Vayetze: Chapter 1

"And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheva..."


In this section of secret Torah teachings, Rabbi Chiya discusses the symbolism and meaning of Ecclesiastes' resonant verse, "The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to its place where it rises again." The verse refers to Jacob, when he was in Beer-Sheva and went to Charan, where Beresheet tells us he "tarried...all night, for the sun was set." The solar directions, north and south, indicate the Left Column and the Right Columns of energy, or, respectively, the negative and positive forces. Rabbi Ashlag's commentary further clarifies the word "place" as referring to Malchut, our physical world. Both Jacob and "the sun" represent Zeir Anpin - the Upper World, the source of our spiritual Light. We learn that the divine emanation alluded to in the text - "And Jacob went out" - is a complete one, combining the secrets of Chochmah and Chassadim; that is, both the Right and Left Columns. Rabbi Chiya explains Jacob's journey in terms of the Light of Zeir Anpin descending into the material world of darkness, Malchut; and Rabbi Yosi further elucidates the journey of Jacob in relation to the Exile of the Jews. These explanations are used to explore the nature of the Creator's more awesome aspect, His "fierce indignation..." The Rabbis proceed into a brief discussion of the Tefilin, which are emblems of the divine presence as well as antennae-like instruments for evoking the Light, which is present even in the most seemingly dark and demonic situations. The reader comes to understand that such stories from Torah are really multi-layered allegories, revealing the structures of reality and both the inner and the outer universe, as well as the essential harmony of God's Creation. Lastly, in the secret of 22, it is shown that the driving force of the universe on every scale comprises the desire for union between Zeir Anpin, the Upper World, and the Nukva, Malchut, our lower physical dimension. This includes such seemingly opposed aspects of the divine as male and female, darkness and light, anger and mercy. The rabbis then state that this duality also lies at the root of our own confusion, fear, rage, and loneliness - everything that prevents us from attaining transcendence and union with the One.


The patriarch Jacob is the living embodiment of the Central Column force, known in lay terms as Restriction or Resistance. While the Right and Left Columns correspond to the positive and negative poles of an incandescent light bulb, the Central Column correlates to the filament, which creates light through resistance. Spiritual Light operates under the same principle. We draw Light from the Upper World of Zeir Anpin into our physical world of Malchut when we apply the concept of Restriction in our own life. This is achieved by resisting our impulsive, self-centered desires. Tefilin also assists us towards that end. Tefilin is bound upon the left arm, which denotes the negative power of the Left Column. Binding and restricting the power of the left arm weakens our own Left Column, the source of our selfish, wanton desires. The forces released through our visual connection to the Hebrew letters helps strengthen our connection to the Light, so that we may resolve the inner conflicts that cause our sense of separation from the Eternal. By invoking the power of Jacob and Tefilin through our attention to these passages, we receive the emotional strength, willpower, and foresight to rise above the power of impulse, creating union between ourselves and the Light of the Creator.