Sunday, 2 November 2008

Zohar Parshat Lech Lecha - One Who Comes to be Purified - is Helped




[Parshat Lech Lecha begins the story of Abraham’s journey from Ur Kasdim (the place of his birth) and Haran into the Land of Canaan (Israel.) Out of all the people in the world, why was Abraham chosen by G-d to leave the land he was in and be lead into a far superior land, where he would ultimately become the father of the entire Jewish people? The Zohar tells us that it was because he himself chose to go along this path. Purity comes from actively choosing the path of Torah. Those who rebel against the ways of Torah are left alone to meander along their own paths. Those who choose the paths of Torah are actively taken from their “lands” and brought into greater places.]

Go to [for] yourself from your land etc. Rabbi Abba opened and said to explain the reason as to why Abraham merited more so than all the people of his generation that the Holy One blessed be He said to him ‘Go to yourself etc.’ And it starts by preceding to explain what is written (Isaiah 46:12), “Listen to me mighty of heart.” [This verse alludes to the Babylonians who were torturing the Jews at that time of the exile, but is here used to refer to another type of “mighty hearted” person.] How strong are the hearts of the wicked, that they look at the inner paths of Torah and the ways of the revealed Torah and they do not contemplate them. And more, their hearts are hard, for they do not return in Teshuva [repentance] to their Master, and they do not let the fear of G-d enter into their hearts and therefore they are called ‘Mighty of heart’, and as is written “Those that are far from Tzeddakah [lit: charity],is explained as that they distance themselves from the Torah which is called Tzeddakah, since the Holy One blessed be He did Tzeddakah with his nation Israel that he bestowed to them an inheritance of a desirable vessel [the Torah] that they will inherit through it the life of the world to come.

Rabbi Chizkiya said, as it is said ‘Who are far from Tzeddakah’, is to be explained that since those that distance themselves from the Holy One blessed be He do so of their own bad free choice, therefore they are distanced from Him, since He removes his Shechinah [indwelling Divine Presence] and hides His face from them, and He says to them “If you leave me for one day, I will leave you for two” [See Rashi to Deuteronomy 11:13] [Usually the Torah operates on the basis of measure for measure. This statement therefore does not make sense, since if one would leave G-d for one day, why does He leave the person for two? Rather it means that if a person leaves G-d for one day then G-d too leaves a person for one day. The distance between the two is now the equivalent of two days.] And the reason that the Holy One blessed be He is called Tzeddakah is because the entire world is nourished from His Tzeddakah and not through his [a person’s] own merit. And therefore they are called “Mighty of heart,” because they do not want to draw close to the Holy One blessed be He from their own side. And therefore they are distant from the Holy One blessed be He, since He distances Himself from them as above i.e. they are distant from receiving the flow from Tiferet which is called Tzeddakah. And since they are distant from Tzeddakah that is in Tiferet, they are distant from the Shalom [peace] of Yesod, for the body and the Brit [covenant/sexual organ] are considered as one, and therefore they do not have Shalom, and this is what is written (Isaiah 48:22), “There is no Shalom [peace] – says G-d – for the wicked.” What is the reason they have no peace? Because they are distant from Tzeddakah that is in Tiferet. (Ramak, Rabbi Abraham Galanti and commentaries.)

Come and see, Abraham desired to draw close to the Holy One blessed be He, and he drew close, because one who comes to purify himself is aided [Shabbat 104a], and since he departed from Ur Kasdim to go towards the land of Canaan and he came to Haran, the Holy One blessed be He drew him closer and said to him “Go to yourself.” This is what is written (Psalms 45:8), “You loved Tzeddek and hated evil,” as explained, because Abraham loved Tzeddek which is Malchut, and he hated evil i.e. the Chitzonim [the external unholy forces] which cleave to it, therefore he was drawn close to Tzeddakah which is Tiferet which is united with it. And about this it is written (Isaiah 41:8), “Abraham My beloved.” And this is explained – what is the reason that he is called My beloved? Because it is written, “You loved Tzeddek,” which is explained as: This is the love of the Holy One blessed be He, that Abraham loved Him more than all the people of his generation that were mighty of heart, and they were distant from the Holy One blessed be He Who is called Tzeddakah as is explained above. (Ramak and Rabbi Avraham Galanti.)


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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