Feed on
Posts
Comments

The cursed kingdoms

The first verse in Parashat Re’eh contains seven words, treat which correspond to the seven emotive sefirot (from loving-kindness to kingdom). The seventh word is “curse” (????) and it corresponds to the seventh sefirah, the sefirah of kingdom. The reason why kingdom is liable to be cursed stems from the seven primordial kings of the World of Chaos who preceded the World of Rectification. Each king ruled momentarily but then died, to be followed by the next of the seven kings. Each primordial king represents a different political system that rises to power and then falls: socialism, communism, totalitarianism, democracy, etc. The final kingdom will be the rectifiedkingdom ofMashiach and the eternal kingdom of the Almighty, the King of all Kings.

Since Adam’s sin, mortality, the fate of the primordial kings, has been the ultimate fate of every human being. King David, who should naturally have been a miscarriage, was the first to begin rectifying this fallen state through his humble acknowledgment of his own miraculous survival at every moment of his life.

The curse of death that resides in the sefirah of kingdom is transformed into blessing by the power of the abundance that is in the sefirah of foundation. This is alluded to in the phrase that begins the second verse of the parashah, “the blessing” (??? ??????????), which can be rendered, “you [kingdom] are a blessing” (???? ??????????). In this way, the meaning of the word “curse” (????) transforms into “bright” (???) as in the phrase “shiny copper”[1] (???? ???) that Ezekiel and Daniel saw in their prophetic visions. The blessing of kingdom at this level is even greater than the original blessing conveyed by the sefirah of foundation.

The kingdom of Joseph and the kingdom of David

This phenomenon is alluded to in the final meeting between King Saul’s son, Jonathan, and David, in the words, “until David became great”[2] (??? ?????? ?????????). The literal meaning of this is that David wept profusely,[3] but in Chassidut it is explained that this alludes to the rectification of King David’s kingdom through Mashiach ben David, when his rule is complete and rises above Jonathan’s, who represents Mashiach ben Yosef.

In our previous article we referred to three aspects of charity in Parashat Re’eh that characterize the profuse blessing that the righteous individual draws down from above. Referring to the third aspect of charity, the mitzvah of endowing a Hebrew servant upon his release, Sefer Hachinuch teaches that this mitzvah applies in any work situation. When an employee is dismissed, his employer should endow him with a significant reward for his work, beyond his regular salary. Nowadays, this has become the norm in any civilized society, with pension plans and national insurance schemes that actually remove most of the responsibility from the employer to the state. Although this indicates a certain elevation towards rectifying the sefirah of kingdom in general, the Torah expects each employer to take personal responsibility for each of his employees, like a king who is responsible for each of his subjects.

The numerical value of “a Hebrew servant” (??? ????) is equal to the numerical value of Mashiach (????), and although as an employee, the servant represents Joseph, the first Hebrew servant, when he leaves his employer for personal freedom, his employer should lavish upon him blessings until he grows to be greater than his employer and rises to the level of Mashiach ben David, “until David became great.”



[1] Ezekiel 1:7; Daniel 10:6.

[2] Samuel 1, 20:41.

[3] Rashi, ibid.

Shoftim is the 48th parashah of the Pentateuch. The number 48 is the numerical value of the word “mind” (????), shop cialis which immediately associates us with the phrase in the Zohar, “The mind rules over the heart” (???? ??????? ??? ?????), which in the classic text of Chassidut, the Tanya forms one of the most profound and fundamental tenets of our service of God.

Of the different officials who are enumerated in our parashah, the foremost, mentioned in the opening verse of the parashah, is the judge who represents the lucid mind of Torah study and sanctity. The heart of the nation is represented by the king, who is completely subject to the rulings of the Torah scholars. This is true to such an extent that in certain cases, the judges are referred to as “God” (????????), because the ability to judge is one of the principal attributes of God, as the verse states, “For God judges; this [individual] He deposes and this one He elevates.”[1] In contrast, the king is referred to as a “prince” (????) and being mortal, he is liable to sin as the verse states, “When a prince sins.”[2] In fact, one of the reasons why the Torah limits the king’s number of wives and horses is, “so that his heart shall not become haughty,” relating in particular to the heart’s proclivity to sin. This is why the king’s special commandment is to carry a Torah scroll against his heart so that the Torah, his judge and his rational mind, will rule over his heart and he won’t become arrogant over his brethren. Obviously, the king needs to be subject to “God,” represented here by the judges.

Nonetheless, the king has special privileges that no other Jew has, even the judges. This comes to reveal, as Chassidut innovates, that although the Torah’s rulings must be absolutely abided to even by the king, the heart of the nation, there is a more profound level at which “the innermost point of the heart rules over the mind.” The king in particular bears the paradox of conveying an outer casing of sovereignty, while nurturing an inner sense of profound lowliness and humility. Whereas by studying the Torah’s laws, one can reach a level of knowing the entire Torah, the innermost point of the king’s humility is infinite, “The heart of kings is unfathomable.”[3] Thus, the king’s external demeanor is subject to the rulings and teachings of the judges, but his innermost core of humility actually rises above their level and rules over them.

Within our personal Divine service, this level is that of a completely righteous individual who has refined himself to such an extent that he naturally acts accurately according to the Torah’s principles without having to deduce them rationally from his Torah knowledge.[4]



[1] Psalms 74:8.

[2] Leviticus 4:22.

[3] Proverbs 25:3.

[4] This is the level of “natural consciousness” described in our book ?????? ????? and elsewhere.

Shoftim is the 48th parashah of the Pentateuch. The number 48 is the numerical value of the word “mind” (????), sales salve which immediately associates us with the phrase in the Zohar, approved
“The mind rules over the heart” (???? ??????? ??? ?????), capsule which in the classic text of Chassidut, the Tanya forms one of the most profound and fundamental tenets of our service of God.

Of the different officials who are enumerated in our parashah, the foremost, mentioned in the opening verse of the parashah, is the judge who represents the lucid mind of Torah study and sanctity. The heart of the nation is represented by the king, who is completely subject to the rulings of the Torah scholars. This is true to such an extent that in certain cases, the judges are referred to as “God” (????????), because the ability to judge is one of the principal attributes of God, as the verse states, “For God judges; this [individual] He deposes and this one He elevates.”[1] In contrast, the king is referred to as a “prince” (????) and being mortal, he is liable to sin as the verse states, “When a prince sins.”[2] In fact, one of the reasons why the Torah limits the king’s number of wives and horses is, “so that his heart shall not become haughty,” relating in particular to the heart’s proclivity to sin. This is why the king’s special commandment is to carry a Torah scroll against his heart so that the Torah, his judge and his rational mind, will rule over his heart and he won’t become arrogant over his brethren. Obviously, the king needs to be subject to “God,” represented here by the judges.

Nonetheless, the king has special privileges that no other Jew has, even the judges. This comes to reveal, as Chassidut innovates, that although the Torah’s rulings must be absolutely abided to even by the king, the heart of the nation, there is a more profound level at which “the innermost point of the heart rules over the mind.” The king in particular bears the paradox of conveying an outer casing of sovereignty, while nurturing an inner sense of profound lowliness and humility. Whereas by studying the Torah’s laws, one can reach a level of knowing the entire Torah, the innermost point of the king’s humility is infinite, “The heart of kings is unfathomable.”[3] Thus, the king’s external demeanor is subject to the rulings and teachings of the judges, but his innermost core of humility actually rises above their level and rules over them.

Within our personal Divine service, this level is that of a completely righteous individual who has refined himself to such an extent that he naturally acts accurately according to the Torah’s principles without having to deduce them rationally from his Torah knowledge.[4]



[1] Psalms 74:8.

[2] Leviticus 4:22.

[3] Proverbs 25:3.

[4] This is the level of “natural consciousness” described in our book ?????? ????? and elsewhere.

Shoftim is the 48th parashah of the Pentateuch. The number 48 is the numerical value of the word “mind” (????), site which immediately associates us with the phrase in the Zohar, prescription “The mind rules over the heart” (???? ??????? ??? ?????), buy cialis which in the classic text of Chassidut, the Tanya forms one of the most profound and fundamental tenets of our service of God.

Of the different officials who are enumerated in our parashah, the foremost, mentioned in the opening verse of the parashah, is the judge who represents the lucid mind of Torah study and sanctity. The heart of the nation is represented by the king, who is completely subject to the rulings of the Torah scholars. This is true to such an extent that in certain cases, the judges are referred to as “God” (????????), because the ability to judge is one of the principal attributes of God, as the verse states, “For God judges; this [individual] He deposes and this one He elevates.”[1] In contrast, the king is referred to as a “prince” (????) and being mortal, he is liable to sin as the verse states, “When a prince sins.”[2] In fact, one of the reasons why the Torah limits the king’s number of wives and horses is, “so that his heart shall not become haughty,” relating in particular to the heart’s proclivity to sin. This is why the king’s special commandment is to carry a Torah scroll against his heart so that the Torah, his judge and his rational mind, will rule over his heart and he won’t become arrogant over his brethren. Obviously, the king needs to be subject to “God,” represented here by the judges.

Nonetheless, the king has special privileges that no other Jew has, even the judges. This comes to reveal, as Chassidut innovates, that although the Torah’s rulings must be absolutely abided to even by the king, the heart of the nation, there is a more profound level at which “the innermost point of the heart rules over the mind.” The king in particular bears the paradox of conveying an outer casing of sovereignty, while nurturing an inner sense of profound lowliness and humility. Whereas by studying the Torah’s laws, one can reach a level of knowing the entire Torah, the innermost point of the king’s humility is infinite, “The heart of kings is unfathomable.”[3] Thus, the king’s external demeanor is subject to the rulings and teachings of the judges, but his innermost core of humility actually rises above their level and rules over them.

Within our personal Divine service, this level is that of a completely righteous individual who has refined himself to such an extent that he naturally acts accurately according to the Torah’s principles without having to deduce them rationally from his Torah knowledge.[4]



[1] Psalms 74:8.

[2] Leviticus 4:22.

[3] Proverbs 25:3.

[4] This is the level of “natural consciousness” described in our book ?????? ????? and elsewhere.

The opening sentence of this week’s Torah portion, see Parashat Shoftim, sovaldi is “You shall place Judges and law enforcers at all of your gates that Havayah, your God gives you to your tribes and they shall judge the people with a just judgment.” Further on in the parashah, we find the verse, “Justice, you shall pursue justice, in order that you live and inherit the land that Havayah, your God gives to you.” Both of these verses allude to the inherent connection between God’s gift of the land and the necessity of enforcing righteous justice. Rectifying the method of government and the court system is one of the most vital public commandments, and this is also explicit in the verse, “Appoint, you shall appoint upon you a king whom Havayah, your God has chosen for you, from amongst your brethren you shall appoint a king upon you; you will not be able to appoint upon you a foreigner who is not of your brethren.” So, first we have judges and then we have a king and later on in the parashah we find that God will also appoint a prophet, who is also “of your brethren.” Contemplating this parashah, we see that all the official functionaries in the kindgom are described: priests, levites and judges, a prophet, a police force and a king. To these six functions, the Zohar adds the duty of the kingdom’s citizens to testify truthfully in front of the courts.

Altogether there are seven different officials who complete the array. As in a musical orchestra that contains different players and instruments, we need a government that is composed of a variety of officials who act together in harmony. The first three, the priest, the levite and the judge, are one unit who represent the sefirot of loving-kindness, might and beauty, respectively. The last four, the prophet, the police officer, the witnesses and finally, the king, represent the sefirot of eternity, acknowledgment, foundation and kingdom, respectively.

In order to judge and define who is innocent and who is guilty and to authorize appropriate reward and punishment, one needs to be learned in all the laws of the Torah whose “ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”[1] The judge is associated with the sefirah of beauty, which according to the Zohar represents the Torah, to which all of the other categories of officials are subject, including the king. Although we might think that judgment is harsh and corresponds to the sefirah of might, the Zohar teaches[2] that true judgment is issued through compassion, the inner motivating force of the sefirah of beauty.



[1] Proverbs 17:3.

[2] . Patach Eliyahu, the introduction to Tikunei Zohar.

The opening sentence of this week’s Torah portion, sovaldi sale Parashat Shoftim, thumb is “You shall place Judges and law enforcers at all of your gates that Havayah, your God gives you to your tribes and they shall judge the people with a just judgment.” Further on in the parashah, we find the verse, “Justice, you shall pursue justice, in order that you live and inherit the land that Havayah, your God gives to you.” Both of these verses allude to the inherent connection between God’s gift of the land and the necessity of enforcing righteous justice. Rectifying the method of government and the court system is one of the most vital public commandments, and this is also explicit in the verse, “Appoint, you shall appoint upon you a king whom Havayah, your God has chosen for you, from amongst your brethren you shall appoint a king upon you; you will not be able to appoint upon you a foreigner who is not of your bretheren.” So, first we have judges and then we have a king and later on in the parashah we find that God will also appoint a prophet, who is also “of your brethren.” Contemplating this parashah, we see that all the official functionaries in the kindgom are described: priests, levites and judges, a prophet, a police force and a king. To these six functions, the Zohar adds the duty of the kingdom’s citizens to testify truthfully in front of the courts.

Altogether there are seven different officials who complete the array. As in a musical orchestra that contains different players and instruments, we need a government that is composed of a variety of officials who act together in harmony. The first three, the priest, the levite and the judge, are one unit who represent the sefirot of loving-kindness, might and beauty, respectively. The last four, the prophet, the police officer, the witnesses and finally, the king, represent the sefirot of eternity, acknowledgment, foundation and kingdom, respectively.

In order to judge and define who is innocent and who is guilty and to authorize appropriate reward and punishment, one needs to be learned in all the laws of the Torah whose “ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”[1] The judge is associated with the sefirah of beauty, which according to the Zohar represents the Torah, to which all of the other categories of officials are subject, including the king. Although we might think that judgment is harsh and corresponds to the sefirah of might, the Zohar teaches[2] that true judgment is issued through compassion, the inner motivating force of the sefirah of beauty.



[1] Proverbs 17:3.

[2] . Patach Eliyahu, the introduction to Tikunei Zohar.

The opening sentence of this week’s Torah portion, search Parashat Shoftim, diagnosis is “You shall place Judges and law enforcers at all of your gates that Havayah, cialis sale your God gives you to your tribes and they shall judge the people with a just judgment.” Further on in the parashah, we find the verse, “Justice, you shall pursue justice, in order that you live and inherit the land that Havayah, your God gives to you.” Both of these verses allude to the inherent connection between God’s gift of the land and the necessity of enforcing righteous justice. Rectifying the method of government and the court system is one of the most vital public commandments, and this is also explicit in the verse, “Appoint, you shall appoint upon you a king whom Havayah, your God has chosen for you, from amongst your brethren you shall appoint a king upon you; you will not be able to appoint upon you a foreigner who is not of your bretheren.” So, first we have judges and then we have a king and later on in the parashah we find that God will also appoint a prophet, who is also “of your brethren.” Contemplating this parashah, we see that all the official functionaries in the kindgom are described: priests, levites and judges, a prophet, a police force and a king. To these six functions, the Zohar adds the duty of the kingdom’s citizens to testify truthfully in front of the courts.

Altogether there are seven different officials who complete the array. As in a musical orchestra that contains different players and instruments, we need a government that is composed of a variety of officials who act together in harmony. The first three, the priest, the levite and the judge, are one unit who represent the sefirot of loving-kindness, might and beauty, respectively. The last four, the prophet, the police officer, the witnesses and finally, the king, represent the sefirot of eternity, acknowledgment, foundation and kingdom, respectively.

In order to judge and define who is innocent and who is guilty and to authorize appropriate reward and punishment, one needs to be learned in all the laws of the Torah whose “ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”[1] The judge is associated with the sefirah of beauty, which according to the Zohar represents the Torah, to which all of the other categories of officials are subject, including the king. Although we might think that judgment is harsh and corresponds to the sefirah of might, the Zohar teaches[2] that true judgment is issued through compassion, the inner motivating force of the sefirah of beauty.



[1] Proverbs 17:3.

[2] . Patach Eliyahu, the introduction to Tikunei Zohar.

The opening sentence of this week’s Torah portion, viagra sale help site Parashat Shoftim, stuff shop is “You shall place Judges and law enforcers at all of your gates that Havayah, pharmacy your God gives you to your tribes and they shall judge the people with a just judgment.” Further on in the parashah, we find the verse, “Justice, you shall pursue justice, in order that you live and inherit the land that Havayah, your God gives to you.” Both of these verses allude to the inherent connection between God’s gift of the land and the necessity of enforcing righteous justice. Rectifying the method of government and the court system is one of the most vital public commandments, and this is also explicit in the verse, “Appoint, you shall appoint upon you a king whom Havayah, your God has chosen for you, from amongst your brethren you shall appoint a king upon you; you will not be able to appoint upon you a foreigner who is not of your bretheren.” So, first we have judges and then we have a king and later on in the parashah we find that God will also appoint a prophet, who is also “of your brethren.” Contemplating this parashah, we see that all the official functionaries in the kindgom are described: priests, levites and judges, a prophet, a police force and a king. To these six functions, the Zohar adds the duty of the kingdom’s citizens to testify truthfully in front of the courts.

Altogether there are seven different officials who complete the array. As in a musical orchestra that contains different players and instruments, we need a government that is composed of a variety of officials who act together in harmony. The first three, the priest, the levite and the judge, are one unit who represent the sefirot of loving-kindness, might and beauty, respectively. The last four, the prophet, the police officer, the witnesses and finally, the king, represent the sefirot of eternity, acknowledgment, foundation and kingdom, respectively.

In order to judge and define who is innocent and who is guilty and to authorize appropriate reward and punishment, one needs to be learned in all the laws of the Torah whose “ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”[1] The judge is associated with the sefirah of beauty, which according to the Zohar represents the Torah, to which all of the other categories of officials are subject, including the king. Although we might think that judgment is harsh and corresponds to the sefirah of might, the Zohar teaches[2] that true judgment is issued through compassion, the inner motivating force of the sefirah of beauty.



[1] Proverbs 17:3.

[2] . Patach Eliyahu, the introduction to Tikunei Zohar.

The opening sentence of this week’s Torah portion, troche Parashat Shoftim, prescription is “You shall place Judges and law enforcers at all of your gates that Havayah, your God gives you to your tribes and they shall judge the people with a just judgment.” Further on in the parashah, we find the verse, “Justice, you shall pursue justice, in order that you live and inherit the land that Havayah, your God gives to you.” Both of these verses allude to the inherent connection between God’s gift of the land and the necessity of enforcing righteous justice. Rectifying the method of government and the court system is one of the most vital public commandments, and this is also explicit in the verse, “Appoint, you shall appoint upon you a king whom Havayah, your God has chosen for you, from amongst your brethren you shall appoint a king upon you; you will not be able to appoint upon you a foreigner who is not of your brethren.” So, first we have judges and then we have a king and later on in the parashah we find that God will also appoint a prophet, who is also “of your brethren.” Contemplating this parashah, we see that all the official functionaries in the kindgom are described: priests, levites and judges, a prophet, a police force and a king. To these six functions, the Zohar adds the duty of the kingdom’s citizens to testify truthfully in front of the courts.

Altogether there are seven different officials who complete the array. As in a musical orchestra that contains different players and instruments, we need a government that is composed of a variety of officials who act together in harmony. The first three, the priest, the levite and the judge, are one unit who represent the sefirot of loving-kindness, might and beauty, respectively. The last four, the prophet, the police officer, the witnesses and finally, the king, represent the sefirot of eternity, acknowledgment, foundation and kingdom, respectively.

In order to judge and define who is innocent and who is guilty and to authorize appropriate reward and punishment, one needs to be learned in all the laws of the Torah whose “ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”[1] The judge is associated with the sefirah of beauty, which according to the Zohar represents the Torah, to which all of the other categories of officials are subject, including the king. Although we might think that judgment is harsh and corresponds to the sefirah of might, the Zohar teaches[2] that true judgment is issued through compassion, the inner motivating force of the sefirah of beauty.



[1] Proverbs 17:3.

[2] . Patach Eliyahu, the introduction to Tikunei Zohar.

In the part of the Zohar called Ra’aya Meheimna, store Moses’ soul root reveals Torah secrets to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students. The Ra’aya Meheimna mainly discusses the inner mysteries of the Torah’s commandments.

Interestingly, drugstore of all the seventy-four mitzvot enumerated in Parashat Ki-Teitzei, medical the principal commandment that is discussed in Ra’aya Meheimna on this parashah is the sin of a man who falsely claims that his bride was not a virgin. The concluding phrase that appears in the Torah is “for he has defamed a virgin of Israel.”

The Zohar offers four examples to illustrate this sin, in each of which the “virgin of Israel” corresponds to a different metaphor.  The idea that unites these metaphors is that at her spiritual root, the “virgin of Israel” always retains her innate purity, which can never be sullied.

The first example relates to the spies who defamed thelandofIsrael. The spies were punished by death, an even more severe punishment than the man who defames his wife. In this example, the “virgin of Israel” is the land of Israel, which they claimed was so totally under control by non-Jewish forces that even God could not redeem it. Land is always treated as a feminine entity and to claim that the sanctity of the Holy Land was sullied by the non-Jewish nations who lived there is tantamount to the groom’s false claim against his wife. The Zohar thus teaches us that expressing the idea that the land of Israel cannot be freed from its foreign inhabitants, or from the hold other nations are trying to place upon it, defames the “virgin of Israel.” Obviously, this is as relevant in today’s circumstances as it ever was, perhaps even more so.

The second example relates to Queen Esther, who was taken against her will to become the wife of King Achashverosh. The Zohar reveals that although the verses state literally that Esther became Achashverosh’s wife, the claim that Esther was made impure by Achashverosh is also a defamation of the “virgin of Israel.” Instead, the Zohar reveals that Mordechai and Esther had the spiritual power to separate their “shadow” (i.e., their animal soul) from themselves and send it on a separate mission without being involved in the mission themselves.

By acting in this way, Esther, who reached the highest level of sanctity where she represents the Divine Presence, remained pure and in truth she never left her true soul-mate, the righteous Mordechai. Here, the Zohar emphasizes that even if it seems that an individual Jew has sinned, in essence this is not the case and it is only his or her animal soul that has been defiled, “Your nation, all of them are righteous.” This comes to teach us that there is a point of righteousness in every Jew that can never be violated, even if he sins.

The third example is defaming the holy Torah by saying that there is less sanctity in the second tablets than in the first tablets that were broken by Moses. A person who thinks this is defaming the Torah’s ability to retrieve its “virginity.” This idea can be applied to many pertinent examples: a yeshivah student who undergoes a crisis in his Torah study; a child whose initial and earnest literal understanding of the Torah has been lost; or even someone whose mind has been contaminated by academic Biblical criticism. All these can ultimately reveal that although it may appear that the first tablets were defiled, God forbid, at its source the Torah retains its pure, untouched state. Reaching this level brings with it a new revelation of the Torah in all its purity.

In Ra’aya Meheimna, after Moses has brought the above three examples of defaming the “virgin of Israel,” the Prophet Elijah requests permission to speak and he offers another example involving Moses himself. Elijah shows Moses that for a moment, following the worshipping of the Golden Calf, he had thought that the Jewish people as a whole had sinned, but in truth they had not. In fact, only the mixed multitude, whom Moses himself had insisted on taking out of Egypt together with the Jewish people, had sinned. Moses reaction to this accusation was to kiss Elijah and ask him to always accompany him when he teaches.

We can learn from Moses, who prayed with self sacrifice to save the Jewish people from their “sin” but was accused by Elijah of defaming the “virgin of Israel,” that even if it appears that the entire Jewish people has sinned, God forbid, this is not true at all. In fact, the mixed multitude who were the instigators of the sin, were actually pieces of Moses’ own soul and he thus accepted the blame for the situation.

The mazal (???) of the month of Elul is a virgin and we learn from the Zohar here that our mission during this month in particular is to completely refrain from false accusations against the “virgin of Israel”: the land of Israel, individual Jews and the righteous individual of the generation in particular, the Torah of Israel, and the people of Israel as a whole. In this way we too will rise to return to an unblemished state and all our sins will be forgiven to reveal that in truth, we have never sinned.

In the part of the Zohar called Ra’aya Meheimna, cialis Moses’ soul root reveals Torah secrets to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students. The Ra’aya Meheimna mainly discusses the inner mysteries of the Torah’s commandments.

Interestingly, remedy of all the seventy-four mitzvot enumerated in Parashat Ki-Teitzei, viagra the principal commandment that is discussed in Ra’aya Meheimna on this parashah is the sin of a man who falsely claims that his bride was not a virgin. The concluding phrase that appears in the Torah is “for he has defamed a virgin ofIsrael.”

The Zohar offers four examples to illustrate this sin, in each of which the “virgin ofIsrael” corresponds to a different metaphor.  The idea that unites these metaphors is that at her spiritual root, the “virgin of Israel” always retains her innate purity, which can never be sullied.

The first example relates to the spies who defamed thelandofIsrael. The spies were punished by death, an even more severe punishment than the man who defames his wife. In this example, the “virgin ofIsrael” is thelandofIsrael, which they claimed was so totally under control by non-Jewish forces that even God could not redeem it. Land is always treated as a feminine entity and to claim that the sanctity of the Holy Land was sullied by the non-Jewish nations who lived there is tantamount to the groom’s false claim against his wife. The Zohar thus teaches us that expressing the idea that the land of Israel cannot be freed from its foreign inhabitants, or from the hold other nations are trying to place upon it, defames the “virgin of Israel.” Obviously, this is as relevant in today’s circumstances as it ever was, perhaps even more so.

The second example relates to Queen Esther, who was taken against her will to become the wife of King Achashverosh. The Zohar reveals that although the verses state literally that Esther became Achashverosh’s wife, the claim that Esther was made impure by Achashverosh is also a defamation of the “virgin ofIsrael.” Instead, the Zohar reveals that Mordechai and Esther had the spiritual power to separate their “shadow” (i.e., their animal soul) from themselves and send it on a separate mission without being involved in the mission themselves. By acting in this way, Esther, who reached the highest level of sanctity where she represents the Divine Presence, remained pure and in truth she never left her true soul-mate, Mordechai. Here, the Zohar emphasizes that even if it seems that a Jew has sinned, in essence this is not the case and it is only his or her animal soul that has been defiled.

The third example is defaming the holy Torah by saying that there is less sanctity in the second tablets than in the first tablets that were broken by Moses. A person who thinks this is defaming the Torah’s ability to retrieve its “virginity.” This idea can be applied to many pertinent examples: a yeshivah student who undergoes a crisis in his Torah study; a child whose initial and earnest literal understanding of the Torah has been lost; or even someone whose mind has been contaminated by academic Biblical criticism. All these can ultimately reveal that although it may appear that the first tablets were defiled, God forbid, at its source the Torah retains its pure, untouched state. Reaching this level brings with it a new revelation of the Torah in all its purity.

In Ra’aya Meheimna, after Moses has brought the above three examples of defaming the “virgin ofIsrael,” the Prophet Elijah requests permission to speak and he offers another example involving Moses himself. Elijah shows Moses that for a moment, following the worshipping of the Golden Calf, he had thought that the Jewish people had sinned, but in truth they had not. In fact, only the mixed multitude, whom Moses himself had insisted on taking out ofEgypt together with the Jewish people, had sinned. Moses reaction to this accusation was to kiss Elijah and ask him to always accompany him when he teaches.

We can learn from Moses, who prayed with self sacrifice to save the Jewish people from their “sin” but was accused by Elijah of defaming the “virgin of Israel,” that even if it appears that the Jewish people has sinned, God forbid, this is not true at all. In fact, the mixed multitude who were the instigators of the sin, were actually pieces of Moses’ own soul and he thus accepted the blame for the situation.

The mazal (???) of the month of Elul is a virgin and we learn from the Zohar here that our mission during this month in particular is to completely refrain from false accusations against the “virgin of Israel”: the land of Israel, the Divine Presence, the Torah of Israel, and the people of Israel. In this way we too will rise to return to an unblemished state and all our sins will be forgiven to reveal that in truth, we have never sinned.

In the part of the Zohar called Ra’aya Meheimna, find Moses’ soul root reveals Torah secrets to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students. The Ra’aya Meheimna mainly discusses the inner mysteries of the Torah’s commandments.

Interestingly, decease of all the seventy-four mitzvot enumerated in Parashat Ki-Teitzei, the principal commandment that is discussed in Ra’aya Meheimna on this parashah is the sin of a man who falsely claims that his bride was not a virgin. The concluding phrase that appears in the Torah is “for he has defamed a virgin ofIsrael.”

The Zohar offers four examples to illustrate this sin, in each of which the “virgin ofIsrael” corresponds to a different metaphor.  The idea that unites these metaphors is that at her spiritual root, the “virgin of Israel” always retains her innate purity, which can never be sullied.

The first example relates to the spies who defamed thelandofIsrael. The spies were punished by death, an even more severe punishment than the man who defames his wife. In this example, the “virgin ofIsrael” is thelandofIsrael, which they claimed was so totally under control by non-Jewish forces that even God could not redeem it. Land is always treated as a feminine entity and to claim that the sanctity of the Holy Land was sullied by the non-Jewish nations who lived there is tantamount to the groom’s false claim against his wife. The Zohar thus teaches us that expressing the idea that the land of Israel cannot be freed from its foreign inhabitants, or from the hold other nations are trying to place upon it, defames the “virgin of Israel.” Obviously, this is as relevant in today’s circumstances as it ever was, perhaps even more so.

The second example relates to Queen Esther, who was taken against her will to become the wife of King Achashverosh. The Zohar reveals that although the verses state literally that Esther became Achashverosh’s wife, the claim that Esther was made impure by Achashverosh is also a defamation of the “virgin ofIsrael.” Instead, the Zohar reveals that Mordechai and Esther had the spiritual power to separate their “shadow” (i.e., their animal soul) from themselves and send it on a separate mission without being involved in the mission themselves. By acting in this way, Esther, who reached the highest level of sanctity where she represents the Divine Presence, remained pure and in truth she never left her true soul-mate, Mordechai. Here, the Zohar emphasizes that even if it seems that a Jew has sinned, in essence this is not the case and it is only his or her animal soul that has been defiled.

The third example is defaming the holy Torah by saying that there is less sanctity in the second tablets than in the first tablets that were broken by Moses. A person who thinks this is defaming the Torah’s ability to retrieve its “virginity.” This idea can be applied to many pertinent examples: a yeshivah student who undergoes a crisis in his Torah study; a child whose initial and earnest literal understanding of the Torah has been lost; or even someone whose mind has been contaminated by academic Biblical criticism. All these can ultimately reveal that although it may appear that the first tablets were defiled, God forbid, at its source the Torah retains its pure, untouched state. Reaching this level brings with it a new revelation of the Torah in all its purity.

In Ra’aya Meheimna, after Moses has brought the above three examples of defaming the “virgin ofIsrael,” the Prophet Elijah requests permission to speak and he offers another example involving Moses himself. Elijah shows Moses that for a moment, following the worshipping of the Golden Calf, he had thought that the Jewish people had sinned, but in truth they had not. In fact, only the mixed multitude, whom Moses himself had insisted on taking out ofEgypt together with the Jewish people, had sinned. Moses reaction to this accusation was to kiss Elijah and ask him to always accompany him when he teaches.

We can learn from Moses, who prayed with self sacrifice to save the Jewish people from their “sin” but was accused by Elijah of defaming the “virgin of Israel,” that even if it appears that the Jewish people has sinned, God forbid, this is not true at all. In fact, the mixed multitude who were the instigators of the sin, were actually pieces of Moses’ own soul and he thus accepted the blame for the situation.

The mazal (???) of the month of Elul is a virgin and we learn from the Zohar here that our mission during this month in particular is to completely refrain from false accusations against the “virgin of Israel”: the land of Israel, the Divine Presence, the Torah of Israel, and the people of Israel. In this way we too will rise to return to an unblemished state and all our sins will be forgiven to reveal that in truth, we have never sinned.

Elul is the month of Divine compassion, find the month in which we hear the blast of the shofar and are inspired to return wholeheartedly to God. The Ba’al Shem Tov, viagra founder of the Chassidic movement, who was born on the 18thof Elul, taught us that our return to God (?????) should be achieved through an inner sense of profound joy.

The mazal (???) of Elul is Virgo (?????), the virgin, and our parashah, parashat Ki Teiztzei, which is always read during the month of Elul, contains the greatest concentration of the word “virgin” in the Bible.

Elul arrives right after the year’s lowest point—Tisha B’av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temple. Yet, even while still in the month of Av, we immediately began to rise up until we reached a high point six days later on the 15th of Av, one of the most joyful days of the year. The Mishnah describes that on that day, maidens would dance in the vineyards. Still, following the trauma of the Temple’s destruction, we remain with the feeling that things will never be the same. This is usually the case, that following a traumatic experience it is very difficult for a person to return to wholeness and we need to learn how to rehabilitate ourselves to retrieve our virgin state of purity.

This rectification process takes place in Elul, when we regain our purity like the virgin who is the symbol of this month. The virgin of Elul is “the virgin of Israel,” i.e., the innate, untouched purity of the Jewish people that can never be defiled. The phrase “the virgin of Israel” (????? ?????) appears once in parashat Ki Teitzei in the context of a man who defames his bride with the claim that she was not a virgin, God forbid. However, in the rest of the Bible it appears four more times.

One of the appearances of this phrase is in the book of Amos in the verse that begins, “she has fallen, she will not arise the virgin of Israel” (???? ?? ????? ??? ????? ?????). The sages interpret this by reading, “she has fallen and will not [fall again]; Arise, the virgin of Israel.” However, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, master of the Torah’s inner dimension, does not accept this interpretation. Instead, he reads the verse literally, that once the virgin of Israel has fallen, she will not be able to elevate herself again. Seemingly, there is no chance for her to heal her trauma and likewise, trying to rehabilitate ourselves appears to be a lost cause. Nonetheless, though we cannot heal ourselves, our hope is not lost, because God, our Healer can elevate us and heal us from all our ailments, whether physical or spiritual. God Himself will return the lost virginity of the Jewish people by forgiving us for all our sins. This transformation is illustrated by the fact that “a lost cause” (???? ????) has the same numerical value (358) as Mashiach (????); it is the Mashiach who can overcome even lost causes.

According to the inner dimension of the Torah, “the virgin of Israel” corresponds to the sefirah of kingdom. The rehabilitation of the Jewish people will ultimately be achieved when the kingdom of Israel returns to its rightful place, with Mashiach as its ruler. We pray that this will be soon and that the sages’ words will indeed be fulfilled, “She has fallen and will not [fall again].”

2 Responses to “Returning to a virgin state”

  1. Dear Rabbi Ginsburgh. You have been so much in my thoughts this week especially this morning. Trusting that you are in good health. Only those who have experienced deep traumas fully understand the echo’s that remain in a person’s soul. At the end of the day (in my humble opinion) the complete healing is between the individual and G-d alone. Is not all of humanity in a traumatized state anyway? Will we not only be healed when we see our true condition as revealed by G-d alone?

    Shabbat Shalom!

  2. Rabbi, this is a wonderful post that brings peace to my soul. Others who may not choose to comment are surely having an experience of peace as well. Finding strength and guidance when we are making our way up and out of trauma can be difficult and confusing, and knowing that we have the blessing of Elul every year is truly a relief. It is the mighty hand of Hashem that elevates us and gives us all (the nation of Israel, the people, wherever we may be) peace and hope again. Thank you for this post.