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Rav GINSBURGH (English)


Rav at a class


Teachings for Bnei Noach


Jews and Non-Jews: Reaching Out to Non-Jews


Our generation is the first since the dispersion of the Jewish People in which the Jew is able (and therefore obligated) to reach out to the non-Jew. The purpose is to create a movement among righteous gentiles worldwide, a forsaking of false religions and an acceptance of the seven Noahide commandments.
The Noahide commandments are those that God gave to Adam and his descendants and, after the flood, to Noah and his descendants. They are binding upon all of humanity, and were included in the Torah when God gave it to the People of Israel at Mount Sinai. The Torah testifies that these commandments were indeed those God gave man from the outset of creation, and is therefore the ultimate source of their authority.
The Torah further obligates Jews to teach and encourage all the nations of the earth to accept these commandments. A non-Jew who accepts the seven Noahide commandments recognizes that the ultimate purpose of his life is to serve God and establish peace on earth.




Jews and Non-Jews: Introduction


http://www.inner.org/nonjews/kabbalah-for-nations-monotheism.php
 
The Crown Jewels

Arguably, the 10 Commandments are the most famous religious document in the world. Actually, calling them the 10 Commandments is an incorrect translation of their Hebrew name, which would more correctly be translated as the Ten Articles (Aseret Hadibrot, in Hebrew). Though they are made up of 10 separate articles, they include more than 10 of the Torah’s 613 commandments. Indeed, even the earliest commentators on the Torah write that the text of the Ten Commandments alludes to all 613 commandments. The most important allusion to this is that the original Hebrew text of the Ten Commandments (as they appear in Exodus 20:2 thru 20:13) contains exactly 620 letters. 620 is 7 more than 613. According to some Rabbinic authorities, the 7 commandments that complement the 613 commandments given to the Jewish people are the 7 Laws of Bnei Noach, that were given to the first generations of man, beginning with Adam.

620 is the numerical value of the word “crown,” in Hebrew. As such we find that the Jewish people—who carry the responsibility for 613 commandments—together with the righteous gentiles who are responsible for the universal commandments, together adorn the Almighty’s crown of Kingship over the entire world with 620 jewels—the commandments of the Almighty’s words unto man.

God's Universal Instructions

The Torah portion that is most associated with righteous gentiles is Noah. It begins with the Torah describing Noah’s character: “Noah was a righteous and earnest man among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Every non-Jew who wishes to walk with God should seek to emulate Noah, who through his commitment to follow the word of God, saved the human race from extinction during the Flood. As the Torah relates:
The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth and beheld that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come. The earth is filled with violence because of them, and so, I will destroy them with the earth….”
When Noah and his family emerged from the Ark they had built, God formed a new covenant with them, and hence with all of humanity. He blessed Noah and his family and instructed them in the ways of the new order, declaring: “I have now given you everything…. And thus, of the blood of your souls, I will demand an account….”

God’s instructions to Noah, who became the progenitor of all those born after the Flood, are binding on all human beings—“the children of Noah,” or Bnei Noach in Hebrew. These instructions (most of which were given earlier to Adam ) are broken down into seven general commandments known today as the seven Laws of Bnei Noach. They are:

  • a prohibition against worshiping any entity other than the One God,
  • a prohibition against blaspheming God’s Name,
  • a prohibition against murder,
  • a prohibition against theft,
  • a prohibition against adultery,
  • a prohibition against eating the flesh of a live animal,
  • a proscription to establish a court system to ensure a just society based on these laws.

The Significance of Divine Instructions

To understand the full significance of these seven laws one must first recognize that the Torah (i.e., the Five Books of Moses) is not merely a book of stories about the first few generations of mankind, the Children of Israel, their exodus from Egypt, and their wanderings in the desert. The Torah is also more than a legal document listing the commandments prescribed by the Creator. More comprehensively, the Torah is and should be experienced as a revelation of God Himself—particularly of His Will. In the language of the Zohar, “God and the Torah are one.”

As a revelation of the Almighty’s Will, the Torah can be described as a user’s manual for life, revealing to those who study it the manufacturer’s operating instructions. Considering this, the Laws of Bnei Noach cannot be viewed as merely technical requirements God makes of human beings. Instead they are the very revelation of God’s Will. By committing to keeping these commandments a person is already manifesting the Will of the Almighty in our mundane reality. All of God’s expectations of what we as human beings, as His creations, can achieve operationally depend and practically pass through the acceptance and commitment to practicing the seven Laws of Bnei Noach. Moreover, as manifestation of the Divine Will these seven laws are actually part of the mechanisms of the universe—the light, energy, and forces that make the universe function.

Getting the Message out

Subsequent to His covenant with Noah, God made a covenant with Abraham, and with Abraham’s son Isaac, and with his grandson Jacob, to whom God gave the name “Israel.” At Mt. Sinai, “the children of Israel,” Bnei Yisrael in Hebrew, experienced en masse a revelation of the Almighty and were given the Torah (the Five Books of Moses), with laws comprising 613 commandments. These 613 commandments are binding only upon Bnei Yisrael (the Jewish people), and it is through these commandments that Jews fulfill their special mission in the world.

The Torah is replete with verses clearly stating that the Jewish people were chosen by God to fill a special role. For example:
Now therefore, if you will obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own treasure among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
As a result of this special assignment from God, the Jews have a responsibility to be a “light unto the nations” —this means that they are responsible to teach non-Jews how to obey the seven Laws of Bnei Noach and by doing so to lead the entire world to the true worship of the One God, thus bringing about the final redemption, as Isaiah prophesized:
In the days to come, the Mount of GOD’s House shall stand firm above the mountains and tower above the hills. And all the nations shall stream to it. And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, let us go up to the Mount of GOD, to the House of the God of Jacob—that He may instruct us in His ways, that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion shall come forth Torah, and the word of GOD from Jerusalem….
Anyone who is interested in the Laws of Bnei Noach and Divine worship for non-Jews is probably familiar with all of the above. The introductory and technical aspects of the seven universal commandments have been treated in the past in other books, some of which were written by Jewish authorities in Torah.

Revealing the Mystical

In this book we intend to introduce a completely novel aspect of the Laws of Bnei Noach. If the Bnei Noach commitment to the One God is to take root and flourish it must turn into a spirited and creative form of religious experience and expression. The key for achieving this lies in the mystical dimension of the Torah. By presenting the mystical aspects of the Laws of Bnei Noach, as derived from Kabbalah and Chassidut, the traditions of Jewish mysticism that reveal the inner dimension of the teachings of the Torah, this book will offer the reader the more spiritual and philosophical-theoretical aspects of the Divine service of righteous gentiles, while at the same time, opening up new avenues for religious expression. With this task in mind, we turn to the principles of faith entailed in the Laws of Bnei Noach.

 



All Races Serving God


http://www.inner.org/nonjews/family.htm

Harnessing Chaos

In his famous dissertation of 28 Nissan, 5751, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, explained that the way to bring Mashiach is by harnessing the great lights of the world of chaos, and channeling them into the perfected vessels of the world of rectification. On a practical level this means that when we invest our energies into bringing the Mashiach, our plan of action must stem from new and creative thinking, from a place outside the framework of conventional wisdom. Our actions, as well, must follow this pattern. The Rebbe urged us to probe the yet “uncharted” areas of our minds, of the Land of Israel and of the world, and to channel the immense energies in those places into compelling, rectified action to bring the Mashiach.
The pinnacle of Mashiach’s work is when he will unite all of humanity to serve God “with one shoulder.” When working toward the final redemption, we must also turn our energies into lovingly bringing all the nations of the world to rectified service of God.

Is Mashiach White?

The prophets and sages describe Mashiach as a leper. (To learn more about Mashiach as a leper, listen to Harav Ginsburgh’s audio lecture: The Messianic Power to Cure) When discussing leprosy, (tzara’at), the Torah says (Leviticus 13:2): “When a person has on his flesh….” The word used for “person” is adam. The Arizal explains that adam is the most lofty synonym for “person,” and refers to an all-inclusive soul. Even Moses is generally referred to in the Torah as ish (“man”), which has a more individual connotation. If Moses himself is considered ish, the Arizal concludes, then the only possible candidate for the higher title “adam” is the Mashiach, the quintessential all-inclusive soul. But why is the Mashiach a leper?
Tzara’at (“leprosy”) is a disease of the skin in which the affected area of the skin turns pure white. The numerical value of the Hebrew word Mashiach is 358, equal to the value of or lavan, “white skin.” Just as the color white includes all the colors of the spectrum, the Mashiach with his white, leprous skin includes all the skin colors of the world.
There are four basic colors of skin; white, red, yellow and black. These skin colors correspond in turn to the four letters of God’s Name, Havayah and to their corresponding powers of the soul.
skin color
letter of Havayah
power of soul
white
yud
wisdom (chochmah)
red
hei
understanding (binah)
yellow
vav
loving-kindness thru foundation (chesed – yesod)
black
hei
kingdom (malchut)
People of each skin color have their own corresponding characteristics and talents, in which they excel in their service of God.
  • White Skin: Service of God with the Faculty of wisdom
    Chochmah, “wisdom,” is the male-principle, called “Father” in the intellect. Corresponding to the world of Emanation, chochmah is the innovative and essentially unpredictable force that produces spontaneous insights. The inner essence of chochmah is bitul, “self-nullification.” The essence of bitul is negating one’s “self” in total nullification to God. When one’s mind is not preoccupied with ego, it is clear and open to become a conduit of Divine wisdom.Thus, the special talent of people with white skin is to serve God by nullifying their ego and connecting to the Divine. As such, they are particularly predisposed toward new and innovative Torah insights, which can be nurtured to maturity through the companion power of chochmah — binah.
  • Red Skin: Service of God with the Faculty of understanding
    Binah, “understanding,” is the female-principle, called Imma, “Mother” in the intellect. Corresponding to the world of Creation, binah is the cognitive force that absorbs the nuclear “seed” of chochmah and articulates it into fine detail. Once having attained the mature understanding of binah, the soul swells with delight at its achievement. Thus, the inner essence of binah is simcha, “joy.” It is the essential response of the soul to accomplishment.
    The special talent of people with red skin is to serve God with joy; particularly joy that stems from having nurtured the insights of chochmah into full and mature understanding.
  • Yellow Skin: Service of God with the attributes of the heart
    The emotional attributes are called Ze’er Anpin, “Son,” and correspond to the world of Formation. The full complement of character attributes, lovingkindness, might, beauty, victory, splendor, and foundation, consists of both the emotions of the heart and one’s subsequent behavior. The inner powers of these attributes are love, awe, beauty, confidence, sincerity and truthThe special talent of people with yellow skin is to serve God with the full array of their emotions and actions in a perfected and rectified manner.
  • Black Skin: Service of God with the Faculty of kingdom
    Malchut, “kingdom,” is called Nukva, “Daughter.” Corresponding to the world of Action, malchut is the ground into which the full creative force of “foundation” is implanted, transforming it to fuel for the perfection of reality. The inner essence of malchut is shiflut, “lowliness.” This quality guarantees that one’s actions in life are motivated by the highest standards of justice and righteousness, unconcerned with personal gain or advantage.The special talent of people with black skin is their exceptional sense of holy service of God, with no thought of personal benefit.

All in the Family

The purpose of the Mashiach is to unite the Jewish People as one loving family whose every action is inspired by the Torah. The Jewish People will then have the tools with which to unite the entire world to serve God as one family.
One of the main strains of leprosy is called sapachat, which means “annexation.” Mashiach will first annex to the Jewish family all Jewish souls, no matter how far they have strayed from their source. The apex of his labor will be when all the peoples of the world — each with their unique talents and qualities — are annexed to the family of servants of the One God of Israel.
color
attribute
letter ofHavayah
world
talent in serving God
white
wisdom
yud
Emanation (Atzilut)
To nullify ego and connect to Divine
red
understanding
hei
Creation (Beri’ah)
To serve God with joy
yellow
attributes of heart
vav
Formation (Yetzirah)
To serve God with full array of rectified emotions and actions
black
kingdom
hei
Action (Asiyah)
Holy service of God with no thought of personal gain
(Based on a lecture given by Harav Ginsburgh in Jericho on the 28th of Nissan, 5764)

 

 

Excerpt from Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations Chapter 1: Principles of Faith


http://www.inner.org/nonjews/kabbalah-for-nations-principles-of-faith.php

Introduction

As stressed in traditional Jewish writings, the core of all religious practice and the principle underlying all Divine worship is faith. As explained in Kabbalah, faith is the highest power of the soul, lying well beyond the reach of the rational mind, floating, as it were, above comprehension.
Although the most fundamental of the Bnei Noach commandments is the prohibition of the worship of other gods, the question must still be raised whether Bnei Noach are actually required to believe in God? This may seem like a strange question to ask, for why would anyone be committed to perform God’s commandments if he or she does not believe in Him? However, it may seem less puzzling if we consider that there are many situations in life when a person loses conscious faith in the Almighty, yet continues to follow the Torah’s commandments, forgoing questions of faith to a later time.
Furthermore, it is common to find people that perform religious commandments for a variety of reasons other than their belief in God. It may be that they do so because of tradition (as children they were raised with these practices), because of collective cultural values (their society prescribes it), or even just to alleviate social pressure (their peers would not associate with them if they did not), all without believing that God exists or that He commanded them to perform these acts.
At the present, there are relatively few Bnei Noach in the world so these external reasons for performing the Bnei Noach commandments may not seem to be very prominent in anyone’s life. But, as the numbers increase, as the prophets foresaw, and people become second and third generation Bnei Noach living in large communities or even cultures that practice these commandments, the question of obligatory faith will become more and more important.

The Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith

Indeed, talking of faith in God is quite vague. What exactly does faith in God include? What are the articles or principles of faith as delineated by the Torah? And, are they different for Jews and for non-Jews?
Though faith is a super-rational faculty, and therefore not normally subject to translation into a limited set of logical ordered principles, about 850 years ago, Maimonides—arguably the greatest authority on Jewish law and Torah thought1—compiled a list of 13 principles of Jewish faith.2 They are:
  1. God is the Creator and is responsible for all that happens.
  2. God is One
  3. God is not corporeal.
  4. God is non-temporal.
  5. God alone should be worshiped.
  6. Prophecy is true.
  7. The prophecy of Moses is primary and true.
  8. The Torah is complete
  9. The Torah is eternal.
  10. There is Divine Providence.
  11. God gives reward and punishment
  12. The Messiah will arrive
  13. God will resurrect the dead
As argued by later authorities,3 Maimonides 13 principles all stem from 3 more general principles:
  1. Faith in the Oneness and Singularity of the Almighty, out of which stem the first through the fifth principles;
  2. Faith in the Torah’s universal and everlasting verity as the expression of God’s Will, out of which stem the sixth through the ninth principles; and,
  3. Faith in reward and punishment based on each individual’s conduct, from which stem the tenth through the thirteenth principles.
Of course, these three principles themselves are all an elaboration of the Torah’s all inclusive expression of faith in the absolute Oneness of God: “Hear O’ Israel, God is our God, God is One.”4

Covenant Numbers

So, we now have that the most general principle of faith in the absolute Oneness of God divides into three more specific principles, which in turn divide into the thirteen principles listed by Maimonides. This numerical progression from 1 to 3 to 13 is part of a mystical series of numbers that is based in the Torah’s oral tradition regarding the word “covenant” as it appears in the Written Torah. For this reason the numbers in this mystical series are known as “covenant numbers.”
The traditional source for the series of covenant numbers is found in a Mishnah that states: “Circumcision is great, for thirteen covenants were made on it.”5 As explained by the Talmudic commentaries this statement refers to 13 instances of the word “covenant” (in its different grammatical forms) found in the verses that describe how God commanded Abraham to perform circumcision.6 That circumcision in this Mishnah is described as “great” is not only qualitative but also quantitative. Hence, the Mishnah, as explained by the commentaries, is noting that the word “covenant” appears in these verses more times than it does in reference to other covenants chronicled in the Torah. Specifically, the commentaries explain that the Mishnah is comparing the thirteen times that the word “covenant” appears in reference to circumcision, the covenant made between God and Abraham, to the three times that it appears in reference to the covenant made between God and the Jewish people with the giving of the Torah.7 It is also comparing the thirteen “covenants” of circumcision to the single “covenant” appearing in the verses describing how God promised the Land of Canaan to Abraham.8 We now know the source of the three numbers, 1, 3, and 13, in this series.
But as mentioned above, before making the covenants with Abraham (regarding the Land of Canaan and circumcision) and with the Jewish people (regarding the Torah), the Almighty made a covenant with Noah. God promised that he would not destroy the world again by flood. In the verses in the Torah describing this covenant, the word “covenant” (in its various grammatical forms) appears seven times. Thus the complete series begins with the numbers 1, 3, 7, and 13.9 Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let us hint that the 7 instances of the word “covenant” found in the verses describing God’s covenant with Noah correspond to the 7 Bnei Noach commandments (and to the 7 colors of the rainbow, the sign of the covenant between God and Noah), as will be explained more fully later on.

The Seven Principles of Faith for Bnei Noach

The series of covenant numbers thus begins with the numbers: 1, 3, 7, 13.10 How fitting it is then that Bnei Noach should possess 7 principles of faith. Indeed, looking at Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith, we can see that before dividing into three general categories they first clearly divide into 7 more specific categories, as follows:
  1. Faith in the existence of God the Creator
  2. Faith in the Oneness of God
  3. We should worship only God
  4. The verity of prophecy
  5. The eternal truth of the Torah
  6. Reward and punishment
  7. The ultimately good destiny of creation
These 7 principles of faith, which cover the basic tenets of faith for Bnei Noach, beautifully correspond to the seven Laws of Bnei Noach, and as such can be seen as their inner essence and spirit. Whereas six of these seven laws are usually stated negatively, i.e., as prohibitions, these articles of faith are positive in nature. Therefore, teaching each commandment with its corresponding principle provides a more balanced view on the Bnei Noach faith and commitment:
Faith in the existence of God the Creator clearly gives positive expression to the prohibition against blasphemy.
Faith in the Oneness of God is obviously the positive expression of the prohibition against idolatry.
While the second principle excludes worshiping any other being as a deity, the third principle (that man was created to worship God alone) deals with our obligation to worship the Almighty. In the Talmud,11 not recognizing that God is the origin of all blessing, not thanking Him for the good things we possess in life, is likened to stealing from one’s parents. Knowing that God is the source of all good, we turn to Him, and only to Him, in worship and prayer. Worship is thus seen to begin with not stealing from God that which He rightly deserves—the conscious awareness that all that we have, even our very existence, derives from Him. Thus this principle is the positive aspect of the prohibition against thievery, and as such, it implies that Bnei Noach should indeed have a book of prayers and make blessings over food,12 etc., as will be discussed further in chapter 5.
The fourth principle of faith in the truth of prophecy acknowledges that man was created in the image of God, and is therefore able to commune with God in prophecy.13 Hence, this principle reflects the basic sanctity of human life and thus it represents the positive aspect of the prohibition against murder.
The Talmud explains that sexual cravings are the most powerful force dissuading people from following the Torah. They are the “spirit of folly”14 that induce one to bypass the injunctions of the Torah, creating the illusion that the violation of these prohibitions will not sever our conscious connection with the Almighty. Thus, the fifth principle, professing faith in the eternal nature of the Torah—whose directives comprise the way of life and are the basis of our connection with the Creator—provides the positive application of the prohibition against adultery. Following this principle, throughout the book of Proverbs the Torah is likened to a woman of valor to whom her husband forever remains loyal.
The sixth principle, the belief in God’s reward and punishment based on His Providence over our actions, corresponds to the injunction to establish courts of law. Just courts of law are indeed a human expression of Divine Providence and justice.
To date, the image of Noah’s dove and the rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant with him, serve as the universal symbols for the peace and brotherhood that we all yearn for. According to Maimonides,15 the one commandment that was given to Noah, in addition to the six that had previously been given to Adam, is the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal. The final article of faith in the ultimately good destiny awaiting mankind is the mystical stipulation of this commandment for Bnei Noach. Though the commandment does not prohibit the consumption of animals entirely, it does preclude treating them with cruelty and causing them pain, thus foreshadowing a positive ecological vision of mankind as it will be in a more rectified future. In the Bible, the salvation of man is tied directly with the salvation of animals: “Man and animal shall You save, O’ God.”16The prohibition against eating the flesh of a living animal thus encourages our faith in the rectified and good future awaiting all of creation, as one.
Notes
1. Maimonides is the Greek form of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known by his acronym, the Rambam (1135-1204).
2. Though Maimonides was evidently not aware of it, in the Zohar it is written that faith is indeed based on thirteen principles (Zohar III, 62b), which correspond to the 13 tikuneidikna (garments of the beard)—the 13 principles of Divine effluence that run from thesefirah of crown (super-consciousness) to the conscious sefirot and that are symbolically associated with the parts of the human beard. From this correspondence of the 13 principles of faith with the 13 tikunei dikna we learn that principles of faith, like thesefirah of crown itself, exhibit a paradoxical quality. On the one hand they are verily super-rational, but on the other they are well-defined and ordered.
The paradoxical nature of the 13 Principles of Faith can be illustrated numerically: 13 . 102 (the numerical value of the word “faith,” in Hebrew, אֱמוּנָה ) = 1326. 1326 is the numerical value of the third verse of the Priestly Blessing: “May God lift His countenance upon you and give you peace” (יִשָּׂא י־הוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם ). The first word of this verseיִשָּׂא  stems from the same root as the Hebrew term for “paradox” (נְשִׂיאַת הַפָכִים ).
3. Rabbi Joseph Albo, Sefer Ha’ikarim, part A, chapter 4.
4. Deuteronomy 6:4.
5Nedarim 31b.
6. Genesis chapter 17.
7Berachot 48b and commentaries there.
8. Genesis 15:18.
9. Chronologically, the order of the covenants is the covenant made with Noah (7), followed by the covenant with Abraham regarding the Land of Israel (1), followed by the covenant with Abraham regarding circumcision (13), and finally the covenant with the Jewish people regarding the Torah (3). But, mathematically, the order of the numbers in the series is of course 1, 3, 7, and 13.
10. The mathematical expression of this series is: for all integers n, f[n] = n2 ^    n ^    1.
11Berachot 35b.
12. This connection between thievery and worship was first made by the Torah Temimah, who argued that it implies that non-Jews should bless God before eating or taking pleasure form something in the world.
13. “God said: Let us create man in our image and after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
14. Sotah 3a.
15.  Maimonides, Hilchot Melachim 9:1.
16. Psalms 36:7.
 
 
 
 

Excerpt from Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations Chapter 2: Monotheism


http://www.inner.org/nonjews/kabbalah-for-nations-monotheism.php

The Apparent Plurality of the One God

Many false beliefs have been propagated throughout the world. Therefore, it is important that at the outset of this book, we clarify some basic Torah truths which are often presented by other religions in a distorted manner, sometimes in a deliberate attempt to deceive.
First of all, God is absolutely One. God, the Creator, possesses no intrinsic duality or plurality, in any form whatsoever. All the apparent plurality that people see in the One God is a result of the process of creation and our inability to exist in the infinite Presence of the Almighty.
To understand the relationship between God’s absolute Oneness and the multi-faceted manifestations by which He is revealed in our world, we turn to the Kabbalistic description of creation. Kabbalah teaches that in the most general terms creation consists of two stages, both described using the same Hebrew word: tzimtzum. In Hebrew,tzimtzum means either “to diminish” or “to concentrate.” God began the creative process by diminishing (the first meaning of tzimtzum) His infinite light in order to make space, as it were, for His creation.
The final limit of any diminishing process is a reduction to zero, or total disappearance. This is what is implied in Kabbalah by the term tzimtzum in relation to God’s initial contraction of His infinite light in order to create room for worlds to exist. Worlds describe a state of being seemingly outside of God. 1 The first tzimtzum (as diminishing) allowed God to seemingly disappear entirely from the stage upon which the second stage of creation would play out.
The second stage of the creative process also consists of a tzimtzum, but this time in the sense of a concentration. Kabbalah describes that God projected a ray of His previously concealed infinite light (referred to as the kav) back into the seeming void created by the initial tzimtzum. God’s infinite light, i.e., His infinite revelation, was concentrated into a thin finite ray. Worlds were then created around this ray of light. 2 The ray of infinite light is to the cosmos like the soul is to the body. 3 The ray of infinite light is the sustaining and animating force within, but, like the soul in the human body, its presence remains concealed. 4
God’s infinite light, were we able to experience it directly, would reveal His absolute singularity and Oneness. But, because of the tzimtzum, in our normal state of consciousness, we are only able to experience the revelation of God’s nature through its plurality of manifestations. Nonetheless, one of the most basic tenets of Jewish faith is that the diminishing and disappearance of the infinite light should not be understood literally; i.e., they were not “events” that transformed God’s nature as the Creator. Rather, the disappearance of God’s infinite light from the place He prepared for created reality is only from our perspective. From God’s perspective—“I God have not changed.” 5 The original infinite light remains within the apparent void and continues to shine (from God’s perspective) just as it did before the creative process and the initial tzimtzum. Only from our eyes has the light disappeared. And so with regard to the ray of light (the kav), from God’s perspective, the sense of infinite expanse remains within the apparent thin ray of light that permeates primordial space, even though we remain oblivious to it. In our world, which is the last of the worlds created around the ray of infinite light and which is physical and finite, God appears to us in many manifestations. 6 But God is, was, and always shall be One and only One.7

God, Torah, and Israel

In the Zohar, the classic text of Kabbalah, as well as in other Jewish sources,8 we find that there are three manifestations of Godliness, which are considered essentially One. These are God,9 the Torah, and Israel (meaning, the Jewish people).10
As explained above, there is nothing special that distinguishes the number three from any other number, for the complex manifestations of the Almighty appear in conjunction with all numbers. After the initial contraction of His infinite light, God—the absolute One—can and does appear to finite consciousness in any number of manifestations that He so desires.
Without the blemishes and misconceptions introduced by the limits imposed on us by finite consciousness (which is also the origin of all sin) the transcendent unity behind these multiple manifestations can be truly appreciated. The state of being that is unhindered by our finite consciousness and which can perceive the Divine as the absolute One, is known in Kabbalah as the World of Emanation (Olam Ha’atzilut), the highest of the four general states of reality described as “worlds.”11
Minds originating in the three lower worlds of Creation, Formation, and Action (whose state of consciousness has fallen from that of Emanation) tend to separate, differentiate, and divide, and thereby perceive reality as pluralistic. This tendency may easily degenerate into idol worship.
Monotheistic consciousness, which started with Abraham, and which became the spiritual inheritance of all Jews, originates in the World of Emanation, where nothing stands apart and separate from the Almighty. Because of this, monotheistic consciousness allows a person to see through the multiple manifestations of the Divine that seem to fill the world around us and thereby help him or her retain perfect faith in God’s absolute Oneness. However, non-Jews did not receive Abraham’s spiritual inheritance and therefore do not possess an innate monotheistic perspective on reality. Consequently, a non-Jew may believe, theoretically, that God is One. But, as soon as questions about God’s actual manifestation in reality arise, in the mind of the non-Jew, the description of God tends to take on some form of plurality, the exact nature of which is irrelevant—it could be a duality, like the Chinese Yin and Yang, or a trinity, like the Christian model, all the way to full-fledged polytheism. The mind rooted in the consciousness of the three lower worlds12creates a division in God’s true unity, a division that tends to degenerate into idol worship, as stated above.
The only remedy for this innate tendency to perceive God as a plurality (i.e., polytheism, or pantheism as the case may be) is for a non-Jew to bind his or her consciousness to the Torah’s universal teachings. The essence of the Torah that lies within its every word is that God is absolutely One. That is the origin of the sages’ saying that every word of the Torah is a Name of the Almighty.13 The subliminal and conscious message forever transmitted by the Torah to both the Jew and the non-Jew is the message of God’s absolute and undividable unity.
Returning to the threesome, of God, Torah, and Israel: the Torah is the wisdom and spirit of the Almighty, of which it is said: “He and His wisdom are one.”14 Israel is considered the Almighty’s son, of whom it is said: “Israel is My son, My firstborn,”15 and as such the Jewish nation represents an essence of the Father.
That said, it is essential to stress that no Jew would ever dream of regarding the people of Israel as an entity unto itself, and praying to it, God forbid! Such a thought does not even enter into Jewish consciousness (the consciousness of the World of Emanation, as explained above). The same is true with regard to the Torah. The Torah is the holy spirit of God. But no Jew would ever dream of relating to the Torah as an independent entity.16The monotheistic soul never makes the mistake of attaching independent reality to one of God’s manifestations.
In this spirit, one should read the verses describing the Torah:
“God possessed me at the beginning of His way… When He prepared the heavens, I was there… When He marked out the foundations of the earth… then I was beside Him… and my delight [was] with the sons of men.”17
The Torah is, as it were, the speaker of these verses. As explained above, when relating to any number of manifestations following the initial contraction of God’s infinite light, we must bear in mind that both before and after the contraction, these manifestations remain absolutely One. The paradox implicit in the Torah saying “I was beside God” or “I was the tool of God in Creation” remains just that—a paradox. The ultimate, absolute root of the souls of Israel, the son of God, also existed before the initial contraction, absolutely One with God.
This paradox is one that a consciousness severed from Emanation cannot appreciate. The only One to whom we pray is God Himself. This is one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith as discussed in the introduction.18 True monotheistic consciousness, even as it manifests after the initial contraction (in the World of Emanation), is always connected to the essence of God as was revealed in His infinite light before the initial contraction that brought the plurality of His manifestations into being.
We are further taught in the Zohar that the Torah serves as a link between the created consciousness of Israel and the infinite light of God. As a connecting intermediary, the Torah is in its essence no more than the manifestation of God’s affinity to Israel and Israel’s affinity to God. And so, the initial three—God, the Torah, and Israel—can be seen toreduce to two: God and Israel.19 These three canalso expand into four (and thus correspond to the four letters of God’s essential Name, as described above). In such a case, the single manifestation of the nation of Israel divides into the tzadik (the righteous Messianic figure present in every generation20) and the Jewish People (the Congregation of Israel, called Kneset Yisrael, in Hebrew). These two are then referred to as the Almighty’s “son” and “daughter,” respectively.21
Notes:
1. What appears to us as outside of God, to God is, as it were, inside Himself. In the words of the sages, “He is the place of the universe though the universe is not His place” (Midrash Bereisheet Rabah 68:9). This means that although in truth the universe and all of reality exists inside (i.e., as an indivisible part of) God, God does not, at present (until the coming of the Messiah) reveal His absolute Presence within and throughout reality (including empty space).
2. Some of the original worlds were created and then destroyed, a calamity also known as the breaking of the vessels. The purpose of this destruction, on the spiritual plane, was the creation of the lowest of worlds, in which we live, a corporal reality containing both good and evil and granting us the ability to choose freely between the two antithetical poles.
3. In relation to the ray (the kav), the sages say that God (as explained above, the kav is indivisible from the essence of God’s infinite light) is to the world as the soul is to the body (See Berachot 10a; Midrash Vayikra Rabah, 4; Midrash Shocher Tov Tehillim, 103).
4. To be more exact, in the Divine consciousness of the World of Emanation (Atzilut) the presence of the kav, the soul of creation, is revealed, whereas in the three lower worlds of Creation, Formation, and Action (Beri’ahYetzirah, and Asiyah), whose state of consciousness is separate from God, the presence of the kav is concealed.
5. Malachi 3:6.
6. For this reason we find that in the Bible, and even more so in Kabbalistic texts, God possesses many Names (and even more descriptive connotations, such as “the Merciful One”). Each Name (or connotation) designates a special manifestation of God in reality. Indeed, we are taught in Kabbalah that every word in the Torah conceals within itself a Name of God. Furthermore, the Messiah will reveal that the entire Torah, from beginning to end, is in essence one great Name of God. See What You Need to Know About Kabbalah, part III.
7. In Hebrew, “one” is echad (אֶחָד ) and “single [one]” is yachid (יָחִיד ).
8. Based on the Zohar (III, 73a), we often find in Chassidic texts the statement that, “Israel, the Torah and the Holy One Blessed Be He are One.”
9. It is explained in Kabbalah that this particular manifestation of the Almighty refers topartzuf ze’eir anpin, one of the 12 major partzufim, i.e., direct manifestations of the Almighty in every world.
10. This statement in the Zohar gives a physical correspondence to the parallel statement that appears in Jewish philosophy: “He, His thought, and the object of His thought are all One.” “He” of course corresponds to God Himself; “His thought” corresponds to the Torah; and, “the object of His thought” corresponds to Israel.
11. About the four worlds as states of consciousness, see in What You Need to Know About Kabbalah, pp. 133ff.
12. Since in fact there are three lower worlds, the number three reflects pluralistic consciousness, with the image of God as a parent deriving from the World of Creation, the image of God as spirit deriving from the World of Formation and the corporal image of God as a son deriving from the World of Action.
13Zohar II, 87a.
14. Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Pardes Rimonim 4:10.
15. Exodus 4:22. The numerical values of the three Hebrew words that comprise this phrase—“Israel is My son, My firstborn,”בְּנִי בְּכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל —are 62, 232, and 541. They can be analyzed as forming a segment of an ascending quadratic series, whose proceeding and following members are discovered by the process referred to as “finite differences,” as follows:
31
62
232
541
989
1576
2302
31
170
309
448
587
726
139
139
139
139
139
The number that proceeds 62 in the series is its half, 31, the value of the Name of God by which He called Israel (Genesis 32:29), El (אֵ־ל ). 31 is the lowest number, or base, of the infinite series (a quadratic series is graphically represented as a parabola). The three numbers following 541 are 989, 1576, and 2302. Together, the sum of the first seven numbers in the series (“all sevens are dear” – Midrash Vayikra Rabah 29:11) is 5733 = 13 . 441; 13 is the numerical value of “one,” אֶחָד , and “love,”אַהֲבָה , and 441 = 212, and is the numerical value of “truth” (אֱמֶת ).
5733 is also 7 . 819, meaning that the average value of the first seven numbers in the series is 819. 819 is equal to the sum of all the squares from 12 to 132, also known as the pyramid of 13. It is also the numerical value of the connotation for God’s Oneness, “simple unity” (אַחְדוּת פְשׁוּטָה ). Thus, “Israel is My son, My firstborn” alludes to the ultimate, absolute truth of God’s simple unity that permeates the consciousness of Israel, which will be fully revealed in the “Days of the Messiah” (which in Hebrew also equals 819, יְמוֹת הַמָשִׁיחַ ). The sages teach that even today, before the arrival of the true Messiah, “David, the King of Israel, is alive and present” (a well known Hebrew idiom:דָוִד מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל חַי וְקַיָם , whose numerical value is also 819) in every generation.
16. Following the statement that “the Holy One and the Torah are one” (see Zohar II, 90b).
17. Proverbs 8:22-31.
18. See pp. 22ff.
19. We saw above, that the two tablets of the covenant given to Moses at Mt. Sinai are the most primal example of a couple in Jewish consciousness. The first five of the Ten Commandments, which are engraved on the first tablet, all fall under the category of those commandments which regulate the relationship between man and God (honoring one’s parents, the fifth commandment, is in fact an expression of honoring God, for God together with one’s parents act together as “partners” in procreation, with God, who bestows the soul and human consciousness, as the principal “partner”), while the second five, engraved on the second tablet regulate the relationship between man and his fellow man. Thus, the two tablets themselves correspond to God and to Israel (after which we return to the basic consciousness of “One is our God in heaven and on earth”).
20. Of whom God says: “You are My son” (Psalms 2:7).
21. Just as God calls the Messiah “My son,” so He calls the people of Israel “My daughter” (Midrash Shemot Rabah 52:4). In Hebrew, the sum of the numerical values of “My son” (בְּנִי , 62) and “My daughter” (בִּתִּי , 412) is equal to the numerical value of the word for “knowledge” (דַּעַת , 474), the sefirah that unites the “son” and the “daughter.”
The understanding that Israel are both the son and daughter of the Almighty, gives us a full correspondence to the four letters of Havayah, which represent the ideal family of father (God), mother (the Torah), son (the Messianic figure present within every generation), daughter (the Congregation of Israel, Keneset Yisrael), as follows:
י
father
God
ה
mother
Torah
ו
son
Messianic figure
ה
daughter
Congregation of Israel
Every commandment is intended to manifest Godliness on earth and to reflect the secret of God’s essential Name, Havayah. This is most beautifully apparent in the first commandment of the Torah, the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, which according to the sages (Yevamot 61b) means giving birth to at least one son and one daughter, thereby emulating God, the Creator, by making an ideal family, reflecting the secret of the Name Havayah.
The numerical value of all four parts of this correspondence in Hebrew,  י־הוה תוֹרָה מַשִׁיחַ יִשְׂרָאֵל is equal to 1536 = 4 ž 384, meaning that the average value of each element is 384. But, 384 is the numerical value of the phrase “the Messiah of God” (מְשִׁיחַ י־הוה ), the combined value of the words corresponding to the yud and the vav of the NameHavayah, indicating that the Messianic spirit permeates the ideal family.





 

Excerpt from Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations Chapter 3: The Mystical Symbolism of the Seven Laws of Bnei Noach

 http://www.inner.org/nonjews/kabbalah-for-nations-mystical-symbolism-noahide-laws-1.php


The Nature of the Soul

In order to understand why God gave these seven specific commandments—the Laws ofBnei Noach—to all of humanity, we must first briefly explain how the human soul functions.
The human soul has both a Divine and a physical, or animal aspect. In Hebrew these are referred to as the Divine soul (nefesh Elokit) and the animal soul (nefesh behamit) as defined in the Tanya,1 by the Chassidic Master, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.
All human beings possess a Divine spark. The difference between one human and another lies in the extent to which the spark has entered and plays an active role in his or her psyche. (We use the term “psyche” to refer to both the conscious and the unconscious planes of the soul).
When the spark fully enters the psyche2 it is known as a Divine soul. And so we speak of Jews as possessing a Divine soul. With regard to a non-Jew, the Divine spark hovers above the psyche (not entering it even on the unconscious plane). A righteous gentile (that is, a non-Jew who fulfills the seven Laws of Bnei Noach) is one who senses the presence of the Divine spark and is inspired by it to walk along the path of God fitting for all people as outlined in the Torah.3 On the other hand, a non-Jew who has not yet become a righteous gentile is unaware of the Divine spark hovering above.
To use the language of Chassidut, the Divine spark (or soul) of a Jew is considered an inner light (or pnimi), meaning that it is directly experienced and makes for part of his or her psychological makeup. The righteous gentile’s non-Jew’s spark of Divinity is described as a “closely surrounding light” (or makif karov), meaning that it is psychologically experienced only indirectly. The Divine spark of non-Jews who are not considered righteous gentiles is akin to a “distantly surrounding light” (or makif rachok), meaning, that it plays no conscious role in that person’s experience as a human being.
Even in this third case, due to the refinement of character that results from life’s trials and tribulations, and due to the Divinely ordained meetings between non-Jews and Jews, which introduce the beauty of the Torah to the non-Jew, the “distant” spark may grow “closer” and the “close” spark may even desire to convert to Judaism. It is because of this latent potential innate in every non-Jew that we speak of all non-Jews as possessing a Divine spark. Indeed all of God’s creations are continuously brought into being by means of a Divine spark, but, only a human being, even if born a non-Jew, is able to convert in his present lifetime and become a Jew.
These three levels of influence that the Divine spark can have on us as human beings are alluded to in the beginning of the Torah:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.4
In Kabbalah, “the heavens” symbolize the soul and “the earth” symbolizes the body. The Torah continues:
And the earth was chaotic and void, and darkness was on the face of the abyss, and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
The initial state of the earth (the body together with its animal soul) described by the three adjectives “chaotic,” “void,” and “dark” (which in Kabbalah are identified with the three impure “shells”), corresponds to the initial state of the earthbound non-Jew whose Divine spark is still distant from his psyche. “And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters” refers to state of the righteous gentile whose Divine spark is sensed as hovering above him, close to his psyche. The sages teach us that “the spirit of God” refers here to the spirit of the Messiah who will be sent by God to redeem mankind.5 Thus we may conclude that the coming of the Messiah depends upon raising the spiritual level of the non-Jewish world from “darkness” to “spirit,” encouraging non-Jews to become righteous gentiles.
The next verse in the Torah reads:
And God said: “Let there be light,” and there was light. 
This verse describes the reality of the Jewish soul. “Let there be light” refers to the Divine spark as it permeates the unconscious plane of the Jewish psyche. “And there was light” portrays the Divine spark when it permeates the conscious plane of the Jew’s psyche.6
Abraham was the first man to integrate the Divine spark as an essential and non-differential part of his psyche (both on the unconscious and the conscious planes). From his inner light he was able to shine light to all around him. In the words of the prophet: “Abraham began to shine light.”7 This made Abraham into the first Jew.
The level to which the Divine spark is present in the psyche has a strong influence on the nature of a person’s animal soul. First, let us note that the animal soul is itself divided into two distinct facets, an intellectual facet (nefesh sichlit, in Hebrew) and an emotional/behavioral facet. The animal soul of a Jew, due to the inner presence of the Divine soul, is relatively more refined than that of the non-Jew. Its intellectual side possesses a unique Jewish character, or way of thought and reasoning. It is able to grasp abstract and subtle concepts. For this reason Jews are innovative in many secular fields. The passions of its emotional side are directed to things that are permissible according to the law of the Torah.
The physical soul of a righteous gentile resembles that of the Jew in some ways. Consequently, the motivations of the righteous gentile are considered a mixture of good (altruistic) and bad (selfish).8 However, the state of consciousness of the non-Jew that is not yet righteous, i.e., that is not yet bound to God through the universal aspects of the Torah, conceals and blocks the manifestation of truly good (altruistic) motivations and these cannot be actualized in his physical soul.
When the Divine soul of the Jew is revealed, he or she feels an unconditional love toward all of God’s creations, realizing that a spark of God is present in all (with the caveat noted above with regard to the difference between human beings and all other creatures). He or she will love the good in all and reject whatever evil hides, perverts, and corrupts that intrinsic good.
1. Chapters 1 and 2.
2. The spark itself can be likened to a geometrical point, which is dimensionless. After entering the psyche, as the individual develops in his or her commitment to the service of the Divine, the point will expand first to into a line (a one-dimensional figure) and then to an area (a two-dimensional figure). In other words, it becomes more and more real.
3. When a non-Jew becomes so inspired by the spark of Divinity spiritually hovering above that he or she wishes to identify with it in full then that is the true motivation for becoming a convert to Judaism.
4. Genesis 1:1.
5Yalkut Shimoni Bereisheet, 4. According to most Jewish descriptions of the coming of Messiah, particularly the description of Maimonides, the Messiah will be a living Jew, descended from the house of David. He will become king of Israel, rebuild the Temple, and bring all the Jews back to the Holy Land. He will inspire the entire world to believe in the One God, and usher in an era of all human beings living together in peace and brotherhood.
6. These two stages of integration of the Divine spark are alluded to by the sages in the two sayings: “Israel are cherished for they have been called the sons of the Almighty,” and “Israel are cherished for they were the recipients of the precious vessel [the Torah]” (Avot 3:14).
7Midrash Shemot Rabah 15:26.
8. See Tanya, end of chapter 1.

 
 

 

Excerpt from Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations Chapter 3: The Mystical Symbolism of the Seven Laws of Bnei Noach part 2

 
 
 

The innate identity of the non-Jew is based on the number seven. For example:
  • There are 70 (7 ∙ 10) primal national/ethnic roots, whose origin can be traced to the seventy descendants of Noah enumerated in the Torah.1
  • The 70 national/ethnic roots relate at their core to the 7 Canaanite nations that occupied the Land of Israel before it was given to the Jewish people by God.2
  • Between them, the nations communicate using 70 different families of languages.
The number seven (and the number seventy) also has special significance in Jewish tradition. It denotes “endearment.” In the words of the sages, “All sevens are dear.”2 For a Jew, the seventh day—Shabbat—is qualitatively different from the six weekdays. It is a holy day of rest from worldly endeavor, a time to experience Divine transcendence—God’s presence above all.
For the non-Jew, on the other hand, the number seven depicts the consummation of secular reality. The seventh day is not essentially different from the other days of the week, it is a workday, and as such, is a time to experience Divine immanence—God’s presence within all.
Additionally, the number of descendants of Jacob, who were the progenitors of the Jewish people, is explicitly noted in the Torah as seventy.4 This was also the basis for God instructing Moses to appoint seventy elders5 to the Sanhedrin, the highest court of Torah law.6 At a deeper level, seventy elders were needed in order to give voice to each of the “seventy facets [faces] of the Torah.”7 Later, the Almighty commanded Moses (who transmitted this directive to Joshua) that upon entering the Land of Israel he was to collect some large stones on which he was to clearly write the text of the entire Torah.8The sages explain that God’s intent, which was subsequently carried out by Joshua, was that the Torah be translated and written on the stones in all seventy languages of the nations of the world.9
This last example of the importance of the number seven in relation to the Jewish people and the Torah is the foundational basis for the task given to the Jewish people to instruct the nations of the world in the ways of God. From this early example of making the entire Torah accessible to every single human being on Earth, without prejudice or pre-condition, we learn that God intended that all people be offered the opportunity to adopt the Torah in full (i.e., convert to Judaism and thereby fully integrating their Divine spark).
The Jewish seven reflects unity—most significantly the Oneness of God—while the non-Jewish seven represents plurality. This is because in the Jewish soul, the seven emotional/behavioral powers are subordinate and serve the spiritual quest of the three intellectual powers (the quest to reveal God’s absolute unity). In the yet unrectified state of the non-Jewish soul, the three intellectual powers serve the earthbound desires of the seven emotional/behavioral powers and thus identify at a basic level with the plurality of the mundane.
And so, for the Jewish soul, the quest to ascend (and descend) the seven levels described above remains secondary10 to its commitment to live a Torah-balanced life, based on the Tree of Life’s three axes of right, left, and middle. The right axis corresponds to the soul’s commitment to fulfill the Torah’s 248 positive commandments, the left axis corresponds to its commitment to fulfill the 365 negative commandments (to refrain from that which the Torah forbids), and the middle axis to the sanctification of all of one’s thoughts, words, and deeds, whether in the context of one of the 613 commandments or while involved in one’s worldly endeavors.
Likewise, the Jewish soul ideally prefers linking opposites, thereby transcending simple, binary logic, not similars.11 For the non-Jewish soul, the reverse is the case.
***
We now return to our initial observation that before committing to the path of the Torah, the non-Jew’s intellectual sefirot are subordinate to the emotional/behavioral ones. Or, in other words, the non-Jew is innately earthbound. It is exactly to correct this estrangement from all that is Divine and heavenly in nature, that the seven Laws of Bnei Noach were given.
A non-Jew that commits to the Bnei Noach commandments, experiences a refinement of the seven emotional/behavioral powers within the soul. The individual’s physical aspect will begin to serve his or her intellect, and this makes it possible to see through the three uppermost levels of the soul and envision the One.
Simultaneously, by adopting the seven Laws of Bnei Noach, the individual reaches the understanding that rectification comes only with subservience to the Torah and as defined by its parameters; this, as opposed to the notion that an untamed desire to ascend spiritually is what brings one closer to God. It is then possible to truly comprehend that God has created a world full of opposites in order that they may consciously be united by all people, thereby revealing God’s ultimate Oneness.
When all this happens—and quite often it happens most suddenly—a non-Jew experiences a profound spiritual transformation. But when it does not (and indeed a non-Jew is likely to neglect his or her God-commanded obligations), he or she remains unable to apprehend God’s true unity, and is apt to fall into idolatry. This often manifests itself in a distorted worship of some sort—such as the stars, nature, yogis, the pantheon of “gods,” money, etc. All are forms of idolatry which can be defined as the worship o anything or anyone other than the One God. Even the seemingly innocuous modern day movie stars, music stars, and sports stars all contribute to distorting one’s ability to commit to worshipping the Almighty.
Notes:
1. Genesis chapter 11.
2. Deuteronomy 7:1.
3Midrash Vayikra Rabah 29:11. Chanoch (a.k.a., Enoch) was the seventh generation of mankind, from Adam, whereas Moses was the seventh generation of the Jewish people, from Abraham. Chanoch represents the epitome of a righteous gentile (a potential Jew), and in Kabbalah is seen to be a spiritual mentor of Moses himself!
4. Genesis 46:27 and Exodus 1:5.
5. Numbers 11:16.
6Mishnah Sanhedrin 1:6.
7Midrash Rabah Bamidbar 13:15. See Ramban’s commentary to Numbers 11:16.
8. Deuteronomy 27:8.
9Sotah 32a. The sages learn this from the word “clearly” in the verse. Kabbalah defines that every word in Hebrew has a “frontside” and a “backside.” The frontside is simply the word itself and refers to its literal meaning, while its “backside” is defined as the letters that make up the progressive appearance of the word and refers to its indirect meanings or translations into other languages. How fitting it is that the “backside” of the Hebrew word for “clearly” (הֵיטֵב ) is ה הי היט היטב whose numerical value is 70, thus alluding to the seventy languages of the nations into which the Torah was to be translated.
The numerical value of the “frontside” is 26, the value of God’s essential Name,Havayah. Multiplying the “front” (26) by the “back” (70) we get 1820, the exact number of times that the Name Havayah appears in the Five Books of Moses. Thus, the seventy facets of the Torah that relate to all the nations of the world are themselves illuminated by the power of God’s essential Name.
As noted, the full realization of the vision of the Torah illuminating the entire world only became possible once the Jewish people had entered the Land of Israel. In the Five Books of Moses, the word “clearly” (הֵיטֵב ) appears 6 times, the first of which is in the verse, “And You said, ‘I will benevolently do you good’” (Genesis 32:13) הֵיטֵב אֵיטִיב עִמָךְ, which Jacob said to the Almighty referring to the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is described in the Torah as “the goodly land” that God promised to bestow upon him and his descendants. The two word idiom “I will benevolently do you good” also alludes to this very point, as the product of the numerical values of these two words in Hebrew is 26 (the value of הֵיטֵב ) . 32 (the value of אֵיטִיב ) = 832, the numerical value of the “Land of Israel” (אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל ).
10. When secondary to commitment to live a Torah-balanced life, the quest to ascend (and descend) the sefirotic ladder from rung to rung is positive, reflecting the soul’s desire to consciously unite with God. But when the quest to ascend to higher and higher levels of consciousness is one’s primary driving force, preceding the commitment to fulfill God’s will as revealed in the Torah, it is no other than a reflection of one’s base egocentricity. Anything egocentric is essentially earthbound, and though it appears that one is seeking spirituality, in truth one is only seeking self-gratification, on earth.
11. Voicing this sentiment is a well-known Chassidic saying that “you cannot always have the luxury of traveling over an iron bridge.” Often, the bridges in life are narrow and flimsy. Nonetheless, the Jewish soul understands that bridges must be constructed and used, even if they do not appear to be ideal.

 



GOLDEN JERUSALEM