Bemidbar: Chapter 5

"Into Your hand I commit my spirit"


Rabbi Elazar explains that at night the Tree of Death rules in the world and therefore one must deposit his soul with God to keep it safe. During sleep everyone gets a taste of death, until morning comes and the Tree of Life awakens again. Rabbi Yehuda wonders why even gentiles can rise in the middle of the night even though the Tree of Death still reigns. Rabbi Elazar explains that even the idolatrous nations are joined to their aspect of the Defiled Spirit of the left, as everything that is above is likewise down below. He talks about the time when Bila'am could not curse Yisrael because there was no judgment hanging over them. Rabbi Elazar uses the analogy of a snake with the movements of its head and its tail to explain what is driving and controlling events below and above. The section closes with an explanation of "peculiar possession" which is deemed to be God's possession of the three Patriarchs and the priests, Levites and Yisrael.