ZOHAR PARSHAT SHOFTIM Daf 274b (Raya Meheymna)
MATOK MIDVASH pp 198-200
THE DOUBLE EDGED SWORD OF THE SHEMA
“Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your gates that G-d your L-rd gives to you for your tribes, and they shall judge the nation with righteous judgment.” In this verse it lists judges and officers – there is the commandment to appoint judges and officers i.e. even though judgment belongs to G-d, but through His abundant love for
The four deaths of the court [that the judges can administer for various sins] are ordered here from the lightest to the most stringent i.e. the sword, strangulation, stoning, burning. And this is like the opinion of Rabbi Shimon in Tractate Sanhedrin 99b. [In this translation, only the sword is dealt with.]
The commandment after this is to judge by the sword, to judge by strangulation, to judge in the judgment of stoning, to judge in the judgement of burning. This means that after there is judgment, there is the Mitzvah to judge the guilty through the 4 death penalties of the court, and it asks – to judge by the sword – who? And it answers to S”M* i.e. one has to endeavour in Mitzvos and good deeds to nullify the strength of the evil inclination which is S”M. And also in action – in reality – if a person was overwhelmed by the power of the evil inclination until G-d forbid a person needs the death penalty of the sword, now as he is killed, his sin is atoned and the strength of the S”M in him is cut off and nullified. This is what is written, (Isaiah 34:5) “For my sword has been sated in the heavens.” First my sword will be sated in the heavens from the blood of the minister of
And it continues and says the sword of the Holy One Blessed be He which is the sword [of the death penalty] – there is hinted in it all the four letters of the name of G-d [the Tetragrammaton] i.e. the ten Sefirot of Z”A – because the judgment is only completed through the partnership of all ten Sefirot i.e. י' the letter Yud of the name of G-d hints to the head of the sword, for all the conduct is in accordance with the decree of the head, which are the Sefirot of Keter and Chochmah. The Vav of the Tetragrammaton – is the body of the sword – corresponds to the Va”K which are the essential workers of judgment and mercy. Hey Hey – these two letters of the Tetragrammaton are the two mouths – points of the sword, because the action of judgment in action comes about through the Malchut which is the mouth that decrees the decree of judgment of the power of the mouth above which is the Binah, through it judgments are awoken. And upon them it says, ‘Righteousness righteousness shall you pursue’ because they rule two judgments i.e. the judgment from the mouth of the court above which is Binah, and the judgment through the mouth of the court below which is Malchut. And from here it is known that there is judgment on every small matter, to such a degree that our rabbis said (Chullin 7b) no person bruises his finger below through Malchut until permission is given for him from above – from the court of Binah. When the sword which is the name of the Tetragrammaton is clothed in its sheath which is the name of אדנות according to the secret of unification as below, there through the unification the judgment is quietened and nullified.
And it continues and says, through the Kriat Shema [the reading of the Shema], the S”M is killed – for the Tetragrammaton which is the sword of the Holy One Blessed be He – about it is said, (Psalms 149:6) “The lofty praises of G-d are in the throat,” through the reading of the Shema that Israel read. And through this, “A double edged sword,” of the Holy One Blessed be He, is “In their hand” – of the children of
* S”M is the abbreviation representing the name of the angel of destruction. It is forbidden to pronounce the names of any angel except for those recited in general daily prayer and whose names we also give to people.
** When various names of G-d are intertwined i.e. by taking the first letter of one, and then follow it with the first letter of another, and then continue with the second letter of the first name and then the second letter of the second name etc., this produces a Yichud – a joining of His names and through this, blessing comes about. It is forbidden to pronounce these names when they appear in this way, and therefore the entire Yichud has not been written, but can be read in the original Zohar text. One may certainly scan the name with the eyes, but it is forbidden to pronounce the name as is written this way.
NOTES TO SIGNS USED IN FORMATTING:
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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