Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Maggid of Mezrich-- Tetzaveh

Maggid of Mezrich --Torah Ohr--Tetzaveh

You shall command [ve-atah tetzaveh] the children of Israel as follows: you shall bring to bring you clear olive oil [shemen zayit zach][1]...” This can be understood from the Gemara which says: “Betzalel knew how to permute the letters through which the heaven and earth were created.”[2] The mishkan was the life-force of all the worlds.[3] This can be grasped through a parable: the soul is the life-force of the entire body. However, the soul, by itself has no image, we can only name it with the name of body parts, that is, that it is the life force animating the hand or the foot.

If this is so, Betzalel, who made the Mishkan, which is the soul of all the worlds, needed to know how to put the life-force into the worlds. He needed to know the letters through which the worlds were created.  Furthermore, everything that was in the worlds was in the Mishkan.[4] For proof of this, it was written in the Gemara “with ten[5] utterances was the world created.”[6] There is a dispute there between rabbis about whether there are 9 or 10 times God caused things to come into being. But, “The words ‘in the beginning’ are also an utterance”[7]

There is a difficulty as to why it didn’t say, “and God said to him, [vayomer]” How such a thing was said, there is no understanding. It can only be understood on its lower level, and this appears in the Translation [Targum], for the translation of the word dibbur, or speech is “aresht”[8] And this “speech” “dibbur” is the base matter from of all the utterances [ma’amarim], from which all of the 9 other utterances originated.

And the Mishkan [which was a reflection of above] needed to be like this. This is the menorah. which Moshe Rabbeinu had a difficulty with[9]. And it could not be made by any man’s hands from among them, for on it was the witness that the Shechinah rested on Israel[10]. And this is called “shemen zayit”.- Olive oil. For the brilliance of itself rested upon it, like the light on the oil. And all of the other utterances are called “zayit” olive for the oil is contained within it.

Therefore the words “vayedaber adonai lemoshe lemor” - “HaShem spoke to Moses saying...” or “and HaShem said to Moses...”[Vayomer...] do not appear here.

For this is the interpretation of the phrase shemen zayit -- olive oil:-- its “dibbur” --its source --is not able to be understood, not even with the words vayomer, which are words expressing a thought about something, [so] it doesn’t belong [here].[11]

[1] Exodus 27:20: (JPS): “You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly. Aaron and his sons shall set them up in the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain which is over [the Ark of] the Pact, [to burn] from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a due from the Israelites for all time, throughout the ages.”
[2] Brachot 55a: “ Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: Bezalel knew how to permute the letters by which the heavens and earth were created. It is written here, And He hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom and in understanding, and in knowledge, and it is written elsewhere, The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens,25  and it is also written, By His knowledge the depths were broken up.26 R. Johanan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, gives wisdom only to one who already has wisdom, as it says, He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. R. Tahlifa from the West heard and repeated it before R. Abbahu. He said to him: You learn it from there, but we learn it from this text, namely, In the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom.
[3] Numbers Rabbah (12:11): "Who hath established all the ends of the earth? ' Did Moses, then, establish all the ends of the earth? No; but he set up the Tent of Meeting and with it the world also was set firm. R. Joshua b. Levi expounded this in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: It is not written in the text, ' Setting up the tabernacle ' (Num. VII, 1), but SETTING UP ETH3 THE TABERNACLE which indicates that he set up, together with this one, another tabernacle which is called ‘tent’, just as the Tabernacle was called ‘Tent of Meeting’; as you read, Spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in (Isa. XL, 22). For before the Tabernacle was set up the world was unstable, but when the Tabernacle was erected the world was firmly established. For this reason it says, SETTING UP ETH THE TABERNACLE."
[4] Zohar II:231b: Now, the Tabernacle below was likewise made after the pattern of the supernal Tabernacle in all its details. For the Tabernacle in all its works embraced all the works and achievements of the upper world and the lower, whereby the Shekinah was made to abide in the world, both in the higher spheres and the lower. Similarly, the Lower Paradise is made after the pattern of the Upper Paradise, and the latter contains all the varieties of forms and images to be found in the former. Hence the work of the Tabernacle, and that of heaven and earth, come under one and the same mystery. It is written: “Lift up your eyes on high, and see: who hath created these? He that bringeth out their hosts by number.... Not one faileth” (Isa. XL, 26). Are we to imagine from this that by lifting his eyes upwards a man can know and see what is not permitted to know and see? No. The true meaning of the passage is that whoever desires to reflect on and to obtain a knowledge of the works of the Holy One, blessed be He, let him lift his eyes upwards and gaze on the myriads of the hosts and legions of existences there, each different from the other, each mightier than the other. Then will he, while gazing, ask, “Who created these?” Indeed, as has already been expounded elsewhere, “Who created these?” amounts to saying that the whole of creation springs from a region that remains an everlasting “Who?” (Mi?), in that it remains undisclosed. “He that bringeth out their host by number”, for inasmuch as that region is undisclosed it brings forth everything by means of the sound that issues from the trumpet, the sound that constitutes the “number” of all the celestial hosts and the sum of the whole of creation; and from thence also proceeds the mystery of sublime faith through all the supernal “sides”, and then extending in grade after grade downwards...
[6] Rosh HaShanah 32b:
[6]GEMARA. To what do these ten kingship verses correspond? — R. Levi said, To the ten praises that David uttered in the book of Psalms. But there are a large number of praises there? — It means, those among which occurs, Praise him with the blowing of the shofar. R. Joseph said: To the ten commandments that were spoken to Moses on Sinai. R. Johanan said: To the ten Utterances by means of which the world was created. Which are they? The phrase ‘and he said’ occurs in the account of the creation only nine times? — The words ‘in the beginning’ are also an utterance, as it is written, By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
[7] Ibid.
[8]Psalms 21:3:
[8]ג  תַּאֲוַת לִבּוֹ, נָתַתָּה לּוֹ;    וַאֲרֶשֶׁת שְׂפָתָיו, בַּל-מָנַעְת
[8]3 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and the request of his lips Thou hast not withholden. Selah
[9] Numbers Rabbah 15:4--”Another exposition of the expression, WHEN THOU LIGHTEST. You find that Moses experienced more difficulty in understanding the construction of the candlestick than he did in that of all the other vessels of the Tabernacle, until the Holy One, blessed be He, showed it to him with His finger. “
[10] Zohar I:74a--
[10]And the house in its being built, was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house in its being built (I Kings VI, 7). He said: The phrase “in its being built” (behibbonotho) implies self-building, as though without the hands of artisans. Were not, then, Solomon with all his workpeople engaged in the work of building? It was here as with the candlestick, in regard to which we read, “And thou shalt make... of beaten work will the candlestick be made” (Ex. XXV, 31). If the candlestick was to be made of itself, why say “thou shalt make it”? In reality it was made of itself, by a miracle. So soon as the artisans set their hands to the work, it showed them how to proceed in a manner quite novel to them, the reason being that the blessing of the Almighty rested on their hands; and similarly here, in the building of the Sanctuary. It was built of its own accord, though seemingly by the hands of the labourers; it showed the workers a design which guided their hands and from which they did not turn their eyes until the whole building of the house was completed.
[10]Shabbat 22b:
[10]R. Shesheth objected: Without the vail of testimony ... shall [Aaron] order it: does He then require its light: surely, during the entire forty years that the Israelites travelled in the wilderness they travelled only by His light! But it is a testimony to mankind7 that the Divine Presence rests in Israel. What is the testimony? — Said Rab: That was the western branch [of the candelabrum ] in which the same quantity of oil was poured as into the rest, and yet he kindled [the others] from it and ended therewith.
[11] “Vayomer” being words relating to thought see Zohar II:17a.

1 comment:

  1. what do you think the clear clear olive oil that you you bring represents?