Trumah: Chapter 61

"Then I was by Him, as a nursling"


Rabbi Chiya speaks here about the relationship between a king and a craftsman who together make a palace. He says the Torah is the craftsman whom the Holy One used to create the world. Before the world was created, the Torah preceded it by two thousand years. The Holy One looked into the Torah, saw what was to be created, and created it. He created man to be occupied with Torah, for which the world exists. Now, everyone who looks into the Torah and is occupied with it causes the world to remain in existence. Like Adam, we are told, all people before they come to this world stand before God in the same form and existence as they are in the world. At the moment a soul is about to descend to this world, God calls the appointed angel who has authority over the soul, and asks the angel to bring her into His presence. Then the soul comes clothed in the form of this world, and the Holy King makes her swear that she will be occupied with Torah when she descends to this world. It is better for one not to be born, we are told, than to come to this world and not try to know God.


Here we learn that the Torah predated the world and was indeed the pattern for all Creation. Traditionally, the Torah is viewed as a religious canon in which the fundamental laws of moral and physical conduct are inscribed. Scholars view the Torah as a document of recorded history, or a collection of stories that expound upon God's relationship with man.

Kabbalistically, these descriptions miss the mark. The author of the Zohar, the eminent Kabbalist Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, ridicules those who see only stories and tales in this sacred instrument. The scroll is not an attempt to define the proper morals by which a man should live. Humanity will never seek out positive change, nor will a man persevere on the spiritual path when the vague concepts of morality and ethics are the primary motivation and reward. Lacking the Kabbalistic knowledge concerning the Torah, the scroll becomes a fruitless symbol of tradition, instead of an awesome instrument of power.

What is the power of the Torah when viewed through the lens of Kabbalah? It is the personal and universal power to change; to transform; to elevate; to grow; to resemble God and ultimately to become him. Toward that end, the scroll emits spiritual influences that envelope us with: healing, so that we share it with others; prosperity, so that we may tithe and give to the poor; assistance in the removal of envy, so that we may love others unconditionally; the ability to attract our soul-mate, so that we may complete our souls; and the courage to conquer our deepest fears, so that we may climb the highest mountains.

This most potent passage evokes this ancient memory, recalling our promise to God to delve, heart and soul, into the Torah's mysteries. And at this moment, here and now, we are honoring our commitment, igniting the full power of the Torah, and completing the purpose of Creation.