Trumah: Chapter 71

Wherever letters are added, it causes a lessening


Rabbi Yehuda begins here by saying that 'ten' can be written with the Hei, which is the Shechinah, or without it: eser, asarah. She is not included in 'twelve' at all. Twelve, the higher number, Shtei asar, is spelled without the Ayin of the Evil Eye, we learn, and when that letter is added the number is reduced by one to eleven, Ashtei asar. Wherever letters are added, we are then told, it serves as subtraction. Even adding Yud to Amnon's name and referring to him as 'Aminon' decreases his honor.


When the Evil Eye (envious stares and glances of ill-will) is permitted to shed its influence, it literally banishes the Light that is present. It has drastic effects upon people and situations. The Evil Eye is banished from the world through the forces summoned here. The desire to cast theEvil Eye is also eliminated from our being.

We learn that quite often when a person adds, he actually takes away, as per the well-known adage, Less is more. This truth is often seen in religion. A person becomes caught up in the religious aspect of faith, performing more and more rites and rituals in the name of holiness, but he grows to be more intolerant of others. This is the difference between a spiritual path and a religious one. Here we receive the wisdom and consciousness to seek out spiritual righteousness as opposed to self-righteousness born of religiosity. This dangerous holier-than-thou consciousness is purged from human consciousness, engendering tolerance and respect among all of God's children.