Healing

Healing Emotions through Speech

 

 

 

 

 

By Chana Bracha Siegelbaum

Parasha Meditation, Emor

Vayikra 21:1-24:23

 

Healing Emotions through Speech

Introduction: 
How do we heal our Emotions through Speech? 
This week’s parasha is called “Emor” which means “say.” Parashat Emor is juxtaposed to Parashat Kedoshim – “Holiness,” because the word “emor” infuses the Kohanim and the Israelites with the superior holiness of keeping the Divine word. One of the students in my recent online EmunaHealing Seminar asked the following question: “Please elaborate on what you mentioned that we have the ability to heal our emotions through speech, how do we do that?”

Speech is Life 
Speech is the way we express ourselves as human beings. At our original creation in the Garden of Eden “G-d blew His living soul into Adam’s nostrils, and he became a living spirit.”[1] The Targum [2] translates “living spirit” as “speaking spirit.” True life and vitality of the human being is expressed specifically through speech.

Holiness, Life & Sanctification of Speech 
The connection between ultimate life and speech is alluded to at the beginning of Parashat Emor,[3] which instructs the Kohanim to be extra careful not to become impure, because of their special holy status, as servants in G-d’s sanctuary.[4] In the Torah, holiness is linked to vitality and life, as opposed to death and necromancy. This is why Parashat Kedoshim concludes with the prohibition to be a medium for doing witchcraft through the dead,[5]while Parashat Emor begins with the prohibition for the Kohanim to become impure by having contact with the dead. From here, we may conclude that holiness and sanctification of speech is connected with life. This principle is confirmed by the end ofParashat Emor, describing how ultimate misuse of speech results in death. The parasha goes into length to tell the story of the son of Shelomit who blasphemed and cursed G-d with his speech, and was publicly put to death.[6]

Healing Emotions through Speech 
Going back to the original question, how to heal emotions through speech, we can now understand that the choice of our words and the way we express ourselves in speech influences and is an expression of the quality of our vitality. While death is stiff and stagnant, that which is alive flows, moves and changes. Therefore, our emotions which also are expression of our life and vitality are called “e-motions” in English, linking emotions with the motion and movement of life. Kabbalah teaches us that the three main parts of our soul: Neshama, (The intellectual soul), Ruach, (The emotional soul) andNefesh (the most physical soul) correspond respectively to the three garments of our soul, thought, speech and actions.[7] The Ruach corresponds to speech because we express our emotions through speech. Our emotions are also an expression of our vitality. The amount of life that we radiate corresponds to the extent that we are able to express the emotion of love. Anger, jealousy and depressions, are all emotional blockages that block the Divine life-force to manifest within us. Through speech we have the ability to rectify our emotions, and thus learn to become more and more truly alive. Ramban, in his famous letter,[8] instructs us: “Speak gently at all times.” This will help us overcome negative emotions such as pride and anger. When we always speak gently, without ever raising our voice, it becomes virtually impossible to become angry.

The Connection between Speech and Emunah 
In addition to the intonation, our choice of whom to speak with and what to speak about, as well as our vocabulary also has the ability to elevate our emotions. Constantly expressing words of praise for Hashem and appreciation for fellows help ingrain within us the emotion of gratitude. Gratitude engenders happiness and acceptance which again raise our spirits, emotions and vitality. DavidHaMelech extols: “I have faith for I speak.”[9] Through speaking words of emunah (faith), we have the ability to strengthen the emunah in our hearts. Nachum Ish Gam Zu of the Talmud suffered much in life, but nevertheless he would always respond to every difficulty with: “gam zu letovah – this too is for the good.”[10] By accustoming ourselves to face difficulties with words of faith and acceptance, we gradually build our emunah, happiness, and vitality.

Meditation: 
The name this week’s parasha is “Emor” אמר consists of the three letters “alef,” – א “mem,” – מ and “reish” – ר. These three letters are the acronym for the three main elements:[11] אש – aish – fire, מים –mayim – water, and רוח– ruach – air. These elements are the expression of our emotions, through “fire” we can either express the negative emotion of anger, or elevate it into passion and excitement for the Torah. Through “water” we can either be filled with pleasure- seeking, or become calm like the cool soft waves of the lake on a sunny day. The element of “air” can make us nervous, or help us rise upwards in our yearning to increase spirituality and holiness in our life.

Make yourself comfortable in your chair or cushion, close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Your breath is the expression of your ruach – air. Place your hands on your stomach, and note how you can fill your belly with clean fresh air as you inhale, and empty it as you exhale. Repeat this calming breathing several times before moving your hands to your chests. Get in touch with how your chest rises and falls, as you fill it with air through your inhalation, and inflate it as you exhale. With your hands on your throat feel how the air is passing through your esophagus, as you slowly breathe in and out. Repeat the entire sequence of three breath each to your belly, chest and throat, as you imagine the Hebrew letters that spell the word רוח– ruach – air. Feel how the entire cavity within you aspires towards spirituality and holiness, as you take in Hashem’s life-giving air.

Continue to breathe calmly, as you imagine yourself dipping your feet in the calm sea on a hot summer day. Feel the soothing cooling water soften your skin. Allow yourself to truly relax and become enveloped by the calming softness of the gentle waves. You may imagine yourself deliciously floating, as all worries and fears melt away. Allow the waters to penetrate any tension you may carry in your body, until each tension dissolves in the sea. Continue imagining yourself calming down in the water, letting go of all your worries, as you visualize the Hebrew letters that spell the word מים – mayim – water.

Continue your calm breathing and easing yourself of fears and tensions through the tranquil water, as you imagine the flames of the Shabbat candles. Try to visualize its blue core turning into a yellow, orange and red glow. Allow the radiating flame to etch itself into your heart, burning away the indifference, lazy complacent foreskin surrounding your vibrant beating heart. Take your time to very slowly burn away each part of the blockage, as your imaginary flame touches the circumference of your heart. Visualize the Hebrew letters that spell the word אש – aish – fire, as you unearth and get in touch with your inner flame. Allow this flame to fill your entire being with bright exhilarating warming light. As the flame dances within you, imagine yourself dancing with delight, while your entire being is engaged in a particular mitzvah of your choice.

Notes: 
The root אמר appears three times in the opening verse of Parashat Emor: “Hashem said ((וַיֹּאמֶר to Moshe, say (אֱמֹר) to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say (וְאָמַרְתָּ) to them… [12]

This verse is written in a different style of language, than the rest of the Torah. Throughout the Torah and even in the continuation of Parashat Emor, the beginning of every command is written in the following style “Hashem spoke ((וַיְדַבֵּר to Moshe saying, ((לֵּאמֹר speak דַּבֵּר)) unto…”[13]. Here the root דבר –diber is mentioned twice while אמר – emor is mentioned only once. The triple repetition of the word אמר in the opening verse of Parashat Emor may possible allude to the three levels of life and of holiness (fire, water, and air) that characterizes this week’s parasha, beginning by prohibiting the Kohanim from contact with the dead, and concluding in the defilement of speech by the son of Shelomit. It is also interesting to note that specifically the root אמר is used in the Ten Utterances with which Hashem created the word.[14] Original light and life came into being by Hashem’s word אמר. Likewise we have the ability to emulate Hashem and create life with our words!

[1] Bereishit 2:7.
[2] Both Targum Onkelus and Targum Yonatan on Bereishit 2:7.
[3] Vayikra 21:1.
[4] Vayikra 21:7.
[5] Vayikra 20:27.
[6] Vayikra 24:10-16.
[7] See for example, the Rama of Pa’no, Article about the Soul, Part 4, Chapter 4.
[8] Igeret HaRamban, written to his elder son, Nachman, with the instruction to read it weekly.
[9] Tehillim 116:10.
[10] Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 21a.
[11] Rav Tzvi Elimelech Shapiro, Agra d’Kala, page 300/51 and many other kabbalistic and chassidic writings. The element of Earth – afar— עפר consist of a fusion of the main three elements.
[12] Vayikra 21:1.
[13] Vayikra 21:17, I found this style written in the Torah written 41 times in the Torah.
[14] See chapter one of Bereishit where Hashem created the world in six days through His speech described by the Hebrew root אמר.

Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum is Founder and Director of Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin: Holistic Torah for Women on the Land Rebbetzin Chana Bracha creates curricula emphasizing women’s spiritual empowerment through traditional Torah values. In 2010 she published her first book, Women at the Crossroads: A Woman’s Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion. Chana Bracha practices Emunahealingas a gifted spiritual healer through Emuna, tefila and energy work. She has a married son and several granddaughters, and lives with her husband and younger son on the land of the Judean hills, in Israel. Click here to contact her.

Spiritual Healing is Required to fulfill the Mitzvah “Love your fellow as yourself…”

 

 

 

 

 

By Chana Bracha Siegelbaum

Parasha Meditation
Acharei Mot, Vayikra 16:1-18:30
Kedoshim, Vayikra 19:10-20:27 

Spiritual Healing is Required to fulfill the Mitzvah “Love your fellow as yourself…”

Introduction: 
In Parashat Kedoshim – about how to become holy, we learn about the prerequisite, to love others like we love ourselves. True holiness is not just about what we do outwardly, but even more about how we feel inwardly. A real holy person has learned to control his feelings, to think only holy thoughts about others, and to feel love and compassion for every creature. To be holy is to let go of all the big and even small resentments we may carry with us. Only then will we be able to truly love each other with a full heart as the Torah states:

לֹא תִקֹּם וְלֹא תִטֹּר אֶת בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי הָשֵם
ספר ויקרא פרק יט: יח

“Do not revenge, and do not bear a grudge against the children of your people. Love your fellow as yourself, I am G-d.”[1]

The Torah verse requires us to love our fellow like we love ourselves. In order to give and receive love, we need to begin by learning to love ourselves, if we don’t have love for ourselves, all our relationships will suffer. It is impossible to fulfill this mitzvah from the Torah, and rid ourselves of holding on to grudges, without deep inner spiritual healing work. Most of the people who come to me for emunahealing have difficulty loving themselves. They may be filled with guilt and shame and must learn to forgive themselves. In order to forgive ourselves we need to go into a meditative state, to get in touch with our guilt and its underlying causes. The next step is then to work on forgiving others truly with all our hearts, and sending them love. This too, requires the meditative work of spiritual healing. In my upcoming teleseminar I teach more details on how to learn to forgive and love.
Click here for more info.

Meditation: 
Sit comfortably in your chair, close your eyes and take deep breaths several times and let go of anything you are may be holding on to. Try to connect with the light of Hashem which always comes down from Above. Our body is continually filled with Hashem’s light and love even when we don’t see it or feel it; we know that we are filled with Hashem’s light. Imagine Hashem’s light filling your head and spreading down your shoulders and to the rest of your body. Your entire body is as if made of the material of a light bulb filled with light. Now try to get in touch with where your old feelings of guilt and resentment. Visualize these feelings as dark clouds within you. Try to locate these dark clouds in your body. Are there any in your head, in your throat or perhaps in your heart region. Send Hashem’s light and love to each of the dark clouds within you. Keep breathing into them, one by one until you feel them evaporate or burst.

Think about a person that you feel badly about for whatever reason. Visualize your bad feelings/resentments/grudges as dark clouds within you, within the person, or on an imaginary string connecting the two of you. Take Hashem’s light and send it to all of these dark clouds, one by one until each of them evaporate or bursts. You can repeat this spiritual healing exercise with as many people as you can focus on at any given time. If necessary, you can continue at a different time.

Now send Hashem’s light and love to the person towards whom you had resentment. By sending light to someone that you have difficulty with, you have the ability to rectify your relationship with that person. You may also send light to any person close to you. It could be a person you love very much, and who is in need of light and healing. See if you can feel where the person most needs this light from you, and direct your light to that place. Keep sending light as long as you are able, before wiggling your toes and fingers and opening your eyes. It is wonderful to repeat this meditation daily, opening yourself to receive Hashem’s light and sending it to different people in your life.

Notes: 
The gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew word for love – אהבה – ahava is 13. This is the samegematria as the Hebrew word for one – אחד – echad. The number 13 also alludes to the 13 principles of mercy. Only when we are one with someone can we really love that person. This is why the greatest love is between a mother and her baby, as they were one in her womb. To feel love, we need to reveal the aspect with which we unify with our fellow Jew.

The body is a vessel for the soul; the soul is a vessel for the Divine. Every Jew has a Divine spark of light and love, emanating directly from Hashem. This is the source and power of our love – Hashem’s love which is beyond our reality. Hashem surprises us with endless love, if we only open for Him, even a small opening to receive.

פתחי לי פתח כחודה של מחט ואני אפתח לכם פתח שיהיו עגלות נכנס
ילקוט שמעוני שיר השירים, ה, רמז תתקפח

“Open for Me like the opening of a needle, and I will open for you an opening for wagons to enter.”[2]

It is important to send love to everyone, especially to those that we have a hard time relating to. A friend of mine once had a difficulty relating to one of her neighbors. They had had a dispute over trivialities. She decided to work on this by continually sending her neighbor love and light. One day, her neighbor sent her two challot for Shabbat. The power of sending love to someone is so great it can materialize in two Shabbat challot. This proves that sending love and light can overcome any tension and difficulty we may have with another person. This is what King Shlomo alluded to in his proverbs:

כַּמַּיִם הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים כֵּן לֵב הָאָדָם לָאָדָם ספר משלי פרק כז: יט

“As in water, face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.[3]

[1] Vayikra 19:18.
[2] Yalkut Shimoni, Song of Songs, Chapter 5, Allusion 989.
[3] Proverbs, 27:19.

Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum is Founder and Director of Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin: Holistic Torah for Women on the Land Rebbetzin Chana Bracha creates curricula emphasizing women’s spiritual empowerment through traditional Torah values. In 2010 she published her first book, Women at the Crossroads: A Woman’s Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion. Chana Bracha practices Emunahealingas a gifted spiritual healer through Emuna, tefila and energy work. She has a married son and several granddaughters, and lives with her husband and younger son on the land of the Judean hills, in Israel. Click here to contact her.

Teruma – perspective is crucial

by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Serebryanski 

Many times the question, why do bad things happen to good people is mentioned. The answer is because that is the way life is. Good and bad are judgments and as long as we judge we will not have an answer that stops bad things happening to good people.

Most important is to take every situation and use it to find a new balance in life. The thing you believe life is about is what you see in everything. Your belief or desire becomes your focus in everything. If life is about doing what the Creator wants then we must see the Creator in each aspect. This type of perspective opens doors for us since we do not allow our own agenda or issues to get in the way.

The thoughts of the mind and emotions of the heart are gifts and can be used in a very positive way. Yet, there are many who abuse those gifts and use it for self -centered purposes. Having the ability to do something does not mean you should do it. We live in a world with much abuse and many questions including our creating answers about things we cannot control. Due to the agenda of individuals, society has an agenda and it often creates much waste on physical, mental and spiritual levels.

The healing that needs to happen is so immense it can only be done in a way that was not done till now. We all have gone through a lot, but if we learn to come together with the proper focus we can create a society that is unimaginable at this this time.

Many times bad things happen and a person can learn a lesson and grow from it. There are times we can correct the cause and at other times there is no answer. The most healing thing a person can do is to change his/her perspective of matters. This enables the person to rise above the situation and take control of oneself. It enables a person to take a negative situation and make it positive. (Many judgments often take a situation and make it into a negative.) When a situation is transformed, it then serves a positive purpose. If it is not transformed it remains negative.

The Torah (Exodus 25, 26, 27) teaches us about the building of the Tabernacle. The people were all told in detail about the physical donations that can be made. The other donations of self, mental, emotional and spiritual are only mentioned in brief. (Exodus 25:2) “Take me, that is an elevation. From each person who donates his/her heart you shall accept the elevation.”

Stating the physical donations in detail make sense as most people relate to the physical. There are many people who understand the heart but many groups and individuals of society are against an open heart if it does not serve their agenda and crush it causing pain and death.

The physical donations to the Temple are represented by Abraham putting his tools on a chamor when he was on his journey with Isaac to serve the Creator. Chamor means donkey but also refers to the physical.

The heart donation is represented by Moses on his way to have the Israelites redeemed from Egypt; he put his wife and children on a donkey. This is because in the time of Moses there was more spiritual bonding.

In the future the Messiah himself will ride on the chamor as all the elements blocking between the spirit and physical will be removed. There will be no more pain and suffering.

Usually the way we ask a question is the way the response comes back to us. If we ask, what can I learn or how can I grow for a situation then the question itself already moves the person forward.  When the question is asked with a judgment then as long as the judgment is there the person is stuck in that space and there is no real answer.

May we all be aware that there is always perspective beyond where our mind thinks or our emotions hold us. These are the offerings to building an internal Temple (Exodus 25:8) “And they (each person) will make for me a Holy place and I will dwell within them (within each person.)

There are situations where people are devastated but when people come together in a more powerful way then they were living, the devastation brings out deeper parts of the people that were previously covered or not used. We live in times that are forcing people to make decisions that they made not have even dreamt of a short while back. We all live in this world together and together we can bring it back to a more natural balance.

 

Rabbi Yossi is a teacher, lecturer, mashgiach, published author, spiritual healer, professional counselor and guide. In his daily life he is just Rabbi Yossi – a highly perceptual and loving friend to all.

Torah Foundations of the Periodic Table

Torah and the Periodic Table
Kabbalah and Chemistry

1. Theoretical Background

One of the most well known and ubiquitous symbols of modern science in general and chemistry in particular is thePeriodic Table of the Elements. The modern periodic table has been almost 300 years in the making. Early efforts to group elements produced the tables of Geoffroy (1718) and Lavoisier (1787). The atomic theory formulated by Dalton in the early 1800s provided chemists with a solid basis to classify elements, and the theory stimulated vigorous experimentation that culminated in the development of the modern form of the periodic table in 1869 (See figure 1).

1
H

2
He

3
Li

4
Be

5
B

6
C

7
N

8
O

9
F

10
Ne

11
Na

12
Mg

13
Al

14
Si

15
P

16
S

17
Cl

18
Ar

19
K

20
Ca

21
Sc

22
Ti

23
V

24
Cr

25
Mn

26
Fe

27
Co

28
Ni

29
Cu

30
Zn

31
Ga

32
Ge

33
As

34
Se

35
Gr

36
Kr

37
Rb

38
Sr

39
Y

40
Zr

41
Nb

42
Mo

43
Tc

44
Ru

45
Rh

46
Pd

47
Ag

48
Cd

49
In

50
Sn

51
Sb

52
Te

53
I

54
Xe

55
Cs

56
Ba

57
La

72
Hf

73
Ta

74
W

75
Re

76
Os

77
Ir

78
Pt

79
Au

80
Hg

81
Tl

82
Pb

83
Bi

84
Po

85
At

86
Rn

87
Fr

88
Ra

89
Ac

58
Ce

59
Pr

60
Nd

61
Pm

62
Sm

63
Eu

64
Gd

65
Tb

66
Dy

67
Ho

68
Er

69
Tm

70
Yb

71
Lu

90
Th

91
Pa

92
U

93
Np

94
Pu

95
Am

96
Cm

97
Bk

98
Cf

99
Es

100
Fm

101
Md

102
No

103
Lr

Figure 1

From the early rudimentary groupings of chemical compounds to our modern classification that recognizes the periodicity of atomic elements together, chemical tables are usually based on an implicit theory of the composition of matter . These theories have shared a common axiom: that all of the matter in the Universe is composed of a finite variety of basic building blocks. These building blocks have been known from the ancient Greeks to the present as atoms.
In our modern table of the chemical elements, the different atoms are identified and ordered by their atomic number. Atoms are defined as the smallest unit of an element that can combine with another element. Atoms are theorized as composing of a nucleus, made of protons and neutrons, and electrons that move around the nucleus. The atomic number identifies the number of protons in an element’s nucleus. Atoms can lose or gain electrons, and the ease with which they do so is a measure of their reactivity.
In our modern periodic table of elements, elements are arranged in columns and rows. As its name implies, the modern table is periodic in nature, meaning that elements are placed in it based on their shared and recurring (periodic) characteristics. Periodicity of element properties is found to be strongest down columns of the table. Primary among these periods is that of the 6 noble (or inert) gases which populate the far right column of the table. The property shared by the inert gases is a lack of reactivity ensuing from their inability to gain or lose electrons.
Another example: the first element in the table, Hydrogen (H) is a gas, the second, Helium (He), is a noble gas, and the third, Lithium (Li), is a soft, reactive metal. Going down the table, we find eight elements later Fluoride (F), Neon (Ne) and Sodium (Na), a gas, a noble gas, and a soft, reactive metal, and eight elements later, Chloride (Cl), Argon (Ar) and Potassium (K)—again: a gas, a noble gas, and a soft, reactive metal.

The remarkable predictability of element properties revealed by the periodic table allowed chemists to ‘describe’ as yet unidentified elements based on their supposed location in the table. Such was the case when in 1871 Dimitry Mendeleev, the Russian chemist who originally formulated the periodic law, correctly described the properties of the element between Silicon (14) and Tin (50) which he called ekasilicon. The element in question was not identified until 1886 by a German chemist who dubbed it Germanium.

2. The Kabbalistic counterparts to the Periodic Table

It is our goal in this article to present an exact and full analogy to the modern periodic table within Torah. The motivation for this goal is explained in preceding chapters. To do so in a methodological manner, we must first ascertain that the Torah does indeed include examples of the two central concepts underlying the content and form of the Periodic Table: (1)atoms and (2) periodicity.
The notion of the entirety of creation being constructed out of a finite variety of basic building blocks is central to the earliest Kabbalistic source known (and incidentally the first book of Hebrew grammar)—the Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah). From there this notion assumes a central role throughout the entire Kabbalistic and esoteric tradition within Torah. 
Specifically, the Book of Formation turns to Genesis and, following a (spiritually) linguistic perspective, identifies 32 non-corporeal elements or atoms. They are the 10 sefirot [which correspond to the 10 utterances (ma’amarim, מאמרים ) spoken by God when He created the world ] and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet [out of which the utterances are constructed]. Together, these 32 atoms form the basis for language and speech, the conduits of the creative act itself.
However, though the Book of Formation provides us with the notion of basic building blocks of the Universe, the atoms it identifies are ill suited for our purposes of correspondence. First, because they are of two separate categories: one (utterances) clearly hierarchically above the other (letters). Second, because we are searching for a one-to-one correspondence between the atoms of the periodic table and some corresponding unit in Torah.
However, one piece of valuable insight to be gained from the Book of Formation is the idea that should the Torah’s equivalent of elements or atoms be found, it would be in the first chapter of Genesis, where the act of creation is described. What better place to search for the Torah atoms from which Creation is constructed?
*   *   *
To explain the correspondence we have found, let us first mention that of the more than 100 elements, only 92 are naturally occurring. Atoms of elements with atomic number higher than 92 can be artificially synthesized, however, they are generally not stable and undergo nuclear rearrangement resulting in radioactive decay shortly after being synthesized.
And now to our correspondence: one of the most important contributions to Jewish scholarship in the recent past has been the work of Rabbi Zalman Pinchas Horowitz . Rabbi Horowitz was (to the best of our knowledge) the first to correctly count the number of times the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) appears in the Pentateuch: 1820 times. Even more surprising and innovative was Rabbi Horowitz’s cataloging of all the distinct words in the Pentateuch, which he also found to be exactly 1820 in number.
This equality still warrants much research, but here we will note a fact related to our own particular interest: of the total 1820 unique words in the Pentateuch, the section describing creation (Genesis 1:1 to 2:3, inclusive) contains exactly 92 distinct words. Indeed, as mentioned already, this section of the Torah literally describes the creation of matter in the universe—it is only fitting that it is here that we find our sought after parallel for the 92 natural elements identified by modern science.
Before proceeding let us copy the familiar periodic table of elements with the 92 distinct words of Genesis placed in order:

 

 

 

 

 

1
H
בראשית

2
He
ברא

3
Li
אלהים

4
Be
את

5
B
השמים

6
C
הארץ

7
N
היתה

8
O
תהו

9
F
ובהו

10
Ne
וחשך

11
Na
על

12
Mg
פני

13
Al
תהום

14
Si
ורוח

15
P
מרחפת

16
S
המים

17
Cl
ויאמר

18
Ar
אור

19
K
וירא

20
Ca
כי

21
Sc
טוב

22
Ti
ויבדל

23
V
בין

24
Cr
ויקרא

25
Mn
יום

26
Fe
לילה

27
Co
ערב

28
Ni
בקר

29
Cu
אחד

30
Zn
רקיע

31
Ga
בתוך

32
Ge
ויעש

33
As
אשר

34
Se
מתחת

35
Gr
כן

36
Kr
שני

37
Rb
יקוו

38
Sr
אל

39
Y
מקום

40
Zr
היבשה

41
Nb
ימים

42
Mo
תדשא

43
Tc
עשב

44
Ru
מזריע

45
Rh
עץ

46
Pd
פרי

47
Ag
למינו

48
Cd
בו

49
In
ותוצא

50
Sn
שלישי

51
Sb
לאותות

52
Te
ולמועדים

53
I
ושנים

54
Xe
הגדולים

55
Cs
לממשלת

56
Ba
הקטן

57
La
הכוכבים

72
Hf
בהמה

73
Ta
האדמה

74
W
בצלמנו

75
Re
כדמותנו

76
Os
וירדו

77
Ir
בדגת

78
Pt
זכר

79
Au
ונקבה

80
Hg
להם

81
Tl
וכבשה

82
Pb
הנה

83
Bi
לאכלה

84
Po
ירק

85
At
מאד

86
Rn
הששי

87
Fr
ויכלו

88
Ra
צבאם

89
Ac
השביעי

58
Ce
ויתן

59
Pr
רביעי

60
Nd
ישרצו

61
Pm
נפש

62
Sm
חיה

63
Eu
ועוף

64
Gd
התנינים

65
Tb
כל

66
Dy
הרמשת

67
Ho
כנף

68
Er
ויברך

69
Tm
ורבו

70
Yb
ומלאו

71
Lu
חמישי

90
Th
מלאכתו

91
Pa
וישבת

92
U
ויקדש

93
Np

94
Pu

95
Am

96
Cm

97
Bk

98
Cf

99
Es

100
Fm

101
Md

102
No

103
Lr

Following our methodology, we should now seek periodicity, the second organizing principle identified above. To do so, we will first examine and understand in-depth the periodic nature of the structure and form of the table of elements and the model used to explain this periodicity. We will then explore parallel spiritual models found in Kabbalah and Chassidut. In a forthcoming article we will use our findings to examine the periodicity inherent in our parallel Torah table of elements pictured above.

3. On the relationship between spiritual and mundane in the Torah

Before starting our analysis, let’s take a few steps back to say a few words about the rationale for looking to the Torah for models that can describe (directly or indirectly) natural phenomena.
The physical world and its attributes are often spoken of as a reflection or manifestation of the spiritual realm, and as such, by studying the physical we may come to know more about the spiritual worlds, and ultimately our Creator .
It is explained in Jewish tradition that there are two ways to describe the relationship between the Torah and physical reality:
The first, more commonly held view, is that the Torah speaks of mundane matters (e.g. laws of commerce, liability, etc.) but as it were, these mundane matters are also to be found reflected in the higher (or inner) spiritual dimensions of the universe. So we might say that the Torah can be interpreted as saying something about the spiritual worlds as well as the mundane. This interpretation can be as simple as talking about the spirit of the law (as opposed to the letter or the law). Or, it can form the basis of a complex and intricate (anthropomorphic) analysis of the Divine, based on the Torah.
The second approach, advocated by assidism, holds that the Torah’s actual subject matter are the higher (or inner) spiritual dimensions of the universe, and it is actually they that are also reflected, or mimicked, in the lower mundane material dimensions . Thus we may say that the literal meaning of the Torah is spiritual, while a non-literal, or allegorical interpretation of this meaning teaches about the mundane physical world. 
The second approach may seem troubling because the Torah does not seem to employ ‘spiritual’ language (note the lack of mention of angels or any other ‘heavenly’ artifacts). In fact, the opposite is more the case—the stories related and the commandments of G-d found in it all seem to speak directly about physical reality as it was a few thousand years ago. The response to this point comes in the shape of the Talmudic dictum that “Torah speaks in the language of men” . In other words, though the subject matter of the Torah is indeed spiritual, its language is mundane—“the language of men”—such that it employs language that refer to objects and states of affair familiar to humans. 
Armed with these two basic notions regarding the subject matter and language of Torah, we argue that by studying the physical world using scientific methods (which should hopefully give us a clear picture of physical phenomena) we expect to find parallels between the Torah’s ‘physical’ terminology and the findings of experimental science regarding those phenomena. Relating our knowledge about such physical phenomena to the Torah’s vocabulary (or other non-linguistic forms of communication, as will be explained) will, in turn, lead us to a better understanding of the ‘spiritual’ issues, which are the Torah’s ‘actual’ subject matter. Thus we come to learn more about the spiritual realm using scientific knowledge.
The Torah contains varied types of communicable information, alluded to by the famous acronym: PaRDeS. PaRDeS stands for the four types of textual analysis traditionally used to explore the Torah in order to recover its informative content. These are: pshat (literal analysis), remez (symbolic, or numerical analysis), drash (hermeneutic analysis) and sod (associative, or model-based analysis). In order to quickly orient the reader we will note that drash (hermeneutic analysis) was utilized in the study and development of Halachah (Jewish Law). Sod (associative, model-based) analysis was most fully developed in Lurianic Kabbalah. Our present study will make use of all four types of textual analysis. At times, we refer to the knowledge arrived at using remez and sod analysis as the ‘inner (or esoteric) wisdom of the Torah.’

4. Nature and the Divine

One of the most basic findings in the Torah using remez analysis (numerical, in this case) is that the numerical value of the hebrew word for nature (הטבע , hateva) = 86 – is equal to the numerical value of the name of G-d associated with the creation of the natural world: Elokim (א־להים ) = 86. This numerical equivalency is usually understood to indicate that there is an aspect of Divinity that is enclothed within the natural world.
As we shall see, this basic equivalency will form the backdrop for much of our present discussion.

5. 92 naturally occurring elements

The first possibility would be to map each element to its corresponding Hebrew root, simply based on order of appearance (see Table 1 in Appendix A).
Further reflection though reveals an alternative. The 92 distinct roots of the story of creation are divided such that the first 86 appear in the verses relating the first six days of creation (Genesis 1:1 through 1:31), while the last 6 are found in the verses relating the Sabbath (ibid 2:1 through 2:3). This motivates us to correspond the 6 noble gases with the 6 distinct roots found in the Sabbath section in Genesis, while the remaining 86 elements will be corresponded in order to the distinct roots found in the 6 Days section of Genesis.
We mention this second possible mapping here because of our interest in the inert gases, as follows.

6. Inert and non-Inert Elements

Scientifically speaking, there are many ways in which the chemical elements can be arranged to accent different attributes of their periodicity. Briefly, when looking at a periodic table, the elements are normally presented with their name, atomic number, and often their valence electron configuration. The commonly found table of elements highlights various types of periodicity, one of the most central ones being that of the noble or inert gases.
One of the most important and outstanding features of the 92 naturally occurring elements is that they may be divided into two groups, based upon their ability to form compounds: there are 6 which do not form compounds, also known as inert (or noble) gases, while the other 86 do form compounds with other elements.
On the periodic table in Figure 1, the inert gases form the far right hand column. Graphically, our modern version of the table of elements is structured such that the periodicity of the inert gases is highlighted, though, as we shall see below, the table could be (and historically was) arranged entirely around this periodicity.
This basic division into 6 and 86 observed in the naturally occurring elements is to be found (again, using a non-literal analysis of the Torah text) in the very first verse of the Torah:בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ  (usually translated as “In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth”). The first chapter of the Torah recounts the act of creation of the natural world. It is important to note that G-d here is referred to as Elokim alone (and not by His other names), thus leading to the association of this name with ‘nature’.
The 6 letters of the first word, Bereishit (בראשית ) can be split into 2 separate words, each with 3 letters and read as ‘barah sheet’ (ברא שית ), meaning “created six” (in Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient near-east).
The next two words in the verse are ‘barah Elokim. As noted above, the numerical value of Elokim, one of the names of G-d is 86. We have then that the first 3 words can be understood to say: ‘six were created’ (“barah sheet”) and ‘86 were created’ (“barah Elokim”). The sum of these two acts of creation is 86 ^ 6 = 92, the number of the naturally occurring elements.
As mentioned above, 86, the value of Elokim, is also the numerical value of the word hateva in Hebrew, or ‘nature’. Thus “barah Elokim” can be read as “created nature” as well.
There is yet another appearance of the name Elokim regarding the 6 inert gases:
The atomic numbers of the inert gases are 2, 10, 18, 36, 54, 86.  The heaviest inert gas, radon (Rn), has an atomic number of 86 = Elokim.

7. Spiritual ‘Wholeness’

We now turn to reflect on the spiritual parallel to the presence of both inert and non-inert elements in the natural world.
The spiritual (or psychological) counterpart of physical inertness in the elements can be found in the Torah’s description of Jacob and Lavan’s (Jacob’s father-in-law) working relationship. Regarding the wages that Jacob received for tending Lavan’s flocks the Torah writes (Genesis 30:42):
והיֻה העטֻפים ללבן והקשֻרים ליעקב
This is usually translated literally as:
the weaker (atufim) [flocks] were to Lavan and the stronger (k’shurim) [flocks] were to Jacob.
The literal meaning is that the sheep were characterised as stronger or weaker; the weaker remained the property of Lavan, the stronger were given to Jacob as wages.
However, Rashi, the basic (literal) Medieval commentary on the Torah interprets the meaning of atufim differently. This Hebrew word can be analyzed to stem from the root atf(עטף ) that yields the infinitive la’atof, to wrap. It would then mean “those that are wrapped”.
Likewise, K’shurim the word used to describe the type of flocks given to Jacob, can be analyzed to stem from the root k.sh.r. (קשר ) and the infinitive likshor, to bind. Its meaning would then be “those that are bound”
If these characteristics of the sheep are seen as metaphors for two different types of personalities, then an atuf describes one who is wrapped in wool, keeping warm all to himself, while a kashur symbolizes one who is incomplete without forming bonds with others outside of himself. A ‘wrapped’ (atuf) individual is not in need of a mate and finds sufficient warmth alone. Such an individual needs not receive from nor give to another. On the other hand, a person with a ‘tied’ (kashur) personality seeks completion in relationships with others, at times giving at times receiving.
For the sake of rigor we note that spiritually speaking, these two types of personalities are usually associated with negative and positive qualities, respectively. An atuf attitude (especially in the present case where these flocks are indicated as being the property of Lavan) is considered analogous to that found in Biblical Sodom : “That which belongs to me is mine, that which belongs to you is yours.” While a kashur attitude is normally associated with holiness (though at times it can drift to an extreme form of wantonness which is of course negative).
However, in assidic writings it is explained that a truly whole individual is one who has both qualities. To better understand why how this is so we may take the kaballistic principle stated by Rabbi Abraham Abulafia (1240 – c.1291), the 13th century philosopher and mystic: “being whole is being one and a half”. Or in the famous words of Rebbe Nachman of Bretzlov: “nothing is more whole than a broken heart”. We coin the term whole and half (שלם וחצי , shalem va’chetzi) to designate this special quality of wholeness.
A truly whole (and holy) person is does not feel self sufficient, thereby not requiring others, but rather one who is, existentially speaking, both complete and incomplete at the same time. By virtue of their half-ness, they need to connect or bond with others. By virtue of their whole-ness they are able to offer support and help to others. Real wholeness (and holiness) comes by virtue of an existential feeling of incompleteness – of insufficiency and inadequacy to single-handedly prevail, empowered and strengthened by a sense of whole-ness which saves one from a sense of an inability to rise to the task at hand.
Scientifically speaking, we can immediately note the analogy between these two basic definitions of atuf and kashur and the distinction between inert and non-inert elements. Bond formation is possible only when an electron orbital is half or incomplete. But when an orbital is whole or filled, the element in question is not in need of accepting or receiving electrons and thus does not form bonds. Yet, both exist in nature. Nature reflects these two basic qualities.
The inert gases are also called the Noble gases. The mark of nobility is the air of whole-ness surrounding it. The ‘nobility’ of the elements do not react with any other elements. It is only the 86, Elokim, elements that can do so. Nonetheless, the six noble gases form a sort of axis around which the other 86 elements revolve.

8. Whole-ness of the Patriarchs

The attribute of bonding is found to be associated with the name Elokim in another manner: Elokim is the name of G-d related most closely with the Patriarch Isaac as both manifest the quality of judgment (or din – דין ). When departing from Lavan, his father-in-law, Jacob says:
לולי אלקי אבי אברהם ופחד יצחק היה לי, כי עתה ריקם שלחתני…
If the G-d of my father, the G-d of Abraham, the fear of Isaac, was not with me, then you would have sent me away empty-handed… 
Jacob refers to the way in which Isaac (his father) knew G-d as ‘the fear of Isaac’ (pachad Yitzchak, פחד יצחק ). The numerical value of pachad, or fear, is 92, which is again Elokim (86) plus six – the total number of naturally occurring elements.
Yet, Isaac was not always whole in the sense of being both whole and half at the same time. The sages tell us that Isaac was actually 37 years old at the time that Abraham (his father) was commanded to sacrifice him to G-d (see Genesis 22), known as the ‘test of the Akeida’ – the test of the binding of Isaac. The Zohar, the basic book of the inner teachings of the Torah, relates that Isaac was entirely whole, exclusively of ‘noble’, or inert, character and was therefore not suited for marriage, not suited to bond with another. It was the Akeida – literally, ‘the binding’ – which brought him to complete his character with the quality of half-ness. It was only then that he became suited for marriage, to bond with a wife. Thus pachad Yitzchak (= 92) can be understood as the attribute of Elokim (86) plus another 6, the addition of something to Yitzchak’s own wholeness.
By the same token the Zohar explains that Abraham was not truly whole either, as he did not have the quality of Might orJudgment. It was the act of the Akeida – the binding of Jacob – done out of fear and awe of God (as the angel spoke to him following the binding: “for now I know that you are indeed fearful of God” (Genesis 22:12) which complemented his essence with this quality.

9. Inert Periodicity Historically

Now that we have spent some time studying the periodicity of the inert elements, let us delve a bit into its history. Using the periodicity of the inert elements as the basis for the table of chemical elements was first proposed in 1895 by J. Thomsenand was itself based on an earlier model by T. Bayley (1882). A table similar to Thomsen’s appears in Figure 2. Note that the principal disadvantages of this table was the large space required by the period of 32 elements and the difficulty of tracing a sequence of closely similar elements (for purposes of illustration the inert elements have been marked in blue, and the non-metals, marked in green, in the contemporary table form a triangular shape, but here do not align similarly).

1
H

2
He

3
Li

4
Be

5
B

6
C

7
N

8
O

9
F

10
Ne

11
Na

12
Mg

13
Al

14
Si

15
P

16
S

17
Cl

18
Ar

19
K

20
Ca

21
Sc

22
Ti

23
V

24
Cr

25
Mn

26
Fe

27
Co

28
Ni

29
Cu

30
Zn

31
Ga

32
Ge

33
As

34
Se

35
Gr

36
Kr

37
Rb

38
Sr

39
Y

40
Zr

41
Nb

42
Mo

43
Tc

44
Ru

45
Rh

46
Pd

47
Ag

48
Cd

49
In

50
Sn

51
Sb

52
Te

53
I

54
Xe

55
Cs

56
Ba

57
La

58
Ce

59
Pr

60
Nd

61
Pm

62
Sm

63
Eu

64
Gd

65
Tb

66
Dy

67
Ho

68
Er

69
Tm

70
Yb

71
Lu

72
Hf

73
Ta

74
W

75
Re

76
Os

77
Ir

78
Pt

79
Au

80
Hg

81
Tl

82
Pb

83
Bi

84
Po

85
At

86
Rn

87
Fr

88
Ra

89
Ac

90
Th

91
Pa

92
U

Table 1

10. Orbital Filling of the 6 Inert Gases

It was only in 1922 that Niels Bohr proposed the quantum-theoretical model that forms the basis for our current understanding of the subatomic construct of the elements, and explains the observed periodicity of the inert gases. According to Bohr’s model, the structure of each atom could be singularly described using 4 quantum numbers to identify the ‘orbitals’ in which electrons organize around the atom’s nucleus. The orbitals (sometimes called sub-shells) are grouped into shells, the shells being designated by the letters: K, L, M, N,…, or simply 1, 2, 3, 4,….
Every orbital is classified by two quantum numbers: the primary quantum number and the angular momentum quantum number. The angular momentum quantum number is replaced by the letters s, p, or d. Two other quantum numbers – themagnetic quantum number and the spin quantum number – determine the number of electrons that can ‘fit’ in an orbital.
Looking at the periodic table using Bohr’s model, we find that the naturally occurring elements can be described exhaustively using 7 shells and 4 orbitals, namely (designating the shells by their number, not letter): 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 3d, 4s, 4p, 4d, 4f, 5s, 5p, 5d, 5f, 6s, 6p, 7s. The number of electrons that can fit in each orbital is: 2 in s orbitals, 6 in p orbitals, 10 in d orbitals, 14 in f orbitals
To truly understand the theoretical basis for Bohr’s model is beyond our scope. However, we would like to take a closer look at the mathematical regularities that this model produces. So let us order the elements in a table that will show us how their electrons ‘fill’ the various shells and orbitals:

Shells

1

1

2

 

(2)

H

He

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

(8)

Li

Be

B

C

N

O

F

Ne

3

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

21

30

(18)

Na

Mg

Al

Si

P

S

Cl

Ar

Sc

Zn

4

19

20

31

32

33

34

35

36

39

48

57

70

(32)

K

Ca

Ga

Ge

As

Se

Br

Kr

Y

Cd

La

Yb

5

37

38

49

50

51

52

53

54

71

80

89

92

(50)

Rb

Sr

In

Sn

Sb

Te

I

Xe

Lu

Hg

Ac

U

6

55

56

81

82

83

84

85

86

(72)

Cs

Ba

Tl

Pb

Bi

Po

At

Rn

7

87

88

(98)

Fr

Ra

Orbitals

s(2)

p(6)

d(10)

f(14)

g(18)

h(22)

i(26)

Table 2
The rows designate the Shells, while the columns the orbitals in each shell. Thus for instance, the first shell (K) can accommodate up to 2 electrons and therefore has room for 2 elements. The second shell (L) can accommodate 8 electrons and therefore has room for 8 elements, and so on. In the K shell, all the electrons are available in the s orbital only. In the L shell, electrons ‘spots’ are available in both the s and p orbitals.
Note that shells are not filled entirely before the next shell is started, due to the fact that electrons in elements always seek the lowest possible energy state they can reach. This is clear if we follow the elements in this table. Up to Argon (Ar), the first shell (K) and second shell (L) are filled completely. Then the s orbital of the third shell (M) is filled, followed by a complete filling of its p orbital. Argon then is the 18th element in the table with electrons completely filling the 3p [3rd shell (M), p orbital] orbital. But the next element, Potassium (K) does not continue to fill the 3rd shell’s d orbital, but rather skips to the 4th shell’s (N) s orbital, because electrons in that orbital actually have a lower energy level then electrons in the 4d orbital. This is due to the interactions between the electrons themselves, an effect known as ‘shielding’. So Potassium’s ‘extra’ electrons do not locate in the 3d orbital but rather in the lower-energy orbital 4s. The rest of the table follows this general trend, with electrons always vying for the lowest energy level orbitals.
There are two interesting facts about this table that should be noted are:

  • that the number of ‘spots’ in each orbital is equal to the differences between the total number of elements that can populate each shell.
  • all the orbitals that are used are ‘filled’ or ‘populated’ to capacity by elements except for the 5th shell’s f orbital. Though 5f has room for 14 electrons, only 4 ‘spots’ are used by the heaviest naturally occurring elements from Actinium (89) to Uranium (92).

The first fact is the reason that we have drawn the table as 7 x 7 even though the entire g, h and i orbitals have been left blank. Let us explicitly write the first fact out: The total numbers of electrons in the shells are (We designate these as set A):
A = {2, 8, 18, 32, 50, 72, 98}
The numbers of electrons in each orbital are (we will designate these as set B):
B = {2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26}
Now note that the numbers in set B are the differences between the numbers in set A. This can be clearly illustrated by writing the two sets, A and B, one beneath the other, as follows:

total electrons in shells

2

8

18

32

50

72

98

electrons in orbitals

6

10

14

18

22

26

This is truly one of the most astonishing mathematical properties of the periodic table.
But, arranging the elements in the above table also reveals an interesting property of the inert gases and that is that an inert gas is formed each time the p orbital fills. The p orbital of each and every shell has room for 6 electrons. That is to say that each time 6 electrons fill the p orbital, an inert gas if created (excluding Helium, which does not use the p orbital).
Recollect that above we noted that in the story of creation, the first word of the Torah, Bereishit, which can be understood to mean ‘created 6’, should be seen as corresponding to the formation of the 6 inert gases! In fact, the excluded inert gas Helium, is hinted to in the word Bereishit as the letter bet, the first letter of the word is written in the Torah scroll as a large bet (בית רבתי , bet rabati) and the numerical value of the letter bet is 2.

11. Mathematical Patterns in Inert Elements

Let us now look at the numbers of the inert gases from another perspective.  If we take the atomic numbers of the inert elements and note the differences between them we can construct the following table:

element

atomic number

difference in atomic number

n, where difference = 2n2

He (Helium)

2

2

1

Ne (Neon)

10

8

2

Ar (Argon)

18

8

2

Kr (Krypton)

36

18

3

Xe (Xenon)

54

18

3

Rn (Radon)

86

32

4

Table 3

The rightmost column shows that the differences between the elements are all values, in order, of the mathematical series f[n] = 2n2 (n starting at 0).
These numbers are known in the inner teachings of the Torah as the double squares (רבועים כפולים , ribu’im k’fulim). Their significance is related to the 32 paths of Wisdom (ל”ב נתיבות חכמה , lamed beit netivot chochmah). The Book of Formation, mentioned above, begins:

ב-לב נתיבות פליאות חכמה חקק י-ה הוי’ צבאות וברא את עולמו בשלשה ספרים בסופר וספר וסיפור
Using 32 wondrous paths of wisdom Kah Havayah [God] Lord of Hosts engraved… and created His world, using three books: author and book and story. 
It is known that the textual source in the Torah for these 32 paths of Wisdom is to be found in the 32 times that the name Elokim is used in the verses describing the six days of Creation. This, again, is the Name which we have recognized as central in our discussion of the periodic table. We note that no other Name of the Almighty appears in the creation story,and it appears exactly 32 times.
32 is thus the number associated with Wisdom (chochmah). In the inner teachings of the torah we find the number 50 associated with Understanding50 Gates of Understanding (חמשים שערי בינה , chamishim sha’arei binah). There is also another, less well known concept of 72 Bridges (ע”ב גשרים , ayin beit gesharim). 
Actually, all three of these concepts are closely related and are part of one larger picture. This basic conceptual scheme identifies the type of energy related to each sefirah and the type of conduit through which it flows:
Thus the energy of Wisdom is identified as ‘mind’ that flows through a path (נתיב , nativ); the energy of Understanding is identified as ‘intelligence’ that flows through a gate (שער , sha’ar); finally the energy of Knowledge is termed ‘psyche’ and flows through a bridge (גשר , gesher). This model is summarized in Table 2.

sefirah

energy type

conduit type

number of conduits

Wisdom

mind

Path

32

Understanding

intelligence

Gate

50

Knowledge

psyche

Bridge

72

Table 4
Of course, 72 is also a double square (particularly, 72 = 2 . 62). We have thus, so far, found the mental significance of thedouble squares for n = 4, n = 5 and n = 6. To complete our understanding of the significance of double squares we need to complete the series beginning with n = 1.
The basic model of the sefirot in Kabbalah indicates that above Wisdom resides the Crown (כתר , keter) that is explained in the Zohar to consist of three heads (תלת רישין שבכתר , tlat reishin sheba’keter). In our present model we will map these 3 parts of the Crown to correspond to the first 3 values of n.
Continuing our previous discussion regarding the various mental powers we note that Wisdom marks the first conscious mental power. Thus, the Crown – which resides, both figuratively and in our Kabbalistic model, above the head – corresponds to the  super-conscious faculties. The three heads of the Crown, or the 3 super-conscious mental powers are known as: Belief (אמונה , emunah), Pleasure (תענוג , ta’anug) and Will (רצון , ratzon).
Table 3 illustrates the double squares for values of n from 1 to 6 with their corresponding mental faculties.

sefirah

mental faculty

n

f[n] = 2n2

Crown

belief

1

2

pleasure

2

8

will

3

18

Wisdom

mind

4

32

Understanding

intelligence

5

50

Knowledge

psyche

6

72

Table 5
Using the sefirot as a model for the series of double squares, we could continue the series until n = 13. For example, corresponding to the double square 128 (n = 8) we would have the sefirah of Might (גבורה , gevurah). For 338 (n = 13) we would have the sefirah of Kingdom (מלכות , malchut).
We have now taken a look at the series of double squares, the differences between the atomic numbers of the inert gases. This series is essentially the backbone of the whole periodic table of the elements.
Extrapolating from our knowledge of double squares in the periodicity of inert elements we would expect the next inert element to be of quantum number:
86 (Radon) ^ 32 = 118. This element has been dubbed Uuo (Ununoctium) by the International Union of Applied Chemists (IUPAC) until its existence is proven at which time its properties will be ascertained.
We would expect to find the next inert element at quantum number:
118 ^ 50 = 168. This element has been dubbed Uho (Unhexoctium).

12. Metals and non-metals

Another important periodicity represented in the periodic table is that of the non-metallic elements. Whereas the periodicity of the inert elements was defined by the double squares (as explained above), the periodicity of the non-metals is recognizable by the triangular shape they form on the periodic table, as highlighted in the next table (non-metals are shaded in turquoise).

1
H

2
He

3
Li

4
Be

5
B

6
C

7
N

8
O

9
F

10
Ne

11
Na

12
Mg

13
Al

14
Si

15
P

16
S

17
Cl

18
Ar

19
K

20
Ca

21
Sc

22
Ti

23
V

24
Cr

25
Mn

26
Fe

27
Co

28
Ni

29
Cu

30
Zn

31
Ga

32
Ge

33
As

34
Se

35
Gr

36
Kr

37
Rb

38
Sr

39
Y

40
Zr

41
Nb

42
Mo

43
Tc

44
Ru

45
Rh

46
Pd

47
Ag

48
Cd

49
In

50
Sn

51
Sb

52
Te

53
I

54
Xe

55
Cs

56
Ba

57
La

72
Hf

73
Ta

74
W

75
Re

76
Os

77
Ir

78
Pt

79
Au

80
Hg

81
Tl

82
Pb

83
Bi

84
Po

85
At

86
Rn

87
Fr

88
Ra

89
Ac

58
Ce

59
Pr

60
Nd

61
Pm

62
Sm

63
Eu

64
Gd

65
Tb

66
Dy

67
Ho

68
Er

69
Tm

70
Yb

71
Lu

90
Th

91
Pa

92
U

93
Np

94
Pu

95
Am

96
Cm

97
Bk

98
Cf

99
Es

100
Fm

101
Md

102
No

103
Lr

Table 6

Of the 86 non-inert elements 15 are classified as non-metals. The other 71 elements are classified as metals. We note that hydrogen is sometimes placed in a class of its own, something we shall address below. Generally speaking, though not always, metals act as electron donors and non-metals as electron recipients in chemical compounds.
As mentioned above, the non-metals form a triangle in the right-hand side of the periodic table: 5 elements in the first row of the triangle, 4 in the second, 3 in the third, 2 in the fourth and finally 1 in the last.

5
B

6
C

7
N

8
O

9
F

14
Si

15
P

16
S

17
Cl

33
As

34
Se

35
Gr

52
Te

53
I

85
At

15 is a triangular number. The function that generates triangular numbers is:

n(n ^ 1)
2

f[n] =

We designate triangular numbers by the special symbol Dn. Thus, D5 = 15. Another way to define the nth triangular number is as the sum of all numbers from 1 to n. It is therefore also true that:
Dn = n ^ D(n-1)
Therefore,
D5 = 5 ^ D4
But, D4 = 10, so that D5 = 5 ^ 10.
Thus, the 5th triangular number has the property of whole and half that we saw above (§5).
The number 10, the 4th triangular number (and the whole part of D5), has a special reference in the inner teachings of the Torah. It is sometimes as designated as:
שיר פשוט, שיר כפול, שיר משולש, שיר מרובע
simple song, double song, triple song, quadruple song
This idiom alludes to the number 10 as the sum of 1 (simple), 2 (double), 3 (triple) and 4 (quadruple).
In our particular case, we have 5 elements above 4, or in Hebrew letters we have a heh (ה = 5) over a yud (י = 10). Recall that 86 – the number of natural elements excluding the inert gases – is numerically equivalent to the Divine name, Elokim (אלהים ). This name has five letters, with numerical values are as follows:

letter

in hebrew

value

aleph

א

1

lamed

ל

30

heh

ה

5

yud

י

10

mem

ם

40

The 15 non-metals thus correspond to the two letter heh (ה , 5) and yud (י , 10) of the five letters of the name Elokim, the seminal name of the periodic table.

13. Metals and Hydrogen

After accounting for the 15 non-metals we now remain with 71—these are known as metals. However, in many renditions of the periodic table, hydrogen, the element with atomic number 1, is classified by itself, implying that hydrogen for various reasons does not fall within one or the other category of metals and non-metals.
How should we understand the role of hydrogen among the elements? To give an answer, we must first reintroduce the classical model of the four elements of antiquity and its modern-day correspondence. As explained elsewhere in length,each of the four classic ‘elements’—fire, air, water and earth—corresponds with a specific modern chemical element (see table 6).

classical ’element’

modern element

atomic number

sefirah

air

oxygen

8

Crown (כתר , keter)

water

hydrogen

1

Wisdom (חכמה , oma)

fire

carbon

6

Understanding (בינה , binah)

earth

nitrogen

7

Knowledge (דעת , da’at)

Table 7
This correspondence is based on the ‘essence’ that each of the classical ‘elements’ was meant to represent, and the major role that each of the modern-day elements plays in nature. Thus, oxygen is the most important component of Air for human beings; hydrogen, our subject of interest (together with oxygen, which we have already corresponded with Air) makes up water , upon which we will elaborate in a moment; nitrogen is the earth’s major nutrient used by plant life; and the earliest human fires were of the type that burns carbon.
Looking at the atomic numbers of these elements we note that the sum of their ‘triangular’ numbers = 86:
∆1 ^ ∆6 ^ ∆7 ^ ∆8 = 1 ^ 21 ^ 28 ^ 36 = 86! 
The classical element ‘water’ naturally corresponds to hydrogen (e.g. in modern nomenclature, the prefix ‘hydro’ denotes a ‘watery’ characteristic). During the time period that Kabbalah was being developed, the accepted chemical analysis was based on the 4 classic elements. Classic water was brought down as corresponding to the sefirah of Wisdom. Thus, in our modern chemical analysis, hydrogen that corresponds to classic water would also correspond to the sefirah of Wisdom.Regarding Wisdom we find an important verse (Psalms 104:24):
כולם בחכמה עשית
You made them all with Wisdom
Analyzing this using sod, where Wisdom is the sefirah of hydrogen, we can say that all chemical elements begin with hydrogen, but that hydrogen remains in a category of its own. Thus hydrogen would parallel the first letter, aleph, in the Name Elokim, the essential Name of the Periodic Table. Moreover, the numerical value of aleph is 1, as is the atomic number of hydrogen, strengthening our identification.
As we have already accounted for the letters aleph, heh and yud of the name Elokim we are left with two letters: lamed and mem. We are also left with 70 elements not accounted for (as either inert gases, non-metals, or hydrogen). The numerical value of lamed is 30, the numerical value of mem is 40, their sum equal to 70. Thus we can complete our correspondence of the elements with the name Elokim by noting that the number of metals equals the letter lamed and mem. Our completed analysis is presented in Table 8.

letter(s) of nameElokim

in Hebrew

numerical value

corresponding element(s)

aleph

א

1

hydrogen

heh yud

ה, י

15

non-metals

lamed mem

ל, ם

70

metals

Table 8

Elokim As Creative Consciousness

Our analysis of the name Elokim as the central pivot of the periodic table would not be complete without us spending a few moments looking at the spiritual significance of this phenomenon.
Though the usual usage of the word Elokim is as the ‘natural’ name of God, it does have other uses in the Bible. In discussing civil suits, the Torah refers to the court or the judge as an ‘Elokim’ (Exodus 22:8, 22:27). In the Book of Psalms (82:6) we find another usage of the name Elokim to refer to Adam, the first human being:
אני אמרתי אלהים אתם ובני עליון כלכם
I had said, You are Elokim and all of you are sons of the Most High
This verse serves as the source from which the Arizal teaches that each and every Jew literally has a Divine element within them. The verb “said” (אמרתי ) here does not mean that God literally commanded Adam to be ‘an Elokim’, but rather, as it at times means in Biblical Hebrew, that God had “wanted” or had “hoped” that man would ascend to the heights of being an Elokim—“sons of the Most High”.
The Edenic serpent, the catalyst for Adam and Eve’s downfall and transgression, clearly voiced this ‘destiny’ of mankind as a reason for eating from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 3:4-5):
ויאמר הנחש אל האשה לא מות תמתון. כי ידע אלהים כי ביום אכלכם ממנו ונפקחו עיניכם והייתם כאלהים ידעי טוב ורע
And the serpent said to the woman: You shall not surely die. For God knows that on the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as Elokim, knowing good and evil.
Without going in length into the difference between God’s hope for mankind, and the serpent’s description of mankind’s destiny, let us merely say that due to Adam’s sin, this desire of The Holy One Blessed Be He was not yet to be realized. God willing, in the times of the Messiah it will be fulfilled.
But how would we describe the state of humanity hoped for by God and termed ‘Elokim’. Until now we have studied the natural (mundane) world as a reflection of the spiritual worlds of the Divine. Here we find that an element of the mundane world, albeit a spiritual element—the soul—shares the same name—Elokim—as the pivotal name of the Periodic Table. If until now we have seen the Periodic Table as reflecting the Divine, we now understand that it also reflects the spiritual element within man. This is not entirely surprising as we know that the soul is itself a ‘part’ of the Divine.
As the name Elokim is the central building block for the Periodic Table of the physical elements, so we say that within man the name Elokim is instrumental in the expansion and development of consciousness. Consciousness is to mankind as the physical world is to God, and both are constructed using the pivotal name of Elokim. This is the meaning of the saying of the sages:
“I create worlds, you also will create worlds.  I wanted that just as I create, you will create.” The serpent tricked Eve into thinking that she could reach this level of creative consciousness through theft.  This could only fail.  Yet, the Creator wants this, for us to reach creative consciousness.  Thus all of our meditation on the Name Elokim is really about our souls (נשמה, neshamah).  Each level, the aleph, the hei, the yud, the lamed-mem, and the axis of six about which all the 86 (86 = Elokim) elements revolve, belongs to the soul of the Jew.  By studying the periodic table, we are studying aspects of our own souls.

14. Hydrogen As the Source of All Elements

It was mentioned above that hydrogen corresponds to the sefirah of Wisdom, and that by Wisdom God created all in the universe, as noted in the verse: You have made them all with Wisdom (Psalms 104:24).
This idea—that Wisdom, or its elemental parallel, hydrogen, is the source of all other matter in the universe—corresponds to the accepted contemporary theory of nucleosynthesis (element formation), which theorizes that all elements are created in the fusion reaction of hydrogen stars like our sun. In the cores of stars, hydrogen is fused into helium, helium into carbon (and sometimes into oxygen) and may include the formation of elements as heavy as iron (atomic number 26).
In our analysis of the Periodic Table we have seen that hydrogen corresponds to the letter aleph of the name Elokim. The Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidut, taught that all the other 21 letters of the alphabet originate from the letter aleph, another parallel to the theory of nucleosynthesis.

15. The Mathematical Series of the Element Groupings

We now have a complete structural scheme for understanding the spiritual correspondence of each of the 92 naturally occurring elements in the Periodic Table. We have seen that they can be divided into 4 basic groupings: hydrogen, the 6 inert gases, 15 non-metals and 70 metals. We now have a series of 4 numbers (which we have found by categorizing the 92 elements): 1, 6, 15, 70.
With this series in hand, we now turn to one of the most basic techniques of numerical analysis used in the inner wisdom of the Torah: series calculus. Whenever we have a series of numbers such as this, it is important, from both mathematical and Kabbalistic perspectives, to find the base of the series. Doing this is technically very simple as all that we need to do is find the differences between the numbers of the series, then the differences between the differences, and finally, in our case where we begin with 4 numbers, the difference between those, as follows:

numbers in series

1

6

15

70

difference between numbers in series

5

9

55

difference between differences

4

46

final difference / base of series

42

Thus the base of our series is 42. The Name with which the universe was created, is the 42 letter Name.  The very number that is the base of our analysis of the periodic table is the number that is the most related to the Creation by the sages, of which it is said “this is the gate to God, the righteous will come through it,” it is the name of 42 letters, with which the higher and the lower were created.

16. Group 1B Periodicity: Copper, Silver, and Gold

Following our analysis of the major periods in the Periodic Table, we now turn to a more local periodicity—that of the elements in Group 1B. Group 1B contains the three precious metals Copper (Cu), Silver (Ag) and Gold (Au). Apart from their being known as the 3 precious metals, these three elements were of particular significance in the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:1 – 26:30) as we shall see.
These elements’ group name—IB—signifies that the elements in the group share a similar orbital configuration to those in Group 1A (Hydrogen, Lithium, Sodium, etc.). More specifically, elements in Group IB always have one electron to donate—or, in our terminology, they are always just a little bit more than whole (shalem). The outer orbital configurations of these elements are:
Cu           3d104s1
Ag           4d105s1
Au           5d106s1
We see from the orbital configuration that these metals, copper, silver and gold, have an aspect of finishing a cycle and beginning a new one. In each of them, the specific d orbital is filled (completed) while the next s orbital commences filling.
‘Naye saider’ is a Yiddish idiom that expresses this same sentiment—where one phenomenon is completed and a new one commences, particularly in regards to stages or cycles in history. We might say of the IB elements that they reflect such a point in the Periodic Table, where one orbital completes and a new one begins. At this point a new beginning is made, a new derech, path.
It is acknowledged within the circles of Chassidut that when the Ba’al Shem Tov was born, a new order began in the world. Likewise, when the Messiah will come, a new order will begin as well .
By having only one electron in the s orbital, these elements, like their Group 1A counterparts, are the epitomic electron donors, or influencers (mashpi’im). Due to the outer s-orbital having only one electron, these three metals of Group IB, which served to build the Holy Temple, combine in theory with oxygen in the same manner as hydrogen, as explained above. More specifically, they would combine with Oxygen at a ration of 2:1 (2 atoms from group IB, for every Oxygen atom).
Noting that each of the group IB metals commence the filling of another s orbital, we may take a closer look specifically at the outer orbital configurations of the transition metals before and after copper (Cu):

element

Sc (21)

Ti (22)

V (23)

Cr (24)

Mn (25)

Fe (26)

Co (27)

Ni (28)

Cu (29)

Zn (30)

orbital

3d14s2

3d24s2

3d34s2

3d54s1

3d54s2

3d64s2

3d74s2

3d84s2

3d104s1

3d104s2

Table 9
Preceding copper (Cu), orbitals which have been filled are 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s,and 3p. In copper we find that 3d—the sixth orbital is completed while 4s—the seventh orbital—begins to be filled. Thus the seventh orbital is started with copper.
There is a well-known principle in Torah that “all sevenths are beloved” (כל השביעין חביבין ). Here we see this principle beautifully applied. The Tabernacle signifies the most ‘beloved’ place for God to dwell in the mundane world. It is only fitting that it be constructed from copper—the element commencing the filling of the seventh orbital.
Continuing our examination of copper specifically, let us quote from Exodus, where the Torah describes the offering required by the Children of Israel for the construction of the Tabernacle:
And God spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel that they should bring me an offering: of every man whose heart prompts him to give, you shall take my offering. And this is the offer that you shall take from them: gold and silver and copper…
In the original Hebrew text, the word for “copper” (נחשת ) is the 29th word from the beginning of the parshah. 29 is, of course, the elemental number of copper.
In the Torah, in the text just quoted, the group IB elements are ordered by heaviness (atomic mass): gold (79) silver (47) copper (29), the heaviest—gold—listed first. This order corresponds to reading the group IB elements from bottom to top.
In Aramaic, the only non-Hebrew language to which the sages have contributed a measure of sanctity, the Hebrew word for heavy (כבד , kaved) means precious (in Hebrew יקר , yakar). Some of this meaning has also been retained in the Hebrew word kavod, which means “importance” or “honor.” In any case, it is established that in Hebrew that which is heavy is also precious.
We see this in the Group IB elements. The heavier the element, the more precious it is considered. Gold is the most treasured , then silver, and, copper, the lightest is the least precious.
Another approach for analysing the significance of these three metals is their correspondence with the sefirot. In descending order of ‘heaviness’, gold is associated with the sefirah of Might (גבורה , gevurah); silver associated with loving-kindness (חסד , chesed); copper corresponds to Beauty (תפארת , tiferet). It is well known that the 3 patriarchs, Abraham Isaac and Jacob also correspond to these 3 sefirot, as follows:

loving-kindness (chesed)

Abraham

silver

might (gevurah)

Isaac

gold

beauty (tiferet)

Jacob

copper

Table 10
As we can see, gold the most precious corresponds with the patriarch Isaac. This parallel between Isaac and gold becomes meaningful when considering the future building of the 3rd Holy Temple. Of that time it is said (Isaiah 63:16):
כי אתה אבינו כי אברהם לא ידענו וישראל לא יכירנו אתה ידוד אבינו גאלנו מעולם שמך
For you are our father, for Abraham has not known us, and Israel has not recognized us, You God are our father, our savior, Your name is forever.
The sages (Shabbat 89b) explain this verse to mean that of all 3 patriarchs (Jacob is also known as Israel), it will be Isaac that will show special mercy on the Jewish people, his offspring, and will thus be the primary patriarch. The sages also relate that the 3rd Temple will be constructed entirely of gold.

* Based on two lectures given by Rabbi Ginsburgh, 9th of Elul 5753 (27/8/93) and 15th of Iyar 5761 (7/5/01); Transcribed and translated by Batya Eshel.

1. For a more thorough discussion of these ontological schemes in the 19th century see Nye, ch. 3.

2. Most notably in chapter 1 of part III of the Tanya, the basic work of abad assidism.

3. Avot 5:1; see BT Megillah 21b and elsewhere. For the identification of the 10 sefirot with the 10 ma’amarot, see Alter Rebbe’sTorah Or 53a, 82d and elsewhere. For a correspondence between the the 10 ma’amarot and the 10 Aristotlean philosophical categories see Maimonides, Introduction to Logic 10§4. For a correspondence between these 10 philosophical categories and thesefirot, see our audiotape (Hebrew) “Ten Types of Consciousness,” (Kfar abad: Gal Einai Publications, 1998).

4. Recently, new experimentation has led to the discovery of so-called ‘islands of stability’ in the superheavy elements; see Oganessian et. al., “Voyage to Superheavy Island” in Scientific American 282:1 (January 2000), pp. 45-49.

5. See his volume Ahavat Torah (Podgorza, 1905).

6. Meaning words that stem from different roots (שרשים , shorashim), the 2 or 3 letter combinations which serve to form words in semitic languages like Hebrew [technically, 2 letter roots are known as gates (שערים , sha’arim)].

7. Mar’eh Ha-adam ch. 3 (folio 2a).

8. Based on this view, R. Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement in 18th century Ukraine, taught that the Torah is universal in the sense that it is “relevant to every person at every moment in every location” (quoted ubiquitously in Toldot Yaakov Yosef by the Ba’al Shem Tov’s student, R. Yaakov Yosef the Maggid of Polanah).

9. In the original Hebrew these two viewpoints are: 1) תורה מדברת בתחתונים ורומזת בעליונים 2) תורה מדברת בעליונים ורומזת בשניות בתחתונים ; these specific idioms are from Asarah Ma’amarot, Ma’amar Chikur Din, III, ch. 23 by R. Moshe Azaria (Ramah) of Pano. They are originally based on R. Yishayah Horowitz, author of the Shnei Luot Habrit (Biozepaf, 5639) folios 10c – 11a. The second, Chassidic approach, seems to fit much better with the well known midrash (hermeneutic) statement: “He [God] looked in the Torah and created the world” (see Bereisheet Rabba 1:1)

10. ”דברה תורה בלשון בני אדם” ; Berachot 31b and elsewhere.

11. Note that following the first viewpoint, where the Torah is literally speaking of the mundane, this Talmudic dictum has no (or at most trivial) meaning.

12. The source of this non-Biblical word to describe nature warrants a discussion to itself, which is unfortunately beyond the scope of the present article.

13. As this name is considered one of the 7 sacred names of God, in most circumstances, it may not be pronounced as it is written. We have thus used the usual substitution Elokim for the original lettering. Where the numerical value of specific letters in this name are used, we have resorted to the original lettering, so as not to unnecessarily confuse the reader.

14. Rashiad. loc.

15. Genesis 18:16 – 19:28.

16. See Avot 5:10.

17. Genesis 31:42.

18. See Zohar I, 120a-b.

19. Hans Peter Jorgen Julius Thomsen (1826-1909), a Danish chemist, Professor of chemistry at the Polytechnic University in Copenhagen, most famous for his work in thermochemistry.

20. Sefer Yetzirah 1:1.

21. Genesis 1:1-31.

22. Most traditional commentaries on the Torah explain that chapter 2 of Genesis does not relate an ‘alternate’ story of creation, but is rather a second account, elucidating the first.

23. See Zohar III, 227a; Alter Rebbe’s Likutei Torah III, 36d.

24. The source for the sefirah of Crown being sub-divided into 3 ‘heads’ or ‘crowns’ is Zohar III, 288a ff. See also Mishnah Avot4:13: “R. Shimon says: there are 3 crowns – the Crown of Torah, the Crown of Priesthood and the Crown of Sovereignty”. In Hassidut it is explained that the 3 ‘heads’ or ‘crowns’ in the sefirah of Crown are alluded to in the 3 laurels found in the vessels of the Holy Sanctuary built by Moshe in the desert. These laurels were made to encircle the Ark of the Covenant (seeExodus 25:11), the Table (ibid 25:24) and the Altar of Incense (ibid 30:3).

25. Conway and Guy (1996: 33-8) designate triangular numbers in a somewhat different manner as: Dn. We retain our original notation here and throughout.

26. Israel Omer Fromansky, The Four Elements and the Seven metals. Audio Tape (Rehovot, Israel: Gal Einai Publications, 1993).

27. Meiman (מימן ), like its english equivalent—hydrogen, actually derives from the Hebrew word for water (מים , mayim).

28. Additional mathematical equivalencies to the Periodic Table arise from this equation:

Note that 86, the ‘sum of triangles,’ can be split: ∆1 ^ ∆6 ^ ∆7 = 50, while ∆8 = 36. This division of 86 into 50 and 36 plays a major role in the Kabbalistic exposition of the Name Elokim (see Tikunei Zohar §49, folio 85b; Zohar I, 1b; ibid II, 231b-232a), based on the verse: “Lift up your eyes on high and behold who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26), or in the Hebrew original: שאו מרום עיניכם וראו מי ברא אלה . מי (who) = 50 and אלה (these things) = 36.

Additionally, the ‘sum of squares’ of 1, 6, and 7 = 12 ^ 62 ^ 72 = 86; while 82 = 64. This reveals the important relationship between 86 and 64: 86 = Elokim (אלהים ) and 64 = Din (דין ). The Name of Elokim is directly related to the the sefirah of Might(גבורה , gevurah)—it is sometimes even called the Name of Might—which is also referred to as Judgment (דין , din).

29. For a more rigorous discussion of this mathematical tool, see appendix B.

30. Psalms 118

31. Zohar II, 234a; III, 256b. One form [see Tikunei Zohar, §69 (fs. 103b-104a)] of the Name of 42 Letters is recited a number of times in the daily prayers. In the Talmud (Tractate Kidushin 71a), we find a direct reference to the Name of 42 letters:

Said Rav Yehuda, said Rav: the Name of 42 letters is not to be given but to one who is modest and is humble and stands in mid-life and does not anger nor get drunk, and does not act harshly. And he who knows the name, and is careful with it, and keeps it pure, is beloved above and liked below and is feared by all creatures and inherits two worlds, this world and the coming world.

32. The Messiah is destined to reveal a completely new understanding in the Torah, about which the sages have said that “the Torah of our day is like naught when compared to the Torah of the Messiah.” Of course, the text of the Torah will not change, only its understanding.

33. It is interesting to note that the objective basis for the value we attribute to gold is not clear at all. For more on this question see “Puzzling Over Gold’s Allure” in Johns Hopkins Magazine, June 2000 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University) or internet, www.jhu.edu/~jhumag/0600web/oncampus.html.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org

Where Kabbalah Kisses Science

Where Kabbalah Kisses Science:
Three Points of Interface

The Quest For Unity

Science, in its quest to reveal the underlying unity within nature, constantly finds itself returning to the origins of the universe–to the primordial “day one” (“yom echad“) of Creation.. The universe, in its present state, is too cool and solid for one to find within it an intimation of such unity. Only amid the energy and heat that reigned at the very inception of time and space, could all the forces and elements of nature meld into one. Such are the premises that underlie the unified field and “big bang” theories. Should one seek the even deeper unity that binds “existence” to “non-existence,” then it becomes necessary to propose even more obscure theories–such as string theory– which exude an almost meta-physical character. The quest for unity starts with the generally accepted principle in modern physics that time shares a common “geography” with space: just as all points in space co-exist along a single continuum, so too do all points in time – past, present, and future – simultaneously distribute within the same network.

The cosmological process that produced this space-time continuum is presently understood by many to have taken place in four stages–the first three of which are derived from the “string” theorists while the last is popularly known as the “big bang theory”: First, the mathematical properties and relations governing space-time had to be defined or “created”. Next, in a single quantum leap, “something-ness” emerged spontaneously out of that “abstraction”. At that point, a great “inflation” of the universe occurred wherein it expanded, instantaneously, to the order of 10 to the 50th power. Finally, the “big bang” unleashed the full thrust of its force from within a single point inside that inflated universe. From then on, the universe as we know it began expanding–albeit infinitely slower than it had up till then–congealing into its present state as its structural elements proceeded to cool down.

In Kabbalistic terms, these four stages can be viewed as corresponding to the four-letter sequence of God’s ineffable Name–Yud Hei Vav Hei, the model upon which all meditation directed at God and Creation is based. The first letter of His Name, the scintilla-like Yud, represents the initial “contraction” (tzimtzum) of Divine light from which was produced the primordial vacuum of space and time. The second letter of His Name, the spatially–expanded Hei, represents the initial emergence of created-being ex nihilo. The third letter, the linear Vav (possessing the numerical-value of 6), symbolizes the sudden extension of that being into all six directions of space. It also hints at the premise contained within string theory that there exist an additional six hidden dimensions which are actually “enfolded” within the four that we commonly identify. Finally, the repetition of the letter Hei at the end of God’s Name hints once again at the idea of expansion–this time, the final expansion of the universe whereby it settled into its Divinely-intended form.

The assumption of an underlying unity within Creation brings with it the concomitant belief in a consummate state of symmetry having characterized the incipient universe. (The mathematics of modern physics utilizes symmetry-groups when it wants to cancel out “undesirable” conceptual phenomena such as infinities.) As the stages of creation progress, this initial state of symmetry in the universe appears to break down. Thus, any return to the primordial unity of creation would seem to imply a corresponding return to maximal symmetry.

The final verse of chapter Genesis in the Bible (5:8) refers to the chen (pleasantness or favor) that Noah found in the eyes of God. The term chen is understood in Chassidic thought to imply the particular kind of graceful beauty that derives from the possession of innate symmetry. Noah, who represented the last vestige of natural grace left in Creation after the great moral decline that brought on the flood, was identified in the eyes of God as a source of chen–as intimated by the fact that the Hebrew letters of his name–the nun and the chet–form a mirror image of the word chen. Thus Noach’s finding chen in the eyes of God figuratively suggests the identification of sufficient symmetry within Creation to arouse Divine compassion and save the world from utter destruction. The pupil of the eye is actually referred to in Hebrew as the ishon–literally, “little man” – perhaps hinting at the image of Noah which occupied the center of God’s vision while assessing the future of His creation.

The Bible commonly refers to the eye as the ultimate gauge of chen. The role that symmetry plays in the process of visual perception is clearly expressed through the function of the lens which generates an inverted image of the visual cue upon the retina that is only afterwards reprocessed by the brain so as to produce the rectified image that we actually see. This indicates to us that the way to discover the hiddenchen of the universe is to try and envision an “inversion” of reality–whereby Divinity is fully revealed while Creation’s material aspect recedes into abstraction.

The Descent of Creation to a State of Rest

Another foundation of modern physics is cited as the postulate stating that all physical structures tend toward their lowest possible energy level. This fundamental principle is reflected in the Kabbalistic doctrine of “descending worlds” whereby Creation is viewed as descending from the infinite energy of Divine Being into the stasis of material reality. The purpose of this descent is ultimately to provide God with a “dira b’tachtonim“–a “dwelling-place in the lowest realms”–where the Glory of His Kingdom might become eminently manifest by virtue of the effect that the service of Torah and mitzvot have upon the created order.

The revelation of Divine Majesty which will attend the final rectification of our physical world will far outshine any previous revelation of Godliness in the history of Creation. For this reason the tendency to “descend into materiality” overpowered the initial state of sublime symmetry which characterized incipient Creation. The universe is in essence seeking out that “lowest energy state” from within which it is destined to manifest a radical new symmetry within Creation: that which harmonizes God’s primordial perfection with the deficient realm of material reality.

In Kabbalah, the property of “descent” associated with the material realm achieves its ultimate expression in water – which by nature flows downward, seeking out the lowest ground. The opposing property of spiritual ascent is modeled in the flame of fire, consuming matter in its attempt to ascend upward. Ultimately, the force of gravity associated with water supersedes the force of lightness connected with fire–just as the world’s grounding in materiality over-rides its inner desire to be consumed within Divinity.

According to most physicists, the universe has already achieved its lowest level of energy distribution. This would mean, according to Kabbalistic faith, that the world is about to enter into a new state of symmetry. The Sabbath can be seen as providing the ultimate metaphor for this new reality.

We should try to envision Creation as a process which proceeds from one sabbatical state of balance and harmony to another. The first “Sabbath”–identifiable with the infinite expanse of Divine Light that initially permeated all reality–was a reflection of God’s “first thought” regarding the imminent Creation that was to follow: that it be constructed upon the principle of “din”–strict measure contributing to ideal form. The symmetry implied by this program was one of perfect uniformity, as inspired by the absolute One-ness of the Divine Light out of which it was conceived.

A deeper intention, however, emerged with God’s decision to jointly apply, together with “din,” the principle of “rachamim“–Divine compassion. It was this attribute that was responsible for the “tolerant” form that Creation eventually took – one which accommodated the imperfections of finite material reality. Having begun its “descent,” the universe set out on the mysterious course toward the “Sabbath-to-come” when the world will be redeemed from its restlessness and turbulence.

The above depiction of the opposing principles at work in Creation is reflected in the famous Midrash describing how the two attributes of chesed (“Benevolence”) and emmet (“Truth”) appeared before God prior to Creation and argued over whether the world should indeed be brought into being. Truth demanded that this world not be created as it would eventually become filled with the “asymmetry” of lies and falsehood; Benevolence, arguing that a material creation can never justify itself, demanded that the world be created nonetheless if only by merit of God’s Kindness as well as the opportunity it gives us to enrich one another.

The Midrash concludes of course with God’s favoring the position of Benevolence as He proceeds to “cast Truth to the ground”–an act that reflects His desire that strict idealism be tempered by empathy and consideration for the limitations of finite existence. Implicit in this act is the wish that “Benevolence and Truth meet each other, Justice and Peace kiss; that Truth spring out of the earth and Justice look down from Heaven.” It is the revealed symmetry between Benevolence and Truth that will grace Creation as it enters into its eternal Sabbath-day.

Recognizing Creation’s true purpose and destiny necessitates that the Divine Soul enclothe itself within a physical body. Only then can man fulfill God’s Will through the grounded pursuit of Torah and mitzvahservice. Ultimately the fulfillment of this mandate will serve to arouse a revolutionary Divine spirit laying dormant within the universe. The successful awakening of this spirit will expose God’s true intention in generating the descent of Creation: the ultimate sanctification of His Name and Kingdom along with the ascent of Mankind and all reality to a plane infinitely higher than that from which they initially set out.

The majesty of the Messianic age – the eternal Sabbath of the future–is a reality that we slowly construct through the Divinely revealed discipline of thought, word, and deed which shapes every passing day of life in this world. It is a discipline that, by allowing us to refine our consciousness of the Divine perfection underlying reality, renders us all architects of a new world order. The perfection of the Sabbath is immutable and eternal; only our consciousness is subject to the variance and distortion imposed upon it by the material shell in which it is encased. By neutralizing the effect of that shell, we simply free the soul’s native awareness of Divinity so that it can assert itself supremely and thereby illuminate the true essence of material reality. Thus, the culmination of this process requires that every last semblance of material-being be illuminated and “clarified” by our consciousness of the Divine. This is the reason that Creation must descend to its lowest level before the hidden symmetry of the Sabbath can manifest itself forever and ever.

Our present physical reality bears little hint of the future greatness for which it is destined. What we perceive with regard to the “descent of Creation” is the related physical phenomenon of “entropy” whereby the universe appears to be proceeding inexorably forward in time toward greater and greater decomposition. The force of entropy is reflected in the Kabbalistic concept of Tohu (chaos). The eventual defeat of Tohu through the force of Tikun (rectified order and symmetry) is not evident at the macrocosmic plane of human experience, just as time-reversal and many other proven phenomena of quantum reality are not.

But from the wondrous realm of subatomic reality–the hidden microcosm which only God can “know” directly–numerous intimations of Creation’s true character surface. Elementary particles move backward in time, leaving “footprints” that are experimentally observable. Thus, the force of Tikun–of negative-entropy–can be said to reside safely within the realm of the infinitely small. Man accesses that force by rendering himself equally small and humble so as to share in God’s unobstructed vision of reality.

In conclusion, we now see how three fundamental tenets of modern science–the underlying unity of nature, the uncertainty built into subatomic reality, and the universe’s tendency toward increasing dissipation–end up “kissing” Kabbalistic belief at three junctures: the primordial past (belief in the initial Divine unity out of which Creation was conceived), the continuous present moment (belief in the ongoing construction of reality through refined consciousness), and the developing future (belief in the higher unity that will assert itself once every last element within Creation is illuminated by the soul).

The Uncertainty Principle

Next to the underlying unity of nature, the most “enlightened” focus of modern scientific inquiry can be thought of as the intimate relationship between consciousness and the laws of physical reality. The uncertainty principle of quantum physics, which in essence establishes the impossibility of simultaneously determining certain pairs of subatomic phenomena (such as position and momentum), implies that the very act of human observation–or “consciousness”–irrevocably affects one of the properties which one is observing. Physicists disagree as to what degree of consciousness is necessary to the measurement of physical reality. Nevertheless, the implication remains–as supported by the corresponding meta-physics of Kabbalah–that consciousness can determine of its own the nature of the world we seek to know.

The uncertainty principle is a good example of how the fundamentals of modern physics can contradict the axioms of common sense. Ultimately, the intellectual courage to challenge the consensus of reason derives from the suprarational force of faith inherent within the Divine soul. Before the advent of quantum physics, science believed that determinism ruled the universe. Now, with the principle of uncertainty, it has become clear that nature cannot be explained in purely causal mechanistic terms. The most we could talk about is “probability”, thus leaving room to re-accommodate such “unscientific” phenomena as free-will and moral responsibility which had been entirely dismissed by earlier scientific thinkers.

The litany of modern physics is replete with assaults upon common sense: the speed of light remains constant regardless of the circumstances surrounding its measurement; energy-changes in the universe occur at fixed “quantum” intervals (Planck’s constant) rather than in contiguous increments. These two “constants” in nature–”c” (the speed of light) and “h” (the quantum-energy unit)–change forever the way we conceive classical concepts such as “infinity” and “zero”. A third “constant” in nature, derived from these first two and positioned–as it were–between them , is the “inverse of fine-structure constant” equal to the “pure” (i.e. dimension-less) number of 137. (The number 137 is also the numerical equivalent of the word Kabbalah in Hebrew.) Together, these three constants comprise a set that corresponds to the sequence of stages in one’s service of God explained elsewhere in Chassidic tradition.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org

Mystical Judaism’s Perspective on Nutrition

Biology and Nutrition

Mystical Judaism’s Perspective on Eating Right

(note: Regular font face is from Biology by Miller and Levine (Prentice Hall), pp. 971-6, a common high school textbook used in the US. Text in blue boxes was written by Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh.)
How important is food in your life? Before you answer, think of two American holidays: Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day. What comes to mind? No matter where you live, chances are that meals are the centerpieces of these special days. To most of us, food is more than just nourishment—it is an important part of our culture. Human societies throughout the world organize meetings and family gatherings around food.

Food and Energy

Have you ever wondered why you need to eat food? The most obvious answer is to obtain energy. You need energy to climb stairs, lift books, run, and even to think. Just as a car needs gasoline, your body needs food for all that work, and food is your fuel. Cells convert the chemical energy stored in the sugar glucose and other molecules into ATP.

Let us look at the question, “why you need to eat food?” from a deeper perspective.
Most people (unfortunately) go about their daily routine of providing for their bodies what nature requires – eating, drinking, sleeping etc. – without paying much attention to what these activities and functions mean on a spiritual plane. The questions that we need to ask are: Why did God create me this way? Why do I have to eat in order to obtain energy?
The Torah teaches us that, “Man does not live on bread alone, but rather man lives on the word of the mouth of God.”1 In the Torah, the word “bread” refers to food in general, not just to bread. What the above verse is teaching us is that within the “bread” we eat is invested Divine life-force, and, moreover, that it is important for us to know that this life-force is coming directly from God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life (and, indeed, of all reality).
If we eat our food with this realization in mind, we can extract the Divine life-force or Divine spark that is the inner essence of the food. As a result, the level of nutrition—both physical as well as cognitive and spiritual nutrition—that we gain from the food will be much greater than if we eat without this realization in mind.

The energy available in food can be measured in a surprisingly simple way—by burning the food! When food is burned, the energy content of the food is converted to heat, which is measured in terms of calories. The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius is 1 calorie. Scientists refer to the energy stored in food as dietary Calories with a capital C. One Calorie is equal to 1000 calories, or 1 kilocalorie (kcal).

By burning food, the energy content is converted to heat. In the Jewish mindset, the burning of food immediately takes us to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where every day, numerous sacrifices were burnt on the altar. The burning of a sacrifice would result in the elevation of the energy trapped in the sacrifice to a higher spiritual plane, dedicating it to holiness and purity.
Though the Temple has not yet been rebuilt, the sages reveal that even today, every table on which we eat symbolizes the altar in the Temple upon which the sacrifices were burnt. Knowing that our table is symbolic of the altar and that the food we consume releases energy in a way similar to a sacrifice adds a new dimension to our meals. Whenever we eat, we should have in mind that we are raising the energy of the food in offering to God, i.e., that we intend to use the energy that we gain from the food to serve God.
Only kosher food releases its energy in a manner conducive to serving God, raising our consciousness level (if we so intend when eating) such that we can recognize God’s Presence in our lives and devote our lives to His service.
In Hebrew, the language of creation, the word for “life,” or “life-force,” chaim is related to the word for “heat,” chom. The Ba’al Shem Tov used to place his hand on the heart of a child and bless him: “Be a warm Jew.” In the Temple, fire would descend from heaven to consume the sacrifices offered on the altar. Likewise, when eating we should have in mind to connect with the essence of this holy fire. In other words, when you connect with this fire that is always descending from heaven to grant life below, the result will be a warming of the heart, making it burn with desire to serve God. The Ba’al Shem Tov used to send his disciples to observe how simple Jews eat with the pure, innate intention of “burning up” the energy in the food for God.

The energy needs of an average-sized teenager are about 2200 Calories per day for females and about 2800 Calories per day for males. If you engage in vigorous physical activity, however, your needs may be higher.
Chemical pathways in your body’s cells can extract energy from almost any type of food. Why then does it matter which foods you eat? Although most of the food you eat is used as fuel, a certain amount of food you eat has other important functions. Food supplies the raw materials used to build and repair body tissues. Some of these raw materials are used to manufacture new biomolecules. These include the proteins that regulate cellular reactions, the phospholipids in cell membranes, and DNA—your genetic material.
Food also contains at least 45 substances that the body needs but cannot manufacture.
The science of nutrition—the study of food and its effects on the body—tries to determine how to help the body meet all of its various needs. Based on their research, nutritionists recommend balanced diets that include many different types of food. They also plan diets for people with particular needs, such as diabetics.

Nutrients

Nutrients are substances in food that supply the energy and raw materials your body uses for growth, repair, and maintenance. The nutrients that the body needs are water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

The Torah classifies the basic needs of every human being into the following five categories:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter

These five categories correspond to various aspects of the Torah’s mystical model of our psyche. Let us see how:
When healthy, we are generally not conscious of our breathing air. Thus, air corresponds to our super-conscious faculty called the sefirah of crown. Water is likened to our faculty (or sefirah) of wisdom, which is responsible for providing us with new insights. Like water, which flows downhill, from a high place to a low place, the insights of our wisdom flow down from their source in our super-conscious crown. Whereas air and water represent relatively unconscious or autonomous processes in the psyche, foodrepresents ingestion and integration of external nutrients into our internal being. In the psyche, the integration of spiritual food, meaning the teachings of the Torah, is achieved by the faculty (or sefirah) of understanding. Clothing represents the emotive attributes of the psyche. Finally, shelter, that is, our home, represents our social nature. As human beings, we are family and community oriented. This requires us to bring out our potential for leadership, which is associated with our faculty (or sefirah) of kingdom.
It is customary to picture such a correspondence in chart form, based on the traditional way of organizing the soul’s faculties:

crown (keter)
air

understanding (binah)
food

wisdom (chochmah)
water

emotive faculties (loving-kindness thru foundation)
clothing

kingdom (malchut)
shelter

We can now recognize that among the six nutrients required by the body, water is a separate category (it corresponds to wisdom) from the other five (which correspond to understanding). Still, all six are necessary for the body’s healthy functioning. In Kabbalah, we are taught that wisdom and understanding constitute an inseparable pair, which is why water and the other five nutrients are listed together. Wisdom is also known as the father principle (water) and understanding as the mother principle (the other five nutrients) of the psyche.
While the father principle is essentially singular, the mother principle is described as complex and composed of five components. Wisdom and understanding (or the father and mother principles) correspond to the first two letters, yud (י ) and hei (ה ) of God’s essential Name, Havayah (also known as the Tetragrammaton). The letter yud is described as a dimensionless point alluding to wisdom being essentially singular and corresponding to water as a category in itself. The numerical value of the letter hei is 5, thus providing us with another allusion to the five nutrients that correspond to understanding and the mother principle.
In Kabbalah, the five components of the mother principle, or understanding, subdivide into 3 and 2. The five nutrients subdivide in a similar way: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats form one subdivision; vitamins and the minerals form the second.

Water The most important nutrient is water. Every cell in the human body needs water because many of the body’s processes, including chemical reactions, take place in water. Water makes up the bulk of the blood, lymph, and other body fluids. On hot days, or when you take part in strenuous exercise, sweat glands remove water from your tissues and release it as sweat in the surface of your body. As the water in sweat evaporates, it cools the body. In this way, sweating helps maintain homeostasis. Water vapor is also lost from the body with every breath you exhale and in urine.

Wisdom (water) is referred to as “the point [that is] present uniformly [throughout the entire body].” Every cell in the body needs water. Water is the source of life; in the Torah, spring waters are called “living waters.”2 Spiritually, wisdom is the source of life, as in the verse “wisdom gives life,” and so the study of Torah (Divine wisdom) is likened to water. In the words of the sages, “water refers to the Torah.”3

Humans need to drink at least 1 liter of water each day. If enough water is not taken in to replace what is lost, dehydration can result. This condition leads to problems with the circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. Drinking plenty of clean water is one of the best things you can do to help keep your body healthy.

Carbohydrates Simple and complex carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. The sugars found in fruits, honey, and sugar cane are simple carbohydrates, or monosaccharides and disaccharides. The starches found in grains, potatoes and vegetables are complex carbohydrates, or polysaccharides. Starches are broken down by the digestive system into simple sugars. These molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to cells throughout the body. Sugars that are not immediately used to supply energy are converted into the complex carbohydrate glycogen, which is stored in the liver and in skeletal muscles.
Many foods contain the complex carbohydrate cellulose that is often called fiber. Although the human digestive system cannot break cellulose, you need fiber in your diet. The bulk supplied by fiber helps muscles to keep food and wastes moving through your digestive and excretory systems. Foods such as whole-grain breads, bran, and many fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber.

As mentioned, the five nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) correspond to the source of the five emotive energies inherent in the sefirah of understanding (the mother principle). The five are:
s (1) love, (2) fear, and (3) compassion—the three primary emotive energies, and
s (4) confidence and (5) sincerity—the two secondary emotive energies.
Let us picture the correspondence between the five nutrients and the five sources of the emotive energies in chart form:

might (gevurah)
proteins

loving-kindness (chesed)
carbohydrates

beauty (tiferet)
fats

acknowledgment (hod)
minerals

victory (netzach)
vitamins

Carbohydrates, commonly known as sugars (sweets), correspond to the source of the emotive energy of love inherent in understanding. There are two types of love:
s intellectual love (attraction that is aroused by the intellectual contemplation of an object worthy to love) and
s natural love (innate love that arouses naturally, spontaneously and without contemplation).
These two love-types correspond to the simple carbohydrates and the complex carbohydrates:
Intellectual love corresponds to complex carbohydrates.
Natural love corresponds to simple carbohydrates. 

Fats Fats, or lipids, are an important part of a healthy diet. Fats are formed from fatty acids and glycerol. Your body needs certain fatty acids, called essential fatty acids, to produce cell membranes, myelin sheaths, and certain hormones. Fatty acids also help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. When a person eats more food than is needed, the body stores the extra energy as fat. Deposits of fat protect body organs and insulate the body.
Based on the structure of their fatty acid chains, fats are classified as saturated or unsaturated. When there are only single bonds between the carbon atoms in the fatty acids, each carbon atom has the maximum number of hydrogen atoms and the fat is said to be saturated. Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature—including butter and other animal fats.
Unsaturated fats have at least one double bond in a fatty acid chain. Unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Because many vegetable oils contain more than one double bond, they are called polyunsaturated. Figure 38-4 shows foods that contain both saturated and unsaturated fats.
People often consume more fat than they actually need. The American Heart Association recommends a diet with a maximum of 30 percent of Calories from fat, of which only 10 percent should be from saturated fats. The health consequences of a diet high in fat are serious. They include an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Fats correspond to the source of the emotive energy of compassion inherent in understanding.
In Kabbalah, compassion is referred to as “the [torso of the] body,” which is either fat or slim. In Hebrew, the word for “fat” is cognate to the word for “oil.” Interestingly, because of this, a “fat body” is usually an idiom implying a healthy, or, “well oiled” body. Thus, caring for one’s health is akin to having compassion for one’s body. Still, it is important to note that too much concern for one’s physical health, i.e., too much compassion for the body translates into too much fat! If an individual is not conscious of his or her real purpose in life, over-attention to the body may lead to an obsessive concern for health and result in the very opposite of good health!
Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature while unsaturated fats are usually liquid. In Kabbalah, saturation relates to the presence of the faculty of knowledge within compassion. Such saturation translates in practice into a keen sense of knowing toward whom one should express compassion and how to express that compassion. The more saturated (meaning, the more knowledge is present in one’s compassion), the more solidified one’s feeling and implementation of compassion.
There is a Kabbalistic model that relates the four most basic atomic elements with the emotive faculties. Let us draw this model in its traditional format:

fear
carbon (C)

love
hydrogen (H)

compassion
oxygen (O)

¦

lowliness
nitrogen (N)

In Kabbalah, it is the faculty of knowledge (graphically situated just above and between love and fear) that is the source and which binds love and fear. Using this model we can also write the equivalent statement: knowledge is what binds hydrogen and carbon atoms.

Proteins Proteins have a wide variety of roles in the body. Proteins supply raw material for growth and repair of structures such as skin and muscle. Proteins have regulatory and transport functions. For example, the hormone insulin is a protein that regulates the level of sugar in the blood. Hemoglobin, a protein found in blood, helps the blood transport oxygen.
Proteins are polymers of amino acids. The body is able to synthesize only 12 of the 20 amino acids used to make proteins. The other 8, which are listed in Figure 8-5, are called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be obtained from the food that you eat. Meat, fish, eggs, and milk generally contain all 8 essential amino acids. Foods derived from plants, such as grains and beans, do not. People who don’t eat animal products must eat a combination of plant foods, such as beans and rice, to obtain all of the essential amino acids.

Proteins correspond to the source of the emotive energy of fear inherent in understanding.
Somewhat surprisingly, psychologically and spiritually, fear is manifest in the psyche as might. The explanation for this is that a person’s might represents the strength necessary to face his fears and to overcome the object or objects of fear. On the physical plane, in the body, might is manifest as muscular strength, which comes from proteins.
Proteins have regulatory functions. For example, the hormone insulin is a protein that regulates the level of sugar in the blood. In Kabbalah, we are taught that fear also has a regulatory function. Fear regulates love (just as with regard to too much compassion, too much love, or unregulated love, may have negative results).
As noted, proteins are polymers of amino acids. In general, the spiritual psychological equivalents of acids derive from the emotive energy of fear/might in the human psyche.

Vitamins If you think of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins as the fuel of an automobile, then vitamins are the ignition. Vitamins are organic molecules that help regulate body processes, often working with enzymes. Most vitamins must be obtained from food. However, the bacteria that live in the digestive tract are able to synthesize vitamin K. The skin is able to synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. A diet lacking certain vitamins can have serious, even fatal consequences.
There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K can be stored in the fatty tissues of the body. The body can build up small stores of these vitamins for future use.
The water-soluble vitamins, include vitamin C and the B vitamins, dissolve in water and cannot be stored in the body. Therefore, they should be included in the foods you eat each day. Eating a diet containing a variety of food will supply the daily vitamin needs of nearly everyone.
Food stores and pharmacies sell vitamin supplements. Taking extra-large doses of vitamin supplements does not benefit the body; and, in some cases, it may cause real harm. Excessive amounts of vitamins A, D, E, and K can be toxic.

Vitamins correspond to the source of the emotive energy of confidence inherent in understanding.
Vitamins are organic molecules, in contrast to minerals, which are inorganic nutrients, as we shall explain. Minerals correspond to the source of the emotive energy of sincerity. In Kabbalah, confidence and sincerity are described as two sides of one coin.4 Indeed, like confidence and sincerity, their psychological counterparts, vitamins and minerals work together as two sides of one coin.
Let us redraw the two models we have been discussing in one composite chart:

 

understanding (binah)
other nutrients

wisdom (chochmah)
water

 

might (gevurah)
proteins

loving-kindness (chesed)
carbohdyrates

beauty (tiferet)
fats

acknowledgment (hod)
minerals

victory (netzach)
vitamins

In this composite chart, we clearly see that vitamins (the sefirah of victory) are situated at the bottom end of the right axis, which begins with water. Following the normative order of the sefirot, vitamins (victory) follow fats (beauty). So vitamins relate to both water and to fats. This is the Kabbalistic source for why there are two types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble.
But, now let us see how the Kabbalistic analysis interprets these two types of vitamins. Psychologically, the fat-soluble vitamins represent confidence as it is based on the experience of compassion. In other words, one type of self-confidence is the product of my experience of God as always near me because of His mercy towards me. In this respect, self-confidence is warranted as God is always eager to give us the power to succeed in achieving our life goals.
In contrast, water-soluble vitamins represent total reliance and confidence in God, our Father in Heaven (remember that water corresponds to wisdom, which is also known as the father principle). Water nurtures confidence, but not a feeling of self-confidence. Indeed, here too the physical plane mirrors the spiritual/psychological plane, because excessive amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins, just like overt self-confidence, can be toxic.

Minerals Inorganic nutrients that the body needs, usually in small amounts, are called minerals. Some examples of minerals are calcium, iron and magnesium. Calcium is a major component of bones and teeth; and iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. Calcium, sodium and potassium are required for the normal function of nerves.
Although the body does not metabolize the minerals it takes in, it does lose many of them in sweat, urine, and other waste products. How are these important chemicals replaced? Many of these elements are found in the living tissues of plants and other animals. By eating a variety of foods, you can meet your daily requirements of minerals.

Minerals correspond to the source of the emotive energy of sincerity inherent in understanding.
Sincerity implies simplicity, in our context alluding to simple, inorganic chemical elements necessary for our bodies to function properly. As mentioned above, confidence and sincerity function together as two partners. In Kabbalah, they are depicted as two legs, neither of which, when walking, can function without the other.
One of the most important examples of a mineral necessary for the body to function is iron, needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The blood flow, which carries oxygen, the “breath of life,” to all of the body’s cells is symbolized in Kabbalah by physiological walking or traveling. It is controlled by the psychological power of sincerity.

Nutrition and a Balanced Diet

It is not an easy task to figure out the balance of nutrients for the human diet, but nutritionists have tried to do exactly that. The result is the Food Guide Pyramid. The Food Guide Pyramid classifies food in six groups. It also indicates how many servings from each group should be eaten every day to maintain a healthy diet. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates are the base of the pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are foods such as fats and sweets, which should be used sparingly. Some foods in other groups also contain fats and sweets so you should keep that in mind when choosing foods from these foods. The basic idea behind the pyramid is sound and simple—you should eat a variety of foods each day and limit your intake of fatty, sugary foods.
Food labels can also be used to choose healthful foods. A food label provides some general information about nutrition, listing the Daily Values and the Calories per gram of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The daily value shows you how the particular food fits into the overall diet. Keep in mind that daily values are based on a 2000-Calorie diet. Nutrients needs are affected by age, gender and lifestyle. Rapidly growing adolescents and other groups of people need more nutrients than the daily values indicate.
When choosing foods, you should use the information on food labels to compare similar foods on the basis of their proportion of nutrients to Calories. When you choose a food, it should be high in nutrition and low in Calories.

Let us now see how the basic rules for a healthy physical diet translate into guides for a healthy spiritual life. As we saw above, foods rich in complex carbohydrates represent intellectually inspired love (for both God and mankind). Just as complex carbohydrates serve as the base of our physical diet, intellectually inspired love, derived from in-depth study of the Torah and meditative prayer form the basis of a healthy spiritual and religious life.
One should limit one’s intake of fatty, sugary foods. Likewise, as explained above, too much unregulated love (sugary foods) or compassion (fats) for one’s self may be negative for one’s overall well-being.
Of course, the energy released from the food that we eat will help us ascend in our service of God and mature in character only if the food is kosher according to the laws of the Torah. Non-kosher food nurtures negative character traits, preventing us from serving our Creator with humility and joy.
A healthy body requires a healthy soul—the two are totally interdependent. In Hebrew, the initials of “body” (guf) and “soul” (neshamah) spell the word for “garden” (gan). A kosher, well balanced diet, together with proper, Divinely oriented consciousness, brings us back to the unadulterated state of the Garden of Eden, where God placed us before the primordial sin of eating that which G-d had forbidden. Just as mankind was exiled from the Edenic state because of choosing to eat unwisely, so our return to the Edenic state depends on our most basic drive: our need to eat.

1. Deuteronomy 8:3.

2. See Genesis 26:19.

3. Bava Kama 82a.

4. Confidence is the inner aspect of the sefirah of victory, while sincerity is the inner aspect of the sefirah of acknowledgment. These two sefirot are described in the Zoharas two halves of one body.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org

Kabbalah and Medicine: The Healing of Body and Soul Part 12

Kabbalah and Medicine

WB01440_.gif (323 bytes) The Healing of Body and Soul  WB01440_.gif (323 bytes)

Part 12

Physiological Systems according to Kabbalah – The Extended Model(1)

From the basic analysis of the body in the previous chapter we can proceed to a more detailed analysis where each of the ten properties of the soul is explicitly related to a physiological system in the body. As with regard to many models, when analyzed in parallel to the basic frame of reference of Kabbalah, the ten sefirot, the ten general soul properties sub-divide further in the course of analysis–in this presentation they are in fact broken into twelve categories when seen to correspond to the basic physiological systems of the body.

The first property, the super-conscious crown, corresponds to the respiratory system, the physical conduit through which the spirit of life enters the body. When God created man, He “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The breath of life comes from God on high, the source of all life. In breathing, we internalize that which is exterior to us; we inhale from that which is above us. The Hebrew word for “inhaling” (she’ifah) means as well “aspiration.” Thus, breathing is an expression of the soul’s innate desire to ascend and go beyond its conscious self, into the realm of its super-conscious link to Divinity (as experienced in its super-rational faith, pleasure, and will).

Chochmah, the yud in God’s Name, corresponds to the bone marrow. Major medical research now regards bone marrow as a system in its own right. Bone marrow is responsible for producing blood cells–the most basic biological unit in the body. Just as bone marrow produces these blood cells, so too, everything stems from chochmah, since “You have made everything with wisdom.”

Binah, which is on the left side of the sefirotic tree, is associated with the blood itself, now considered to be a physiological system in its own right (in addition to the system of the blood vessels). Binah, which means “to build,” receives its raw material from chochmah, the bone marrow, expanding its encoded information. In Kabbalah, binah is referred to as the “mother” whose primary contributions to the formation of her child are the red aspects of his or her body, as is stated in the Talmud. In contrast, chochmah is referred to as the “father,” who generates the white aspects of the body, such as the bones.

These two relatively abstract physiological systems–the bone marrow and the blood–assume the general roles of “father” and “mother” in the body and function together in perfect union. In Kabbalah, the continual union of the “father” and “mother” principles is responsible for the ongoing creation of reality. In the words of the Zohar: the father (here, the bone marrow) and the mother (here, the blood) are “two partners that never separate.” Their union, expressing the inner creative power of the living soul, is continuous–the bone marrow continuously creates new blood cells.

The sefirah directly under chochmah on the right axis of the sefirotic tree is chesedChesed is personified by the first Jew, Abraham, as seen in the verse, “Give loving-kindness to Abraham.” The numerical value of Abraham’s name (248) is equivalent to the number of bones in the body, which is detailed in the Mishnah. This is also the number of positive commandments of the Torah. Consequently, chesed, the attribute of Abraham, is identified with the skeletal system.

The phrase “the God [or source of life] of Abraham,” is understood in Kabbalah to refer to the overarching force above Abraham, the power ofchochmah located on the sefirotic tree in the right axis of the sefirot above the power of chesed. The bones of the body act as the vessels or containers for the more abstract level of bone marrow. Thus, “the God of Abraham” refers to the system of the bone marrow above the system of the skeleton.

While binah refers to the blood, it is the property of gevurah, or restraint–located directly beneath binah on the left axis of the sefirotic tree–that gives “shape” and direction to the blood, controlling its circulation throughout the body. The power of restraint channels the blood and directs it into specific vessels, which according to Kabbalah, are the 365 major arteries and veins corresponding to the 365 days of the solar year and the 365 negative commandments of the Torah. While we might first regard the blood and blood vessels as a single system, they are now understood to be two separate systems, as mentioned above. In Chassidut we are taught that the force of contraction (gevurah) that the blood vessels exert on the blood itself serves to strengthen the life force inherent in the blood.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org

Kabbalah and Medicine: The Healing of Body and Soul Part 11

Kabbalah and Medicine

WB01440_.gif (323 bytes) The Healing of Body and Soul  WB01440_.gif (323 bytes)

Part 11

Physiological Systems according to Kabbalah – Model One

 

So said God to these bones: ‘Behold, I shall bring spirit into you and you shall live. And I shall place blood vessels on you and raise flesh upon you, and cover you with skin. And I shall give spirit into you and you shall live, and you shall know that I am God.’

 

 

In the above passage from the Ezekiel 37 we find a four-level depiction of the body–bones, blood vessels, flesh, and skin–and a fifth, spiritual level that gives life to the body–spirit. The model most fitting for a comparative analysis of this structure is the four-letter essential Name of God, with the apex of the yud forming the transcendent fifth level.

The first of the four stages, the yud, alludes to the seminal, essential point of consciousness, inasmuch as the form of the letter yud is the most compact of all the Hebrew letters, serving as their structural core. Often taken to symbolize a seed, the yud in the life of the body can be seen as its bones (especially, the “seed” of the body is in the bone marrow, as will be explained). The skeletal system, the most basic frame of the human being, supports all the additional physiological systems that are layered upon it. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for “bone” (etzem) also means “self” or “essence,” which spiritually refers to the core of our being. Physically, this becomes manifest as the core frame of the body.

The next level of this meditation falls on the first hei of God’s four-letter Name. The hei is understood to be a three-dimensional letter with the two attached sides projecting length and width while the third dimension is suggested in the detached foot which we are taught to imagine as a line running through the page, thus manifesting the dimension of depth. Overall, the letter hei refers to expansion, in all three dimensions of the physical body, from the point of essence, which here is seen as the skeletal system. In spiritual terms, the hei corresponds to binah, the understanding in the heart that spreads out to enliven the entire body (i.e., to “motivate” its myriad functions). Thus, physically, the first hei of God’s Name reflects the circulatory system–the basic inner communication of life force within the body–the body’s internal “understanding” and self-preservation.

Next, the vav in God’s name refers to the basic emotions or character attributes, of which there are six–the numerical equivalent of the letter vav in Hebrew. A person’s character attributes relative to his or her understanding are like the flesh of a person which fills out his or her body (the vav in particular corresponds to tiferet which is the torso, the “trunk” of the body) but which is itself filled with and enclothes the blood vessels.

Finally, the skin, as the most exterior layer and outer clothing of the body, displays the surface appearance that affects others, thus fittingly serving as the “kingdom” of the four general divisions of the body.

Whenever this four-level system is used to contemplate “existence,” there is always a fifth, higher and all-inclusive level that enlivens the other four. This fifth level is seen as the source of existence, and in the case of the body is the spirit of life, which comes to enliven all the other levels. As we will see presently, this corresponds to the respiratory system. The following chart summarizes the general model we have now described.

The spirit of life [respiration]

 

keter–crown

Thorn of yud

Bones

 

chochmah—wisdom

yud

Blood vessels

 

binah—understanding

 

hei

Flesh

 

midot—character attributes

 

vav

Skin

 

malchut—kingdom

 

hei


Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org

Kabbalah and Medicine: The Healing of Body and Soul Part 10

Kabbalah and Medicine

WB01440_.gif (323 bytes) The Healing of Body and Soul  WB01440_.gif (323 bytes)

Part 10

The Energy Center / Contact Points of the Body

In the previous section, we saw that “the single covenant is placed in the middle, in the word of the tongue and the circumcision of the procreative organ.” These two points–the tongue and the procreative organ, in effect, the body’s two essential points of “intercourse”–are the two primary energy centers or contact points, situated along the middle line of the body.

In Kabbalah, the energy issued from each of these centers or contact points merges with that of one’s soul-mate to procreate. The power to procreate physically issues from the lower of these points, while the power to procreate spiritually issues from the higher point of the mouth and tongue. We are taught that humans (material beings) are created from the lower union of the procreative organs, while angels (spiritual beings) are created from the higher union of “mouth to mouth,” by the power of the kiss (the innermost expression of “the word of the tongue”).

We are further taught in Kabbalah that there exists an additional energy center/contact point–the middle point of the chest, the contact point of “embrace.” This point, relative to the points above and below it, represents an intermediate level of connective energy, more material than that of the point above it yet more spiritual than that of the point below it. Here, the angel descends to clothe himself in an earth-like body form.

In meditative practice–the soul’s spiritual endeavor to contact and become one with God–Kabbalah and Chassidut teach that, similar to the union of soul-mates, one should begin from the middle point, the point of embrace; to ascend to the higher point, the kiss; and finally to descend to the lower point, the actual state of clinging to one’s beloved to become one (as in Genesis, “and he shall cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh”).

To continue our Kabbalistic journey, each world or complete, self-contained state of reality possesses five human-like figures (partzufim): The Ancient One, the father, the mother, the son (or groom), and the daughter (or bride). As each of these possess all three energy centers/contact points running down their middle line, each world in total possesses fifteen energy centers/contact points.

Indeed, every one of us, created in the image of God, reflects, in body and soul, all five Divine figures, for which reason every Jew is considered to be a “complete world.” And so, we may identify, in particular, fifteen energy centers/contact points running down the middle line of the human body.

In Kabbalah, every meditative state and spiritual endeavor to arouse energies and create unions relates to a specific prayer to God. The meditation on the fifteen contact points is the “intention” of the prayer that follows the recital of the Shema every morning. The text of the prayer–confirming the absolute truth of our Jewish faith, which finds its expression in the recital of the Shema–begins with the word emet (“true”) and is followed by fifteen words, all of which are synonyms or variations of the concept “true,” each of which is prefaced with the letter vav (“and,” implying connective energy; as a word, vav means “a hook”).

The middle line of the body or the middle axis of the supernal sefirot is referred to in general as emet. Ultimate truth is neither right nor left; it is the power that unites the right and the left to become one. It derives from the origin of the “middle” that transcends both antithetical states of right and left. It possesses a full spectrum of fifteen “hues,” reflected in the body as fifteen points running down its middle line.

The fifteen points divide into five groups of three, each group corresponding to one of the five primary figures of the complete human “world.” The first group of three are: (1) the point at the top of the skull, (2) the point where the hair meets the forehead (the place above which the head-tefilinare placed), and (3) the point of the middle of the forehead (referred to as the essential point of the “forehead of will”). All three of these points embody super-rational energy; they are all above the eyes, the beginning of conscious perception. They correspond to the three points (figuratively: mouth, chest, and procreative organ) of the Ancient One (above the father and mother—chochmah and binah, the rational mind).

The next group of three are: (1) the point between the eyes (the “mouth” of wisdom), (2) the point of the nose, and (3) the indent above the upper lip (the point that the angel strikes before birth to cause one to forget all the Torah he had learned in the womb). These are the three points (mouth, chest, and procreative organ) of father.

Next come (1) the tip of the tongue in the mouth, (2) the point of the chin, and (3) the middle point of the throat. These are the three points (mouth, chest, and procreative organ) of mother.

Then come (1) the point between the shoulders, (2) the middle point of the upper chest (referred to as the “bird of the soul”), and (3) the middle point of the (lower) chest (the essential point of the chest, the point of embrace described above). These are the three points (mouth, chest, and procreative organ) of the son.

Finally come (1) the point of the navel (the “mouth” during pregnancy), (2) the point of the lower abdomen (the point of the female womb), and (3) the point of the (male) procreative organ. These are the three points (mouth, chest, and procreative organ) of the daughter.

The Hebrew words for these fifteen points are: (1) veyatziv (“firm”), (2) venachon (“established”), (3) vekayam (“enduring”), (4) veyashar (“right”), (5)vene’eman (“faithful”), (6) ve’ahuv (“beloved”), (7) vechaviv (“cherished”), (8) venechmad (“precious”), (9) vena’im (“pleasant”), (10) venora(“awesome”), (11) ve’adir (“mighty”), (12) umetukan (“correct”), (13) umekubal (“acceptable”), (14) vetov (“good”), and (15) veyafeh (“beautiful”).

In summary:

 

Partzuf

Body

 

veyatziv

firm

The Ancient One

mouth

top of skull

 

venachon

established

chest

where hair meets forehead

 

vekayam

enduring

procreative organ

middle of forehead

 

veyashar

right

father

mouth

between the eyes

 

vene’eman

faithful

chest

nose

 

ve’ahuv

beloved

procreative organ

indent above upper lip

 

vechaviv

cherished

mother

mouth

tip of tongue

 

venechmad

precious

chest

chin

 

vena’im

pleasant

procreative organ

midpoint of throat

 

venora

awesome

son

mouth

between the shoulders

 

ve’adir

mighty

chest

midpoint of upper chest

 

umetukan

correct

procreative organ

midpoint of lower chest

 

umekubal

acceptable

daughter

mouth

navel

 

vetov

good

chest

lower abdomen (womb)

 

veyafeh

beautiful

procreative organ

male procreative organ

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org

 

Kabbalah and Medicine: The Healing of Body and Soul Part 9

Kabbalah and Medicine

WB01440_.gif (323 bytes) The Healing of Body and Soul  WB01440_.gif (323 bytes)

Part 9

Upper and Lower Da’at

In continuing our study of the third mishnah in Sefer Yetzirah, we find that it comprises twenty-two elements:

    • ten fingers, corresponding to the ten sefirot of the world of Atzilut, the world whose consciousness is exclusively that of da’at elyon;
    • ten toes, corresponding to the ten sefirot of the world of Beriah (and the lower worlds), whose consciousness is that of da’at tachton; and
    • two balance-points–the tongue and the procreative organ.

We can associate the above twenty-two elements of the physical body with the twenty-two Hebrew letters by drawing the following representation (the tongue above the ten fingers and the procreative organ above the ten toes):

א

כ

י

ט

ח

ז

 

ו

ה

ד

ג

ב

         

ל

         

ת

ש

ר

ק

צ

 

פ

ע

ס

נ

מ

We see from this diagram that the two letters that correspond to the “single covenant” (manifest at its two levels)–alef and lamed–combine to form the Divine Name Kel . This is the Divine Name that appears in the verse:

God [Havayah] is a God [Kel] of two [levels of] knowledge.

This verse (in the thanksgiving song Chanah sang after the birth of Samuel) is the Biblical source for the existence of two levels of da’at, as described in chapter 8. Thus, the two levels of da’at are alluded to in the two letters of God’s Name: Kel, the two letters that appear in the places of the two manifestations of the “single covenant” as pictured above:

      • Alef corresponds to the intuitive wisdom and insight of the mind, as is said: “I will teach [alef] you wisdom”;
    • Lamed corresponds to the emotive power of the heart, for the letter lamed throughout the Torah represents the “heart” (lev).

Thus we learn that the inner insight of the mind (the consciousness of da’at elyon) finds its external expression in the tongue, whereas the inner emotion (love) of the heart (da’at tachton) finds its external expression in the procreative organ.

When the hands are raised (as the hands of the priests when blessing the people), the tongue (that blesses) is between the ten fingers. But, when the hands are lowered, it is the procreative organ that is between the ten fingers. Conversely, we find in the Bible the idiom of the tongue “walking,” like the feet.

Though it was explained above that the higher da’at of the alef serves to balance the ten fingers–the ten sefirot of the world of Atzilut–and the lower da’at of the lamed serves to balance the ten toes–the ten sefirot of the world of Beriah (and the lower worlds)–we see here that there is also a relation between the higher da’at (the tongue) and the lower worlds (the toes), and the lower da’at (the procreative organ) and the higher worlds (the fingers).

The union of the supernal sefirot of Atzilut gives birth to the consciousness of the lower da’at in Beriah and below. The service of the souls in the lower worlds reveals, ultimately, the higher da’at on earth.

Moreover, the alef and the lamed–the higher da’at and the lower da’at–of the tongue and the procreative organ themselves, at times invert. The emotions of the heart find their expression in the words of the tongue. The seminal essence of the mind “contracts” into the seed of the procreative organ.

We can now understand why the order of the two manifestations of the “single covenant” as quoted in our mishnah is first “the word of the tongue” and thereafter “the circumcision of the procreative organ” (though following the order of the Divine service of chash-mal-mal described above “the word of the tongue” follows “the circumcision of the procreative organ”). Ultimately, the revelation of the Divine essence (on earth) depends upon the rectification and sanctification of “the circumcision of the procreative organ.”

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a renowned authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut, has been making the profound wisdom of the Jewish esoteric tradition accessible to seekers of Jewish spirituality for over 25 years. From his base in the Holy Land, Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches as well as oversees the production of numerous original works on Jewish mysticism. http://www.inner.org