adapted and compiled with Meta-Parshiyot by R David Wolfe-Blank and Living Torah by R Aryeh Kaplan
VISION, THE FIRST STEP TO LIBERATION
We enter this Torah portion in the middle of a dialog between Elokim and Moshe. Elokim explains the unique closeness of Moshe’s Divine connection. It is a more intimate connection, than Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov were privileged to enjoy. In this way, Elokim empowers Moshe to stand up to the very intimidating Pharaoh.
Moshe is a reluctant recruit, “I have no confidence when I speak”.
After much convincing, Moshe agrees and goes to the palace. Just as he feared, Pharaoh does not take him seriously. Moshe does his best, he even tries “the staff becomes a snake trick”, but Pharaoh laughs and laughs.
Pharaoh gets seven plagues in response. Maybe he should have taken Moshe more seriously. We know from the Sh’mot, that Havayah had intentionally hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
The Zohar, Shaarei Orah, and other texts make associations between Divine Names, Divine attributes, and S’firot.
There is nothing extraneous in Torah. This means that each word and letter in Torah has significance. From this, we understand that the multitude of Divine Names exist for a reason and each one means something significant.
In English translation, Divine Names are frequently conflated into a single word or two, like “God” or “Lord” and the uniqueness of the Name is lost.
Let’s look more deeply at this and begin by considering the opening verse of Vayerah using transliterated Names from Torah.
Elokim spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Havayah (YHVH). I revealed myself to Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov as El Shaddai (Divine of Ampleness, Breasted Divine) and did not allow them to know me by My Name, Havayah (YHVH).Exodus 6:2
Next, let’s read this verse again and replace the Divine Names with “Source of” the related S’firah (and note the attribute).
The Source of G’vurah (Discipline, Membrane, and Nature) spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am the Source of Tiferet (Harmony, Balance, and Compassion), I revealed myself to Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov as the Source of Yesod (Foundation, Intimacy, and Continuity). I did not allow them to know me by My Name Source of Tiferet .Exodus 6:2
(See Kabbalah Connectivity sheet, and Tree of Life images below for more.)
REVELATION – what does this show us?
Tiferet; Moshe’s rung for communicating with Source, sits above Yesod; Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov‘s communication rung. Tiferet is the heart center of the Etz Hayyim. Tiferet makes connection in a balanced harmonious pleasant way.
Yesod‘s nature is focused on survival and procreation. Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov‘s work established (Yesod) community, a tribe.
Moshe Rabeinu communicated with Havayah through Tiferet. Moshe‘s task was different, he needed access to Tiferet to find the heart (courage) to confront Pharaoh – the authority in the land.
The gematria of Elokim (אלקים), 86, is equivalent to the gematria of “The Nature” (הטבע) . Elokim references the Divine interface to Earth’s natural processes.
Elokim spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Havayah (YHVH)”.
Torah acknowledges many Elokim. Each group attaches its selves to their Elokim. This is understandable from the simple perspective of climates and how they impact need.
Someone living near the North pole will have vastly different life than someone living a the equator. This being true, their relationship and needs from their Elokim are different.
Moshe’s Elokim and the Elokim of the Hebrews is Havayah – the Source of balance and harmony.
The Sh’ma Yisrael testifies to this
שְׁמַע ׀ יִשְׂרָאֵל, יְיָ ׀ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ, יְיָ ׀ אֶחָד.
Sh’ma Yisrael, Havayah Elokeinu, Havayah Ehad
Listen, you Yisrael Person, Havayah is our Elokim, Havayah is one.
This is an essence of what it means to be a Yisrael People, a Jew, to this very day.
PLAGUE S’FIRAH CORRESPONDANCE
Blood – out of touch with Keter דָּם
Frogs – out of touch with Hokhmah צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ
Lice – out of touch with Binah כִּנִּים
Zoo Loose – out of touch with Hesed עָרוֹב
Death of Livestock – out of touch with G’vurah דֶּֽבֶר
Boils – out of touch with Tiferet שְׁחִין
Hail – out of touch with Netzah בָּרָד
VAYERAH – SH’KHINAH IN G’VURAH
The plagues aren’t over, so how can Vayerah complete G’vurah time ? For a clue, peek at the latter part of next week’s parashah. Redemption is coming.
This year Shabbat Vayerah lands precisely on New Years Day on the Solar calendar. It is a day of reflection, transition, and completion (Sh’khinah) for many.
Though gentler than the year before, 2021 was difficult and divisive on many levels. Sadly climate change, the pandemic, and divisiveness continue to limit (G’vurah) humanity.
We each have a role to play in cultivating into a breathable balance in life and love. Moment by moment, and day by day.
My prayer is that we all do our part to cultivate Tiferet‘s heart in 2022. May we share many joyful experiences with health, harmony, compassion, and balance.
Bless and be blessed.
The only way we can get it together, is together.Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi zt”l