Friday, 3 October 2008

Zohar - Parshat Vayera - Rosh HaShanah - The Ten Days of Repentance - Yom Kippur - Confusing the Satan Through a Multitude of Tricks!


MATOK MIDVASH pp. 609-611

Confusing the Satan Through a Multitude of Tricks…

Blowing the Shofar on Rosh HaShanah – Ten days of Repentance – a Goat!

The explanation of the verse brought below, “תקעו בחודש שופר - blow the Shofar at the moon’s renewal, and this is “בכסה ליום חגנו” – at the appointed time to be fixed as the festive day, which is Rosh Hashana. (Rashi)

[The Zohar will seek to understand the meaning of this verse in Tehillim.]

Come and see, it is written (Psalms 81:4) “Blow the Shofar at the moon’s renewal” on Rosh HaShanah, when the moon is hidden. This means that the Shechina [Indwelling Divine Presence] is concealed in garments of judgment and is not able to receive the mercy from Binah. For then the evil accusing snake rules and suckles judgments from the Shechina, and it is able to cause damage to the people of the world. And when mercy is awoken through the blowing of the Shofar, the Shechina ascends and removes herself from bestowing any further judgments to the accuser. And then it - the Satanbecomes confused and its claims are blocked and it is no longer able to accuse. And the Shechina departs and the Satan is no longer able to draw close and to suckle the judgments from her.

And therefore on the day of Rosh Hashanah [the New Year] we need to confuse it through the blowing of the Shofar, like a person who awakens from his sleep and he doesn’t know anything. This means that it does not accuse or defend, and this is the advice to be saved from his accuser. But, on the day of Yom HaKippurim [the Day of Atonement], we need to conduct [ourselves] with the Satan gently, and to give it satisfaction. This means, since the Satan doesn’t find a place to accuse on the Day of Judgment, it will not keep quiet from accusing on the Day of Atonement. And even though the Malchut is then repaired and has greatly ascended and it is not able to rule it, nevertheless in order that it won’t come to confuse the happiness, the advice of the Holy One Blessed be He is to give it pleasure by means of offering the goat to it as a gift. And we send it to Azazael which is its place, which is considered in its eyes as if a great honor was done for it! Therefore, it is not sufficient that it not accuse Israel, but rather then it changes to become a defender for them ­– Israel, due to the bribe that it accepted from them. (Ramak and commentaries)

[The Mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah actually causes the Satan to become confused and to stop with his accusations against the Jewish people. However, the Satan is still filled with his desire to accuse and is ready to do so at the next opportunity available – Yom HaKippurim. For this, the Holy One Blessed be He advises us to send a gift to the accuser – a goat upon which all the sins of the nation have been placed (see Leviticus 16:20-22) When the Satan receives this bribe, he feels so satisfied that he no longer has any need to accuse any longer! In fact, the Zohar points out, he becomes a defender for the Jewish people. As the Zohar continues, there are ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom HaKippurim which allow those people who are neither completely righteous nor completely evil, to complete their return to G-d, and their repentance. By the time Yom HaKippurim has ended, the Satan has not only been confused by the Rosh HaShanah Shofar blowing, but he has been given a gift to bribe him too. As a result, he is only too happy to defend the Jewish people, and thereby bring complete atonement for every single person.]

And it says further, but on the day of Rosh HaShanah it is confused due to the blowings [of the Shofar] and it doesn’t know how to accuse, and it is not able to do anything to accuse. Because it sees that awakenings of mercy ascend from below through the blowings [of the Shofar], and mercies are awoken from above from Binah, the moon – the Shechina ascends between them – these two awakenings, then the Satan becomes confused and its claims are blocked and it is no longer able to rule and to accuse Israel. And the Holy One Blessed be He judges Israel in mercy and has mercy upon them. And the Holy One Blessed be He is prepared and ready all ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom HaKippurim (as our Rabbis write in Tractate Rosh HaShanah 18a regarding the verse ‘Seek out Hashem when He can be found,) in order to receive in repentance all those that have returned before him and to atone for them their sins. And He raises them upwards on the Day of Atonement, i.e. the forgiveness of sins to the Beinonim – middle people [whose sins and merits are equally balanced] is on Yom HaKippurim. And therefore on all these things the Holy One Blessed be He commands Israel to do an action, i.e. the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh HaShanah – that through this they awaken the power of the supernal Shofar and draw down mercy upon Israel, and the action of the goat to Azazael on Yom HaKippurim that changes the accuser into a defender, in order that someone i.e. the Satan that does not need to rule over, not rule over them. And it won’t rule over them even in holy judgment, and all of them will be Tzaddikim [righteous] upon the earth. [Daf 115a] And the Holy One Blessed be He will have mercy upon Israel like a father has mercy upon his children, therefore he advises them on how to save themselves from judgment. And everything is dependent on the action of the blowing [of the Shofar] and in the speaking of the blessings and the prayers of supplications – and already these things have been explained. [Ramak and commentaries]


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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