COUNTING YESOD IN G’VURAH
Staying connected during harsh times
adapted from MetaParshiyot by R David Wolfe-Blank and Living Torah by R Aryeh Kaplan
This week, the Winter Solstice marked a shift in the local cosmos. Daylight time, on Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, stopped contracting at the solstice and expansion initiated. This expansion brings a sense of ease, hope, and comfort to Earth and her creatures. We can all use these right now, following two years of pandemic and anticipating a next wave.
One of the aspects I love about lighting Shabbat and holiday candles at sunset is that it brings awareness to this sacred dynamic. It is a beautiful and meaningful tracking.
This Shabbat, we begin reading Sefer Sh’mot in the weekly Torah cycle. Sh’mot is often called “Exodus” in English. The word, Sh’mot, translates literally as “names”. The backdrop is Mitzrayim (Egypt) years after Yoseph and that generation have died and now, all of Bnay Yisrael are slaves.
Hebrew tends to have an evocative descriptive quality. Words and names have roots that offer clues to help understand Torah. These nuances are most often lost in translation.
Mitzrayim translates literally as the “doubly narrow place”. This word highlights the intense constraints (G’vurah) that were a foundational (Yesod) reality for the Hebrew slaves in Mitzrayim.
Consequently, “Mitzrayim“, Hebrew for “Egypt”, is used in Textures in Time when referencing the country or its people.
The tetragrammaton, “YHVH” – most commonly articulated as “Adonai“, is a nuanced and powerful Name of the Great Mystery often called “God”. “Havayah“, used in this writing, references YHVH and keeps it distinct from other names. It is made up of the same letters as YHVH in an altered sequence.
“YHVH” holds the words for “is”, “was”, and “will be” within it. It is, understandably, associated with Tiferet – the heart center of the Tree of Life. “Havayah” translates as “is-ing”, highlighting the animating force Present in creation.”Havayah” translates as “is-ing”, highlighting the animating force Present in creation.
All Divine Names are unique, and with God’s help, we will continue to explore resonance behind each Names.
See Kabbalah Connectivity Chart below for more on this.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION
A NEW KING WHO KNEW NOT YOSEPH IS IN POWER
The clan has increased in number greatly and are now slaves to Pharoah in Mitzrayim. Moshe is born, and with a lot of help from Miriam and the daughter of Pharoah he finds his place in Pharoah‘s palace. It is the best place to be safe and educated. He is beyond lucky!
MOSHE LEAVES MITZRAYIM
Moshe went out amongst his people and saw ongoing abuse. One day he witnessed a Mitzri (Egyptian) beating a Hebrew. Moshe looked around and thought the coast was clear. He killed the Mitzri, and hid the body in the sand. Sadly, it turns out that there was a witness to this act. Pharaoh was not going to tolerate this and took steps to put Moshe to death.
Consequently, Moshe fled Mitzrayim and found safety in Midian. He tended sheep for the sheik of Midian, Yitro. Moshe marries one of his seven daughters, Tzipporah. They have a son and name him Gershon (Stranger There).
A new Pharoah comes into power.
THE BURNING BUSH
Havayah’s angel appeared to Moshe in the heart of a fire, in the midst of a thorn bush. There was fire, yet the bush was not consumed. Curious, Moshe went to check it out. Havayah‘s voice comes forward from inside the bush to convince a reluctant Moshe to take the leadership role to rescue the Hebrews from the slavery. Moshe receives a powerful staff and Havayah offers a taste of its powers. He has been initiated.
MOSHE AND HIS FAMILY LEAVE MIDIAN FOR MITZRAYIM
Moshe packs his family on a donkey and they set to go to Mitzrayim.
Havayah speak with Moshe in detail; Part of the plan, Moshe is told, is that Pharoah‘s heart will be hardened (Ex 5:32). , making him resistant to Moshe’s requests.
Every time I read that making Pharoah’s heart hard was part of the plan it makes me take pause.
Moshe goes back to the palace and meets with Pharoah. He tells him to let the people go. Pharoah responds by limiting straw, yet increasing the quota of bricks to be made. It made it worse for the people for the short term. Moshe tells Havayah what had happened. Just you wait, Pharoah!
SH’MOT COUNTS YESOD IN G’VURAH
Yesod is the neck and funnel of the S’firot. The aim of the S’firot is to complete in Sh’khinah and nourish the local cosmos.
This week we start reading a new book – Sh’mot. Torah fast forwards to a new, even more harsh situation. B’nei Yisrael established (Yesod) themselves as a distinct community in Mitzrayim they, sadly, are no longer free people. They have become slaves (G’vurah), are in trouble and in need of help.
It is interesting that even though we have moved from Braysheet to Sh’mot and the story has shifted from the trials (G’vurah) of Yoseph, to slavery (G’vurah deeply unbalanced) in Mitzrayim.
It is important to remember that all S’firot are present for a common cause – to channel Divine Presence into the world. They each have a role and balance is key. Movement will not happen without G’vurah‘s focus, direction, and containment.
This G’vurah is different from Yoseph‘s story. It is even more out of balance, because all the Hebrew people are now enduring (Yesod) life as slaves.
Yesod in G’vurah finds Bnei Yisrael stuck in the horror of ongoing slavery. They desperately need a way out. The people call out to Elokim (The Name of God related to G’vurah). Calling out is a key aspect to this redemption.
After the people call out to Elokim, Havayah‘s angel finds Moshe in the desert. Though reluctant, Moshe Rabeynu is now takes on holy service. He takes the powerful staff Havayah gave him. The seed of redemption is planted.