Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Not Mere History

(Picture by Mike Davies)

Me'am Lo'ez, Parshas Vayishlach:

This chapter [Bereishis 36:31-39] contains some of the deepest mysteries of the Torah. The Idra Rabbah, the most mystical part of the Zohar, is based on this chapter. In many places it is a custom to recite the Idra Rabbah on Erev Shavuous.

Although we are not worthy of discerning the great mysteries concealed here, we should at least read this section, and understand that the soul derives much benefit from it. One must be careful not omit even a single word.

One should not think that these chapters consist of mere history. There is no difference between the holiness of this chapter and that of the Ten Commandments. Both are part of the same Torah.

And these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel: Bela, son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhavah. Bela died, and Yovav, son of Zerah of Bozrah, reigned in his stead. And Yovav died, and Chusham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his stead. Chusham died, and Hadad, son of Bedad, who defeated Moav in the field of Midian, reigned in his stead. The name of his city was Avis. Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. Samlah died, and Shaul of Rechovos by the river reigned in his stead. Shaul died, and Baal Chanan, son of Achbor, reigned in his stead. Baal Chanan, son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead. The name of his city was Pau; his wife's name was Mehetavel, daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mei zahav.

The great Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai derived 300 mystical teachings from the above section, and he did not reveal them to anyone other than his son Rabbi Elazar.

This shows how every word of the Torah is filled with great mysteries and concepts so deep that the average mind cannot even begin to grasp them.

Some say that it was Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai who taught these 300 mysteries, and that he only revealed them to two great sages, Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos. These were his two greatest disciples, and they learned the deepest mysteries of the Torah from him.

We also see that Shlomo HaMelech was able to explain everything with three thousand parables. This is certainly true of the holy Torah which was dictated by G-d Himself. Every word certainly contains innumerable mysteries. It is only because we are not worthy of understanding them that we might this is mere history.


At November 22, 2007 at 9:54:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are still obligated to attempt to understand all that we can. Do not use the excuse of "not being worthy" to avoid making the effort to learn. That would be false humility.

These are pivotal verses in the system of the Ari, and if you do not investigate them further you will forever remain outside the palace of the King.


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