A Kabbalistic Approach
to an Eternally Enduring World Peace
THE ACADEMY OF JERUSALEM
p.o.b 8115 Jerusalem 91080.
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The relationship of Israel, (or of the Jewish People), and the world's nations is a problematic one. Almost every gentile meta-historian has become exasperated with the Jewish People, who did not seem to comply with his scheme. This is the more sophisticated expression to the common view expressed in the popular saying of "how odd of God to choose the Jews". (Quite recently I saw a publication of a self-proclaimed "school for world-servers" who saw no other topic to initiate a discussion of "solving the world's problems" than by introducing "The Jewish Problem," and this by resorting to every antisemitic utterance of a couple of occultist ladies). Our suggestion would be that in seeking an approach to solve the global world problems, it would be good to pay attention to intelligible Jewish views on them.
The problem is no less pressing on the Jewish side. There is a lot of past hurt and even xenophobia there, leading to a common failure to look optimistically at the relationship of Israel and the nations and to missing on its opportunities. One role of the Hayut Foundation for a New Vision of Zion is to bring out optimistic visions for Israel, to encourage their study and adoption, which we do by our "Academy of Jerusalem" project. In its role of an experiment in "higher education", the Academy conducts symposia and tutorials.
Nehamah Nadborny approached me at her own initiative with a plan to make a book on "Israel and the 70 Nations" as a sequel to her book on "The Twelve Dimensions of Israel". We soon found that we had a common ground in thinking afresh the plurality implied by a re-evocation of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and could aim at some common further aims. The main help I could offer Nehamah was in a series of meetings, in which various bits of further information and some new insights were offered, beside some (hopefully) useful criticism and guidance. These symposia operated on several modes, scholarly as well as artistic and even mystical. On the practical side, we were able to offer the costs of publication of a monograph of the Academy of Jerusalem - from painting materials and a stipend for writing, editing and printing costs.
We hope that in the future we shall be able to likewise assist still many more motivated colleagues and students. We ask you, the reader to show such generosity and suspend your judgement until you read all of Nechamah's argument. It will take you through some delightful places, and demonstrate in a fairly simple way the enigmatic Biblical stipulation - that God has "set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the Children of Israel" (Deut. 32:8).
Israel and the Seventy Nations of the World
A Kabbalistic Approach to an Eternally Enduring World Peace
Nechama Sarah G. Nadborny
How can the ultimate unity of mankind be achieved without sacrificing the integrity of the national/cultural units or the uniqueness of their members? Presented here is an answer sourced in the Torah, the 3,500-year-old Divine book of wisdom, and in the Kabbalah, the mystical secrets hidden in the Torah. The Kabbalistic vision of world unity may guide us in recreating a cosmic order which truly effects social change and ends human conflict.
The Biblical story of Adam and Eve teaches us of our common source. We are all brothers and sisters, children of one God. As much as this truth has been forgotten or distorted, in the depths of our shared psyche the memory of unity persists. In the wellsprings of our consciousness, we share a belief in the ultimate unity of humankind.
This unity, however, must honor each individual within a national/cultural context. It must recognize and value each nation's unique journey towards self-actualization. Just as a diamond's beauty intensifies as the number of facets increase, so manifold points of view enhance the beauty of unity. This vision embraces and honors truth as a diamond with multiple facets. The source of the radiating light of each facet may be mined from the depths of each individual.
The facets of our cosmic diamond must scintillate in harmony. Each one must emanate a distinct light that complements the others. A fragmented facet distorts the light of unity. This translates into a distortion of truth. In the name of partial truth how much harm has been done? In the name of an illusive unity, how much blood has been shed? How many times has the ideal of collective unity been used to oppress the individual, robbing him of his right to think and act according to the dictates of his own conscience? Conversely, how many times has the emphasis on individual rights been to the detriment of the collective? In the name of the rights and privileges of a few individuals, how many societies have collapsed from within? Collective visions always run the risk of undervaluing the richness and depth of the individual within the larger cultural context. Individualistic visions always run the risk of manipulating the masses for the sake of a few. We must arrive at a reconciliation of differences and conflicting interests without compromising the unique role of each individual.
The Divine Light
An intense, pure light of Divinity is trying to penetrate our world. It expresses the sacredness of life, love, acceptance, and universal harmony. This light emanates from a single Source, radiating truth throughout numerous facets of our cosmic diamond, penetrating each individual's unique perception. Every person innately knows this light, which is at times experienced as a moment's ecstatic revelation of the unity of all being. Our shared potential for a permanent revelation of this light reflects our common origin in Adam and Eve. Kabbalistic tradition teaches that when this light is revealed, a spiritual reality even higher than that of the Garden of Eden awaits us. Other traditions also reflect this vision. It is the goal of prayers, meditation, and wisdom studies the world over.
Now, as we stand at the threshold of a new awakening, the experience and interpretation of this light seems more fragmented than ever. The proliferation of ideologies which justify hatred and self aggrandizement is a result of an inability to permanently translate the light into a lasting workable reality.
Fragments of light give birth to partial answers. Russia's Communist Revolution, for instance, aspired to economically empower the masses. However, the exaltation of one principle at the expense of undermining other principles became an obsession. Thus, almost overnight, the new communist regime became a tyranny of mind control, conformity, and bestial brutality, destroying any individual who defied the new order. What happened? The initial light which inspired sensitivity to a basic human need turned into a cataclysmic darkness of power and control. Why? Because it was only a fragment, thereby shutting out the reality of a total cosmic order.
The Torah's vision of unity is all-encompassing. It expresses a cosmic order which beckons to guide the total creative expression of the individual within a just society of humankind. It embraces the collective and the individual, the universal and the particular.
We may realize this vision through sharing universal symbols of unity and cosmic order. In order for the Divine light to penetrate the human psyche and nourish true and lasting global change, we all must, simultaneously, be willing to re-examine our beliefs and the symbols that embody our beliefs. This requires refining the frameworks that we have inherited or adopted. In order to do this, we must enter a sacred place wherein we will be assisted and assured that not one of us will be forced to give up anything that is holy. On the contrary, the purpose of this process is to help realize the true essence of our beliefs. (For details of this process, see footnote.)
For Israel, and for many people the world ove, the most powerful earthly symbol of world peace and cosmic harmony is the Temple in Jerusalem. It was there that Israel experienced the Godly light in all of its glory. It was there that, once a year, seventy sacrifices were offered for the benefit of the seventy core nations defined by the Torah.
The Torah teaches us that seventy nations descended from Noah. (Genesis 10) These archetypal nations represent seventy basic languages and cosmologies through which the cosmic light is interpreted and perceived by humankind. The core variations of this light are reflected in the seven colors of the rainbow which greeted Noah and his family after the flood. A Midrash describes the future Temple, whose essence exists in the supernal worlds, as scintillating with seventy two jewels, representing the seventy nations, Israel, and God. Thus, the full array of the nuances of the one light, refracted into seven, then further into seventy, adorn the final revelation.
However, as universal as the Temple truly is, it is still mainly associated with Israel. Before all peoples can begin to appreciate the essential idea of the Temple in our days, we need to make use of symbols that are completely universal in scope and to which each individual and collective can relate.
The Cube: Our Symbolic Model and Basic Structure of Our Cosmic Diamond
The book now in progress The Seventy Dimensions of the World's Nations (of which this monograph is a primer) will be a sequel to my book The Twelve Dimensions of Israel. The Divine Source of unified light that is uniquely expressed through the twelve tribes of Israel is further defined through the seventy nations of the world. In this context the term "dimension" is defined figuratively. Here, "twelve dimensions" and "seventy dimensions" refer to perceptions of God's unity.
In The Twelve Dimensions of Israel, I explored the concept of a simple six-sided cube as an archetypal shape for understanding the infrastructure of our multi-dimensional universe. In essence, the form of a cube is most appropriate for representing the three-dimensional space of our universe in which every object has six sides or faces paralleling the six directions (south, north, east, west, up, down). In this model, the twelve edges of the cube represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
Each of the twelve edges of the universal cube (see illustration 1) is a link between the transcendent world of unity and the lower levels of multiplicity experienced in our ordinary reality. Most importantly, each edge represents a different potential for perceiving Divinity and integrating this consciousness into the details of our lives. Each edge alludes to the pulsating life force of the souls which are manifested in the twelve tribes of Israel. (For more details, see appendix 1.) The Bahir, a book attributed to Rabbi Nehunia ben haKana, a first century master of the Kabbalah, elaborates on the central cube of Israel. As mentioned above, a cube has six sides and twelve edges. The Bahir expands the concept of twelve into one of seventy-two. Each of the twelve consists of six, such that, "each of the twelve is a six directional spatial continuum in its own right." (For further explanation, see appendix 1.)
Simply stated, this means that each of the six two-dimensional faces of the cube expands into a full-blown three-dimensional cube. Thus, a multi-faceted cosmic diamond (or hypercube) of the universe is revealed, composed of six additional surrounding cubes. The entire structure exhibits 72 additional lines (6 X 12). (See illustration 2.) The 72 edges allude to the pulsating life force manifested through the world's 70 archetypal nations, Israel, and God. (See appendix 1 explaining the relationship between 72 and 70.) So too, each one represents a different potential for perceiving Divinity and integrating it into the consciousness of our every day lives.
The twelve-edged cube is reflected in the formation of the Israelite camp in the desert. The Tabernacle of God was at the center, surrounded by three tribes on each side. Diagrammatically this can be depicted as a six-sided, twelve-edged cube. Now, we add six additional cubes of twelve edges each (6 X 12) around each of its six faces. This time, however, let us see what happens when the seven cubes are fused together into one single unity, i.e. when all the nations attach themselves to Israel and each other. The result is a totally integrated infrastructure with 60 lines. (see illustration 3).
Sixty, the numerical value of the letter samechñ , represents wholeness and completion, as explained in The Twelve Dimensions of Israel (see appendix 1). There is also a dynamic relationship between the Hebrew words shalom and shlemut, "peace" and "completeness." In other words, each individual's and nation's shared consciousness of their indivisible facet in the infrastructure of the universe, represented by the common sharing of all lines, effects the process of completion. This common sharing of lines translates into a collective vision of universal harmony and peace.
We may even transform our cosmic diamond into a new image in which the lines become strings of a universal harp (illustration 4). The original twelve strings of Israel expand into a multi-stringed instrument through which the melodies of all nations reverberate in harmony, creating a breathtaking universal orchestra of oneness. Thus, as we clarify the main seventy two perceptions of the unified light whose essence is expressed within the inner twelve, we may fine tune our celestial symphonies.
This means sifting out the light as we clarify the symbolic expressions of the world's religions and cosmologies. Thus, all that is sacred may be resurrected from its fossilized iconic state as the essence of its message is extracted.
However we illustrate our cosmic diamond, the 60 or 72 edges correspond to the pure streams of consciousness that are available to Israel and the 70 archetypal nations. Through this symbol, each individual and nation can reconnect to the universal order in its own way as we move towards world redemption. This requires a purification of the different nuances of the one pure light as each individual and nation re-evaluates and refines its spiritual framework. We will then perceive different facets of one shared, clear vision that transcends the language and symbols of its interpretation. As Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook described it, "Religion is corrupted through the decline of the higher Torah, through which one gains the recognition of the greatness of God, the higher perfection that is infinite and beyond assessment." (Kook, p.267)
Israel, as the core cube of the seventy nations, has a central role to play in this process of refinement. As we meditate further on our universal symbol we may see that each of the six clusters of twelve nations connects with four tribes of Israel. Each cluster also connects to an adjacent cluster through sharing a common line (string) of Israel. Thus each tribe of Israel is connected with two clusters, linking them together. Through this we see how essential Israel's relationship to all of the world's nations is in effecting clarification.
The Number Seventy
In addition to the seventy offspring of Noah mentioned above, we find a passage in the Torah referring to the seventy offspring of Jacob who descended to Egypt, "God established the boundaries of the nations (the seventy nations) according to the number of the children of Israel." (Deut. 32:8). This is another indication of the indivisible bond that exists between Israel and the nations.
Within the very framework of the Torah's justice system we find an intricate relationship between the seventy members of the Sanhedrin and the seventy nations of the world. God's heavenly tribunal, comprised of the seventy guardian angels of the seventy nations, is modeled by the earthly court of the Sanhedrin below. The members of the Sanhedrin were required to know the seventy languages of the world and also the basic tenets of the ideologies of the seventy nations. Thus they were capable of conall possibilities in order to render just decisions. Thus, by exploring the number seventy throughout the Torah, the interconnectedness and interdependency of Israel and the world becomes clear.
One Language - Seventy Languages - The Giving of the Torah
It is revealed in Genesis 11:1, that after the flood the whole land had one language and one common purpose. Three hundred and forty years after the flood, all of the national families were concentrated in the area which is present day Iraq (Babel).
Noah and his children were still alive and Abraham was 48 years old.
These spiritual greats were available to teach Divine wisdom, however that generation chose instead to pursue worldly vanities. King Nimrod was the primary power behind this rebellion. He wanted to rise up and fight against God. According to the Kaballah, this means that he wanted to use Godly power for his own ends. God prevented this by destroying the Tower of Babel and dispersing the nations. The one common, holy tongue, in which lay the key to a pure awareness of unity, was fragmented into seventy languages.
The antidote to this disaster of human folly was offered in the revelation of the Torah at Sinai, which according to the Talmud took place simultaneously in all seventy languages. "So that all nations might read it, God's voice at Sinai was split into seventy languages." (Shabbat 88b). Rabbi Yochanan said that this occurred in order that each nation should hear the voice of its own language. Thus, each soul is challenged to discover the Divine word within.
Israel and the Seventy Nations
Just as we have expanded our central cube, so it is necessary to widen our perception of Israel. To the extent that any one person identifies with the spiritual preference of Jacob and the twelve tribes as elucidated in the written and oral Torah is the degree to which one may identify with and relate to the central cube of our structure: Israel.
In the written Torah, the selection of the progeny of Jacob is exclusive. However, in the oral Torah (which includes the Kaballah), we begin to perceive the 12 tribes of Israel together with the seventy nations within each of our psyches. Seen in this way, each individual uniquely embodies, first, all of humanity, and then Israel. (When reaching for higher levels, we always move from multiplicity to unity: in this case from 70 to 12; then to our common source in Adam and Eve, and ultimately God.) Thus, the nations attach themselves to Israel and Israel sees itself through the nations. As we shall see when I speak of the Makoya of Japan, it is by identifying with and experiencing each nation within ourselves that we affect transformation and healing.
Thus, our literal understanding of Israel and the seventy nations may be expanded into the inner dynamics and spiritual inclinations of any individual. The essence of each nation is reflected in a real, living, vibrating aspect of our soul, penetrating the organic reality of our being. Today each one of us is a unique combination of all of these dimensions: the twelve dimensions of Israel and the seventy dimensions of the world's nations.
The clear boundaries delineating our individual heritage must be respected within the universal framework. However, besides a knowledge of family or tribal history, only through an inner journey, which truly transcends one's symbolic road posts to eternity, may one determine his/her spiritual relationship to the universe. What is important is our sincere efforts to purify the symbolic system, inherited or adopted, which speaks to our soul as we journey to self-actualization.
Just as the cosmic diamond has defined facets that enhance its beauty, the spiritual realms have defined facets that enhance the light of unity. Distinctions in the spiritual realms must be honored. The seven primary colors of light refracted through the prism of our diamond remain defined in order to maintain a clear relationship to the pure inner radiance of Israel. When these relationships are in harmony, we may embrace the nuances of Divinity, of which we are but expressions.
The Kaballah, in describing the hidden supernal worlds, reveals a glorious configuration of seventy ministering angels who surround the inner chambers of the palace of the King. They are all witnesses to the greatness of God's glory. Together they comprise the form of man. The Kaballah also teaches that the maturity of humankind's consciousness is reflected in the hidden worlds. Therefore, when the universe is in harmony, when Israel dwells in her land, cleaving in service to the Creator, all of the angelic hosts look to and recognize one God for their strength and sustenance. Through them flow the effluence of Divine sustenance to the corresponding nations below.
Understanding the intricate connections between Israel and the nations, and among all nations, is essential to creating a harmonious and unified order. Thus, the patterns set forth in The Seventy Dimensions of the World's Nations is a necessary outgrowth of The Twelve Dimensions of Israel. Together they help reflect the diversity of Divine expression in an attempt to effect a further revelation of Torah. Through these works one may explore the inner dimensions of one's soul and the hidden dynamics of one's psyche in the process of spiritual purification as we become living expressions of a shared vision.
The relationship between Israel and the seventy nations as it exists internally within each soul is reflected in the world arena. The realization of the cosmic vision of unity that lies potentially within each and every soul will give birth to a higher level of unity than existed in the Garden of Eden, of which international harmony will be but one effect. Thus it is important to explore the intricate connections that unify all nations as we crystallize our understanding of the cosmic diamond.
The Universality of the Number Twelve
In the book Twelve-Tribe Nations, John Michell and Christine Rhone explore traditions throughout the world of a past ideal social order in which nations were divided into twelve tribes corresponding to the zodiac. They write, "All over the world, in countries as far apart as China, Peru, Iceland, and Madagascar, are records and traditions of whole nations and their territories being divided into twelve tribes and twelve regions, each tribe and its sector of land corresponding to one of the twelve signs of the zodiac and one of the twelve months in the year." (p. 11)
Michell and Rhone evoke the twelve tribes of Israel as the most famous and exemplary model of this universal phenomenon. They point out that, unlike other cultures, the correspondence between the twelve tribes of Israel and the zodiacal signs has never been precisely established. "Many people have tried to discover a consistent link between the tribes and the signs, but the only fixed element in the scheme seems to have been the number 12." (p. 60) Our Torah sages teach that Israel's connection to God through prayer, as well as by learning and meditating upon the wisdom of the Torah, supersedes the influence (and defies the logic) of the zodiac. Thus, external analysis of international sets of twelve as well as the claims of Torah sages hint to Israel's authentic, core connection with God's Oneness as transcending the influence of celestial bodies.
Michell and Rhone's exposition of a consistently repeated socio-cultural phenomenon which revolves around the number twelve may reflect the nations' direct relationship to the inner cube of Israel. Thus the universal twelve may be a cultural-archeological affirmation of our thesis.
Although the authors of Twelve-Tribe Nations do not claim that Israel is the most ancient source of this universally valid structure of twelve, the material which they present supports our symbolic model. Many of the traditions that embody the number twelve have tended to take on various impure forms, failing to lead to unity - the center of our cosmic diamond. This includes, for example, the twelve-god Greek pantheon and the twelve statues of deities in the Forum of Rome. These instances of twelve may nowbe understood in a new comparative light.
John Michell perceives that what is unique about Israel is the living memory of the twelve-tribe order and the desire and dream to reconstitute this order. Indeed, Israel's past and present challenge is to emanate the authentic manifestation of the number twelve which reflects the innermost structure of the universe. That the number twelve, is a cross-cultural phenomenon reflects the world's intricate connection to Israel, as illustrated in our cubic structure. Represented by the central cube in the cosmic diamond, within Israel lies the potential to emanate the innermost source of cosmic light in its purest form.
Without this central cube, the entire structure collapses into fragmentation. Shattered remnants of disconnected cubes and misinterpreted configurations of twelve lie in ruins throughout the globe. The strings of our cosmic symphonic instrument, representing the sixty overlapping edges of twelve and seventy, lose their tautness and vibrancy. Redemption is delayed. However, if we consciously and collectively work together, all the strings may clearly resonate from their rightful place in the cosmic order.
The historical perseverance of Israel in the face of the rise and fall of all other ancient Western civilizations, and this despite its 2,0000-year dispersal from its homeland and the disappearance of ten of its tribes, attests to her pure eternal source. Thus, Israel's work is to manifest a true vision of peace, inspired by its prophets and sages, and communicate this light to the world while awakening and absorbing the light that shines through other traditions. This itself is not possible without Israel's recognizing the light in its present adulterated form in order for each nation to be inspired to purify itself. This process will lead ultimately to what the Kaballah refers to as the elevation of all the sparks of holiness that lie scattered everywhere throughout the universe, awaiting redemption.
Kaballah thus teaches that Israel's exile from its land and its wandering among the nations was for the purpose of emanating Divine light (disseminating the Godly teachings), whether consciously or unconsciously, while gathering the unique wisdom inherent in the various nations. The ingathering of the exiles effects this process of tikun (restoration). Having passed through the crucible of exile, the fragmented sparks and souls return to completion.
During the holiday of Succot, the Torah commands Israel to take into our hands four plant species which are the archetypes of all vegetation: the citron (etrog), palm branch (lulov), myrtle (hadas), and willow (aravah). These are commonly referred to as the lulav and etrog. According to the Ari, we shake the entire bundle three times in all six directions: south, north, east, up, down, and west, mirroring the faces of the inner cube of the cosmic diamond. After each shaking of the hands and arms, we draw the lulav back to the heart. In so doing, we open our hearts to the entire creation, while simultaneously arousing all of humanity to their inherent connection with Israel and to one another. In fulfilling this mitzvah, especially in Jerusalem, Israel strengthens its role as a channeler of light from the center of the cosmic diamond. This is one way in which Israel effects cosmic rectification.
While the Temple in Jerusalem stood, once a year during the holiday of Succot, the Torah commanded us to offer seventy sacrifices for the seventy nations. These sacrifices were intended to purify and elevate the diverse ideologies of the world. Through this process the seventy-two lines of the world's multi-faceted diamond became cleansed and energized. On the eighth day of Succot, we offered a sacrifice for Israel. Since the Temple's destruction, these sacrifices have been replaced by prayer. Through verbally recounting the details of the mitzvah, we approximate its metaphysical effect.
On an internal level, as well, retracing one's personal history prepares a person to return to his/her proper place and connection. The internal trials and tribulations which each soul must undergo in being purified are represented in the Torah by the conflicts between Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, etc. Just as the Messianic Age will see the final resolution of all these conflicts, so too will it see the resolution of all the inner inconsistencies in our own lives in the light of our true identity. Our inner attainment of resolution will precede and precipitate the external-historical levels of reconciliation. The goal of the inward journey is to attain the level of pure neshamah (Divine soul). This process applies to all of our exiled souls. The goal of humanity as a whole is to attain the soul of Messiah.
The Tribe of Dan: Gateway for Perceiving the World
According to the Kabbalistic system of the Ari, the essential energy of Dan's gateway to heaven is formed through the Hebrew letter ayin which has the numerical equivalent (gematria) of 70. (See The Twelve Dimensions of Israel, chapter 10.) Thus, by entering through the gate of Dan, we may gain insight into how to approach and understand the seventy nations.
The root of the name "Dan" is related to the Hebrew word din, meaning "judgment." Thus, we can see how, through this particular starting point from the central cube of Israel, we may harness the proper discretion and judgment necessary to clearly reach the vision of a universal light.
In illustration 5, Perceiving the 70 Nations through the Gate of Dan, we see the letter Ayin superimposed on a map of the world, surrounded by a gate-like structure. In Hebrew, the word ayin means "eye". The eye that appears on the painting reflects a Midrash which describes the white of the eye as an ocean, the iris as the land of Israel, and the pupil as Jerusalem. The innermost center of Jerusalem is the Temple. This universal, discerning eye represents the clarification of sight.
Passing through the gateway of Dan may be the essential point through which we resolve conflicts among all nations. As we saw above, the dynamic of "two" has been the basis of irreconcilable conflict: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, etc. As Yitzhak Hayutman of the Jerusalem Academy has pointed out, only when the polarities are replaced by a federation of twelve brothers does a resolution become possible. Thus, not only Jacob, but also other seminal Biblical figures such as Ishmael and Nahor, had twelve sons. In the conflict between Isaac and Ishmael, Ishmael and his mother Hagar, Sarah's handmaid, were cast out of Abraham's household in a dramatic act of exclusive spiritual selection. Dan, on the other hand, was the firstborn son of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid. There was never, however, a question that Dan was one of Jacob's twelve sons and spiritual inheritors, eternally included in this balanced infrastructure of twelve. Specifically through his gateway lies the potential for resolution and universal harmony.
Cosmological and spiritual systems, communally embraced and individually interpreted, can be examined using the discretion of Dan. Since human fallibility tends to deify symbols that hint to transcendence, we are challenged to distinguish between adulterated symbols and their pure transcendent source. The pure must be extracted from the dross, then elevated and refined. Then, even the dross itself, the very thing that became an obstacle to the light, can be redeemed.
Dan was the one among the tribes of Israel who expressed this weakness by falling into idolatry, an adulterated form of worship. This is illustrated in the story of the statue of Mikha (Judges 17:1-13). The one with the weakness, however, is the most capable of and responsible for overcoming and rectifying that weakness.
The tribe of Dan also relates to the month of Tevet, during which the last few days of Hanukkah fall. The Menorah in the Temple, which had seven branches, is the key symbol. The number seven reflects the seven qualities of the heart which, according to the Kaballah, are the source of the seventy nations. These qualities not only represent spitendencies of the nations on a macrocosmic level, but also represent, on a microcosmic level, different aspects of our soul whose purification translates into health and harmony. As mentioned above, each individual is an entire universe, and therefore embraces all nuances of the 70 dimensions in varying degrees.
That the seven lights of the Menorah become the eight lights of the Hanukkia (the so-called Hanukkah menorah) attests to the concept that our natural tendencies (represented by the number seven) may be transformed to the level of miracle (represented by the number eight, which stands for what is above and beyond nature). Only in this realm of miracle may the resolution of conflicts rooted in thousands of years of history be effected. Only in this realm lies the power to break through the contracted icons of a once enlightened symbolism.
Some visions of the universal, final redemption describe a universally-perceived miraculous experience, while others attest to a slow, continuous evolution following a natural course of events. Some speak of the Final Temple in Jerusalem miraculously descending from heaven; others speak of building it from below. Ultimately, the merging of the natural and the miraculous most perfectly expresses unity .
Purifying the Light of the Nations
At the beginning of human history, the soul of Adam and Eve contained all our souls in a single unity. Then, as now, our indulgence in the tree of knowledge caused the light to become distorted and fragmented. Thus we have experienced darkness, confusion, and separateness from the pure perception of Eden. At one time, Divine Will was shining brighter than the noonday sun, and our being was a living expression of Godliness. There was no dilemma of choice, no need for philosophical speculation, no need to grasp and integrate the symbolic road posts to a once known state of being. We simply basked in the ecstasy of being.
From Adam until Noah, confusion increased. Evil, the perception of separateness from this light, intensified. This diminution of cosmic awareness translated into a fragmented sense of self, reflected in social chaos and immorality. As world suffering increased exponentially, there was a need for renewal, a new start, a revised vision.
The flood was the vehicle for this renewal. Noah and his wife were the only people of that generation whose righteousness enabled them to heed a prophetic forewarning. Thus Noah prepared to protect his family and the various species of animals by building the ark, with its precious tzohar stone inside to give light and warmth (Noah's version of the cosmic cube emanating cosmic truth, an area of light in the darkness). After months of isolation in the ark, Noah, his wife, and their three sons emerged with their wives and children. Thus, we are all the children of Shem, Ham, and Yaphet.
The rainbow that greeted Noah and his family reflected the pure light of Divine Oneness at the center of the cosmic diamond refracted into seven basic colors. These colors permeate the seven cubic structure, and are expressed through the cosmologies of the seventy nations. Every soul has the potential to tune into one of these seventy expressions in a pure way.
Throughout history the light has become distorted and grossly misinterpreted as it has been clouded by the impurity of the self-centeredness of its perceivers. It is our work to purify ourselves as we reconnect to the primal source of the unified white light which shines through the prism and is perceived in its seven basic nuances within seventy variations.
Purifying these cosmic colors requires an exposition of the cosmological belief systems that presently prevail and motivate human action. Thus, they may be analyzed discriminately according to the Divine wisdom of the Torah. Only after this process may we appreciate and embrace the unique beauty and contribution of the primal inheritance of each of the nations. As Rabbi Kook eloquently stated: "It is not the aim of the enlightenment that emanates from Israel to absorb or destroy them [the world's religions], just as it is not our aim to destroy the world's different nationalities. Our aim is rather to elevate them - to purge them of their dross." The goal is to not only critically purify but also to gather together all seventy dimensions of Divinity so that we may collectively enrich all of our lives as we prepare to receive a shared common vision.
To give an example of one of the archetypal nations and how its light could be purified, let us consider Greece. Greece, or Yavan in Hebrew, was a descendent of Noah's son Yaphet. Noah gave Yaphet the blessing, "May God enlarge Yaphet, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem."
The Greek civilization still exerts a major influence, both positive and negative, on the psyche of Western culture. The particular potentials of Yavan were the gifts of human intellect and artistic creativity, marking a new consciousness of individualism. Traditionally, Noah's blessing expresses the challenge for Yavan to contain that intellect and artistry within the "tents of Shem," represented by Shem's descendent, Israel, the inheritors of the Torah from Sinai. The peaceful "dwelling" together of Yaphet and Shem may be mirrored in a balance and harmony in our personal psyche.
Let us look at the key concepts and symbols that capture the vast complexity of the Greek mind. The prophecy of Daniel describes the power of Yavan as one of the four major exiles serving to distort the Torah perception of a God reality. In Survival - Israel and Mankind, Rafael Eisenberg states that the Greeks had no sympathy for Zoastrianism, the leading philosophy of the previous Persian empire, which advocated blind submission to a moral deity. The Persian psyche perceived man as relatively powerless. The rise of Greece was a reaction, on a national and international scale, replacing a perception of reality in which a moral deity ruled over man's life with a reality in which the individual was glorified to such an extent that the human intellect and the free individual spirit began to be worshipped. "Ego," the Greek word for "I," represents this shift from a God centered universe to an I-centered universe.
Protagoras propounded the principle that man was the measure of all things; Socrates went so far as to teach that happiness consisted of self-knowledge; Aristippus, that pleasure was the goal of life. This new surge of independence and "liberation" of the human mind and conduct gave free reign to the creative imagination. The arts and sciences flourished.
The Greek mind, when corrupted, can represent the epitome of the eating of the tree of knowledge, where self-consciousness, self-awareness, totally replaces awareness of the Divine. Creative expression and self-fulfillment cease to honor the boundaries which guard the sacredness of life and human relationships.
If we scrutinize the contribution of Greece in the light of Torah, we find that creativity, intelligence, and beauty are Divine gifts, which can be used for the true purpose of human life: to know and to serve God. True learning humbles one to realize what he or she really does not know. Once we purify the ego, the symbol of our uniqueness, within the context of a true belief in God and in His intimate involvement with our life, we may be truly free to tap the deepest source of our creative expression. Thus, the light of Greece may be purified of its dross. Thus Yaphet will truly dwell in the tents of Shem.
Cosmic energy may in this way penetrate throughout the intricacies of the human psyche, flushing out the debris of prejudice, racism, and idolatry disguised in the stale icons and false values of present human societies. The cosmic diamond will radiate a pure flow of scintillating Divine energy throughout its diverse facets. The universe will then become illuminated through our purified perceptions as we come to share a state of clarity, respect, and communication that exceeds even the original state of one shared language that existed before the shattering of the Tower of Babel.
This light also needs to be purified and revealed through Israe's evolving consciousness. Thus, the antagonistic relationship portrayed in the metaphor of the sheep (Israel) surrounded by seventy wolves (the nations) (Pesikta Rabbati 9:2) may be transformed into a cooperative and harmonious relationship as reflected in the symbols found in the visions of the prophets and the Kaballah. As long as there is mutual respect for everyone's role in the cosmic order, we may symbolically grasp and in reality embrace the emergence of a new world harmony in which all nations are working together to serve God.
The symbolic remnants embodying fragmented light patiently await to become proper vehicles to eternity. Statues and icons, even those with the slightest hint of idolatry, must evolve into cultural expressions of a universal phenomenon. We are challenged to gently and sensitively explore the "sacred" symbols that move us. We may be required to crack open the mental fossils of our theologies and cosmologies, as we ask ourselves whether their meanings support a universal vision of harmonious being or contribute to discord.
In future writings, with God's help, I hope to elaborate on this process of purification through exploring the original sources of the seventy nations. As noted, their progenitors are traced back to the seventy descendants of Noah. The resultant seventy core cultures are found today among the splintering numerous diversities of the tribes of the world.
New Age spiritual movements have advocated a spontaneous and instinctive communal embrace for the purpose of arriving at universal harmony. However, the process of true unification is fraught with complexities. We all must come to terms with the real harm which has been inflicted by various parties throughout history. The grandchild of a holocaust survivor can only with closed eyes embrace the grandchild of a Nazi. Our goal is a purified vision which leads to unity, not selective blindness for the sake of a superficial harmony.
We must travel through our own collective and personal history, resolving the confrontations with other nations. Such confrontations have been internalized; they cry to be sorted out, put in their place, and integrated through the process of our deeper becoming. Only thus may we emerge from our inner journeys and begin to communicate with real love. Only when we are securely rooted in our cosmic place will we merit the Divine gift of a carefree embrace of the other.
The Process of Purification
Honoring the intricate relations among all individuals and nations as reflected in the cosmic diamond allows us to begin the above process now. Too often, in the process of becoming, the validity of others' processes becomes undermined. As we journey inward and re-define ourselves, we may become overly critical of those who do not immediately reflect our newly found essence. Being aware of this tendency promotes not only tolerance, but love.
Everyone might first meditate upon his/her inner, as well as outer, relationship to Israel. What is the significance of "Israel" from each person's or nation`s perspective? Once this relation has been clarified and rectified, the center of the cosmic diamond may radiate from a core of strength and unity.
This central light still needs to be intensified by the ingathering of Israel's scattered tribes. As this epochal historical process takes place, the central cube of the diamond will radiate more brilliantly through the multiple facets.
Those who are committed to a personal identification with Israel are challenged to remain rooted, centered, and immersed in the eternal values and morality of the Torah. Only then may we truly extract the valuable contributions of all nations without getting caught up, as Rav Kook described, "in the degeneration common to all peoples and all religions."
In order to effect healing and transformation we may apply meditative techniques known to the prophets or those associated with eastern disciplines. Through simple breathing techniques, we may open ourselves to the awareness of the moment as we listen to the feelings and wisdom which pervade our being. Because we are each a unique, organic synthesis of all twelve dimensions of Israel and all seventy dimensions of the world's nations, through meditation we can directly experience these aspects of our own being.
Often we become intellectually wrapped up in the myriad of concepts which are potential vehicles for truly integrating the Divine light. If we meditate on one simple passage in the Torah, however, we may actually experience and internalize the source light of its teaching. This is true for all sacred teachings and symbols. Thus, the focus of our meditations becomes a vehicle of transformation as we literally inhale its meaning. Through this process we may truly begin to purify and re-evaluate our relationship to our personal road posts to eternity.
Most important, our personal interpretations of our most abstract realities must align with the truth that is revealed though our daily lives. We must develop an organic relationship with the symbols and concepts that guide our lives. Otherwise, we risk becoming philosophical hypocrites, creating the most sophisticated and lethal weapons against ourselves, each other, and all of humanity. In order to assure harmony on an inner, interpersonal, and international level, we may shift our meditations to our cosmic cubic structure and back again to our sacred symbols. Thus, we may realign our particular facet of spiritual light within the universal scintillating diamond.
A Personal Experience Validating the Vision
Sparkling facets of the universal diamond scintillating in harmony create a cosmic light show, mirroring all nations. The vision then transforms into the audio: a symphony of seventy-two strings reverberating in perfect harmony. Recently, through a series of events, I had a dazzling experience which was rooted in this vision.
The Makoya are a Japanese sect of over 60,000 adherents who align themselves with Israel and who deeply study the Torah and the wisdom of traditional Judaism. They are a good example of a line of pure light connected to the central cube of Israel. About 1600 Makoya came to celebrate Jerusalem 3000, offering their support and friendship to Israel.
I was privileged to be among the approximately twenty local Jews who just happened to be at the Kotel (the Western Wall, the sole remains of the Temple, Judaism's holiest site) when this practically unpublicized event took place. The Makoya came to celebrate through song, speeches, and prayer. They sang praises of God and Zion in Hebrew, with an impressive fluency.
Israel's distinguished Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yisrael Lau, and a small group of his students arrived. In his welcoming speech Rabbi Lau pointed out what was unique about the Makoya's friendship with Israel: It is based not on what is good for them, for their personal or national gain, but on what is good and just for the world.
Here I was, witnessing a group of 1600 Japanese who were sincerely reaching for a higher ideal and, through their beliefs and their presence, helping to build the Heavenly Jerusalem in reality. This was truly a glimpse of redemption before my eyes.
The Makoya resumed their joyful singing. As the momentum of the gathering increased, the organized line formations of the Makoya suddenly broke into dance. Circles were formed, and they coaxed us with glowing eyes and extended arms to join them in sharing a new level of joy. Dancing with them in that holy place, I experienced a taste of the age of Messiah. Many tearful, smiling embraces followed.
The next day, at Jerusalem's city hall, the Makoya entertained with more dance and song that expressed the beauty of their culture. Their regimented group discipline, transformed into artful dance and song, expressed an intense support for us in the heavenly city of Jerusalem. Their essence recalled our latent ability to be a united people, as we once were at Mt. Sinai.
That very same night, I attended a very holy Jewish wedding of outstanding members of our community. The hosts were a family of human angels, shining from their Torah and mitzvot,in which every second of their lives they are actively engaged. The sanctity of the wedding ceremony transcended time and space. As I stood witnessing the wedding ceremony, I felt Divine energy all around us. Therefore I was able to experience the week's events in another dimension, all in one moment.
My identity merged with the central cube of the cosmic diamond. The cosmic light emanating from the wedding canopy, the Holy of Holies, where the masculine and feminine merge in the most intimate unification, transported me into the depths of the innermost dimensions of all of Israel. Simultaneously, the memory of the shining, sensitive, loving faces of the Makoya penetrated into my heart of hearts. At that moment, the beautiful Makoya, with whom I had danced and cried, became shining, polished facets of our cosmic diamond cube.
Within this core of universality, I felt that if I turned my head slightly in a certain direction, I could see the Makoya mirroring back a specific aspect of my own soul, perhaps that part of me, the tribe within, which specifically links to the source nation of the Makoya. By truly being with the Makoya I came to know myself more clearly--a direct reflection of one facet of the universal soul mirroring a definitive aspect of my being.
What is the essence of this people, this nation? Reflecting back on their unique cultural expression, a gift they offered to us through song and dance, I perceived the harmony of their collective movement, contrasted to my rugged individualism (which of course, in other contexts, holds value) rooted in my Western/American origin. I understood how important it was for me to truly and deeply see myself reflected in those radiant faces of my brothers and sisters from the Orient, who have arrived at a deeper understanding of themselves and who are together trying to reveal the universal symphony vibrating throughout their strings within the cosmic diamond-harp.
During this enlightened moment, experiencing myself as a metaphor of Israel, I imagined myself turning slightly in a new direction and meeting myself through the faces of another nation, then turning again ever so slightly and meeting still another aspect of my being. I glimpsed the potential unity of all of the facets of the collective human psyche reflected through the nations. I felt Divine light penetrating into every facet, purifying, healing, and reunifying.
I believe that the inner reality that I and others are experiencing is going to become more and more actualized. People are going to realize that the world "out there" is merely a mirror of our inner reality. If human beings begin meeting each other in this inner space, eventually we will truly meet each other in joyful embrace, attaining our completion. Israel Mirrors the World and the World Mirrors Israel (Illustration 6) hints to this vision, in which the central cube (Israel) mirrors the reflections of the surrounding cubes (the nations). Each face sees itself reflected in the other, the nations in Israel and Israel in the nations.
The Cube and our Significant Numbers according to Kaballah
by Abraham Sutton
Just as a three-dimensional cube can represent three-dimensional reality, so four, five, six (etc.) dimensional hypercubes can serve as abstract models for the interface between the Infinite and the entire created world (which, although it is multidimensional, is still finite relative to the spiritual dimension that precedes and transcends it).
According to Kaballah, at its most subtle metaphysical levels, reality consists of an interplay between two modes of "Godly light." The first is called Igulim, and is represented as a circular, spherical, enveloping light that radiates ubiquitously throughout the universe irrespective of any merit on man's part. The light of Igulim is so ubiquitous that it permeates the universe equally at all times and in all places without the slightest change. Nothing stops it, nothing interferes with it, nothing frustrates it. As we shall see, relative to the second mode, it represents God's unhindered action in the world, an action that is so subtle that not only can it not be hindered, it cannot be detected! Precisely because it is everywhere equally, it cannot be detected. It is represented as spherical because everything in the natural world is spherical; down to the most infinitesimal quantum level.
The second mode, called Yosher, is depicted as a straight light that shines into the world through the well-known system of three columns known to many as the Sefirotic Tree of Life. In this second mode, the revelation or concealment of the Godly light depends on man, his actions and his worthiness. This is alluded to in the alternate meaning of the word yosher, "uprightness" or "righteousness." It is for this reason, the Ari (Rabbi Isaac Luria) states, that the Torah and the Zohar speak almost exclusively about Yosher. For this is what the Torah is about: man's perfection of himself and his world as a dwelling place for the Divine.
This distinction is represented in the Temple by the difference between the Altar (Mizbeah) of uncut stones in the Temple, corresponding to the heart, as opposed to the Chamber of Hewn Stone (Lishkat HaGazit), where the supreme court of the Jewish nation sat (see Hirsch on Exodus 20:22; Kaplan, Eye of the Universe, p. 30).
For our purposes it is well to keep in mind the existence of the Igulim as a background, while the foreground, the object that occupies our full attention, is Yosher. For this reason, it is eminently appropriate to represent our universe as a dynamic, expanding, pulsating cube. This sublime reality is reflected down into the three-dimensional world in which we live, where every object has six faces: south, north, east, west, up and down. These six faces are connected by twelve lines or edges. The twelve lines (Yosher) represent channels for life giving energy; emanations of God's Unified Light (Igulim). The Ari teaches us that the act of creation involved a contraction (in Hebrew, tzimtzum) of this light. The lines of the cube thus represent the contracted light, the movement of Infinity towards the finite, the manifestation of the transcendent light of Igulim into the human world of Yosher. Through these channels, i.e. through man, the One Light is revealed in the very midst of multiplicity.
The Sefer Yetzirah (Chapter 5) refers to different sets of twelve, all of which ultimately derive from and shed light on these twelve channels of Divine energy:
The twelve sons of Jacob who become the twelve tribes of Israel: Yehudah-Yissachar-Zevulun, Reuben-Shimon-Gad, Ephraim-Menasheh-Binyamin, Dan-Asher-Naftali (the order here is that of their encampment in the desert around the Tabernacle; Levi is not counted here, but the discrepancy is made up by dividing Yoseph's tribe into two, Ephraim and Menasheh).
The twelve corresponding land inheritances of the Land of Israel, one for each tribe except Levi (as above, Levi is singled out, for his tribe did not receive a land inheritance but rather served in the Temple).
The twelve permutations of God's Name, the Tetragrammaton: YHVH-YHHV\-YVHH, HVHY-HVYH-HHVY, VHYH-VHHY-VYHH, HYHV-HYVH-HHYV.
The twelve elemental-letters of the Hebrew alphabet: heh-vav-zayin, chet-tet-yod, lamed-nun-samekh, ayin-tzadi-kuf.
The twelve diagonal boundaries of the Sefirotic Tree of Life: east\-upper, east-north, east-lower; south-upper, south-east, south-lower; west-upper, west-south, west-lower; north-upper, north-west, north\-lower.
The twelve basic expressions of the soul: speech-thought-motion, sight\-hearing-action, coition-smell-sleep, anger-taste-laughter.
The twelve lunar months: nissan-iyar-sivan, tammuz-av-elul, tishrei\-cheshvan-kislev, tevet-shevat-adar.
The twelve signs of the zodiac: aries-taurus-gemini, cancer-leo-virgo, libra-scrorpio-sagittarius, capricorn-aquarius-pisces.
Relating the number twelve to the figure of a cube, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote in his commentary to Sefer Yetzirah:
The twelve elementals are said to relate to the twelve diagonal boundaries. These correspond to the twelve edges of a cube. When a person uses these letters in any meditation, he must also concentrate on the appropriate direction. The ordering here [in the Sefer Yetzirah] begins on the east, and then goes through the four primary directions: east, south, west, north. This corresponds to the teaching, "Whenever you turn, turn [clockwise] toward the right" (Yoma 16b). The ordering of the directions is also the same as that of the four camps in the desert (Numbers 2). The twelve diagonal boundaries thus correspond to the twelve tribes. It is for this reason that our version gives three boundaries for each of the four sides. These correspond to the three tribes in each of the four camps... The Bahir (#25) relates these twelve diagonals to the Tree of Life... These twelve boundaries also correspond to the twelve permutations of the Tetragrammaton. The permutations beginning with the Y correspond to the east; those beginning with the first H, to the south; the V, to the west, and the final H, to the north. (Sefer Yetzirah, Book of Creation, translated by Aryeh Kaplan, pp. 203-5)
The Bahir asks:
What is the meaning of the verse (Numbers 6:24\-26), "May God (YHVH) bless you and watch you. May God (YHVH) make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May God (YHVH) lift his Face to you and give you peace"? [These three mentions of the Tetragrammaton] constitute a single explicit name, the name of twelve letters, YHVH\-YHVH-YHVH... [In addition] the four letters of each YHVH can be permuted 24 different ways. Each of these 24 ways is a name. Multiply 24 by three and you have the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One. These are the 72 names derived from the verses (Exodus 14:19-21), "And traveled... And came... And stretched..." [the only three consecutive verses in the Torah that contain 72 letters each, as well as a total of 72 words for all three verses together]" (Bahir #107).
Rabbi Kaplan explains the jump from 12 permutations of the Tetragrammaton mentioned above to the 24 mentioned here:
The Tetragrammaton YHVH has two letter hehs. If they are taken as different letters, then the four letters of this Name can be permuted in 24 ways. It is because of this that some Kaballists write these two hehs somewhat differently from each other. If these two hehs are not differentiated, then the four letters only have 12 permutations. These 12 usual permutations of the Name correspond to the 12 diagonal directions [of the Tree of Life]. (ibid. p. 165)
The Bahir mentions the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One in another teaching:
The Holy One has 72 names. All of them were placed in the Tribes [of Israel; six names for each tribe]... Similarly, Joshua set up twelve stones... Each of these twelve stones [contained six names] making a total of 72. These parallel the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One. Why do they begin with twelve? This teaches us that God has twelve Directors. Each of these has six Powers [making a total of 72]. What are they? They are the 72 languages [of the world]. (Bahir #94).
Rabbi Kaplan again clarifies this obscure passage:
The twelve tribes of Israel correspond to the twelve elemental letters [of the Hebrew alphabet] and the twelve diagonals [of the Sefirotic Tree of Life]... The Bahir states that each of these twelve elemental consists of six "names." The six names parallel the six directions of a three\-dimensional continuum. Each of the twelve is thus a complete spatial continuum in its own right. The twelve diagonal paths themselves are in the world of the Sefirot, the universe of Emanation... These are reflected in the Twelve Directors, the archangels in the world of the Throne, the universe of Creation. With regard to these archangels, Isaiah said (Isaiah 6:1-2), "I saw God sitting on a high and exalted Throne... above Him stood the Seraphim (archangels), each one had six wings." He is speaking of the archangels in the world of the Throne. Each of these Director Archangels has six wings, and these correspond to the Six Powers that it has in the world below the Throne, the world of Formation. This makes a total of 72 Powers. Each of these Power-Angels is the guardian angel of one of the 72 nations, corresponding to the 72 languages. These are the reflection of the Powers in the physical world, the universe of Action or Completion... Language is a conceptual, rather than a physical entity, and the languages represent the 72 ways of expressing worldly concepts. On a deeper level, each of the 72 languages has a root in God's name of 72 elements, and therefore, any one of these languages can be used to enter the realm of the mysteries. This reflects the Midrashic teaching in which Elijah says (Tanna DeBei Eliahu Rabba 9), "I bring heaven and earth to bear witness, that any human, Jew or Gentile, man or woman, freeman or slave, according to his deeds, can be worthy of Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit, the transcendental experience]."
Emanation 12 Diagonals (6 names)
Creation 12 Seraphim (6 wings)
Formation 72 Powers
Completion 72 Nations/Languages
In Genesis 10, only 70 archetypal nations are mentioned. Similarly, in numerous places in the Talmud and Midrash, only 70 languages are mentioned. Rabbi Reuven Margoliot, upon whose commentary Rabbi Kaplan based his own remarks, suggests two possible solutions: On the one hand, 70 nations become 72 when Israel and God are counted. This is similar to the 70 elders appointed by Moses in the wilderness who become 72 when the Moses and God are counted. Conceptually, this also parallels the nine sons of Jacob who sold Yoseph (Reuven was not involved and Binyamim was not born), who bound God Himself by an oath in order to make a quorum of 10. On the other hand, if one is bothered by the fact that God could be included in any count, there is another possibility (mentioned in the Bahir itself, #167). Here, the 70 is completed by Israel on the one side, and the Satan on the other. This parallels the 70 languages mentioned in numerous places which also become 72 when Hebrew (the language of Israel) and Aramaic (the language of the forces of evil) are counted.
The proportion between perfect and imperfect versions of the same entity is embodied in the number 60. "Sleep is one sixtieth of death." "Dreams are one sixtieth of prophecy." "Honey is one sixtieth of manna." "Sabbath is one sixtieth of the World to Come." These are but a few of the "sixties" which allude to completion and perfection (p.158).
Resolution of Conflict; Esav and Jacob (Edom and Israel)
"The brotherly love of Esav and Jacob, of Isaac and Ishmael, will assert itself above all the confusion that the evil brought on by our bodily nature has engendered. It will overrun them and transform them to eternal light and compassion."
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook
In exploring the character of Esav we may discover the true potential of "Edom" - the nation which descended from him. Edom became equated in Jewish tradition with Christianity, and may be considered to be much of current day European and Western culture.
The primal nature of Esav's character was to hunt, to go out into the world and to relate to and benefit from the environment. Esav chose to use his talents for hunting and conquering for his own gain and desires, without an awareness transcending his own physicality. His degeneration is reflected in our tendency to exploit rather than to live in harmony among ourselves and with our environment.
It was possible that Esav could have originally become a partner with Jacob to help him in claiming Israel and achieving his spiritual destiny. Isaac's intent in giving Esav the blessing was to strengthen him in this potentially complimentary relationship. However, Isaac was blinded to Esav's degeneration as he steadily became a deterrent and enemy to this process of redemption. Only Rebecca saw through Esav's pretended piety.Thus, through Rebecca's insight and guidance, Jacob, who represented truth, spiritual purity, and the carrying on of family tradition, disguised himself as Esav in order to usurp the blessing.
Many years later, after Jacob and his family left the house of his father-in-law La, he was informed by angels that Esav was approaching him with 400 men. Jacob determined to divide into two camps so that, in the worst scenario, if one camp was attacked, at least the other could escape. As he became aware of the necessity to be reduced to this division, Jacob cried out to God "..... I am diminished (unworthy) of all of your kindnesses and all of the truth that you have shown me." (Genesis 32:10) Having to create a separation within his own family he came to the realization of his own unworthiness and poured his heart out in confession. He understood that when one truly embraces truth, there is no need to experience divisiveness or conflict. He saw the need to divide his own family as rooted in his own ability to attain this truth.
What was the source of Jacob's self doubt? If we look further we can see that Jacob had not yet resolved his inner conflict about the apparently deceptive manner in which he received the blessing from his father. After such a confession, God sent him the angel of Esav in order to resolve this inner conflict. As a sign that he resolved it fully, his name was changed from Jacob ("the supplanter") to Israel ("straight with God"). Now, rather than having "supplanted" the blessing, he had indeed acted "straight with God" upon receiving the blessing. In other words, through battling Esav's angel, the accuser of his deception, he was able to resolve his conflict and thus able to perceive that what had actually occurred was in accord with Divine Providence.
We see from this that the essence of the struggle betweem Jacob and the angel of Esav was Jacob's own inner conflict concerning what had transpired between him and Esav. Once he resolved this conflict spiritually with Esav's angel he was able to embrace his brother rather than war with him.
"Jacob, the man of truth and integrity said of his reunion with Esav, 'I have seen you, it is like seeing the face of God.' (Genesis 33:20) His word shall not go down as a vain utterance." (Rabbi KooK) Now, as world consciousness is evolving we can take another look at Esav.
After Jacob was transformed to "Israel" by successfully wrestling with Esav's angel he was able to confront Esav himself. Their embrace indicates that they each received enough Divine light in order to unite, rather than to battle. Up until this point, the conflict, whose source primarily existed within Jacob, manifested in a fear for his life. What had occured between them in the past had not changed. However, what did change was Jacob's way of relating to this event after he wrestled with the angel of Esav.
The Kaballah explains that the seven kings of Edom, who preceded the kings of Israel (Gen. 36:31-39), ruled and perished because they could not transform conflict into resolution. Their rigidity and narrow vision blocked their ability to absorb truth, that is, to transcend their individual perspectives and embrace another's.
The G-dly Torah, on the other hand, beckons Israel to have compassion on Esav. Esav wept twice when he realized that he had forfeited his blessings. The sages explain that his cry for having lost God's blessing was so sincere and so powerful that both the 1st and 2nd Temples in Jerusalem were later destroyed. The Zohar states that when Esav's tears are matched by Israel's tears, the exile will come to an end.
Esav wants God's blessing too! He needs his brother's support and senstivity to reach his deepest potential. Only through mutual understanding may we help each other through our inner journeys. Thus as we individually and collectively transcend points of contention we may share the joy of final resolution.
In Kaballah this first stage is called hafshatah, divesting the light of the soul of external form or garment in order to experience its innermost essence. Only afterwards do we perform halbashah, re-entering the external forms with an enlightened consciousness of the essence. Through this process we may realize the common source of the one light which has been disguised in many forms. Now we may re-align ourselves with this light and bring it to fruition as we purify and re-discover our unique roles in this process. All of this requires the use of the most powerful cultural symbols and models.
The Bahir, in revealing the hidden supernal worlds, refers to the vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-2): "I saw God sitting on a high and exalted Throne. . . . Above Him stood the Seraphim, each one had six wings." The Bahir calls these Seraphim (which means literally "burning angels"), "Directors Archangels." There are twelve of these archangels, each one appointed over six power-angels in the universe directly below them (6 X 12). These seventy ministering angels thus stand in the throne room of the Heavenly Temple, witnessing the greatness of God's glory.
As the conversations progressed, we came upon the issue of the problems of the Christian-Jewish relationship. In orthodox Jewish terms, this relates to the problems of the relationship of Esau and Jacob in the Book of Genesis. In Kabbalistic terms, this problematic relationship leads to the secret of "The Kings of reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any King over the Children of Israel" (Gen. 36:31), which became the very basis of the radical cosmology of the later Kaballah initiated by the ARI"ZL (the Divine Rabbi Isaac (Luria) of Blessed Memory), which is the Jewish Kaballah to this day.
This powerful topic was enough to touch Nechamah's artistic inspiration, as evidenced from the painting she did on "The Reconciliation of Esau and Jacob in Jerusalem". The rigourous and intelligible explanation of this profound teaching is, however, outside the limited scope of this publication. We hope to find the assistance to pursue it well in the future. In passing, we may say that the eight "kings of Edom", as symbols of the various excesses of Western Civilization, may mark the eight apexes of the cube we have deliniated here.
We may add thus also a further point about this cube. It seems that the cube that Nechamah has begun to reveal is the hypercube (the 4D cube or tesseract). If this is the case, then the apparent possible lingering issue of "who is more central than the others" would disappear. In that other dimension, all the component cubes are equally central. What Israel may contribute becomes the initial pattern that helps the nations to realign in a harmonious manner. Once this is achieved, a higher dimension is reached, in which all nations are as central, and as close to God. In terms of 4D geometry, this entails the transition from the 72 initial hard edges of the six separate cubes to the 32 edges of the hypercube. Resorting to Kaballistic terms (which cannot be expounded here), this means being able to resort to "the 32 Paths of Wisdom" as delineating our relationships, rather than our 72 ancestral definitions. The initial alignment is, however, by the recognition of these 72 aspects or boundaries. (This geometrical, hyperspacial, transformation may be an added stage to the somewhat more familiar process of Kaballistic alchemy, denoted by the reduction of the primary matter of 72 (ò"á) to 63 (ñ"â), then 52 (á"ï)and 45 (î"ä), for those who understand such matters).
Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-Man, acting director
The Hayut Foundation, Academy of Jerusalem
Nehunia be Ha Kana, The Bahir, translation Aryeh Kaplan (Maine: Samuel Weiser Inc., 1979)
John Michell & Christine Rhone, Twelve Tribe Nations (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991)
Rafael Eisenberg, Survival Israel and Mankind, (Jerusalem, New York: Feldheim Publishers, 1991)
Abraham Isaac Kook, translated by Ben Zion Bokser, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (New York: Classics of Western Spirituality, 1978)
Nechama Sarah G. Nadborny, The Twelve Dimensions of Israel (Jerusalem, Ya'alat Chein, 1995)
Aryeh Kaplan, Jerusalem, Eye of the Universe (New York: National Conference Synagogue of Youth, 1976)
Aryeh Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, (York Beach, Maine, Samuel Weiser and Co., 1990).