וַתָּמָת שָׂרָה, בְּקִרְיַת אַרְבַּע הִוא חֶבְרוֹן
And Sarah died in Kiriath Arba–the same as Hebron
The sages in the Midrash tell us that when the angel of the other side (left column system, Sam–ael), saw that he lost the soul of Yitzchak, he went to Sarah and told her that Yitzchak was slaughtered by Avraham and sacrificed to G-d.
Sarah cried six times, three to connect to the lower three Sefirot and three to the upper three Sefirot. Her soul left her body and she died. She was 127 years old.
The Torah tells us that she died in Kiryat Arba (meaning city of four) and continues immediately and explains that Kiryat Arba is Hebron. The root word is ” חֶבְר ” and it means connection of two sides.
So what is the city of four and what is the connection that is referred here. The great Torah commentator, Rashi, explains that the name is after the four couples that are buried there, Adam and Eve, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah. Rachel is in Bethlehem on the way to Jerusalem but the reason for that is related to the coming of Mashiach and I will explain this in another article.
Avraham found the cave in the fields that belongs to Efron. He could see the image of Adam and Eve. He also saw that they were buried by the entrance to the Garden of Eden that was in the cave of Machpelah (from the root word ” כפל ” ‘double’ in Hebrew).
That was the reason why he wanted to have ownership of this place. He was ready to pay any price and he did pay the full price. His intension was to give us, the future generations, the connection to the tree of life. The patriarchs and the matriarchs that are buried there protect the entrance to the Garden of Eden for us until the time of the resurrection of the dead.
The Zohar of this parasha dedicates a lengthy article about the resurrection of the Dead. When we read the above, we get a hint to the underlying power that is revealed in this parasha.
The ten spiritual giants who are buried in the ‘cave of the double’, in Hebron , signify the importance of the place and the connection between the upper and lower. The Zohar refers to the Machpela as the place of connecting upper and lower Jerusalem .
Avraham bought the land form Efron. His name comes from the word ” עפר “, which means dust of the earth. The numerical value is 350.
Efron is written in the Torah as ” עֶפְרוֹן ” When Avraham paid him for the field and the cave (Genesis 23:16 ) his name was written as ” עֶפְרֹן ” with the letter Vav missing from the name. That makes the numerical value of 400, the exact amount Avraham paid for his purchase. The commentator “Baal Haturim” also mentions that ” עֶפְרֹן ” has the same numerical value of ” עין־רע “, “evil eye”.
We learn a great lesson from this transaction. When we pay the full price, we take ownership and remove any negativity from the deal. Avraham took the Vav from Efron, that letter represents the pipe and the connection of upper and lower. At the same time he controlled Efron’s evil eye.
(Just to make it clear. I do not suggest that you will start paying any price for your future purchases. What is important is that when it comes to something of great value to you, you should make sure that the seller is satisfied with the deal. You do not want their ‘evil eye’ attached to your new possession. Especially when you buy a business, a house, a car or anything that you will use on a daily basis.)
The Zohar tells us a story of King Solomon that one day he took control over the king of demons. King Solomon asked him what is the best advice he can give him and the answer was “Pay full price to avoid the negativity from coming in”.
We want the blessings in everything we do and have. In 24:1 we connect to the blessing of G-d to Avraham ” וַיקוָק בֵּרַךְ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם, בַּכֹּל “, “and G-d had blessed Abraham in all things” (We use this blessing when we recite the blessing over the food, ‘Birkat Hamazon’)
Avraham established control over the gates to the Garden of Eden and bridged the gap between death (our world, Tree of Knowledge Good and Bad) and life (Garden of Eden and Tree of Life). This is the reason the Zohar talks a lot about the system of death and resurrection of the dead in the discussion of this parasha.
One important point from the Zohar is about the existence of the special bone in a body named ” עצם־הלוז “. This bone is not connected to or fed by the body. It is a tiny bone in an unknown place between the head and the body. There are several opinions to the actual place but the Ari (Rabbi Isaac Luria) and Rabbi Avraham Azulai said that its place is at the base of the neck. It could not be anywhere else because the head represents the top three Sefirot (Keter Chokmah and Binah) and the body connects to the lower seven Sefirot.
The Zohar explains that when the special dew ” טל ” (The deeper meaning is the ” יהו ” in Milui or ” יוד־הא־ואו “), will come down from heaven (upper three Sefirot), it will touch the neck bone and will get soften and expand to four directions to form the body anew.
The Zohar also describes that G-d took dust ” עפר ” from the earth and spread it to four directions to create Adam.
When it says ” כי-עפר אתה, ואל-עפר תשוב ” “for you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” we see the past and the future. It doesn’t say into the ground as in death of the body, but to ” עפר “, which is the seed of its creation and its resurrection.
We learn from the Zohar that the neck bone ” עצם־הלוז ” (numerical value is 248), is the starting point in creating Adam’s body. ” עפר ” (dust) also appears first time in the creation of Adam. Genesis 2:7 ” וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם, עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה ” “Then G-d formed man of the dust of the ground”. That dust is the seed of the physical body encapsulate into the neck bone ” עצם־הלוז “, which is immortal. It will stay until the resurrection of the Dead. It is interesting to know that babies are born with 350 bones in their body. 350 is the numerical value of ” עָפָר “, dust. As the baby grows to become adult, many bones fused together to form 206 bones and 42 joints and together 248. It is the same numerical value as Avraham and ” עצם־הלוז ” (neck bone).
” עפר ” is ” ע ” = 70 + ” פר “= 280 = ” םןץףך “. Some of you will understand this but the main point is to understand that Avraham bought more than a piece of real estate; he bought a future for us.
In few days, on the 24 th of Mar Cheshvan, is the Hillulah of Rabbi Avraham Azulai, a great Kabbalist who was born in Morocco , lived and died in Hebron . He had the opportunity to get into the Garden of Eden and come out alive. In his book “Chessed L’Avraham” he reveals many Kabbalah Secrets. I will send a separate email related to this.
“וַיֹּאמֶר קַח-נָא אֶת-בִּנְךָ אֶת-יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר-אָהַבְתָּ, אֶת-יִצְחָק”
“And He said: ‘Take now your son, your only son, that you loved, Isaac”
Avraham is the chariot (Channel) to the sefirah of Chessed (loving, kindness). Chessed is the first revelation of the Light in this world. The Zohar explains in Genesis 2:4 ” אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ, בְּ הִ בָּרְאָם ” that the word ” בְּ הִ בָּרְאָם ” which means “when they were created” has the same letters as ” בְאַבְרָהָם “. The world was created with Chessed and by the merit of Avraham.
What makes Avraham so special? We can find one of the reasons in the above verse from Genesis 22:2. When G-d “Tested” Avraham he instructed him to take his son to the land of Moriah and offer him there on one of the mountains. We all know the story. Some years ago I heard a taped lecture by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg and he refers to this verse as a dialog between G-d and Avraham.
G-d: Take your son!
Avraham: Which one?
God: Your only son.
Avraham: I have two sons.
G-d: The one that you loved.
Avraham: I love them both.
This interesting conversation teaches us that Avraham had built in him unconditional love. He treated everyone equally, he was known also as a great host. Everyone was welcome in his home.
Ishmael was his son from his wife’s servant, yet he treated him as equal.
Because he was able to accept the light of the creator unconditionally and share it with everyone, he merited to be the chariot to the sefirah of Chessed. He is the one that opens the gate of prayers for us. All major prayers begin with Avraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are the three lead chariots of the Light to this world and Avraham is leading.
To open the upper gates for the Light to flow into our lives, we need to be like Avraham, practicing unconditional love and sharing.
One of the great lessons I learned from the Zohar is related to Avraham and it gives us understanding and power to have the unconditional love. The Zohar tells us that Terach, Avraham’s father, was a negative person and idol worshiper. His son established a connection to the light to flow down to our world. If we were to think that the world would’ve been a better place without him then we are wrong. We never know what would come out of a person. We should never think about killing someone, but send them love and light.
A change or transformation comes with light, not darkness. Terach changed himself, left idol worshiping, turned to be a positive and loving person shortly after Avraham was born.
We find more of such an example in this parasha with the story of Lot and his daughters. We read about Avraham coming to save his brother, Lot , from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra. After Lot left Sodom and find refuge in a cave, the older daughter made her father drunk and had sexual connection with him (Genesis 19:33 ). From this connection we have the seed of Mashiach and the final redemption. (The son was Moav…Ruth… David…)
There is a special dot above letter ” וּ ” of the word ” וּבְקוּמָהּ “. The four letters ” קוּמָה ” is the same as ” מקוה “, Mikveh, which is a special water pool that cleanses spiritually. ” ו ” is the letter that channels the Light to the world. The dot puts this particular one on a higher level.
This word is also related to the time when G-d will rise to remove all negativity from the world. ” קוּמָה יְ ק וָ ק , וְיָפֻצוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ, וְיָנֻסוּ מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ, מִפָּנֶיךָ ” (Numbers 10:35 ).
You may think that Lot ‘s daughter made a terrible act but the result was not so. Rav Berg, commented on that and said that the older daughter saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra as the destruction of the whole world. Her mother had turned to stone earlier and she believed that with her action she will save the world by creating continuation. That consciousness merited her to have a son that from his seed, Mashiach will come. Let us hope it will be today, Amen.
Link to article on the Parasha of Noah: http://rabbishimon.com/?p=709
Below is a section from Zohar Noah for reading and scanning
After The Holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot we re start the reading of the Torah portions from the Beginning.
Here is a link to a previous article on Bereshit “Genesis – 613+7=620. Do You Get It?” http://rabbishimon.com/?p=832
Below is a section from Zohar Beresheet for reading and scanning
This is a link to the section from Siddur HaAri that shows the different meditations. The text is in Hebrew and Rashi style letters.
There is a newly formatted version of the whole siddur, which you can find on http://Nehora.com
The Ari explains that when God created the world he distant the light from a ‘Middle point’ to create the world of Malchut. Then, a line of light was drawn down from the outer /endless into the middle which formed the seven Sefirot from above to blelow.
The mitzvah of the Lulav on Sukkot puts us back in the middle point. The Lulav represents the original line of light and the six directions connect us to the sphere of light that surrounds us. We can now connect to the flow of the light of Chessed that comes down to the world after Yom Kippur. The Lulav and the Sukkah are our special tools to draw this light into our lives.
The Lulav Shaking meditation is arranged from Siddur Ha’ari as originally edited by Rabbi Asher.
When you see “Sefira of the Day”, replace it with the corresponding sefirah of the day. First day of the Holiday is Chessed then Gevura, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yessod and last day is Malchut.
The first column is the step number in the set toward one direction. The middle column is the meditation when we step forward with the Lulav and the third column is the meditation when we bring back the light and touch the chest (heart) with the Lulav.
We move forward with a small step with the right leg or just by leaning the body toward the direction we are going.
We go back and bring in the light from the outer sphere to the center, Malchut, which is us. DO NOT point the Lulav as a spear toward the direction you are turning. Keep it always in the up direction, even when you in the down direction. Turn your body, mind and consciousness to the right direction before you start the shaking . Shaking in Hebrew means ‘movement’ נענוע so gently shake the Lulav as if you scratch the sphere around you.
Every day we repeat the whole sets five times. The first one is for the blessings of connecting the Lulav, at Keter then for each letter of the YHVH in the aspect of Chokmah, Binah, Zeir Anpin and Malchut.
Here, I selected the most important meditation.
Complete and detailed meditation can be found in Siddur HaAri. A PDF can be downloaded from http://DailyZohar.com
The six directions and meditation
Good to read/scan before doing Kapparot to connect to the meditation of the Holy Ari.
שער יום הכיפורים ויתחלק לה’ פרקים:
מנהג מורי זלה”ה, לשחוט תרנגול לבן, ערב יום הכיפורים באשמורת הבוקר אחר הסליחות. ויהיה כפי חשבון בני אדם שבבית, זכר לזכר ונקבה לנקבה. ואם האשה מעוברת, שוחט עליה ג’ – א’ בעבורה, וב’ בעבור הולד, או זכר או נקבה מספק, א’ זכר וא’ נקבה. והוא סוד כפיית הגבורות, כי תרנגול נקרא גבר, והוא סוד הגבורות של יסוד, הנקרא גבר, הוא סוד נוקבא, והוא יום ט’ נגד יסוד, ואנו שוחטין אותה למתק גבורות היסוד שבה, ולהכניעם. אך ביה”כ, אז הוא גבורות מלכות, שבה דינין קשין, וכנגדם שעיר המשתלח. נמצא כי התרנגול הזה, הוא דוגמת השעיר, רק שהוא נמתק יותר, ולכן הוא נמתק באשמורת, כי אז רחמים גוברים כנודע:
Translation of the upper Hebrew section from the writings of the Ari, Gate of Yom Kippur as it was written by his student, Rabbi Chaim Vital.
The practice of my teacher was to slaughter a white rooster, on the eve of Yom Kippur in the early hours of the morning after Selichot, repentance. He will get chickens for his household, a male for male and female for female. This is the secret of forcing Gevurot. . And if the woman is pregnant he will get one for her and two for the baby one male and one female. For a male a rooster as it called גבר, man. It is the secret of the Gevurot of Yessod that is called גבר, a man, is the secret Nukva (female) and day ninth against the Yessod. And we slaughter her to sweeten the Gevurot of Yessod in it and subdued them but on Yom Kippur, the Gevurot are of Malchut and it include harsh judgment. Against them the goat that was sent out (by the high priest on Yom Kippur). So this rooster is like the goat, but he is sweetened more in the early morning hour, a time when mercy (energy of) increases.
Many of us have ‘issues’ with killing animals for food or for spiritual process like Kaparot.
Killing animals or any living creature is totally wrong BUT before you jump into conclusions let us define some related words for ‘killing’.
What is killing?
Killing is an action or process that takes out the life force from a living creature and leave it motionless (not exactly).
What is life force?
Life force is the energy that vibrates inside of a living creature and keeps the body in motion and ability to act in this world. We can call it the soul.
What is death?
Death occurs when the blood stops circulating in the body.
What is soul?
The soul is the intelligent life force that is planted in the flesh. This process is called incarnation (in-carnage). The soul uses the body as a tool to move through its life span and develop itself.
To simplify this example of body and soul consider a PC and its operating system (OS). The hardware, body, maybe the same but the software, soul/OS, is different. The soul in the body learns and grows within its limit of body and intelligence.
The soul has the duty to grow and ‘network’ with other units to branch out and extend itself as far as it can get.
It should connect and share its intelligence and resources to strengthen the whole network. (ie Internet)
The soul/energy can never die just like the software is an intellectual property that can be transferred from one hardware to another.
The question asked is to what happens when the soul ‘departs’ from the body when it is dead?
Science tells us that energy is never lost but transforms itself from one state to another. Science will soon discover that the soul energy keeps its identity after departing from the body. The transformation process for it depends on what it achieved while in the body.
In principal, souls of all living things go through similar process.
When we kill a living creature we disrupt the life process it needs to go through and this is wrong.
The animals that the Torah allows us to eat have souls that need to be transformed to an elevated state through a spiritual process.
When the animal gets to the point to be slaughtered it doesn’t object the process (comparing to wild animals).
Now we understand that we may kill/transform the flesh into energy but not the soul as it can never die.
Spiritual process is not killing but transforming matter in to spiritual.
The animal suffers no pain in the process of ‘kosher’ slaughtering. The best way to describe it is as releasing a person from prison. When he is outside the prison gate he feels the freedom. Now he can choose new ways for himself. He is no longer confined to a limited space and movements.
How many times we wish to be someone else. If someone will tell you that you can live to 200 years most of you would say “No Thanks…I’ve done my time in this life and had enough suffering for 80 years…Please check me out of this plan…and get me another life”
The existence of this kind of thought proves that we, our souls, are confined into a temporary body.
The sacrifices in the Holy Temple
When we read the Torah about the work of the high priest in the holy temple we see a lot of weird actions done during the slaughtering and when separating the animal parts. The Torah gives specific instructions on who exactly will eat each part of the animal.
We usually ignore and skips these Torah parts, excuse them as old and invalid acts and not for our times but soon you will learn the great importance of the sacrifices in the Holy Temple.
When the soul leaves the animal’s body it needs to enter the spiritual dimension and this is our opportunity to connect to the upper levels through this bridge. We can then remove judgments from ourselves.
What happens when we kill the animal following a proper spiritual process?
The process starts by using a very sharp knife with a straight blade without breaks or wavy edge. It’s supposed to make one clean cut to the throat of the animal and disconnect the main blood vessel to the head. This separates the energy of the body’s 7 lower Sefirot from the head, which is the upper 3 Sefirot.
Death comes in few seconds. Cutting the blood vessel on the throat under the head is a must. We can simply stop the heart in many quick methods but it doesn’t make a spiritual connection or elevate the soul of the animal. The animal’s soul suffers greatly in all other methods.
Before the knife touches the throat of the animal, it knows what is about to happen. As the blood drains out quickly, the soul leaves the body. It is important for the soul and for the process of incarnation. Every soul goes through four types of death. Fire, Sword, Stoning and Chocking. Each type is for each letter of the YHVH.
The process of slaughtering is called שחיטה, which is שחט and יה. This reveals to us that the slaughtering is a connection to יה. The person that does the act is called שוחט, which is שחט and ו to tell us that he is the channel for this act. The letters that are left after separating the act of slaughteringשחט are יהו the upper letters of the name.
The process releases and frees the soul from the bondage of the limiting body. It may not sound correct to people that connect only to physicality but the soul that goes through a proper process of slaughtering is ‘Lucky’. Like we feel happy for a person who dies in his sleep and call it ‘death by a kiss’ so we should for the slaughtered animal.
This part copied from my commentary of Daily Zohar #347 and it relates to this issue.
Tikkun 21 – 88
Songs 8:7 “ מַיִם רַבִּים, לֹא יוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת אֶת-הָאַהֲבָה, וּנְהָרוֹת, לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּהָ”
”Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it”
Leviticus 17:13 “ וְאִישׁ אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וּמִן-הַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכָם, אֲשֶׁר יָצוּד צֵיד חַיָּה אוֹ-עוֹף, אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל–וְשָׁפַךְ, אֶת-דָּמוֹ, וְכִסָּהוּ, בֶּעָפָר”
“Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.”
The Torah instructs that when we take the life of an animal for the purpose of eating, we should cover its blood with earth. The souls in the pure animals are souls in the process of correction and should require special attention from us to help them.
Blood is דם, numerical value 44 and earth, עָפָר is 350. Together with the Kolel (adding 1 for the whole) it is equal to נשמה, which means soul.
The Zohar explains that the “Many Waters” refer to the water of the Flood and even though they brought death, they can’t disconnect the connection of our souls to the Creator.
The Shechina covers and protects us with love under her wings and bring the light of Mercy, Chassadim, to us.
When we cover the blood of the animal we act like the Shechina and bring mercy and Chassadim to the animal’s soul. This helps ascend to the next level in its correction process.
The sages tell us that if a soul of a person sees the Schechina after departing from the body, then it can’t go back to life.
The Shechina keeps the life force vibrated in our bodies, like the lungs sustain the heart.
The night before Yom Kippur is when we do Kaparot, which is transforming our negativity to a chicken that we circle around our head. It’s wing symbolizes the protection of the Shechina and the soul of the chicken accepts the process knowing that it will elevate her higher. We should look at the blood at the time of the actual slaughter with a consciousness that this will take the judgment from our life and bring us to Yom Kippur with mercy. Immediately after the blood drips down to the ground we should take from the dust of the earth and cover the blood with a special blessing to bring mercy to the soul that helped us become cleansed.
Some slaughterhouses that host the Kaparot process use saw dust. It may be good for covering and absorbing the blood but not for proper connection of bringing mercy to the soul as it should be.