• Rav Uriel Aviges

Hoshana Rabba 5778


Hoshana 3

Introduction


He who is born on the third day of the week will be wealthy and unchaste. What is the reason? Because herbs were created thereon.22 ) Herbs multiply very rapidly and also continually intermingle with other herbs. (

He who is born under Mars will be a shedder of blood. R. Ashi observed: Either a surgeon, a thief, a slaughterer, or a circumciser. Rabbah said: I was born under Mars.33  Abaye retorted: You too inflict punishment and kill.

Chabat 156

This hoshaana is connected to Yaakov. Yaakov was married to four wives, and at least two of them were sisters, (some says that zilpah and Bilhah were also sister he has twelve son and one daughter. When he asks to marry rachel he says to lavan “give me my wife though I could have sex with her”, (genesis 29 21) Yaakov was unchaste and wealthy.  Yaakov was rich, “he had everything” (genesis 33-11).

Yaakov was also a fighter, he faught against the angel, lavan and esav. He and his children were responsible for the massacre of the city of chehem. He has some responsibility in the murder attempt against josef.

The number three is also connected to Levy the third son of Yaakov.

Describing the third day of the creation, the bible says the following:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יִקָּו֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ אֶל־מָק֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד וְתֵרָאֶ֖ה הַיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃

God said, “Let the water below the sky be gathered into one area, that the dry land may appear.” And it was so.

10 י

וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ לַיַּבָּשָׁה֙ אֶ֔רֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵ֥ה הַמַּ֖יִם קָרָ֣א יַמִּ֑ים וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of waters He called Seas. And God saw that this was good.

11 יא

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים תַּֽדְשֵׁ֤א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ דֶּ֔שֶׁא עֵ֚שֶׂב מַזְרִ֣יעַ זֶ֔רַע עֵ֣ץ פְּרִ֞י עֹ֤שֶׂה פְּרִי֙ לְמִינ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so.

12 יב

וַתּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ דֶּ֠שֶׁא עֵ֣שֶׂב מַזְרִ֤יעַ זֶ֙רַע֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְעֵ֧ץ עֹֽשֶׂה־פְּרִ֛י אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good.

13 יג

וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שְׁלִישִֽׁי׃ (פ)

And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

For our matter it is important to focus on the comments of rashi that follows.

Rashi

THE EARTH SHALL SPROUT FORTH [SPROUTS] — Let it be filled and covered with a garment of different grasses. In old French דשא is called herbaries; English herbage, meaning all species of herbs growing together collectively whilst each root by itself is called an עשב.

AND THE EARTH BROUGHT FORTH etc. — Although the expression למינהו according to its kind, was not used when the various kinds of herbage were bidden to come forth, they heard that the trees were so commanded and they applied to themselves the argument “à fortiore” (ק"ו), as it is explained in an Aggadic passage in (Chullin 60a).

According to the talmud quotted by rashi, god wanted all the kinds of herbage to intermingle together, but the herbage decided not to lisen to god command and decided to stick to their own kind.

This statement  seem contradictory with the one the talmud expressed in the tractate of chabat (156), by saying that who is born on the third day will be prosmiscuous because it is the day where  the herbs were created and the herbs intermingle with each other.

The same paradox can be found about Yaakov who is discrabed as being very faithful to his wives, according to the talmud he is the only human who never had a sperm emission in vain  (rashi, genesis 43, 3) He is also described as being very introvert when he is young and never going out of his tent.

The talmud is trying to tell us, that the most promiscuious people are generaly the most introvert ones, and the ones who have naturally some difficulty with sexuality. The most openly extroverted people are in general the most introvert inside and  the openly combative people are the most passive and shy in reality.

Combativity ambition, and sexuality are essentially an escape from oneself. They express a contradiction existing between an inner and an outer self.

The midrash says  (Bamidbar rabah chapter 3 ): "Bring close the tribe of Levi, etc." - this is [the meaning of] what is written (Psalms 65:5), "Happy is the one whom You have chosen and You have brought close": Happy is the one whom the Holy One, blessed be He, has chosen, even though he has not brought him close. And happy is the man that He has brought close, even though He has not chosen him. And who is the one whom He has chosen? That is Avraham, as it is stated (Nehemiah 9:7), "You are He, Lord God, Who chose Avram." But He did not bring him close, but rather he brought himself close. The Holy One, blessed be He, chose Yaakov, as it is stated (Psalms 135:4), "For Yaakov did the Lord choose." And so [too] it says (Isaiah 41:8), "Yaakov whom You have chosen." But He did not bring him close, but rather he brought himself close, as it is stated (Genesis 25:27), "Yaakov was a simple man that sat in tents." He chose Moshe, as it is stated (Psalms 106:23), "were it not for Moshe, His chosen"; but He did not bring him close. Happy are those that the Holy One, blessed be He, chose, even though He did not bring them close. Come and see - the Holy One, blessed be He, brought Yitro close, but He did not choose him. He brought Rachav the prostitute close but He did not choose her. Happy are these that whom He brought close, even though He did not choose them”

Holiness and spiritual elevation are the result of a desire to reconcile inner and outer selves. Some people, like Avraham, moshe and Jacob, ”were chosen”, naturally they were attracted by spirituality. but this attraction was somehow shallow, and not connected to their inner will. All the purpose of their life was to connect this outer will to get  close to god, to a deeper desire inside themselves.

 They must bring themselves close to their own destiny. Other people like yitro or rachav the prostitute hare naturally habited by a very deep and strong desire for spirituality, but their outer selves push them to do evil, the purpose of this type of people is to integrate an environment wich allows them to reconcile their outer desire to their true will.

1-first stanza

אנא האל הנקדש בקדושה שלשה

ברא במעשה בראשית בכל יום שלשה

Please the god who is sanctified by three sanctity

The angel look at two others and says three time kadoch

This refers to the verse in the book of ishaia (6, 30) “ Seraphs stood in attendance on Him. Each of them had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his legs, and with two he would fly. And one would call to the other, “Holy, holy, holy! The LORD of Hosts! His presence fills all the earth!”.

The text speak about two angels calling each other and opening the gate to a third level of holiness. Just like a man and a women by connecting to each other are able to create a third human being, so two angels by connecting to each other can create a third level a holiness. Wealth and sexuality are connected, because someone must connect people together to create wealth. This is true also regarding holiness.

ובשישי ובשביעי שלשה שלשה

הושיענו בחגיגת ימים שלשה

He created in the genesis everyday three things

And in the sixth and the seventh three three

Save us in the festival of the day three

This stanza refers to a midrash ( yalmedenu bereshit 4). On the first day god created sky and earth and light. On the second day he created the “rakia” the angels and hell. On the third day he created herbs trees and vegetables. On the fourth day he created the sun and the moon and the stars. On the fifth day he created the reptiles, the fishes and the birds. On the sixth day he created six things, three corresponding to the sixth day and three corresponding to the seventh day. He created the domestic animals, the wild animals, the dangerous animals, Adam, eve, and the devils.  The midrash is telling us that real creativity is possible only through the number “3”. Everytime the connection between two things create a third one.

Second stanza

אנא זכור אב ראה מלכים שלשה

 וימהר להסעידם סאים שלשה

הלכו אתו בעלי ברית שלשה

הושיענו בחגיגת ימים שלשה

Please remember the father who saw three angels

And he feed them three seim

If each of the angel had a different purpose why did hashem send them together? Because the angels got the power to perform their mission only through the interaction with each other.

And he feed them three seim (of flour)

Everything Avraham gave to the angels was in three protions, three tongs, etc., but the only thing he didn’t fed them was the bread. because Sarah became “niddah” at this time, and the bread got “tameh” (impure).

 But the piyut says that the only things Abraham really feed the angels was the bread! In fact, the angel cannot eat food like humans, so is the will of giving that feed them, not the food itself. The Zohar explain that the angels eat the food just to please Avraham. In fact, in our relationship with other there is always a disconnection between the thing we want to give and the thing which is received, and is by that form that disconnection, that the tryptic of the number 3 is created. Sexuality aggressively and desire for growth are the result of this disconnection.

And went with him three men of his covenant

Save us in the festival of the day 3

And went with him three men of his covenant

The three men of the covenant of Avraham are referring of the three people who are performing the action of the brith mila, the father, the mohel and the sandack. The mohel spill the blood, the father give birth, and the sandack get recovering and forgiveness and wealth. Here we see again the three aspects of the number three, promiscuity, violence, and wealth.

Stanza 3

אנא זכור בן הוכן לעקידה לימים שלשה

כרת ברית עם מלך ומרעהו ושר צבאו שלשה

בזכותו נחלו בניו כתרים שלשה

Please remember the son who get prepared for the bonding for three days

He made a covenant with a king and his friend and his general three

By his merits his children inherited three crowns

Our forefather Isaac was born perfect, not like Avraham and Yaakov who had to overcome an internal conflict during their lifetime in order to fulfill their destiny, Isaak was in perfect harmony with himself.  Isaak could not have any posterity, because he didn’t have any inner conflict to resolve.

That is why Isaak had to create himself an inner conflict to become creative and to procreate, he did so by harming himself. That may be the meaning of the piyut “the son who get prepared for the bonding for three days”. The purpose of the bounding was to create an imbalance inside itzhak, in order for him to become able create and procreate.

Itzhak made a covenant with Abimelech the king of Gerar and Pichol his general and Ahuzat one of their friend. (According to the piyout Ahuzat is the first name of a third persona.) (genese 26, 26). Those people have been very bad with itzhak, they hated him, and they throwed him away from their land. Even so, Isaak made a covenant with them, to perpetuate the covenant that Avraham did with them. In this covenant Isaak intentionally harmed himself. And just after he did so, the verse says “That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water!” After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac.” Because Isaak could harm himself he became the source of all the blessing, everything he has was multiplying very fast. And his children inherited the three crowns, the crown of torah, the crown of kingship, and the crown of priesthood.


Hoshana 4

He who is born on the fourth day of the week will be wise and of a retentive memory.23  What is the reason? Because the luminaries were suspended [thereon]

He who is born under Mercury will be of a retentive memory and wise. What is the reason? Because it [Mercury] is the sun's scribe.

This is in connection to moshe who is the scribe of hashem

It is also connected to king Salomon who was the wisest of all the humans

אנא הבורא עולמו ביסודות ארבעה

הנותן נושאי כסאו חיות ארבעה

המציב פינות ארבעה ותקופות ארבעה

הושיענו בחגיגת ימים ארבעה

Please the one who created the world with four elements

And give his throne carried by four angels

The established four directions and four seasons

Please save us during the festival day 4

The Maharal explains that the number four symbolize the four directions, but without the center point (beer hagolah beer 4 chapter 8 and other places). Moshe rabenou was never able to go in Israel, because he was lacking the center point. The planets are constantly rotating around the center but they can never reach it, so to moshe rabenu was rotating around erests Israel, but he was never able to reach it.

King salomon at the contrary never spent a night outside of Jerusalem, according to the midrash. but by doing so he lost his sense of direction. For the real wise, nomadism is the only way to achieve stability.

The wisdom and knowledge come from the possibility of escaping the center. When someone is routed in one center, in one certain point of view it is impossible to reach real knowledge.

The four elements are formed of two groups of antagonist elements, the water and the fire, and the air and earth. The opposition of the elements create space, each element trying to separate from his partner. but because, the other “couple” is also trying to expand in another direction, balance is created. And stability is achieved. The number 4 symbolize the idea that stability came from hidden instability. The planets are stables but they are constantly moving.

The name of hashem has also four letter who symbolize this idea, hashem is everywhere, but he is nowhere, how is it possible? It is because somehow the world is constantly moving and exploding. That is also the idea of the four seasons, and the four angels.

אנא זכור אה העיר ממזרח כאור ליימים ארבעה

רדף ויחלק על מלכים ארבעה

בשרתו לשוב זרעו לדורות ארבעה

Please remember the father that awaken from east,

Like the light of the fourth day

He run and separated on the four kings

You announced him that his descendant will come back after four generations

Dalet, the fourth letter of the alphabet is an open door. (dalet mean door in Hebrew) the Maharal explain it is connected to exile. Avraham could become a patriarch only after he exiled himself from his country and his family. He knew also that his descendant must go in exile in order to inherit the land. There is no real possibility to create a country without being in exile for a period.

The author explain that Avraham could defeat his enemies by separating them. He beat the four kings because he could break the unity of the four armies. Because Avraham knew where was the center of everything, it was easy for him to find the breaking point of something.

The four generations represent the four children the haham (the wise) the rasha (the guilty)  the tam (the simple) and cheeno yodea lishol (the one who does not know how to ask). These four types of children are four generations, Avraham knew that the fourth generation will be worthy of getting into Erets Israel, because they will have gone a total cycle or spiritual quest. The four children cannot exist without each other they are existing because of one another.

In pirkei avoth. The Mishnah describe few types of behaviours that could be divided in four categories.

MISHNAH 10. [THERE ARE] FOUR TYPES OF CHARACTER74 IN MEN: HE THAT SAYS: ‘MINE IS MINE, AND THINE IS THINE’: THIS IS A NEUTRAL TYPE SOME SAY THIS IS A SODOM-TYPE75 OF CHARACTER: [HE THAT SAYS:] ‘MINE IS THINE AND THINE IS MINE’ IS AN UNLEARNED PERSON;76 [HE THAT SAYS:] MINE IS THINE AND THINE IS THINE,’ IS A PIOUS MAN;77 [HE THAT SAYS:] ‘MINE IS MINE, AND THINE IS MINE,’ IS A WICKED MAN.78

    MISHNAH 11. [THERE ARE] FOUR TYPES OF CHARACTER IN [RESPECT OF] TEMPERAMENTS: EASY TO BECOME ANGRY, AND EASY TO BE PACIFIED: HIS GAIN DISAPPEARS IN HIS LOSS;79 HARD TO BECOME ANGRY, AND HARD TO BE PACIFIED: HIS LOSS DISAPPEARS IN HIS GAIN; HARD TO BECOME ANGRY AND EASY TO BE PACIFIED: [HE IS] A PIOUS MAN;80 EASY TO BECOME ANGRY AND HARD TO BE PACIFIED: [HE IS] A WICKED MAN.

    MISHNAH 12. [THERE ARE] FOUR TYPES OF CHARACTER AMONG DISCIPLES: QUICK TO COMPREHEND,81 AND QUICK TO FORGET:82 HIS GAIN DISAPPEARS IN HIS LOSS; SLOW TO COMPREHEND, AND SLOW TO FORGET: HIS LOSS DISAPPEARS IN HIS GAIN: QUICK TO COMPREHEND, AND SLOW TO FORGET: [HE IS] A WISE MAN;83 SLOW TO COMPREHEND, AND QUICK TO FORGET, THIS IS AN EVIL PORTION.84

    MISHNAH 13. [THERE ARE] FOUR TYPES OF CHARACTER IN [RESPECT OF] ALMSGIVING.85 HE WHO DESIRES THAT HE [HIMSELF] SHOULD GIVE, BUT THAT OTHERS SHOULD NOT GIVE: HIS EYE IS EVIL86 TOWARDS THAT WHICH APPERTAINS TO OTHERS;87 [HE WHO DESIRES] THAT OTHERS SHOULD GIVE, BUT THAT HE [HIMSELF] SHOULD NOT GIVE: HIS EYE IS EVIL TOWARDS THAT WHICH IS HIS [OWN]; [HE WHO DESIRES] THAT HE [HIMSELF] SHOULD GIVE, AND THAT OTHERS SHOULD GIVE: [HE IS] A PIOUS MAN; [HE WHO DESIRES] THAT HE HIMSELF SHOULD NOT GIVE AND THAT OTHERS [TOO] SHOULD NOT GIVE: [HE IS] A WICKED MAN.88

    MISHNAH 14. [THERE ARE] FOUR TYPES OF CHARACTER IN [REGARD TO REGULAR] ATTENDANCE89 AT THE HOUSE-OF-STUDY: HE WHO ATTENDS BUT PRACTISES90 NOT, THE REWARD FOR ATTENDING IS IN HIS HAND;91 HE WHO PRACTISES BUT ATTENDS NOT,92 THE REWARD FOR PRACTISING IS IN HIS HAND; HE WHO ATTENDS AND PRACTISES, HE IS A PIOUS MAN;93 HE WHO ATTENDS NOT AND PRACTISES NOT: HE IS A WICKED MAN.94

    MISHNAH 15. [THERE ARE] FOUR TYPES OF CHARACTER AMONG THOSE WHO SIT BEFORE THE SAGES:95 [THEY ARE, SEVERALLY, TYPIFIED BY] A SPONGE, A FUNNEL, A STRAINER AND A SIEVE:96 A SPONGE, WHICH ABSORBS ALL; A FUNNEL, WHICH LETS IN AT ONE END AND LETS OUT AT THE OTHER; A STRAINER, WHICH LETS OUT THE WINE AND RETAINS THE LEES; A SIEVE, WHICH LETS OUT THE COARSE MEAL AND RETAINS THE CHOICE FLOUR.97

At a first glance it is very hard to understand what are those mishnayot trying to teach us. What type of lesson could we learn from this categorization? If some people take time to learn something and forget it easily, what can we do about it?

It seems that the purpose of those mishnayot is to teach us that those four types of behaviors are interconnected. It is impossible to find students who remember everything and forget nothing, if from another end, you do not have students who forget everything.

 Not only those four types of behaviours are always present inside a certain group, but they are also  present in each individual, in different domains of his life.

Every body knows, that in a certain domain of his life he remember everything very easily, and in other domains he forget almost everything very easily. Our memory, is active only beaucause we know by experience what forgetfulness is, and our memory become active only beaucause we know that we can forget and we are scared of it. The more we forget in some domains of our life, the more we remember in others.

The same is true with our relationship to ownership. In some domain we believe that what is ours is ours, and not what belongs to the other, but in other domains we believe that everything belongs to everybody.

All those mishnayot talk about either the relationship to god, or the relationship to other. In those domains the human must think somehow against his own nature. In spirituality and in morality, the human is always thinking against himself.

That is why, there is always a blind spot in morality or spirituality. When a man thinks about moral, about good and evil, he has to create an opposition between two models, one he decides to follows and another he is rejecting. But, this opposition between two models of behaviors is always somehow arbitrary, and presuppose a blind spot.

Because in moral and in religion the man is always thinking against himself, he can reason only through syllogism, and logical identity. Morality must assumes the principle of logical identity: A = A or A is not non-A. but this type of reasoning is always partial, because the opposition beetwen an A and a -A, is always arbitrary.

Let ‘s takes the example of the last Mishnah we have quoted. The sponge who absorb everything, is opposed to the funnel who forget everything.

In this opposition A is the sponge and -A is the funnel.

Then the Mishna speak about another opposition the sieve and the strainer. The sieve keeps the good and leave the bad, the strainer keep the bad and leave the good. In this category, A is the sieve, and -A is the strainer.

But, if we try to think deeper we could think that, the sponge is not the real opposite of the funnel, because the sponge and the funnel don’t differentiate between good and bad. therefore, the sponge and the fennel are not rely opposed to each other. We can say the same about the sieve and the strainer, they are not really opposite because both of them belongs to the category of the one who make a difference between good and bad.

Moral thinking, as a reflection on good and bad, or true or false, is therefore possible only, through a four-sided type of reasoning, evolving around a blind spot.

And because those type of reflection are always arbitrary and lacking a big part of understanding, the human is condemned to rotate in those four directions either in different domains, or in different periods of his life.

That is why moshe was not able to see the face of Hashem, and that why also Chelomo get off the way of god at a certain point of his life. All wisdom is based and evolve around a fundamental “non-understanding”.

אנא זכור בן הוגש לעקדה על קרנות ארבעה

חפר בפלשת בורות ארבעה

ויעתק לקרית ארבעה

Please remember the son who was bonded on the four corners (of the altar)

He dug in Palestine four wells

And he moved the city of four

Any sin offering need to have his blood sprinkled on the four corners of the mizbeah (the altar), wich mean the acceptance of losing a central unbreakable point. bringing a sin offering is accepting to put oneself in question radically.

 Itzhak did that when he was bounded onto the altar. Because of that, Itzhak could break the central point of the five kingdoms of Palestine, (five is the four directions and the central point) by digging four wells of water. And by the end, he was part of the four couple that create the universal balance.

 Abraham being opposed to Isaac. And Yaakov to Adam. Not only Isaac was able to be a complete open space, but he was also able to become one of the four directions, by opposing the perception of his father.

אנא זכור תם נעזר באמהות ארבעה

חנן להנצל משפטים ארבעה

בתפלתו כלכלת בניו בדברים ארבעה

Please remember the perfect one who was helped by four mother

He prayed to be saved from the four judgments

By his prayer you feed his children with four things

As we have said before wisdom is the opposite of perfection and authenticity. Yaakov was perfect and all his life he was in quest of his true self and identity. That is why he did not have connection to wisdom he was simple and perfect.

 But he needed to connect to the outside world. That is why he needed to be married to four wife who were antagonizing each other. Through this antagonism, Yaakov could find a relation with the complexity of the world. 

The four judgments could be the four exiles, the four exiles of the Jewish people are connected to the four direction of space which contradict the unity of Hashem. (Maharal). Yaakov, like the Jewish people, in his simplicity unity and perfection, represent the unity of god and is constantly in danger of being exiled.

By his prayer his offspring merited the mana the quails the pit and the clouds of glory. That symbolize the four elements. The Jews have two ways to deal with the outside world. the first one is  through wisdom and knowledge,  that was the way of moshe, the second way is through pure faith simplicity and prayer. That was the way of Yaakov.


Hoshana 5

Introduction


He who is born on the fifth day of the week will practise benevolence. What is the reason? Because the fishes and birds were created thereon

He who is born under Zedek [Jupiter] will be a right-doing man [zadkan] R. Nahman b. Isaac observed: Right-doing in good deeds. (chabat 156)

This fith day relates to aharon hakohen. The strength of aharon, was that even when he was wrong he was right. That what the guemrah mean by saying right doing in good deeds.

The number five relates to the letter heh. Representing the teshuvah, and the possibility to get to higher spiritual level after a sin.

According to Maimonides the mitswah of building the temple was given only after the sin of the golden calf. Aharon who was the one who constructed it became the high priest and the holiest individual in the community.

On the fifth day hashem created the fish and the birds. On certain regards, fish and birds are total opposite. Fish cannot talk or make any sound with their mouth, but the birds cannot stop  talking. Fish are invisible in the water but the birds are very noticeable. In the midrash the fish are connected to rachel and her children, yossef Daniel mordehai, who were very low profile, staying quiet and never saying they were even jewish.  And the birds to leah and her children, yehudah, david, salomon, who were very high profile and noticeable.

 In kabbalah, (cf the tefilah of the ben ich hay on birkat ahilanot) the birds and the fish relates two to type of souls, the birds are the souls of the righteous who are somehow traped in this world, because they had a message to carry out in this world but, their message was not completely received, that is why even their body is not in this world their voice has to be heard, till the message come through.

 For exemple king david said about himself, “I will dwell in your tent in the two worlds”, the talmud  (yevamoth 96b)  learn from this verse that everytime someone say a verse of the psalm, “the lips of kind david are moving in his coffin”. “Rab Judah stated in the name of Rab: What is the meaning of the Scriptural text, I will dwell in Thy tent for ever?51  Is it possible for a man to dwell in two worlds! But [in fact it is this that] David said to the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Lord of the Universe, May it be Thy willthat a traditional statement may be reported in my name in this world'; for R. Johanan1  stated in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: The lips of a [deceased] scholar, in whose name a traditional statement is reported in this world, move gently in the grave“.

 King david use the same terminology when he speak about birds “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself in which to set her young, near Your altar, O LORD of hosts, my king and my God." (psalm 84).

In kabbalah, the souls of the torah scolars who passed away and  left writings for the posterity, are compared  to birds  who sings above the wall surrounding the gan eden.

The fish are the souls of tsaddikim that had to do a lot of good deeds in this world but were never able to finish them. (that one of the meaning of tashlih, we send away our sins to a place were there are fish, meaning, that just like a lot of good deeds made by the tsaddikim, never got a chance to fully concretize in this world, so too, our sins should go away not leaving a durable mark in our lives in this world).

 The festival of Soucoth is connected to water, that is why through the seven days of Soucoth the soul of the tsaddikim, are like fish that come to this world to dwell inside us and our souls, giving us the power to finish their works, during the rest of the year (ushpizin, the gest who come in the Sucah. The  Sucah, wich is a temporary residence symbolize our inner soul). 

All those concept are connected to the letter heh, wich has no bottom and an opening on top, showing that the world to come, the world of the deads, and our world are tightly connected, and saying that unfinished and uncompleted actions have vocation to end in an even higher level.

אנא המיחד לכבודו שמות חמישה

הקונה בעולמו קנינים חמישה

היוצר בבריותיו גבורים חמישה הושיענו בחגיגת ימים חמישה

Please the one who unify for his honor five names

Who acquire in his world five things

Who create in his creation five powerful ones

Save us in the festival of day five

“Please the one who unify for his honor five names”

There are five name of hashem that we use in the prayer the tetragrammaton, adochem, elokim, chakay, tsevakot.

All of those five name define an infinite perfection in a certain aspect

The tetragrammaton is perfection in relation to time (the translation of the tetragrammaton is the one who is, who was, and will be)

Adochem is perfection in ownership (it means the master of the universe)

Elokim, is perfection in judgment and freedom. (it means the judge, or the master of al powers)

Chakay is balance (it means the one who stops the world from expanding)

And tsevakot is infinity. (it means the god of the army, which is an infinite multitude)

“Who acquire in his world five things”

This stanza refers to the following Mishna: (avot chapter 6) FIVE POSSESSIONS HAS THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, [SPECIFICALLY] DECLARED HIS OWN IN HIS WORLD, AND THESE THEY ARE: THE TORAH, ONE POSSESSION, THE SANCTUARY, ONE [OTHER] POSSESSION, HEAVEN AND EARTH, ONE [MORE] POSSESSION, ABRAHAM, ONE [OTHER] POSSESSION, ISRAEL, ONE [MORE] POSSESSION

 These five aspects are also related to the five names of hashem.

Torah (time),  Earth and sky (ownership), Avraham (freedom and judgement), Israel (balance) Beth hamikdash (infinity).

“Who create in his creation five powerful ones”

The cheruvim who carries the merkavah have four faces, lion face, ox face, an eagle face, and a man face. Those four faces symbolize the four channel through which hashem created the world. The energy send by god was one a his beginning. And then it was diffracted through four realms, and then diffracted again to reach the infinite plurality of the world.

 The leviathan symbolizes the infinite potential of the world through it is infinite plurality. According to the midrash the leviathan is constantly trying to reproduce, but he cannot, if he was effectively reproducing it will destroy the world, (baba batra 74b), to comfort it, god has to play with it (avodah zarah 3b). the growth potential of the universe through diversity is so strong that he will destroy the universe, god has castrate this will and play with it, to maintain a stability in the cosmos.

The five strong ones are connected to the five names of hashem used during the prayers.

Man (time), Ox (ownership) Eagle (freedom and judgment) Lion (balance) leviathan (infinity).

Later in the piyut the author relate the five name of hashem to the five aspect of the soul: nefech (time) rouah (ownership) nechama (freedom and judgement) hayah (balance) yehidah (infinity).

The author also relates the five names to the five book of the torah genesis (time), shemot (ownership), vaykrah (judgement and freedom), Bamidbar (balance), Devarim (infinity).

the piyut refers also to the five gates of the beth hamikdash, and the five kings that Avraham was able to free from captivity, and the five city that he tried to save through his prayers.

The author also explain that the five names are connected to the ten commandments, divided in two sets of five.

The first five of the ten commandments are related to this five names.

 The first one “I am hashem etc,” is related to the tetragrammaton, in this statement hashem is saying that he is the one who was, is and will be.

the second one: “don’t practice idolatry” to the second name, adochem, hashem is the owner of the world so we should not worship other deities.

 the third one “don’t swear falsely” is related to the third name, elokim, means judge, swearing falsely is the opposite of being just.

 the fourth commandment is shabat. hashem stopped creating on the seventh day. the name shakay, means the one who stopped.

 And “honoring one’s parents” is connected to the fifth name “tsevakot”, which refers to the infinity of people in the world.

The same is true with the second set of five commandments.” Don’t murder”, is related to time, a man life is time, killing someone is destroying time.

“don’t commit adultery” is connected to ownership, according to the torah a woman belongs to her husband.

 “don’t kidnap or steal” judgment and freedom, kidnaping someone is stealing his freedom.

“don’t be a false witness”, relate to “chakay”, stopping the creation, meant for hashem  to become silent. (god was creating by saying words).

and don’t be envious, is connected to “tsevakot” “infinity of the army”, there is an infinity of creature each one, has the attribute he deserves, so there is no reason to be envious.

There is a big gap between the number five and the previous numbers. till number four all the elements where connected and dependent of each other. Even the number one, one is connected to the previous state, the two is a pure relation of movement and so are the three and the four. But by the number five each element has its own perfection.

 The man is a king, independently of the ox or the eagle, and the eagle is a king independently of the ox etc. The Maharal says that five is the perfect number because it encompasses the four directions and the center.

 The number five associate Yaakov and moshe. The four and the three can achieve perfection in two ways ether by adding together and creating the number seven, or by superposing on each other and creating the number five.

How is that possible to connect the wisdom of moshe with the simplicity or Yaakov? It is possible only through techouvah or prayer.

The techouvah is a dynamic movement, like the wisdom of moshe, it is a quest for an illumination coming from outside an open door; but in the same time, it is a self-discovery.

The sin creates a trauma, a blind spot, this blind spot can be the motor of a movement or a quest, forcing us to open to the complexity of life. But at the same time, from another end, all the purpose of the teschuvah is to be able to face this bind spot. That is why trough techouvah someone can reach the level of “hod”, glory who was the level of Aharon hakohen.

Though techouvah the man can reach independence and feel the unity of his soul, and be in the same time, plural, multifaced and carried away by an uplifting dynamic.

©2018 by Uriel Aviges.