adapted from Meta Parshiot by R David Wolfe-Blank, The Living Torah by R Aryeh Kaplan

Pretty pink flowers (Hesed) alive in dry desert Earth (Netzah)


This Torah portion begins with a reminder about the cycle of Shabbat. Six days are designated work and manifesting followed by the seventh day, Shabbat, a day of rest and release. Next, is the account of how Mosheh carried out the the plan given in Torah portion, T’rumah. He began by asking for donations for the Mishkon.

The descriptions of the items needed includes a brilliant variety of textures and colors. Among them are gold, silver, copper, blue, purple, or crimson wool, linen, goat hair, ram skins dyed red and tachash skins. They are used to cultivate distinct sacred space and they delight the senses. The entire community donated items and/or talent to build the Mishkon.

The artisans previously mentioned are named again as leaders of the project. They built the Mishkon; Sanctuary Tent and the outer perimeter. They made the ark, the table, menorah, incense alter, and the ritual items for the Sanctuary.


בוַיִּקְרָ֣א משֶׁ֗ה אֶל־בְּצַלְאֵל֘ וְאֶל־אָֽהֳלִיאָב֒ וְאֶל֙ כָּל־אִ֣ישׁ חֲכַם־לֵ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֨ר נָתַ֧ן יְהֹוָ֛ה חָכְמָ֖ה בְּלִבּ֑וֹ כֹּ֚ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר נְשָׂא֣וֹ לִבּ֔וֹ לְקָרְבָ֥ה אֶל־הַמְּלָאכָ֖ה לַֽעֲשׂ֥ת אֹתָֽהּ

And Mosheh called Betzalel and Ohaliav and every wise hearted person into whose heart Havayah gave wisdom, everyone whose heart lifted them up to approach the work to do it.

Exodus 36:2

Wisdom and heart are mentioned twice in this single passage. Intelligence and open-heartedness are personal qualities needed to craft the sacred space of the Mishkon.


B’tzalel ( בְּצַלְאֵל֘), Ohaliav (אָֽהֳלִיאָב֒)

GEMATRIA (Numerology)

Gematria assigns every letter of the Hebrew AlephBet a distinct numerical value. The numbers are then added together. A lot can be gleaned from just that. Often, is it valuable for the digits to be added together. Sometimes other aspects make themselves known as in the example below.

Numerical relationship in gematria give hints to inner meanings and relationship. They often reveal new aspects or confirm establishes ones. Check it out below.

B’tzalel (בְּצַלְאֵל֘)

Eil is a Name of God associated with God’s Hesed– Grace and Benevolence. (Yoseph Gikkatilla in Shaarei Orah) The prefix “ב” means “through” or “in”. B’tzalel translates as, “Through (or in) the Shadow of Gracious God”.

בְּצַלְאֵל֘ in Gematria

30+1+30+90+2 = 153

1+5+3 =9

What is nine?

Nine months of pregnancy, Nine Upper S’firot. Nine resonates life force and vitality.

What else?

3 is the square root of 9. Said another way, 3 x 3 = 9. By these means the Betzalel resonates the sacred number three deeply. Remember that three points determine a plane. A Bet Din, Jewish court must have three at least judges. When three people vote “yes” or “no”, there is always a majority rule that can decide.

Additionally, 153 can be divided by 9, 17 times. 17 is gematria for טוב – good. This brings a energetic of goodness and life in this number.


Three is the square root of nine, as mentioned above.

The number three points to the upper three S’firot Keter, Hokhmah, and Binah. Keter; crown – as it were – is the interface between infinite and finite. Think of it like a straw drawing in Divine Light/Shefa. The Divine Light moves to Hokhmah which is like a storage tank for the unfiltered Shefa. This light is pure and has no imprint. It is the cosmic stem cell that can become any thing. Binah brings the first discernment. She is like the tongue in that we often have thoughts and cannot share all of them. Therefor it is the that tongue discerns what will be shared and what will remain unshared. Just like the tongue modulates which thoughts are shared, Binah modulates what and how much nourishment enters into into the the lower seven S’firot. Betzalel’s connection to Source was through the upper three most ethereal S’firot.


B’tzalel, according to the Ohr Hayyim (Exodus 31:2), was able to create shade for the Holy One of Blessing. Judging by his name, B’tzalel was able to discern subtle shapes and variations within God’s shadow.

In last week’s Torah reading teaches, it is not possible to see God’s glory and live. This being true, all life unfolds in God’s shadow. B’tzalel was able to see and cultivate a home for Sh’khinah ( Indwelling Presence) within God’s shadow. He was able to call forward and manifest the subtle substructure of the most ethereal patterns, symbols, and letters needed for this enormous task. B’tzalel brought material form to the energy transforming processes by means of ritual objects which became the physical devices of the Mishkon. He was able to actualize ethereal amorphous shadow into physical art able to channel Sh’khinah. This is Betzalel‘s quality of soul as indicated by his name.

Ohaliav (אָֽהֳלִיאָב֒)

Ohaliav (אָֽהֳלִיאָב֒) translates as “My Tent is Ancestor”.

אָֽהֳלִיאָב֒ in Gematria (Numerology)

1+5+30+10+1+2 = 49

What is 49?

Forty nine, points to the practice of counting the Omer. It is the 49 steps that get us to the 50th level – the Yovel, Jubilee. This practice is a fun and meaningful way to refine relationship with the seven lower S’firot.

Seven is the square root of 49. Said another way, 7 x 7 = 49.

49 resonates 7 in the same way that 9 resonates 3 above – the square root.


Seven is powerful number in Jewish practice and life – Seven days of the week, Seven blessings beneath the Huppah, seven Hakafot, seven colors of the rainbow, seven lower S’firot and more.

Ohaliav’s super power came through the seven lower S’firotHesed, G’vurah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malkhut. (See below and Kabbalah connectivity sheet for more on the S’firot.) The connection paths were exponential, as indicated by the square term. Bringing light of Sh’khinah to the people was his holy service.

Ohaliav, Judging by his name, experienced his connection to Source through the metaphor of a tent. He knew of the power of the six directions and how to make it suitable for Sh’khinah. Ohaliav was actively aware of the boundaries in which She can be present and held space for Her. Ohaliav‘s quality of soul, the ability to create shape to give Sh’khinah a home, is indicated by his name.


The Etz Hayyim, Tree of Life is referred to in two distinct parts. These parts are the upper three and the lower seven S’firot. The upper three S’firot are consciousness – Spirit, and Intellect. The lower seven connect with Emotion and Manifestation.

Betzalel and The Upper Three

Betzalel’s superpower came through the upper three S’firotKeter – Crown, Hokhmah – Wisdom, and Binah – Understanding. (For more info on the Tree of Life check out the Kabbalah connectivity sheet below.) His service was imagining and visualizing how the Mishkon would come forward through his power of accessing Divine Spirit and Intellect. By means of his connection, Betzalel cleaved to the Divine mind and to plan to develop the Mishkon.

Ohaliav and The Lower Seven

Ohaliav was a master at actualizing. His super power came through accessing the seven lower S’firot. He moved plans forward and brought them into manifestation. Creating space to hold Sh’khinah’s Presence required a master of manifestation and this was Ohaliav‘s task.

Uniting Heaven and Earth

Together they, B’tzalel ( בְּצַלְאֵל֘), Ohaliav (אָֽהֳלִיאָב֒) are a most powerful duo with special access to the Etz Hayyim. They lead building the Mishkon, a sacred space where the Holy One of Blessing is contacted, and so, heaven and earth unite.

Developing your Name

Each of us has a special ability or quality of perception as it relates to cultivating Sh’khinah’s Presence. Often, there are clues in our names. So, it is fun, useful, and enlightening to work with our names to bring forward the special qualities found within. Sometimes there is a call to modify the life path we are on. Changing ones names is way to actively invite in an intentional shift.


A new cycle of seven begins this week. Consequently, a new energy enters turning the narrative from planning and development to carrying out the plans and manifesting. Netzah (victory, eternity, sustainability) is a doer. It acts to insure that a right thing happens. This quality can be found In this Torah portion as the people, as a collective whole, actually become involved in building the Mishkon. As a result, people bind together in a common project and a sense of community builds. The Mishkon was more than a place for the Elite Cohanim to hang out and do their ritual. By means of the doing the work to build the Mishkon, the people felt a sense of ownership and responsibility to it. As a result of doing the work together, through the quality of Neztah, the people bonded with each other and the sanctuary.

Tmimah Audrey ickovits

Recent Posts