Sunday, 22 June 2008

Zohar - Parshas Korach - Do Everything for the Shechina - Now!




Do Everything for the Shechina – Now – While You Can in This World!

(Rabbi Elazar was standing in front of Rabbi Shimon his father. He said to him, he asked him, behold “It is written (Kohelet 9:9), ‘See life with the woman whom you love, all the fleeting days of your life.’” What is the intention of the verse? For apparently it appears that he is advising a person to live a life of pleasure with his wife. He – Rabbi Shimon his father – said to him, “Come and see, for as it is written, ‘See life with the woman you love,’ this is a secret!” This verse is a secret that a person needs to include life – this means the Mochin [the mentalities, Chochma, Bina, Daat] of Z”A in this place – the Malchut which is called ‘woman’. This without that does not go, this means Z”A without Malchut won’t do anything, since all the work of Z”A is through the means of Malchut. And a person is required to include the attribute of day with night, this means that one needs to include Z”A with Malchut, and the attribute of night with day, this means Malchut with Z”A. And this is the secret of what is written “See life” – see to draw down life from Z”A with the woman whom you love to Malchut which is called ‘woman’, and through this to unify them. What is the reason? And he asks, what is the reason one needs to unify them, and he answers, “Since the Malchut is a portion of life, this means – that life of Z”A does not dwell except upon this – Malchut. And if a person wants to hold onto Z”A, it is impossible for him unless he holds onto Malchut.)

[The Zohar now goes no to illustrate with some examples how we can practically apply the teaching above. Our efforts in the world need to be centred on drawing spiritual energy and holiness into the “physically gross” and material world. By taking the male aspect of flow – Z”A, and channelling it correctly, with the correct intentions and behaviour into this world – Malchut – we are able to make a unification between the “male” and “female” aspects of G-d, causing tremendous joy above. The Zohar will now quote another teaching of King Solomon and show the connection between the teaching above of King Solomon’s together with this one below.]

And as it is written “And in your toil which you exert under the sun,” – what type of “toil” is spoken about? Like he – King Solomon – said in another place (Mishlei 3:6), “In all your ways know Him, and He will straighten your paths.” This means that even in worldly [general] matters a person should intend towards the supernal union. For example if a person builds a house, he should say ‘A house hints to the Shechina [the Indwelling Divine Presence], and I am building the house to adorn the Shechina. And when I – a person – will dwell inside it, it will be hinting as if the Supernal Man – which is the Holy One Blessed be He (the secret of Z”A) is dwelling together with the Shechina.’ And for another example, if one will purchase new garments for ones wife, he should say that those adorning garments will be for the Shechina. And similar examples. [It is worthwhile to read Tomer Devorah by the Ramak, Chapter 9 “Malchut” where Rabbi Moshe Cordovero discusses these very ideas of doing everything for the sake of the Shechina – for the sake of Malchut.]

The explanation of the verse which is brought below “Everything that your hand finds to do” to accumulate Mitzvot and good deeds, “Do!” while you are living in this world, since, “There is no doing,” of Mitzvot in Sheol [lit: the grave, hell], for the dead are already free from performing Mitzvot, “And accounting,” and there is no longer the time to make an accounting with one’s soul, “Knowledge and wisdom,” and likewise this is not the time to complete knowledge and wisdom that was imposed upon one to study in this world. Therefore see to it that while in this world, to do what is in the strength of your hand to do, in order to complete and perfect your obligation/debt in this world.

Rabbi Elazar said to him – to his father Rabbi Shimon, “It is written afterwards,” after this verse it says (Kohelet 9:10), “Everything that you find in the strength of your hand to do – do! For there is no doing and accounting, knowledge and wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” And behold, “This verse needs to be contemplated, what is written, “Everything that you find in the strength of your hand to do – do! And did Solomon who had supernal wisdom more than any person in the world say this? For it appears from this that a person is able to do all the desires of his heart and he won’t be punished on his bad actions. Has the strap been loosened?” He – Rabbi Shimon – said to him – his son, behold it is known that “All the words of King Solomon were said according to secret wisdom.”

Come and see what is written, “Everything that you find in the strength of your hand to do – do!” This is that a person is required to do, to include the left in the right, since all the deeds of the lower world are from the left side which is Gevurah (Severity). Therefore one needs to include Chesed (Kindness) of the right. And this is by means of having intention in all one’s actions for the sake of heaven and for the unification of the Holy One Blessed be He and His Shechina. And everything that he does in physical matters, he should be careful that they should not be to the left side, but rather that they be included in the right i.e. the spiritual, and this is what is written, “Everything that you find your hand,” this is the left which is called ‘hand’. “To do with your strength,” this is the right which is called “strength,” since the main strength of a person is in his right. Like it is written (Shemot 15:6), “Your right hand – G-d – is glorified with strength,” (and the secret of this thing is that the root of strength is in Bina, and it bestows to Chesed.)

And since a person will be careful that all his actions will be to the right side, i.e. that all his physical actions will be included within spiritual matters, and he will include the left in the right, then the Holy One Blessed be He dwells inside him in this world, and will help him in his work, and after his death, He will gather him to Himself in the world to come.

And let a person not say, that at the time that I come to that supernal world, then I will request mercy from the King Blessed is He, and I will return [repent] in front of Him. But rather, about this King Solomon said, “For there is no deed and account and knowledge and wisdom,” after a person leaves from this world. It is impossible for a person to then study knowledge and wisdom and to do good deeds once he has left this world. Rather, if a person wants the Holy King to illuminate the supernal world for him and to give him a portion in the world to come, he should put in the effort in this world to include his actions in the right, and all his actions should be for the sake of the Holy One Blessed be He, i.e. to unify the Malchut with Z”A. For after he leaves this world and he is judged in harsh judgment in the judgment of Gehinnom regarding his sins, there is no advice and wisdom and understanding there to save him from judgment.


Bold print: Original Zohar

Ordinary text: Matok Midvash

[Square brackets]: ELIYAHU ben PINCHAS

(Round brackets): Either the source being quoted e.g. Proverbs etc., or alternatively used to quote the kabbalistic language as discussed in Matok Midvash. The Matok Midvash formats the Nigleh side of things in an ordinary print, and the Nistar terminology in Rashi script. I’ve therefore put the Rashi script – the Nistar terminology in round brackets.

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