Pinchas: Chapter 60

The appendix of the liver, gall, trachea, esophagus and the Shofar


Rav Hamnuna talks about the iniquity of Lilit and Samael, saying that they are the liver and the appendix, and that from them emerge the gall that is the sword of the Angel of Death. On Rosh Hashanah the gall wanders the world collecting up sins, and all of Yisrael are in trouble; this is when they blow the Shofar.


Extraordinary notions relating to heart disease, human behavior, healing, and world peace emerge from this ancient passage. According to the Zohar, our reactive emotions, notably anger and rage, manifest in our liver and its appendage. A remarkable insight is then presented in verse 364: "From the liver and the appendage, WHICH ARE SAMAEL AND LILIT, emerges the gall, which is the sword of the Angel of Death, from which come bitter drops to kill human beings."

In verse 365, the Zohar says that the gall: "...overcomes the arteries of the heart and all the arteries in the limbs of the body..." Interestingly, gall is defined by Merriam Webster's Dictionary as both "bile" and "bitterness of spirit" or "rancor." This definition reinforces the Kabbalistic viewpoint that a vital connection exists between human behavior and physical health. Moreover, it is the liver that secretes gall (bile), and its primary component is cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol are a major cause of atherosclerosis, the hardening and blockage of arteries, one of the most frequent causes of heart disease and death.

[Verse 365] Moses talks about the participation of the body - the trachea, the lungs, the arteries, the breath, the esophagus and the mouth - in the blowing of the Shofar. He says that the Satan has no control on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yisrael's strength is in the voice, not in eating and drinking like everyone else in the world, and it is necessary to awaken the voice with the ten Shofar verses.

All the anger and negative reflexive emotions that we've expressed throughout the year are used by the negative angel Lilit during Rosh Hashanah as an indictment against us. The ensuing judgment manifests as illness and heart-related diseases. The Shofar is used to purify us, to remove the force of Satan from our arteries and cardiovascular system. Metaphysically, it works like this: The esophagus is spelled VAV SHIN TET (Veshet) ושט. However, the Zohar explains that when we are overly self-indulgent, allowing our ego and selfish desires to grow incessantly, the letter VAV ו also grows and extends into the letter NUN ן. The letters that spell esophagus are now rearranged to spell SATAN (SIN, TET, NUT) שטן. This effect is rooted in an event that took place in the Torah, in the Book of Numbers. The Children of Israel were given manna from Heaven, a spiritual substance that could taste like the finest meal one could imagine. However, a consciousness of certainty in the manna's power was the prerequisite. The Israelites did not possess this state of mind and could therefore, not connect to this spiritual energy. They demanded and received physical meat. The Satan infiltrated their bodies while the meat was in their teeth, indicating their total connection to physicality. The Zohar states that when our own physical desires run rampant and we choose the physical world over the spiritual, the Satan again overcomes "all the limbs and the arteries" for all the 365 days of the solar year. There is, however, recourse for the repentant heart - and it is found in the instrument of the Shofar, the trachea, and the event of Yom Kippur.

The trachea is a windpipe, just like the Shofar which is a musical windpipe. The Shofar correlates to the realm of Binah, where there is so much pleasure and fulfillment that there is no need for food and drink. Likewise, the trachea is not utilized when we eat or drink. Like the Shofar, only air enters our trachea. On Yom Kippur, there is also no eating and drinking, signifying Binah and the unimaginable spiritual nourishment that it provides. The numerical value of the "The Satan" השטן is 364, which is one number short of the 365 days of the year. This is the one day of the year when Satan is banished from our world - Yom Kippur!

Blowing the Shofar and observing Yom Kippur reestablishes our connection to Binah. The NUN in the word SATAN is reduced in size - just as we reduce our desire to consume food and drink on Yom Kippur - and it reverts back into a VAV to again spell esophagus in Hebrew. Satan and the force of death are now extracted from our arteries and limbs.

This splendid passage recalls the energy of Yom Kippur and it sounds the Shofar on our behalf to heal our hearts, liver, arteries, trachea, esophagus, and limbs. Good cholesterol levels rise while bad cholesterol levels decrease. Our blood is cleansed of toxins. The arteries are cleared of deadly deposits and plaque. Yisrael, the cosmic counterpart of the human heart, also functions as the heart of mankind. Yisrael's relationship to the rest of the world is like the heart's arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. The nations of the world correspond to the body's organs and limbs. Hence, the same way that the heart now supplies purified blood to nourish the body, Yisrael furnishes Light to aid all the nations of the world as a result of our meditation. Furthermore, conflicts and barriers between Yisrael and all nations are henceforth eliminated, clearing the way for global harmony and lasting peace. As Satan is absent from the world on Yom Kippur, the Light generated from this passage now banishes Satan from the other 364 days of the solar calendar, paving the way for the Messiah to arrive in our day.