Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Maggid of Mezrich on Ki Tissa

“Remember Abraham, etc...”[1] There is a quote from the Zohar: “He took hold of the arm and the body of the King...”[2] For the Tzaddik is connected to the Holy Blessed One. For where one thinks, there one is. When one thinks of The Holy Blessed One, one is connected to the Holy Blessed One. And if one thinks about the worlds, one is connected to the worlds, and the worlds are [also] connected to the Holy Blessed One. This is the meaning of the verse “The Eyes of HaShem lie upon the Tzaddikim”.[3] The word “eyes” is actually referring to [divine] providence. For HaShem’s providence has been given over to the hands of the Tzaddikim. And by their hands Gd presides over all the worlds. This is the meaning of “your eyes are on the field that you will harvest.”[4] This is referring to the eyes of this tzaddik. For when he is presiding over the field, it is, as if, so to speak, the Blessed One is presiding over this field. And the blessing lies on him. [This happens] By means of what is described in the Zohar, “Worthy is the master who teaches that his face is the face of the Shechinah. It is from inside of him and from inside of his brother...[5]” This is the meaning of he held His arm and His Body. For he [Moses] was connected to the Holy Blessed One and to Yisrael. Therefore Gd could not do them harm. Therefore [ve-hinicha li]” Exodus 32:10: י וְעַתָּה הַנִּיחָה לִּי, וְיִחַר-אַפִּי בָהֶם וַאֲכַלֵּם; וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אוֹתְךָ, לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation.' “ For when I grasp you, so to speak, I was grasping the Holy Blessed One. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------- [1] Exodus 32:11-14: וַיְחַל מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-פְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר, לָמָה יְהוָה יֶחֱרֶה אַפְּךָ בְּעַמֶּךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, בְּכֹחַ גָּדוֹל וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said: 'LORD, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, that Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר, בְּרָעָה הוֹצִיאָם לַהֲרֹג אֹתָם בֶּהָרִים, וּלְכַלֹּתָם, מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה; שׁוּב מֵחֲרוֹן אַפֶּךָ, וְהִנָּחֵם עַל-הָרָעָה לְעַמֶּךָ. Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, saying: For evil did He bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people. זְכֹר לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לָהֶם בָּךְ, וַתְּדַבֵּר אֲלֵהֶם, אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲכֶם כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם; וְכָל-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי, אֶתֵּן לְזַרְעֲכֶם, וְנָחֲלוּ, לְעֹלָם. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou didst swear by Thine own self, and saidst unto them: I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.' וַיִּנָּחֶם, יְהוָה, עַל-הָרָעָה, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לַעֲשׂוֹת לְעַמּוֹ. And the LORD repented of the evil which He said He would do unto His people. [2] Zohar, Shemoth II: 193b (trans. Soncino) ”The ‘other side’ can be drawn to every place, especially in this land (the Holy Land), where it is eager to dwell.” But the “other side” could only be represented in the guise of an ox. Why, then, did he put up two calves? Because he thought, “In the wilderness dwelt those sorcerers of whom it says that ‘their flesh is the flesh of asses’. Here are those two same evil spirits; let them be clothed in the manner appropriate to them, as male and female-male in Bethel and female in Dan”. And so, indeed, it was. And since, as we are told, “The lips of the strange woman (idolatry) drop as an honeycomb”, the Israelites were drawn with a special bewitchment towards the female of the kind, as it is written, “And the people went to (worship) before the one, unto Dan” (I Kings XII, 29). Therefore there were two calves, and Jeroboam attracted them unto the Holy Land, and this thing became a sin to him and to Israel, and he prevented blessings from coming down onto the world; and concerning him it is written, ‘Whoso robbeth his father and his mother, and saith, It is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer” (Prov. XXVIII, 24). Therefore, also, they were calves, because the first disguise or garment donned by the powers of the “other side” is an ox, as we have pointed out. And if it be asked why they were calves and not oxen, the answer is that it is ever thus with the demons of unholiness: they first appear in a diminutive form. Therefore, my beloved children, since they (the “mixed multitude”) desired the aspect of Elohim, and the act (of the golden calf) was carried out with an intention in which the “side” of Elohim was kept in mind, that Holy Elohim, the “Mother” (the Shekinah), who doth ever keep back the Right Hand of the King (when He is about to punish His people) and holds up the lash, was not present there; so it was necessary for Moses to take Her place; and as soon as the Holy One awakened a certain uneasiness in him, he comprehended what it meant. Three times did the Holy One rouse this feeling in him, as it is written, “Now therefore let Me”; “that My wrath may wax hot against them and that I may consume them”; “and I will make of thee a great nation”. Moses showed his wisdom in responding to these three intimations. He took hold of the Right Arm, which action corresponded to the first warning; he took hold of the Left Arm, and this corresponded to the second; he embraced the Body of the King, which corresponded to the last. And when he had embraced the “Body”, and the two Arms, the one from this and the other from that side, He could not move to any side. This was Moses’ wisdom: that he perceived, by means of the Lord's signs, which place to take hold of; and he did all things in wisdom.’ R. Eleazar and the Companions then approached him and kissed his hands. R. Abba was also present. Said he: ‘Had I come into this world only to hear these words, it would have been worth while.’ Then he wept, and said: ‘Woe unto us, Master, when thou shalt depart from the world! Who will then light up for us the greater radiances of the Torah? This subject was hidden in darkness until now, but at last it has emerged and shines even unto the highest heavens. It is engraved upon the Throne of the King, the Holy One Himself rejoices in this discourse. Joy upon joy has been added before the face of the Holy King. Who will awaken words of wisdom in this world as thou dost?’[Tr. note: From here to the end of Ki Tisa is a verbal repetition of Zohar, Gen., 52a-53a (“Until he sinned... caused that imperfection”)]. [3] Tehillim 34:16 also see Zohar II:252a [4] Ruth 2:9 [5] Zohar II:163b: R. Jose, R. Judah, and R. Hiya, were riding together, when R. Eleazar suddenly met them. On seeing him they all alighted from their asses. Said R. Eleazar: ‘Verily I behold the face of the Shekinah! For, to see the righteous and saintly of one's generation is to see the very face of the Shekinah. And why are these called the face of the Shekinah? Because in them is the Shekinah hidden: She is hidden in them, and they reveal Her. For they who are the friends of the Shekinah and are near to Her, are regarded as Her “face”. And who are they? They are those with and by whom She adorns Herself in order to appear before the Supernal King. Now, as you are three, the Shekinah is surely in your midst!’ He then forthwith began to expound these words of Jacob to Esau: “Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee” (Gen. XXXIII, 11). ‘When Jacob’, said he, ‘saw on that night the Accuser, Samael, he saw him in the form of Esau, and it was not until dawn was breaking that he recognized him as Samael. When the dawn broke, he looked at him closely, but even then he appeared at times to be the one and then the other. He then looked more closely still and he knew him for the celestial representative of Esau, and he prevailed against him. He said to Jacob, “Let me go, for the dawn breaketh” (Ibid. XXXII, 26), and the companions have already explained that he said this, because the moment had arrived when he, the representative of Esau, had to raise his voice in hymns to the Holy One. On this we may remark that indeed the power of Samael is only in the ascendant in the dark, as indicated in the words, “of fear in the night” (Ps. XCI, 5), namely, the fear of Gehenna; so it is that he rules at night alone. Hence he said, “Let me go, for the dawn breaketh”, for when morning comes and his power is on the wane, he must depart, and he and his hosts must enter the recess of the abyss in the North, and they must remain until night breaks in on them, and the dogs are loosened from their chains and allowed to roam about till morning. That is why he pressed Jacob to let him go. In the same way Israel's exile has taken place at night, it is in fact called “night”. The evil kingdom (Rome), the pagan power, rules over Israel until the morning shall again appear, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will cause the light to dawn again and the heathen power shall wane and at last disappear. Therefore it was that Esau's representative said, “Let me go, for the dawn breaketh”. But Jacob held him, and his power weakened, because night had passed, so Jacob's strength increased, and he saw, in that angel, the image of Esau, but not quite clearly. Then the angel confirmed the blessings he had received. And what was it that Jacob afterwards said to Esau? “For therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me” (Gen. XXXIII, 10). For he saw in Esau's face now the very image of Samael as he had appeared to him, for the realm to which a person belongs is revealed in his face. And ye, supernal saints, the Shekinah is in you, and your faces reflect the beauty of Her face. Blessed are ye!’ Then said he also: ‘If we were going in the same direction, I would be in your midst; but now, as ye must go one way, and I another, I will part from you with words...
כי תשא
 קד [ועתה הניחה לי גו'] זכור לאברהם כו'. איתא בזוהר אחיד ליה בדרועא וגופא דמלכא. כי הצדיק הוא מקושר להש"י. שכל מקום שחושב [נ"א: שאדם חושב] שם הוא, וכשחושב בהש"י אזי הוא מקושר להש"י. ואם חושב בהעולמות אז הוא מקושר להעולמות, ונמצא מקשר [את] העולמות עם הקב"ה. וזהו פי' עיני ה' אל צדיקים, עין נקרא ההשגחה, שהשגחה שלו מסורה ביד הצדיקים, ועל ידיהם הוא משגיח על העולמות. וזהו פי' עיניך בשדה אשר יקצורון, ר"ל עינים של האי צדקת, [דהיא היתה צדיקת] וכשהיתה משגחת על השדה היה כביכול הוא ית' משגיח על זה השדה, והיתה הברכה שורה בו, ע"ד זכאין מארי מתניתין דאנפוי אנפי שכינתא, איהו מלגאו ואינהו מלבר. וזהו אחיד ליה בדרועוי ובגופו, פי' שהי' מקושר בו ית' ובישראל. לפיכך לא היה יכול לעשות להם רע. לכך אמר הניחה לי, וכי תופס אני בך, ובאמת כביכול היה תופס בו ית' כנ"ל.
 ----- מקורות ומראה מקומות ----- אוה"א ד, ב. לקו"א לו, א. [ועתה הניחה לי גו' – כי תשא לב, י]. זכור לאברהם גו' – כי תשא לב, יג. אחיד ליה כו' – תקו"ז תכ"א נד, ב. זח"ב קצג, ב. עיני ה' גו' – תהלים לד, טז. עין נקרא ההשגחה – אמו"ד לרס"ג מ"ב ריש פ"י. של"ה מס' פסחים דרוש ג' לשבת הגדול ד"ה אך צריכין. ראה זח"ב רנב, א. עיניך בשדה גו' – רות ב, ט. זכאין מארין מתניתין כו' – ראה זח"ב קסג, ב. הניחה לי – כי תשא לב, י. וכי תופס אני בך כו' – שמ"ר מב, ט. ----- הערות וציונים ----- שכל מקום שחושב כו' – ראה סי' סט ובהערות שם. שהשגחה שלו מסורה ביד הצדיקים – ראה סי' ריט.

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