From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of
13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben
14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben
16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe
Alshech of Tsfat
17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya
18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim
"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.
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
"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
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.
"If you will despise My statutes, and if your heart will be disgusted
of My laws so as not to do them
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.