Pekudei: Chapter 52

The chamber of the Holy of Holies


Rabbi Shimon says that the seventh chamber is the innermost chamber where the secret of all secrets is hidden. The spirit of life from Binah is found in this chamber, the desire to unite everything. The chamber is called 'the house of the Holy of Holies', a place for the supernal soul, Binah, through which the World to Come will awaken. We learn that 'world' means ascent, the ascension of the lower world to the Upper World, meaning the ascension of Malchut and the chambers to hide within the supernal hiding place. The 'Supernal World' means the ascension of Binah to disappear within the supreme desire that is completely unknowable, Arich Anpin.

Rabbi Shimon shows us how the innermost secret of the Ark is like the seventh chamber. The chamber receives all the spirits who are about to descend into the world before they have received their bodies, and it receives them again when they are finished with the world. The spirits wait in this chamber until the time when Messiah will come and the world will rejoice like it did before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. This seventh chamber is the chamber of passion, the chamber of delight, the chamber of pleasure above and below. All the souls here receive the light of Binah; therefore it is more hidden and more treasured than the rest of the chambers. Rabbi Shimon says that this chamber is called 'the Ark of the Covenant', and explains that it receives the souls from the first chamber where they are united, male with female and female with male. He talks about Jacob and Joseph, saying that the Ark of the Covenant took the spirit of life above from Jacob and that from Joseph it took spirits and souls to pour the life into. Jacob sustains the angels above, and Joseph sustains the human souls below, but both are in Zeir Anpin. When the priest sends up the offering to cause union through desire and through song, then the highest soul of all, Binah of Atzilut, wakes and enters into all the chambers and shines on them all. The higher light, the soul, is united with the hidden light, Eve - and this hidden light is included in the light that is even more hidden, Arich Anpin.

Rabbi Shimon explains how Moses knew when to pray at length and when to pray briefly. Whoever prays at length will have a longer life, and yet whoever prays at length when he should be brief will have heartache. We are told that within the seventh chamber there is a hidden point, a spirit that receives a supernal male spirit - they enter into each other and become one. Rabbi Shimon warns against those who would graft one species onto another, but says that those who graft one kind onto its own kind have a stake in the World to Come. In this way the left is perfected by the right, the male by the female and everything is derived from the perfection that is called 'the act of the Divine Chariot,' because the Merkabah is achieved by grafting. This is the secret of the verse: "And Hashem Elohim formed man," because the formation of man comes from the Chariot, Yud Hei Vav Hei Elohim that grafted them together. After being completed by one another they were called 'Zeir Anpin and Malchut'.

Rabbi Shimon speaks of the four Chariots Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael and of two spirits called 'the brass mountains'. The discussion turns to: "And they had the hands of a man under their wings," where 'the hands of a man' means places and receptacles that receive men with their prayers, that open gates to let them in, that unite, and that fulfill their wishes. They are also the Holy Names through which men send their prayers and enter the supernal gates. In the chambers, the secret of the faith is that all the living creatures and Chariots are different from one another, and when they join together they are better because they include and complement one another.

Rabbi Shimon explains the parts of the prayer from 'Who forms' up to Amidah and how the prayer corresponds to the order of the seven chambers. After the prayer one must confess one's sins and transgressions in order to receive the blessings and avoid the accusations of the Other Side. Just as the Other Side takes a portion of the burnt offering, the Other Side takes the confession as his portion of the prayer service. Rabbi Shimon says that in prayer the true path consists of thought, desire, voice and speech, these tie the knots so that the Shechinah can be supported by them. He adds that thought produces desire, desire produces a voice, and the sound that is heard ascends to connect the lower and upper chambers. The sound draws blessings from high above and is secretly supported by the pillars of thought, desire, voice and speech. He concludes by saying that this description of the seventh chamber is the last of the chambers on the side of holiness.