Zohar Volume 2
Category: Judaism
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Composed in Middle-Age Spain (c.1100 - c.1400 CE). The Zohar (Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains discussions of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and "true self" to "The Light of God", and the relationship between the "universal energy" and man.


Volume 2

Volume 2:2a

“And these are the names of the children of Israel who came into Egypt with Jacob, every man came with his household” (Shemot 1:1). “And they who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they who turn many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). “And they who are wise,” are those who observe the secret of wisdom; “shall shine,” means they illuminate and sparkle with the shine of supernal Chochmah; and “as the brightness,” the brightness and sparkle of the river that emanates from Eden. This is the concealed secret that is called ‘firmament’”, for in it are located the stars and the constellations, the sun and moon and all the candles that give light.

Volume 2:5a

R’ Aba opened and said: “Go, see YHVH’s workings, that placed desolations/shamot in the earth/land/ba’arets” [Ps 46:9] — don’t read shamot but rather names/sheimot. And this goes like what R’ Chiyya said: According [to] the pattern of the firmament/k’gavna d’raqi`a the Holy One made the earth. In the firmament are holy names; in the earth are holy names.

Volume 2:15b

R’ Yehudah said: Why is it written: “Also this corresponding to this did Ha’elohim make” [Ec 7:14]? Like the pattern of the firmament/k’gavna d’raqi`a, the Holy One made [everything] in the earth, and all of it is a hint about what is above...

Like what R’ Yosi said: These trees through which wisdom is shown, like the carob, the palm, the pistachio, and what is like them, in one (from the same) combination/r’khiva all of them were combined. And all those that make fruit, except apples, they are one mystery, except the paths that separate.

And all those that do not bear fruit and are great, except the river willows that have a mystery alone (of their own) like the pattern above/k’gavna dil`eyla, from one [breast] they suck. And every one from those that are small, except the hyssop, from one mother they are born.

All the plants in the earth, which have placed over them great forces in the heavens, each and every one is a mystery alone/of its own like the pattern above, and because of this it’s written: “Your field you will not sow [with] mixtures/kilayim” [Lv 19:19], for each and every one goes up alone and emerges alone.

Volume 2:19b

״And the Children of Israel sighed,״ it does not say “וַיִּתְאַנְּחוּ — they caused themselves to sigh” but rather “וַיֵּאָנְחוּ — they were sighed”, in other words they caused a sigh for [God] above, meaning that there was a sigh on High on their behalf.

Rabbi Yitzchak said, there are three matters here: A sigh, a groan, a scream. Each one is distinct from the other. A sigh: as it says, “and the children of Israel sighed.” A scream: As it says, “and they screamed.” A groan: As it says, “and their groaning rose up.” Each one is distinct, and Israel did each of these. Rabbi Yehudah said, they screamed and they groaned, but they did not sigh. This is implied by what is written, “וַיֵּאָנְחוּ — and they were sighed”, and the sigh was on their behalf on High.

Volume 2:22a

“And Elohim spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am Hashem and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of El Shadai…’” (Shemot 6:2-3). Rabbi Abba opened the discussion saying, “Trust in Hashem forever (Heb. עֲדֵי עַד), for Yah Hashem is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4). “Trust in Hashem” means that all the people of the world have to strengthen themselves in the Holy One, blessed be He, and trust in Him.

If so, what is the meaning of “adei ad”? It means that the strength of a person should be in the place which sustains and connects everything, and which is called “ad,” as is written, “In the morning he shall devour the prey (Heb. עַד)” (Beresheet 49:27). “Ad” is the place that unites this side and that side, for sustenance and connecting, a connection that will not be destroyed.

And everything directs its desire towards “Ad,” as written, “to (Heb. עַד ) the utmost bound (or desire) of the everlasting hills” (Beresheet 49:26). Who are the everlasting hills? These are the two matriarchs, females, Jubilee and Sabbatical year. Binah is called Yovel (Eng. Jubilee) and Malchut Shmitah (Eng. Sabbatical year), and both are called “everlasting hills (lit. ‘hills of the world’).” ‘World’ as you say “from everlasting to everlasting (lit. ‘from the world to the world’)” (Tehilim 106:48), meaning Binah and Malchut, for both are called ‘world’.

And they desire Ad, it sustains all sides; Jubilee, desires Ad, to adorn it and to pour on it blessings, and to pour sweet springs onto it. This is the meaning of, “Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him” (Shir Hashirim 3:11). King Solomon (Heb. Shlomo) is the secret of the King that the peace (Heb. shalom) is His, which is Zeir Anpin; his mother is the secret of Binah. Sabbatical year, desires Ad, to be blessed by it and to illuminate from it. The everlasting hills assuredly desire Ad, the one to pour on it its abundance and the other to receive.

Therefore “Trust in Hashem forever” (Isaiah 26:4). For from there up, the place is covered and hidden, as none can conceive it. It is a place from which the worlds emerge and are formed. This is the meaning of, “For Yah Hashem is an everlasting rock.” This place is hidden and concealed. Therefore, “Trust in Hashem forever (Heb. adei ad),” that up to here, everyone is permitted to observe. From here and further no one is permitted to observe because it is concealed from everyone. And what is Yah, Yud Hei Vav Hei, whence all the worlds were formed, and no one is able to understand that place, in order to conceive anything.

Rabbi Yehuda said, The scripture proves this. For is written, “For ask now the days that are past… (Devarim 4:32). Up to here, one is permitted to observe, but from here and further, no one can comprehend it.

Another explanation, “Trust in Hashem forever” — a person has to strengthen himself in the Holy One, blessed be He, throughout his life. No one can harm one who properly places his trust and strength in Him, since one who places his strength in the Holy Name endures forever.

What is the reason? Since the world endures by His Holy Name. This is the meaning of, “For Yah Hashem

Volume 2:22b

is an everlasting (lit. ‘worlds’) rock (Heb. tzur)” (Isaiah 26:4), the former (Heb. צַיָּיר) of worlds. For by two letters were the worlds created, this world and the World to Come. This world was created with Judgment and is maintained on Judgment. This is the meaning of, “In the beginning Elohim created” (Beresheet 1:1). The reason is so that people would conduct themselves according to judgment (law) and would not digress from the path.

Come and see, It is written, “And Elohim spoke to Moses” (Shemot 6:1). This alludes to the decree of Judgment that is looming over him. It is written before, “And Moses returned to Hashem, and said, Adonai” (Shemot 5:22) spelled Aleph Dalet Nun Yud. See the strength of Moses, as soon as he started prophesying, his spirit did not rest at this place. He said, “Adonai, why have You dealt ill with this people? why is it that You have sent me? for since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered your people at all” (Ibid. 22-23). Who talks like this? Only Moses who knew that a another, higher level was intended for him, because he was a Chariot to Zeir Anpin, which is the husband of Queen.

Rabbi Yitzchak said, at first, the house, was given to him, he commanded it like a man would command his household, and spoke whatever he wished to without fear. Moses too spoke to his household without fear.

Another explanation of, “And Elohim spoke”: the decree of Judgment. “And said to him, ‘I am Hashem’”: This is a different grade, which is Mercy, and here everything is connected together, Judgment and Mercy. This is the meaning of, “And said to him, ‘I am Hashem’”. Rabbi Shimon said, If it were written, “And Elohim spoke to Moses, ‘I am Hashem,’” I would say they are linked together. But it is not written so. Rather, it is first written, “And Elohim spoke to Moses” and then, “And said to him, ‘I am Hashem,’” which means they are a grade after another grade instead of Judgment and Mercy linked together.

And Rabbi Yosi said, Had not Moses been the master of the house, “the man of Elohim” (Tehilim 90:1), he would have been punished for saying this to Hashem. But since he was (master of the house), he was not punished. This is like a man who had a quarrel with his wife and spoke to her improper words. She started to complain, but as soon as she started speaking, the king, who was present, took over the matter, and she became silent and stopped speaking. The king said, Don’t you know that I am the king, and that it is in my presence that you spoke these words? Similarly, so to speak, with Moses, “And Moses returned to Hashem and said ‘Adonai, why have You dealt ill?’” Immediately “Elohim spoke to Moses,” because the king’s daughter started to complain. Immediately, the King took up the complaint, “And said to him ‘I am Hashem.’” Did you not know that I am King, and it is in My presence that you spoke these words?

“And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob by, the name of El Shadai.” Why did He use a different name than the names before? This is like a king who had an unmarried daughter, and also a beloved friend. When the king wanted to speak with his beloved friend, he used to send his daughter to speak to him and thus the king spoke to him through his daughter. The time has come for his daughter to marry. On the day she married, the king said to her, precious queen, until now I spoke through you to whomever I wished to. From now on, I will tell your husband and he will speak with whomever it is necessary. After some time, the husband said harsh words to her in the king’s presence. Before she started to talk, the king took the cause and said to him, am I not the king? Until this day no person spoke to me except through my daughter. And I gave you my daughter, and I spoke to you openly, a thing I have not done for any other person.

Similarly, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of El Shadai,” when she was unmarried in My house. I was not spoken to face to face as I did with you, and you, at the beginning of your speech, said to My daughter in My presence such words. Therefore, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of El Shadai, but by My name, Hashem, I was not known to them,” to speak to them in the grade in which I spoke to you.

Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion saying, “A psalm of David. The earth is Hashem’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell in it” (Tehilim 24:1). The earth refers to the Holy land of Israel that is the first to be blessed by Him and watered by Him. Afterwards, the whole world is watered from it. “The world, and they that dwell in it” refers to the rest of the lands that drink from it. How do we know this? From the words, “And He will judge the world in righteousness” (Tehilim 9:9).

“For He has founded it upon seas” (Tehilim 24:2). There are

Volume 2:23a

seven pillars on which the earth supports itself, and which are seven seas (the seven Sefirot). The Sea of Kineret (Galilee) rules over them. Rabbi Yehuda said, Do not say it rules over them, but the Sea of Kineret is filled from them, “And established it on the rivers”(Ibid.) Which rivers are being referred to? It is written, “The floods have lifted up, Hashem, the floods (lit. ‘rivers’) have lifted up their voice” (Tehilim 93:3), as written, “And a river went out from Eden to water the garden” (Beresheet 2:10). Therefore, “He established it on the rivers.”

Come and see, this land, the land of Yisrael. Why does not Jacob, who is Israel, rule over it like Moses? For it is written, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of El Shadai” and no more.

We have already established that Jacob took the terrestrial house, (i.e. in this world). Therefore, he lost the celestial house; but with the terrestrial house, he reestablished the celestial house, with twelve tribes, with seventy branches referring to its seventy names, which is the meaning of the seventy souls who came to Egypt. And we have already established that Moses took the celestial house and forsook the terrestrial house. Therefore, it is written of Jacob: “By the name of El Shadai,”, by the name El Shadai did the Holy One, blessed be He, speak to him and no more. “But by My name, Hashem, I was not known to them,” to speak to them in this level, which is superior.

“And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Rabbi Chiya said, The glory of the patriarchs was Jacob, who was all-perfect. By all, it is written “to Abraham, to Isaac,” but by him a letter was added, as is written, “and (= Vav) to Jacob.” The letter Vav was added to him to show that he was more whole than them all. But notwithstanding, he did not merit uniting with it (Malchut) like Moses did, as earlier mentioned. “And I have also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan” (Shemot 6:4). This is because they were circumcised. For all who are circumcised inherit the land. The Torah says, “To give them the land of Canaan.” For the land is inherited only by a righteous person and everyone who is circumcised is called righteous, as is written, “Your people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever” (Isaiah 60:21). Everyone who is circumcised and observes the sign of the covenant is called righteous. Come and learn this from Joseph, who was not called righteous in his life until he observed that covenant, the sign of the holy covenant. Once he observed it, he was called righteous, namely, Joseph the righteous.

Rabbi Shimon was sitting one day with his son Rabbi Elazar, and Rabbi Abba. Rabbi Elazar said, in the passage, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob…” (Shemot 6:3), why is “And I appeared” stated? It should state ‘And I spoke.’ He said to him, Elazar my son, this is a very high secret.

Come and see, There are visible colors and invisible colors. And both are a high secret of the Faith, but people neither know it nor observe it. No one was worthy of the visible until the patriarchs came and understood them. Of this it is written, “And I appeared,” since they saw the visible colors.

And which colors appeared? They are of El Shadai, which are the reflection of the supernal colors. These are visible. And the colors above, which are concealed since they are invisible, no person understood them except for Moses. Of this it is written, “But by My name, Hashem, I was not known to them” (Ibid.), I did not appear to them in the superior colors in Chesed, Gvurah and Tiferet of Zeir Anpin, which is called Yud Hei Vav Hei. And if you claim that the patriarchs did not know (the name Y-H-V-K, this is impossible). But rather, they knew it from those colors that were visible in Malchut.

It is written, “And they who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and they who turn many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). In “And they who are wise shall shine,” who are the wise ones? This refers to the wise one who will perceive on his own lofty things that people cannot utter by mouth. And these are called “wise ones.” “Shall shine like the brightness of the firmament”: What is the firmament? This is the firmament of Moses, which is situated in the center. And its brightness is concealed and not revealed. By means of its color it is situated over and shines on the firmament that does not illuminate, in which the colors are visible. And even though these colors are visible in it, they do not illuminate like the brightness of those of unrevealed colors, which are the colors of Zeir Anpin that is called the illuminating firmament.

Come and see, There are four lights. Three of them are concealed, (Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet) and one (Malchut) is revealed. They are: (A) The shining light (Chesed); (B) the bright light, Gevurah. And it shines like the brightness of the heaven for its clarity; (C) purple light, (Tiferet) that receives all the lights; and (D) the light that does not illuminate (Malchut) that looks to these and receives them. These lights are visible in it like a reflector, which is placed against the sun, and the sun is seen in it. So the three lights of Zeir Anpin that is called sun are visible in Malchut, and in this respect Malchut is called a reflector that receives from the sun and the sun is seen in it.

And those three we mentioned are concealed and are situated over this

Volume 2:23b

visible. This secret is the eye. Come and see, there are three colors in the eye, (white, red and green) that are visible and were imprinted on it. None of them shines because they are placed in the light that does not shine. And these are like those which are hidden and are situated over them. And they are the ones that appeared to the patriarchs in order to know and perceive these hidden that appeared from within those that did not illuminate. And those that are bright yet hidden, were revealed to Moses in his firmament. And these are situated over these colors that are visible in the eye, meaning those that appeared to the Patriarchs.

And it is a secret; Close your eyes, and turn the eye balls. In this way, the colors will appear that illuminate and shine, since permission is given to see only with closed eyes these hidden superior colors that are situated over these three colors that are visible that do not shine.

And of this we learned that Moses merited the illuminating mirror that is placed over that mirror, which does not illuminate. Other people were worthy of the mirror, which does not illuminate. But the patriarchs saw from within these three colors that appear, those hidden that are situated over them and shine on them, which are the three Columns of Zeir Anpin, which do not shine. Therefore it is written, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of El Shadai”, that is, by the colors that are visible in Malchut that is called El Shadai.

“But by My name, Hashem, I was not known to them”: These are the supernal colors that are hidden yet illuminate that Moses merited to observe. And this is the secret reason why the eye is sometimes closed and sometimes visible. If closed, it sees the illuminating mirror, and if open, it sees the mirror that does not illuminate. Therefore, “And I appeared” in the mirror that does not illuminate, which is revealed. Sight is mentioned in relation to it. In relation to the illuminating mirror, which is concealed, knowledge is mentioned, as is written, “I was not known.” Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Abba approached and kissed the hands of Rashbi. Rabbi Abba wept and said, Woe, when you are gone from the world and the world will remain orphaned from you. Who will be able to illuminate then the words of Torah?

Rabbi Abba opened the discussion saying, “And thus (Heb. כֹּה) shall you say so to him, a hearty greeting (lit. ‘to the living’)! Peace be both to you, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have” (I Shmuel 25:6). “And you shall say koh to the living,” Did not David know Naval to be evil, to have said of him, “כֹּה to the living?” That day was the holy day of Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and the Holy One, blessed be He, was sitting in judgment over the world. For the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “And you shall say כֹּה to the living” in order to attach ‘כֹּה’ to the ‘living’, from which all life comes. “Peace be both to you.” What is “both to you?” “Both to you” refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, in order to connect the link of Faith, as is proper.

From this I deduce that it is forbidden to be the first to greet a wicked person and, if he is forced, he should be the first like David who blessed the Holy One, blessed be He, though it seemed he spoke to him, (Naval). And if you say it was deception, it is not so because it is not considered deception for anyone to offer up his words to the Holy One, blessed be He, though it seems he spoke to a person. (This is the way of the righteous). Whoever is the first to greet a righteous person, it is as though he is the first to greet the Holy One, blessed be He, and all the more so my master, (Rashbi) who is the peace of above and below.

“And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of El Shadai, but by My name, Hashem, I was not known to them” (Shemot 6:3). Rabbi Chizkiyah opened the discussion saying, “Blessed is the man to whom Hashem imputes no iniquity…” (Tehilim 32:2). How obtuse are people who do not know and do not observe why they are in the world. For when the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He made man in His image and made him the way He did, in order that he should be occupied with the Torah and walk in His ways.

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