Pekudei: Chapter 16

"And the thousand seven hundred and seventy-five"


Rabbi Shimon says that Moses forgot about the shekels in "And of the one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their capitals" until a resounding voice reminded him of them. Rabbi Chizkiyah opens with: "While the King was reclining at His board, my nard sent forth its fragrance." This refers to Binah when He gave the Torah to Yisrael and went to Sinai accompanied by many sacred Chariots. We hear about all the letters in the Torah soaring and rising up in the air, how they were formed and what their value is, and that the 'vav's were the one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five lights. The high Vav is the resounding voice since the Torah comes out of that inner voice; this 'great voice' is the secret of the Holy Name.

Next Rabbi Chizkiyah turns to the great flood, where God told Noah: 'You should be careful not to show yourself to the destroyer, the Angel of Death, so he would not have power over you,' because there was no one to protect him. But when Noah offered the sacrifice, the world became perfumed. This perfume was increased when Yisrael stood on Mount Sinai and the Destroyer was no longer present in the world. God wanted at that time to do away with the Destroyer forever, but in a few days Yisrael sinned by making the golden calf, thus allowing the Destroyer to rule the world again. Rabbi Yosi asks who put the Destroyer in the world, since everyone was destroyed in the flood. Rabbi Shimon answers that the presence of Judgment means that the Destroyer must be there to walk among the Judgments. He says that the Destroyer was named 'Flood,' and this is why God told Noah to hide himself.

Referring again to the title verse, Rabbi Elazar wonders why he made 'hooks', hearing then from Rabbi Shimon that they were in the shape of 'vav's, meaning that they came from the Central Column. Rabbi Yitzchak isn't certain whether the verse is talking about secular or supernal matters, and decides it must be secular. Rabbi Shimon disagrees, and adds that secular matters do not come from the side of holiness. It is important to know the difference between holiness and the mundane. Even so, profanity has a fraction of holiness in it from the left side.

There is now quite a bit of discussion about 'thousand' in various meanings, leading to thoughts about how long Yisrael may be in exile. Rabbi Shimon adds that wherever there is Vav in the Holy Name there is Mercy, and gives some examples. He tells how Judgment was executed in the destruction of Sodom, but the whole world was not destroyed as it was in the flood. Wherever the name Elohim is used it means Judgment alone, not tempered with Mercy. When the name Hashem is used it means Judgment tempered with Mercy. Only Elohim was present at the flood. We are told how God is both concealed and revealed, and how people draw blessings when their utterances are concealed. Then we hear that, "While the King was reclining at His board," means that He was reveling in the supernal Eden. "My nard sent forth its fragrance" alludes to the last sea that is filled from that Eden, and that created the lower world as a reflection of the higher one. When the nard sends an odor upwards the Holy Chariots receive the wonderful odor and send it further upward, it being in the nature of odors to rise. The Chariots, since they transmit the odors higher are called 'maidens of song', since the word 'alamot' derives from 'not revealed'. Finally Rabbi Shimon explains the significance of all the numbers in the title verse, emphasizing 1000, 700, seventy, and five, all of them pertaining to various combinations of Sfirot.