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The Book of Numbers is so called because it deals principally with the census of the Jewish nation and their organization around the Tabernacle according to their tribes. The entire census—including accounts of both the number of men in each tribe and an account of the total number of men in the entire nation—first appears in chapter 1. The order of encampment around the Tabernacle appears in chapter 2, medications “Each individual unto his flag with the banner of their patriarchal house shall the Children of Israel encamp, purchase facing and surrounding the Tent of Meeting shall they camp.” Surprisingly, shop with the order of encampment, the Torah once more repeats the census numbers appearing in chapter 1. This second enumeration seems redundant. Why did the Torah first relate the census independently of the camp structure (in chapter 1) and then repeat it a second time when laying out the structure of the camps surrounding the Tabernacle (in chapter 2)?

General Census and Inclusive Structure

One idea that can be gleaned from this apparent redundancy is that number and strcuture (or quantity and form) are independently important.

The census—counting the number of Jews—expresses the importance of every single Jew and God’s fondness for each and every one of us. As Rashi states, “Because of His fondness for them, He [God] counts them at every opportunity.” Every Jew is God’s favorite and every Jewish soul is an entire world.

The census is divided by tribes and each individual is related to his own patriarchal house, “And they declared their pedigrees according to their families according to their fathers’ houses” (Numbers 1:18) and as Rashi explains, “Each one of them brought their family trees and their birth certificates to prove their relationship to their tribes.”

Once the quantity of Jewish souls is known, once each person has been attended to as an individual, the people, as a nation of 12 tribes, are treated as a whole with a particular structure that joins them together. Concentrating on them as a nation, the twelve tribes are ordered and organized into four camps in a particular manner around the Tabernacle, with one camp (of 3 tribes) lying in each direction. Each tribe has its own flag in a specific color with a particular banner, and the full structure reveals the manifold relationship between them all. The number of each tribe is mentioned once more, while describing the structure, but this time it is an intrinsic part of a complete tapestry.

Given this differentiation between quantity and form, the census can be compared to the “Act of Creation” – facilitating the essential existence of each and every person in the Jewish nation, each one and his birthright. In contrast, the form, the camp structure around the Tabernacle can be compared to “the Act of the Chariot” (which literally translates as, “The act of construction”), revealing the complexity of the myriad relationships between the individuals and between their tribes.

Counting letters and drawing figurate numbers

This two stage process—from quantity to form—is reflected in our method of contemplating the Torah. The earliest Torah scholars were called ??????, usually translated as “scribes,” but also meaning, “counters.” They were described in this manner because they counted the letters of the Torah. Today, we too first carefully count the letters in a given verse or section of the Torah. The act of careful counting gives us a chance to treat each letter as an individual point of revelation, like a precious stone (in fact, the letters of the Torah are designated as “stones” in Sefer Yetzirah).

Once we know the number of letters, we continue our study by contemplating what particular form, what particular figure, that particular number of letters can be arranged in. The forms we consider are known as “figurate numbers.” These geometric figures with symmetry that have a particular number of components. We then arrange the letters of the text we are studying into the particular figurate number found.

For example, when we count them, we find that the Torah’s first verse (??????????? ?????? ????????? ??? ??????????? ????? ???????) has 28 letters. The form that suits 28 letters is that of a triangle, particularly what is called the triangle of 7. We then proceed to arrange the 28 letters of the Torah’s first verse into the structure of the triangle of 7. Once the letters have been ordered in this form, the structure itself can be studied, thereby revealing many new insights into the meaning of the verse.

The Gift of the Camp at Mt. Sinai

The Torah portion of Bamidbar is read on a Shabbat that is close to the festival of Shavu’ot, when we celebrate God’s giving us the Torah. Indeed, the sages associate the organization of the Jewish camp in the wilderness to the revelation atMt.Sinai, which took place almost a year beforehand,

When God revealed Himself at Mt.Sinai, 22,000 angels descended with Him…. The angels were ordered under different flags…. When the Jewish people saw the angels ordered under their different flags, they began to desire flags for themselves, saying, “We wish we could have flags like them.” God said to them, ‘Since you desire to be under flags, I swear that I will fulfill your wish… then God informed the Jewish nation and told Moses, “Go and make them flags as they desire” (Bamidbar Rabbah).

God’s giving us the Torah generated the correct structure within the nation. While at Mt. Sinai the mountain was in the center and all the nation was around it, once the Tabernacle was constructed and the Divine Presence that was revealed at Mt. Sinai was drawn into it, the whole camp organized itself around the Tabernacle, “Each individual unto his flag…, facing and surrounding the Tent of Meeting shall they camp.” Mt.Sinaiand the Tabernacle were the two central points around which the camp was organized.

From Sons to Builders

There is a well known phrase by the sages that,

Torah scholars increase peace in the world, as the verse states, “All your children shall be God’s students, and abundant shall be your children’s peace.” The sages say: Do not read this as, “banayich” – your children, rather read it as “bonayich” – your builders.

AtMt.Sinaievery Jew became “God’s student,” a Torah scholar who learns Torah from God’s own mouth; they therefore also became builders. From this perspective, it now became fitting that they should be assembled together in an orderly structure like the angels and perhaps even more so than angels, since Jewish souls have a higher root even than angels.

At the exodus fromEgypt, our status as God’s children became manifest, and God called us, “My firstborn son,Israel.” As God’s beloved children, He counts us at every opportunity and each one of us is like an only son. But from the moment that God gave us the Torah, we are no longer simply children, having become a nation of Torah scholars, we are now also builders who, in addition to being beloved children, each of whom is singled out, we are also given the privilege of a specially ordered structure. The central point of that structure is the Tabernacle, which is the manifestation of Divine revelation and also of the Torah (the two tablets of the covenant were kept in the Holy Ark of the Tabernacle) and around it the Jewish nation was ordered according to their flags and camps.

Another version of the abovementioned saying regarding the angels seen during the giving of the Torah appears as an interpretation of the verse in Song of Songs, “He brought me to the winery and his flag upon me was love”

Rabbi Yehoshuah of Sachnin said in the name of Rabbi Levi, “The nation of Israel said: God brought me to a large wine cellar, which is Sinai, where I saw the angel Michael and his flag and the angel Gabriel and his flag and my eyes saw the ceremonies of above and I loved them. At that moment, God said to Moses, ‘Since My children desire to camp under flags, they shall camp under flags.’ This is what it means when it says, ‘Each individual unto his flag with the banner….’” (Shir Hashirim Rabbah).

Referring to this verse, the Zohar states, “Rabbi Elazar began, ‘Rejoice withJerusalemand exult in her all those who love her, etc.’ Since joy is only available at times when the Jewish nation is in theHoly land.” This interpretation of the verse in the Torah portion of Bamidbar indicates that the camp ofIsraelin the wilderness, the rectified structure of the Jewish nation “around the Tent of Meeting,” had the sanctity of theLandofIsrael,Jerusalemand theHolyTemple, all of which are places of joy.

Consequently we can learn from this that today, in the Land of Israel, in order to merit the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, we must reconstruct the camps of the wilderness. This can be achieved by recreating proper order amongst Jews, including ceremonies and flags that express our uniqueness as God’s nation and our desire to be similar to the Divine Chariot , thereby meriting the return of the Divine Presence amongst us, “as comely asJerusalem, as awesome as the bannered regions.”

from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 1, 5772

In this week’s Torah portion we read how Balak, online King of Moab, no rx hired Balaam, viagra an expert sorcerer, to curse the Jewish people, in an attempt to divestMoabof the threat that he felt they imposed upon them. On three attempts Balaam had Balak sacrifice seven oxen and seven rams, a total of 42 sacrifices, but every time, instead of Balaam receiving a prophecy that would curse the Jewish people, the prophecy was one of blessing. God had turned Balaam into an instrument to bless His people.

The Talmud[1] teaches us that even though Balak had ulterior motives for sacrificing the 42 animals to God, his reward was his descendant Ruth, the Moabite princess who converted and married Boaz out of whom came King Solomon who offered 1,000 sacrifices – a precursor to Mashiach. On the other hand, Balak’s 42 sacrifices were the spiritual source of a tragedy in which 42 children who had scorned the prophet Elishah and whom he had cursed were devoured by two bears from a forest (2 Kings, ch. 2).

After Elijah’s death, his disciple Elishah, dwelt in Jericho where the local water was bitter and unfit for drinking. A band of children earned their livelihood by bringing fresh water from afar but when Elishah miraculously sweetened the waters there these children followed Elishah and scorned him, nicknaming him “baldy.” Elishah cursed them and then two bears came out of the forest and devoured 42 of the children. Even though Elishah was the most righteous of prophets, he became the instrument for actualizing the curse that Balak wanted to bring on the Jewish people. In fact, the Arizal explains that the two bears that devoured the children harbored the incarnated souls of Balak and Balaam.

From this terrible story we learn that indeed there was some power in the sacrifices brought by Balak, and as great a prophet that Elishah was, he was only successful in directing that power to those, who according to the letter of the law, deserved it. Elishah lashed out harsh, chaotic judgments alluded to by the fact that Elishah’s name (?????) has a numerical value of 411, which is also the numerical value of “chaos” (???). Theoretically, Elishah’s curse was justified, because these children were delinquent, wicked, and deserving of punishment, as the Talmud[2] explains. Yet, Elishah’s approach was not the best educational route to take and he was later afflicted with illness as punishment for this act.

The Wonder Child

In the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion, we find a story that if contemplated correctly has the power to rectify these 42 children and all the children of the world, each of whom has the potential to become Mashiach.[3] The story begins when two of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students visit the home of Rabbi Himnuna Saba, who was on the same exalted level of spirituality as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) himself, like a spiritual brother. Rabbi Himnuna Saba had already passed away, and the two visitors were in fact unaware that this was his home. His widow invited them in and her young son came home from school early that day. Realizing that these were holy men, the mother told her son to approach them and ask for their blessing. However, on approaching them, the child recoiled and told his mother that he could not come near them because they had not yet read the Shema that day in its time. The two men overheard his words and were astounded because indeed they had been involved in another great mitzvah (of providing for a groom and bride) from early that morning and had thus been exempt from reading the Shema in its time. They asked the child how he knew this and he replied that he had smelled it from their clothing.

Jacob’s Blessing to the Children

Now, the sense of smell is the most messianic sense because we are taught that the Mashiach will be able to confirm the truth just by using his sense of smell.[4] So we see that this child certainly had a spark of Mashiach in him, and he continued to astonish the men with his knowledge of Torah and his esoteric innovations. Unable to reply to his profound Torah knowledge, the men asked him his father’s name. The child consulted with his mother and then told them that had they been worthy of it, his father’s soul would have accompanied them as an Arab traveler; therefore he would not tell them who he was. The child then proceeded to explain Jacob’s blessing to Ephraim and Menasheh, his grandsons from Joseph, “May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”[5]

The two men returned to Rashbi and told him about this special child and Rashbi revealed to them that he was Rav Hamnuna’s son.

On hearing of this child prodigy, Rabbi Shimon’s own son, Rabbi Elazar, decided that he too must meet him. In his commentary on the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, explains that since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is like a brother to Rav Hamnuna Saba, Rabbi Elazar sensed that his son must be his own spiritual partner. So, once, when Rabbi Elazar was on his way to visit his father-in-law, accompanied by Rabbi Abba and Rabbi Yosi, they took a detour and went to visit the child. While walking, they discussed the difference between the two nations of Amon andMoab. Incredibly, when they arrived, the child greeted them by telling them that he smelled from their clothing that Amon andMoabhad been “aggravating” them and he taught them how to overcome the impure influence of these two enemies. After discussing much Torah together and eating a meal with the child, the three men left.

Revealing the Mother’s Secret

Upon returning to Rashbi, he revealed that this child prodigy was not destined to live a long life, but he prayed that he should outlive his mother so that she would not suffer seeing her child pass away, and his prayers were answered.

Although the hero of this story is Rabbi Himnuna’s son, it is actually the boy’s mother who holds the secret of the number 42, a fact that is alluded to in the numerical value of “mother” (???), 42. In fact, in his commentary on this passage of the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak explains that on the day that the first visit occurred, the fact that the boy returned home to his mother early represents the rising of his spiritual consciousness to the level of the “Supernal Mother.”

One of the opinions in the Talmud why Elishah considered the 42 children worthy of his curse is that their mothers had conceived them on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, which also corresponds to this level of Mother, when marital relations are strictly forbidden.

So we see that Rabbi Himnuna’s wife and their son hold the key to rectifying Elishah’s curse on the 42 children.

Balak and Mashiach

Above, we saw that every child has the potential to be Mashiach and that Rabbi Himnuna’s young son in particular, mentioned in the Zohar on the Torah portion of Balak, revealed that potential. We also saw that Balak’s sacrifices were rewarded in that Ruth, and eventually Mashiach, would be his descendants. In fact, Maimonides[6] states that there is one section in Balaam’s last prophecy that relates explicitly to Mashiach:[7]

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not soon. A star has stepped forth from Jacob, and a tribe has arisen fromIsraelwho will crush the princes ofMoaband uproot all the sons of Seth.Edomshall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, andIsraelshall triumph. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city.”

The eleven different phrases in these three verses all relate to a different spiritual aspect of the Mashiach, beginning with the initial aspect of self-sacrifice, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught.[8]May we soon merit the revelation of Mashiach to all ofIsraeland to the entire world.



[1] Sotah, 47a.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Shabbat, 119b.

[4] Sanhedrin, 93b.

[5] Genesis, 48:16.

[6] Hilchot Melachim, 11:4.

[7] Numbers, 24:17-19.

[8] Torat Menachem, Vol. 24, Part II, 1Tamuz, 5726.

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, physician order “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, health “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, viagra “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, viagra “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, online “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, and “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, physician “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, ampoule “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, buy “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, help “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

One of the central points in the Torah portion of Naso is the Priestly Blessing, ampoule “God shall bless you and keep you. God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you. God shall raise His countenance towards you and grant you peace.” The verse that follows these three verses is, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi explains that the meaning of this additional verse is, “I will bless them – i.e. the nation of Israel—and I will consent with the kohanim (priests). Another meaning is, I will bless the kohanim.” These two interpretations that Rashi mentions appear in the Talmud as two differing opinions,

Rabbi Ishma’el said, “We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that there is a blessing for the kohanim themselves. But, when the verse states, “I will bless them,” it means that the kohanim bless the Jewish people and God blesses the kohanim.

Rabbi Akiva says, ‘We have learned that the Jewish people be blessed by the kohanim, but we have not learned that they [the Jewish people] are blessed by God Himself. But, when the verse states, “And I will bless them” it is to say that the kohanim bless the nation of Israel and God consents to their blessing. (Chulin, 49a).

Although in the Talmud Rabbi Ishma’el’s opinion is mentioned first, Rashi in his commentary first mentions Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that the words, “And I will bless them” refer to the Jewish people.” We can learn from this that Rashi considers this opinion the more literal interpretation, more than that of Rabbi Ishmael, whom Rashi quotes second.

However, the Zohar emphasizes the opinion that “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim” (in the Zohar this interpretation is stated in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, not Rabbi Yishma’el), implying that this is the more mystical interpretation of the verse. In fact, this explanation is alluded to by the numerical equality between the Hebrew words for, “And I will bless them” (???? ?????) and the often repeated phrase, “Aaron and his sons” (???? ?????), who are of course the kohanim!

In the Talmud, the question is asked, where do we learn that the kohanim are also blessed, and the answer is given that we learn this from the promise God gave Abraham that, “I will bless those who bless you” meaning that whomever blesses a Jew will be blessed himself. The Talmud then asks further, if so, then when Rabbi Ishmael explains that God blesses the kohanim, what is he adding? And the reply is that this phrase sets the kohanim in the same context as the Jewish nation so that they are blessed together with them. So, everyone agrees that the kohanim do receive a blessing, but Rabbi Ishmael adds that this is not merely by virtue of their having blessed the Jewish people (and then God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jewish people sets in), but that they also receive their own blessing from God.

A similar explanation is offered for the second interpretation, referring to the blessing with which God blesses the Jewish nation. According to Rabbi Ishmael this is the literal explanation of the verse so it does not need to be stated, because if God commands the kohanim to bless the Jewish nation, then it is obvious that He consents to the blessing and blesses the Jewish nation. Yet Rabbi Akiva assumes that there is an additional blessing and that the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel,” refers to the blessing that the kohanim bless the Jewish nation, while “And I will bless them” – means that God will add even more blessing.

A Blessing to Kohanim to Bless Jews

In order to see how these two interpretations complement one another, let’s return to Rabbi Ishmael’s statement in the Talmud, which in the Zohar appears as Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: “And I will bless them” refers to the kohanim. If we contemplate this special addition, it is quite clear that this blessing is not just for the benefit of the kohanim but to add even more blessing to the Jewish people. The task of the kohanim, sons of Aharon who “loves peace and pursues peace,” is to bring blessing and peace upon the Jewish nation, both as God’s messengers and as envoys of the nation. So, we cannot reasonably explain that mixed into their blessing of the Jewish people is an egotistic interest in bringing blessing upon themselves. The whole point of the blessing of the kohanim is to “bless His people of Israel with love.” This idea is especially emphasized in the Zohar, which states immediately following this explanation, “Any kohen who is not loved by the people, should not bless them.” To illustrate this statement, an anecdote follows, which relates of a kohen who “did not bless with love” and was gravely punished for doing so. Indeed, this is even the legal ruling. This explanation of the additional blessing of “And I will bless them,” therefore comes to teach us that the blessing that the kohanim receive in order to bless the Jewish nation is from a much higher source than the blessing that any other person receives as a result of blessing a Jew, because they receive their blessing from God in the context of the entire Jewish people, thereby augmenting enormously the impact of the blessing.

Unconditional Blessing and a Bonus Blessing from the Righteous

Explaining this further, we may observe that there are two levels of blessing within the Priestly Blessing:

The first level is a direct blessing from God to the Jews that stems from the phrase, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” What is special about this particular blessing is that it does not depend on the deeds of the Jewish nation. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, the blessing of the kohanim has an advantage over all the other blessings that appear in the Torah portion of Bechukotai (such as, “I will grant you rain… I will grant you peace… I will grant My dwelling… etc”), because they are all conditional upon, “If you walk in My statutes.” But, the blessing of the kohanim is absolutely unconditional. In fact, not only is the Priestly Blessing not affected by the state of the Jewish people being blessed, it is also independent of the deeds or spiritual level of the kohanim who confer the blessing, and it does not demand any special intention on their part. Even kohanim who are sinners are permitted to bless the people (except under certain circumstances). As Maimonides explains (Hilchot tefilah venesi’at kapayim, 106):

Even though he [the kohen] is not a sage and is not meticulous in his observance of the mitzvot, or even if people complain about him, or even if his business profile is not clean, he can still raise his hands [in blessing] and may not be prevented from doing so. Because this is a positive commandment for every single kohen that it is fitting for him to raise his hands… Also, you should not question to what use this simpleton’s blessing might be?’ because receiving the blessing does not depend upon the kohanim, but upon God, as it says, ‘And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.’ The kohanim do as they are commanded by God in His compassion to bless the Jewish people as He pleases.”

So, the first level of blessing found in the Priestly Blessing is dependent only on God, and independent of both those blessing (the kohanim) and those being blessed (the Jewish people).

But, above and beyond this first level of blessing lies a second level, which is dependent on the kohanim, who act in this case not just out of God’s command that they bless the people, but out of a willingness to assume the role of figurative heads of the Jewish people. This same role is assumed by the righteous individuals, tzadikim, through whom blessing is transmitted to the Jewish nation. Tzadikim are like a clear conduit through whom abundance flows. Apparently, Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Yehudah (who interpreted the words, “And I will bless them” as referring to God blessing the kohanim themselves) were aiming at this second level of blessing flowing through the kohanim. At this level, the blessing increases in proportion to the spiritual level of the kohen conferring the blessing. The closer the kohen is to the level of Aharon, who loves peace and pursues peace, the more the blessing of abundance will flow through him. So, we can interpret the words of Rabbi Ishmael in the Talmud by saying that in fact, the blessing that the kohanim receive from God is on behalf of the Jewish nation, meaning that the kohanim are blessed from a higher source in order to bring down additional blessing to the Jewish nation.

The distinction between these two levels of blessing is hinted at in the difference between the two references to God, “My Name” and “I” found in the verse, “And they shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I will bless them.” “My Name” is the level to which the entire nation ofIsrael belongs, for God calls His Name upon us all, whereas “I” is the level that is above, “My Name” and indicates God’s essence, above all names and connotations. The truth is that even this level belongs to every Jew, whoever and wherever he may be, because we are all God’s children and we all have a Divine soul that is, “An actual part of God above,” but this level only manifests in the righteous, so much so that one can look at a righteous person and actually see the Divine Presence (as the sages teach us that the phrase “before the Lord God” refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). In fact, combining the letters of “My Name” (???) and “I” (???) forms the word ??????, referring to the leaders ofIsrael mentioned in the Torah immediately following the Priestly Blessing.

“The lips of the kohen will guard knowledge… for he is an angel of the God of Hosts.” When we have the privilege of kohanim who are at the spiritual level of righteous tzadikim, full of the grace and sanctity of angels, then they receive their blessing from the highest source of blessing and we receive unlimited blessing through them. Through kohanim such as these, the entire Jewish nation receives great light, “God shall shine His countenance towards you and grace you… and grant you peace.”

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Sivan 8, 5772

Moses sent twelve spies to spy out the land of Israel prior to the expected entry of the Jewish nation into the land. Instead of praising thelandofIsraeland instilling hope and ready anticipation for their entry into the land, information pills
ten of the twelve spies brought back a disheartening report of what they saw and relayed their conclusion that entering thelandofIsraelwas an impossible feat. Their report totally disrupted the morale of the people, prostate causing them to fall into despair and weep as if some disastrous calamity had befallen them. The spies were punished for their sin and the fallen morale of the people was also considered a sin.

When Moses prayed that God forgive the sin of the spies, prostate he said, “And now, may the strength of God please increase, as You spoke.” The Name of God used in this verse is Adni (???-?), whose literal meaning is “my Master.” The Name Adni is rare in the Torah. Whereas the Name Havayah appears 1820 times, the Name Adni appears only 14 times in the Pentateuch. The use of this specific Name in this verse arouses our attention to the fact that to bring about God’s forgiveness for the spies’ deed, it is necessary to increase, or reinforce, the strength of the Name Adni in particular.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, explains in his Likutei Torah that the sin of the spies blemished the emanation of the Name Adni. In contrast, the sin of the Golden Calf blemished the emanation of God’s Essential Name, Havayah. In Kabbalah, the Name Havayah corresponds to the sefirah of beauty, which is associated with the Torah and Moses (the giver of the Torah), whereas the Name Adni corresponds to the sefirah of kingdom which is related to theLand ofIsrael.

This is clearly illustrated by even the literal meaning of the Name Adni, from adon, master, often associated in the Torah with the land, as in the phrase “Master of all the land.” It is now clear that since sinning against theland ofIsrael blemishes this Name in particular, it subsequently needs to be reinforced in order to rectify the sin.

Reinforcement through letter filling

The way we reinforce a word in Hebrew is by revealing its complete potential. This is achieved by filling its letters. The first filling of the Name Adni (???-?) is ??? ??? ??? ???. In comparison to the Name Havayah, which when filled has no more than 10 letters, we see that the Name Adni, when filled, has a total of 12 letters. To find the second filling, we fill each of these 12 letters with their spelling giving us, ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???, which has a total of 34 letters.

The total number of letters of the root word (4), plus its filling (12) plus the filling of its filling (34) is now 50, which is a very nice round number that also corresponds to the fifty gates of understanding. However, the Arizal teaches us that in order for the Name Adni (relating to the sefirah of kingdom, as above) to be complete it needs to be rectified by bringing down into it the light of the supernal crown, the highest sefirah. This achieves the ultimate union of “the crown of kingdom,” when the super-conscious light of the crown shines upon the head of the appointed king. Bringing down the light of the crown is symbolized by including another letter in the second filling – the optional yud that is added to the filling of the letter tav (???) that appears in the second filling of the letter dalet (?) in Adni. The yud symbolizes the supernal wisdom in the crown (the super-conscious source of intellect) that enters from above, bringing the total number of letters in the second filling to 35 and the total number of letters of all three stages to 51.[1]

The Arizal pointed out that in fact, this is also the numerical value of the word ??, meaning, “may,” which appears in the abovementioned verse, “And now, may the strength of God increase, as You spoke.” The two letters of the word ??, are also two of the letters in the Name Adni (???-?) itself.

So, the Arizal explains that ?? alludes to the root, the filling and the second filling of Adni, when the yud (?) is added to the tav (?) of the letter ???. However, the light of the supernal crown in this letter is so intense that although the yud itself is in the second filling, in fact it combines with the 12 letters of the first filling, bringing the number of letters to 13.

Now, let’s contemplate the word ???? in the verse, meaning “increase.” The first two letters of the word are ??, which have a numerical value of 13, which we now consider to be the number of letters in the first filling. The remaining letters, ??, have a numerical value of 34, which is the number of letters in the second filling.[2]

In this way, we see that the words ???? and ?? that appear in the verse, both allude to the rectification of the spies’ sin by filling the Name Adni with its filling and the filling of its filling letters.

Now that we realize that the light of the crown must be introduced into the Name Adni in order to rectify it, we need to aspire to the source of the crown in the Name Havayah.

Just as the letter tav (?) can either be filled simply with a vav (??) or more completely with a yud and a vav (???), so too, there are other letters that have alternative spellings. In the Name Havayah (spelled ?-?-?-?) in which the vav (?) and the two letters hei (?) both have a variety of possible fillings, this produces numerous options for spelling the filled Name. In fact there are 27 different possible fillings of the Name Havayah,[3] four of which are identified as the most central as they themselves correspond to the four letters of Havayah (corresponding to wisdom, understanding, the emotive attributes of the soul, and the sefirah of kingdom). These fillings are referred to by their numerical values, Ab (72), Sag (63), Mah (45) and Ban (52), respectively. Since as mentioned above, the Name Adni itself corresponds to kingdom, represented here by Ban, the way we draw the three higher levels down into kingdom is by filling (a second time) each of the first three fillings of Havayah (Ab, Sag and Mah), each of which contains ten letters.

The second fillings of Ab, Sag, and Mah, contain 28 letters each, which clearly represents the ??, “power,” of Adni, which we are intending to reinforce, since ?? has a numerical value of 28.  The entire array of these three spellings, i.e., the root (4 letters), plus the filling (10 letters), plus the filling of the filling (28 letters) thus totals 42 letters each. Multiplying this by 3 to include each of the different spellings, we arrive at a grand total of 126 letters.

Let’s now see how this corresponds to the Name Adni:

One of the ways of contemplating a Hebrew word is by constructing it, letter by letter, first taking the first letter then the first letter with the second letter and then the first three letters and so on. In Kabbalah, this method is called “the backside,” or achorayim of a word. Developing the Name Adni by this process yields ? ?? ??? ?-???, which has a numerical value of 126. This, says the Arizal, was Moses’ intention when he prayed, ???? ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “And now, may the strength of God please increase.” He took the 126 letters of the root, filling and second filling of Ab, Sag and Mah and brought them down into the Name Adni from the “back.” In this way, he reconstructed the Name Adni that had been blemished by the sin of “rejecting the charming land” (Psalms, 106:24).

Although Rabbi Chaim Vital, who authored the teachings of the Arizal, does not mention it, there is a very beautiful allusion to this idea in the phrase ???? ?? ??, “may the strength [of God] please increase”, which has a numerical value of 126!

So, from the above meditation on the phrase, ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “may the strength of God please increase,” we see how Moses “reincarnated” the Name Adni that had been blemished (to the extent of disappearance) by introducing the paternal attribute (of wisdom, the secret of the filling Ab) and returning it to a fetal stage (in understanding, the secret of the filling Sag) until it was “born” once again (in the emotive attributes of the soul, the secret of the filling Mah) as a complete reflection (in malchut, kingdom, the secret of the Name Adni) of God’s Essential Name, Havayah.

 


[1] Both 35 and 51 are in the series of chashmal (pentagonal) numbers. For more on chashmal numbers, see here: http://www.innerpedia.org/index.php?title=Chashmal_(pentagonal)_number.

[2] The Arizal usually explains that the number 13 is 12 plus the kolel, the additional unit, which symbolizes the all-inclusive “one.” One example of this explanation is that there are 12 months in a Jewish year, but in a leap year, a second Adar is added, bringing the total to 13. Indeed, 13 is the numerical value of the word ???, meaning “one.”

[3] See our book, What you Need to Know About Kabbalah, pp. 141-143.

Moses sent twelve spies to spy out the land of Israel prior to the expected entry of the Jewish nation into the land. Instead of praising thelandofIsraeland instilling hope and ready anticipation for their entry into the land, sale ten of the twelve spies brought back a disheartening report of what they saw and relayed their conclusion that entering thelandofIsraelwas an impossible feat. Their report totally disrupted the morale of the people, causing them to fall into despair and weep as if some disastrous calamity had befallen them. The spies were punished for their sin and the fallen morale of the people was also considered a sin.

When Moses prayed that God forgive the sin of the spies, he said, “And now, may the strength of God please increase, as You spoke.” The Name of God used in this verse is Adni (???-?), whose literal meaning is “my Master.” The Name Adni is rare in the Torah. Whereas the Name Havayah appears 1820 times, the Name Adni appears only 14 times in the Pentateuch. The use of this specific Name in this verse arouses our attention to the fact that to bring about God’s forgiveness for the spies’ deed, it is necessary to increase, or reinforce, the strength of the Name Adni in particular.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, explains in his Likutei Torah that the sin of the spies blemished the emanation of the Name Adni. In contrast, the sin of the Golden Calf blemished the emanation of God’s Essential Name, Havayah. In Kabbalah, the Name Havayah corresponds to the sefirah of beauty, which is associated with the Torah and Moses (the giver of the Torah), whereas the Name Adni corresponds to the sefirah of kingdom which is related to theLand ofIsrael.

This is clearly illustrated by even the literal meaning of the Name Adni, from adon, master, often associated in the Torah with the land, as in the phrase “Master of all the land.” It is now clear that since sinning against theland ofIsrael blemishes this Name in particular, it subsequently needs to be reinforced in order to rectify the sin.

Reinforcement through letter filling

The way we reinforce a word in Hebrew is by revealing its complete potential. This is achieved by filling its letters. The first filling of the Name Adni (???-?) is ??? ??? ??? ???. In comparison to the Name Havayah, which when filled has no more than 10 letters, we see that the Name Adni, when filled, has a total of 12 letters. To find the second filling, we fill each of these 12 letters with their spelling giving us, ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???, which has a total of 34 letters.

The total number of letters of the root word (4), plus its filling (12) plus the filling of its filling (34) is now 50, which is a very nice round number that also corresponds to the fifty gates of understanding. However, the Arizal teaches us that in order for the Name Adni (relating to the sefirah of kingdom, as above) to be complete it needs to be rectified by bringing down into it the light of the supernal crown, the highest sefirah. This achieves the ultimate union of “the crown of kingdom,” when the super-conscious light of the crown shines upon the head of the appointed king. Bringing down the light of the crown is symbolized by including another letter in the second filling – the optional yud that is added to the filling of the letter tav (???) that appears in the second filling of the letter dalet (?) in Adni. The yud symbolizes the supernal wisdom in the crown (the super-conscious source of intellect) that enters from above, bringing the total number of letters in the second filling to 35 and the total number of letters of all three stages to 51.[1]

The Arizal pointed out that in fact, this is also the numerical value of the word ??, meaning, “may,” which appears in the abovementioned verse, “And now, may the strength of God increase, as You spoke.” The two letters of the word ??, are also two of the letters in the Name Adni (???-?) itself.

So, the Arizal explains that ?? alludes to the root, the filling and the second filling of Adni, when the yud (?) is added to the tav (?) of the letter ???. However, the light of the supernal crown in this letter is so intense that although the yud itself is in the second filling, in fact it combines with the 12 letters of the first filling, bringing the number of letters to 13.

Now, let’s contemplate the word ???? in the verse, meaning “increase.” The first two letters of the word are ??, which have a numerical value of 13, which we now consider to be the number of letters in the first filling. The remaining letters, ??, have a numerical value of 34, which is the number of letters in the second filling.[2]

In this way, we see that the words ???? and ?? that appear in the verse, both allude to the rectification of the spies’ sin by filling the Name Adni with its filling and the filling of its filling letters.

Now that we realize that the light of the crown must be introduced into the Name Adni in order to rectify it, we need to aspire to the source of the crown in the Name Havayah.

Just as the letter tav (?) can either be filled simply with a vav (??) or more completely with a yud and a vav (???), so too, there are other letters that have alternative spellings. In the Name Havayah (spelled ?-?-?-?) in which the vav (?) and the two letters hei (?) both have a variety of possible fillings, this produces numerous options for spelling the filled Name. In fact there are 27 different possible fillings of the Name Havayah,[3] four of which are identified as the most central as they themselves correspond to the four letters of Havayah (corresponding to wisdom, understanding, the emotive attributes of the soul, and the sefirah of kingdom). These fillings are referred to by their numerical values, Ab (72), Sag (63), Mah (45) and Ban (52), respectively. Since as mentioned above, the Name Adni itself corresponds to kingdom, represented here by Ban, the way we draw the three higher levels down into kingdom is by filling (a second time) each of the first three fillings of Havayah (Ab, Sag and Mah), each of which contains ten letters.

The second fillings of Ab, Sag, and Mah, contain 28 letters each, which clearly represents the ??, “power,” of Adni, which we are intending to reinforce, since ?? has a numerical value of 28.  The entire array of these three spellings, i.e., the root (4 letters), plus the filling (10 letters), plus the filling of the filling (28 letters) thus totals 42 letters each. Multiplying this by 3 to include each of the different spellings, we arrive at a grand total of 126 letters.

Let’s now see how this corresponds to the Name Adni:

One of the ways of contemplating a Hebrew word is by constructing it, letter by letter, first taking the first letter then the first letter with the second letter and then the first three letters and so on. In Kabbalah, this method is called “the backside,” or achorayim of a word. Developing the Name Adni by this process yields ? ?? ??? ?-???, which has a numerical value of 126. This, says the Arizal, was Moses’ intention when he prayed, ???? ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “And now, may the strength of God please increase.” He took the 126 letters of the root, filling and second filling of Ab, Sag and Mah and brought them down into the Name Adni from the “back.” In this way, he reconstructed the Name Adni that had been blemished by the sin of “rejecting the charming land” (Psalms, 106:24).

Although Rabbi Chaim Vital, who authored the teachings of the Arizal, does not mention it, there is a very beautiful allusion to this idea in the phrase ???? ?? ??, “may the strength [of God] please increase”, which has a numerical value of 126!

So, from the above meditation on the phrase, ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “may the strength of God please increase,” we see how Moses “reincarnated” the Name Adni that had been blemished (to the extent of disappearance) by introducing the paternal attribute (of wisdom, the secret of the filling Ab) and returning it to a fetal stage (in understanding, the secret of the filling Sag) until it was “born” once again (in the emotive attributes of the soul, the secret of the filling Mah) as a complete reflection (in malchut, kingdom, the secret of the Name Adni) of God’s Essential Name, Havayah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Both 35 and 51 are in the series of chashmal (pentagonal) numbers. For more on chashmal numbers, see here: http://www.innerpedia.org/index.php?title=Chashmal_(pentagonal)_number.

[2] The Arizal usually explains that the number 13 is 12 plus the kolel, the additional unit, which symbolizes the all-inclusive “one.” One example of this explanation is that there are 12 months in a Jewish year, but in a leap year, a second Adar is added, bringing the total to 13. Indeed, 13 is the numerical value of the word ???, meaning “one.”

[3] See our book, What you Need to Know About Kabbalah, pp. 141-143.

Moses sent twelve spies to spy out the land of Israel prior to the expected entry of the Jewish nation into the land. Instead of praising thelandofIsraeland instilling hope and ready anticipation for their entry into the land, treatment ten of the twelve spies brought back a disheartening report of what they saw and relayed their conclusion that entering thelandofIsraelwas an impossible feat. Their report totally disrupted the morale of the people, prescription causing them to fall into despair and weep as if some disastrous calamity had befallen them. The spies were punished for their sin and the fallen morale of the people was also considered a sin.

When Moses prayed that God forgive the sin of the spies, medicine he said, “And now, may the strength of God please increase, as You spoke.” The Name of God used in this verse is Adni (???-?), whose literal meaning is “my Master.” The Name Adni is rare in the Torah. Whereas the Name Havayah appears 1820 times, the Name Adni appears only 14 times in the Pentateuch. The use of this specific Name in this verse arouses our attention to the fact that to bring about God’s forgiveness for the spies’ deed, it is necessary to increase, or reinforce, the strength of the Name Adni in particular.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, explains in his Likutei Torah that the sin of the spies blemished the emanation of the Name Adni. In contrast, the sin of the Golden Calf blemished the emanation of God’s Essential Name, Havayah. In Kabbalah, the Name Havayah corresponds to the sefirah of beauty, which is associated with the Torah and Moses (the giver of the Torah), whereas the Name Adni corresponds to the sefirah of kingdom which is related to theLand ofIsrael.

This is clearly illustrated by even the literal meaning of the Name Adni, from adon, master, often associated in the Torah with the land, as in the phrase “Master of all the land.” It is now clear that since sinning against theland ofIsrael blemishes this Name in particular, it subsequently needs to be reinforced in order to rectify the sin.

Reinforcement through letter filling

The way we reinforce a word in Hebrew is by revealing its complete potential. This is achieved by filling its letters. The first filling of the Name Adni (???-?) is ??? ??? ??? ???. In comparison to the Name Havayah, which when filled has no more than 10 letters, we see that the Name Adni, when filled, has a total of 12 letters. To find the second filling, we fill each of these 12 letters with their spelling giving us, ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???, which has a total of 34 letters.

The total number of letters of the root word (4), plus its filling (12) plus the filling of its filling (34) is now 50, which is a very nice round number that also corresponds to the fifty gates of understanding. However, the Arizal teaches us that in order for the Name Adni (relating to the sefirah of kingdom, as above) to be complete it needs to be rectified by bringing down into it the light of the supernal crown, the highest sefirah. This achieves the ultimate union of “the crown of kingdom,” when the super-conscious light of the crown shines upon the head of the appointed king. Bringing down the light of the crown is symbolized by including another letter in the second filling – the optional yud that is added to the filling of the letter tav (???) that appears in the second filling of the letter dalet (?) in Adni. The yud symbolizes the supernal wisdom in the crown (the super-conscious source of intellect) that enters from above, bringing the total number of letters in the second filling to 35 and the total number of letters of all three stages to 51.[1]

The Arizal pointed out that in fact, this is also the numerical value of the word ??, meaning, “may,” which appears in the abovementioned verse, “And now, may the strength of God increase, as You spoke.” The two letters of the word ??, are also two of the letters in the Name Adni (???-?) itself.

So, the Arizal explains that ?? alludes to the root, the filling and the second filling of Adni, when the yud (?) is added to the tav (?) of the letter ???. However, the light of the supernal crown in this letter is so intense that although the yud itself is in the second filling, in fact it combines with the 12 letters of the first filling, bringing the number of letters to 13.

Now, let’s contemplate the word ???? in the verse, meaning “increase.” The first two letters of the word are ??, which have a numerical value of 13, which we now consider to be the number of letters in the first filling. The remaining letters, ??, have a numerical value of 34, which is the number of letters in the second filling.[2]

In this way, we see that the words ???? and ?? that appear in the verse, both allude to the rectification of the spies’ sin by filling the Name Adni with its filling and the filling of its filling letters.

Now that we realize that the light of the crown must be introduced into the Name Adni in order to rectify it, we need to aspire to the source of the crown in the Name Havayah.

Just as the letter tav (?) can either be filled simply with a vav (??) or more completely with a yud and a vav (???), so too, there are other letters that have alternative spellings. In the Name Havayah (spelled ?-?-?-?) in which the vav (?) and the two letters hei (?) both have a variety of possible fillings, this produces numerous options for spelling the filled Name. In fact there are 27 different possible fillings of the Name Havayah,[3] four of which are identified as the most central as they themselves correspond to the four letters of Havayah (corresponding to wisdom, understanding, the emotive attributes of the soul, and the sefirah of kingdom). These fillings are referred to by their numerical values, Ab (72), Sag (63), Mah (45) and Ban (52), respectively. Since as mentioned above, the Name Adni itself corresponds to kingdom, represented here by Ban, the way we draw the three higher levels down into kingdom is by filling (a second time) each of the first three fillings of Havayah (Ab, Sag and Mah), each of which contains ten letters.

The second fillings of Ab, Sag, and Mah, contain 28 letters each, which clearly represents the ??, “power,” of Adni, which we are intending to reinforce, since ?? has a numerical value of 28.  The entire array of these three spellings, i.e., the root (4 letters), plus the filling (10 letters), plus the filling of the filling (28 letters) thus totals 42 letters each. Multiplying this by 3 to include each of the different spellings, we arrive at a grand total of 126 letters.

Let’s now see how this corresponds to the Name Adni:

One of the ways of contemplating a Hebrew word is by constructing it, letter by letter, first taking the first letter then the first letter with the second letter and then the first three letters and so on. In Kabbalah, this method is called “the backside,” or achorayim of a word. Developing the Name Adni by this process yields ? ?? ??? ?-???, which has a numerical value of 126. This, says the Arizal, was Moses’ intention when he prayed, ???? ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “And now, may the strength of God please increase.” He took the 126 letters of the root, filling and second filling of Ab, Sag and Mah and brought them down into the Name Adni from the “back.” In this way, he reconstructed the Name Adni that had been blemished by the sin of “rejecting the charming land” (Psalms, 106:24).

Although Rabbi Chaim Vital, who authored the teachings of the Arizal, does not mention it, there is a very beautiful allusion to this idea in the phrase ???? ?? ??, “may the strength [of God] please increase”, which has a numerical value of 126!

So, from the above meditation on the phrase, ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “may the strength of God please increase,” we see how Moses “reincarnated” the Name Adni that had been blemished (to the extent of disappearance) by introducing the paternal attribute (of wisdom, the secret of the filling Ab) and returning it to a fetal stage (in understanding, the secret of the filling Sag) until it was “born” once again (in the emotive attributes of the soul, the secret of the filling Mah) as a complete reflection (in malchut, kingdom, the secret of the Name Adni) of God’s Essential Name, Havayah.

 


[1] Both 35 and 51 are in the series of chashmal (pentagonal) numbers. For more on chashmal numbers, see here: http://www.innerpedia.org/index.php?title=Chashmal_(pentagonal)_number.

[2] The Arizal usually explains that the number 13 is 12 plus the kolel, the additional unit, which symbolizes the all-inclusive “one.” One example of this explanation is that there are 12 months in a Jewish year, but in a leap year, a second Adar is added, bringing the total to 13. Indeed, 13 is the numerical value of the word ???, meaning “one.”

[3] See our book, What you Need to Know About Kabbalah, pp. 141-143.

A famous philosophical conundrum, order ask asks, whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift? The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is cannot be forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

A famous philosophical conundrum, search asks, viagra whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift?” The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world was. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

A famous philosophical conundrum, buy viagra asks, thumb whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift?” The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, prescription God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world was. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

A famous philosophical conundrum, viagra doctor medicine asks, physician whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift? The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, pilule God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is cannot be forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

A famous philosophical conundrum, look asks, whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift?” The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world was. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

A famous philosophical conundrum, click asks, whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift?” The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world was. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

A famous philosophical conundrum, search asks, viagra whether God can create a rock that He cannot lift?” The answer to this conundrum is that indeed, ailment God can create such a rock and yet, He can still lift it if He so pleases. The first half, the possibility of creating a rock that He cannot lift, represents God’s power of self-limitation, also known as God’s power of limit (gevul). When God created the world he imposed limits, which we experience as natural laws. But, the second half of the answer, that God can still lift this rock if He so pleases illustrates that the power of self-limitation is His, and so, if there is no existing power or force that is capable of lifting the rock, the Almighty simply reveals a new revelation of Divinity that is able to lift the rock. As we will now explain, the spies sinned because they did not understand this very central principle in regard to God’s omnipotence.

Upon returning from their 40 day tour of thelandofIsrael, the spies reported their conclusion that, “We cannot overcome the people, because they are stronger than us.” They claimed that the nations inhabiting theLandofIsraelwere too powerful to be overcome by the limited, untrained military forces of the Jewish people. Yet the sages state that the word literally translated as “than us” (?????????) can also be understood as meaning, “than Him,” meaning that the spies were claiming that the Canaanite inhabitants were even stronger than God!

Like the logic applied in our initial conundrum, the spies argued that after God created the laws of nature, He ruled that even He Himself would not be able to change those laws. God bound His own hands, as it were, by means of the laws that He Himself instituted. Until now, God’s leadership in the wilderness had been one of supernatural miracles that defied the laws of nature again and again. It was clear though that entering thelandofIsrael, for all its holiness, meant entering the confines of nature and living by its laws. This was why the ten spies thought that the Jewish people could not overcome the giants who lived in the land. They believed that God had indeed created a rock that could not be lifted. Moses himself used this argument in his prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, saying that destroying the Jewish people, God forbid, for their sin, would be proof for the surrounding nations of the erroneous claim that “God lacked the ability to bring this nation to the land which He swore to them…” (Numbers 16:14-15).

Joshua and Caleb, the remaining two spies, also saw that conquering the land was a supernatural task, but they said, “Yes, God can create such a rock that He cannot lift, but He can still decide to pick it up if He wants to.” They realized that on entering theHoly Land, God could paradoxically empower the Jewish people themselves with supernatural powers and this would become their very nature.

Sin as an immovable rock

In fact, the spies’ sin, in fact any sin, can be understood using the same principles just applied. Sin is like a rock that by nature cannot be “lifted,” that is forgiven. The laws of reality, as instituted by the Almighty Himself dictate that the sinner must be punished in order to atone for the transgression, and normally the only punishment great enough is death. But we know that even after sin, God remains open to teshuvah (repentance and return to God). Adam, the first man, was not aware of this and was surprised to learn from his son, Cain that admitting one’s improper behavior opens up the possibility of the punishment being lessened. The sages explain this by stating that teshuvah was created before the world was. What they mean to say is that teshuvah supersedes the limitations of reality.

Moses continued beseeching God by repeating God’s attributes of mercy, which appear a number of times in various forms throughout the Bible. “God has long patience, and great loving-kindness, He carries sin and crime and cleanses them.” The word for “sin” here is ???, and this is the rock that God lifts and carries. We know that ???, this word for “sin,” is heavy because Isaiah, in his prophecy states this explicitly calling the Jewish nation “a nation heavy with sin” (Isaiah, 1:4). In fact, this word appears three times in Moses’ entreaty to God. We see from the three appearances of this word that ???, “sin,” is the main word, and that our conception of the limited nature of the Almighty’s ability to carry it needs to change.

The spies saw reality from a perspective where imagination is rife and they imagined a situation in which God can create a rock that He cannot lift. But Moses’ immediately counteracted this suggestion by saying that “God carries sin.”

The numerical value of the word ??? is 126, which, as we saw in the previous article, is the number with which Moses rectifies the sin of the spies. The word appears 3 times in Moses’ prayer and multiplying its value by 3 gives 378, the gematria of the first three words of the attributes of mercy that Moses invokes, “God has long patience” (?-??? ??? ????).

The same holds true to our situation today. One can look at the state of the Jewish people and the state of the world and give up, saying, even God can’t lift this. But, the truth is that no matter what the situation, God carries it and is able to instill within us, within those currently alive, the power to carry even that which seems too heavy to carry.

 

In this week’s Torah portion we read how Balak, sovaldi sale King of Moab, hired Balaam, an expert sorcerer, to curse the Jewish people, in an attempt to divestMoabof the threat that he felt they imposed upon them. On three attempts Balaam had Balak sacrifice seven oxen and seven rams, a total of 42 sacrifices, but every time, instead of Balaam receiving a prophecy that would curse the Jewish people, the prophecy was one of blessing. God had turned Balaam into an instrument to bless His people.

The Talmud[1] teaches us that even though Balak had ulterior motives for sacrificing the 42 animals to God, his reward was his descendant Ruth, the Moabite princess who converted and married Boaz out of whom came King Solomon who offered 1,000 sacrifices – a precursor to Mashiach. On the other hand, Balak’s 42 sacrifices were the spiritual source of a tragedy in which 42 children who had scorned the prophet Elishah and whom he had cursed were devoured by two bears from a forest (2 Kings, ch. 2).

After Elijah’s death, his disciple Elishah, dwelt inJerichowhere the local water was bitter and unfit for drinking. A band of children earned their livelihood by bringing fresh water from afar but when Elishah miraculously sweetened the waters there these children followed Elishah and scorned him, nicknaming him “baldy.” Elishah cursed them and then two bears came out of the forest and devoured 42 of the children. Even though Elishah was the most righteous of prophets, he became the instrument for actualizing the curse that Balak wanted to bring on the Jewish people. In fact, the Arizal explains that the two bears that devoured the children harbored the incarnated souls of Balak and Balaam.

From this terrible story we learn that indeed there was some power in the sacrifices brought by Balak, and as great a prophet that Elishah was, he was only successful in directing that power to those, who according to the letter of the law, deserved it. Elishah lashed out harsh, chaotic judgments alluded to by the fact that Elishah’s name (?????) has a numerical value of 411, which is also the numerical value of “chaos” (???). Theoretically, Elishah’s curse was justified, because these children were delinquent, wicked, and deserving of punishment, as the Talmud[2] explains. Yet, Elishah’s approach was not the best educational route to take and he was later afflicted with illness as punishment for this act.

The Wonder Child

In the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion, we find a story that if contemplated correctly has the power to rectify these 42 children and all the children of the world, each of whom has the potential to become Mashiach.[3] The story begins when two of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students visit the home of Rabbi Himnuna Saba, who was on the same exalted level of spirituality as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) himself, like a spiritual brother. Rabbi Himnuna Saba had already passed away, and the two visitors were in fact unaware that this was his home. His widow invited them in and her young son came home from school early that day. Realizing that these were holy men, the mother told her son to approach them and ask for their blessing. However, on approaching them, the child recoiled and told his mother that he could not come near them because they had not yet read the Shema that day in its time. The two men overheard his words and were astounded because indeed they had been involved in another great mitzvah (of providing for a groom and bride) from early that morning and had thus been exempt from reading the Shema in its time. They asked the child how he knew this and he replied that he had smelled it from their clothing.

Jacob’s Blessing to the Children

Now, the sense of smell is the most messianic sense because we are taught that the Mashiach will be able to confirm the truth just by using his sense of smell.[4] So we see that this child certainly had a spark of Mashiach in him, and he continued to astonish the men with his knowledge of Torah and his esoteric innovations. Unable to reply to his profound Torah knowledge, the men asked him his father’s name. The child consulted with his mother and then told them that had they been worthy of it, his father’s soul would have accompanied them as an Arab traveler; therefore he would not tell them who he was. The child then proceeded to explain Jacob’s blessing to Ephraim and Menasheh, his grandsons from Joseph, “May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”[5]

The two men returned to Rashbi and told him about this special child and Rashbi revealed to them that he was Rav Hamnuna’s son.

On hearing of this child prodigy, Rabbi Shimon’s own son, Rabbi Elazar, decided that he too must meet him. In his commentary on the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, explains that since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is like a brother to Rav Hamnuna Saba, Rabbi Elazar sensed that his son must be his own spiritual partner. So, once, when Rabbi Elazar was on his way to visit his father-in-law, accompanied by Rabbi Abba and Rabbi Yosi, they took a detour and went to visit the child. While walking, they discussed the difference between the two nations of Amon andMoab. Incredibly, when they arrived, the child greeted them by telling them that he smelled from their clothing that Amon andMoabhad been “aggravating” them and he taught them how to overcome the impure influence of these two enemies. After discussing much Torah together and eating a meal with the child, the three men left.

Revealing the Mother’s Secret

Upon returning to Rashbi, he revealed that this child prodigy was not destined to live a long life, but he prayed that he should outlive his mother so that she would not suffer seeing her child pass away, and his prayers were answered.

Although the hero of this story is Rabbi Himnuna’s son, it is actually the boy’s mother who holds the secret of the number 42, a fact that is alluded to in the numerical value of “mother” (???), 42. In fact, in his commentary on this passage of the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak explains that on the day that the first visit occurred, the fact that the boy returned home to his mother early represents the rising of his spiritual consciousness to the level of the “Supernal Mother.”

One of the opinions in the Talmud why Elishah considered the 42 children worthy of his curse is that their mothers had conceived them on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, which also corresponds to this level of Mother, when marital relations are strictly forbidden.

So we see that Rabbi Himnuna’s wife and their son hold the key to rectifying Elishah’s curse on the 42 children.

Balak and Mashiach

Above, we saw that every child has the potential to be Mashiach and that Rabbi Himnuna’s young son in particular, mentioned in the Zohar on the Torah portion of Balak, revealed that potential. We also saw that Balak’s sacrifices were rewarded in that Ruth, and eventually Mashiach, would be his descendants. In fact, Maimonides[6] states that there is one section in Balaam’s last prophecy that relates explicitly to Mashiach:[7]

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not soon. A star has stepped forth from Jacob, and a tribe has arisen fromIsraelwho will crush the princes ofMoaband uproot all the sons of Seth.Edomshall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, andIsraelshall triumph. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city.”

The eleven different phrases in these three verses all relate to a different spiritual aspect of the Mashiach, beginning with the initial aspect of self-sacrifice, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught.[8]May we soon merit the revelation of Mashiach to all ofIsraeland to the entire world.



[1] Sotah, 47a.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Shabbat, 119b.

[4] Sanhedrin, 93b.

[5] Genesis, 48:16.

[6] Hilchot Melachim, 11:4.

[7] Numbers, 24:17-19.

[8] Torat Menachem, Vol. 24, Part II, 1Tamuz, 5726.

In this week’s Torah portion we read how Balak, case King of Moab, hired Balaam, an expert sorcerer, to curse the Jewish people, in an attempt to divestMoabof the threat that he felt they imposed upon them. On three attempts Balaam had Balak sacrifice seven oxen and seven rams, a total of 42 sacrifices, but every time, instead of Balaam receiving a prophecy that would curse the Jewish people, the prophecy was one of blessing. God had turned Balaam into an instrument to bless His people.

The Talmud[1] teaches us that even though Balak had ulterior motives for sacrificing the 42 animals to God, his reward was his descendant Ruth, the Moabite princess who converted and married Boaz out of whom came King Solomon who offered 1,000 sacrifices – a precursor to Mashiach. On the other hand, Balak’s 42 sacrifices were the spiritual source of a tragedy in which 42 children who had scorned the prophet Elishah and whom he had cursed were devoured by two bears from a forest (2 Kings, ch. 2).

After Elijah’s death, his disciple Elishah, dwelt inJerichowhere the local water was bitter and unfit for drinking. A band of children earned their livelihood by bringing fresh water from afar but when Elishah miraculously sweetened the waters there these children followed Elishah and scorned him, nicknaming him “baldy.” Elishah cursed them and then two bears came out of the forest and devoured 42 of the children. Even though Elishah was the most righteous of prophets, he became the instrument for actualizing the curse that Balak wanted to bring on the Jewish people. In fact, the Arizal explains that the two bears that devoured the children harbored the incarnated souls of Balak and Balaam.

From this terrible story we learn that indeed there was some power in the sacrifices brought by Balak, and as great a prophet that Elishah was, he was only successful in directing that power to those, who according to the letter of the law, deserved it. Elishah lashed out harsh, chaotic judgments alluded to by the fact that Elishah’s name (?????) has a numerical value of 411, which is also the numerical value of “chaos” (???). Theoretically, Elishah’s curse was justified, because these children were delinquent, wicked, and deserving of punishment, as the Talmud[2] explains. Yet, Elishah’s approach was not the best educational route to take and he was later afflicted with illness as punishment for this act.

The Wonder Child

In the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion, we find a story that if contemplated correctly has the power to rectify these 42 children and all the children of the world, each of whom has the potential to become Mashiach.[3] The story begins when two of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students visit the home of Rabbi Himnuna Saba, who was on the same exalted level of spirituality as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) himself, like a spiritual brother. Rabbi Himnuna Saba had already passed away, and the two visitors were in fact unaware that this was his home. His widow invited them in and her young son came home from school early that day. Realizing that these were holy men, the mother told her son to approach them and ask for their blessing. However, on approaching them, the child recoiled and told his mother that he could not come near them because they had not yet read the Shema that day in its time. The two men overheard his words and were astounded because indeed they had been involved in another great mitzvah (of providing for a groom and bride) from early that morning and had thus been exempt from reading the Shema in its time. They asked the child how he knew this and he replied that he had smelled it from their clothing.

Jacob’s Blessing to the Children

Now, the sense of smell is the most messianic sense because we are taught that the Mashiach will be able to confirm the truth just by using his sense of smell.[4] So we see that this child certainly had a spark of Mashiach in him, and he continued to astonish the men with his knowledge of Torah and his esoteric innovations. Unable to reply to his profound Torah knowledge, the men asked him his father’s name. The child consulted with his mother and then told them that had they been worthy of it, his father’s soul would have accompanied them as an Arab traveler; therefore he would not tell them who he was. The child then proceeded to explain Jacob’s blessing to Ephraim and Menasheh, his grandsons from Joseph, “May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”[5]

The two men returned to Rashbi and told him about this special child and Rashbi revealed to them that he was Rav Hamnuna’s son.

On hearing of this child prodigy, Rabbi Shimon’s own son, Rabbi Elazar, decided that he too must meet him. In his commentary on the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, explains that since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is like a brother to Rav Hamnuna Saba, Rabbi Elazar sensed that his son must be his own spiritual partner. So, once, when Rabbi Elazar was on his way to visit his father-in-law, accompanied by Rabbi Abba and Rabbi Yosi, they took a detour and went to visit the child. While walking, they discussed the difference between the two nations of Amon andMoab. Incredibly, when they arrived, the child greeted them by telling them that he smelled from their clothing that Amon andMoabhad been “aggravating” them and he taught them how to overcome the impure influence of these two enemies. After discussing much Torah together and eating a meal with the child, the three men left.

Revealing the Mother’s Secret

Upon returning to Rashbi, he revealed that this child prodigy was not destined to live a long life, but he prayed that he should outlive his mother so that she would not suffer seeing her child pass away, and his prayers were answered.

Although the hero of this story is Rabbi Himnuna’s son, it is actually the boy’s mother who holds the secret of the number 42, a fact that is alluded to in the numerical value of “mother” (???), 42. In fact, in his commentary on this passage of the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak explains that on the day that the first visit occurred, the fact that the boy returned home to his mother early represents the rising of his spiritual consciousness to the level of the “Supernal Mother.”

One of the opinions in the Talmud why Elishah considered the 42 children worthy of his curse is that their mothers had conceived them on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, which also corresponds to this level of Mother, when marital relations are strictly forbidden.

So we see that Rabbi Himnuna’s wife and their son hold the key to rectifying Elishah’s curse on the 42 children.

Balak and Mashiach

Above, we saw that every child has the potential to be Mashiach and that Rabbi Himnuna’s young son in particular, mentioned in the Zohar on the Torah portion of Balak, revealed that potential. We also saw that Balak’s sacrifices were rewarded in that Ruth, and eventually Mashiach, would be his descendants. In fact, Maimonides[6] states that there is one section in Balaam’s last prophecy that relates explicitly to Mashiach:[7]

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not soon. A star has stepped forth from Jacob, and a tribe has arisen fromIsraelwho will crush the princes ofMoaband uproot all the sons of Seth.Edomshall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, andIsraelshall triumph. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city.”

The eleven different phrases in these three verses all relate to a different spiritual aspect of the Mashiach, beginning with the initial aspect of self-sacrifice, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught.[8]May we soon merit the revelation of Mashiach to all ofIsraeland to the entire world.



[1] Sotah, 47a.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Shabbat, 119b.

[4] Sanhedrin, 93b.

[5] Genesis, 48:16.

[6] Hilchot Melachim, 11:4.

[7] Numbers, 24:17-19.

[8] Torat Menachem, Vol. 24, Part II, 1Tamuz, 5726.

In this week’s Torah portion we read how Balak, seek King of Moab, prescription hired Balaam, online an expert sorcerer, to curse the Jewish people, in an attempt to divestMoabof the threat that he felt they imposed upon them. On three attempts Balaam had Balak sacrifice seven oxen and seven rams, a total of 42 sacrifices, but every time, instead of Balaam receiving a prophecy that would curse the Jewish people, the prophecy was one of blessing. God had turned Balaam into an instrument to bless His people.

The Talmud[1] teaches us that even though Balak had ulterior motives for sacrificing the 42 animals to God, his reward was his descendant Ruth, the Moabite princess who converted and married Boaz out of whom came King Solomon who offered 1,000 sacrifices – a precursor to Mashiach. On the other hand, Balak’s 42 sacrifices were the spiritual source of a tragedy in which 42 children who had scorned the prophet Elishah and whom he had cursed were devoured by two bears from a forest (2 Kings, ch. 2).

After Elijah’s death, his disciple Elishah, dwelt in Jericho where the local water was bitter and unfit for drinking. A band of children earned their livelihood by bringing fresh water from afar but when Elishah miraculously sweetened the waters there these children followed Elishah and scorned him, nicknaming him “baldy.” Elishah cursed them and then two bears came out of the forest and devoured 42 of the children. Even though Elishah was the most righteous of prophets, he became the instrument for actualizing the curse that Balak wanted to bring on the Jewish people. In fact, the Arizal explains that the two bears that devoured the children harbored the incarnated souls of Balak and Balaam.

From this terrible story we learn that indeed there was some power in the sacrifices brought by Balak, and as great a prophet that Elishah was, he was only successful in directing that power to those, who according to the letter of the law, deserved it. Elishah lashed out harsh, chaotic judgments alluded to by the fact that Elishah’s name (?????) has a numerical value of 411, which is also the numerical value of “chaos” (???). Theoretically, Elishah’s curse was justified, because these children were delinquent, wicked, and deserving of punishment, as the Talmud[2] explains. Yet, Elishah’s approach was not the best educational route to take and he was later afflicted with illness as punishment for this act.

The Wonder Child

In the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion, we find a story that if contemplated correctly has the power to rectify these 42 children and all the children of the world, each of whom has the potential to become Mashiach.[3] The story begins when two of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students visit the home of Rabbi Himnuna Saba, who was on the same exalted level of spirituality as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) himself, like a spiritual brother. Rabbi Himnuna Saba had already passed away, and the two visitors were in fact unaware that this was his home. His widow invited them in and her young son came home from school early that day. Realizing that these were holy men, the mother told her son to approach them and ask for their blessing. However, on approaching them, the child recoiled and told his mother that he could not come near them because they had not yet read the Shema that day in its time. The two men overheard his words and were astounded because indeed they had been involved in another great mitzvah (of providing for a groom and bride) from early that morning and had thus been exempt from reading the Shema in its time. They asked the child how he knew this and he replied that he had smelled it from their clothing.

Jacob’s Blessing to the Children

Now, the sense of smell is the most messianic sense because we are taught that the Mashiach will be able to confirm the truth just by using his sense of smell.[4] So we see that this child certainly had a spark of Mashiach in him, and he continued to astonish the men with his knowledge of Torah and his esoteric innovations. Unable to reply to his profound Torah knowledge, the men asked him his father’s name. The child consulted with his mother and then told them that had they been worthy of it, his father’s soul would have accompanied them as an Arab traveler; therefore he would not tell them who he was. The child then proceeded to explain Jacob’s blessing to Ephraim and Menasheh, his grandsons from Joseph, “May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”[5]

The two men returned to Rashbi and told him about this special child and Rashbi revealed to them that he was Rav Hamnuna’s son.

On hearing of this child prodigy, Rabbi Shimon’s own son, Rabbi Elazar, decided that he too must meet him. In his commentary on the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, explains that since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is like a brother to Rav Hamnuna Saba, Rabbi Elazar sensed that his son must be his own spiritual partner. So, once, when Rabbi Elazar was on his way to visit his father-in-law, accompanied by Rabbi Abba and Rabbi Yosi, they took a detour and went to visit the child. While walking, they discussed the difference between the two nations of Amon andMoab. Incredibly, when they arrived, the child greeted them by telling them that he smelled from their clothing that Amon andMoabhad been “aggravating” them and he taught them how to overcome the impure influence of these two enemies. After discussing much Torah together and eating a meal with the child, the three men left.

Revealing the Mother’s Secret

Upon returning to Rashbi, he revealed that this child prodigy was not destined to live a long life, but he prayed that he should outlive his mother so that she would not suffer seeing her child pass away, and his prayers were answered.

Although the hero of this story is Rabbi Himnuna’s son, it is actually the boy’s mother who holds the secret of the number 42, a fact that is alluded to in the numerical value of “mother” (???), 42. In fact, in his commentary on this passage of the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak explains that on the day that the first visit occurred, the fact that the boy returned home to his mother early represents the rising of his spiritual consciousness to the level of the “Supernal Mother.”

One of the opinions in the Talmud why Elishah considered the 42 children worthy of his curse is that their mothers had conceived them on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, which also corresponds to this level of Mother, when marital relations are strictly forbidden.

So we see that Rabbi Himnuna’s wife and their son hold the key to rectifying Elishah’s curse on the 42 children.

Balak and Mashiach

Above, we saw that every child has the potential to be Mashiach and that Rabbi Himnuna’s young son in particular, mentioned in the Zohar on the Torah portion of Balak, revealed that potential. We also saw that Balak’s sacrifices were rewarded in that Ruth, and eventually Mashiach, would be his descendants. In fact, Maimonides[6] states that there is one section in Balaam’s last prophecy that relates explicitly to Mashiach:[7]

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not soon. A star has stepped forth from Jacob, and a tribe has arisen fromIsraelwho will crush the princes ofMoaband uproot all the sons of Seth.Edomshall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, andIsraelshall triumph. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city.”

The eleven different phrases in these three verses all relate to a different spiritual aspect of the Mashiach, beginning with the initial aspect of self-sacrifice, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught.[8]May we soon merit the revelation of Mashiach to all ofIsraeland to the entire world.



[1] Sotah, 47a.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Shabbat, 119b.

[4] Sanhedrin, 93b.

[5] Genesis, 48:16.

[6] Hilchot Melachim, 11:4.

[7] Numbers, 24:17-19.

[8] Torat Menachem, Vol. 24, Part II, 1Tamuz, 5726.

In this week’s Torah portion we read how Balak, viagra 40mg
King of Moab, hired Balaam, an expert sorcerer, to curse the Jewish people, in an attempt to divestMoabof the threat that he felt they imposed upon them. On three attempts Balaam had Balak sacrifice seven oxen and seven rams, a total of 42 sacrifices, but every time, instead of Balaam receiving a prophecy that would curse the Jewish people, the prophecy was one of blessing. God had turned Balaam into an instrument to bless His people.

The Talmud[1] teaches us that even though Balak had ulterior motives for sacrificing the 42 animals to God, his reward was his descendant Ruth, the Moabite princess who converted and married Boaz out of whom came King Solomon who offered 1,000 sacrifices – a precursor to Mashiach. On the other hand, Balak’s 42 sacrifices were the spiritual source of a tragedy in which 42 children who had scorned the prophet Elishah and whom he had cursed were devoured by two bears from a forest (2 Kings, ch. 2).

After Elijah’s death, his disciple Elishah, dwelt inJerichowhere the local water was bitter and unfit for drinking. A band of children earned their livelihood by bringing fresh water from afar but when Elishah miraculously sweetened the waters there these children followed Elishah and scorned him, nicknaming him “baldy.” Elishah cursed them and then two bears came out of the forest and devoured 42 of the children. Even though Elishah was the most righteous of prophets, he became the instrument for actualizing the curse that Balak wanted to bring on the Jewish people. In fact, the Arizal explains that the two bears that devoured the children harbored the incarnated souls of Balak and Balaam.

From this terrible story we learn that indeed there was some power in the sacrifices brought by Balak, and as great a prophet that Elishah was, he was only successful in directing that power to those, who according to the letter of the law, deserved it. Elishah lashed out harsh, chaotic judgments alluded to by the fact that Elishah’s name (?????) has a numerical value of 411, which is also the numerical value of “chaos” (???). Theoretically, Elishah’s curse was justified, because these children were delinquent, wicked, and deserving of punishment, as the Talmud[2] explains. Yet, Elishah’s approach was not the best educational route to take and he was later afflicted with illness as punishment for this act.

The Wonder Child

In the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion, we find a story that if contemplated correctly has the power to rectify these 42 children and all the children of the world, each of whom has the potential to become Mashiach.[3] The story begins when two of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students visit the home of Rabbi Himnuna Saba, who was on the same exalted level of spirituality as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) himself, like a spiritual brother. Rabbi Himnuna Saba had already passed away, and the two visitors were in fact unaware that this was his home. His widow invited them in and her young son came home from school early that day. Realizing that these were holy men, the mother told her son to approach them and ask for their blessing. However, on approaching them, the child recoiled and told his mother that he could not come near them because they had not yet read the Shema that day in its time. The two men overheard his words and were astounded because indeed they had been involved in another great mitzvah (of providing for a groom and bride) from early that morning and had thus been exempt from reading the Shema in its time. They asked the child how he knew this and he replied that he had smelled it from their clothing.

Jacob’s Blessing to the Children

Now, the sense of smell is the most messianic sense because we are taught that the Mashiach will be able to confirm the truth just by using his sense of smell.[4] So we see that this child certainly had a spark of Mashiach in him, and he continued to astonish the men with his knowledge of Torah and his esoteric innovations. Unable to reply to his profound Torah knowledge, the men asked him his father’s name. The child consulted with his mother and then told them that had they been worthy of it, his father’s soul would have accompanied them as an Arab traveler; therefore he would not tell them who he was. The child then proceeded to explain Jacob’s blessing to Ephraim and Menasheh, his grandsons from Joseph, “May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”[5]

The two men returned to Rashbi and told him about this special child and Rashbi revealed to them that he was Rav Hamnuna’s son.

On hearing of this child prodigy, Rabbi Shimon’s own son, Rabbi Elazar, decided that he too must meet him. In his commentary on the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, explains that since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is like a brother to Rav Hamnuna Saba, Rabbi Elazar sensed that his son must be his own spiritual partner. So, once, when Rabbi Elazar was on his way to visit his father-in-law, accompanied by Rabbi Abba and Rabbi Yosi, they took a detour and went to visit the child. While walking, they discussed the difference between the two nations of Amon andMoab. Incredibly, when they arrived, the child greeted them by telling them that he smelled from their clothing that Amon andMoabhad been “aggravating” them and he taught them how to overcome the impure influence of these two enemies. After discussing much Torah together and eating a meal with the child, the three men left.

Revealing the Mother’s Secret

Upon returning to Rashbi, he revealed that this child prodigy was not destined to live a long life, but he prayed that he should outlive his mother so that she would not suffer seeing her child pass away, and his prayers were answered.

Although the hero of this story is Rabbi Himnuna’s son, it is actually the boy’s mother who holds the secret of the number 42, a fact that is alluded to in the numerical value of “mother” (???), 42. In fact, in his commentary on this passage of the Zohar, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak explains that on the day that the first visit occurred, the fact that the boy returned home to his mother early represents the rising of his spiritual consciousness to the level of the “Supernal Mother.”

One of the opinions in the Talmud why Elishah considered the 42 children worthy of his curse is that their mothers had conceived them on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, which also corresponds to this level of Mother, when marital relations are strictly forbidden.

So we see that Rabbi Himnuna’s wife and their son hold the key to rectifying Elishah’s curse on the 42 children.

Balak and Mashiach

Above, we saw that every child has the potential to be Mashiach and that Rabbi Himnuna’s young son in particular, mentioned in the Zohar on the Torah portion of Balak, revealed that potential. We also saw that Balak’s sacrifices were rewarded in that Ruth, and eventually Mashiach, would be his descendants. In fact, Maimonides[6] states that there is one section in Balaam’s last prophecy that relates explicitly to Mashiach:[7]

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not soon. A star has stepped forth from Jacob, and a tribe has arisen fromIsraelwho will crush the princes ofMoaband uproot all the sons of Seth.Edomshall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, andIsraelshall triumph. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city.”

The eleven different phrases in these three verses all relate to a different spiritual aspect of the Mashiach, beginning with the initial aspect of self-sacrifice, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught.[8]May we soon merit the revelation of Mashiach to all ofIsraeland to the entire world.



[1] Sotah, 47a.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Shabbat, 119b.

[4] Sanhedrin, 93b.

[5] Genesis, 48:16.

[6] Hilchot Melachim, 11:4.

[7] Numbers, 24:17-19.

[8] Torat Menachem, Vol. 24, Part II, 1Tamuz, 5726.

Wise judges

At the beginning of the Torah portion of Devarim, treat online Moses begins his final speech and directive to the Jewish people before they enter the landof Israelunder Joshua’s leadership. Moses reminds the congregation how difficult it had been for him to bear the responsibility of the people alone and how, sales after their compliance, help he had appointed the nation’s judges. He then told the people to search for, “[Righteous] men who are wise, perceptive and known [i.e., accepted by their tribe as worthy of being a judge].”[1]

However, when Moses appointed the men, the verse states that they were, “Men who are wise and known,” but the word “perceptive” (??????) does not appear. The sages learn from this missing adjective that Moses could not find any truly perceptive individuals.[2] Although they were wise, i.e. well-versed in Torah law and thus worthy of being judges, they lacked the ability to penetrate the psyche of those who approached them and to modify their response to properly reflect its deeper needs.

Although this type of perception may be dispensable in a judge or in a rabbinical authority, as we see from the fact that the judges were still appointed even though they did not have this quality, nonetheless, it is an essential quality that every counselor should nurture.

In fact, it is strange that Moses was unable to find perceptive individuals, since the artisans who constructed the Tabernacle are described as having God-given wisdom and perception (?????)[3] and the entire tribe of Yissachar is referred to as, “knowing understanding (????).”[4]

Understanding one thing from another

We can find an explanation for this query in Rashi’s interpretation that perception is the ability, “to understand one thing from another” and the Rebbe, following the Arizal, clarifies that there are two levels to this quality. The first level is the power of deduction: a person studies a general rule and is able to deduce the details from that rule. This level sufficed for the artisans of the Tabernacle, who only received the general measurements and were able to deduce from them how to construct the details. The second, higher level of understanding is the ability to innovate new ideas from the knowledge gained through one’s study. It was this innovative form of perception that Moses was unable to find in the men he appointed.

Another way of explaining this ability is that it relates to sensitive timing. In a consultation situation, when a wise person offers his advice, he might offer sound counsel, but if he does so at an inappropriate moment, his advice might do more harm than good. In contrast, someone with true perception will take note of “one thing” (his friend’s current situation) and understand “another thing” i.e. that this may not be the right moment for his friend to accept his advice (as good as it may be). In such a case, offering the right advice at the right moment is crucial to its success.

Although Moses himself was blessed with perception, he was not successful in imparting it to his disciples. Yet, we are taught that in the future, we will all be perceptive. It is the task of Mashiach, “a wondrous counselor,” to teach us how to incorporate this quality into our psyches. Indeed, the value of the filling of Mashiach’s four letters, ?? ??? ??? ???, is equal to the phrase, “one thing from another” (??? ???? ???).

Mashiach, the ultimately perceptive individual is just waiting for the right moment… may we soon merit his speedy revelation.



[1] Deuteronomy 1:13.

[2] Ibid, Rashi.

[3] Exodus 36:1.

[4] 1 Chronicles 12:33.

One Response to “Devarim: Perceptive counseling (a)”

  1. …..the world needs Moshiach now. May the loving kindness of our Abba Father Above shorten the time even more than expected….