Trumah: Chapter 70

"In the multitude of people is the glory of the king"


Here, Rabbi Yehuda discusses, "In the multitude of people is the glory of the king, but in the lack of people is the downfall of the prince." He says that while other nations have more people than Yisrael, they mix with each other, and therefore because the children of Yisrael do not mix, there is no nation in the world as great and numerous as Yisrael. When people are praying in the synagogue, it is to the king's glory. When they do not come and pray, the supernal appointees and legions are lowered, because the praises are required to be said above and below simultaneously. "The downfall of the prince," then, we learn, refers to these supernal beings. Yet even ten people in the synagogue are sufficient to praise God and to make comrades of the supernal legions.


The greatness and size of Yisrael is a metaphor alluding to the internal Vessel - the magnitude of desire to receive - that exists within the souls of the children of Yisrael. Prior to the Creation of the world, a single, unified soul - the Vessel - existed in the Endless World. This one infinite soul was comprised of all the souls of humanity, and its essential nature was desire. The one Vessel shattered into countless pieces of all sizes and spilled into our world. Thus, each broken fragment represents a different measure and intensity of desire. The largest pieces of the shattered Vessel are called children of Yisrael. Thus, the Israelites have the capacity to draw the greatest amount of Light into this world by virtue of the intensity of their desire. Since, where there is the greatest capacity for Light, there is also the greatest capacity for negativity, they are in addition accountable for the quantity of darkness that engulfs the world.

"Prayer in the synagogue" is not about worship or offering praise to the Creator. Rather, it denotes the path of spiritual transformation (of which prayer is but a tool to help effect change within a man's nature). Hence, we are being told that the children of Yisrael must embrace spiritual transformation to bring Light to all the nations of the world. Light is created when an Israelite resists his selfish and intense desire to receive for the self alone and, instead, receives for the purpose of sharing with others.

Prayer is one procedure that helps reveal Light as it diminishes the drive of the ego. Ten men are required in a synagogue during prayer, for they correspond to the Ten Sfirot, which creates circuitry. A reading of this passage awakens our momentous responsibility to bring Light to others. We are inspired to perform acts of caring, and we summon the courage to practice self-denial. Our meditation here is a great act of sharing; thus it nourishes all the nations of the world with spiritual Light, ending conflict and crumbling the seeds of intolerance.