Sunday, 13 July 2008

Zohar - Parshat Pinchas - A Thread of Kindness. Giving Pleasure to the Divine Presence through the Study of Torah at Midnight


DAF 213a (Volume 14 Page 1-3 in Matok Midvash)

A Thread of Kindness:
Giving Pleasure to the Divine Presence
through the Study of Torah at Midnight!

And G-d spoke to Moses saying, “Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aharon the Kohein turned away My anger from upon the Children of Israel.In order to understand this verse, Rabbi Elazar opened and said, he preceded to explain what is written, (Proverbs 1:8) “Hear my son the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.” As it is written, “Hear my son the discipline of your father,” this is the Holy One Blessed be He, i.e. your father is the Holy One Blessed be He (i.e. Z”A,) “And do not forsake the teaching of your mother,” this is Knesset Yisrael [the Congregation of Israel,] which is the Shechina [the Indwelling Divine Presence] which are called the father and the mother of the souls of Israel, (for all the souls derive from the unification of Kudsha Brich Hu and His Shechina – through the Holy One Blessed be He and His Indwelling Divine Presence.) And it asks, “What is the discipline of your father?” Why did the verse not write the teachings of your father as it wrote – the teachings of your mother? (Since there are two “Torahs” – teachings, the Written Torah from Z”A, and the Oral Torah from Malchut.) And it answers, “Discipline – this is the Torah,” this is the Torah that is called “Discipline,” that there is in it a certain amount of rebuke that disciplines a person that he shouldn’t sin before his Creator, and that he should guard His commandments, and through this he will merit many great levels that he merits through the fulfilment of the Torah. And there are in the Torah a number of punishments, as it says, (Proverbs 3:11) “The discipline of G-d, My son, do not despise, and do not despise His reproof.” The explanation is, if there comes to you punishments of rebuke from Hashem, do not despise them, rather accept them with love, for all of this is from the love of Hashem with His nation. As it is written afterwards, “For those that G-d loves, He rebukes,” in order to open his ears to straighten his path, “And like a father who appeases his son,” – and like a father who intends with his striking to improve the way of his son and not to take revenge, and he appeases him after he strikes him with a rod – so too He will sweeten for you goodness after the strike.

For everybody that occupies themselves in the Torah in this world merits that there are opened for him a number of gates in the world to come in the supernal world in Gan Eden, and a number of lights are lit for him there, and further, at the time that he leaves this world, she – the Torah – precedes him and goes to all the guards of the gates, and announces and says to the guards, (Isaiah 26:2) “Open the gates of Gan Eden, and the righteous nation will go through them, and there they set up and prepare thrones for so-and-so the servant of the King Blessed be He, for there is no happiness before the Holy One Blessed be He except [regarding] the one who occupies himself in Torah, since he causes a unification of the Holy One Blessed be He and His Shechina, and through this they receive Mochin [brains] from the Binah [Sefira of understanding] that in her is the source of happiness.

All the more so a person who awakens at night to occupy himself in Torah, for at midnight it is the time of the supernal unification (of Jacob and Leah) and the righteous through their Torah study raise up MaN to cause this unification. For then all the Tzaddikim in Gan Eden listen to his voice, and the Holy One Blessed be He which is the Shechina is present amongst them, and she too listens to the voice of His Torah, as they – the friends of the Chavrayahexplained about what is written, (Song of Songs 8:13) she – the Shechina sits in Gan Eden. And also the Tzaddikim in Gan Eden that are called friends, all of them listen to the voice of the Torah that they are learning at night. And every one of them says to the one who occupies himself in Torah, listen to the voice of your Torah.

Rabbi Shimon said, this verse has in it a secret of wisdom, for as is written, she sits in the gardens, this is Knesset Yisrael which is the Shechina that is in exile with Israel, and She goes with them in their distress, and she dresses in the ministers and the Kelipot [husks, evil forces] in order to guard Israel, and this is “who sits in the gardens.” This means in the gardens of the nations in exile. And as is written, “And friends [angels] listen to your voice” i.e. they are the supernal camps of the angels of the world of Beriya and Yetzira. All of them listen to your voice, i.e. to the voice of your praises that you praise to the Holy One Blessed be He in exile. (For since it is through Israel’s study of Torah in the world of Asiya that they raise up MaN to cause a supernal unification, and through this the angels also receive their abundance.) And as is written, “Listen,” i.e. as it says, (Song of Songs 2:14) “Show me your appearance, [let Me] listen to your voice,” that the explanation is – show me your spiritual appearance that is made from the commandments, let me hear your voice in Torah. And so too as is written here “Listen,” i.e. let Me hear the voice of those friends that occupy themselves in Torah, for there is no praise before Me like that praise of those wise students that occupy themselves in Torah, for it is that the House [the Holy Temple] is destroyed and the service has been nullified (and it is impossible to raise up MaN as is fitting,) and nevertheless the study of Torah at this time [i.e. midnight] is considered as if all the sacrifices were offered in the Temple.

Rabbi Shimon said, so to speak – since it is explained that anyone who occupies himself in Torah after midnight merits to join with the Shechina, and it is something difficult to understand, therefore the language “so to speak” is used, and this is what it means – all those that merit to occupy themselves in Torah from midnight onwards, and they come together with the Shechina when the day lights up to receive the Face of the King Blessed be He, i.e. through the order of the ascension of prayers, through this he merits to strengthen himself and to have a portion in the Shechina, and not only this does he merit, but there rests upon him a thread of kindness, (this means through the unification, Z”A draws down a thread of kindness upon the Shechina, and since he is found with her at the time of the unification, he takes his portion with her each and every morning, as has already been explained (in Tractate Avodah Zarah 3b – end, and in a number of places in the Zohar.)


Bold print: Original Zohar

Ordinary text: Matok Midvash

[Square brackets]: Rabbi Eliyahu Shear

(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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