Shemot: Chapter 3

"Come with me from Lebanon, my bride"


Rabbi Chiya opens a discussion of the meaning of "Come with me from Lebanon, my bride"with his interpretation. He explains that God spoke these words to the children of Israel upon presenting them with the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Unlike the children of Seir and the children of Ishmael, who refused the Torah when it was offered to them, the children of Israel accepted the Torah and united in faith and Holiness. In answer to the question regarding the meaning of the verse, "He came in Holy multitudes," Rabbi Chiya refers to an ancient tradition that reveals how the heavenly multitudes protested at the moment when God was about to present the Torah to the children of Israel, since they desired it for themselves. God rebuked the angels, explaining that the laws contained therein are not designed for those unable to participate in such evils as murder, adultery, falsehoods, and so on. The angels then ended their protests and praised God for His wisdom, which was even too subtle for them to grasp fully.

This explanation of, "He came in Holy multitudes," leads Rabbi Yosi to offer an alternative interpretation, relating it to the descent of the Shechinah into the Egyptian captivity.

Finally, Rabbi Shimon provides his contrasting interpretation of the title verse. He explains that this verse contains allusions to the mystical union between Voice and Speech. The relationship between these forms is one of interdependence, as wisdom cannot be transmitted orally without the throat, breath, tongue and lips, all of which are referenced in the verse.


Unification between our Lower World and the Upper World , between humans and the Light of the Creator, is the underlying theme woven throughout this passage.

For instance, the phrase "my bride" refers to the moon, which is made full and complete by the sun's light, which is represented here by "Lebanon." In the same way, our physical world is fulfilled by the Upper World.

Next, the Zohar speaks of the union of voice and speech. The phrase "the voice of His word" (paragraph 15) alludes to the Creator's profound unity as revealed by the Torah.

Human speech, we are told, equates to our physical world; and voice pertains to the realm of Zeir Anpin, the Upper World, our source of Light. Through the power of speech, we can unite the two worlds.

This profound unification is achieved through the vocalization of the Torah during the Sabbath (and the reading or scanning of Zohar at any time).

When our world is disconnected from the spiritual realm, there is darkness in our life. This simple truth is alluded to in the verse, "Voice is not COMPLETE without speech and speech is not COMPLETE without voice" (Verse 19).

Often, our own words in fact disconnect us from the Source of all goodness. When we speak unkind words borne of anger, hostility, or envy, we sever our connection to the Creator. Moreover, our words are often weapons that cause spiritual murder. When we humiliate someone, thus causing blood to rush to his face from embarrassment, then we have committed the sin of spilling blood. Or if we utter words that slander and defame another person, we have destroyed her character.

This passage purifies us from previous sins committed through the words we have spoken. The impulse to speak with an evil tongue is eradicated from our nature.

The mystical vibrations that arise from the Torah readings resonate throughout existence. We now achieve unification with the Upper World by virtue of the Zohar verses that explain these sublime mysteries.