Monday, 6 October 2008

Zohar - Parshat Ha'azinu - Everything is the Name of Hashem


MATOK MIDVASH pp 542-543


[The Zohar begins it’s commentary on a passage from Deuteronomy, chapter 32 vv 3-5. This is the song that Moses sang to the Jewish people just before he died, bringing heaven and earth to act as witnesses to the calamities that will befall the Jewish people if they sin, and the ultimate reward that awaits them at the final redemption. The language of verse 3 is not clear, since it speaks of calling out in the Name of G-d. When one calls, one usually calls directly to G-d Himself. Why the need to call ‘In the Name of G-d’? What do the extra words ‘In the Name of’ come to teach and add in understanding the process of calling to G-d?]

We learnt what is written [Deuteronomy 32:3] ‘When I call out in the Name of Havaya’: There is to ask, why is it written, ‘When I call out in the Name of Havaya’? Surely it would have been sufficient to have said ‘I will call Havaya’ [excluding the words ‘in the Name of’]? Why is the word ‘Name’ written? Also what is ‘Name’, for ‘Name’ is in Binah and it is also in Malchut, and which of these is it?! And it answers: Rabbi Shimon said, it is written – afterwards, ‘Ascribe greatness to our G-d,’ which is Binah [The name for G-d here is Elokeinu which corresponds directly to the Sefirah of Binah which relates to strict judgment.] Rabbi Abba said – to explain Rabbi Shimon’s words, that the intention of the verse is to connect all the seven Sefirot into Binah, i.e. ‘Ascribe greatness – this is Gedulah.’ This is Chesed which is called Gedulah [greatness] which is connected with Elokeinu which is Binah [In the language of Kabbalah, both Chesed and Gedulah are used interchangeably to describe the Sefirah relating to kindness. In this verse, Gedulah is directly connected to Elokeinu i.e. kindness is directed to judgment.] And so too, the other seven Sefirot are connected with Binah. And this is what is said afterwards, [Deuteronomy 32:4], ‘The Rock! Perfect is His work,’ this is Gevurah, for Tzur [Rock] is a language of strength, and even though judgments are drawn from there, nevertheless – Perfect is His work. For all His paths are justice, this is Tiferet which is a language of boughs and branches [i.e. the word תפארת has in it the root letters of פאר which means both beauty and branch,] because it includes all the VaK, [i.e. it includes all the six Sefirot – Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod and Yesod.] And even though it has in it a path to Chesed [kindness] and Din [judgment], nevertheless – All His paths are justice. A G-d of faith, this is Netzach which is a branch of Chesed, therefore it has the name Keil, [i.e. the Name of G-d of two letters Aleph & Lamed is associated with the Sefirah of Chesed – kindness. In this verse this name is used in connection with faith. Here, the Sefirah is NetzachChesed – on the right hand side.] And there is no injustice, this is Hod. Even though Hod is strict judgment, nevertheless there is no injustice. Righteous, this is Yesod, as is known, in every place where there is Tzaddik – he is the Yesod. And upright - this is Tzedek i.e. Malchut which is called Tzedek [justice.] For all actions below – good and bad are decreed through it. And nevertheless – He is upright. For everything is upright in accordance with the deeds of men. Behold this entire verse is a holy name of the Holy One Blessed be He, since all the Sefirot are a name and a garment for the light of the Infinite One Blessed be He. And therefore it is written, ‘When I call out in the Name of Havayah’ i.e. the Sefirot – that each one of them is the name of G-d, “I will call out” and I will explain them, just like it explains and says ‘The Rock! Perfect is His work,’ this is Gevurah etc. For if the intention was upon one name only, it should have said the name of G-d ‘I will mention.’ (Ramak, Mikdash Melech and commentaries.) which branches off on the same side as


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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