Some Wisdom from the Zohar and Commentaries

153. He asks: earth is called  Arka, when it should read,  Ar’a. He answers: because  Arka is one of the seven lands below, where the sons of Cain’s sons reside. Indeed, after being banished from the face of the earth, they descended there and fathered generations; wisdom became so lost that all understanding was lost, and this is a double land, consisting of darkness and Light.

Each of the seven Sefirot (the six Sefirot of ZA and Malchut) contain the properties of the other six. Thus, each one of them contains the seven Sefirot HGT NHYM. In other words, Malchut, too, has seven Sefirot, and the lower world contains seven lands, as well, called EretzAdamaArkaGiaNeshiaTzia and Tevel.

Our land is called Tevel and is the highest of the seven lands. Arka is the third of the seven lands. The souls of Cain and Abel descend from the word Elokim, but due to the impurity that Chava (Eve), Adam’s wife, received from the serpent, the soul of Cain emerged first from the letters ELEH, followed by the soul of Abel, which emerged from the letters MI. These two Partzufim were meant to unite and incorporate their properties in one another, which would make the name Elokim shine in both of them, as when MI is permanently present in ELEH. However, the impure force that emerged together with Cain’s soul incited him against his brother (MI of the word Elokim) to the point that he rose against Abel (MI in Elokim) and slew him. This is because the disappearance of the property of MI-Bina from ELEH is tantamount to murder.

Without the support of the properties of MIELEH (Cain’s own property) fell into the impure forces: from the spiritual level of the holy land to the impure place (of egoistic desires). And he lost his descendants (Partzufim filled with Light) because of the rule of the impure forces (the disappearance of the screen).

Thus, the holy language within him was substituted for translation, for he had lost the wisdom (Ohr Hochma). After all, the impure forces lack wisdom, as they have only the Light of HB without Daat.

The slaying of Abel, i.e., the exit of Light from this Partzuf (item 152), occurs because MI is formed in ZON exclusively by the power of MAN (raised by the pure thoughts of the righteous in the worlds of BYA). Then appear the letters ELEH, and the word Elokim becomes as complete in ZON as it is in AVIMalchut ends just like ZA, like Ima, due to the replacing of the letter Hey with Yod (item 17).

However, the letter Hey does not disappear from MA forever. Rather, it simply enters the inner part of Malchut and hides there (the will to receive receives its fulfillment from altruistic actions, from Ohr Hassadim. Hence, its egoistic aspirations are temporarily unfelt, as they are concealed in Ohr Hassadim). Meanwhile, the letter Yod is revealed in MI.

This is why the Creator’s holy name Elokim is also found in ZON, in Heaven and earth. However, Cain raised MAN not in holiness and purity, but wished to use the letters ELEH – which relate to him – for his own pleasure. This is described as, AND CAIN ROSE UP AGAINST ABEL, HIS BROTHER, for he put himself above his brother, to rule over MI (Abel).

However, AHP of Nukva (the hitherto concealed letter Hey of MA) were immediately revealed, and the word MI disappeared from Malchut. Hence, Abel’s soul, which stems from MI of Nukva (MI fill the Partzuf with Light and are considered its soul) ascends and disappears as well, as is described by the words, AND SLEW HIM, for the Light’s exit from the Partzuf is referred to as death.

This is why The Zohar describes this process in the following way: The serpent’s impure force was within Cain (Beresheet, 2:4); hence, he wished to strengthen the letters ELEH, annul MI, and govern them. That is why he revealed AHP of Nukva (MA) and MI disappeared from Nukva, whereupon Abel’s soul, which descends from MI, disappeared as well (AND SLEW HIM).

Thus, Cain himself (ELEH) fell under the rule of the impure forces, called Arka or Eretz Nod, as it is written in the Torah: “And he settled in the land of Nod” (Beresheet,4:16).

The Zohar calls it a double land, one that contains both Light and darkness. This is because Light and darkness mix and act (rule) together, as there are two rulers in that land, who divide the power equally between them. One rules over darkness, the other over Light. Hence, in this state one is unable to separate Light from darkness, and only help from Above, the descending Light of reason, enables one to tell between the true Ruler and the lord of darkness.


Happy New Year of the Trees (Tu B’Shvat)

Chag Sameach! “The first ever published seder for Tu biShvat — Pri Etz Hadar (The Fruit of the Majestic Tree) — can be found in a kabbalistic text, first published as a pamphlet in Venice in 1728.[88] Written by an unknown author, Pri Etz Hadar was included in the Sefer Ḥemdat Yamim by R’ Yisrael Yakov Ben Yom Tov Algazi (1680-1756) (the Rosh Yeshiva of Beit El in Yerushalayim, a friend of the Ḥida, and father of the Maharit Algazi). One of the great mekubalim of his time, R’ Algazi’s name added greatly to the credibility of Ḥemdat Yamim despite its attribution by Rabbi Yaakov Emden (and modern scholars) to Natan Binyamin Ghazzati (1643-1680) the 17th century mystic who greatly encouraged the aspiring messiah, Shabbtai Tzvi. Sefer Ḥemdat Yamim remains a major source of kabbalistic minhagim (customs) still practiced by followers of the Ari z”l’s school of Jewish mysticism in Temani (Shami), Sefaradi, Mizrachi, and Ḥasidic Ashkenazi Jewish communities.”

I Came This Day to the Spring

An interesting paper from David J. Halperin, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina regarding Va Avo HaYom El HaAyin or I Came This Day to the Spring, an important Sabbatean text. I do not agree with him about his attempt to insert modern-day political correctness into the analysis though.

The Kabbalah of the Ari Z’al according to the Ramhal


One of the main text of the authentic Kabbalah finally translated and explained. This book is a summary of the master work of the Ari Z’al; “The Etz Hayim” (The Tree of Life).

The Zohar: Pritzker edition

The Zohar: Pritzker Edition Translation and Commentary by Daniel Matt


        This is the first translation ever made from a critical Aramaic text of the Zohar, which has been established by Professor Daniel Matt based on a wide range of original manuscripts. The work will eventually span twelve volumes. The extensive commentary, appearing at the bottom of each page, clarifies the kabbalistic symbolism and terminology, and cites sources and parallels from biblical, rabbinic, and kabbalistic texts.

R. Jonathan Eibeschütz, And I Came this Day unto the Fountain

R. Jonathan Eibeschütz, And I Came this Day unto the Fountain, ואבוא היום אל העין , Critically Edited and Introduced by Paweł Maciejko, With Additional Studies by Noam Lefler, Jonatan Benarroch and Shai Alleson Gerberg, 2014 (Sources and Studies in the Literature of Jewish Mysticism 42), 360 pp., in Hebrew, ISBN 1-933379-45-6. is undoubtedly the most contentious work of Sabbatian Kabbalah, and arguably even the most contentious theological work of early modern Ashkenazi Judaism. The book surfaced in Germany around 1725 and generated one of the most heated controversies of Judaism at that time. Although distributed anonymously, most contemporary observers attributed it to the rabbinic prodigy, Rabbi Jonathan Eibeschütz of Prague; this attribution has been confirmed by modern scholarship. The edition brings a critically edited and annotated text of Va-Avo established on the basis of manuscripts housed in Oxford and Jerusalem, as well as several essays interpreting its theological doctrines. ORDER HERE: Atlas Books


Excerpt from the Book of Contemplation, the final redaction of the text, as translated by Mark Verman:

“…I asked Rabbi Nehuniah b. ha-Kanah, saying to him, Rabbi, show me the Glory of the King of the universe, in order that the knowledge of Him, like his other actions, will be clarified in my heart. He said to me, Son of the proud, come let us delve into the great ring on which is engraved the name and aR’aRYet’a is His name, as well as the ring of the earth, which is ‘aHV. I will show you everything.

“I entered inside, into the Outer Holy Palace, and removed from there R. Nehuniah b ha-Kanah’s book, entitled Book of the Celestial Palaces, and discovered the following, written at the start of the book.

“Mighty within the rooms of grandeur is He who sits on the wheels of His chariot, with the seal ‘ehyeh ‘asher ‘ehyeh (I will be who I will be), and with a great ring on it which is engraved the name ‘aR’aRYeT’a, which is His name. It denotes: One, the Start of his Unification, the Start of His Unity, His Permutation is One, Individual and Unique; Individual, Unique, One. Also, with the ring of earth that is ‘aHV, which is His name, denoting: One who Was and will be. The intermediary between both of them is He who is. “A word spoken appropriately” (Prov. 25:1). He was prior to when He created the world; He is in the world and He will be in the world to come. This is symbolized by: He did, He does, He will do. “