is a ritual bath of cleansing. One may receive an invitation to enter a tent and be given goat milk to drink. The owner will point you in the direction of Moses’ tent.

The cloud around the tent of Moses is the Presence of G-d, the Shechinah. I asked about his life. Moses explained, “I journeyed from Egypt to Horeb and they were not easy travels but now I am happy here at the base of the Mountain of G-d.” I asked Moses who wrote the Book of Deuteronomy. “Every word from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Deuteronomy I wrote by the Hand of G-d. Every word I wrote is from G-d.”[251]

Then why does Samuel seem to differ on whether the people need a king? Why does Solomon multiply wives unto himself? “Those who came later I am not accountable for. They may have (mis)quoted God’s words; they may have broken his commandments. People are not perfect even prophets and kings. Perhaps Samuel did not want to accept this prophecy. Perhaps Solomon broke the commandment of not having too many wives. One should not judge one who comes later who appears to be ignorant or in violation of the law as one who did not have the commandment. Samuel needed to work through these words; Solomon needed to heed them.” Moses continues with the correction of one’s own life showing what has led one to the person he or she is today. “One accomplishes repentance by working on the future not by dwelling on the past.”

Does Meditation 2-7 explain the following questions?
  1. If the people had Deuteronomy at the time of Samuel, then the laws for kings would have been known. How could Samuel reject human kingship, since he could not add or subtract from the law?
  2. Furthermore, would not the people have rejected Samuel as a false prophet for his reluctance to select a king? Deuteronomy makes the same statement concerning having a king “like the other nations” as Samuel, but there is no rejection by G-d only that the king be selected by G-d.
  3. Chronicles 2:34:14 refers to this law by the hand of Moses, while here it is the “Hand of G-d.” The scribe perceives the hand of Moses upon his own, while Moses, the prophet, perceives the hand of G-d upon his own.

A legal answer clarifies, ‘The people asked for a king “like the other nations.”’ Does Samuel give the impression that he is OK with this type of kingship? Does Samuel give the impression that he believes in the Messiah? If so, what type of messiah?

From the light of the holy Sefer Yetzira, here we find the thesis is Moshe Rabbenu wrote Deuteronomy, and the antithesis is that it was written after King Solomon. We will have to wait to Chronicles 2 to find the synthesis and answer to the mystery and there is a great answer.[252]


Text 2-114: Deuteronomy 17

א  לֹא-תִזְבַּח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ שׁוֹר וָשֶׂה, אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם--כֹּל, דָּבָר רָע:  כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, הוּא.  {ס}
1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God an ox, or a sheep, wherein is a blemish, even any evil thing; for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. {S}
ב  כִּי-יִמָּצֵא בְקִרְבְּךָ בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ:  אִישׁ אוֹ-אִשָּׁה, אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה אֶת-הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה-אֱלֹהֶיךָ--לַעֲבֹר בְּרִיתוֹ.
2 If there be found in the midst of thee, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that doeth that which is evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing His covenant,
ג  וַיֵּלֶךְ, וַיַּעֲבֹד אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ, לָהֶם; וְלַשֶּׁמֶשׁ אוֹ לַיָּרֵחַ, אוֹ לְכָל-צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם--אֲשֶׁר לֹא-צִוִּיתִי.
3 and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have commanded not;
ד  וְהֻגַּד-לְךָ, וְשָׁמָעְתָּ; וְדָרַשְׁתָּ הֵיטֵב--וְהִנֵּה אֱמֶת נָכוֹן הַדָּבָר, נֶעֶשְׂתָה הַתּוֹעֵבָה הַזֹּאת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.
4 and it be told thee, and thou hear it, then shalt thou inquire diligently, and, behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel;
ה  וְהוֹצֵאתָ אֶת-הָאִישׁ הַהוּא אוֹ אֶת-הָאִשָּׁה הַהִוא אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ אֶת-הַדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה, אֶל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ--אֶת-הָאִישׁ, אוֹ אֶת-הָאִשָּׁה; וּסְקַלְתָּם בָּאֲבָנִים, וָמֵתוּ.
5 then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, who have done this evil thing, unto thy gates, even the man or the woman; and thou shalt stone them with stones, that they die.
ו  עַל-פִּי שְׁנַיִם עֵדִים, אוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה עֵדִים--יוּמַת הַמֵּת:  לֹא יוּמַת, עַל-פִּי עֵד אֶחָד.
6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
ז  יַד הָעֵדִים תִּהְיֶה-בּוֹ בָרִאשֹׁנָה, לַהֲמִיתוֹ, וְיַד כָּל-הָעָם, בָּאַחֲרֹנָה; וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע, מִקִּרְבֶּךָ.  {פ}
7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. {P}
ח  כִּי יִפָּלֵא מִמְּךָ דָבָר לַמִּשְׁפָּט, בֵּין-דָּם לְדָם בֵּין-דִּין לְדִין וּבֵין נֶגַע לָנֶגַע--דִּבְרֵי רִיבֹת, בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ:  וְקַמְתָּ וְעָלִיתָ--אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם, אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ.
8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose.
ט  וּבָאתָ, אֶל-הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם, וְאֶל-הַשֹּׁפֵט, אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם; וְדָרַשְׁתָּ וְהִגִּידוּ לְךָ, אֵת דְּבַר הַמִּשְׁפָּט.
9 And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment.
י  וְעָשִׂיתָ, עַל-פִּי הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יַגִּידוּ לְךָ, מִן-הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא, אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה; וְשָׁמַרְתָּ לַעֲשׂוֹת, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּךָ.
10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the LORD shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee.
יא  עַל-פִּי הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּךָ, וְעַל-הַמִּשְׁפָּט אֲשֶׁר-יֹאמְרוּ לְךָ--תַּעֲשֶׂה:  לֹא תָסוּר, מִן-הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-יַגִּידוּ לְךָ--יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאל.
11 According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
יב  וְהָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶׂה בְזָדוֹן, לְבִלְתִּי שְׁמֹעַ אֶל-הַכֹּהֵן הָעֹמֵד לְשָׁרֶת שָׁם אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אוֹ, אֶל-הַשֹּׁפֵט--וּמֵת הָאִישׁ הַהוּא, וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.
12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel.
יג  וְכָל-הָעָם, יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ; וְלֹא יְזִידוּן, עוֹד.  {ס}
13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. {S}
יד  כִּי-תָבֹא אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ, וִירִשְׁתָּהּ, וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ; וְאָמַרְתָּ, אָשִׂימָה עָלַי מֶלֶךְ, כְּכָל-הַגּוֹיִם, אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָי.
14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me';
טו  שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ, אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ:  מִקֶּרֶב אַחֶיךָ, תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ--לֹא תוּכַל לָתֵת עָלֶיךָ אִישׁ נָכְרִי, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-אָחִיךָ הוּא.
15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother.
טז  רַק, לֹא-יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ סוּסִים, וְלֹא-יָשִׁיב אֶת-הָעָם מִצְרַיְמָה, לְמַעַן הַרְבּוֹת סוּס; וַיהוָה, אָמַר לָכֶם, לֹא תֹסִפוּן לָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה, עוֹד.
16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.'
יז  וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ נָשִׁים, וְלֹא יָסוּר לְבָבוֹ; וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב, לֹא יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ מְאֹד.
17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
יח  וְהָיָה כְשִׁבְתּוֹ, עַל כִּסֵּא מַמְלַכְתּוֹ--וְכָתַב לוֹ אֶת-מִשְׁנֵה הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת, עַל-סֵפֶר, מִלִּפְנֵי, הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם.
18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites.
יט  וְהָיְתָה עִמּוֹ, וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו--לְמַעַן יִלְמַד, לְיִרְאָה אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו, לִשְׁמֹר אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת וְאֶת-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה, לַעֲשֹׂתָם.
19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them;
כ  לְבִלְתִּי רוּם-לְבָבוֹ מֵאֶחָיו, וּלְבִלְתִּי סוּר מִן-הַמִּצְוָה יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול--לְמַעַן יַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים עַל-מַמְלַכְתּוֹ הוּא וּבָנָיו, בְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל.  {ס}
20 that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel. {S}

2.5.4 Ki Teitzei Deuteronomy 23 on prohibited marriages


While not explicitly prohibited in marriage, Deuteronomy 23:4 says that the descendents of mixed marriages with Moabites were not to become part of the community.[253] The rabbis narrowed the text to prohibit only Moabite male marriages; since by rabbinical law their children would be Jewish from their mother.[254] Correspondingly, an Israelite man with a Moabite woman’s child would not be Jewish, so is there a need for a prohibition? Yes, there is still a need for prohibition since they could enter the community implicitly by conversion. Hence, draissa, it is difficult to understand the rabbinical interpretation.

Furthermore, if the preclusion is only against marrying Moabite males, then from the text, one would presume that it is only Moabite male descendents that are prohibited from joining the community. Yet, if they had daughters, rabbinical law still did not allow them into the congregation.[255] Hence, they do not take the text literally for daughter descendents, but literally for males. Nevertheless, the rabbis allow a Moabitess married to an Israelite male to enter into the congregation. This appears to legitimize King David’s yichus. Ironically, if a daughter of a Moabite father and a Jewess should marry a Jewish male, the child would be a mamzer; but, if a daughter of a Moabite father and a Moabite mother should marry a Jewish male, the child can be Jewish. The rabbinical law seems to fall on its own knife.

If Jewish identity is considered matriarchical then this patriachical twist is confusing. Since Samuel used the qualities of Ruth to legitimize her status, despite the objections raised by Doeg the Edomite about the legitimacy of King David,[256] then clearly her status as an Israelite was questioned. Perhaps the better approach is to accept that Deuteronomy prohibited all Moabites in marriage and that Boaz married a Moabite. Perhaps it is better to accept the enigma of King David as a mamzer to understand that the laws of Deuteronmy had to be tempered by the quality of a person. Similarly Isaiah accepts the righteous eunuchs despite their being casted out of the community of Israel in Deuteronomy 23:2.

After the Assyrian invasion and the Babylonian exile, the Rabbis stated that this law (Deut. 23:4) was not to be observed (Hertz Pentateuch commentary), because of the mixing of the races. Here is an example where the Oral Law abrogated the written law entirely.[257] For better or worse Judaism is primarily a Deuteronomic religion today.[258] Isaiah tempered Deuteronomy 23:2’s discrimination against eunuchs in ch. 56. The Rabbis countered by saying the former refered to self-mutilation while the later to mutilation by another, again showing that the oral law is essential to correct injustice.

Text 2-115: Ammonite proselyte
An Ammonite proselyte came before the Rabbis in the Beth HaMidreash and said to them: Am I permitted to enter the assembly? [that is, marry a Jewess] R. Joshua said to him: You are permitted to enter the congregation. Said Rabban Gamaliel to him: Is it not already laid down, an Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord? R. Joshua replied: Do Ammon and Moab still reside in their original homes? Sennacherib, King of Assyria, long ago went up and mixed up all the nations.[259]

Rabbi Johanan in the 3rd century declared that the daughter of an Ammonite convert was eligible to marry a priest.[260] Ezekiel 16:3 states that your father was an Amorite and that your mother was a Hittite so that we should know that none of us have a distinguished lineage and we are all judged by our actions and our words.[261] Part of the role of the prophets and the rabbis was to abrogate the law when it was obviously unfair. Hence, there is no written law that cannot be circumscribed by the Oral Law. A tzaddik was seen as a living torah embodying and transcending the written truth subjecting it to the compassion of G-d. The designation of someone as a mamzer or blemished had more to do with the environment effecting the child since all children are born innocent, as every parent knows. When such a negative environment did not exist, it would be sensible for a rabbi to circumscribe any stigma from the law itself.

Text 2-116: Deuteronomy Chapter 23
א  לֹא-יִקַּח אִישׁ, אֶת-אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו; וְלֹא יְגַלֶּה, כְּנַף אָבִיו.  {ס}
1 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt. {S}
ב  לֹא-יָבֹא פְצוּעַ-דַּכָּא וּכְרוּת שָׁפְכָה, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה.  {ס}
2 He that is crushed or maimed in his privy parts shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD. {S}
ג  לֹא-יָבֹא מַמְזֵר, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה:  גַּם דּוֹר עֲשִׂירִי, לֹא-יָבֹא לוֹ בִּקְהַל יְהוָה.  {ס}
3 A mamzer shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD. {S}
ד  לֹא-יָבֹא עַמּוֹנִי וּמוֹאָבִי, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה:  גַּם דּוֹר עֲשִׂירִי, לֹא-יָבֹא לָהֶם בִּקְהַל יְהוָה עַד-עוֹלָם.
4 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the assembly of the LORD for ever;
ה  עַל-דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-קִדְּמוּ אֶתְכֶם, בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמַּיִם, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם; וַאֲשֶׁר שָׂכַר עָלֶיךָ אֶת-בִּלְעָם בֶּן-בְּעוֹר, מִפְּתוֹר אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם--לְקַלְלֶךָּ.
5 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Aram-naharaim, to curse thee.
ו  וְלֹא-אָבָה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶל-בִּלְעָם, וַיַּהֲפֹךְ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְּךָ אֶת-הַקְּלָלָה, לִבְרָכָה:  כִּי אֲהֵבְךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ.
6 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
ז  לֹא-תִדְרֹשׁ שְׁלֹמָם, וְטֹבָתָם, כָּל-יָמֶיךָ, לְעוֹלָם.  {ס}
7 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days forever. {S}
ח  לֹא-תְתַעֵב אֲדֹמִי, כִּי אָחִיךָ הוּא; לֹא-תְתַעֵב מִצְרִי, כִּי-גֵר הָיִיתָ בְאַרְצוֹ.
8 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.
ט  בָּנִים אֲשֶׁר-יִוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם, דּוֹר שְׁלִישִׁי--יָבֹא לָהֶם, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה.  {ס}
9 The children of the third generation that are born unto them may enter into the assembly of the LORD. {S}
י  כִּי-תֵצֵא מַחֲנֶה, עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ:  וְנִשְׁמַרְתָּ--מִכֹּל, דָּבָר רָע.
10 When thou goest forth in camp against thine enemies, then thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing.
יא  כִּי-יִהְיֶה בְךָ אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִהְיֶה טָהוֹר מִקְּרֵה-לָיְלָה--וְיָצָא אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה, לֹא יָבֹא אֶל-תּוֹךְ הַמַּחֲנֶה.
11 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of that which chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp.
יב  וְהָיָה לִפְנוֹת-עֶרֶב, יִרְחַץ בַּמָּיִם; וּכְבֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, יָבֹא אֶל-תּוֹךְ הַמַּחֲנֶה.
12 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he may come within the camp.
יג  וְיָד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ, מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה; וְיָצָאתָ שָּׁמָּה, חוּץ.
13 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad.
יד  וְיָתֵד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ, עַל-אֲזֵנֶךָ; וְהָיָה, בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ חוּץ, וְחָפַרְתָּה בָהּ, וְשַׁבְתָּ וְכִסִּיתָ אֶת-צֵאָתֶךָ.
14 And thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons; and it shall be, when thou sittest down abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee.
טו  כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִתְהַלֵּךְ בְּקֶרֶב מַחֲנֶךָ, לְהַצִּילְךָ וְלָתֵת אֹיְבֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ, וְהָיָה מַחֲנֶיךָ, קָדוֹשׁ:  וְלֹא-יִרְאֶה בְךָ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר, וְשָׁב מֵאַחֲרֶיךָ.  {ס}
15 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy; that He see no unseemly thing in thee, and turn away from thee. {S}
טז  לֹא-תַסְגִּיר עֶבֶד, אֶל-אֲדֹנָיו, אֲשֶׁר-יִנָּצֵל אֵלֶיךָ, מֵעִם אֲדֹנָיו.
16 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a bondman that is escaped from his master unto thee;
יז  עִמְּךָ יֵשֵׁב בְּקִרְבְּךָ, בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר-יִבְחַר בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ--בַּטּוֹב לוֹ; לֹא, תּוֹנֶנּוּ.  {ס}
17 he shall dwell with thee, in the midst of thee, in the place which he shall choose within one of thy gates, where it liketh him best; thou shalt not wrong him. {S}
יח  לֹא-תִהְיֶה קְדֵשָׁה, מִבְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה קָדֵשׁ, מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
18 There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
יט  לֹא-תָבִיא אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב, בֵּית יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--לְכָל-נֶדֶר:  כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, גַּם-שְׁנֵיהֶם.  {ס}
19 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow; for even both these are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. {S}
כ  לֹא-תַשִּׁיךְ לְאָחִיךָ, נֶשֶׁךְ כֶּסֶף נֶשֶׁךְ אֹכֶל:  נֶשֶׁךְ, כָּל-דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁךְ.
20 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest.
כא  לַנָּכְרִי תַשִּׁיךְ, וּלְאָחִיךָ לֹא תַשִּׁיךְ--לְמַעַן יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכֹל מִשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ, עַל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ.  {ס}
21 Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. {S}
כב  כִּי-תִדֹּר נֶדֶר לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לֹא תְאַחֵר לְשַׁלְּמוֹ:  כִּי-דָרֹשׁ יִדְרְשֶׁנּוּ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, מֵעִמָּךְ, וְהָיָה בְךָ, חֵטְא.
22 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it; for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it will be sin in thee.
כג  וְכִי תֶחְדַּל, לִנְדֹּר--לֹא-יִהְיֶה בְךָ, חֵטְא.
23 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
כד  מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ, תִּשְׁמֹר וְעָשִׂיתָ:  כַּאֲשֶׁר נָדַרְתָּ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, נְדָבָה, אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ, בְּפִיךָ.  {ס}
24 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt observe and do; according as thou hast vowed freely unto the LORD thy God, even that which thou hast promised with thy mouth. {S}
כה  כִּי תָבֹא בְּכֶרֶם רֵעֶךָ, וְאָכַלְתָּ עֲנָבִים כְּנַפְשְׁךָ שָׂבְעֶךָ; וְאֶל-כֶּלְיְךָ, לֹא תִתֵּן.  {ס}
25 When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes until thou have enough at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. {S}
כו  כִּי תָבֹא בְּקָמַת רֵעֶךָ, וְקָטַפְתָּ מְלִילֹת בְּיָדֶךָ; וְחֶרְמֵשׁ לֹא תָנִיף, עַל קָמַת רֵעֶךָ.  {ס}
26 When thou comest into thy neighbour's standing corn, then thou mayest pluck ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn. {S}

In Deuteronomy 23:4, God gave this law because of the actions of the Moabites (human sacrifice).[262] General laws cannot account for individual exceptions, but they can improve the conduct of the majority. King David, being only a third generation descendent of a Moabite, before the rabbinical interpretation, would not be Jewish; hence, lending creed that Deuteronomy is from the time of King Josiah. Moreover the Book of Deuteronomy seems to resent the behavior of King David and King Solomon a posteriori for their multiplying of wives. Is this the regret of the Josiah priesthood, who discovered the ‘Book of the Law’ and passed it to a scribe for edification to the king? Interestingly, Deuteronomy vindicates the life of King Saul in the area of his singular marriage. Saul whose father was Matri – מטרי alludes to the angel Metatron both as the Angel of Rain and the Guardian of his people. Saul’s life for Israel was like the rain nourishing a fertile land. As king he could have easily killed David, but in his heart this was not his intention. His heart was good and he was a likable person.[263] Hence Hashem entrusted His People to Saul.[264]

Deuteronomy 23:2-3 is difficult to understand. The Hebrew clearly states from the ‘assembly of the Lord’ (Klal Hashem) as opposed to the ‘assembly of Israel’ (Klal Israel). Should the innocent become victims of their birth circumstance as opposed to their deeds? Yet, the mamzer[265] through no fault of himself is a reminder of a forbidden relationship and thus, his prohibition from the House of G-d. Nevertheless, G-d will rescue him in the day that s/he calls. What of someone born from a disassociated parent over many years without a bill of divorce? Is there a context of adultery here, only a technicality not a marriage? Such was the case of Mikail who took another lover and David. Who would call her situation adultery; who could cast that stone? The child is a false symbol of adultery, but still cannot enter the assembly?[266] On the other hand, we find comfort from Isaiah on the reward for righteous eunuchs (Isaiah 56:4-5)[267] so we know the prohibition in Deuteronomy 23:2 is not a punishment. Clearly, separation from the assembly is not any fault of their own. Instead the purification of the priesthood class permeates these laws.

Finally, in contrast to the leniency of Deuteronomy 23:8, we find later prophets and rabbis who abhorred Edom and displayed little acceptance of Edomites.[268] Deuteronomy 23:8 seems to date from a time before Edom became the enemy of Israel or better that Edom is a brother and can’t be a true enemy. But in the Writings and Prophets we continue to find abhorances of Edom in contradiction to the statement, “Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother.”

Maybe someone can explain the intention of the laws in Deuteronomy 23 better to me by email to jeffspieg at the gmail dot com?[269] “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children and the children shall not be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deut 24:16).” But the Decalogue states “visiting the sins of the fathers on the children and on the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” We know the second verse only applies for those children who hate G-d, has vhsalom. In the second case the effect would be the same, but there is not the benefit of the merits of the fathers tempering the sufferings of the children. So in the first case, people are still only culpable for their own sin; but in the second case, mercy cannot come from the merits of ones father. Nevertheless, even in the second case, there is is the merit of the Avot: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that every child can remember. For its time most of Deuteronomy mitigated prejudice and discrimination, but Deuteronomy 23 is a counter-example

2.5.5 Amalek

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt! (Dvarim 25).” Shabbas Zahor is about remembering terrorism and not pardoning the terrorist. This teaches to avoid the liberalism of forgiving the one who would kill us; because of the likelihood to forget, we are commanded to always remember lest we fall pray to terrorists again.

But things are not always so black and white as we can see that Amalek was a child of Timna who was denied conversion.[270] Rav Kook says that this enemy was a result of our own error in pushing her away.

Today Orthodox Judaism cannot be repaired without this reflection. Ironically some of the other branches of Judaism have already done this. Hence we know that Klal Israel are all branches of Judaism and those who do not accept their brethren head down a path of destruction.

2.5.6 Netzavim

Netzavim means standing like a guard on duty. Here the Israelites are standing to take part in the covenant. This includes not only those who are not here that is those who have passed away, but also those who are yet to be born. The covenant also included foreign workers, i.e. the “hewer of wood” and the “drawer of water.” From here we see that it is wrong to alienate foreign workers in Israel. They are implicitly part of the covenant, following the commandments, and sharing the reward and burden of Israel. The Hebrew refers to them as “v’garcha” – and your stranger that is the same as a convert.

Text 2-117: People of the Convenant

ט אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם, זִקְנֵיכֶם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶם, כֹּל, אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל. 9 Ye are standing this day all of you before the LORD your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,
י טַפְּכֶם נְשֵׁיכֶם--וְגֵרְךָ, אֲשֶׁר בְּקֶרֶב מַחֲנֶיךָ: מֵחֹטֵב עֵצֶיךָ, עַד שֹׁאֵב מֵימֶיךָ. 10 your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water;
יא לְעָבְרְךָ, בִּבְרִית יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--וּבְאָלָתוֹ: אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, כֹּרֵת עִמְּךָ הַיּוֹם. 11 that thou shouldest enter into the covenant of the LORD thy God--and into His oath--which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day;
יב לְמַעַן הָקִים-אֹתְךָ הַיּוֹם לוֹ לְעָם, וְהוּא יִהְיֶה-לְּךָ לֵאלֹהִים--כַּאֲשֶׁר, דִּבֶּר-לָךְ; וְכַאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ, לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב. 12 that He may establish thee this day unto Himself for a people, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He spoke unto thee, and as He swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
יג וְלֹא אִתְּכֶם, לְבַדְּכֶם--אָנֹכִי, כֹּרֵת אֶת-הַבְּרִית הַזֹּאת, וְאֶת-הָאָלָה, הַזֹּאת. 13 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
יד כִּי אֶת-אֲשֶׁר יֶשְׁנוֹ פֹּה, עִמָּנוּ עֹמֵד הַיּוֹם, לִפְנֵי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ; וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר אֵינֶנּוּ פֹּה, עִמָּנוּ הַיּוֹם. 14 but with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day--
טו כִּי-אַתֶּם יְדַעְתֶּם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יָשַׁבְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם, וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָבַרְנוּ בְּקֶרֶב הַגּוֹיִם, אֲשֶׁר עֲבַרְתֶּם. 15 for ye know how we dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the midst of the nations through which ye passed;
טז וַתִּרְאוּ, אֶת-שִׁקּוּצֵיהֶם, וְאֵת, גִּלֻּלֵיהֶם--עֵץ וָאֶבֶן, כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב אֲשֶׁר עִמָּהֶם. 16 and ye have seen their detestable things, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were with them--
יז פֶּן-יֵשׁ בָּכֶם אִישׁ אוֹ-אִשָּׁה אוֹ מִשְׁפָּחָה אוֹ-שֵׁבֶט, אֲשֶׁר לְבָבוֹ פֹנֶה הַיּוֹם מֵעִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, לָלֶכֶת לַעֲבֹד, אֶת-אֱלֹהֵי הַגּוֹיִם הָהֵם: פֶּן-יֵשׁ בָּכֶם, שֹׁרֶשׁ פֹּרֶה רֹאשׁ--וְלַעֲנָה. 17 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
יח וְהָיָה בְּשָׁמְעוֹ אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָאָלָה הַזֹּאת, וְהִתְבָּרֵךְ בִּלְבָבוֹ לֵאמֹר שָׁלוֹם יִהְיֶה-לִּי--כִּי בִּשְׁרִרוּת לִבִּי, אֵלֵךְ: לְמַעַן סְפוֹת הָרָוָה, אֶת-הַצְּמֵאָה. 18 and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying: 'I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart--that the watered be swept away with the dry';

Text 2-118: Deuteronomy 29:25-28
For they went and served other gods and worshipped them—gods which they did not know and had no portion with them. And the Lord’s anger increased in the land to bring upon her the curses written in this book.

2.5.7 Musical Notes, Vowels, Crowns, and Letters

Text 2-119: Deuteronomy’s Words
These are the words, which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.
אלה הדברים אבר דבר משה אל-כל-ישראל בעבר הירדן
במדבר בערבה מול סוף בין-פארן ובין-תפל ולבן וחצרת ודי זהב

‘Word’ – דבר also means ‘thing’ in Hebrew because words manifest into material changes. The word structures the creative process. Torah words have four components. Letters represent the physical meaning of each word. The ornaments or crowns are like the angelic forces in the background. The vowel points correspond to the souls of the letters.[271] Finally, we become part of the eternal song of G-d when we add melody to the words.

Table 2-13: The Four Universes and Our Connection to Them
Expression
Worlds
Tetragrammaton
Ta’amim – תאמים – Cantellation Notes
Atzilut – אצלות – Nearness
Yod
Nekudot – נקדות – Vowel Points
Beriyah – בריה – Creation
Heh
Tagin – תנין – Ornaments
Yetzirah – יצרה – Formation
Vav
Otiot – ותות – Letters
Asiyah – עשיה – Making
Heh

The notes for chanting the Torah contain the melody. These notes also assist the reader in connecting related Torah ideas as well as separating different concepts. A song without words is called a ningun, i.e. tune. Tunes while popularized by the Hasidim represent a highly abstract way of connecting to G-d. Music raises our spirit, elevates love, joy, excitement, and spontaneity. These are all aspects of Atzilut, the highest world of being.

The Nekudot or vowel points are the souls of the letters.[272] The letters are the consonants which can form words but require vowel points to activate their meaning.

The Tagin or crowns on the letters represent the extra element that Hashem transmits into the physical. In the world of Yetzirah, the angels busy themselves with the spiritual dimension of the physical world.

The letters also represent the physical making of the world. The energy transmitted by Hashem is received in the physical world. Succinctly, the process is symbolized by the name of G-d, Yod is the coin, which Heh the hand holds, Vav the arm extends the coin, and the final Heh is our hand receiving the gift. The giving of Hanukah gelt – money is to reflect this image of G-d.

Text 2-120: Isaiah 43:7 Alludes to the Worlds
I have created – berativ him for my glory; I have formed – yetzartiv him; yea, I have made – asitiv him.

The ‘tiv’ at the end of each of the acts refers to ‘him’.

2.5.8 Deuteronomy 33

Text 2-121: Deuteronomy 33:26-27
There is none like El Yeshurun (God of honest Israel) riding the heavens to your help and skies in His heights from the dwelling of the eastern gods and from underneath the arms of the world dividing from before you your enemies and annihilating.

Yeshurun contains the root yashar referring to the straight path of life. This root is also that of Israel. Riding on the heavens alludes to the straight dependable path that the sun would take across the sky each day. To an agrarian people the relationship of the sun, rain, and seed growth were important ideas.

East being the direction of the sunrise fit a cultural idea for the dwelling place of God. Even today, we pray to the East. If the sun is a metaphor for the Hand of G-d,[273] riding across the sky to our help fits this to a tee as the Hand of G-d saves. This returns us to Tzedek, which may be from l'havdil, Çüdüq (Cuduk), the sun traveling straight across the sky and Yeshurun has Yashar – ‘straight’ as its root.[274]

Kabbalah teaches that tzedek (sefira Malchut) moves within Zer Anpin who consists of six sefirot. Explicitly, the Sun rising in the east is the splendor of Tiferet understood also as Truth with the Name – יהוה. Hesed is when the Sun is in the south that is kindness and summertime. Gevurah is when the Sun is in the north that is judgment and wintertime. Netzah is when the Sun is up in the sky and that is victory. Hod is when the Sun is down and that is gratitude or defeat. Yesod is when the Sun is setting in the west referring to shade with the name of G-d – אל שדי, also alluding to sustenance, the Shechinah - God’s presence, and perhaps the shadow of the Holy Mountain.

Text 2-122: Isaiah 41:2
Who aroused from the east righteous glory (tzedek) who will call to his feet and will give before him nations and kings, rulership...

‘Call to his feet’ that is across the whole sky.[275] Hebraic biblical poetry is difficult to translate, as we cannot know the seriousness of the symbols vs. the metaphor. Poetry is naturally expressed within the stories and constructs from when it is written. For example, Isaiah 45:8 while speaking to Cyrus uses poetical constructs that would have been understood by a Persian.[276] Nevertheless, Judaism holds monotheism as a principle.[277] Idolatry was a real threat and the language of the nations carried it profoundly at that time. For example, Hebrew words associated with nature were often the names of gods in earlier religions.[278] Today the English language mitigates the struggle against idolatry, where only one word for ‘God’ prevails.

Text 2-123: Deuteronomy 33:26-29 translations
Literal translations of Deuteronomy 33:26-27

1) There is none like the God of Yeshurun riding the heavens to your help and skies in His heights from the dwelling of God who precedes all and from underneath the arms of the world driving out from before you your enemies and invoking their destruction.
2) There is none like the G-d of Yeshurun riding the heavens to your help and skies in His heights from the dwelling of the eastern gods and from underneath the arms of the world driving out from before you your enemies and invoking their destruction.
3) There is none like G-d, Yeshurun, riding the heavens to your help and skies in His heights from the abode of G-d before and from underneath the arms of the world driving out from before you your enemies and proclaiming their destruction.
4) There is none like the G-d of Yeshurun riding the heavens to your help and in His heights skies from the dwelling of the previous gods and from underneath the arms of the world driving out from before you your enemies and proclaiming their destruction.[279]

Judaica Press - http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/9997/showrashi/true

(26) Jeshurun, there is none like God; He Who rides the heavens is at your assistance, and with His majesty, [He rides] the skies, (27) which are the abode for the God Who precedes all, and below, are the mighty ones of the world. He expelled the enemy from before you, and said, 'Destroy!'

JPS

כו אֵין כָּאֵל, יְשֻׁרוּן: רֹכֵב שָׁמַיִם בְּעֶזְרֶךָ, וּבְגַאֲוָתוֹ שְׁחָקִים. 26 There is none like unto God, O Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven as thy help, and in His heights on the skies.

כז מְעֹנָה אֱלֹהֵי קֶדֶם, וּמִתַּחַת זְרֹעֹת עוֹלָם; וַיְגָרֶשׁ מִפָּנֶיךָ אוֹיֵב, וַיֹּאמֶר הַשְׁמֵד. 27 The eternal God is a dwelling-place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He thrust out the enemy from before thee, and said: 'Destroy.'

כח וַיִּשְׁכֹּן יִשְׂרָאֵל בֶּטַח בָּדָד עֵין יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-אֶרֶץ דָּגָן וְתִירוֹשׁ; אַף-שָׁמָיו, יַעַרְפוּ טָל. 28 And Israel dwelleth in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of corn and wine; yea, his heavens drop down dew.

כט אַשְׁרֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִי כָמוֹךָ, עַם נוֹשַׁע בַּיהוָה, מָגֵן עֶזְרֶךָ, וַאֲשֶׁר-חֶרֶב גַּאֲוָתֶךָ; וְיִכָּחֲשׁוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ לָךְ, וְאַתָּה עַל-בָּמוֹתֵימוֹ תִדְרֹךְ. {ס} 29 Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee? a people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and that is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall dwindle away before thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places. {S}

Gutnick

26 "Yeshurun, there is none like God! (God), who rides the heavens is at your assistance! (He rides) the heavens in His Majesty!" 27"(The heavens) are the abode for God, Who precedes all. The mighty ones of the world are found (only) below. He expelled the enemy from before you, and said, 'Destroy!'" 28 Israel will live safely and (it will be safe for earch person to live) alone -- as Yaakov (blessed them) -- in a land of grain and wine, iwth skies that drip dew (as Yitzchak blessed them). Fortunate are you O Israel! Who is like you O people saved by God, the Shield Who helps you, your majestic Sword! Your enemies will lie to you, but you will trample upon their exalted ones!"

The more common definition for kedem is ‘in the east’, previous, or ‘preceding’.[280] The phrase Elohai Kedem - God who precedes all, is an interesting translation! Also Maonah as opposed to Maon is interesting. Harkarvy dictionary suggested that this is based on more than one in the dwelling. I see both passages 26 and 27 as one long sentence, "There is none like the G-d of Yeshurun riding the heavens to your help and in His heights skies from the dwelling of the previous (eastern) gods and from underneath the arms of the world driving out from before you your enemies and invoking their destruction."

The poetic genre of metaphors is from the culture of the time. The author’s ebullience flows from these metaphors.

Text 2-124: Alternative Deuteronomy 33:27 based on zerot
“The dwelling of God is in the east, and underneath the seeds of the world;
dividing from before you your enemies and annihilating.”[281]

Sefer Yetzirah teaches that the direction of East associates with Seeds, seeds waiting to be born. The juxtaposition of fertility with annihilation can be seen as goodly plants overcoming the weeds amongst them. The sun rising in the east suggests the dwelling place of God.[282] Here God’s activity is sending the rain and sunshine that causes seeds to grow.[283]

Text 2-125: Aryeh Kaplan commentary on Bahir 72 and 73
72. Regarding the pearl, see 72, 190. The “pearl” usually refers to the level of Malkhut-Kingship, but it can also be “embraced with the hands and placed on the head,” which is the level of Keter –Crown.

Day is usually said to represent Zer Anpin, while night is the Female. Day is therefore the “great light,” the sun, which is Zer Anpin, while the moon is the Female. Since “day” is Zer Anpin, and “years are made from days,” years are also in Zer Anpin. Actually, time is completed with the Sefirah of Binah-Understanding, and only begins to function within the realm of Zer Anpin (see Pardes Rimonim 18:3).

“Life” indicates the Sefirah of Yesod-Foundation and it denotes the sexual organ when it is “alive,” that is, during intercourse. Years are constructed through a measuring of the sun and moon, day and night, a confluence of male and female.

73. This verse is discussed at length in 155. The word for day, Yom, has the same root as Yam, which means west (and sea). This is the direction of Yesod-Foundation, the concept of “life” and the “pearl.”

The question then arises that the pearl has been identified with day, the “great light,” the sun. This is in the east, the direction of Tiferet-Beauty. Furthermore, “seed” comes from the east.

The author answers that “day” actually refers to a day of twenty-four hours, consisting of both day and night. This is the confluence of Zer Anpin and the Female mentioned above. Zer Anpin is to the east of the Female, facing the west, and the “seed” therefore comes from the east. “Earth and heaven” also refer to Malkhut-Kingship and Zer Anpin as above.

155. When we speak of the Personification of Zer Anpin, it is usually pictured facing downward with its head to the east and its feet to the west, bestowing spiritual sustenance to the world. The Female, Malkhut-Kingship, which is opposite Tiferet-Beauty, is therefore also to the east.

The “seed of Israel” travels down the spinal cord from the brain, and therefore comes from the east.

156. Malkhut-Kingship, the Bride, is also seen as lying with her head to the east. Therefore, her womb is to the west, and it is in this womb that all seed is “mixed together.” Malkhut-Kingship is therefore called Aravot, which has the double connotation of “west” and “mixture.”

As Isaiah 43:5-6 teaches, “Fear not; for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, and gather - אקבצך you from the west - וממערב; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.”[284]

2.5.9 Later Prophets

Text 2-126: Deuteronomy’s Statement on Future Prophets
A prophet that is close to you, hereafter, like me,
will the Lord your G-d raise up;
to him shall you listen.
(Deuteronomy 18:15)

Moses informs the people not to listen to the diviners of other nations, but only to the prophets of their own faith.

2.5.10 Avarice

Deuteronomy also contains a warning pertaining to wealth:

Text 2-127: Deuteronomy 8:13-14 on Forgetting God has vshalom, because of Wealth
And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Eternal thy G-d, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

Accumulating wealth for its own sake diminishes spiritual interest and charitable donations. In this case, wealth will wane away as quickly as it came. The main problem is that wealth leads to arrogance.[285] In the subsequent verses G-d reminds us not to let wealth go to our heads.

Text 2-128: Deuteronomy 8:15-18: Remember God Who led us Through the Wilderness
Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy G-d: for it is he that gives thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

The proper use of excess wealth is to serve G-d through charity; and the rest, for the benefit of one’s wife for sweetening the rigors of gevurah. Therefore, man was created in the image of G-d. The Tree of Life represents G-d in this world with its thirty-two paths.[286]

Text 2-129: Deuteronomy 20:19: Source text for man reflecting the Tree of Life
Man is a tree of the field.
(Deuteronomy 20:19)

“Should a man come to a tree in the field to oppress it.” This refers to a fruit tree which is prohibited from being destroyed for use in war. Kal vechomer we learn that one should not approach another human being to bring him or her suffering.

2.5.11 Practicing the Mitzvoth, Living in the Land of Israel

Rashi brings from the Siphre Midrash the idea that we observe commandments outside of Israel so that we remember how to do them when we are in the land of Israel. Hence the purpose of keeping the commandments is for the days when we are in the land of Israel.

Text 2-130: The Commandments in the Land of Israel

Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul;
and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand,
and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
(Deuteronomy 11:18)

Even after you have been exiled, be excellent in doing commandments, put on tefillin,
prepare mezuzot, in order that it should not be new for you when you return.
(Rashi on Deuteronomy 11:18)

The Ramban explains the meaning of Rashi and says that he has hinted at the meaning before. The hint is located in Vayikra 18:25:

And the land was defiled, and I checked the iniquity upon it.
And the land threw out her inhabitants.
(Leviticus 18:25)

Israel is in the galut (outside of Israel) because of iniquity. The Ramban tells a story of a king who sent his queen away because of some error. Nevertheless after returning to her father’s house she continued adorning herself though the king could not see her. It is the same for us. Though we are in exile we still adorn ourselves with the commandments, because we have our King, in mind and we think only of returning to His house in the land of Israel.

Herein ends the constitution of the Written Bible that is the Torah. The rest of the Bible is commentary on the Five Books of Moses. Moreover in the messianic time as today the Five Books take precedent in study[287] although the later books provide continued inspiration.

2.6 Joshua – G-d Saves – Y’hoshua

Joshua’s original name was Hoshua – הושע, but Moses added a Yod – י to the front of his name after the victory over Amalek (Exodus 17:9). Yod, the first letter of the name of G-d, transforms Hoshua – ‘Saves’ into Y’hoshua – ‘G-d saves.’ A Midrash states that Moses gave this name to Joshua as a blessing. After the incident of the despondent spies, Moses said, “May G-d save you from the council of the spies.”

At his life’s end, Joshua gathered the Israelites to the city of Schem to bind a covenant between Israel and G-d.[288] A good question is why did Joshua choose the city of Schem instead of Shiloh, which held the Ark of the Covenant? Joshua chose Schem to remind the children of Israel of the danger of senseless hatred, since Joseph’s brothers had turned against him there.[289] Joshua, a descendent of Ephraim, a descendent of Joseph, would be particularly sensitive to this hatred. The children of Israel understood the lesson and buried Joshua like Joseph in the city of Schem. Even today, we can expiate this sin and move from a state of senseless hatred to brotherly love.[290]

“Eldav and Madav are speaking words of prophecy,” Gershom reported to Moshe. What were they saying? “That Moshe will die and Joshua will lead them into Israel.” Joshua spoke up and said, “My master Moshe, stop them, give them hard tasks so they will stop speaking words of prophecy.” Because he spoke up before his teacher, he was given the death penalty. Four types of people experience punishment similar to death. They are a person who is blind, a leper, and one who has no children. One who states a law in front of his rabbi receives the death penalty. Joshua married the tzedekes[291] of Jericho, Rahav, who delivered the city into his hand. Because of Joshua’s punishment, she did not have children. The number of children granted a wife is according to the merit of the husband. The amount of wealth a man acquires is according to his wife.

A penalty worse than death is one where has v’shalom one loses life in Olam Habah – the World to Come. For example, addressing ones rabbi with his name attached leads one to lessen his status as a teacher. One should not say rabbi so and so but simply ‘rabbi’ when addressing him. To lose ones teacher is to lose one’s guide to the World to Come.

Text 2-131: Joshua 14:6-15
Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenazite said to him, You know the thing that the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning me and you in Kadesh-Barnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-Barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him back word as it was in my heart. And my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; but
I filled my ways with the Lord my God.

And Moses swore on that day, saying, Surely the land on which your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance, and your children’s forever, because you have filled your life after the ways of the Lord my God.

And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty five years,
since the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, behold, I am this day eighty five years old.
As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me;
as my strength was then, so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Now therefore give me this mountain,

about which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified; if the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said. And Joshua blessed him, and gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenazite to this day, because he fully followed the Lord God of Israel. And the name of Hebron before was Kiriath-Arba; this Arba was the biggest man among the Anakim. And the land had rest from war.

Calev who followed the ways of the L-rd earned the high priesthood and the Temple Mount forever.

The question was raised how could Joshua stop the sun and stop time? At the city of Givon in the battle, tremendous signs fell from heaven, giant sized rocks. Joshua called out, “Sun of Givon remain still and the moon too.” Because of this they had many hours to complete the battle. The Zohar says he stopped time as well. The Earth is stationary with Sun going around the Earth. He said to the Sun be still. What gives the Sun the power to move in orbit is that it prays to Hashem. It has a brain in knowing its creator and it has a special song, which is its tefillah that keeps it going continuously. The moment he said, ‘Dom’ silence this stopped the song and praise. Consequently, time stopped as measured by the passage of the sun and moon. What gave Joshua this power to stop the sun and moon? They replied saying we are following the commandment of Hashem to move, why should we follow you, since you are only a servant. He replied, I give you this command in the name of my ancestor, Joseph haTzaddik, who is your superior who rules over you. Joshua was a descendent of Joseph haTzaddik. Joseph had a dream where he saw the sun, moon, and stars bowing to him. In the name of my ancestor Joseph haTzaddik, I order to stop. They were compelled to accede.[292]

2.7 Judges – Shofteem


ויהי אחרי מות יהושע וישאלו בני ישראל ביי לאמר מי-יעלה-לנו אל-הכנעני בתחלה להלחם בו
After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of the Lord,
“Which of us shall be the first to go up against the Canaanites and attack them?”
(Judges 1:1)

Adoni-bezek had his thumbs and big toes cut off as he did to kings he took prisoner.
(Judges 1:6)

This is the lesson of mido-cnegdo-mido –מדה-כנבדו-מדה , that a person’s character and behavior will be repaid in kind. Hashem pays a person back in the same manner that he performs, i.e. the punishment fits the crime. There is a phrase in the Psalms, ‘Eretz ochelet yoshevcha’ – the land eats its inhabitants. The word אכלת is an acronym for ‘Atah, tishalem, ish, cmasehu’ – ‘You pay a person according to his deeds’.[293] This is an act of kindness, because when a person does not know what he has done wrong, the area of suffering reveals the error. Where does Hashem pay a person exactly according to his deeds? In the land of Israel, God’s providence is most eminent. (See 9.10 Measure for measure)

2.8 Samuel – Shmuel


Text 2-132: Samuel Asking God on the Appointment of a king
And the Lord said to Samuel, hearken unto the voice of the people
to all that they have said to you,
for it is not you, whom they have refused,
but Me they have refused from being King over them.
(Samuel 8:7)

The Lord is King over all Israel, there is no other. But in the way the people are inclined to go, one must provide a road of salvation back to G-d. Hence, the Lord will provide a king if he will beמשיך – anointed unto G-d. He will direct the people in proper service and remind them of their Lord in heaven.

“Shmuel took Shaul to the top of the roof so that he could see the sky very clearly. Then he spoke about yiras hashamayim—fear of Hashem to instill in him the fear of Hashem, because a king should not allow royalty to go to his head, to become filled with gaiva – conceit. He should maintain his humbleness and how can he do so; what can assist him in doing that? — by looking up at the sky.[294] Rabbenuzal in Sefer haMidos brings a fact that if a person wants to instill in himself yerat shamayim – fear of Hashem he should gaze at the sky and this will assist him to purify his mind from any evil thoughts; that will not do the act entirely, but it will help in his attempt to purify himself. This will add to his yeras shamayim – fear of Hashem. So he told Shaul to remain with him and that he would present him before the Jews.”[295]

And G-d commanded Saul to kill all of the people and animals of Amalek.[296] Why would G-d ask that the animals be killed? So that the other peoples should not say Israel killed Amalek to take his property. In this manner other peoples would see that Israel destroyed both the nation and its property because they were evil. So how can the animals be evil?

Meditation 2-8: Animals
Animals have free will and may be good or evil.
They know when they have done something wrong.
They have a religion as well although people may not hear it.

In the time of Noah, Elohim brought a flood that killed most of the animals, but left a remnant. This is because even the animals contracted the evil of society. Furthermore, the flood took the lives of infants. If the children would remain, they would renew the evil ways of their parents. Saul sinned by leaving Agag, King of the Amalekites, alive. Although, Samuel later killed Agag, he had had enough time to leave a seed of Amalek in the world, who would become father of the House of Haman in the Purim story.

Another story in Samuel deals with Hanna and her meditation. Hanna went to pray by the tabernacle because she had no children.[297] Eli saw her davening without words and thought she was drunk. He asked why she was praying while drunk and Hanna replied that she was not drunk and instead described her situation calmly.[298] One should always let the Torah guide one’s intellect, which should guide one’s emotions (Torah –> Intellect –> Emotions). There are two different phrases used in the Torah in this area. “On ones heart” – על לבו denotes that the emotions of the person are under the control of the intellect. This is the nature of a tzaddik – צדק – righteous person, whose intellect in addition, is under the control of the Torah. The emotions should rest “on the heart” and be circumventable by the intellect. “In one’s heart” – בלבו denotes that the emotions are controlling the intellect of the person. This is the nature of the Rasha – רשה – wicked person whose emotions control his thoughts and actions. This is extremely damaging in the case of anger.[299] There are three laws learned from Hanna.


On the other hand ignoring rude people is effective at correcting behavior. Extending this idea, Rav Soltzvechik in his Yeshiva would pause when someone asked a question, and if the student’s question was not well thought out, he would then continue with his shir – שיר – class. In this manner, he would be helping his students to think intensely before speaking.[300]

Rav Hamnuna in Berachos 31a says many important rules can be derived by Hannah’s behavior.[301]

2.8.1 Michal and David

King Saul had only one wife. His children grew up close to his family in a traditional home. Michal was Saul’s youngest daughter.

Text 2-133: Samuel 1:14:47-51
47. So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the Ammonites, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines; and wherever he turned himself, he did them mischief.
48. And he gathered an army, and defeated the Amalekites, and saved Israel from the hands of those who plundered them.
49. And the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal;
50. And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz; and the name of the captain of his army was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.
51. And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

King Saul was a simple man, perhaps overwhelmed by David’s success or cleverness, and did not feel close to him. Nevertheless, King Saul’s daughter, Michal fell in love with David. David was popular because he was social with the people, Samuel 1:18:16.

Text 2-134: Samuel 1:18:14-21
14. And David was insightful - משכיל in all his ways and the Lord was with him.
15. And when Saul saw that he was very insightful, he was estranged - ויגר from him.
16. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.
17. And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give you for a wife; only be brave for me, and fight the Lord’s battles. For Saul said, Let not my hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.
18. And David said to Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?
19. But it came to pass at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.
20. And Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David; and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
21. And Saul said, I will give her to him that she shall bind - מוקש him so that the hand of the Philistines will be (at battle) with him (instead). And Saul said to David, in the 2nd you are married - התחתן with me this day.

Not that Michal would be an intentional snare, but that David would supplant Saul in his fight against the Philistines in his marriage to Michal.

Text 2-135: Samuel 1:18:25-29
25. And Saul said, Thus shall you say to David, The king desires no dowry, but a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
26. And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. And before the days expired,
27. David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might be the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife.
28. And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him.
29. And Saul watched David more and this furthered his enmity of David for the rest of his life.

Text 2-136: Samuel 1:19:10-17
10. And Saul sought to strike David to the wall with the spear; but he slipped away from Saul’s presence, and he struck the spear into the wall; and David fled, and escaped that night.
11. Saul also sent messengers to David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning; and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If you save not your life tonight, tomorrow you shall be killed.
12. So Michal let David down through a window; and he went, and fled, and escaped.
13. And Michal took the teraphim, and laid them on the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with a cloth.
14. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
15. And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
16. And when the messengers came in, behold, there were teraphim in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair at its head.
17. And Saul said to Michal, Why have you deceived me so, and sent away my enemy, that he has escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said to me, Let me go; why should I kill you?

Text 2-137: Samuel 1:25:39-44
39. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept his servant from evil; for the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and talked with Abigail, to take her to him for a wife.
40. And when the servants of David came to Abigail to Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, David sent us to you, to take you to him as a wife.
41. And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let your maidservant be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
42. And Abigail hurried, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with her five maidens who went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wives.
43. And David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and both of them became his wives.
44. And Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.
From here we know that Saul gave Michal to a man that would love her because David took other wives without consulting him or his daughter first. Saul saw her dishonor and sought to restore her happiness. Saul had only one wife and didn’t necessarily believe in polygamy and David was not even a king when he began this path. Saul’s greatness was shown in that he did not forget the needs of his daughter while he was king. Hazal teaches that Michal did not have a physical relationship with Palti, explaining why David took her back when he became king. Since Saul a complete tzaddik (righteous person), he would not have given his daughter to another if she were not divorced; hence, we know that the written ‘get’ was not an aspect of divorce at this time. The Oral Law adapted the ritual of mitzvot, at some point supplanting intention in conversion, marriage, and divorce.

Text 2-138: Samuel 2:3:12-16
12. And Abner sent messengers to David from his place, saying, Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with you, to bring all Israel to you.
13. And he said, Well; I will make a covenant with you; but one thing I require of you, that is, You shall not see my face, unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.
14. And David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed at the price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15. (K) And Ish-Bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish.
16. And her husband went with her along weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then said Abner to him, Go, return. And he returned.

From here we know that Paltiel loved her. Also, Paltiel gave her the attention and love that she had yearned for from David. Yet, Michal was not crying indicating that while this relationship fulfilled some needs, it did not supplant the loss she felt for David.

Text 2-139: Samuel 2:6:15-23
15. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the shofar.
16. And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
17. And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
18. And as soon as David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.
19. And he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of meat, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.
20. Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the maidservants of his servants, as one of the low fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!
21. And David said to Michal, It was before the Lord, who chose me before your father, and before all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of the Lord, over Israel; therefore will I play before the Lord.
22. And I will make myself more contemptible than this, and will be abased in my sight; and of the maidservants which you have spoken of, of them shall I be held in honor.
23. And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

That Michal was upset that David uncovered himself in the eyes of the young maidens of the palace showed that she was concerned about other women capturing the attention of her husband the king, whom she had already lost to other wives. Yet, David did not understand her statements and thought only that Michal was not happy with his service before G-d. David in his exaltation had returned to bless his household, which foremost included his wife Michal. This may have meant that he would have had relations with her at this time to produce a child. Michal also could not see her husband’s good intentions. In this story we have the paradigm of misunderstanding—a woman fearful and perhaps jealous of the attention paid to her husband by younger women, and a man seeking not to be condemned by the time he spends serving G-d. In 22: “and of the maidservants which you have spoken of, of them shall I be held in honor,” David reinforces the misunderstanding, and Michal sees a prelude to philandering. Had David sent messengers to his wife to acknowledge his love for her first, his almost nude dancing might not have blinded her. Michal however would not talk about her personal fear or her honor. She had saved his life in her youth and like a noble women she neither sought recognition for her good deeds. She also did not insist David take her with him at this time trusted him. She did not ask for special consideration, thinking he would be fleeing to save his life.

Michal’s family background led her to trust in her husband, but David’s behavior was more the polygamous king. Was Michal wrong in expecting modesty of dress in her husband? David denied Michal a child, but the children of David from other wives would persecute him in kind.

Text 2-140: Samuel 2:21:7-8
7. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
8. But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzilai the Meholathite;

Michal did however get to rear the children of Adriel and had some joy as a mother. From here we also know that Jonathan was married and had a son.

Text 2-141: Chronicles 1:15:26-29
26. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bulls and seven rams.
27. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites who carried the ark, and the singers, and Kenaniah the master of the song with the singers; David also had upon him an ephod of linen.
28. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the shofar, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with lyres and harps.
29. And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing; and she despised him in her heart.

The account in the Chronicles of the Kings excludes Samuel 2:6:20 where Michal alludes to her real concern, namely David dancing, although for the Ark, lewdly before the other maidservants. Michal loved her husband, but cared for the dignity of the King. Other commentators suggest that she feared that a younger wife would again usurp her place. I find the later suggestion beneath the dignity of Queen Michal of Israel.

2.8.2 Sanctifying the Name

Suicide is prohibited in the Torah. There is never an exception. The Torah curtails euthanasia under most circumstances.[302] On the other hand, one is permitted to risk one’s life to save another human being. There are only three instances, when one is required to let oneself be killed rather than violate a commandment of G-d. Namely, when a villain publicly requests the worship of an idol, the killing of another human being, or for a man to commit adultery, then one can let oneself be killed for the sanctification of the Name – kiddush Hashem. In the case of being forced to kill another human being, Sefer haHinuch teaches the following from the Book of Samuel.[303]

Text 2-142: Sefer haHinuch
Moreover, our Sages of blessed memory taught that even if there were several thousand Jews, and villains told them, “Give us one of you or else we will kill you all,” they are all to suffer death rather than give up one Jewish soul. This applies however only if they told them “one” generally— unspecific; but if they singled out one distinctively, saying, “Give us so-and-so, or else we will kill you all,” they are allowed to give him over, as in the known instance of Sheba the son of Bichri (Samuel 2:20:21-22). And the same law applies to women to whom non-Jews say, “give us one of you,” etc. as we read in chapter 8 of the Mishnah tractate Terumoth (viii 12).

Text 2-143: Samuel 2:20:17-22
17. And when he came near to her, the woman said, Are you Joab? And he answered, I am. Then she said to him, Hear the words of your maidservant. And he answered, I hear.
18. Then she spoke, saying, They were wont to speak in old times, saying, Let them ask counsel at Abel, and so they would have ended the matter.
19. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel; you seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel; why will you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?
20. And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
21. The matter is not so; but a man of Mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David; deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said to Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.
22. Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. And he blew a shofar, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

2.8.3 King David and Avishalom

King David commanded Joab – Yoav not to harm Avishalom. The Ramban comments that David knew that Avishalom was only acting as an agent for Hakodesh Barchu. This suggests the question of how does one know when one is acting as an agent for G-d versus acting out of free will? “When an event is so out of the ordinary, as in the case of a son wanting to kill a father, it must be b’sheret.”[304] David asked Yoav – יואב not to kill Absalom, but his general pursued this course out of his experience. For this reason, David chose another general to be the leader of his troops, though he kept Yoav in his enlistment.

Meditation 2-9: King David’s Words
Standing in the midst of Solomon’s Temple is David. David is slender of medium height, with gray hair and beard. What is proper to write on? Write praise to G-d, and the pursuit of knowledge. Write on architecture or arts and sciences. These strengthen nations and establish the purpose of existence. What of prophecy, who reveals the secrets of heaven? The sublime of heart dedicate every moment of the day to questioning the truthfulness of every thought they think and act they perform. Who may reveal the secrets of G-d, the pathway to the Almighty? He who is of clean heart, pure soul, and of dedicated intellect may speak the True words and reveal My secrets. Such am I, Dovid Hamelech, the paradigm King of Israel, my beloved flock.[305]

The story of the avenging of Gibeon is hard to completely understand. Samuel 2:21:1-14) describes a famine, which David blames on Saul for having put many of the Gibeonites to death. David asks the Gibeonites what he should do as atonement, and they ask for the heads of seven men from among Saul's descendants. David gives seven of Saul’s descendants to them, and they are dismembered. Rizpah, the mother of two of them, uses sackcloth to protect the remains from scavengers, and so David collects the bones of Saul, Jonathon, and those of the seven, and buries them at the tomb of Kish. The famine consequently ends. David selected descendents other than from Jonathon who had made a promise of no enmity between their descendents. Here we have illustrated how the sins of the parents are visited onto the children for up to three generations. Since we are each responsible for our own sins there is an aspect of the sins of Saul that is passed down. In kabbalah, this is the root soul, which influences the upper branches and leaves thereafter.

2.8.4 David and Saul


Text 2-144: Samuel 2:22:3
I take refuge in Him – אחסה-בו. He is my Shield and the horn of my salvation.
My Stronghold, my Refuge – ומנוסי, my Savior

Rashi: I take refuge – אחסה from covering – כסוי, I was protectively covered –שהייתי מתכסה לעזרה
Rashi: My Refuge – ומנוסי that is I would flee/run – נס to him for protection – שהייתי נס אליו לעזרה
This is like a child who runs to his father or mother when he gets hurt. Nes – נס is a miracle too. G-d comes to us quickly at this time as a parent responds swiftly to his child.

2.9 Kings

There is a Midrash that Adam saw into the future the soul of David and saw that David had no years in which to live. After seeing how this soul would praise G-d, Adam chose to deduct 70 years of his own life so that David may have a life. Hence Adam lived 930 years and David 70 years. And David even felt like a young man when he was 70 years old for his years were a gift and not age limited. David’s soul was very holy and close to G-d. This is the principle of Adonay Echad – G-d is one in David’s life. Add to this the 70 years he lived to understand the Zohar meaning of this gematria:

יהוה אחד = 13 + 26 = 39 (+70 years) = 109 = דוד המלך

And King Solomon, wisest of kings, asked this of the Lord:[306]

Text 2-145: Solomon's Request of the Lord
Give to your servant a heart that hears,
to judge your people with understanding,
between what is good and bad...

A “heart that hears” – lev shomea – לב שמע is to listen to another person as if one was the other person. This is to give ones full attention to the speaker to hear how they feel, in addition to what they say. Often a speaker is intending to communicate feelings and the content is less relevant.[307]

Text 2-146: To Hear is Wisdom
And God gave wisdom to Solomon,
And exceedingly great understanding,
And a far reaching heart,
Like the sand extending along the seashore

How G-d loved Solomon, even as Solomon loved his people! On the day of the dedication of the Temple G-d says to Solomon:[308]

Let your hearts be completely with the Lord your God
To walk in his statutes, and to guard his commandments
Like you are doing this day.

Either the heart is with G-d or one is slipping away from G-d. There is no in between. One must hold G-d as the most important factor in ones life. Overwork, the Internet, money, and false causes may diminish G-d from ones heart. On the other hand, prayer, studying scripture, attending services, etc. build ones relationship with G-d. Each day one can pray:[309]

Lord, help me find today someone I can serve.

Serving brings us to love our neighbor as our self and to love G-d. G-d will surely present the opportunity to help another on the very day of the request. There are so many people who need help. Prepare one self, have a heart that hears, and one will truly help another. Solomon epitomized this motto all his life. One must help others be better, not to the extent of helping them serve idols. One must be truthful and firm.

Later in Kings 1, God tells Elijah that he should cross over the river, and the spring will provide him with water, and ‘ravens’ with food.

Text 2-147: Elijah turns eastward and is fed by ‘ravens’
Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.[310]

The word for ‘ravens’ is ערבים, which is from ‘arab’ – ערב meaning raven or foreigner. The word is slang referring to people outside of the nation of Israel as ravens, perhaps because they were darker[311] or were scavengers. Another usage of the word is in Exodus where it states that the “mixed multitude” came up out of Egypt with Israel. “Mixed multitude” is ערב רע.

And the ravens/foreigners brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.[312]

G-d tells Elijah that he will meet a widow, and she will provide him with food. Yet, the widow does not have enough food even for her own child.[313] G-d is teaching Elijah that serving the widow who is least likely to have food is where he will find his sustenance. G-d performs a miracle where the window’s jug always has oil and another always grain. When we find someone to serve, G-d is helping us as well.

Text 2-148: Book of Kings on Elijah and the widow of Zaraphath
And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.

Elijah brings the people near unto him. The word Gshoo from NgSh means to touch or draw near. In the contest with the priests of Baal, Elijah draws the people near in a gentle way with a touch of his hand so that he may teach them who their G-d is and involve them in the miracle. He set up twelve stones on the altar for the twelve tribes of Israel. As G-d consumes the sacrifice with fire, He purifies the stones of Israel in kind.

Later we read how a king sent messengers in groups of fifty to Elijah requesting his help. In each case, they are consumed by fire. The reason is that the King had consulted with an idol with the same request and Elijah does not consider the King true in his fear of G-d.

Similarly, when Elisha is leaving a town, children ridicule him as being bald. Elisha curses them and then, two female bears (doobim) come out of a forest and cut down the children. How can we understand this story? Surely, children making fun should not die for this cause. Nevertheless, when God has granted power unto his servant, that servant must be extra careful with what he says and does for his will becomes God’s will. Elijah not knowing what his curse would do, needlessly, causes the death of the children. For each of us the word or logos, manifests reality, all the more so for a prophet of G-d.

Another point is that the word ‘looked’ as in the case where Moshe ‘looked’ before slaying the taskmaster and also here that it is a looking into the soul so that Elisha knew the souls of the children. Still, the Talmud presents opinions with explanation and condemnation for this act resulting in Elisha’s punishment.[314]

Text 2-149: Talmud Sotah on Elisha and Bears and Ridiculing Youth
And he looked behind him and saw them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. What did he see? — Rab said: He actually looked upon them, as it has been taught: Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says: Wherever the Sages set their eyes there is either death or calamity. Samuel said: He saw that their mothers had all become conceived with them on the Day of Atonement. R. Isaac the smith said: He saw that their hair was plaited as with Amorites. R. Johanan said: He saw that there was no sap of the commandments in them. But perhaps there would have been such in their descendants! — R. Eleazar said: Neither in them nor in their descendants unto the end of all generations.

And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two children of them. Rab and Samuel [differ in their interpretation]; one said it was a miracle, while the other said it was a miracle within a miracle. He who said it was a miracle did so because there was a forest but there were no bears; he who said it was a miracle within a miracle did so because there was no forest nor were there any bears. [But according to the latter interpretation] there need have been [provided] bears but not a forest! — [It was required] because [the bears] would have been frightened.

R. Hanina said: On account of the forty-two sacrifices which Balak, king of Moab, offered, were forty-two children cut off from Israel. But it is not so; for Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab: Always should a man occupy himself with Torah and the commandments even though it be not for their own sake, for from [occupying himself with them] not for their own sake he comes to do so for their own sake; because as a reward for the forty-two sacrifices which Balak, king of Moab, offered, he merited that Ruth should issue from him and from her issued Solomon concerning whom it is written: A thousand burnt-offerings did Solomon offer! And R. Jose b. Honi said: Ruth was the daughter of Eglon the son of Balak! — Nevertheless his desire was to curse Israel. And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, we pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth etc. [But how could it be so] since ‘the water is naught and the land miscarrieth’! What, then, was its pleasantness? — R. Hanin said: The favour of a place in the estimation of its inhabitants. R. Johanan said: There are three kinds of favour: the favour of a locality in the estimation of its inhabitants, the favour of a woman in the estimation of her husband, and the favour of an article in the estimation of its purchaser.

Our Rabbis taught: Elisha was afflicted with three illnesses: one because he stirred up the bears against the children, one because he thrust Gehazi away with both his hands, and one of which he died; as it is said: Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.

Our Rabbis have taught: Always let the left hand thrust away and the right hand draw near. Not like Elisha who thrust Gehazi away with both his hands (and not like R. Joshua b. Perahiah who thrust one of his disciples away with both his hands). How is it with Elisha? As it is written: And Naaman said: Be content, take two talents, and it is written: And he said unto him, Went not my heart with thee when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and sheep and oxen, and manservants and maidservants? But had he received all these things? Silver and garments were what he had received! — R. Isaac said: At that time Elisha was engaged [in the study of the Law concerning] the eight kinds of [unclean] creeping things; so he said to [Gehazi], ‘You wicked person, the time has arrived for you to receive the reward for [studying the law of] the eight creeping things.’ The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed forever. Now there were four leprous men — R. Johanan said: This refers to Gehazi and his three sons. And Elisha came to Damascus — why did he go there? — R. Johanan said: He went to induce Gehazi to repent but he refused. He said to him, ‘Repent’; but he replied: ‘Thus have I received from thee that whoever sinned and caused others to sin is deprived of the power of doing penitence’. What had he done? Some say: He applied a loadstone to the idolatrous image of Jeroboam and suspended it between heaven and earth. Others say: He engraved upon it the Name [of God] so that it used to exclaim, ‘I [am the Lord thy God]’ and ‘Thou shalt have no [other God beside me]’ — Still others say: He drove the Rabbis from before him, as it is written: And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell before thee is too strait for us — hence, up to then it had not been too strait.

Table 2-14: Elijah, Elisha, and Parallel Miracles
Expression
Elijah
Elisha
Other Miracle Parallels
Prevented rain from falling
“As the Lord G-d of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word.” (Kings 1:17:1)


Endless jug of oil miracle
The widow’s food supply became endless. G-d’s blessing of the jar of meal and the cruse of oil in Zarephath.[315] (Kings 1:17:14)
G-d’s blessing of increase on the pot of oil of Obadiah’s widow.[316] (Kings 2:4:6) Blessed food that was old to make it edible and fresh again. Multiplied a small number of loaves of barley bread and ears of corn to feed many people. (Kings 2:4:42-44)

Blessing that brings forth a child

Elisha stays with the Shunammite woman who received a blessing to have a child.
Samuel also provided such a blessing for Hanna. Also Samson was born of such a blessing
Raising the dead
The widow’s son dies and Elijah brings him to life in Zarephath. (Kings 1:17:21)
Raised the dead child of the Shunammite woman. (Kings 2:4:35)

Cures the leper

This was Naaman. (Kings 2:5:14)

Elijah fed by the Arabs or ravens
The word ravens is incorrectly translated. (Kings 1:17:4,6)


Calls G-d’s fire to consume the offerings
This was in the contest with the Priests of Baal


Transfer of the mantle or prophetic power of G-d
Elijah places his mantle on Elisha, and awards him twice the spirit


Destroying others
The consumption of the three groups of fifty messengers of Ahaziah by fire from heaven.[317] (Kings 2:1:10)
The cursing of the forty-two youth who laid insults upon him. Elisha’s curse brings forth two she-bears who perhaps also defending their young kill the insolent youth. Today in Israel, we witness how Palestinian youth throw rocks out buses and use sling shots in an insolent manner.

Raising the Axe

Someone who had borrowed the axe lost the head of it in a deep part of a river. Elisha appealed to G-d, through a stick in the water and the axe floated to the top.
This parallels Moses raising the coffin of Joseph from the Nile floor by writing Ox and the name of G-d on a Gold plate and placing it in the Nile at the spot. The metal coffin floated to the top. Micha retrieved the gold plate betwixt knowing to Moses and later through it into the molten calf thereby animating the idol with the name Hashem.
Blinding the Syrian invaders

The Syrians or Arameans surrounded Elisha in Dothan.[318] Elisha asks G-d to blind the army and then brings them down to the capital in Shechem. He tells the King to feed and release the prisoners which stops further raids for many years.


The Syrian hero Naaman, possessed Valor and Strength ‘from’ his leprosy. The Mem preceding leprosy usually means ‘from’, while it may also mean ‘more then’ in this case with an indication that Naaman displayed more the earmarks of a great warrior than the limitations of his leprosy.[319] His name in Hebrew would come to mean delight or pleasant. This is the nature of the Hebrew language where a person’s name begins to represent a concept in the language so that a proper noun manifests into an improper noun over time.

Elisha asked and did indeed receive his double portion of spirit from G-d via Elijah. The Rabbis teach that Elijah performed 8 miracles and Elisha 16 in his lifetime. Why was this case? The rabbis teach that greater than all his prophecies and miracles was the simple deed of assisting his teacher in washing his hands.[320] By this act he was known:[321]

Text 2-150: Elisha assists his Teacher
But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.

Elijah rose up in a tornado (storm – sa’arah – סערה) to heaven. A great swirling wind carried him into the sky. The storm is identified with the Angel of Death. The storm is also identified with internal anger or frustration in a person that can lead him, has vshalom, to speak in anger to a loved one or cause him to sin. "Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah, whose words were as a flaming furnace." Elijah harnessed his anger, his yetzer harah, strengthened by his desire and channeled his words in the service of Hashem. Hazal state that Elijah was a hairy person like Esau and had an extra measure of taiva that is desire which could lead to sin or channeled to greatness. “While a person is attached to the Torah, it is impossible for death to sink its fangs into the person.”[322]

2.10 Isaiah – Y’shayahu

2.10.1 Isaiah 1-5

Isaiah lived around 700 BCE at the time of the Assyrian invasion of Israel. This was fifty years before the rise of the Babylonian empire, which Isaiah witnessed towards the end of his life.

Text 2-151: Isaiah 1:1-4
1. The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2. Hear - שמים, O heavens, and give ear - והאזיני, O earth; for the Lord has spoken, I have reared and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

The heavens hear with perception. This is how we are to listen to God—‘Shema Ysrael’. The land listens more passively as an audience of the deeds of man. Yet, droughts, earthquakes, and storms are not withheld based on what the earth learns.

Isaiah uses three major motifs to describe the people. He refers to them as Israel when he is referring to entire nation. The Daughter of Zion (Isaiah 1:8) is the righteous community. The Branch (Isaiah 4:2) is that of the righteous leader.

3. The ox – שור knows his owner - קנהו, and the ass - חמור his master’s crib - אבוס; but Israel does not know, my people does not consider.
4. Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children who are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they have turned backwards.
...
8. And the remnant – ונותרה of the daughter of Zion is like shelter – בכרם in a vineyard, like a hospice - כמלונה in a cucumber field - במקשה, like, like a city besieged - נצורה.

Isaiah gives discipline and hope respectively to the nation of Israel. First we must learn what we have done wrong, but we should never give up hope. Similarly a parent first must show discipline to a child and then love so the child learns.

Isaiah’s poetry traces out some of the history of Jerusalem.
Text 2-152: Isaiah 1:21
It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it;

Text 2-153: Joshua 10:1-2
1. Now it came to pass, when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had completely destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;
2. That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.


Text 2-154: Melchizedek: Genesis 14:18-24

יח וּמַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם, הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן; וְהוּא כֹהֵן, לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God the Most High.
יט וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ, וַיֹּאמַר: בָּרוּךְ אַבְרָם לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. 19 And he blessed him, and said: 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth;
כ וּבָרוּךְ אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, אֲשֶׁר-מִגֵּן צָרֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ; וַיִּתֶּן-לוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר, מִכֹּל. 20 and blessed be God the Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.' And he gave him a tenth of all.
כא וַיֹּאמֶר מֶלֶךְ-סְדֹם, אֶל-אַבְרָם: תֶּן-לִי הַנֶּפֶשׁ, וְהָרְכֻשׁ קַח-לָךְ. 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram: 'Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.'
כב וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָם, אֶל-מֶלֶךְ סְדֹם: הֲרִמֹתִי יָדִי אֶל-יְהוָה אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom: 'I have lifted up my hand unto the LORD, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth,
כג אִם-מִחוּט וְעַד שְׂרוֹךְ-נַעַל, וְאִם-אֶקַּח מִכָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לָךְ; וְלֹא תֹאמַר, אֲנִי הֶעֱשַׁרְתִּי אֶת-אַבְרָם. 23 that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say: I have made Abram rich;
כד בִּלְעָדַי, רַק אֲשֶׁר אָכְלוּ הַנְּעָרִים, וְחֵלֶק הָאֲנָשִׁים, אֲשֶׁר הָלְכוּ אִתִּי: עָנֵר אֶשְׁכֹּל וּמַמְרֵא, הֵם יִקְחוּ חֶלְקָם. {ס} 24 save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, let them take their portion.' {S}

Abraham renewed his covenant and commitment to G-d by his tithing to Melchizedek who was Shem. In return, Melchizedek gives him the blessing and birthright of his lineage.

Text 2-155: Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XLIII:6

6. AND MELCHIZEDEK KING OF SALEM BROUGHT FORTH BREAD AND WINE (XIV, 18). It is written, And, O daughter of Zor [E.V. ’ Tyre’],the richest of the people shall entreat thy favor with a gift (Ps. XLV, 13). ’Daughter of Zor’ alludes to Abraham, who distressed (hezar)(1) kings and who was distressed by kings.(2) ' They shall entreat thy favor with a gift, as it is written, AND MELCHIZEDEK KING OF SALEM BROUGHT FORTH BREAD AND WINE. AND MELCHIZEDEK(3): This place(4) made its inhabitants righteous.(5) [Another interpretation]: AND THE KING OF ZEDEK,(6) The Lord of Zedek (Josh. X,1). (7) Jerusalem is called Zedek (righteousness), as it is written, Zedek (righteousness) lodged in her (Isa. I, 21). KING OF SALEM (SHALEM). R. Isaac the Babylonian said: This implies that he was born circumcised.(8) BROUGHT FORTH BREAD AND WINE. R. Samuel b. Nahman said: He instructed him in the laws of the priesthood, BREAD alluding to the shewbread, and WINE to libations.(9) The Rabbis said: He revealed Torah to him, as it is written, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled (Prov. IX, 5) (10) AND HE WAS PRIEST OF THE GOD MOST HIGH. R. Abba b. Kahana said: Wherever ' wine ' is mentioned in the Torah it leaves its mark,(11) except in the present instance. R. Levi said: Here too we have not escaped unscathed, for immediately after this it was revealed to him, And they shall serve them; and they shall afflict them, etc. (Gen. XV, I3) (12)

____________________

(1) Deriving zor from zarar, to vex, distress.
(2) This presumably refers to Abraham's pursuit of the four kings and his persecution by Nimrod (v. supra, XXXVI 3) respectively, ‘kings’ in the second case being employed generically.
(3) Read as two words, as in the original.
(4) Sc. Jerusalem (Salem in the English).
(5) This is the comment on the word ‘Zedek’, which means righteousness.
(6) So translated now.
(7) E.V. ‘Adoni-zedek’.
(8) Translating Shalem whole, complete, i.e. the ‘whole’ king; cf. Gen. XVII, 1-10.
(9) Both were in charge of the priests.
(10) The speaker is Wisdom personified (v. 1-3); hence ’bread’ and ’wine’ there refer to the Torah.
(11) Every mention of wine-drinking is followed by some record of trouble.
(12) In Ned. 32b this is stated to have been Abraham's punishment for complying with the request of the king of Sodom, Give me the persons (v. 21), instead of converting them to the true faith. R. Levi perhaps holds that this complaisance was due to the convivial and friendly mood induced by the drinking of wine. Y.T.


(4-5) In Jerusalem recompense for any sin was given on the day of the sin; hence, its citizens were always innocent and suffering.


Text 2-156: Isaiah 2:1-11
1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
3. And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall decide for many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.
5. O house of Jacob, come, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
6. For you have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob, because they are replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
7. And their land is full of silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; and their land is full of horses, and there is no end to their chariots;
8. And their land is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made;
9. Man is prostrated - אדם וישח and a man is humiliated - וישפל-איש; do not raise them - ואל-תשא לכם
10. Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.
11. The lofty looks of man shall be brought low, and the arrogance of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.

In Isaiah 2:9, a man who was distinguished is brought to ruin and another is felled. The parallelism in 2:11 explains that one has lofty looks and the other is arrogant. They do not bow to the Lord with their heart but “their land is filled with idols, they worship – ישתחוו the work of their own hands”. We cannot raise them back to their place; but only hide in the dust ourselves. Israel’s misplaced values on material greatness led Babylonia to ransack her.

Text 2-157: Isaiah 3:12
יב  עַמִּי נֹגְשָׂיו מְעוֹלֵל, וְנָשִׁים מָשְׁלוּ בוֹ; עַמִּי מְאַשְּׁרֶיךָ מַתְעִים, וְדֶרֶךְ אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ בִּלֵּעוּ.  {פ}
12 As for My people, a babe is their master, and women rule over them. O My people, they that lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. {P}
In Isaiah’s time, the education of women was insulated. Isaiah infers that when men are inadequate, women rule over them. Nevertheless, there is some inadequacy in this prophecy, as Isaiah would be speaking to men alone here while his text would one day be read by women who may find it insulting.

Text 2-158: Isaiah 5:18
Woe for dwellers of iniquity in the vanity of lies and the covered - וכעבות wagon of sins.
Woe for dwellers of iniquity in the vanity of lies and like a thick - וכעבות wagon of sins.
Woe to dwellers of iniquity in the vanity of lies and like a wagon stuffed - וכעבות with sins.

The interesting phrase is ‘and the covered wagon’ – ‘vcha-agh-vot ha-agh-gala’. Aghvot – עבות refers to clouds, thickness, or darkness. Traditional translation takes the prefix caph – כ meaning like and gives the translation ‘like a cord drawing wagon’, aghvot referring to thickness of the rope as aghvot can also mean a thick forest. However, I believe Isaiah intended meant, ‘a laden wagon of sins’. There is also an interesting similar word to ‘cha-aghv’ – כעב that is ‘coev’ – כאב meaning pain; that this is a painful wagon of sins that we continue to pull along in our lives, has vshalom. In Aramaic, a singular letter substitution is common while the original meaning is preserved.

Text 2-159: Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

Those who would criticize Israel today while defending her enemies might wonder.

2.10.2 Isaiah 6-10

2.10.2.1 Vision of God

Hazal, our sages have always understood Isaiah 6:1 as a vision of God.[323],[324]

Text 2-160: Aryeh Kaplan on the Image of God
In many places, the Torah speaks of God as though He had a human body, using anthropomorphisms such as, "the hand of God" (Exodus 9:15), and "the eyes of God" (Deut. 11:12). In doing so, the Torah is in no way asserting that God has a body, shape or form. Rather, it borrows terms from God's creatures allegorically to express His relation to His creation.

Similarly, when the Torah states that God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27), it by no means implies that God looks like man. What it means is that man partakes of the same attributes that God uses when He interacts with His world. It also implies that God gave man the ability to use the same logic with which He created the universe.

Moses asked God, "Let me behold Your Glory" (Exodus 33:18). In making this request, he did not actually wish to see God, since that would be impossible. In an allegorical manner, he was merely requesting that God grant him a prophetic comprehension of His greatness. God replied that this is impossible for any living creature, saying, "You cannot see My Face, for man cannot see Me and live" (Exodus 33:20). He did allow Moses the greatest comprehension of God ever granted to any human being, but even this was not a perfect understanding. This is what God meant when He allegorically told Moses, "You shall see My back, but My Face shall not be seen" (Exodus 33:23). The same was true of the other "visions" of God experienced by the prophets.

When the Torah speaks of people hearing God's "voice," it usually refers to a prophetic voice within the individual's mind. At other times, God might actually create sound waves to convey His message...


There is a Midrash that while we can see G-d in the world of Asiyah, the prophets could see G-d in Yetzirah, while the Major Prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah could see even into Beriyah, while Moshe could glimpse G-d even in Atzulut.

Text 2-161: Isaiah 6:1-2
In the year that King Uzziah – (Uziyahu) – עזיהו died, I beheldואראה my Lord - אדני
seated on a high and lofty throne; and the train of His robe filled the palaceאת-ההיכל.
Seraphs stood from above him. Each of them had six wings: with two he will cover his face,
with two he will cover his legs, and with two he will fly.

Yet, God does not have a mere physical form, but instead sends his angels as emissaries for his voice and vision, so what did Isaiah see here? In the first place Isaiah only describes the image of the train of the robe— since this is all that he saw of G-d. While, he saw into the palace of the world of Beriyah, he saw only the chamber of the palace with accompanying angels and sensed the presence of G-d in the overflowing Train of the robe.[325] In my own vision I could only see a Crown representing the presence of G-d, resting on the throne. According to kabbalah we would understand Isaiah’s vision to be shielded by the angel of the Face, Metatron, who stands between the Glory and creation with the Seraphim around.[326] Metatron is MeAttah – From You, since he is the manifesting image. Isaiah does not supply us a physical description! Moreover, Moses, Ezekiel, and Daniel had similar visions, all without physical description. The prophets understand that God, King of kings, and Holy of holies is beyond physical description. They understand that He is יהוה, known by Its acts of Mercy and Greatness, known for what is really important—actions, a Verb more than a noun.[327]

Text 2-162: Jewish Encyclopedia on Manasseh on Isaiah
It is related in the Talmud that Rabbi Simeon ben 'Azzai found in Jerusalem an account wherein it was written that Manasseh killed Isaiah. Manasseh said to Isaiah, "Moses, thy master, said, 'There shall no man see God and live' [Ex. xxxiii. 20]; but thou hast said, 'I saw the Lord seated upon his throne'" (Isa. vi. 1); and went on to point out other contradictions—as between Deut. iv. 7 and Isa. lv. 6; between Ex. xxxiii. 26 and II Kings xx. 6. Isaiah thought: "I know that he will not accept my explanations; why should I increase his guilt?" He then uttered the Unpronounceable Name, a cedar-tree opened, and Isaiah disappeared within it. Then Manasseh ordered the cedar to be sawn asunder, and when the saw reached his mouth Isaiah died; thus was he punished for having said, "I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Yeb. 49b). A somewhat different version of this legend is given in the Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin x.). According to that version Isaiah, fearing Manasseh, hid himself in a cedar-tree, but his presence was betrayed by the fringes of his garment, and Manasseh caused the tree to be sawn in half. A passage of the Targum to Isaiah quoted by Jolowicz ("Die Himmelfahrt und Vision des Prophets Jesajas," p. 8) states that when Isaiah fled from his pursuers and took refuge in the tree, and the tree was sawn in half, the prophet's blood spurted forth.

Yet Jeremiah said, “And I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.”[328] We also know that it is because of Isaiah that Manasseh was born,[329]

1. In those days was Hezekiah mortally ill. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus said the Lord, Set your house in order; for you shall die, and not live.
2. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying,
3. I beseech you, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4. (K) And it came to pass, before Isaiah was gone out to the middle court that the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
5. Turn back, and tell Hezekiah the prince of my people, Thus said the Lord, the God of David your father, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.
6. And I will add to your days fifteen years; and I will save you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for my own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

“The Talmudic account states that Isaiah went to tell Hezekiah that he was going to die because he deliberately did not have children. This was on account of the fact that Hezekiah had seen prophetically that his child would be an idolater and therefore he preferred not to have children. Isaiah told him he was required to fulfill the biblical commandment of "be fruitful and multiply" and not outguess God about what the future would bring. Isaiah then suggested perhaps if his own daughter married Hezekiah in the merit of righteous parents their children would also be righteous.[330] Hezekiah agreed and Isaiah's daughter bore him Manasseh who was an idolater and later murdered his grandfather Isaiah. He repented in his later years after being taken to Babylon in captivity. According to Jewish tradition, the victory over the Assyrians and Hezekiah's return to health happened at the same time, the first night of Passover.”[331]

Text 2-163: Soncino Yevamot 49b
SAID R. SIMEON B. AZZAI etc. [A tanna] recited: Simeon b. ‘Azzai said, ‘I found a roll of genealogical records in Jerusalem and therein was written "So-and-so is a bastard [having been born] from a forbidden union with] a married woman" and therein was also written "The teaching of R. Eliezer b. Jacob is small in quantity but thoroughly sifted". And in it was also written, "Manasseh slew Isaiah"’.

Raba said: He[332] brought him to trial and then slew him. He[333] said to him: Your teacher Moses said, ‘For men shall not see Me and live’[334] and you said, ‘I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up’.[335] Your teacher Moses said, ‘For what [great nation is there, that hath God so nigh unto them], as the Lord our God is whenever we call upon him’,[336] and you said, ‘Seek ye the Lord when he may be found’.[337] Your teacher Moses said, ‘The number of thy days I will fulfill’[338] but you said, ‘And I will add on to your days fifteen years’.[339] ‘I know’, thought Isaiah, ‘that whatever I may tell him he will not accept; and should I reply at all, I would only cause him to be a willful [homicide]’. He thereupon pronounced [the Divine] Name and was swallowed up by a cedar. The cedar, however, was brought and sawn asunder. When the saw reached his month he died. [And this was his penalty] for having said, ‘And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips’.[340]

[Do not] the contradictions between the Scriptural texts, however, still remain? — ‘I saw the Lord’,[341] [is to be understood] in accordance with what was taught: All the prophets looked into a dim glass,[342] but Moses looked through a clear glass.[343] As to ‘Seek ye the Lord when he may be found [etc.’] one [verse][344] applies to an individual,[345] the other[346] to a congregation. When [is the time for] an individual? — R. Nahman replied in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: The ten days between the New Year and the Day of Atonement. Concerning the number of thy days I will fulfil,[347] Tannaim are in disagreement. For it was taught: The number of thy days I will fulfil refers to the years of the generations.[348]

This is an interesting commentary on Isaiah, because it recognizes that Isaiah may have unintentionally misled others to believe that God has a visual image. In addition, a global accusation against his people may by example have led others to accuse the nation of Israel. The Truth and beauty of the Tanach is that it reveals both the greatness and faults of patriarchs and matriarchs, judges and kings, and prophets and sages. Is there any so great as Moshe who was not permitted to See the Lord and live? There is not; hence Isaiah ought not have claimed to see the Lord.

Isaiah teaches us a lesson in 6:5 on the transforming quality of humility and confession. These bring him to a level where his sin can be purged:

Text 2-164: Isaiah 6:5

Then one of the seraphs flew over to me with a live coal,
which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.
he touched it to my lips and declared,

“Now that this has touched your lips,
Your guilt shall depart
And your sin be purged away.”[349]
(Isaiah 6:4-7)

The experience of an angel touching a hot coal to cleanse ones lips opens higher gates into the spiritual realm. One should always strive to visualize biblical images since they are the highest revealed truth we have in this world. When one does this correctly, the vision takes on a pure form and one becomes certain of a true revelation from the Ribono HaShalom – the Master of the Universe.

Here is Isaiah 6:1-7 with the Rashi commentary:[350]

Text 2-165: Isaiah 6:1-7 with Rashi

1. In the year of the death of King Uzziah, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and His lower extremity filled the Temple.
In the year of the death i.e., when he was smitten with zaraath - כשנצטרע.
and His lower extremity Heb. וְשׁוּלָיו, comp. (Exodus 28:34) “On the hem (שׁוּלֵי) of the robe - המעיל” meaning its lower extremity. I saw Him sitting on His throne in heaven with His feet in the Temple the chamber of judgment – בהיכל הדום, His footstool - מרגלותיו in the Sanctuary, to pass judgment on Uzziah, who came שבא to usurp – to take - ליטול the crown of the priesthood.
2. Seraphim stood above for Him, six wings, six wings to each one; with two he would cover his face, and with two he would cover his feet, and with two he would fly.
Seraphim stood above in heaven.
for Him i.e., to serve him, and so does Jonathan render: Holy servants are on high before Him.
with two he would cover his face so as not to look toward the Shechinah.
and with two he would cover his feet for modesty, so as not to bare his entire body before his Creator. And in Tanhuma (Emor 8), I saw that the feet were covered because they are like the sole of the foot of a calf, in order not to remind Israel of the sin of the golden calf.
and with two he would fly And with two he would serve [from Targum Jonathan].
3. And one called to the other and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory."
And one called to the other They would take permission from one another so that one would not commence before [his fellows] and be guilty of [a sin punishable by] burning, unless they all commenced simultaneously. This is what was established in [the blessing commencing:] “... Who formed light”, “the declaration of holiness, they all respond as one...” This is a Midrash Aggadah of the account of the Merkavah. And so did Jonathan render this.
Holy, holy, holy Three times, as the Targum renders.
4. And the doorposts quaked from the voice of him who called, and the House became filled with smoke.
And the doorposts quaked [Jonathan renders:] אֵילְוַתסִפֵּי, they are the doorposts of the entrance, which are measured with the measurements of cubits in the height and in the width, and they are the doorposts of the Temple.
from the voice of him who called [i.e.,] from the voice of the angels calling. This took place on the day of the earthquake, about which it is stated (Zechariah 14:5): “And you shall flee as you fled on the day of the earthquake in the days of Uzziah.” On the day that Uzziah stood, ready to burn incense in the Temple, the heavens quaked, [attempting] to burn him, as if to say that his punishment should be by burning, as it is said (Num. 16:35): “And it consumed the two hundred and fifty men.” For this reason, Scripture calls them seraphim, for they attempted to burn him. The earth quaked, attempting to swallow him up, thinking that his punishment should be that he be swallowed up like Korah, who contested the priesthood. Thereupon, a heavenly voice emanated and said (ibid. 17:5), “And there shall not be” another man contesting the priesthood “like Korah” to be swallowed up, “and like his assembly” to be burnt, but, “as the Lord spoke by the hand of Moses,” in the thornbush (Exodus 4:6), “Now bring your hand into your bosom,” and he took it out, stricken with zaraath like snow, here too, the zaraath shone on his forehead."
and the House became filled with smoke Was filled with smoke [i.e., even though the future tense is used, the past is meant].
5. And I said, "Woe is me for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and amidst a people of unclean lips I dwell, for the King, the Lord of Hosts have my eyes seen.
for I am lost I will die, for I was not worthy of seeing the Countenance of the Shechinah. We find a similar statement made by Manoah (Judges 13:22): “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”
I am lost Heb. נִדְמֵיתִי, comp. (Zephaniah 1:11): “The entire people of Canaan is broken (נִדְמֶה).”
people of unclean lips that are defiled with sins [from Jonathan].
6. And one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal; with tongs he had taken it from upon the altar.
a glowing coal Heb. רִצְפָּה, a coal, and similarly, (I Kings 19:6) “a cake baked on hot coals (עֻגַּתרְצָפִים),” like עֻגַּתרְשָׁפִים. In regards to Isaiah and Elijah, however, it is written with a ‘zadi,’ רִצְפָּה, because they spoke ill of Israel. This one [Isaiah] called them a people of unclean lips, and this one [Elijah] said, (ibid. 10) “For... have forsaken Your covenant.” Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to the angel, “Break the mouth (רְצוֹץפֶּה) that spoke ill of My children.”
with tongs Heb. (בְּמֶלְקֳחַיִם) with tongs.
he had taken it from upon the altar that was in the forecourt.
7. And he caused it to touch my mouth, and he said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity shall be removed, and your sin shall be atoned for."
And he caused it to touch my mouth... “... and your iniquity shall be removed” This is to cause pain, to atone for your iniquity that you degraded Israel. And his strength was great, for the angel was afraid to take it without tongs, yet he caused it to touch the prophet’s lip, and he [the prophet] was not injured. [This is found] in Tanhuma (ibid.) This is [the meaning] of what Scripture states (Joel 2:11): “For His camp is very great,” these are the angels; “and stronger” than they “are those who fulfill His word” these are the prophets (Tanhuma ibid.). Jonathan renders: “And in his hand was a glowing coal,” to mean, “And in his mouth was speech.” The expression רִצְפָּה : [means a thing refined in the mouth and with the tongue] (רָצוּף בְּפֶּה).“From upon the altar,” he received the speech from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be he, from His throne in Heaven, which was directed opposite the altar that was in the Temple.

2.10.2.2 Remembering the good

Isaiah begins 6:1 with the death of King Uzziah framing the vision in the eleven months following his death. [351]
Text 2-166: King Uziyahu
His long reign of about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous excepting that of Jehoshaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt" (2 Chr. 26:8, 14). In the earlier part of his reign, under the influence of a prophet named Zechariah, he was faithful to God, and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5) In Jerusalem he made machines designed by skillful men for use on the towers and on the corner defenses to shoot arrows and hurl large stones. His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.

Even as Solomon was corrupted at the end of his life, such was the course of Uzziah,[352] but nor could either’s fault diminish their greatness or their destined reward in heaven. Although angels protested, Solomon was assured to serve kings in heaven. David sung praises over Saul and Jonathon when they fell and Saul’s merits are remembered to exceed his faults. We remember the greatness of past kings and not just their faults.
In Isaiah 6:2, the Seraphs are above the king. In Kings 1:22:19, we learn that the angels stand beside God:

Text 2-167: Kings 1:22:19
... I saw the Lord - יהוה sitting upon his throne, and the host of the heaven standing upon him from his right and his left.

Kings 1:22:19 refers to God with His proper Name, while Isaiah 6:1 uses the more personal form my Lord. We can see that the angels stand to his right and left. Rashi explains, “The passage means that these would stand on the right and these would stand on the left. Those who stand on the right present the case for the defense and those who stand on the left present the case for the prosecution.” Similarly the vision of God in Isaiah 6:5 is without physical description.

Text 2-168: Kings 1:22
1. And they continued three years without war between Aram and Israel.
2. And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
3. And the king of Israel said to his servants, Know you that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we keep quiet, and take it not from the hand of the king of Aram?
4. And he said to Jehoshaphat, Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-Gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.
5. And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Inquire, I beg you, at the word of the Lord today.
6. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, Shall I go against Ramoth-Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it to the hand of the king.
7. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
8. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him; for he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
9. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Bring here quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.
10. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a threshing floor in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
11. And Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah made himself horns of iron; and he said, Thus said the Lord, With these shall you push the Arameans, until you have consumed them.
12. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-Gilead, and triumph; for the Lord shall deliver it to the king’s hand.
13. And the messenger who went to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one mouth; let your word, I beg you, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
14. And Micaiah said, As the Lord lives, what the Lord said to me, that will I speak.
15. And he came to the king. And the king said to him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-Gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and triumph; for the Lord shall deliver it to the hand of the king.
16. And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure you that you tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
17. And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd; and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace.
18. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell you that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
19. And he (Micaiah) said, Hear you therefore the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab (king of Samaria, Northern Kingdom), that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
22. And the Lord said to him, With what? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, You shall persuade him, and prevail also; go forth, and do so.
23. And therefore, behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets, and the Lord has spoken evil concerning you.
24. But Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah went near, and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the Lord from me to speak to you?
25. And Micaiah said, Behold, you shall see in that day, when you shall go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.
26. And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
27. And say, Thus said the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with scant bread and with scant water, until I return in peace.
28. And Micaiah said, If you return at all in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me. And he said, Listen, O people, every one of you.
29. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-Gilead.
30. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put you on your robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went to the battle.
31. But the king of Aram commanded his thirty two captains who had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, except only with the king of Israel.
32. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely he is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him; and Jehoshaphat cried out.
33. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that he was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
34. And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of the armor; so he said to the driver of his chariot, Turn your hand, and carry me from the camp; for I am wounded.
35. And the battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot against the Arameans, and died at evening; and the blood ran from the wound into the midst of the chariot.
36. And there went a proclamation throughout the camp around sunset, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.
37. And the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
38. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and the harlots washed themselves in it; according to the word of the Lord which he spoke.
39. And the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
40. And Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.
41. And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
42. Jehoshaphat was thirty five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
43. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord; nevertheless the high places were not taken away;
44. For the people still offered and burned incense in the high places.
45. And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
46. And the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he showed, and how he fought, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
47. And the remnant of the cult prostitutes, which remained from the days of his father Asa, he took from the land.
48. There was then no king in Edom; a deputy was king.
49. (K) Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold; but they went not; for the ships were wrecked at Ezion-Geber.
50. Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab to Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with your servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
51. And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; and Jehoram his son reigned in his place.
52. Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
53. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin;
54. For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

We can see how Aram oppressed Ephraim whose land stood between the kingdoms of Syria and Judah. Israel allied with Judah against Aram here according to the lying prophetic spirit pressing upon Micaiah.

2.10.2.3 Seraphim


Isaiah noticed the structure of the Seraphim – fiery angels. The Hebrew word for ‘cover’ here is יכסה, which is in the future, imperfect or incomplete tense. The Seraphim cover their face when they minister before G-d directly so that they may continue existing. Similarly, Moses could not behold the front of G-d, but watched as he passed. During the priestly blessing, a married man covers his face with his tallis so that he does not behold the Shechinah – the presence of G-d. The Seraphim cover their legs similarly before G-d to appear in complete modesty dressed before the King.

And one would call to the other,
Holy, holy, holy is
The Lord of Hosts
And all of the land is filled with his Glory!
(Isaiah 6:1-3)

Holy is the Lord in the past, holy is the Lord in the present, and holy is the Lord in the future. The name of the Angel of the Present is YöHöVîEL –יהואל .[353] The Angel of the Past is YâHâViEL –יהואל . The Angel of the Future is YäHäViEL – יהואל.

The doorposts would shake at the sound of the one who called,
and the House kept filling with smoke. I cried,

“Woe is me; I am lost.
For I am a man of unclean lips
And I live among a people
Of unclean lips;
Yet my own eyes have seen - ראו
The King – את-המלך Lord of Hosts – יהוה צבאות.”

Isaiah 6:5 parallels Isaiah 6:1, evolving the vision of a king into one of God. Such is the manner of a prophet’s vision. By mentioning ‘et-hamelech’ this specific King, we know that Isaiah’s vision is transformed.

2.10.2.4 Confederacy arises


An alliance is formed between Syria (Aram) and the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) against the Southern Kingdom (Judah).

Syria includes Rezin king of Aram. Ephraim includes king Pekah of Israel the son of Remaliah. Together they unite against Judah who is led by king Jehoshaphat. The Hebrew suggests that Ephraim is under duress to unite with Aram in 7:2. The translation below is corrected.

Judah includes king Agaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,

Text 2-169: Isaiah 7
1. And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to fight against it, but could not prevail against it.
2. And it was told the house of David, saying, Aram is incumbent upon Ephraim – נחה ארם על-אפרים and his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest are moved with the wind.
3. Then said the Lord to Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shear-Yashuv your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool in the highway of the washers’ field;
4. And say to him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint hearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Aram, and of the son of Remaliah.
5. Because Aram, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against you, saying,
6. Let us go up against Judah, and harass it, and let us make a breach in it for us, and set a king in its midst, the son of Tabeal;
7. Thus said the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
8. For the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within sixty five years shall Ephraim be broken, and it will not be a people.
9. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.
10. Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11. Ask a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.
13. And he said, Hear now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
14. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the young woman is with child, and she will bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15. Butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16. For before the child shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread shall be deserted.
17. The Lord shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father’s house, days that have not come since the day when Ephraim departed from Judah: the king of Assyria.
18. And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall whistle to the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
19. And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
20. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor, which is hired, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the legs; and it shall also sweep away the beard.
21. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
22. And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter; for butter and honey shall every one eat who is left in the land.
23. And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, will become briers and thorns.
24. With arrows and with bows shall men come there; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
25. And on all hills that shall be hoed with a hoe, you shall not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but it shall be for the sending forth of bulls, and for the treading of sheep.

The life of the child Immanuel is used as a measurement of time for events that will happen King Ahaz.


Text 2-170: Isaiah 8

1. Moreover the Lord said to me, Take a great roll, and write on it with common characters, "The spoil speeds, the prey hastens".
2. And I took to myself faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.
3. And I went to the prophetess; and she conceived, and bore a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (The spoil speeds, the prey hastens).
4. For before the child shall know how to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
5. The Lord spoke also to me again, saying,
6. Because this people refuse the waters of Shiloah – sent waters - מי השלח that flow gently, and rejoice in Rezin (Aram) and Remaliah’s son (Ephraim);
7. Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory; and it will rise over all its channels, and go over all its banks;
8. And it shall pass through Judah; it shall overflow and go over, it shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel – God be with us.
9. Be broken up, O you people, and be dismayed; and give ear, all you of far countries; gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces.
10. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nothing; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us.
11. For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
12. Do not say, It is a conspiracy, to all that this people shall call a conspiracy; neither fear their fear, nor be afraid.
13. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
14. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a trap to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be trapped, and be taken.
16. Bind up the testimony, seal the Torah among my disciples.
17. And I will wait upon the Lord, who hides his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
18. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in mount Zion.
19. And when they shall say to you, Consult mediums and wizards who peep and mutter; Should not a people consult their God? Why seek the living among the dead,
20. For Torah and for testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
21. And they shall pass through it, greatly distressed and hungry; and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they will be enraged, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
22. And they shall look to the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.
23. For there is no weariness to him who is set against her; at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterwards he afflicted her more grievously by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

Zebulun and Naphtali’s regions in Israel are adjacent to each other and next to the Sea of Galilee along the path of the Assyrians conquest of Israel. The name Immanuel – עמנואל means ‘God is with us’. In Isaiah 8:8, when all seems lost, Isaiah pleas with this name as ‘God be with us’ meaning ‘God help us’ or ‘God save us’. ‘Immanuel’ is Isaiah’s response to the spreading of the wings of Assyria stretching across all of the land. Isaiah 8:10 explains:

Text 2-171: Isaiah 8:10
They council advice and join, speaking a thing, but it will not stand for God is with us.
עצו עצה ותפר דברו דבר ולא יקום כי עמנו אל



2.10.3 Isaiah 11-15

Text 2-172: Isaiah 11:1
And a shoot shall go forth from the stump of Jesse and a branch from his roots will blossom.

The stump is a metaphor for the withered state of kingship in Israel. Yet, the stump is not dead, but a new shoot will grow forth and blossom.

Text 2-173: Isaiah 11:2-3
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
And his delight (as a pleasant fragrance) is in Awe of the Lord; and he will not judge by what his eyes see (appearance), nor will he reprove by what his ears hear.

Isaiah 11:2-3 teaches us that the spirit of the Lord is upon one who does not judge by sight and hearing, but instead delights in fear/awe of the Lord, which is the fragrance of Truth.


Text 2-174: Isaiah 11:5
And a righteous region is his gift – והיה צדק אזור מתניו
and the faithfulness of the province he restores – והאמונה אזור חלציו
 
A great leader establishes laws in a kingdom and restores the faith of the people. It is a gift to live in a country with laws.  The word ‘HaLatTzaV’ literally means the phrase ‘is his rescuing’, but the English word ‘restores’ is close. The righteous leader ‘rescues’ the faith of the people, which has been harmed by captivity and oppression.
 
Traditional translations give:
Righteousness will be his belt.
And faithfulness the sash around his waist.
(Isaiah 11:5)
 
The word for ‘region’, ‘place’, ‘belt’ or ‘sash’ in Hebrew is ‘Azor’.  The idea of ‘Azor’ is the establishment of boundaries. The precedence of meaning for ‘Azor’ is “zone, region, area, district, part, section, province, quarter, precinct, parish, country, clime; girdle, belt.”


Text 2-175: Isaiah 12:1-6
1. And in that day you shall say, ‘O Lord, I will praise you’; though you were angry - אנפת with me, your anger is turned away, and you comforted me.
2. Behold, I will trust in my saving God and I will not fear for my strength and my song is YaH Lord and let Him be for me my Salvation.
3. And all shall draw waters with merriment from the springs of salvation.
4. And all shall say in that day, ‘Praise to the Lord’, calling his Name, making known with peoples all of his stories - עלילתיו, commemorating beyond his Name.
5. Sing to the Lord; for High ways that are known in all the land.
6. Rejoice and sing dweller of Zion; for great in your midst is the Holy of Israel.



Text 2-176: Isaiah 12:2
Behold, I trust in God who saved me, and I am not afraid, for I am strong with the Song of God;
the Lord will be my salvation.

Isaiah teaches a message of universal redemption. His message was for Israel and other nations as well:[354]

Text 2-177: Isaiah’s Mission to All the Nations of the Earth
And now, says the Lord who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
To bring Jacob back to him, that Israel should be gathered to him,
And I was honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
And say it is easy for you to be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved of Israel; thus I will give you as a light to the nations,
That My salvation will be to the end of the earth.

Isaiah’s message has been taken up by the other nations as he prophesied, but were they able to do so with clarity? Since the other nations did not have the Torah, some desecrated the intention of God. The Light passes through a fog and who can see the source?

There is a universal way to clear sin that transcends ritual. At any time, we talk and reason with G-d.

Text 2-178: Isaiah’s Universal Way of Forgiveness
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,
Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
(Isaiah 1:18)

On the day of Yom Kippur the Gates of Mercy are opened and the truly repentant are brought to the highest level. There is a teaching that even a tzaddik—a righteous one cannot stand at the height of a Baal Tshuvah on Yom Kippur. The reason is that all the sins of a master of repentance are turned into blessings for him or her as G-d’s forgiveness extends beyond justice into the realm of mercy and then into overflowing love for his children.

Text 2-179: “Broad Rivers and Streams”

But there the Lord will be with us in Majesty,
In a place of broad rivers and streams
...
For the Lord is our Judge
The Lord is our Lawgiver
The Lord is our King
(Isaiah 33:21)

Isaiah speaks of the return to Zion and the good life that awaits us.


Text 2-180: Isaiah 41:14
Do not be afraid worm – תולעת of Jacob dead of Israel,
I will help you and redeem you says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

In the Land of Israel worms are a blessing! In fact one can never have too many worms to turn the sandy soil and make it fertile. Here in Utah our loam is pretty good for growing vegetables as it retains water and nutrients, but worms still help in aeration and fertilization. The ‘worm of Jacob’ in a similar spelling hints to the Teli – תלי.[355] This refers to the tzitzit suspended from the tallis as the stars are suspended off of the constellation of the serpent surrounding the pole star.[356]

Returning to the poetic prophecy of Isaiah 41, the context is a positive one where the Lord is promising help. Isaiah is using the word worm to refer to the frailty of the House of Jacob in the exile (galut). (This is brought out in the Rashi, the Radak, and Metzudat David).

The worm is a gift but frail and weak. Moreover in exile Israel is reminiscent of the dead bones in the vision of Ezekiel. The Hebrew says, "dead of Israel" not "men of Israel" and refers to the spiritual state of being cutoff from their land not literally dead. The noun Redeemer does not occur but instead the phrase is "redeem you". Probably we can improve the translation by assuming that worm refers to maggots as in consuming a dead person:

Text 2-181: Isaiah 41:14 - Best contextual translation
Do not be afraid maggots of Jacob –יעקב תולעת dead of Israel – מתי ישראל,
I will help you and redeem you says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

Like maggots gnawing at the dead bones of Israel is the state of Jacob in exile. Yet, Isaiah’s prophecy alludes to Numbers 24:17 for even in the worst of times, the Lord has prepared the way for redemption:

Text 2-182: Numbers 24:17
I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not near;
there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel,
and shall strike the corners of Moab, and destroy all the sons of Seth.[357]

The kabbalist Shlomo Molkho, saw an allusion to the messiah purifying the world from the power of the serpent.[358]

Text 2-183: Shlomo Molkho on the messiah
Abel is Moses, who is Abel, because all the deliverances are done by him, because his soul will transmigrate into the messiah, and this is why he [Moses] has been buried abroad. “What is the gain of man from all his labor that he labors under the sun,” if the redemption does not come? And he [Solomon] answered: “One generation goeth, another generation cometh,” namely it is a necessity that the messiah will come, because he is the power of satan [and] serpent, and he removed the impurity of the serpent from the world, and this is the reason that he goes, because in the very moment and time that Israel will repent, they will immediately be redeemed ... this is why in each and every generation there was a person [stemming] from [the children of] Israel, worthy and prepared to become the messiah, and fulfill what has been written ... “because a generation goeth and another generation cometh, and the earth abideth forever” because it cannot subsist without the messiah, because of the impurity of the serpent ... because the impurity of the serpent spills over all the spheres and comes from the power of the seventh, lower sphere, which is that of the moon.

Text 2-184: East, West, North, South—Sons and Daughters
Fear not, for I am with you:
I will bring your seed from the East, I will gather you out of the West;
I will say to the North, “Give back!”
And to the South, “Do not withhold!”
Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the end of the earth.
(Isaiah 43:5-7)

The message here is that we will return to the land of Israel. Whether from Babylonia, Europe, Russia, or Ethiopia, G-d will help us return to Eretz Israel – the land of Israel. Hashem causes us to multiply in the East, and to gather wealth in the West. The North tries to hold back its people from leaving, but the South releases freely.

The East is Tiferet (seed) that is the Sixth, which the Bahir discusses with Malchut the Seventh.[359] In Israel the Jews multiply. In the West, Yesod, they gather wealth, which relates to Gevurah, the North, because they are restrained by wealth in Western countries from returning their seed to Israel in the East. Concerning the South; Hesed, relates to the East, since it does not hold back its people from returning to Israel as we have seen with the Jews of North Africa.

The Almighty gathered us out of the West in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The Northern European countries could not hold back our people with their vanished wealth. In the wake of Moslem persecution we flowed back from the South and the East to Israel.

Isaiah’s message is that G-d is the true Savior and Redeemer. We do not put our faith in man who is flesh and withers from the earth. Theology divides peoples from one and other, but the down to earth teachings unite people to each other. Yet, to believe in one God is an undeniable principle devoid of theology.

Text 2-185: Isaiah 43:11-21
1. But now thus says the Lord who created you, O Jacob, and he who formed you, O Israel, Fear not; for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.
2. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle upon you.
3. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Kush and Seba instead of you.
4. Since you were precious in my sight, you were honored, and I have loved you; therefore will I give men for you, and people for your life.
5. Fear not; for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west;
6. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
7. Every one who is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him.
8. Bring forth the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears.
9. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled; who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
10. You are my witnesses, said the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am He; before me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after me.
11. I, I myself, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.
12. I have declared, and have saved, and I have proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; therefore you are my witnesses, said the Lord, that I am God.
13. Yes, from the first I am He; and there is none who can deliver from my hand; I will work, and who shall reverse it?
14. Thus said the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent (you) to Babylon, and I will bring down all of them as fugitives, the Chaldeans, in the ships of their songs.
15. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.
16. Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17. Who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinct, they are quenched like a wick.
18. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
19. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20. The beast of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the owls; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21. This people have I formed for myself; they shall proclaim my praise.

Isaiah is teaching us not dwell on the past. When the Israelites left Egypt he submerged the host of Pharaoh under the Red Sea, Isaiah alludes to this in verse 17.

And we do not need to remember these past bitter days, because God “will do a new thing”. In Isaiah 43:19, I translate:

“Behold, I renew, Now it shoots forth; Hello do you not know?— !I will place a way in the wilderness (for you), streams through the desert.”

Text 2-186: Isaiah 45:17-25
17. But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed nor confounded to all eternity.
18. For thus says the Lord who created the heavens; God himself who formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited; I am the Lord; and there is no one else.
19. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I do not say to the seed of Jacob, Seek me in vain; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
20. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you of the nations who have escaped; they have no knowledge those who carry the wood of their carved idols, and pray to a god who cannot save.[360]
21. Declare, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together; Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Did not I the Lord? And there is no other God beside me; a just God and a savior; there is none beside me.
22. Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no one else.
23. I have sworn by myself, a word of righteousness is gone out of my mouth, and shall not be reversed, That to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
24. Surely, he said to me, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; to him shall men come; and all who are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
25. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

2.10.4 Isaiah 12-39

Text 2-187: Isaiah 25:6-8
“And the Lord of Hosts will make for all the people, in this mountain a rich feast – משתה שמנים with guarded, filling foods that purify. And He will swallow - ובלע in this mountain the face that covers, covers - הלוט all the people, and the veil - והמסכה that blocks (the true vision) for all the nations. He will swallow death forever – לנצח and the Lord God will wipe - ומחה away tears from all faces and the hurt - וחרפת of his people will be removed from all the land; for the Lord has spoken.”

The feast is the holiday of booths, Sukkot, as all nations will gather to Jerusalem in that day and have even started today. The mountain of the Lord is like the booth. The veil above is like the leaved branches in the ceiling that block our true vision, but make us aware and look up to the heavens above. The Lord will “swallow death forever” that is also the death of the spirit in the living for they will be filled with His joy all the days of their lives.

Hoi – הוי that means woe or hail translates to ‘Oy’ or ‘Ahoy’ the later being a naval greeting. These words derive from the original Hebrew.

Text 2-188: Isaiah 29

1. Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the feasts come round.
2. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow; and it shall be to me as an Ariel.
3. And I will camp around against you, and will lay siege against you with a mound, and I will raise siege works against you.
4. And you shall be brought down, and shall speak from the ground, and your speech shall be low from the dust, and your voice shall be, as of a medium, from the ground, and your speech shall whisper from the dust.
5. And the multitude of your strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passes away; and it shall be in an instant suddenly.
6. You shall be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
7. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all who fight against her and her fortress, and who distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.
8. It shall be as when a hungry man dreams, and, behold, he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreams, and, behold, he drinks; but he awakes, and, behold, he is weak, and his soul longs for water; so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Mount Zion.
9. Amaze yourselves, and be amazed; blind yourselves and be blind; be drunk but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink.
10. For the Lord has poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep – רוח תרדמה (dormant spirit) and has closed – ויעצם your eyes, the prophets; and has covered your heads, the seers.
11. (K) And the vision of all has become to you as the words of a book that is sealed - החתום, which men deliver to one who is learned, saying, Read this, I beseech you; and he says, I cannot; for it is sealed;
12. And the book is delivered to him who is not learned, saying, Read this, I beseech you; and he says, I am not learned.
13. And the Lord said, Since this people draw near me, and with their mouth, and with their lips honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote – מצות אנשים מלמדה (commandment learned from men);
14. Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, marvelous and wonderful; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be be hidden.
15. Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? and Who knows us?
16. Your turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay? Shall the work say of him who made it, He did not make me! Or shall the thing framed say of him who framed it, He has no understanding!
17. Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18. And on that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
19. The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poorest among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20. For the terrible one is brought to nothing, and the scorner is consumed, and all who watch for iniquity are cut off;
21. Who, by a word, make a man an offender, and lay a trap for him who reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just for nothing.
22. Therefore thus said the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now become pale.
23. But when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
24. Those who erred in spirit shall come to understand, and those who murmured shall learn a lesson.

Hatomb – sealed is like the words Ht – meaning fear and Tomb – meaning a seal chamber. Also there is the word Tam – meaning whole, simple, or complete as a root here. In other words, the sealed book cannot be fathomed without a living spirit in man. Appearing to fear G-d, because it is a commandment of men is not a True fear of the L-rd.

To practice commandments even by rote leads to practice out of the fear and love of G-d. Children are first taught Leviticus and learn by rote because they are not ready to fathom higher reasons, but instead learn by fear, and then reason and then love.

Text 2-189: Isaiah 33:14-22
14... Who among us shall dwell with a consuming fire (Fire of Purification)? Who among us shall dwell with Eternal Hearth (Source of Fire that is G-d)?
15. He who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he who despises the gain of oppression, he who shakes his hands from holding bribes, he who stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil;
16. He shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the fortresses of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
17. Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off.
18. Your heart shall meditate on terror. Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he who counted the towers?
19. You shall not see the fierce people, the people of a deeper speech than you can not understand; of a stammering tongue, that you can not apprehend.
20. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemn feasts; your eyes shall see Jerusalem a safe habitation, a tent that shall not be taken down; not one of its pegs shall ever be removed, neither shall any of its cords be broken.
21. But there the glorious Lord will be to us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.
22. For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.

A Fire of purification brings us to dwell with the Eternal Source of Fire. The Lord is also a place of broad rivers and streams. He is our Judge, our Lawgiver, Our King, and Our only True Savior.

2.10.5 Isaiah 40-53

The famous verse in Isaiah 40:3, “A voice calls in the wilderness, turn to the way of the L-rd, that is a straight path in the Aravah to our G-d.” The Aravah is a desert in Israel filled with craters and ravines. Flashfloods carve out these paths with powerful currents after rainstorms. To find a straight path in the Aravah is a gift.

Text 2-190: Isaiah 40:1-15
1. Comfort my people, comfort them, says your God.
2. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her fighting is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
3. A voice cries, Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain;
5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
6. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all its grace is as the flower of the field;
7. The grass withers, the flower fades; when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people is like grass.
8. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall endure forever.
9. You who bring good news to Zion, get up to the high mountain; You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10. Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his hire before him.
11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
12. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked out the heavens with a span, and enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13. Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor has taught him?
14. With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding?
15. Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, he takes up the islands as fine dust.

Associations of light with righteousness become more prevalent starting with this chapter 41.

Text 2-191: Isaiah 41:2
Who arouses from the East—Righteousness will be called his ways, nations will be given before him, and he will lower kings, his sword make them as dust, his bow as driven stubble.

G-d’s Rightousness arises from the East. The agency of Righteousness infuses Cyrus who serves as the anointed – the messiah.


Text 2-192: Isaiah 41
1. Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength; let them come near; then let them speak; let us come near together to judgment.
2. Who raised up one from the east whom righteousness met wherever he set his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? His sword make them as dust, his bow as driven stubble.
3. He pursued them, and passed safely; even by a path that he had not gone with his feet.
4. Who has wrought and done it? He who calls the generations from the beginning; I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.
5. The islands saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
6. Everyone helped his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be strong.
7. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he who beats the idol smooth with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, It is good; and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
8. But you, Israel, are my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
9. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from its farthest corners, and said to you, You are my servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away.
10. Fear not; for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
11. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing; and those who strive with you shall perish.
12. You shall seek them, and shall not find them, those who contended with you; those who war against you shall be as nothing.
13. For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying to you, Fear not; I will help you.
14. Fear not, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, said the Lord, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15. Behold, I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff.
16. You shall fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the stormy wind shall scatter them; and you shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17. The poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the Arabah the cypress, the maple, and the box tree together;
20. That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21. Produce your cause, said the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, said the King of Jacob.
22. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen; let them show the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things to come.
23. Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
24. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.
25. I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name; and he shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treads clay.
26. Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? and in former time, that we may say, Is he righteous? There is none who declares, there is none who proclaims, there is none who hears your words.
27. The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them; and I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good news.
28. For I behold, and there is no man among them, and there is no counsellor who could answer a word, when I asked of them.
29. Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing; their molten images are wind and confusion.

Isaiah 43:9-22 may reflect a righteous remnant of the house of Israel that had already or will in the future live in the deserts. These either are or refer to the Essenes, who will become the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Text 2-193: Isaiah 42:6
ה כֹּה-אָמַר הָאֵל יְהוָה, בּוֹרֵא הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנוֹטֵיהֶם, רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ, וְצֶאֱצָאֶיהָ; נֹתֵן נְשָׁמָה לָעָם עָלֶיהָ, וְרוּחַ לַהֹלְכִים בָּהּ. 5 Thus saith God the LORD, He that created the heavens, and stretched them forth, He that spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it, He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
ו אֲנִי יְהוָה קְרָאתִיךָ בְצֶדֶק, וְאַחְזֵק בְּיָדֶךָ; וְאֶצָּרְךָ, וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם--לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם. 6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations;
ז לִפְקֹחַ, עֵינַיִם עִוְרוֹת; לְהוֹצִיא מִמַּסְגֵּר אַסִּיר, מִבֵּית כֶּלֶא יֹשְׁבֵי חֹשֶׁךְ. 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.
ח אֲנִי יְהוָה, הוּא שְׁמִי; וּכְבוֹדִי לְאַחֵר לֹא-אֶתֵּן, וּתְהִלָּתִי לַפְּסִילִים. 8 I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.

Text 2-194: Isaiah 43:9-22
9. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled; who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
10. You are my witnesses, said the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
  1. I, I myself, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.
11. I, I myself, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.
12. I have declared, and have saved, and I have proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; therefore you are my witnesses, said the Lord, that I am God.
13. Yes, from the first I am he; and there is none who can deliver from my hand; I will work, and who shall reverse it?
14. Thus said the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and will bring down all of them as fugitives, the Chaldeans, in the ships of their songs..
15. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.
16. Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17. Who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinct, they are quenched like a wick.
18. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.19. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20. The beast of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the owls; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21. This people have I formed for myself; they shall proclaim my praise.
22. But you have not called upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel.

From here we know that G-d is our King, there is no other. The messianic idea is of anointed leader, more like a noble or prince serving G-d, but not a True king.

Text 2-195: Haphtarah Vayikra: Isaiah 43:21 – 44:23

23. You have not brought me the small cattle of your burnt offerings; neither have you honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with a meal offering, nor wearied you with incense.
24. You have bought me no sweet cane with money, nor have you filled me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities.
25. I, I myself, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.
26. Put me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare you, that you may be justified.
27. Your first father has sinned, and your teachers have transgressed against me.
28. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to destruction, and Israel to reviling.

Tanach - Isaiah Chapter 44

1. Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen;
2. Thus says the Lord who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help you; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3. For I will pour water upon the thirsty land, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring;
4. And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
5. One shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall write on his hand The Lord’s, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
6. Thus says the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
7. And who is like me? Let him declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the eternal people; and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them relate to themselves.
8. Fear not, neither be afraid; have not I told you from that time, and have declared it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yes, there is no rock; I know not any.
9. They who make an engraved image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things do not profit; and their witnesses do not see, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
10. Who forms a god, or casts an engraved image that is good for nothing?
11. Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed; and the workmen, they are but men; let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.
12. The metal worker makes an axe, and works in the coals, and fashions it with hammers, and works it with the strength of his arms; if he is hungry his strength fails; if he drinks no water he is faint.
13. The carpenter stretches out his rule; he marks it out with a pencil; he fits it with chisels, and he marks it out with the compass, and makes it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of man; that it may remain in the house.
14. He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak, which he strengthens for himself among the trees of the forest; he plants a forest tree, and the rain nourishes it.
15. Then shall it be for a man for fuel; for he will take of it, and warm himself; yes, he kindles it, and bakes bread; or, he makes a god, and worships it; he makes of it a carved idol, and falls down to it.
16. He burns half of it in the fire; with this half of it he eats meat; he roasts the roast, and is satisfied; yes, he warms himself, and says, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire;
17. (K) And with what is left of it he makes a god, his carved image; he falls down to it, and worships it, and prays to it, and says, Save me, for you are my god!
18. They have not known nor understood; for he has shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
19. And none considers in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned half of it in the fire; yes, also I have baked bread upon its embers; I have roasted meat, and eaten it; and shall I make what is left of it an abomination? Shall I fall down to worship a block of wood?
20. He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside, that he cannot save his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
21. Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for you are my servant; I have formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by me.
22. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins; return to me; for I have redeemed you.
23. Sing, O heavens; for the Lord has done it; shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

To understand Isaiah 44 is to understand Jewish theology. There is only one G-d and none beside him. Jacob and Israel are distinguished in that they did not make idols, but were formed themselves by God. The Lord has redeemed Jacob and now he is glorified in Israel.

Text 2-196: Isaiah 45:1-13
א כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה, לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְכוֹרֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר-הֶחֱזַקְתִּי בִימִינוֹ לְרַד-לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם, וּמָתְנֵי מְלָכִים, אֲפַתֵּחַ--לִפְתֹּחַ לְפָנָיו דְּלָתַיִם, וּשְׁעָרִים לֹא יִסָּגֵרוּ. 1 Thus saith the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and that the gates may not be shut:
ב אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ אֵלֵךְ, וַהֲדוּרִים אושר (אֲיַשֵּׁר); דַּלְתוֹת נְחוּשָׁה אֲשַׁבֵּר, וּבְרִיחֵי בַרְזֶל אֲגַדֵּעַ. 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron;
ג וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ אוֹצְרוֹת חֹשֶׁךְ, וּמַטְמֻנֵי מִסְתָּרִים: לְמַעַן תֵּדַע, כִּי-אֲנִי יְהוָה הַקּוֹרֵא בְשִׁמְךָ--אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I am the LORD, who call thee by thy name, even the God of Israel.
ד לְמַעַן עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּחִירִי; וָאֶקְרָא לְךָ בִּשְׁמֶךָ, אֲכַנְּךָ וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּנִי. 4 For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel Mine elect, I have called thee by thy name, I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.
ה אֲנִי יְהוָה וְאֵין עוֹד, זוּלָתִי אֵין אֱלֹהִים; אֲאַזֶּרְךָ, וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּנִי. 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, beside Me there is no God; I have girded thee, though thou hast not known Me;
ו לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ, מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ וּמִמַּעֲרָבָה, כִּי-אֶפֶס, בִּלְעָדָי: אֲנִי יְהוָה, וְאֵין עוֹד. 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me; I am the LORD; and there is none else;
ז יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶׁךְ, עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא רָע; אֲנִי יְהוָה, עֹשֶׂה כָל-אֵלֶּה. {פ} 7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things. {P}
ח הַרְעִיפוּ שָׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל, וּשְׁחָקִים יִזְּלוּ-צֶדֶק; תִּפְתַּח-אֶרֶץ וְיִפְרוּ-יֶשַׁע, וּצְדָקָה תַצְמִיחַ יַחַד--אֲנִי יְהוָה, בְּרָאתִיו. {ס} 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, that they may bring forth salvation, and let her cause righteousness to spring up together; I the LORD have created it. {S}
ט הוֹי, רָב אֶת-יֹצְרוֹ--חֶרֶשׂ, אֶת-חַרְשֵׂי אֲדָמָה; הֲיֹאמַר חֹמֶר לְיֹצְרוֹ מַה-תַּעֲשֶׂה, וּפָעָלְךָ אֵין-יָדַיִם לוֹ. {ס} 9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker, as a potsherd with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it: 'What makest thou?' Or: 'Thy work, it hath no hands'? {S}
י הוֹי אֹמֵר לְאָב, מַה-תּוֹלִיד; וּלְאִשָּׁה, מַה-תְּחִילִין. {ס} 10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father: 'Wherefore begettest thou?' Or to a woman: 'Wherefore travailest thou?' {S}
יא כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְיֹצְרוֹ: הָאֹתִיּוֹת שְׁאָלוּנִי, עַל-בָּנַי וְעַל-פֹּעַל יָדַי תְּצַוֻּנִי. 11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: Ask Me of the things that are to come; concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands, command ye Me.
יב אָנֹכִי עָשִׂיתִי אֶרֶץ, וְאָדָם עָלֶיהָ בָרָאתִי; אֲנִי, יָדַי נָטוּ שָׁמַיִם, וְכָל-צְבָאָם, צִוֵּיתִי. 12 I, even I, have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
יג אָנֹכִי הַעִירֹתִהוּ בְצֶדֶק, וְכָל-דְּרָכָיו אֲיַשֵּׁר; הוּא-יִבְנֶה עִירִי, וְגָלוּתִי יְשַׁלֵּחַ--לֹא בִמְחִיר וְלֹא בְשֹׁחַד, אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת. {ס} 13 I have roused him up in/with Tzedek, and I make straight all his ways; he shall build My city, and he shall let Mine exiles go free, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts. {S}

Isaiah 45:13 could be using Tzedek to refer to Jupiter which stood for the fortunate just spirit or the Sun.[361] Jupiter in Hebrew is tzedek so this is most plausible. The path of the planet across the night sky would appear in a straight path. Alternatively, in terms of the Sun there is an allusion to Sol Invictus – “Invincible Sun,” the emperor as a sun god. The term tzedek occurs in juxtaposition with the straight path of the leader Cyrus, like the sun moving across the sky in its chariot.[362]

Text 2-197: Isaiah 42:6
ה כֹּה-אָמַר הָאֵל יְהוָה, בּוֹרֵא הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנוֹטֵיהֶם, רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ, וְצֶאֱצָאֶיהָ; נֹתֵן נְשָׁמָה לָעָם עָלֶיהָ, וְרוּחַ לַהֹלְכִים בָּהּ. 5 Thus saith God the LORD, He that created the heavens, and stretched them forth, He that spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it, He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
ו אֲנִי יְהוָה קְרָאתִיךָ בְצֶדֶק, וְאַחְזֵק בְּיָדֶךָ; וְאֶצָּרְךָ, וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם--לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם. 6 I the LORD have called thee in Tzedek, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations;
ז לִפְקֹחַ, עֵינַיִם עִוְרוֹת; לְהוֹצִיא מִמַּסְגֵּר אַסִּיר, מִבֵּית כֶּלֶא יֹשְׁבֵי חֹשֶׁךְ. 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.
ח אֲנִי יְהוָה, הוּא שְׁמִי; וּכְבוֹדִי לְאַחֵר לֹא-אֶתֵּן, וּתְהִלָּתִי לַפְּסִילִים. 8 I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.

In Isaiah 42:5, the author appears to call Cyrus in the spirit of Tzedek that is to pursue matters in straight course with justice.

Text 2-198: Isaiah 41:6
א הַחֲרִישׁוּ אֵלַי אִיִּים, וּלְאֻמִּים יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ; יִגְּשׁוּ אָז יְדַבֵּרוּ, יַחְדָּו לַמִּשְׁפָּט נִקְרָבָה. 1 Keep silence before Me, O islands, and let the peoples renew their strength; let them draw near, then let them speak; let us come near together to judgment.
ב מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח, צֶדֶק יִקְרָאֵהוּ לְרַגְלוֹ; יִתֵּן לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם, וּמְלָכִים יַרְדְּ--יִתֵּן כֶּעָפָר חַרְבּוֹ, כְּקַשׁ נִדָּף קַשְׁתּוֹ. 2 Who hath raised up one from the east, Tzedek calleth to his feet. He giveth nations before him, and maketh him rule over kings; his sword maketh them as the dust, his bow as the driven stubble.
ג יִרְדְּפֵם, יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם; אֹרַח בְּרַגְלָיו, לֹא יָבוֹא. 3 He pursueth them, and passeth on safely; the way with his feet he treadeth not.
ד מִי-פָעַל וְעָשָׂה, קֹרֵא הַדֹּרוֹת מֵרֹאשׁ: אֲנִי יְהוָה רִאשׁוֹן, וְאֶת-אַחֲרֹנִים אֲנִי-הוּא. 4 Who hath wrought and done it? He that called the generations from the beginning. I, the LORD, who am the first, and with the last am the same.
ה רָאוּ אִיִּים וְיִרָאוּ, קְצוֹת הָאָרֶץ יֶחֱרָדוּ; קָרְבוּ, וַיֶּאֱתָיוּן. 5 The isles saw, and feared; the ends of the earth trembled; they drew near, and came.
ו אִישׁ אֶת-רֵעֵהוּ, יַעְזֹרוּ; וּלְאָחִיו, יֹאמַר חֲזָק. 6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother: 'Be of good courage.'

The Sun rises in the east, and calleth to those at his feet.

Text 2-199: Isaiah 45:14-25

יד כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה, יְגִיעַ מִצְרַיִם וּסְחַר-כּוּשׁ וּסְבָאִים אַנְשֵׁי מִדָּה, עָלַיִךְ יַעֲבֹרוּ וְלָךְ יִהְיוּ, אַחֲרַיִךְ יֵלֵכוּ בַּזִּקִּים יַעֲבֹרוּ; וְאֵלַיִךְ יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ אֵלַיִךְ יִתְפַּלָּלוּ, אַךְ בָּךְ אֵל וְאֵין עוֹד אֶפֶס אֱלֹהִים. 14 Thus saith the LORD: The labour of Egypt, and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine; they shall go after thee, in chains they shall come over; and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee: Surely God is in thee, and there is none else, there is no other God.
טו אָכֵן, אַתָּה אֵל מִסְתַּתֵּר--אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מוֹשִׁיעַ. 15 Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.
טז בּוֹשׁוּ וְגַם-נִכְלְמוּ, כֻּלָּם: יַחְדָּו הָלְכוּ בַכְּלִמָּה, חָרָשֵׁי צִירִים. 16 They shall be ashamed, yea, confounded, all of them; they shall go in confusion together that are makers of idols.
יז יִשְׂרָאֵל נוֹשַׁע בַּיהוָה, תְּשׁוּעַת עוֹלָמִים: לֹא-תֵבֹשׁוּ וְלֹא-תִכָּלְמוּ, עַד-עוֹלְמֵי עַד. {פ} 17 O Israel, that art saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. {P}
יח כִּי כֹה אָמַר-יְהוָה בּוֹרֵא הַשָּׁמַיִם הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים, יֹצֵר הָאָרֶץ וְעֹשָׂהּ הוּא כוֹנְנָהּ--לֹא-תֹהוּ בְרָאָהּ, לָשֶׁבֶת יְצָרָהּ; אֲנִי יְהוָה, וְאֵין עוֹד. 18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens, He is God; that formed the earth and made it, He established it, He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD, and there is none else.
יט לֹא בַסֵּתֶר דִּבַּרְתִּי, בִּמְקוֹם אֶרֶץ חֹשֶׁךְ--לֹא אָמַרְתִּי לְזֶרַע יַעֲקֹב, תֹּהוּ בַקְּשׁוּנִי; אֲנִי יְהוָה דֹּבֵר צֶדֶק, מַגִּיד מֵישָׁרִים. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of darkness; I said not unto the seed of Jacob: 'Seek ye Me in vain'; I the LORD intone righteousness, speaking straightly.

The word for speak – דבר is in the poal form instead of piel which would be מדנר so we know this is an implied word as opposed to an intensive speaking. I think the verse is meditative. Magid Mesahrim – מגיד מישרים was the name of Yosef Karo’s angelic revelation.
And we know ‘It is a negative commandment: “not to oppress a righteous proselyte with words –
מצות לא-תעשה שלא להונות גר-צדק בדברים.”[363] The proselyte is infused with a straight spirit, a light countenance that is also the spirit of Tzedek.

Text 2-200: Isaiah 45:20-24

כ הִקָּבְצוּ וָבֹאוּ הִתְנַגְּשׁוּ יַחְדָּו, פְּלִיטֵי הַגּוֹיִם; לֹא יָדְעוּ, הַנֹּשְׂאִים אֶת-עֵץ פִּסְלָם, וּמִתְפַּלְלִים, אֶל-אֵל לֹא יוֹשִׁיעַ. 20 Assemble yourselves and come, draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations; they have no knowledge that carry the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
כא הַגִּידוּ וְהַגִּישׁוּ, אַף יִוָּעֲצוּ יַחְדָּו: מִי הִשְׁמִיעַ זֹאת מִקֶּדֶם מֵאָז הִגִּידָהּ, הֲלוֹא אֲנִי יְהוָה וְאֵין-עוֹד אֱלֹהִים מִבַּלְעָדַי--אֵל-צַדִּיק וּמוֹשִׁיעַ, אַיִן זוּלָתִי. 21 Declare ye, and bring them near, yea, let them take counsel together: Who hath announced this from ancient time, and declared it of old? Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside Me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me.
כב פְּנוּ-אֵלַי וְהִוָּשְׁעוּ, כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ: כִּי אֲנִי-אֵל, וְאֵין עוֹד. 22 Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.
כג בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי--יָצָא מִפִּי צְדָקָה דָּבָר, וְלֹא יָשׁוּב: כִּי-לִי תִּכְרַע כָּל-בֶּרֶךְ, תִּשָּׁבַע כָּל-לָשׁוֹן. 23 By Myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from My mouth in righteousness, and shall not come back, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
כד אַךְ בַּיהוָה לִי אָמַר, צְדָקוֹת וָעֹז; עָדָיו יָבוֹא וְיֵבֹשׁוּ, כֹּל הַנֶּחֱרִים בּוֹ. 24 Only in the LORD, shall one say of Me, is victory and strength; even to Him shall men come in confusion, all they that were incensed against Him.
כה בַּיהוָה יִצְדְּקוּ וְיִתְהַלְלוּ, כָּל-זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Text 2-201: Isaiah 45:22

22. Turn to me – פנו-אלי, and be saved – והשעו, all the ends of the earth – כל-עפסי-ארץ; for I am God, and there is no one else – כי אני-אל ואין עוד.

Isaiah prophesies to give meaning to the suffering of his people. Whether they are desolate mothers who have lost their husbands in war, forced eunuchs who can no longer have children, or those, invaders taken and killed in captivity—he offers hope that their lives are precious and still having meaning.

Text 2-202: Isaiah 56:4-5 Eunuchs that Guard Shabbat
Do not let the son of the stranger, who has joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord has completely separated me from his people; nor let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

Thus said the Lord to the eunuchs that guarded my days of rest (shabbatot)[364]
and chose that which I desired and clung fast in my covenant.

I will give to them in my house and in my walls a hand and good name
(yad vshem tov – יד ושם תוב),[365] from the sons and daughters, an eternal name I will give to him that which shall not be cut off.[366]

Isaiah offers hope to those captive without chance for motherhood or to those who have lost their husbands in war:[367]

Text 2-203: Barren Women
Sing, O barren, you who did not bear, break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not labor with child.

More are the children of the widowed than the children of the married wife, says the Lord. Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations; spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall possess nations, and make desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded; for you shall not be put to shame; for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood any more. For your Maker is your husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and your redeemer the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the earth.

Those who serve the Lord whether they are eunuchs, children of strangers, widows, or those in captivity, their lives are still precious unto G-d. “A hand and a good name”, Yad Vshem is the name of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. Like those in captivity, eunuchs, widows, and often children of strangers, Holocaust victims have been cut off from propagation, but Hashem gives forth his hand and bestows a good name, their hands in turn build up the house of Israel and a place for us all in the world to come.

Text 2-204: Isaiah 64:24-25
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

When we follow the way of the Lord, before we even call, the answer shall be laid before us. While we are still discussing the teachings of the Lord, we will hear the answer. Both the wolfish person and one like a lamb feed together on Torah. Though we are mighty like a lion, we eat with humility. Our enemies have only dust since they will not eat the food of humility. Wolf, lamb, lion, nor serpent will hurt or destroy in ‘My holy mountain, says the Lord’.

Text 2-205: Isaiah 66:22-23
For as the new heaven and the new earth
that I will make shall endure by My will, says the Lord
so shall your seed and your name endure.
And new moon after new moon, and Sabbath after Sabbath,
all flesh shall present themselves before me.
(Isaiah 66:22-23)

Isaiah’s final words are a vision of the world to come. Our relationship with G-d today forms the paradigm of what will be again. Instead of transcending completely into a spiritual dimension, we appear in gratitude, worship, and thankfulness before the King of kings in all the weeks and months of our lives. Our world is a reflection of the best of all worlds. Time enhances our relationship with Hashem.

Isaiah sees himself as a servant, at times despised.[368]

Text 2-206: Isaiah 49
1. Listen, O islands, to me; and listen, you people, from far; The Lord has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has he made mention of my name.
2. And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver he hid me.
3. And said to me, You are my servant, as Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

The servant is Isaiah who fulfils the name Israel.

4. Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
5. (K) And now, says the Lord who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, that Israel should be gathered to him, and I was honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
6. (K) And he says, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to reestablish the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the guarded of Israel; I will also give you to illuminate nations to be my Isaiah – My salvation until the end of the earth.

Here is a play on the name of Isaiah alluding to salvation that G-d will use him to rescue the world.

7. Thus says the Lord, the redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation loathes, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord who is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.
8. Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, and to assign desolate inheritances to their owners.
9. That you may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to those who are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
10. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun strike them; for he who has mercy on them shall lead them, by the springs of water shall he guide them.
11. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be raised up.
12. Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
13. (K) Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing O mountains; for the Lord has comforted his people, and has mercy upon his afflicted.
14. But Zion says, The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.
15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, even they may forget, but I will not forget you.
16. Behold, I have carved you upon the palms of my hands – הן על-כפים חקתיך; your walls are continually before me – חומתיך נגדי תמיד.

Chukat – carved like a constitution that I have established for my action.

17. Your children shall make haste; your destroyers and those who destroyed you shall go away from you.
18. Lift up your eyes around, and behold; all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live, says the Lord, you shall surely dress yourself with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on you, as a bride does.
19. For your destruction and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, shall now be too narrow for your inhabitants; and those who swallowed you up shall be far away.
20. The children who were taken away from you shall say again in your ears, The place is too narrow for me; give me room to dwell in.
21. Then shall you say in your heart, Who has borne me these, seeing I have lost my children, a solitary, an exile, and a wanderer to and fro? and who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been?
22. Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
23. And kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers; they shall bow down to you with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am the Lord; for those who wait for me shall not be ashamed.
24. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captive of the victorious rescued?
25. But thus says the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be saved; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.
26. And I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am your savior and your redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Text 2-207: Man despises Isaiah, but kings and princes shall prostrate before the Lord
And now, says the Lord who formed me from the womb to be His servant,[369] to bring Jacob back to Him, that Israel should be gathered to Him, and I was honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.

And He says, “It is an easy thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I am also giving you as a light unto the nations to be My salvation - ישועתי (my Isaiah - יש) until the end of the earth.” Thus says the Lord, the redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation loathes, to a servant of rulers, “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord who is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

What does it mean for Israel “to become My salvation”? Who will Israel rescue and from what? A nation that cannot save itself will save others. This is also the ‘good news’, a people that is diminishing will aid other nations. A self-sacrificing nation will bring its wisdom to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah becomes a universal light unto the nations because each nation hears her own message from his teachings. This is also the quality of a great teacher or speaker. Also G-d reveals Himself uniquely to each individual; we each hear a personal message. As one studies Isaiah deeper and deeper one realizes the multiple levels of interpretation of the prophesies. For example, Isaiah refers to the servant as Jacob or Israel, teaching us that we can accept suffering and transform our lives. Isaiah prophesies that there is no one besides G-d, there was no one before or after.

In Chapter 53, Isaiah displays his passion for the tragic losses of his brethren, taken into captivity or killed. Now the servants’ captivity and torture are the result of the sins of their brethren. The innocent servant carries the burden of his brother’s mistakes. While his suffering is the will of G-d he helps the house of Israel return to G-d. These are the words of consolation to the servant. They are words to shock the survivors to return wholly unto G-d.

Text 2-208: The Gift
The gift from God that Isaiah teaches us in ch. 53 is that suffering is not in vain. Even a person in an invalid condition that cannot make active changes can in their suffering help others and bring the world to redemption. Suffering is not a vanity. For 460 years, the Israelites were decreed to suffer in Egypt, but that suffering led to their redemption. This is the Torah principle behind ch. 53. Earlier we find that Ezekiel spoke of the “dry bones” of the people, their suffering in exile. His focus was on the redemption force of Hashem to renew their sinews and flesh and give them hope again. Isaiah’s focus is that even if the suffering should take us down to death, God forbid that the suffering will lift or remove the sins of the others that there is a service in our life despite any condition. Moreover in ch. 53, the servant does not die because suffering lends itself to immortality in the service of others.

Centuries later Isaiah 53 would became a mystical doctrine revealing the ability of the suffering of saints to improve the lot of mankind. This is a way to explain the suffering of the innocent, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.” Christianity would turn Isaiah 53 into the paradigm of a divine messiah. Judaism would develop the concept of the Tzadik who descends into the plight of his brethren to lift them out of their mire.

A Tzadik can help trapped souls in this world by an extraordinary means. For example, the Arizal, Rabbi Isaac Luria, once encountered a giant frog possessing the soul of a religious Jew. The frog explained that he had this form because he had given up the commandment of the washing of the hands – n’tilat yadayim.[370] This led to his downfall and the forsaking of other commandments. The Ari was able to rescue him by reciting kavanot, mystical meditations that nullified the source sin of his bundle. In another case, Rabbi Nachman chose the site of a pogrom to die and be buried to help repair the damaged souls and sparks in an area still lost in horror. A mystical tradition holds that Rabbi Akiva’s students, his disciples, were gilgulim, transmigrated souls of the brothers of Joseph. There is a kabbalistic opinion that at the time of their deaths, G-d finally forgave the sin of selling Joseph into slavery. In other cases, Hasidim depend on their tzaddikim to pull them from the ways of sin.

(Check Scholem mystical insights , Shechinah chapter on Akiva stmt that this would not have been said except that it is in the bible.)
The paradigm is Isaiah’s suffering servant who bore the errors of the world stoically, and in this way helped people see the errors of their ways and to redeem themselves. Although the word atonement – capar – כפר does not occur in the text, as only G-d nullifies the sins of the world;[371] the servant lifts – נשא away the transgressions of the sinners, so that they can see themselves clearly, and find their good points once again.[372] Guilt or regret is the mechanism here. Those who feel their deeds have caused the suffering of this innocent individual will regret their sins and return to G-d.

Isaiah 53 is in the past tense. Some commentators believe this is the prophet experiencing the vision of the future and recording it in past tense. “To the mind of the speaker, what he depicts is so vivid and sure of occurrence that he sets it forth as already having taken place.”[373] Nevertheless, meditative experiences of the future do not happen this way. The operative word is ‘will’ and the prophet would have recorded his vision with this word. Future visions are more difficult receive, since they are subject to man’s free will. Instead, they often serve to bring one to repentance as in the case of Jonah’s prophecy for the people of Nineveh.

Prophets have visions of the past to fill in the meaning of the present. Most visions are of the past and present. They are often more meaningful than visions of the future. These visions testify to G-d’s intrinsic involvement in the world and the significance of tragedy as well as miracles. Occasionally in a rush, a prophet may record his vision in the present tense since he has just seen it. Past and present visions are tools sent by G-d to help comprehend and understand the hand of G-d. This is especially common in tragedy when the meaning of an event becomes clear only years later when a positive outcome occurs. For example, the birth of the state of Israel gives meaning to the ashes of the Holocaust.

Text 2-209: Isaiah 52:1-15
1. Awake, awake; put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; from now on there shall no more come to you the uncircumcised and the unclean.
2. (K) Shake yourself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose yourself from the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
3. For thus says the Lord, You have sold yourselves for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.
4. For thus says the Lord God, My people went down the first time to Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
5. Now therefore, what have I here, says the Lord, that my people is taken away for nothing? Those who rule over them howl, says the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.
6. Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am he who speaks; behold, here I am.
7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace; who brings good news of good, who announces salvation; who says to Zion, Your God reigns!
8. The voice of your watchmen is heard; together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord returns to Zion.
9. Break forth into joy, sing together, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10. The Lord has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11. Depart, depart, go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from her midst; be clean, you who bear the utensils of the Lord.
12. For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
13. Behold, my servant shall be enlightened – ישכיל, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14. As many were astonished at you; saying His appearance is too marred to be that of a man, and his forms to be that of the sons of men;
15. So shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they perceive.

Isaiah 52:13 is the beginning of Isaiah 53. Perhaps to keep Isaiah 53 to twelve verses was the motivation of the partitioning.

Service and study of the teachings of the Lord lead to intellectual enlightenment. This is a sharpening of the intellect that comes from God as a gift for studying his word. Memorization of the word of God sharpens the mind to memorize more. The servant brings even gentile kings to hear and perceive the Lord.

The arid land (Isaiah 53:2) is a place devoid of the spirit. In the deserts of the world we are forced to grow deeper roots. We are forced to reach out further for God. The servant grows more in the desert and rejoices more in the oasis.

Text 2-210: Isaiah 53:1-12

1. Who would have believed (trusted – האמין) our news (לשמעתנו) and the arm (וזרוע) of G-d, upon whom is it revealed?

2. For (And on – ויעל) like a tender plant (like a baby/suckling – כיונק) before Him and like a root from an arid land (from an arid land – ציה מארץ)[374] (thirst – צמא, grew – צמח, are alluded to by ציה – thirst in an arid land growing us through the surface), not of favorable form (לא-תאר – Not a form) was he and not of splendid-honor (הדר) and he appeared was not a ‘sight to behold’ (מראה – appearance) but desirable was he (ונהמדהו)

3. Despised (נבזה – despicable) and forsaken (וחדל אישים – ceased from mankind), a hurting man (מכאבות – pain suffering),[375] knowing illness (וידוע חלי), and hiding his face (וכמסתר פנים – and like hide face[376]) from us (ממנו) he was despised and of no importance (ולא חשבנהו – and we did not value him).

4. Certainly (אכן) our sickness (הלינו – we were sick) he carried, and our pains he bore them (סבלם), and we thought him stricken, defeated by G-d and afflicted.

5. And he was wounded (מחלל – pierced) from our transgressions (careless errors), broken (מדכא – crushed, break) from our iniquities (evil ways), our whole (שלומנו – our peace) chastisement (מוסר – reprimand, devotion) is upon him and in his friendship we are healed.

6. All we like sheep have gone astray (תע ינו – strayed themselves) each to his own path we have turned away and G-d caused harm (הפגיע) in him for the iniquity of us all.

7. Harassed was he (נגש – pressed, harassed, tired out, wearied nifal) and he was oppressed (נענה – humbled, forced down, afflicted) and did not open his mouth with a cry (יובל – cry, shout) like a lamb (שה – lamb) going to its slaughter (טבח – slaughter) and like a ewe (רחל – ewe, sheep) before her shearer (גזז – shear, mow, cut off) mute (נאלמה – mute, dumb) and will not open her mouth.

8. From dominion (עצר – restrain, bind, stop, rulership) and from judgment he was taken away,
and in his generation who would speak up for him (ישוחח – will converse, speak) for he was cut from the land of the living because of the transgression of my people striking (נגע – blow, leprosy) him.

9. And they made his grave among the wicked, and his tomb among the rich; although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10. Yet, the Lord desired חפץ to crush דכאו him by sickness; if his soul shall consider it a reward for guilt, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the purpose of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11. He shall see the labor of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge did my servant justify the righteous One to the many, and did bear (Yisbol – bore) their iniquities.

12. Therefore I will give him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the plunder with the strong; because he has poured out his soul to death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he carried (nasei - lifted) the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53:10 is often mistranslated as “it pleased the Lord ....” Quite amazing to realize is that everything that happens to the servant is by the desire of G-d even harm, has vshalom.[377] The mercy of G-d requires that the innocent may be consoled in their suffering in the service of G-d; yet G-d does not desire the death of the innocent.[378]

This chapter is unique in the Tanach. While demphasized today in Judaism, it was certainly prominent at the birth of Christianity.[379] The lesson here is that the suffering servant by not asserting his rights when others are knocking him down may in the end help elevate the souls of others. He is the servant of G-d, because he does not assert himself and accuse his own people. This is the great gift. Those witnessing the suffering may achieve the same merit if they are able to repent and save the servant. Redeeming one in captivity is a great mitzvah—accomplishing through joy, what here is accomplished through suffering.

He hides his face from us (3) so that we should not feel embarrassed because of the suffering we caused him. The phrase “Nasei Avon, Pesha, vHatah, v Nakei” he lifts away iniquity (12), transgression, and sin and cleanses us.[380] Removal of sin by ‘Nasei’ is a lifting of sin away by raising up our spirits. The priests ‘Nasei’—carried the ark and the spirit of Israel was uplifted. Similarly the servant carries our transgressions when we realize how our actions led to his suffering. First because of our errors he is wounded (5), then he carries our sin (12), and we are cleansed. This is a return to G-d by making tshuvah or repentance in the heart. This is not atonement – caper or payment by “blood sacrifice”.

Text 2-211: Numbers 18:22-23
And the children of Israel shall not come near the Appointed Tent lest they bear – לשאת sin – חטא and die. And Levi shall serve in the service of the Festival Tent and they shall carry – ישאו their iniquity –עונם , a statute forever and to your generations.

Carrying iniquity here is in the same context as Isaiah 53. As all brethren are connected, the sin of one affects another. This does not mean that iniquity is transferred; yet the Levites still have the burden to present repentance before Hashem for the iniquity of all Israel. Witnessing the burden that the Levites bear may also bring the house of Israel into repentance. Someone taking responsibility for ones faults can lead one to tshuvah. Also a parent takes responsibility for the actions of his children and they see and repent.

On the other hand, the Hebrew word for atonement, “Kippur”, removes sins by compensation or reparation.[381] The original word, caper – כפר, is more a gift to assuage a victim of sin, than a mystical sacrifice to G-d. The term, cofer – כפר, refers to denying the truth. In a sense, G-d denies the sins of men when he accepts their repentance. This is the traditional word for atonement as in “Yom Kippur.” We must repent for doing the sin, return to G-d, and avoid falling into these ways again to achieve this level of atonement. Fasting is part of the day and is like the ransoming of our own flesh to G-d.[382], [383]

Text 2-212: No ransom for a murderer
Moreover, you shall take no ransom – כפר for the life of a murderer,
who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.

On the other hand the Christian idea of sin transference to the divine messiah is based on passages like the following:[384]

Text 2-213: Goat Wandering Free into the Wilderness
And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat,
and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel,
and all their transgressions in all their sins,
giving – נתן them upon the head of the goat,
and shall send him away by the hand of an appointed man into the wilderness;

And the goat shall bear – נשא upon him all their iniquities to a land not inhabited;
and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

While the process seems more a symbolic gesture than a reality, the simple text of the Torah implies more.[385] The ritual is a process to comfort the people. Props, words, imagination magnify the reality of the process. Ultimately, G-d has forgiven the people already. Aaron’s ‘play’ is a primitive reflection of the heavenly court, cloaked in the symbols of a pagan generation.

The sacrifice played a somewhat different role in Judaism. [386] The sacrifice was not the means to atonement but an event of altruism to rise out of the shell of sin. Sefer HaHinukh, a foundational text in Torah education, states:

Text 2-214: Sefer HaHinukh on Sacrifice
...Have I not emphasized, time and again, that the inclinations of the heart depend upon actions. Therefore, when a man sins, he cannot cleanse his heart merely by uttering, between himself and the wall, “I have sinned and will never repeat it.” Only by doing an overt act to atone for his sin, by taking rams from his enclosures and troubling himself to bring them to the Temple, give them to the priest, and perform the entire rite as prescribed for sin offerings, only then, will he impress upon his soul, the extent of the evil of his sin, and will take measures to avoid it in the future. We may add also that, in keeping with this principle, the Lord commanded us always to offer up those things that the human heart greatly desires such as meat, wine, and meal, so that the heart would be aroused by the constant preoccupation with them...

Furthermore, the human heart is more deeply touched by animal sacrifices due to the great similarity between man and animal. The only respect in which the two differ is that man possesses intelligence and the animal does not. When man sins, intelligence forsakes him at that moment and he enters the category of animal. Man is therefore commanded to bring a body most resembling himself, to the place chosen for the elevation of the intelligence (namely, the Temple), and have it burned and completely annihilated there... Thereby, it will be impressed upon his heart that his former state of body without intelligence has been completely destroyed. He can rejoice then with the intelligent soul granted to him by the Lord, which is eternal and is the means whereby the body comes to life again after death, on condition that he follows the soul’s advice and avoids sin.

When man imprints upon this symbolic representation, he will be more likely to avoid sin. And the Torah has promised, that when the sinner has done this great action and has fully repented, the sin committed through error will be forgiven. However, in sins committed intentionally and presumptuously, this symbolic action is inadequate, because he who sins intentionally will not be moved by symbols. For such as he — “a whip for the bodies of fools.”[387]

And here is Rabbi Nachman’s explanation for the verse from Leviticus 4:29, “He shall press his hands on the animal... then slaughter it...”[388] This is one of the unexplained laws, the Hukot. That it is efficacious must be the case. The placing of hands on the head of the animal was to identify with the animal. The slaughter is really a self-slaughter, a sacrifice of our base instinct that led us into sin, i.e. anger, lack of patience, despair, arrogance, etc. There is a primal relationship here as well. The smoke of the ‘olah served a special purpose during prayer. The other sacrifices are all eaten and do not have the same hand to head contact as the ‘olah, and thus need less explanation.

Text 2-215: Likutey Moharan on Sacrifice
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit”—the breaking of the illusion <is achieved through> the sacrifices. This is the concept of pressing on the sacrifice. For sacrifices are brought from animals, which correspond to the power of imagination, because an animal also has the power of imagination. Now, when a person follows the imagination of his heart—namely, after his desires, God forbid, which come from the power of imagination—this is literally animalistic behavior. For an animal also has the power of imagination.

Therefore, when a person sins, heaven forfend—with all sins coming from the imagination, from where all desires are drawn—he consequently has to bring an animal as a sacrifice. And he has to press his hands on it and at that time confess all his sins over the sacrifice. By doing this, all the sins and all the power of the imagination are drawn onto the animal, which corresponds to imagination, as explained. Afterwards, immediately after the pressing, the slaughter. The animal is slaughtered as a sacrifice, and through this the imagination is subdued and broken.

In Isaiah 53, the Assyrians or Babylonians have taken an innocent one of Israel, into captivity and killed him. Is the innocent servant to be compared to an animal? Is this a sacrifice brought with a contrite heart, for atonement? Instead, Isaiah 53 is about consolation and the meaning of suffering. Isaiah 53 is news to the house of Israel, that the errors of her ways betrayed an innocent. Isaiah 53 is news for the innocent that they do not suffer and die in vain.

2.10.6 Isaiah 56 and God’s Strangers

Text 2-216: Isaiah 56
1. Thus says the Lord, Keep judgment, and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2. Happy is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
3. Do not let the son of the stranger, who has joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord has completely separated me from his people; nor let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4. For thus says the Lord to the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5. And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6. Also the sons of the stranger, who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it, and all who hold fast to my covenant;
7. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
8. The Lord God who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those who are already gathered.
9. All you beasts of the field, come into the forest, to devour all the beasts that are there.
10. His watchmen are blind; they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11. Yes, the dogs are greedy, they never have enough, and they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
12. Come, they say, I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.


Eunuchs are given the House of the Lord in Isaiah 56:5, while Deuteronomy 23:2 they are not part of Klal Hashem, the community of the Lord. Aliens and strangers who commit to the commandments are given a greater reward then those born Jewish in Isaiah 56:6. Isaiah almost stands as a refutation of Deuteronomy in these instances. One wonders if Isaiah was contemporary with Deuteronomy.


Text 2-217: Isaiah 56

à  ëÌÉä àÈîÇø éÀäåÈä, ùÑÄîÀøåÌ îÄùÑÀôÌÈè åÇòÂùÒåÌ öÀãÈ÷Èä:  ëÌÄé-÷ÀøåÉáÈä éÀùÑåÌòÈúÄé ìÈáåÉà, åÀöÄãÀ÷ÈúÄé ìÀäÄâÌÈìåÉú.
1 Thus saith the LORD: Keep ye justice, and do righteousness; for My salvation is near to come, and My favour to be revealed.
á  àÇùÑÀøÅé àÁðåÉùÑ éÇòÂùÒÆä-æÌÉàú, åÌáÆï-àÈãÈí éÇçÂæÄé÷ áÌÈäÌ--ùÑÉîÅø ùÑÇáÌÈú îÅçÇìÌÀìåÉ, åÀùÑÉîÅø éÈãåÉ îÅòÂùÒåÉú ëÌÈì-øÈò.  {ñ}
2 Happy is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that holdeth fast by it: that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. {S}
â  åÀàÇì-éÉàîÇø áÌÆï-äÇðÌÅëÈø, äÇðÌÄìÀåÈä àÆì-éÀäåÈä ìÅàîÉø, äÇáÀãÌÅì éÇáÀãÌÄéìÇðÄé éÀäåÈä, îÅòÇì òÇîÌåÉ; åÀàÇì-éÉàîÇø äÇñÌÈøÄéñ, äÅï àÂðÄé òÅõ éÈáÅùÑ.  {ô}
3 Neither let the alien, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying: 'The LORD will surely separate me from His people'; neither let the eunuch say: 'Behold, I am a dry tree.' {P}
ã  ëÌÄé-ëÉä àÈîÇø éÀäåÈä, ìÇñÌÈøÄéñÄéí àÂùÑÆø éÄùÑÀîÀøåÌ àÆú-ùÑÇáÌÀúåÉúÇé, åÌáÈçÂøåÌ, áÌÇàÂùÑÆø çÈôÈöÀúÌÄé; åÌîÇçÂæÄé÷Äéí, áÌÄáÀøÄéúÄé.
4 For thus saith the LORD concerning the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and hold fast by My covenant:
ä  åÀðÈúÇúÌÄé ìÈäÆí áÌÀáÅéúÄé åÌáÀçåÉîÉúÇé, éÈã åÈùÑÅí--èåÉá, îÄáÌÈðÄéí åÌîÄáÌÈðåÉú:  ùÑÅí òåÉìÈí àÆúÌÆï-ìåÉ, àÂùÑÆø ìÉà éÄëÌÈøÅú.  {ñ}
5 Even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall not be cut off. {S}
å  åÌáÀðÅé äÇðÌÅëÈø, äÇðÌÄìÀåÄéí òÇì-éÀäåÈä ìÀùÑÈøÀúåÉ, åÌìÀàÇäÂáÈä àÆú-ùÑÅí éÀäåÈä, ìÄäÀéåÉú ìåÉ ìÇòÂáÈãÄéí--ëÌÈì-ùÑÉîÅø ùÑÇáÌÈú îÅçÇìÌÀìåÉ, åÌîÇçÂæÄé÷Äéí áÌÄáÀøÄéúÄé.
6 Also the aliens, that join themselves to the LORD, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and holdeth fast by My covenant:
æ  åÇäÂáÄéàåÉúÄéí àÆì-äÇø ÷ÈãÀùÑÄé, åÀùÒÄîÌÇçÀúÌÄéí áÌÀáÅéú úÌÀôÄìÌÈúÄé--òåÉìÉúÅéäÆí åÀæÄáÀçÅéäÆí ìÀøÈöåÉï, òÇì-îÄæÀáÌÀçÄé:  ëÌÄé áÅéúÄé, áÌÅéú-úÌÀôÄìÌÈä éÄ÷ÌÈøÅà ìÀëÈì-äÈòÇîÌÄéí.
7 Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
ç  ðÀàËí àÂãÉðÈé éÀäåÄä, îÀ÷ÇáÌÅõ ðÄãÀçÅé éÄùÒÀøÈàÅì:  òåÉã àÂ÷ÇáÌÅõ òÈìÈéå, ìÀðÄ÷ÀáÌÈöÈéå.
8 Saith the Lord GOD who gathereth the dispersed of Israel: Yet I will gather others to him, beside those of him that are gathered.
è  ëÌÉì, çÇéÀúåÉ ùÒÈãÈé; àÅúÈéåÌ, ìÆàÁëÉì ëÌÈì-çÇéÀúåÉ áÌÇéÌÈòÇø.  {ô}
9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. {P}
é  öÉôÈå òÄåÀøÄéí ëÌËìÌÈí, ìÉà éÈãÈòåÌ--ëÌËìÌÈí ëÌÀìÈáÄéí àÄìÌÀîÄéí, ìÉà éåÌëÀìåÌ ìÄðÀáÌÉçÇ; äÉæÄéí, ùÑÉëÀáÄéí, àÉäÂáÅé, ìÈðåÌí.
10 His watchmen are all blind, without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; raving, lying down, loving to slumber.
éà  åÀäÇëÌÀìÈáÄéí òÇæÌÅé-ðÆôÆùÑ, ìÉà éÈãÀòåÌ ùÒÈáÀòÈä, åÀäÅîÌÈä øÉòÄéí, ìÉà éÈãÀòåÌ äÈáÄéï; ëÌËìÌÈí ìÀãÇøÀëÌÈí ôÌÈðåÌ, àÄéùÑ ìÀáÄöÀòåÉ îÄ÷ÌÈöÅäåÌ.
11 Yea, the dogs are greedy, they know not when they have enough; and these are shepherds that cannot understand; they all turn to their own way, each one to his gain, one and all.
éá  àÅúÈéåÌ àÆ÷ÀçÈä-éÇéÄï, åÀðÄñÀáÌÀàÈä ùÑÅëÈø; åÀäÈéÈä ëÈæÆä éåÉí îÈçÈø, âÌÈãåÉì éÆúÆø îÀàÉã.
12 'Come ye, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.'

2.10.7 Messiah


G-d told Samuel that the people have betrayed Me in electing to have a mortal king like the other nations.[389]

Text 2-218: Samuel 1:8:6-8
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works that they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, how they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also to you.

Israel’s geographic position made it a pawn between invading armies of the South and North regularly. Israel would vacillate between settlements vulnerable to invasion and a nomadic life style that would be difficult to target. Kingship would change this. Instead the people would centralize their resources to defend their land against invading armies. In Isaiah’s time Israel is in captivity in Babylonia, but the Medes would one day conquer them, permitting a Persian King to serve in the role of messiah:

Text 2-219: Isaiah 45:1-6: Cyrus is a Messiah
Thus says the Lord to his anointed – משיח, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him doors and gates; and the gates shall not be closed; I will go before you, and make the hilly places level; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my elect, I have called you by your name; I have surnamed you, though you have not known me. I am the Lord, and there is no one else, there is no God beside me; I girded you, though you have not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is no one else.[390]

In numerous passages, Isaiah teaches that G-d is our redeemer and savior. G-d has an open channel with his children; there is no mediator. There is no one else beside him in heaven. These verses dissolve not only pagan concepts, but also those of Trinitarians.

Text 2-220: Lord is our Savior
ISA 43:3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Sheba for thee.

ISA 43:10. You are my witnesses, said the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
ISA 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.
ISA 43:12. I have declared, and have saved, and I have proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; therefore you are my witnesses, said the Lord, that I am God.
ISA 43:13. Yes, from the first I am he; and there is none who can deliver from my hand; I will work, and who shall reverse it?

ISA 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.
ISA 48:17 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;
ISA 49:26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Savior – מושיעך and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Isaiah’s intention is to show that the people of Israel can turn to G-d directly as their savior. Isaiah looked towards Cyrus as the King Messiah that would enable Israel to return home.[391]

Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;...

Ezra confirms Cyrus’s messianic qualities in Chapter 1:

1. And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he issued a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying:
2. Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, he is the God, which is in Jerusalem.
4. And whoever remains in any place where he sojourns, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
5. Then rose up the chiefs of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all those whose spirit God had stirred to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.
6. And all those who were around them strengthened their hands with utensils of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
7. Also Cyrus the king brought forth the utensils of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Jerusalem, and had them put in the house of his gods;
8. And Cyrus king of Persia brought them forth, by the hand of Mithredath, the treasurer, and counted them to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
9. And this is the number of them: thirty basins of gold, one thousand basins of silver, twenty nine knives,
10. Thirty bowls of gold, silver bowls of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other utensils one thousand.
11. All the utensils of gold and of silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar brought up when the exiles were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

While other cultures equated their kings with gods or sons of gods, Judaism saw their leaders as human beings. The prophet hears the voice of G-d calling to him as a ‘son’.

Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my Torah; but let your heart keep my commandments;
Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of your life shall be many.

To be a child of G-d is to be so enthused with His spirit that even ones name will become a testimony to His greatness.

Text 2-221: Isaiah 9:5-6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty One, Everlasting Father, Officer of Peace.

Isaiah calls a great king who will be born in Israel by these names. The phrase El Gibor means ‘mighty one or ‘strong one’. El is not a proper Name of God as is the Name Elohim.[392] Similarly, Adonee means ‘sir’ in a greeting while Adonay is the Name of God. The phrase Sar Shalom – שר שלום means Officer of Peace. A Sar is an officer, a leader, a general. Sar does not infer a prince – נסיך and is often mistranslated.

Centuries later, the idea of messiah would intertwine fully with the notion of savior. Some of the confusion stems from the sounds of the words, which are similar. Linguistically savior in Hebrew is moshiah – מושיע and anointed is moshiach – משיח. The words have different roots. Nevertheless, the similar sounds of the words stem from the common letters, Shin and Yod – שי. The roots of the words, however are shai – שיעand shach – שיח having different origins. The messiah is originally a king who is an agent of G-d enabling the people to return to their land and live freely. Yet, G-d is our redeemer, the source power behind all agents and there is only One.


2.10.8 Destroyer


Text 2-222: Isaiah 54:16: Creation of the Destroyer
I have created the metal worker who blows upon the coals in the fire, and produces an instrument for his work; and I have created the destroyer – משחית to nullify – לחבל.

The destroyer too is a servant of G-d and nullifies what has gone wrong in the world. Destruction is a necessary aspect for growth. The destruction of ideas, beliefs, products and writings leads to new ideas and improved beliefs, products, and writings. Often starting over enables us to better form a product than continuing to push what we already have. The destroyer pushes us anew to create.

2.10.9 Wizards


Text 2-223: Isaiah 8:19-20
And when they shall say to you, consult the mediums, and the wizards that chirp, and that mutter: shall not a people seek their God? Surely they will speak according to this word, which has no dawn – שחר.

The word for dawn is Shachar. To the words of wizards there is no dawn for they are endless in darkness.

2.10.10 Transgression


Text 2-224: Isaiah 48:1,8-9
1. Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and have come forth from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.
...
8. You did not hear, you did not know; nor from old was your ear not opened for I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the belly.
9. For my name’s sake will I defer my anger, and for my praise will I refrain for you, that I cut you not off.

In 48:1, Isaiah refers to Israel as Jacob since at this time her behavior was not so honorable. Again Isaiah is referring to a particular time and situation that led to the Babylonian exile. The word in Isaiah 48:8 is belly and not womb, and Isaiah being a prophetic poet chose his words deliberately. I corrected the translation.

Rahum, the word for womb also means mercy! However, Beten suggests that folks at this time were born from a belly which when hungry rules the human being! Of course Isaiah is very metaphorical and he is suggesting this is the way that folks lived at this time and that is why they were transgressors. Isaiah's metaphor is that the Belly tries to rule over man with its grumbling and desires. When is the day that we conquer the Belly? This is the Day of Atonement when we fast and prove that our righteousness rules over our transgressions the womb rules over the belly. We cannot blindly apply Isaiah's words to all generations and say that Israel is always wicked, has vshalom. One must understand the prophets in the context of when they are speaking.

The tomb of Isaiah is located in Northern Israel off of route 899. Isaiah was a light unto all nations. At the tomb of Isaiah:[393]

Meditation 2-10: Tomb of Isaiah – July 10th 2009
As one approaches there are a few trees with a marker, but the burial site is further up and to the right. “Is it not better to have had some of my teachings distorted than not to have reached the masses? For I have always known that there is only One god and that no man could ever stand in that place. Chapter 53 has always referred to the House of Israel who has served to elevate the world even in Her suffering. Cyrus was the messiah of my time. I have cared for all humanity as servant of the One who cares for all the world.”

2.11 Jeremiah – Y’rmeahu

Jeremiah was from a priestly family of the Southern Kingdom. ‘G-d chose him to be a prophet even while he was still in the womb,’ but he was reluctant to accept this calling because he lived in a rural province and felt himself a simple man.

Text 2-225: Jeremiah 8:8
ח אֵיכָה תֹאמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אֲנַחְנוּ, וְתוֹרַת יְהוָה אִתָּנוּ; אָכֵן הִנֵּה לַשֶּׁקֶר עָשָׂה, עֵט שֶׁקֶר סֹפְרִים. 8. How dare you say: ‘We are wise, and the Torah of the LORD is with us.’ Aha behold! For the lie you have made, scribes falsified with the pen.
ט הֹבִשׁוּ חֲכָמִים, חַתּוּ וַיִּלָּכֵדוּ; הִנֵּה בִדְבַר-יְהוָה מָאָסוּ, וְחָכְמַת מֶה לָהֶם. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; lo, they have spurned the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?
י לָכֵן אֶתֵּן אֶת-נְשֵׁיהֶם לַאֲחֵרִים, שְׂדוֹתֵיהֶם לְיוֹרְשִׁים--כִּי מִקָּטֹן וְעַד-גָּדוֹל, כֻּלֹּה בֹּצֵעַ בָּצַע: מִנָּבִיא, וְעַד-כֹּהֵן--כֻּלֹּה, עֹשֶׂה שָּׁקֶר. 10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall possess them; for from the least even unto the greatest every one is greedy for gain, from the prophet even unto the priest every one deals falsely.

Who are the wise men? Are they priests who pursued wealth instead of the priesthood? Did these priests misdirect scribes to centralize their own power? Clearly there is a concern for the misuse of scribal authority. Is Jeremiah alluding to the scroll of Deuteronomy discovered in the Temple of King Josiah during his lifetime? Deuteronomy centralized the priesthood in Jerusalem as opposed to service in a divided kingdom.[394]

Text 2-226: The Scribes

In light of the historical differentiation within the priesthood after the Exile, the forerunners of the Levitical scribes of the Second Temple are to be sought among the priesthood of the First Temple. The “scribes” to whom Jer 8:8 attributes the forerunner of Deuteronomy belonged to the same group as the priests who are said to “hold” or “handle” the (written) Torah (Jer 2:8). Jeremiah identifies these scribes with the “sages” (Jer 8:8–9). To understand the significance of that term, it is necessary to know that, in Jeremiah, the sages are a professional group alongside the priests and the prophets. The locus classicus that mentions the three groups (Jer 18:18) makes it clear that together they constituted the religious establishment. The sages, then, were scribes who, on account of their access to the written tradition, claimed superior knowledge (compare Jer 9:22–23; note the use of verbs denoting insight and knowledge in verse 23). They were the scholars of the temple.[395]


The scribes are from the priests or Levites who were scholars in the Temple.

Text 2-227: Deuteronomy 18:6-8
ו וְכִי-יָבֹא הַלֵּוִי מֵאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ, מִכָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲשֶׁר-הוּא, גָּר שָׁם; וּבָא בְּכָל-אַוַּת נַפְשׁוֹ, אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר-יִבְחַר יְהוָה. 6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourneth, and come with all the desire of his soul unto the place which the LORD shall choose;
ז וְשֵׁרֵת, בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו--כְּכָל-אֶחָיו, הַלְוִיִּם, הָעֹמְדִים שָׁם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה. 7 then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, who stand there before the LORD.
ח חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק, יֹאכֵלוּ, לְבַד מִמְכָּרָיו, עַל-הָאָבוֹת. {ס} 8 They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which is his due according to the fathers' houses. {S}

The Levites who were teachers became scribes. The stitching up of the book of Deuteronomy was also the task of a scribe. Did Jeremiah agree with the manner it was done here? Perhaps as a priest of the Southern Kingdom, he did not agree with the mannerisms of the Northern Kingdom. Perhaps he did not accept their inclusion as put forth in Deuteronomy. Or perhaps he preferred that the priests of the Northern Kingdom preserve their autonomy and did not trust the motives of the scribal authorities in Jerusalem.

Other portions of Deuteronomy also seem to diverge from the Mosaic culture. Deuteronomy discriminates in marriage partners in a manner that was unknown to Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Aesnat, Judah and Tamar and Moshe and Zipporah.[396] Nevertheless Jeremiah does not speak directly on this ‘book’ as it appeared more to be the Torah of the King.

Text 2-228: Deuteronomy 17:18-19
And when [the king] accedes to the royal throne, he shall have a copy of this Torah written for him on a scroll from before the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him and he shall read from it all his life.


Instead Jeremiah returns to ministering to his people as a rural priest and a national prophet.

Text 2-229: Jeremiah on being a Potter
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
Arise, and go down to the potter’s house and behold he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made was marred like clay in the hand of the potter:
So he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter, proposed the Lord.
Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
(Jeremiah 18:2-6)

This liturgy is said on Yom Kippur, when we remind ourselves that we are nothing before G-d and like a lump of clay, He will help shape us into what we need to be.[397] Alternatively, we may see the clay like a child and that each child may have a unique identity. When we judge all children in the same manner, there is more cheating in schools.[398] If we encourage a child to be happy with his or her own identity, the world improves. The same is with clay pots after they are removed from a kiln. If we accept them with all their features, we will have a unique pot to “dance” with during the days of our lives.[399]

Text 2-230: Jeremiah on Everyone Helping Each Other to ‘Know the Lord’
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts;
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each
his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall
all know me, from the least of them
to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity,
and I will remember their sin no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:31)

G-d is renewing his covenant with his people not changing it.[400] He is placing the law in their hearts so that they will know its delight and follow it as David writes:

Text 2-231: David’s Praise for the Precepts of our Law
The precepts of Adonai are upright, rejoicing the heart
the commandment of Adonai is lucid, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of Adonai, is pure, it endures forever;
the judgments of Adonai are true, they are righteous in unison.
More desirable than gold, even more than quantities of fine gold;
and sweeter than honey, or the drippings of honeycombs.
Even your servant is careful of them, since they guard great reward.
Errors – who can comprehend? From hidden mistakes cleanse me.
(Psalm 19:9-13)

We can remember Jeremiah as the potter prophet.

Text 2-232: Jeremiah 31:22
כב כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, עוֹד יֹאמְרוּ אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה בְּאֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה וּבְעָרָיו, בְּשׁוּבִי אֶת-שְׁבוּתָם: יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה נְוֵה-
צֶדֶק, הַר הַקֹּדֶשׁ. 22 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: yet again shall they use this speech in the land of Judah and in his cities, when I shall enable their return: ‘The LORD bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness.’

Har haKodesh alludes to Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The Neve Tzedek is the abode of G-d’s righteousness. Make a dwelling place for G-d in your heart and He will dwell within you. Similarly, on Sukkot, G-d imbues the sachak – covering on the Sukkah with the Seven Clouds of Glory, which leads to the physical manifestation of the Seven Heavens.

2.12 Ezekiel

2.12.1 Ezekiel 16

From Ezekiel 16, we learn that none of us have a noble origin and that it is only by our action and our words that we are distinguished.[401]

Text 2-233: Ezekiel 16:1-10
א  וַיְהִי דְבַר-יְהוָה, אֵלַי לֵאמֹר.
1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying:
ב  בֶּן-אָדָם, הוֹדַע אֶת-יְרוּשָׁלִַם אֶת-תּוֹעֲבֹתֶיהָ.
2 'Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,
ג  וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה-אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה, לִירוּשָׁלִַם, מְכֹרֹתַיִךְ וּמֹלְדֹתַיִךְ, מֵאֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי; אָבִיךְ הָאֱמֹרִי, וְאִמֵּךְ חִתִּית.
3 and say: Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem: Thine origin and thy nativity is of the land of the Canaanite; the Amorite was thy father, and thy mother was a Hittite.
ד  וּמוֹלְדוֹתַיִךְ, בְּיוֹם הוּלֶּדֶת אוֹתָךְ לֹא-כָרַּת שָׁרֵּךְ, וּבְמַיִם לֹא-רֻחַצְתְּ, לְמִשְׁעִי; וְהָמְלֵחַ לֹא הֻמְלַחַתְּ, וְהָחְתֵּל לֹא חֻתָּלְתְּ.
4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water for cleansing; thou was not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
ה  לֹא-חָסָה עָלַיִךְ עַיִן, לַעֲשׂוֹת לָךְ אַחַת מֵאֵלֶּה--לְחֻמְלָה עָלָיִךְ; וַתֻּשְׁלְכִי אֶל-פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה, בְּגֹעַל נַפְשֵׁךְ, בְּיוֹם, הֻלֶּדֶת אֹתָךְ.
5 No eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field in the loathsomeness of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.
ו  וָאֶעֱבֹר עָלַיִךְ וָאֶרְאֵךְ, מִתְבּוֹסֶסֶת בְּדָמָיִךְ; וָאֹמַר לָךְ בְּדָמַיִךְ חֲיִי, וָאֹמַר לָךְ בְּדָמַיִךְ חֲיִי.
6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee wallowing in thy blood, I said unto thee: In thy blood, live; yea, I said unto thee: In thy blood, live;
ז  רְבָבָה, כְּצֶמַח הַשָּׂדֶה נְתַתִּיךְ, וַתִּרְבִּי וַתִּגְדְּלִי, וַתָּבֹאִי בַּעֲדִי עֲדָיִים:  שָׁדַיִם נָכֹנוּ וּשְׂעָרֵךְ צִמֵּחַ, וְאַתְּ עֵרֹם וְעֶרְיָה.
7 I cause thee to increase, even as the growth of the field. And thou didst increase and grow up, and thou camest to excellent beauty: thy breasts were fashioned, and thy hair was grown; yet thou wast naked and bare.
ח  וָאֶעֱבֹר עָלַיִךְ וָאֶרְאֵךְ, וְהִנֵּה עִתֵּךְ עֵת דֹּדִים, וָאֶפְרֹשׂ כְּנָפִי עָלַיִךְ, וָאֲכַסֶּה עֶרְוָתֵךְ; וָאֶשָּׁבַע לָךְ וָאָבוֹא בִבְרִית אֹתָךְ, נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה--וַתִּהְיִי-לִי.
8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, and, behold, thy time was the time of love, I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness; yea, I swore unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest Mine.
ט  וָאֶרְחָצֵךְ בַּמַּיִם, וָאֶשְׁטֹף דָּמַיִךְ מֵעָלָיִךְ; וָאֲסֻכֵךְ, בַּשָּׁמֶן.
9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I cleansed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.
י  וָאַלְבִּישֵׁךְ רִקְמָה, וָאֶנְעֲלֵךְ תָּחַשׁ; וָאֶחְבְּשֵׁךְ בַּשֵּׁשׁ, וַאֲכַסֵּךְ מֶשִׁי.
10 I clothed thee also with richly woven work, and shod thee with sealskin, and I wound fine linen about thy head, and covered thee with silk.


2.12.2 Ezekiel 37-38


Text 2-234: Ezekiel 37:24

And David my servant is king over them
and there will be one shepherd for them all and in justice they will walk
and in my statutes they will guard and do them.
(Ezekiel 37:24)

Ezekiel’s vision of the return from exile demonstrates how past and future are often linked in the meditative experience. The king he sees is David, but clearly, he is referring to the future so that this cannot be. The truth is Ezekiel sees one like David who will be king over Israel. Ezekiel witnesses the vision and exclaims in the present tense, “And David my servant is king over them...” When one records a vision, this is done quickly and often in the present tense, though it be of the future. A vision of the past may also be recorded in the present. On the other hand, to record a vision of the future in past tense would be very unlikely. The prophet is speaking to his generation.

Text 2-235: Ezekiel 38:18-23
And it shall come to pass on that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel,
says the Lord God, that my fury shall be roused.
For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken,
Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
And the fishes of the sea, and the birds of the sky,
and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth,
and all the men who are upon the face of the earth, shall tremble at my presence,
and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall,
and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, says the Lord God;
every man’s sword shall be against his brother.
And I will contend with him by pestilence and by blood; and I will rain down upon him,
and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, a torrential rain,
and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
And I will be bigger and sanctify making myself
known before the eyes of great nations,
for they shall know that I am the Lord.

To be a bigger person is not to take situations personally. To sanctify oneself is to separate oneself from the mire and distinguish oneself with integrity. G-d magnified Himself during the Exodus to show that He alone is God more powerful than the gods of other nations.

2.13 Hosea – Hoshua

The entire life of Hosea is a prophetic message. From the name of his wife to the names of his children, the microcosm of Hosea’s life represents the whole house of Israel.

Text 2-236: Hosea’s Wife and Israel
HOS 1:1 The word of the LORD came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

HOS 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea,
Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.”

The prophet’s life depicts the nation of Israel. In the 6th century BC the kingdom of Israel was split between Ephraim and Judah. With Ephraim went the rest of the tribes of the North. They maintained aspects of bull worship from the religion of Baal and whored after the lifestyle of their neighbors to the North:

HOS 2:5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.

Israel went after the ways of her northern neighbors while Judah went after the ways of Torah and pursued God.

HOS 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; who conceived, and bore him a son.

Gomer was a son of Japheth in Genesis who was the father of the European peoples.[402] The sons of Gomer are Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmath. Ashkenaz is the ancestor of the German nation.[403]

Text 2-237: Hosea’s Children and the Children of Israel
HOS 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

HOS 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel.

HOS 1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And G-d said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

HOS 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their G-d, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

There were two kingdoms in the Holy Land during the time of Hosea. The first, the Northern Kingdom of Israel where Hosea resided, was composed of eleven tribes excluding Judah. The Southern Kingdom was made up of the tribe of Judah, the largest of the tribes equaling all the others put together. While the house of Judah adhered to righteousness forged in the isolation of the desert, the house of Israel became tainted with the idolatrous practices of its neighbors. Hosea prophesied God’s judgment upon the Northern Kingdom while sending a message of protection to Judah.[404]

Later in the Book of Hosea, the Lord lures Israel back from the Baalim renewing her purity in the wilderness and states the following:


Text 2-238: Hosea 2:16

יח וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם-הַהוּא נְאֻם-יְהוָה, תִּקְרְאִי אִישִׁי; וְלֹא-תִקְרְאִי-לִי עוֹד, בַּעְלִי. 18 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call Me Ishi, and shalt call Me no more Baali.

Ishi means my man as opposed to Baali meaning my master. Hosea reveals a truer relationship between husband and wife. A husband is not to Lord over his wife, but a wife looks upon him as her man. The former is idolatry; the later is the personal relationship that we have with G-d.

Text 2-239: God’s Promise to Betroth us Forever

And I will betroth you forever:
I will betroth you with righteousness and justice, and with goodness and mercy,
And I will betroth you with faithfulness,
Then you shall know the Lord.
(Hosea 2:21-22)

The Lord is like a spouse to Israel. In the Song of Songs the Lord is our Husband. Each Shabbas he sends forth the Shechinah to dwell with us and She is our Bride. We view G-d at times as masculine and at other times as feminine.

Text 2-240: On Recovery of Body and Soul
Come, let us turn back to the Lord:
He attacked, and He can heal us;
He wounded, and He can bind us up.
In two days He will make us whole again;
On the third day He will raise us up,
And we shall be whole by His favor.
Let us pursue obedience to the Lord,
And we shall become obedient.
His appearance is as sure as daybreak,
And He will come to us like rain,
Like later rain that refreshes the earth.
(Hosea 6:1-3)

The Lord is the true Healer of the world. Sometimes we cannot heal ourselves and yet another can help.[405] The Gemara brings down the story about Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai who went to visit Rabbi Chanina during his sickness. Rabbi Yochanan asked, “Are your sufferings for good.” Rabbi Chanina replied, “Not now and not in the future.” Rabbi Yochanan then extended his hand, raised up Rabbi Chanina and he was healed. Rabbi Yochanan was a healer and helped Rabbi Chanina in an area where he could not help himself. When Rabbi Yochanan was sick, Rabbi Chanina went to visit him. Rabbi Chanina asked the same question of Rabbi Yochanan who replied with the same answer. Nevertheless, Rabbi Chanina was not a healer and Rabbi Yochanan could not heal himself. Ultimately the mitzvah of Bikur Holim – visiting the sick rescues the sick with the help of G-d. With renewed health comes renewed obedience to G-d. Suffering brings Tshuvah, repentance and a return to Hashem. Our hope is renewed like the dawn of a day and rain is associated with the renewal of the Earth.

2.14 Joel – Yoel

In Kohelet, we read, “A time for war and a time for peace.” Joel tells of the exile of the Jews after the destruction of the first temple, the land being divided by lots, and the people sold into slavery. This is the time for war as G-d proclaims in Joel 4:9:

Text 2-241: Joel on the Time for War, Isaiah on the Time for Peace, and Joel on Reconciliation
Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for battle! Arouse the warriors,
Let all the fighters come and draw near!
Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruning hooks into spears.
Let even the weakling say, “I am strong.”

“The weakling feels strong because he is carrying a weapon.”[406] Yet, in Isaiah 2:4 we read:

Thus he will judge among the nations and arbitrate for the many peoples,
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks:
Nation shall not take up sword against nation;
They shall never again know war.

A third verse reconciles the two. Joel 4:16-17 reads:

And the Lord will roar from Zion, and shout aloud from Jerusalem,
So that heaven and earth tremble, but the Lord will be a shelter to His people.
And you shall know that I the Lord your G-d dwell in Zion, My holy mount.
And Jerusalem shall be holy;

Faith in the Lord balances war and peace, and brings one back to Zion. Above war and peace is Hashem’s shelter for his people at the base of Mt. Zion next to the city of Jerusalem.

Text 2-242: Joel 3
1. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;
2. And also upon the servants and upon the maidservants in those days will I pour out my spirit.
3. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
4. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the awesome day of the Lord come.
5. And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the remnant those whom the Lord shall call.

That daughters will prophecy as well as sons has always been a principle of Torah.

Joel 3:1 “And after this, I will pour my spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters will prophecy, your elders will dream dreams, yours sons will behold visions.”
והיה אחרי-כן אשפוך את-רוחי על-כל-בשר ונבאו בניכם ובנתיכם זקניכם חלמות יחלמון בחוריכם חזינות יראו.

2.15 Amos


Text 2-243: Amos 9:11, 14-15
“In that day I will raise up
The hut of David that is fallen;
I will wall up its ruins,
And close up its breaches,
And I will rebuild it as in the days of old ...
I will bring back
The exiles of My people Israel,
And they shall build the waste cities, and dwell in them,
And they shall plant vineyards, and drink their wine;
They shall also make gardens, and eat their fruit.
And I will plant them upon their land,
And they shall no more be uprooted
From the land which I have given them,”
Says the Lord, Your God.

2.16 Ovadiah


Ovadiah’s message is concise and effective. As with the message of other prophets, there is a template to the structure:

The confederacy that joined Esau will rise up and destroy him in turn. A similar story occurs with Ephraim who at one point unites against his brother Judah. Today, where is the House of Edom or the Northern Kingdom of Israel?

1. The vision of Ovadiah: Thus says the Lord God of what will become of – yhehvee - יהוה Edom; we have heard tidings from the Lord, and an ambassador has been sent among the nations, Arise! Let us rise up against her in battle!
2. Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be greatly despised.
3. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; who said in his heart, “Who shall bring me down to the ground?”
4. Though you soar aloft like the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there will I bring you down, says the Lord.
5. If thieves came to you, if robbers by night, how are you cut off!, would they not have stolen till they had enough? If the grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some grapes?
6. How Esau has been pillaged! His hidden things sought out!
7. All the men of your confederacy have driven you to the border; the men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you; those who eat your bread have laid a trap under you; there is no understanding of it.
8. Shall I not in that day, says the Lord, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the Mount of Esau?
9. And your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, so that every man from Mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.
10. For your violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.
11. On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried away his wealth, and foreigners entered his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, you were like one of them.
12. But you should not have looked in the day of your brother, in the day of his misfortune; nor should you have rejoiced over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.
13. You should not have entered the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; nor should you have been among those who looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;
14. Nor should you have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those of his who remained in the day of distress.
15. For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your reward shall return upon your own head.
16. For as you have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; indeed, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.
17. But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble, and they shall burn them and consume them; and none shall remain of the house of Esau; for the Lord has spoken it.
19. And they of the Negev shall possess the Mount of Esau; and they of the Shephelah the land of the Philistines; and they shall possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria; and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20. And this exiled host of the people of Israel, who are among the Canaanites, as far as Zarephath; and the exiles of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the Negev.
21. And saviors shall ascend Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.
ועלו מושעים בהר ציון לשפט את-הר עשו והיתה ליהוה המלוכה.

That the house of Joseph will be the flame consuming the house of Esau teaches that Moshiach ben Yoseph is intended to wage the war of Armageddon and that he will die in this war. Afterwards Moshiach ben David will rule.[407]

That saviorsמושים is in plural teaches that God worked through agents to save his people at this time. A better translation of Ovadiah 1:21, “And saviors will ascend Mt. Zion to judge Mt. Esau resulting in a Kingdom to the Lord.” The Kingdom of the Lord will include the righteous remnant of all nations.

2.17 Yonah

A joy to look forward to!

Jonah was the boy raised from the dead by Elijah the prophet.[408]

2.18 Micah

A joy to look forward to!

2.19 Nahum

A joy to look forward to!

2.20 Habakkuk


Text 2-244: Habakkuk 3:2-4
ב יְהוָה, שָׁמַעְתִּי שִׁמְעֲךָ יָרֵאתִי--יְהוָה פָּעָלְךָ בְּקֶרֶב שָׁנִים חַיֵּיהוּ, בְּקֶרֶב שָׁנִים תּוֹדִיעַ; בְּרֹגֶז, רַחֵם תִּזְכּוֹר. 2 O LORD, I have heard the report of Thee, and am afraid; O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember compassion.
ג אֱלוֹהַּ מִתֵּימָן יָבוֹא, וְקָדוֹשׁ מֵהַר-פָּארָן סֶלָה; כִּסָּה שָׁמַיִם הוֹדוֹ, וּתְהִלָּתוֹ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ. 3 God cometh from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah His glory covereth the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise.
ד וְנֹגַהּ כָּאוֹר תִּהְיֶה, קַרְנַיִם מִיָּדוֹ לוֹ; וְשָׁם, חֶבְיוֹן עֻזֹּה. 4 And a brightness appeareth as the light; rays hath He from his hand; and there is the hiding of His power.

Because in the midst of one’s years, one often falls away from Hashem while in youth and old age one is close. The right hand of G-d before the Sun emanates rays of light.[409]

2.21 Zephaniah

In Zephaniah 3:13, “The remnant of Israel shall not do evil, nor speak lies - כזב, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” The remnant of Israel will not withhold information but will be open with his neighbor like the good people of Israel today only interested in sharing what they know!

Text 2-245: Zephaniah Chapter 3
א הוֹי מֹרְאָה, וְנִגְאָלָה--הָעִיר, הַיּוֹנָה. 1 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
ב לֹא שָׁמְעָה בְּקוֹל, לֹא לָקְחָה מוּסָר; בַּיהוָה לֹא בָטָחָה, אֶל-אֱלֹהֶיהָ לֹא קָרֵבָה. 2 She hearkened not to the voice, she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD, she drew not near to her God.
ג שָׂרֶיהָ בְקִרְבָּהּ, אֲרָיוֹת שֹׁאֲגִים; שֹׁפְטֶיהָ זְאֵבֵי עֶרֶב, לֹא גָרְמוּ לַבֹּקֶר. 3 Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions; her judges are wolves of the desert, they leave not a bone for the morrow.
ד נְבִיאֶיהָ, פֹּחֲזִים, אַנְשֵׁי, בֹּגְדוֹת; כֹּהֲנֶיהָ, חִלְּלוּ-קֹדֶשׁ, חָמְסוּ, תּוֹרָה. 4 Her prophets are wanton and treacherous persons; her priests have profaned that which is holy, they have done violence to the law.
ה יְהוָה צַדִּיק בְּקִרְבָּהּ, לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה עַוְלָה; בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר מִשְׁפָּטוֹ יִתֵּן לָאוֹר, לֹא נֶעְדָּר, וְלֹא-יוֹדֵעַ עַוָּל, בֹּשֶׁת. 5 The LORD who is righteous is in the midst of her, He will not do unrighteousness; every morning doth He bring His right to light, it faileth not; but the unrighteous knoweth no shame.
ו הִכְרַתִּי גוֹיִם, נָשַׁמּוּ פִּנּוֹתָם--הֶחֱרַבְתִּי חוּצוֹתָם, מִבְּלִי עוֹבֵר; נִצְדּוּ עָרֵיהֶם מִבְּלִי-אִישׁ, מֵאֵין יוֹשֵׁב. 6 I have cut off nations, their corners are desolate; I have made their streets waste, so that none passeth by; their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant.
ז אָמַרְתִּי אַךְ-תִּירְאִי אוֹתִי, תִּקְחִי מוּסָר, וְלֹא-יִכָּרֵת מְעוֹנָהּ, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-פָּקַדְתִּי עָלֶיהָ; אָכֵן הִשְׁכִּימוּ הִשְׁחִיתוּ, כֹּל עֲלִילוֹתָם. 7 I said: 'Surely thou wilt fear Me, thou wilt receive correction; so her dwelling shall not be cut off, despite all that I have visited upon her'; but they betimes corrupted all their doings.
ח לָכֵן חַכּוּ-לִי נְאֻם-יְהוָה, לְיוֹם קוּמִי לְעַד: כִּי מִשְׁפָּטִי לֶאֱסֹף גּוֹיִם לְקָבְצִי מַמְלָכוֹת, לִשְׁפֹּךְ עֲלֵיהֶם זַעְמִי כֹּל חֲרוֹן אַפִּי--כִּי בְּאֵשׁ קִנְאָתִי, תֵּאָכֵל כָּל-הָאָרֶץ. 8 Therefore wait ye for Me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.
ט כִּי-אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל-עַמִּים, שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה, לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה, לְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד. 9 For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent.
י מֵעֵבֶר, לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ--עֲתָרַי, בַּת-פּוּצַי, יוֹבִלוּן, מִנְחָתִי. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia shall they bring My suppliants, even the daughter of My dispersed, as Mine offering.
יא בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לֹא תֵבוֹשִׁי מִכֹּל עֲלִילֹתַיִךְ, אֲשֶׁר פָּשַׁעַתְּ, בִּי: כִּי-אָז אָסִיר מִקִּרְבֵּךְ, עַלִּיזֵי גַּאֲוָתֵךְ, וְלֹא-תוֹסִפִי לְגָבְהָה עוֹד, בְּהַר קָדְשִׁי. 11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against Me; for then I will take away out of the midst of thee thy proudly exulting ones, and thou shalt no more be haughty in My holy mountain.
יב וְהִשְׁאַרְתִּי בְקִרְבֵּךְ, עַם עָנִי וָדָל; וְחָסוּ, בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה. 12 And I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of the LORD.
יג שְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא-יַעֲשׂוּ עַוְלָה, וְלֹא-יְדַבְּרוּ כָזָב, וְלֹא-יִמָּצֵא בְּפִיהֶם, לְשׁוֹן תַּרְמִית: כִּי-הֵמָּה יִרְעוּ וְרָבְצוּ, וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד. {פ} 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. {P}
יד רָנִּי, בַּת-צִיּוֹן--הָרִיעוּ, יִשְׂרָאֵל; שִׂמְחִי וְעָלְזִי בְּכָל-לֵב, בַּת יְרוּשָׁלִָם. 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion, shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
טו הֵסִיר יְהוָה מִשְׁפָּטַיִךְ, פִּנָּה אֹיְבֵךְ; מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה בְּקִרְבֵּךְ, לֹא-תִירְאִי רָע עוֹד. {פ} 15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy; The King of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not fear evil any more. {P}
טז בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יֵאָמֵר לִירוּשָׁלִַם אַל-תִּירָאִי: צִיּוֹן, אַל-יִרְפּוּ יָדָיִךְ. 16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: 'Fear thou not; O Zion, let not thy hands be slack.
יז יְהוָה אֱלֹהַיִךְ בְּקִרְבֵּךְ, גִּבּוֹר יוֹשִׁיעַ; יָשִׂישׂ עָלַיִךְ בְּשִׂמְחָה, יַחֲרִישׁ בְּאַהֲבָתוֹ--יָגִיל עָלַיִךְ, בְּרִנָּה. 17 The LORD thy God is in the midst of thee, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will be silent in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.'
יח נוּגֵי מִמּוֹעֵד אָסַפְתִּי, מִמֵּךְ הָיוּ--מַשְׂאֵת עָלֶיהָ, חֶרְפָּה. 18 I will gather them that are far from the appointed season, who are of thee, that hast borne the burden of reproach.
יט הִנְנִי עֹשֶׂה אֶת-כָּל-מְעַנַּיִךְ, בָּעֵת הַהִיא; וְהוֹשַׁעְתִּי אֶת-הַצֹּלֵעָה, וְהַנִּדָּחָה אֲקַבֵּץ, וְשַׂמְתִּים לִתְהִלָּה וּלְשֵׁם, בְּכָל-הָאָרֶץ בָּשְׁתָּם. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all them that afflict thee; and I will save her that is lame, and gather her that was driven away; and I will make them to be a praise and a name, whose shame hath been in all the earth.
כ בָּעֵת הַהִיא אָבִיא אֶתְכֶם, וּבָעֵת קַבְּצִי אֶתְכֶם: כִּי-אֶתֵּן אֶתְכֶם לְשֵׁם וְלִתְהִלָּה, בְּכֹל עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ, בְּשׁוּבִי אֶת-שְׁבוּתֵיכֶם לְעֵינֵיכֶם, אָמַר יְהוָה. {ש} 20 At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you to be a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I turn your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD. {P}

2.22 Haggai

The Book of Haggai is short but the point is long. The message of this book holds the cure to greed and materialistic idolatry which is a plague afflicting many of today’s generation. Akin to this illness is gambling which stems from greed. Which is worse who knows, but one thing is for sure much that happens in the houses of Wall Street is legalized gambling and the precious time lost to this preoccupation is a weight upon the soul. Haggai 1:6-8 states:

Text 2-246: Haggai on Considering Our Ways
Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough;
ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm;
and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways.
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house;
and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified,” saith the LORD.

G-d is teaching us to apply our earnings to a good cause otherwise they will be ‘blown’ away.[410]

Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little;
and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it.
Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste,
and ye run every man unto his own house.

Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.

Building the temple and giving charity are the purpose of our silver and gold.

Text 2-247: R. Nachman on Silver and Gold
Now, the greatness of the Creator is revealed through the charity
that is given to a deserving person in need.
This is because the primary greatness and splendor is the revelation of the Colors.
And silver and gold are themselves the Colors, for the Supernal Colors are in them...

And when the Colors radiate, the Holy One then exults and takes pride in them,
as in (Haggai 2:8), “Mine is the silver, Mine is the gold.”
From them “garments of yesha (salvation)”[411] are made.
(Likutey Moharan #25:4)[412]

Giving charity creates beautiful garments for our soul in the world to come.

Text 2-248: Haggai on Charity
Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory?
And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?

Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD;
And be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest;
And be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD,
And work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt,
So my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; yet once, it is a little while,
And I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come:
And I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts:
And in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.[413]

All the nations came to see the Temple that Solomon finished. This is the rectification of money and the heart of materialism and is the source of peace, Shalom.

2.23 Zechariah

Zechariah writes simply and down to earth. In some ways, he is the anti-prophet turning prophets into farmers, (13:5), rejecting corrupt leaders. He was contemporary to Jeremiah and Isaiah, but how will too many prophets save during a time of physical affliction?

In Zechariah 3:4, the Angel of the Lord causes Joshua’s iniquity to pass from upon him. This teaches that iniquity is something that changes our appearance and impregnates our clothes. While only the Lord forgives sins, the Angel of the Lord causes the physical removal of the appearance of iniquity.[414]

Text 2-249: Zechariah Chapter 3 זְכַרְיָה

א וַיַּרְאֵנִי, אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל, עֹמֵד, לִפְנֵי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה; וְהַשָּׂטָן עֹמֵד עַל-יְמִינוֹ, לְשִׂטְנוֹ. 1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

ב וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-הַשָּׂטָן, יִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ הַשָּׂטָן, וְיִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ, הַבֹּחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם; הֲלוֹא זֶה אוּד, מֻצָּל מֵאֵשׁ. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan: 'The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan, yea, the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this man a brand plucked out of the fire?'

ג וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, הָיָה לָבֻשׁ בְּגָדִים צוֹאִים; וְעֹמֵד, לִפְנֵי הַמַּלְאָךְ. 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

ד וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-הָעֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו לֵאמֹר, הָסִירוּ הַבְּגָדִים הַצֹּאִים, מֵעָלָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, רְאֵה הֶעֱבַרְתִּי מֵעָלֶיךָ עֲוֹנֶךָ, וְהַלְבֵּשׁ אֹתְךָ, מַחֲלָצוֹת. 4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying: 'Take the filthy garments from off him.' And unto him he said: 'Behold, I cause thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with robes.'

ה וָאֹמַר, יָשִׂימוּ צָנִיף טָהוֹר עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ; וַיָּשִׂימוּ הַצָּנִיף הַטָּהוֹר עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ, וַיַּלְבִּשֻׁהוּ בְּגָדִים, וּמַלְאַךְ יְהוָה, עֹמֵד. 5 And I said: 'Let them set a fair mitre upon his head.' So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of the LORD stood by.

ו וַיָּעַד מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה, בִּיהוֹשֻׁעַ לֵאמֹר. 6 And the angel of the LORD forewarned Joshua, saying:

ז כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, אִם-בִּדְרָכַי תֵּלֵךְ וְאִם אֶת-מִשְׁמַרְתִּי תִשְׁמֹר, וְגַם-אַתָּה תָּדִין אֶת-בֵּיתִי, וְגַם תִּשְׁמֹר אֶת-חֲצֵרָי--וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ מַהְלְכִים, בֵּין הָעֹמְדִים הָאֵלֶּה. 7 'Thus saith the LORD of hosts: If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, and wilt also judge My house, and wilt also keep My courts, then I will give thee free access among these that stand by.

ח שְׁמַע-נָא יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל, אַתָּה וְרֵעֶיךָ הַיֹּשְׁבִים לְפָנֶיךָ--כִּי-אַנְשֵׁי מוֹפֵת, הֵמָּה: כִּי-הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֶת-עַבְדִּי, צֶמַח. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign; for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the Shoot.

ט כִּי הִנֵּה הָאֶבֶן, אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ--עַל-אֶבֶן אַחַת, שִׁבְעָה עֵינָיִם; הִנְנִי מְפַתֵּחַ פִּתֻּחָהּ, נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, וּמַשְׁתִּי אֶת-עֲוֹן הָאָרֶץ-הַהִיא, בְּיוֹם אֶחָד. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone are seven facets; behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts: And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

י בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, תִּקְרְאוּ, אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ--אֶל-תַּחַת גֶּפֶן, וְאֶל-תַּחַת תְּאֵנָה. 10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig-tree.

In Ch. 9, Zechariah alludes to God’s victories over the Philistine cities and the king of Gaza, while the king of Israel returns home humbled riding upon an ass. Seeing the suffering of war should bring one to humility, even a victory of G-d. When the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea, G-d asked, why are you singing as my creatures are drowning.

Text 2-250: Zechariah 4:6-7
ו וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי, לֵאמֹר, זֶה דְּבַר-יְהוָה, אֶל-זְרֻבָּבֶל לֵאמֹר: לֹא בְחַיִל, וְלֹא בְכֹחַ--כִּי אִם-בְּרוּחִי, אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת. 6 Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying: ‘This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.’
ז מִי-אַתָּה הַר-הַגָּדוֹל לִפְנֵי זְרֻבָּבֶל, לְמִישֹׁר; וְהוֹצִיא, אֶת-הָאֶבֶן הָרֹאשָׁה--תְּשֻׁאוֹת, חֵן חֵן לָהּ. {פ} 7 ‘Who art thou, O great mountain before Zerubbabel? thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it.’ {P}

G-d will overcome the sadistic powers with His spirit and grace to make a wonderful world.

Text 2-251: Zechariah 9

1. The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be his resting place; when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord.
2. And also Hamath which border thereby; Tyre, and Sidon, though it is very wise.
3. And Tyre has built for herself a fortress, and heaped up silver like dust, and fine gold like the mire of the streets.
4. Behold, the Lord will strip of her possessions, and he will strike her power into the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.
5. Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron shall see that her expectation has been confounded; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
6. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
7. And I will take away his blood from his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth; and he too shall remain for our God; and it shall be like a clan in Judah; and Ekron like a Jebusite.
8. And I will encamp around my house against any army, against any who passes by and returns; and no oppressor shall pass through them any more; for now have I seen with my eyes.
9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, your King comes to you; he is just, and victorious; humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.

The military strength of Israel is reduced as the war is over, even as He extends his “dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”

10. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace to the nations; and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.

With peaceful words the messiah extends his dominion. Yet, first the kingdom’s borders on the Mediterranean sea are solidified with war.

11. As for you also, because of the blood of your covenant I have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit where there is no water.
12. Return to the fortress, you prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double;
13. For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, over your sons, O Javan, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.
14. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth like the lightning; and the Lord God shall blow the shofar, and shall move in stormy winds of the south.
15. The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and be boisterous as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and like the corners of the altar.
16. And the Lord their God shall save them on that day as the flock of his people; for they shall be like the jewels of a crown, shining over his land.
17. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins.

G-d will remember his children both the House of Judah and the House of Joseph. He will gather them from the far reaches of the world. They shall live with their children and He will strengthen them and they shall walk in His Name.

Text 2-252: Zechariah 10
1. Ask rain of the Lord in the time of the latter rain; from the Lord who makes thunder clouds, and gives them showers of rain, and to everyone grass in the field.
2. For the teraphim have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and the dreams have told falsehoods; they give empty comfort; therefore they went their way like a flock, they were afflicted, because there was no shepherd.
3. My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the goats; for the Lord of hosts has remembered his flock, the house of Judah, and has made them like the magnificent horse in the battle.
4. From them shall come forth the cornerstone, from them the tent peg, from the battle bow, from them every ruler together.
5. And they shall be as mighty men, who trample down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.
6. And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again for I have compassion on them; and they shall be as though I had not cast them off; for I am the Lord their God, and will answer them.
7. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine; and their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.
8. I will whistle for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them; and they shall increase as they have increased before.
9. And I will sow them among the peoples; and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and shall return.
10. And I will bring them back also from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; till there is no room for them.
11. And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall strike the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up; and