…continued from The River of Life, where we discussed the river of Light that flows to us through the Tree-of-Life and the 42-Letter Name, as illustrated in the unique 10-letter word at Exodus/Shmot 7:28.
What we didn’t mention was the numerical value for that unique 10-letter was 985, the same as the Hebrew word for 1/10 (Ashirit, AShRYT) when teh kolel for the 5 letters in included. Why this comparison?
Because the Torah is always on, always teaching us spiritual lessons, whether we see past the veils or not. The way the Light flows from one sefira (dimension) to the next through the 10 sefirot ( the tree-of-life) is in dilutions of 10% each time and mathematically that means that it takes 22 steps (iterations/dilutions) to reach the level of 1/10, in other words to get from 1000 to 100 or 100 to 10 or 10 to 1, as each sefira has 10 subsets.
22 steps from 10 down to the next level, under 1:
100 – 90 – 81 – 72.9 – 65.61 – 59.049 – 53.1441 – 47.8297 – 43.04672 – 38.742 -34.8678 – 31.3810 – 28.2429 – 25.4186 – 22.8767 – 20.5891 – 18.5302 – 16.6771 – 15.0094 – 13.5085 – 12.15766 – 10.9419 – 9.8477
This is one of the key reasons there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and 22 connections between the 10 sefirot in the familiar tree-of-life structure.
So why is this knowledge important to us? Because if we understand that the last 1/10th connects to keter/crown of the next level and the same with the first 1/10th then we can understand that by tithing, the giving of 1/10th of our income, etc to a worthy spiritual charity that is akin to giving it to the construction of the Holy Temple, we can keep the river of sustaining Light flowing to and through us. It keeps us connected, always a part of the 1; it keeps our head in keter (crowned) and our feet on the ground.
This connection is why we learn of the omer offering in parsha Beshalach after the Song of the Sea: Shmot 16:36 “An omer is a tenth of an ephah,” and why Rabbi Moshe Alshich of blessed memory connects it to the 10 processes of making bread, and the 10 words of the chamotzi (bread blessing), and to the 10 words describing bread making in 104:14. And coming full circle, this is why the longest word in the Torah, the unique 10-letter word means bread bowl (the place for kneading the dough).
Bread is sustenance, and if we want to keep our malchut connected to the life-giving yesod we have to give (elevate) 1/10 of it (our income) to keep teh spigots open.
Also, as Rabbi Alshich explains, it’s important to keep all 10 fingers on the bread (challah) when making the bracha (blessing). And consciously, we want to have the Light flowing through the 10 sefirot when we do.
And within that unique 10-letter word in Shmot 7:28 for bread bowl is the word for river (YEVR), which the Torah spells with the vav (V), as (YER) from which the frogs emanated. Now, the Torah uses the same word for river as the Nile and sometimes it has the prefix hey (H) for “the” and sometimes bet (B) for “in.” Actually, it’s 21 times for hey and 7 times for bet for a total of 28 times.
The connection to 7 and 28 and the Torah’s first verse of 7 words and 28 letters is obvious, as is the connection to Ehyeh (EHYH) of numerical value 21, so we won’t go into it again in this blog, but what’s interesting is that the gematria value for the river (HYER) is 216 as in the 216 letters of the 72 Names (triplets) that Moses and the Israelites used to split the Red Sea (sea of Reeds). It takes water to know water. Which is why if we want to split our own Red Seas in our lives, we have to understand what it is we are really trying to overcome.
Inherent in every problem is the solution for overcoming it. G-d doesn’t give us more than we can really handle; it’s just a matter of waking up to our own G-d given abilities and seeing the tools He’s placed in our hands. Just like His reply to Moses and the Israelites, which we’ve discussed in our blog, “Why are you crying out to me (Mah Tizak Alai);” He’d given them everything they needed before hand and woke them with the encrypted truth in those 9 letters.
Obstacles, like the Red Sea, are put in our path for us to overcome them. We do this by finding inner-strength, by utilizing the tools G-d gave us through His Torah, and by developing the certainty in the Lord’s loving-kindness and the tree-of-life reality to see beyond the illusions of the physical limitations of our universe.
This is why, with the Egyptian darkness encroaching on us from behind and a seemingly impassable sea before us, He is making these tools and the explanations how to use them available to all of today.
But here is a secret about the river (or the Nile), as the Torah spells it, (YER) it can be rearranged to form the Ari and/or the lion, and while the Arizal came from Egypt and the Nile just like Moses, and is said by the tzaddikim to be an incarnation of Moses, it is true that the Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria) knew how to control the flow or the river of Light through the sefirot. Moreover, we’ve learned from the Arizal how the 10 plagues defeated the 10 main levels of negativity imprisoning the Israelite consciousness, and when we spell out the letters in Ari (ERY) we get 641, the sum of the 11 initials of the 10 plagues (541) with the ordinal value of the 11 initials of those same 10 plagues (100). The river itself has the power to cleanse away the 10 levels of negativity.
When we tap into the river of Light that is the tree-of-life, we have the power to overcome all. And the more we use the tools given to us (properly) the more we can tap into it.
…to be continued, where we’ll discuss the 10 preeminent songs in Israeli history and their connection of the 10 sefirot and this river of Light.