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Parashat Chayei Sarah

by Rabbi Yitzchok Luria

Apples from the Orchard

  

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The Strength of Sarah

The life of Sarah was one hundred twenty seven years [long], the years of the life of Sarah.

Sefer HaLikutim and Likutei Torah, parashat Chayei Sarah The numerical value of the word for “was,” the first word of this verse (va-yih’yu), is 37. The mystical significance of this is that since Sarah personified the Divine attribute of gevurah, all her life-force was derived solely from the spelling-out of the Name Havayah whose numerical value when spelled-out is 63, which is 37.
Va-yih’yu: vav-yud-hei-yud-vav = 6 + 10 + 5 + 10 + 6 = 37. There are four principal ways the Name Havayah (yud-hei-vav-hei) is spelled-out in Kabbalah, giving the four numerical values of 72, 63, 45, and 52. To arrive at the value 63, the Name is spelled-out
as follows: yud-vav-dalet, hei-yud, vav-alef-vav, hei-yud (10+6+4 + 5+10 + 6+1+6 + 5+10 = 63). If we consider only the letters used to spell-out the four main letters (i.e., the letters that are not in boldface here), we see that their numerical value is 37.
These four ways of spelling the Name Havayah correspond respectively to the four main partzufim, Abba, Ima, Z’eir Anpin, and Nukva, which in turn are constructed from the sefirot of chochmah, binah, the midot, and malchut. Thus, the 63-Name is associated with the Ima and binah, which are on the left side of the sefirah-tree, the gevurah-axis of the sefirot. Sarah was the first matriarch of the holy Jewish people, and is thus naturally associated with the partzuf of Ima (the mother).


The life-force of Sarah is revealed when the light of yesod of Ima is revealed in the first third of its tiferet, for it is there that the states of gevurah begin to become revealed. The yesod of any partzuf is the drive of that partzuf for self-actualization. The self-actualization of Ima occurs when the mentality it embodies is transferred to the central, pivotal partzuf, Z’eir Anpin. However, the mental brilliance and intensity of Abba or Ima is beyond the capacity of either Z’eir Anpin or Nukva to assimilate, since the latter two partzufim are constructed out of the Divine emotional attributes (chesed to malchut) rather than the intellectual ones (chochmah and binah). Thus, it is the midot of the higher partzufim that become the intellect of the lower partzufim. The analogy for this in everyday life is based on the idea that Z’eir Anpin and Nukva are considered the “offspring” or children of Abba and Ima. When someone wants to transmit his value-system or ideals to his children (or students, who are his children in the educational sense), it is a mistake to think that all he needs to do is educate them to appreciate the value of his philosophy intellectually. Rather, common sense and experience assert that serving as a role-model for one’s pupils or children is not only the best way to educate them but the only way to educate them. Preaching will almost surely fail if the preacher does not practice what he preaches. The teacher’s behavior (his netzach-hodyesod) becomes the driving intellect (chochmah-binah-da’at) of his charges. Furthermore, the teacher’s emotional involvement and excitement with the subject he is teaching will ignite in his students the will to dedicate themselves to the cause and pursue its ends. In other words, his midot (chesed-gevurah-tiferet) will become the will (keter) of his charges. Thus, since tiferet is the central sefirah of the emotions and is the combination of chesed and gevurah, we are taught that the tiferet of Ima becomes the keter of Z’eir Anpin. Specifically, when the light—or energy—of yesod of Ima reaches the level of tiferet, tiferet is imbued with the self-actualization of yesod and can then vitally serve as this keter, or source of will-to-be, for Z’eir Anpin.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Torah
Torah » Kabbalah
Torah » The Bible » Five Books of Moses

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Sarah
First Jewess, first of the four Jewish Matriarchs, wife of Abraham--the first Jew. Lived in Mesopotamia, and then Canaan, in the 19th century BCE.