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The night of the bride
The Zohar examines the holiday of Shavout, when the presence of the Creator enjoins Itself completely to our physical world. Shavout connects us to the original revelation of Light that occurred on Mount Sinai. The union between the presence of God [The Light or Shechinah] and the physical world produced total perfection. The Light on Sinai radiated with such intensity that it banished the dark forces of death and decay, and the Israelites experienced true immortality. Likewise, the forces transmitted through the Aramaic text of the Zohar arouse the spiritual energy of immortality, and remove the power of death from our lives. The Kabbalists reveal a secret concerning the force called Death: it not only strikes and affects the physical body, but it is also the unseen motivating force responsible for the demise of relationships, prosperity, and happiness in any form.
125. Rabbi Shimon was sitting and studying the Torah on the night when the Bride, WHO IS MALCHUT, was to be joined with Her husband! For we have learned that all the friends who are the attendants of the bridal chamber should remain with the Bride all that night. On the morrow, WHICH IS THE FEAST OF SHAVUOT (PENTECOST), the Bride to be is prepared for the matrimonial service and to be wed to Her husband. During this night, the attendants rejoice with Her as she prepares her adornments (Heb. Tikunim). THIS REFERS TO the study of the Torah, and from the study of the Torah to the Prophets, and from the Prophets to the Holy Writings (Hagiographa), and then to the expositions of the scriptures and to the inner secrets of Wisdom. Because these are Her preparations and Her adornments. And She, THE BRIDE, approaches her bridesmaids and sets Herself over their heads. She is prepared (attended to) by them and rejoices with them all night. The day after, IN THE MORNING OF SHAVUOT, she does not enter under the canopy without them. So THOSE FRIENDS, WHO STUDIED THE TORAH ALL NIGHT LONG, are called the "canopy attendants" (lit. 'sons of the canopy'). As she approaches the canopy, the Holy One, blessed be He, inquires after them, blesses them, and crowns them with the Bridal Crowns. How happy is their role!
126. And Rabbi Shimon and all the friends were chanting the songs of the Torah. Every one of them brought forth a new discovery about the Torah, and Rabbi Shimon was rejoicing together with all his friends. Rabbi Shimon said to them, My sons, how happy is your lot, because tomorrow, the Bride shall not approach the bridal canopy without you. Because all those who prepare the adornments of the Bride during this night and rejoice with Her shall all be written and registered in the Book of Remembrance. And the Holy One, blessed be He, blesses them with 70 blessings and crowns from the upper world.
127. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion by saying, "The heavens declare the glory of El" (Tehilim 19:2). I have already explained this verse, but will again. When the Bride awakens on the morning of the following day to enter under the bridal canopy, she appears, shining with all Her ornaments, together with the friends (attendants) who rejoiced with Her the previous night. She, in turn, rejoices with them now.
128. On the following day, how many crowds, hosts, and camps gather around her. While she and all the others; ALL THESE HOSTS AND CAMPS wait for each and every one of those who prepared her, BY STUDYING THE TORAH during the night. Upon seeing them - ZEIR-ANPIN AND MALCHUT - joined together, and watching her, THE MALCHUT, see her husband, ZEIR-ANPIN, the scriptures say, "The heavens declare the glory of El" (Tehilim 19:2). "The heavens" refers to the Bridegroom who enters under the bridal canopy, WHO IS ZEIR-ANPIN AND IS CALLED THE HEAVENS; "declare" (Heb. Meh-sah-preem) means that they shine like the radiance of a sapphire (Heb. Sah-peer), which sparkles and radiates from one end of the universe to the other.
129. "The glory of El" (Tehilim 19:2) is the Bride, I.E., MALCHUT, which is called El. As it is written, "and El who has indignation (righteous anger) every day" (Tehilim 7:12). During all the days of the year, She is called El, but now, IN THE FEAST OF PENTECOST (SHAVUOT), after entering under the Bridal Canopy, She is called "glory" and El, WHICH MEANS glory upon glory, splendor upon splendor, and dominion upon dominion.
130. And then, the instant the heavens, WHO ARE ZEIR-ANPIN, enter under the bridal canopy and begin to shine upon Her, all those friends who prepared Her, BY STUDYING THE TORAH ALL NIGHT, are recognized and known by their names. As it is written, "and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Tehilim 19:2). "His handiwork" refers to those who own the sign (letter) of the covenant, who are called his handiwork. As it is written, "and established the work of our hands upon us" (Tehilim 90:17), which is the sign of the covenant marked on man's flesh (the circumcision).
131. Rabbi Hamnuna Saba then quoted, "Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin" (Kohelet 5:5). THIS MEANS THAT a person should not allow his mouth to be the cause of bringing upon himself evil thoughts, thereby bringing sin to the sacred flesh where the Holy Covenant (circumcision) is marked. Because if he does so he shall be dragged into perdition. He who is in charge of this Netherworld is called Dumah. And together with many tens of thousands of Destructive Angels, they all stand at the opening (gates) of this inferno. But he has no permission to touch all those who have preserved (took care of) the Holy Covenant in this world.
132. King David, after what happened to him with Batsheva, was very fearful. Because at that time, Dumah ascended to the Holy One, blessed be He, stood before Him, and said, O Master of the universe, in the Torah it says of "the man that commits adultery with another man's wife [that]...the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Vayikra 20:10). Furthermore, it is written, "Moreover, you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife to defile yourself with her" (Ibid.18:20). So what is to become of David, who has profaned the Holy Covenant by desecrating his Brit (genital organ) by committing incest? The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, "David is righteous! And the Holy Covenant remains intact, because it is known to Me that Bat-Sheva was assigned to him since the day the world was created.
133. DUMAH said to Him (Hashem), If this is known to you, it is not known to him (David). He, THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, SAID TO HIM, 'Not only that, but all that happened was permitted and done lawfully. Because every person that went to war did not leave until he had given a bill of divorce to his wife!' He said to Him, If this is so, he should then have waited for three months, which he did not! He replied: When is this applied? Only in cases where we suspect that she might be pregnant! And it is known to me for certain that Uriyah never touched her. Because My name is sealed in him as a witness. For it is written 'Uriyah,' WHICH CONSISTS OF THE LETTERS Uri and Yah. And it can also be written Uriyahu (pron. Uree-Yahu), WHICH IS FORMED BY THE LETTERS UR, YUD, HEI AND VAV 'To show that he is sealed by My Name AS A WITNESS (who testifies) that he never had intercourse with her.'
134. Dumah said to Him, Master of the universe, this is exactly what I have said! If it is known to You that Uriyah never slept with her, it is not known to him. Therefore, he should have waited for three months. And furthermore, IF YOU CLAIM THAT DAVID knew that he had never slept with her, then why did he send Uriyah home and command him to have intercourse with his wife? Since it is written: "Go down to your house and wash your feet!" (II Shmuel 11:8).
135. He said to Dumah, 'He certainly did not know. So he waited more than three months, as four months had passed.' Because we have learned that on the twenty-fifth day of Nissan, David sent an announcement for all arms to be gathered TO GO OUT TO WAR. And they were with Yoav on the SEVENTH day of Sivan, as they went and destroyed the land of the Sons of Amon. There they remained during the months of Sivan, Tammuz, Av, and Elul. And on the twenty-fourth day of Elul the event with Batsheva occurred. Then on Yom Kipur, the Day of Atonement, the Holy One, blessed be He, forgave him for that sin. And there are those who claim that on the seventh day of Adar the announcement was sent, and all arms were gathered on the fifteenth day of Iyar. So what happened with Batsheva occurred on the fifteenth day of Elul. While on Yom Kipur, he received the message "Hashem also has put away your sin; you shall not die" (II Shmuel 12:13). What is the meaning of "you shall not die?" It means that he shall not die at the hand of Dumah.
136. Dumah said, Master of the Universe, I have one thing against him! He opened his mouth and said, "as Hashem lives, the man that has done this deserves to die" (II Shmuel 12:5). So he has condemned himself to death, and therefore I have the power over him TO BRING DEATH UPON HIM. He said to Dumah, You have no permission TO BRING DEATH UPON HIM, because he has already confessed in front of Me saying, 'I have sinned against Hashem-' even though he did not sin. Although his sin against Uriyah was IN KILLING HIM, I have written his punishment and he has accepted it! Immediately Dumah returned to his place, disappointed and with a broken spirit!
137. Concerning to this David said, "Unless Hashem had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence (Dumah)" (Tehilim 94:17). "Unless Hashem had been my help" MEANS that had HE not become David's supervisor and guarded him FROM THE ANGEL DUMAH, David's "soul had almost dwelt in silence" (in the hands of Dumah). Why does he say "had almost?" Because only the smallest distance, as narrow as a thin thread separated him from the Other Side. So "almost dwelt in silence" was the distance of a thin thread, THE DISTANCE REMAINING FOR DUMAH TO DRAG HIM DOWN TO PERDITION!
138. Therefore, every person should be careful not to say what King David said, because he will not be able to say to the ANGEL Dumah, "it was an error" (Kohelet 5:6), as it was with King David. Because in David's case, the Holy One, blessed be He, defeated (Dumah) justifiably. "Wherefore should Elohim be angry at your voice" (Ibid.) refers to the voice that said, "and destroy the work of your hands" (Ibid.). This is the sacred flesh, WHICH IS the Holy Brit that he damaged and corrupted, and because of which he is to be dragged down to Gehenom by the angel Dumah.
139. And because of this, "the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Tehilim 19:2). These are the friends who have joined the Bride, WHICH IS MALCHUT, BY STUDYING THE TORAH DURING THE NIGHT OF SHAVUOT (Par. 130), together with those who are the custodians of the sign of Her Covenant, AND WHO ARE CALLED "HIS HANDIWORK." The firmament shows and registers each and every one of them (as explained there). What is the firmament? It is where the sun, moon, stars and constellations are located, and IT IS CALLED the Book of Remembrance. It announces, registers, and inscribes them, so that they can be the sons (residence) of His own palace (also: 'temple'), and He can always fulfill their desires.
140. "Day to day utters speech" (Tehilim 19:3) is an allusion to the sacred day that belongs to those supernal days of the King, REFERRING TO THE SFIROT OF ZEIR-ANPIN THAT ARE CALLED "DAYS," that praise the friends, WHO DELVED INTO THE STUDY OF THE TORAH DURING THE NIGHT OF SHAVUOT. And they say to each other the same words that are written, "Day to day utters" that same "speech," thereby praising Him. The words "and night to night" refer to the levels that govern the night, WHICH ARE THE SFIROT OF MALCHUT. They praise one another with the knowledge that each RECEIVES from his friends. And by this state of harmony and perfection, they become their friends and beloved ones.
141. "There is no speech nor language" (Tehilim 19:4). THIS REFERS TO the speech and language that belong to worldly matters that are neither heard nor uttered before the Holy King, Who is not interested in hearing them. But the words, "Their line is gone out through all the earth," (Ibid. 5) MEAN that these words draw a line between the inhabitants of above and the inhabitants of below. From THESE WORDS, the heavens are formed, and from THESE WORDS and from that praise, the earth is molded. And if you should say that these words wander around the world in one place, THE VERSE STATES, "and their words to the end of the world" (Ibid.).
142. Because the heavens are formed by them, who resides there? He repeated, "In them He set a tent for the sun" (Tehilim 19:5). That sacred and holy sun, WHICH IS ZEIR-ANPIN, has made His habitation in them and crowned Himself with them.
143. Because Zeir ANPIN resides among those heavens, and crowns Himself with them, He "is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber (bridal canopy)" (Tehilim 19:6). He is happy and runs along these heavens. Then, He leaves them and enters into another tower at a different place; this tower comes from the "end of the heavens" (Ibid. 7). It certainly comes from the supernal world, which is the "extremity of the heavens" above, namely BINAH, "and His circuit." What is His circuit? It is the "extremity of the heavens" down below, NAMELY MALCHUT. THIS is the circuit of the year that revolves around all the "ends." It is attached to the heavens and extends from there to this firmament.
144. "And there is nothing hid from His heat" (Tehilim 19:7) to interpret. There is nothing hid from His heat from that circuit, WHICH IS THE CIRCUIT OF THE YEAR (AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY), or from the circuit of the sun that revolves in all directions. "And there is nothing hidden from His heat" means that there is no one from all the supernal levels who can hide from Him; everything revolves and comes to Him - each and everything. Nothing can be hidden from Him. "From His heat" can be interpreted as 'He heats up (gets angry) and returns to the companions the instant they have reached full repentance.' All this praise and all this gratification is the result of their study of the Torah, as it is written, "The Torah of Hashem is perfect" (Ibid. 8).
145. Hashem is mentioned here six times; there are also six verses from "The heavens declare" until "The Torah of Hashem is perfect" (Tehilim 19: 2-8). And this is the secret of the verse, "In the beginning." The Hebrew word (Beresheet) has six letters and the words "Elohim created the heavens and the earth" contains six words when written in Hebrew ("Bara Elohim Et Hashamayim Ve-et Ha-aretz"). The other verses (Tehilim 19:8-11), beginning with "THE TORAH OF HASHEM IS PERFECT" AND ENDING WITH "MORE TO BE DESIRED ARE THEY THAN GOLD" are notable only for the six times that Hashem APPEARS IN THEM; THE SIX VERSES THEMSELVES ARE NOT EXPOUNDED UPON. HOWEVER, the six verses (Tehilim 19:2-8) from "THE HEAVENS DECLARE" TO "THE TORAH OF HASHEM IS PERFECT" are equated with the six letters in the WORD BERESHEET, while the six Names are equated with the six words, WHICH ARE "BARA ELOHIM ET HASHAMAYIM VE-ET HA-ARETZ" ("ELOHIM CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH").
146. As they were sitting, his son, Rabbi Elazar, and Rabbi Aba entered. He said to them, Certainly the face of the Shechinah has come, and this is why I have called YOU PANI-EL (FACE OF EL) (SEE PAR. 119). You have seen the 'face' of the Shechinah 'face to face.' Now, because you received the Knowledge that was revealed to you concerning the scripture about Benayahu-Ben-Yehoyada, it is certainly a matter that belongs to Atika Kadisha (The Holy Ancient), WHICH IS THE SECRET OF KETER AND the scripture after it, which reads, "AND HE SLEW AN EGYPTIAN" (I Divrei Hayamim 11:23). And he who is the most concealed, WHO IS ATIKA KADISHA (THE HOLY ANCIENT), said this.
147. This verse, "AND HE SLEW AN EGYPTIAN" (I Divrei Hayamim 11:23.) IS EXPLAINED in another place AT A DIFFERENT LEVEL in this way. He opened the discussion by saying, "And he slew an Egyptian, a man of good stature, five cubits high" (I Divrei Hayamim 11:23), and all are related to the same secret. This "Egyptian" is that one who is known and IS DESCRIBED BY THE VERSE, "very great in the land of Egypt in the eyes of the servants" (Shemot 11:3), as he is great and honored. This is how the old man described him (Par. 99).
148. This scripture was studied in the Celestial Academy. "A man of good stature" (I Divrei Hayamim 11:23). All is one, as "a goodly man" and "a man of good stature" are both the same, because they represent the measurement and the bounds (dimensions) of the SHABBAT. As it is written, "And you shall measure from outside the city" (Bemidbar 35:5). It is also written, "You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in length, in weight, or in measure" (Vayikra 19:35). Therefore, this is a man of good stature (Heb. Middah, which can also be translated as measurement, dimension, or attribute) who stretches out from one end of the world to the other. And so was Adam (the first Man). And if you say, But it is written, "five cubits?" (I Divrei Hayamim 11:23), remember that these five cubits extended from one end of the world to the other!
149. "And in the Egyptian's hand was a spear, like a weaver's beam" (I Divrei Hayamim 11:23). It is, as the Scriptures say, "a weaver's beam," referring to the divine rod (the rod of Hashem), which was in his hand and upon which the divine ineffable Name was engraved by Betzal-el and his Academy by the radiance of the letter combinations. And this is called "weaving," as is written, "Them has He filled with wisdom of heart...of the craftsman and of the embroiderer...and of the weaver" (Shemot 35:35). And the engraved Name shone from within this rod in all directions by the illumination of the wise men that engraved the ineffable Name in forty-two ways. The rest of the passage from here onward IS similar to what HE, the old (also: 'wise') man, has already explained. How happy is his lot!
150. Be seated, my dear ones. Be seated and let us renew the preparations of the Bride for this night. Because whoever joins her, on this night, shall be guarded above and below for all of the coming year and will complete his year in peace. This is described in the verse, "The angel of Hashem encamps round about them that fear Him, and He delivers them. O taste and see that Hashem is good" (Tehilim 34:8-9).
151. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion by saying, "In the beginning Elohim created" ("Beresheet Bara Elohim") (Beresheet 1:1). This verse has to be examined carefully, because whoever claims that there is another Divinity shall be wiped from the face of the world. As it is already written, "Thus shall you say to them: The Deities who have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens" (Yirmeyah 10:11), because there is no other Creator besides the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself!
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