Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bahir Verse 161

There are some very profound meanings in this next rather lengthy verse. Meditate upon each paragraph and then use the Commentary to inspire new areas of discovery.

161. What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 15:27), “And the came to Elim, where there
were twelve wells of water and seventy date palms, and they encamped there by the water”?
What is so special about seventy date palms? In one small place there can be a thousand.
But [this teaches us that] they were worthy of their counterpart. They are likened to date
It is written (Exodus 15:23), “And they came to Marah, and they could not drink of the
waters of Marah, for they were bitter (marah).” This teaches us that the north wind confused
them. It is thus written (Exodus 15:25), “And he cried out to God, and He showed him a
tree. He cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.”
God immediately placed His hand against the Satan and diminished him. It is thus written
(Exodus 15:25), “There He gave them a decree and a law, and there He proved them.”
This teaches us that at this time, the Satan attached himself to them in order to blot them out
from the world. It is thus written (Exodus 15:24), “And the people complained to Moses
saying, ‘What shall we drink?’” [The Satan] continued to denounce Moses until he cried out
to God and was answered.
What is the meaning of the verse, “And He showed him a tree”? This teaches us that the
Tree of Life was near the water. The Satan came and removed it in order to denounce Israel
and cause them to sin against their Father in heaven.
[The Satan] said to them, “Are you now then going into the desert? Even now [you have
nothing] other than bitter water, but this has some benefit, since you can make some use of
it. But when you enter the desert, you will not even find [water] with which to wash your
hands and face. You will die from hunger and thirst, naked and having nothing.”
The people came to Moses and repeated these words, but he put them off. When [the Satan ]
saw that he could not overcome them, he strengthened himself [to overcome] Israel and
The people came, and “they complained to Moses.” They said, “Even here we lack water.
What will we drink in the desert?”
The Satan had falsified the situation in order to cause the people to sin. As soon as Moses
saw the Satan, “He cried out to God, and He showed him a tree.” This is the Tree of Life
The Bahir
that Satan had removed. He then “cast it into the water, and the water became sweet.”
The Blessed Holy One then gave the Satan a “decree and a law,” and it was there that He
“proved” Israel. The Blessed Holy One warned Israel saying (Exodus 15:26), “If you listen
to the voice of the Lord your God, [and do what is upright in His eyes, give ear to His
commandments, and keep all His decrees, then all the sickness that I brought upon the
Egyptians, I will not bring upon you, for I am God who heals you].”

Commentary: We could take this apart and understand the meaning piece by piece but an inspiration comes through and is verified by some research about what this verse is saying. The aspects of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Yetzer Chaim and Yetzer Hara. In the sense of the 70 date palms and 12 wells of waters the meaning is that out of the whole of Israel or all 12 tribes can come the purety and sweetness of the date palms. Rising up in the wilderness of our thoughts we find these twelve waters which nourish our Godly nature or the Tree of Life type of consciousness. Waters remember always refer to consciousness or the aspect of thought in its elemental form. The Seventy date palms are the fruits of Israel or the Elders who are chosen to lead Israel. In its prime form Israel has everything it needs to flourish in the wilderness and indeed everywhere. This is how the verse begins. Then the story of Satan intervenes. Satan comes into play because of the Yetzer Hara or the evil inclination. In one sense it is the self wanting things only for the self without regard to others and especially without regard to God. The Yetzer Hara self seeks pleasure for its own sake and does not make the effort to attain to Godliness. The metaphor of the bitter waters is an apt one. These bitter waters represent the bickering and doubts that Satan or the Yetzer Hara has placed within us. Doubts and confusion are the evidences of such kinds of thinking. It so happens that we have a two fold nature. One is striving for the body and another is striving for God. The irony is that when we strive for God our body is the beneficiary of such strivings. Our pains go away and we are healed miraculously. The case in point here is when the Tree of Life is placed into the bitter waters turning them sweet. The same is true with turning to God or turning your thoughts to Godliness. If you are confused or depressed or otherwise in a funk the best way out is to turn your thoughts to your good or to your God. The very act for example of saying or participating in the prayer ritual each day provides the sweetness of God in the form of Torah written with a language that goes beyond meaning into the realms of creation itself. If you fill your mind with these prayers the letters themselves will work for you to sweeten the waters of your own consciousness. They say that Torah forms a fence of protection around you and what this means is that the words and letters of Torah sweeten the thoughts that you are inspired to think. Instead of being unduly influenced by the world around you, the media, or your idle conversations Torah instead provides a steady background to your thinking that goes beyond words. The end result is that your life becomes a series of sweetened experiences as the knowledge and depth of Torah grows within you. Think of it like this. Would you rather make a cake having no instructions or a recipe that is proven by millenia of making? Most would not go into the details of what is happening within but this verse leads our thinking into the details of this time honored recipe. Satan represents what happens when we reason without the certainty of Godliness and the template of the Torah to guide our thinking. With Satan everything may at first look okay but the end result is always the same, chaos. Why is this? Because when thought is not aligned with source it rapidly loses its coherency and degenerates progressively. The sickness that will be taken away is the sickness of the Yetzer Hara which causes all illness. Healing is promoted from the top down and when our thoughts are indeed aligned with holiness then the healing comes naturally as an overflowing well of medicine for our ills. This medicine turns out to be the Torah specifically those words and letters that reverberate in our minds when we study Torah or read from it or reference it in our daily prayers. It is fitting that Satan in the above verse says that

“Are you now then going into the desert? Even now [you have
nothing] other than bitter water, but this has some benefit, since you can make some use of
it. But when you enter the desert, you will not even find [water] with which to wash your
hands and face. You will die from hunger and thirst, naked and having nothing.”

When you are not in harmony with Torah or your thoughts aren't filled with Torah the void is filled with Yetzer Hara. Yetzer Hara is the default background that is in place when you choose not to God or to seek a higher way of thinking about yourself. This background is influenced by what you see and what you hear. Since most will not watch their thoughts or their language there isn't much to make anything worthwhile of and there is the risk of chaos overtaking your life. The reverse is true with the sweetening of Torah as the letters move in their own way ascending naturally to holiness then influencing your life in a positive way.

Torah allows you to reach beyond yourself. Its does this by attaching itself to you in direct relationship to your determination to attach yourself to it. The words, the letters the spirit of Torah ascend in holiness. Out of this holiness is where your life may begin to flow from. If you can remember that the background of your thinking is the most important aspect of your life and that this aspect is what truly becomes your life then you can pray with certainty within the fence of Torah and never be left lacking in any areas of your life.


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