Sunday, 20 July 2008

Zohar - Parshat Matot - The World is Directed Through White and Red - Kindness and Judgment


DAF 259b (Volume 14 p. 688 in Matok Midvash)



(This entire section is copied from the Zohar Chadash Parshat Matot, and does not appear in the first editions)

And all the children amongst the women that have not known lying with a male you may keep alive [Numbers 31:18]. There we have learned, Rabbi Yehuda said, “The world is directed only through two colors,” i.e. 2 ways of conduct – which are white and red i.e. the attribute of Kindness – Chesed and the attribute of Judgment – Din, which come from the side of the woman i.e. the side of Malchut – which consists of Chesed and Gevurah [Strength] – by whose means the world is lead. That she is found to be wise of heart to conduct the world through judgment and mercy. This is what is written, (Exodus 35:25) “And every wise hearted woman spun with her hands.” Wise of heart hints to Malchut which is called Chochmah Tata’a [Lower Wisdom], “And they brought the spun yarn of turquoise and purple.” And it explains, what was the intention of their bringing? And it says, in order to repair the Techeilet [turquoise] which is the concept of Malchut which is repaired through Chesed, and the Argaman [purple] which is Tiferet of Z”A [Beauty of the Partzuf Zeir Anpin,] which decides between Chesed and Gevurah – which is the attribute of Rachamin [Mercy.] These are colors that are included in all the other colors, for the Techeilet is composed of Black – and both of them point to judgments and strengths, and Argaman consists of white, and both of them point to mercy and kindness. This is what is written, (Proverbs 31:13) “She seeks wool and flax and her hands work willingly.” The woman of valor which is Malchut, seeks to join the white wool which indicates to Chesed and Rachamim, with the flax which indicates to the judgment and strength. This means she seeks to sweeten the judgment with mercy (as is written in the book “Kehillat Yaakov” about flax – “Flax is the aspect of Gevurah, and wool is Chesed.) And it is written, “Spun with her hands.” And it asks, “What does ‘spun’ mean?” What is the secret meaning? Rabbi Yehuda said, they spun with judgment and mercy, that the Malchut joined judgment with mercy in order to sweeten each other.

Rabbi Yitzchak said, he asked Rabbi Yehuda, “Why is she called ‘Isha’ [woman]?Why is the woman called ‘Isha - אשה’ according to the name of the man ‘Ishאיש - ’? [Why is it that the word for woman, in Hebrew ‘Isha’ is connected with the word for man ‘Ish’?] He, Rabbi Yehuda, said to him, “Since she consists of judgment and of mercy.” This means that she by herself is the aspect of judgment, and when the man who is the aspect of mercy joins with her, there is also included the aspect of mercy. And it explains and says, come and see, what Rabbi Elazar says, “Every woman is called ‘Din’ [strict judgment,] for a woman is the aspect of judgment, until she tastes the taste of mercy i.e. until she marries a man and tastes the taste of mercy through her husband who is the aspect of mercy. As we have learned, from the side of man comes white, the white color of the embryo which indicates mercy, comes from the man. And from the side of the woman comes the red, which indicates judgment (as our sages teach Nidah 31a “The father sows the white, the mother sows the red.) When the woman tastes of the white which is the kindness which is the white of her husband, then she feels the white, kindness, is better for her.

[The Zohar points out that while the woman is 'judgment', when she marries and is with her husband - who is 'kindness', she thereby includes the kindness within her, and by doing this literally sweetens judgment. One of the services we work on in this world is to sweeten judgments - to take those things that are filled with negative and turn them into the good and positive. When a woman is with her husband, then on both the physical and the spiritual levels she sweetens judgments.]


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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