Weekly Reading Insights: 



From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of Moses)

13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman

14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben Asher

16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe Alshech of Tsfat

17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya Horowitz

18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar


"And I will set my Tabernacle among you and My Spirit will not reject you." [26:11]

This subject is one of the mysteries of the Torah [an allusion to the transmigration of the soul]. Scripture is thus stating that He will set His Tabernacle among us, and that "the soul' from which the Tabernacle comes, will not spew us forth as a pot which we scour in hot water [in order to cleanse it of substances it has absorbed], but instead our garments will always be white and new.


Rabbeinu Bachya

"…But in spite of all this" [Lev. 26:44]

A kabbalsitic approach: The words "ve af gam zot" - "But is spite of all this" are meant to include the "Knesset Yisrael", the spiritual concept of the people of Israel [the word 'af' - in spite of - then is understood as "also". Ed] The Knesset Yisrael is known as zot, as we know from Psalms 118:23 "me'eet HaShem hayta zot" - the Knesset Yisrael emanated from the Lord," (as well as from Genesis 49:28), and the verse would contain a promise that wherever the physical people of Israel would be exiled to, an element of the Shechinah would remain with them. This is the deeper meaning of the words in the verse 44: "I will not despise them and reject them to the point of totally destroying them." This idea is also reflected in the hymn composed by Assaph (Psalms 80:15) "look down from heaven and see; take note of this (zot) vine." The words "look down from heaven and see", are similar to Kings I 8:32 "and You will listen (to the prayer) from heaven." The words "and take note of this vine," should be understood as "and take note of the vine of zot," i.e. of the Knesset Yisrael known as zot.

Remember that according to the Kabbalists there is a considerable difference between the meaning of the word gam and the word af although both are used as forms of "also". The word af always refers to the addition of the attribute of Justice, whereas the word gam refers to the addition of the attribute of Mercy. The world gam is perceived as an abbreviation of the word gemilut chasadim - "performance of deeds of loving kindness." One such example would be found in Genesis 30:6 "and he also (gam) listened to my voice (in prayer, Rachel speaking)." According to this we may understand the words ve af gam zot as a combination of the attribute of Justice and the attribute of Mercy as represented by the attribute zot.



"If you follow My laws and are careful to keep My commandments, I will provide you with rain at the right time..." [26:3-4]

Possibly, there are two kinds of rain. The normal rain, generated through evaporation on the surface of oceans, etc. which, however, may descend in areas and at times when it does not produce maximum benefits. There is also the rainfall generated from the world of galaxies, i.e., heavenly rain. The Torah says 'He will open for you His good treasure the heavens, and give the rain of your land at its season' (Deut. 28:12). Concerning such rain, Isaiah 55:10 says "..as when the rain and snow descend from the heavens and will not return without having watered the earth, fertilized it and make it grow etc." What the prophet is saying is, that if the rain originates in the heavens, it will surely accomplish its mission.

The Torah here first refers to the gift from a higher world, i.e., the rain that is specifically for you; afterwards the gift from the lower world, i.e., the harvest. You will also receive a gift from the world of angels, i.e., peace, serenity, etc.


Ohr HaChayim

"If you will despise My statutes, and if your heart will be disgusted of My laws so as not to do them…." [26:15

The verses under discussion may also be understood along the lines of the Zohar volume 1 page 100, that in order to achieve perfection in one's service of the Lord three ingredients have to be present, i.e. thought, speech, and deed.
By repeating the words "and if," the Torah alludes to all of these three factors.
The words "and if you will despise [not listen to]" refer to a flaw in one's speech when serving G-d; the words "not do" refer to a flaw in the deeds required when serving the Lord. The words "and if you will despise" refer to flaws in the thought processes which accompany one's service of G-d.
Inasmuch as one's thoughts are generated both in one's brain and in one's heart, the Torah employed the term timasu (you will despise) when speaking of thoughts originating in one's brain, whereas it used the term tig'al nafshechem (your heart will be disgusted) when referring to thoughts originating in one's heart.



Ramban - credits
Adapted from the 13th century classic by the illustrious scholar, philosopher and defender of the faith, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman-known as 'RAMBAN' or 'Nachmanides', a master kabbalist in his own right and a major link in the transmission of Jewish mysticism-based on the excellent annotated English translation, Nachmanides on the Torah, by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel

Bachya - credits
Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of The Torah Commentary of Rabbeinu Bachya, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher [1255-1340] of Saragosa, Spain, was the outstanding pupil of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the "Rashba"), a main disciple of Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the "Ramban"). Several books have been written about the Kabballah-based portions of R. Bachya's commentary.

Alsheich - credits
Adapted from Torat Moshe - the 16th commentary of Rabbi Moshe Alshech, the "Preacher of Zefat" on the Torah, as translated and condensed in the English version of Eliyahu Munk)

Shelah - credits
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz was born in Prague around the year 1565. He served as Rabbi of Cracow and other congregations before he was appointed as the Rabbi of the community of Frankfurt on Main in the year 1610. In 1916, Rabbi Horowitz moved to Prague where he became the Chief Rabbi of the city. He moved to Eretz Yisrael about 1621. He was rabbi in Jerusalem and in Tiberias, where he died in or about 1630. In addition to his magnus opus, Shenei Luchot HaBrit, he also compiled an edition of the prayer-book with a comprehensive commentary. Many of his innovations, including his formulation of the Kol Nidrei prayer, have become part and parcel of the Ashkenazi Siddur.

Ohr HaChayim - credits
Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk.
The holy Rabbi Chayim ben Moses Attar was born in Sale, Western Morocco, on the Atlantic in 1696. His immortal commentary on the Five Books Of Moses, Or Hachayim, was printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was on his way to the Holy Land. He acquired a reputation as a miracle worker, hence his title "the holy," although some apply this title only to his Torah commentary.

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