Bemidbar: Chapter 1

The counting and the reckoning


Rabbi Aba speaks about the creation of man, saying that God made him in the image of the higher and the lower ones as the combination of them all. Man was composed of both male and female, and the female side was composed of both Chesed and Judgment. After they sinned they became concerned with only worldly matters and they no longer knew wisdom. Neither of Adam's sons, Abel, from the upper aspects, nor Cain, from the lower aspects, inherited the earth because neither of them left any offspring. The world was founded from Seth, but it was not complete until Abraham came; once Isaac and Jacob came everything was included in the Central Column and the world stood firm. Even with this it still required the twelve tribes and seventy persons that came from Jacob, and it required Israel to receive the Torah and erect the Tabernacle. Then God wished to count all his legions of people, the children of Yisrael, in order to link them to their roots above.

After Yisrael left the land of Egypt they achieved both the Torah and the Tabernacle, and then they were perfectly complete. Rabbi Yitzchak says that when one speaks of his own blessings he must also bless God and acknowledge those blessings. He says that blessings from above do not rest on anything that has been counted, but the counting of the children of Yisrael was an exception. We hear that God will bless the women, who were not counted among the census, the priests and the Levites, and the children under the age of twenty. Rabbi Shimon explains to Rabbi Yehuda what the source of the blessings is, and says that, when God's illumination is awakened, everything is in love, in perfection, and in peace.