And He called (vayikra) to Moshe, and G-d spoke to him from the Appointed Tent. (Vayikra 1:1)
One of the most important distinguishing features between the Jewish People and the nations of the world is represented by a single letter at the beginning of this week’s parshah: Aleph. Rashi explains: AND HE CALLED TO MOSHE: A “calling” preceded all statements and commandments. It is an expression of love, an expression that the Ministering Angels use, as it says, “One called to the other” (Yeshayahu 6:3). However, to the gentile prophets He revealed Himself with an expression of happenstance and uncleanness, as it said, “G-d chanced (vayikar) upon Bilaam” (Bamidbar 23:4, 16). (Rashi)
In other words, if you look into a Sefer Torah at the very first word of this week’s parshah, you will see the word “And He called” spelled: Vav-Yud-Kuf-Raish-Aleph, as it ought to be, except that the Aleph is written smaller. Thus, the first four letters, Vav-Yud-Kuf-Raish, stand out on their own almost as an independent word, vayikar, which means: He chanced upon. This, tradition tells us is to make a distinction between the way G-d relates to the Jewish People and the way He relates to the rest of the world.
Thus, it is as good a place as any to discuss the concept of prophecy, especially since this year Parashas Zachor actually coincides with this week’s parshah. For, the entire purpose of Amalek’s hatred of the Jewish people is based upon the existence of that small little Aleph, and therefore, his entire attack is against it. He lives to transform vayikra into vayikar, and judging from the amount of Jews who either deny or ignore Hashgochah Pratis (Divine Providence), he has been incredibly successful.
Indeed, it was precisely because of Amalek that we lost prophecy. As the rabbis teach, when the people stopped listening to the prophets, G-d stopped talking to them directly. As the Maharshah explains in Mesechet Gittin (56b), even Torah leaders get Heavenly direction based upon the willingness of the people they lead to heed their words. How much more so the prophets themselves whose prophecies were meant to help the Jewish people to maintain a close relationship with G-d.
The Leshem explains:
As we can see regarding the three senses of hearing, smell, and speech, each has openings and channels. However, sight does not have an opening or a channel.
[There is a membrane over the eye closing it off.]
This is as we have said, for the light of seeing itself from the brain does not leave, except for a small amount of this light of seeing that emanates from the brain, until the edge of the eyes.
[Therefore, whatever light of seeing this is, it only comes up until the membrane and is stopped.]
Thus, the main part of the emanation itself remains inside, and it is from the light of Chochmah.
[In the Sefiros, the level of the eyes is always on the level of Chochmah. When it comes to the other senses, it is that which enters the body that causes the sense to work. However, there is something unique about seeing and it can be the result of input that comes from the brain and not from the outside.]
It is only a soul seeing without the use of any bodily thing or vessel.
[In other words, the vision is the result of another light from another dimension that emanates through the brain.]
And through this came all the visions of the prophets . . . It is the power of the light that emanates from the brain until the edge of the eye, though it is considerably lower down than the light of seeing that is in the brain itself.
[If you close your eyes tight so that no light can come in, you will see light nevertheless. There is a physiological reason for that, but Kabbalistically it represents the light that originates from the brain and goes up until the inside of the eye membrane. Instead of just seeing random lights, kind of like a television when it has gone off the air for the night, a prophet would see a vision that was the result of a Heavenly communication.]
G-d then opened up the attendant’s eyes and he saw . . . (II Melachim 6:17)
The Leshem continues:
In any case, it is a spiritual seeing only, and thus one can see angels and other spiritual things. This is what it says:
G-d then opened up the attendant’s eyes and he saw . . . (II Melachim 6:17)
This wasn’t a prophecy but a spiritual seeing and it means that he saw the vision that was on the inside of the eyes because a spiritual seeing can occur there. This is what it says in the Tikunei Zohar Chadash: At the time it is covered it is revealed, and at the time it is revealed it is covered; with the closing of the eyes it can be seen.
Regarding our matter it is quite high up [in the system of Ten Sefiros]: all of this is the light of Ayin-Bais . . . which emanates the light of seeing that comes from the Moach Stima of Adam Kadmon until the edge of the eyes in him.
[Some definitions . . . the four-letter Name of G-d, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, correspond to the Ten Sefiros as well: Yud to Chochmah (the point of the Yud to Keser), Heh to Binah, Vav to Chesed, Gevurah, Tifferes, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod, and Heh to Malchus. Furthermore, each of these four letters can be represented by its own sub-system of Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, whose letters can be expanded and written as they sound:
Level 1: Yud-Vav-Dalet, Heh-Yud, Vav-Yud-Vav, Heh-Yud = 72
Level 2: Yud-Vav-Dalet, Heh-Yud, Vav-Aleph-Vav, Heh-Yud = 63
Level 3: Yud-Vav-Dalet, Heh-Aleph, Vav-Aleph -Vav, Heh-Aleph = 45
Level 4: Yud-Vav-Dalet, Heh- Heh, Vav -Vav, Heh- Heh = 52
Notice that each level has ten letters, one for each of the ten sefiros of its subset. Only the last level which corresponds to Malchus has only nine, indicating its inherent lack of completion until Moshiach comes. Level 1, which corresponds to Chochmah, has the gematria of 72 which, when written as letters is Ayin-Bais – 70+2.
The term Adam Kadmon (First Man) refers to the first level of sefiros afterthe Light of Ain Sof was constricted in order to make Creation possible. Moach Stima (Closed Brain) is the term given to the Binah of that level, because being so high up it is closed off to the understanding of man until the World-to-Come. The level of Ayin-Bais is the uppermost level of the four levels within Moach Stima, referred to as the level of the eyes.
Thus, even though physical man is puny compared to the overall general system, he remains connected to all levels through his soul, and as a result the light of such a high level can filter down to his own brain and provide spiritual images that exist far beyond the everyday physical reality.]
However, the root of the light of seeing of the Moach Stima is Ayin-Bais. This is the Ohr HaGanuz (the Hidden Light) with which one can see from one end of the world until the other end of the world, and it is hidden in the Botzina d’Kardinusa in the forehead [perhaps this is the Aspekelaria HaMeirah of Moshe Rabbeinu’s prophecy]. We have now explained that the [level of] Ayin-Bais is the basis of the light of the inner eyes that are within the head. (Sha’arei Leshem, p. 444)
As Kabbalah explains, when it says that man was made in the image of Elokim, it means that our physical make-up resembles the Ten Sefiros. Therefore, all of our body parts are really just physical representations of spiritual levels in the Sefiros, and the names are the same as well. Botzina d’Kardinusa is Aramaic for “Strong Candle,” referring to the strong Gevruos on that level of the Moach Stima.
The Ohr HaGanuz is referred to in the Talmud (Chagigah 12a). It is the light with which G-d made Creation and then hid it within Creation, as Rashi explains (Bereishis 1:4). This means that it was pulled back to this very high level that is its source, and that when prophecy is given, this light emanates down into the mind of the prophet to provide the him with a custom-designed image that he is to communicate to the people of his generation.
Aspekelaria HaMeirah (the mirror that gives off light) refers to a high level of prophecy that does not make use of dreams or images meant for interpretation. Rather, Moshe Rabbeinu, unlike all other prophets, remained conscious during prophecy and heard directly from G-d exactly what He wanted to relay.
At this point you may be saying, “What?”
However, whether you understand the Kabbalistically technical aspects of prophecy or not, the main point is that the mind’s eye with which a person can see prophecy or some form of spiritual vision, is connected to the highest of levels. And, it is that connection that Amalek, the mother of all Jewish enemies, attacks and apparently, with great success.
Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, as you departed from Egypt. When they chanced upon you (korchehah) en route . . . (Devarim 25:17-18)
As we have pointed out on so many occasions, Amalek, among other things, means Ayin-malack (the severed eye), for that is what he tries to do to Klal Yisroel. The Torah was given to the Jewish people to elevate us above the everyday mundane realities, and out of the reach of Amalek, while he does everything he can to drag us back down into it, so that we have to fight him on his own terms.
Hence, Purim, which celebrates the victory over Haman, the prototypical descendant of Amalek, is a holiday of 70 – the gematria of Ayin. That is why it is about wine and Sod (Kabbalah), whose gematrios equal 70, both of which are the basis of Da’as Elokim, the goal of Torah and life in this world, and about the Kisei HaKavod (the Throne of Glory):
. . . The hand is on G-d’s Throne (Chof-Samech) . . . (Shemos 17:16)
The hand of G-d is [raised] to swear by His Throne to have eternal war and hatred against Amalek. Why is it [Throne] written Chof-Samech and not Chof- Samech-ALEPH . . . G-d swore that His . . . Throne will not be whole until the name of Amalek is completely obliterated. (Rashi, Shemos 17:16)
Throne of Glory? Obviously, we are talking about a spiritual reality, and not a physical one, but nevertheless, like everything else in Creation, the Kisei HaKavod is just the name of a level within the Sefiros. In this case, it is the Binah of Beriyah – the name of the world that is created when the sefirah of Binah is considered in terms of its own subset of ten sefiros.
The Aleph that turns vayikar into vayikra is the same Aleph that turns Chof-Samech into Chof-Samech-ALEPH and completes the Throne of Glory, allowing the light of the eyes to continue flowing all the way down to the mind’s eye of the Jew. And this is alluded to in the letter itself, which is made up of two Yuds – one on top and one below, and one Vav connecting the two.
This is not by chance. According to Kabbalah, the upper Yud represents the Upper Chochmah, the lower Yud represents the lower Chochmah, and the Vav connecting the two represents the Da’as that joins them together and allows for the flow of Divine light from Above to Below. And, the gematria of all three letters equals 26, the gematria of G-d’s four-letter Name.
Thus, more specifically, Amalek attacks the Vav which corresponds to the sefiros of Chesed through Yesod and the 6000 years of history they govern, to stop the flow of light from the Upper Chochmah to the Lower Chochmah. Higher than this he cannot really reach, even though he doesn’t have to. For, like prophecy, if there is no one there to receive the light, there is no point in allowing it to flow downward, resulting in terrible hester panim, anti-Semitism, and loss to the Jewish people, G-d forbid.
Purim is about building Da’as. It is about rebuilding the Vav and repairing it in order to re-connect the Upper Wisdom with the Lower Wisdom, so that evil can be defeated. That is why the four mitzvos of Purim correspond to the four letters of G-d’s Name:
Mikrah Megillah: Bottom Heh
Matanos L’Evyonim: Vav
Mishloach Manos: Upper Heh
Remember THAT. It’s Parashas ZACHOR.
He made the washstand from copper and the base from copper, from the mirrors of the women who massed at the entrance of the Appointed Tent. (Shemos 38:8)
This posuk is from two parshios ago, Parashas Vayakhel, and it recounts how the women brought their mirrors to be used to make the kiyor, the basin to be used to hold the water for washing the hands and the feet of the kohanim prior to their serving in the Mishkan. However, as Rashi explains, Moshe wanted to reject them. Why? Because, explains Rashi, it was with these mirrors that the Jewish women in Mitzrayim beautified themselves for their enslaved and broken husbands.
With the help of these mirrors, the ranks of the Jewish people swelled in spite of one of the greatest of anti-Semitic efforts to destroy us. Nevertheless, Moshe could not bring himself to accept these particular gifts since they were used to incite the yetzer hara, even though it was for a holy purpose.
However, G-d vetoed him. “Accept them!” G-d told Moshe, “For they are more dear to Me than anything else!”
Because, if you recall, when the scheming and murderous Pharaoh said, “Šlest they increase” (Shemos 1:10), G-d answered that they will for sure increase. Thus, like the giant frog the Egyptians tried to kill by hitting it, instead turned into a multitude of frogs. The more Pharaoh tried to lessen the number of the Jews, the more G-d increased them.
When G-d makes up His mind about what He is going to do, it is as good as done. And, He has many ways to carry out His plan, and He is forever trying to cut man into His plan for Creation and also give him merit as a result. He waits for those who understand His will to get involved and take responsibility. In this case, it was the women of that generation.
This is what Mordechai told Esther:
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)Like water needs a glass, light needs a vessel. As it is well known, the potential for Moshiach exists in every generation, for it is the light that G-d has built into Creation from the beginning. The soul of Moshiach, the Talmud tells us, has existed since before Creation even began.
What is missing is the kli, the vessel to hold that light. The light of Moshiach is a super high-powered light – the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu, – and therefore, it needs a high-powered body, most likely from the tribe of Yehudah, in order to contain it and harness its greatness. It is for that reason that history and the Jewish people await.
Whether we are talking about being Moshiach for the entire generation, or a savior of sorts only for our neighbor, it is really the same idea. The light of redemption may fluctuate in intensity, but when it becomes spiritually bright enough it seeks out a vessel into which it can flow and directly work with G-d to fulfill the mandate of Creation. The only question is, which vessel, which person, will have the merit to play that role?
That is why those mirrors were so valuable to G-d. He had intended to greatly increase the Jewish population in Egypt and He had many ways to do it. However, nothing brings Him greater joy than those who take the bull by the horns and act as the vehicle through which G-d can carry out His plan. And how much more is this the case when people use that which can be used for evil for a holy purpose.
This is the whole message of the Mishkan, which is the whole message of Purim. May we merit to learn it and become such keilim for such holy light, and become partners with The Holy One, Blessed is He, in bringing Creation to fulfillment.
Have a great Shabbos and a freilechem Purim,
Copyright © by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Project Genesis, Inc.
Rabbi Winston has authored many books on Jewish philosophy (Hashkofa). If you enjoy Rabbi Winston’s Perceptions on the Parsha, you may enjoy his books. Visit Rabbi Winston’s online book store for more details! www.thirtysix.org