APPENDIX III Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 136b-138b:
When R. Hamnuna the Ancient used to come out fromthe river on a Friday afternoon, he was wont to rest a little on the bank, and raising his eyes in gladness, he would say that he sat there in order to behold the joyous sight of the heavenly angels ascending and descending. At each arrival of the Sabbath, he said, man is caught up into the world of souls. Happy is he who is aware of the mysteries of his Lord! And when the Sabbath day itself lightens, a spirit of tranquil joy ascends through all worlds. This is the significance of the Psalm (recited on Sabbath morning): "The heavens tell the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork." What is meant by "Heaven"? That heaven in which the Supernal Name is made visible (shama-yim- heaven; shem-Name). What is the meaning of the word "tell" (mesaprim) P Assuredly not the mere telling of a tale.
Far otherwise! It signifies that they are illumined from the flashing of the supernal Point and ascend in the Name which is contained in the light-stream of the supernal perfectness. They flash and lighten of themselves through the lightening and flashing of the Supernal Book; [Tr. note: Malkuth.] they lighten and flash towards all the sides which are attached to them, and each sphere retains unto itself a little of this light, for from that sapphire-like radiance every ring in the chain derives its light and radiance. For upon this day (Sabbath) the heavens are crowned and ascend in the power of the Holy Name more than on any other day. "His handiwork" is the supernal Dew which streams forth from all the hidden regions; it is "the work of His hands", and His self-fulfilment wherein He completes and perfects Himself on this day more than upon any other. This dew "streams down" (maggid in the Aramaic sense) from the Head of the King, with an abundance of blessing, the "firmament" here signifying the stream issuing from the Cistern, the "River which went out of Eden", which flows earthwards, as the stream of the Supernal Dew which gleams and flashes from all sides. This "firmament" draws it downward upon a current of love and desire, in order that it may water the field of bliss and joy at the entrance of the Sabbath. When that fair pearled Dew streameth down, the whole becomes full and complete in its holy letters acting through all their holy channels; since all is united to it, a path is opened to it to water and bless all below. "Day unto day"-one day to another, one ring or sphere unto its fellow. Here Scripture speaks in detail concerning the manner in which the heavens radiate sapphire brightness to that Glory, and how that "Firmament" of the supernal Dew causes the downward flow of the current. "Day unto day utters speech."
Day unto day, grade unto grade, in order that the one should complete itself in the other, and one be illumined by the other from the luminous and sparkling radiance of the Sapphire which is reflected by the heavens back to the central glory. The word yabia (uttereth) can be translated "hasteneth": they hasten to catch the light and the flashing one from another. The word OMeR (speech) indicates the letters and paths which proceed from the Father[Tr. note: Hokmah.] the Mother, [Tr. note: Binah.] and the head which issues from them, who is the firstborn Son. [Tr. note: Tifereth.] Aleph symbolizes the Father, and when it ascends and descends, the Mem unites itself with it, producing em, which signifies Mother; the resh is the Head (rosh =head), signifying Son.
When these three unite the result is that they form "Word", "Speech". Thus the Father, the Mother, and the first born Son radiate one within the other in one union, which has its reign and duration upon the Sabbath. Thus all are united so as to become one, and therefore they hasten one to another that Omer, as a supernal reign, in order that all should be one. But when all has been conveyed down to that "firmament", then it diffuses light upon the "Glory of God" below that it may produce beings in the likeness of the heavens which give light to that Glory. "And night unto night declareth knowledge." These are those "chariots" which form the body of the Throne; they are called "nights", as it is written: "My reins also instruct me in the nights" (Ps. XVI, 7). The upper chariot is called "Days" or "day unto day,, the lower "Nights", or "night unto night". Ye-hawe (declares) may also mean "makes alive", to wit, produces the progeny of the heavens, "brings unto life" generations. "Knowledge" designates the mystery of the heavens: as the heavens have six sides, so also the generations which they bring into life in their likeness.
Thus "day unto day" is included in a supernal sphere called "Word" (omer), and "night unto night" in the mystery of the Male, who gives light to her and whose name is "Knowledge". And because this "Word" is not like other words, but is a supernal mystery, Scripture comes back to it and says: "There is no word (omer) nor speeches, their voices are not heard" (v. 3). This "word" is a supreme mystery of supernal grades, where there are no voices nor speech, and which cannot be understood like the other grades which constitute the mystery of the Faith, and which are voices that can be heard. And yet "Their line is gone out through all the earth" (v. 4), although they are supernal mysteries which can never be perfectly comprehended, yet the current of their flow is downward. Because of this current, we have a true Faith in this world, and all mankind can discourse of the mystery of the Faith of the Holy One in connection with these grades, as if they were revealed to and not hidden from them.
Therefore it says: "And their words to the end of the world" (Ibid.), which means that from the beginning to the end of the world the "wise of heart" discourse of those hidden grades although they cannot be comprehended. And how far are they comprehended? "In them hath he set a tent for the sun" (Ibid.), because the holy sun[Tr. note: Tifereth.] is as a tabernacle of all those supreme grades, and is as a light which has taken into itself all the hidden lights and the whole current of their extension, whereby Faith is manifested in the whole world. To grasp the Sun is equivalent to grasping all grades, because the sun is a "tent" including all and absorbing all; and he in turn lights up all the shining colours below. Hence "He is a bridegroom coming forth from his canopy (covering)" (v. 6), in the gleam and flash of those hidden lights which in strong yearning and desire give him tokens of their love, as to a bridegroom to whom all his friends give presents and gifts.
And what is "his covering"? Eden, the "covering" which covers up all things. "He rejoiceth" from the side of the primeval light in which judgement has no place at all. "As a strong man" (gibbor)-from the side of "strength" (geburah); and note that it does not say here "a strong man", but "as a strong man", which means that Judgement is tempered by Mercy. Thus the sun gathers all together in one, in perfect devotion and love. "To run on the way", in order to nourish and complement the Moon on every side and make it possible for her to shed her light downwards. "His going forth is from the end of the heaven" (v. 7). He goes forth from the end of that supernal heaven, from the termination[Tr. note: Yesod.] of the Body, as it is written, "From one end of heaven to the other end of the heaven" (Deut. IV, 32); where the "one end" designates the upper world, and the "other end" its termination.
"And his circuit unto the ends of it" (Ibid.): he (the sun) runs through all those holy regions that are capable of being vivified and nourished by his rays. "And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Ibid.): nothing is hidden from that radiance, for it is directed towards all together, to each according to its capacity of reception. When all are thus completed and vivified by the Sun, then the Moon is crowned in the likeness of the supernal perfect Mother in fifty gates. This is expressed in the following verse: "The Torah of the Lord is perfect, quickening the soul"; as she is perfect from all sides in the mystery of five grades, in the likeness of the supernal Mother, to whom belongs the mystery of the fifty. Therefore the Torah is introduced here in six parallel sentences of five words (in Hebrew) each, in order to complete the mystery of fifty. "The Torah of the Lord is perfect, quickening the soul" is five. "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple" is five. "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart" is five. "The commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes" is five. "The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring for ever" is five. "The judgements of the Lord are true, righteous altogether" is five.
All these sentences present themselves in five words each, after the semblance of the supernal Mother; six times, as the Tetragrammaton is mentioned in these verses six times, corresponding with the six supernal grades which form the mystery of the supernal heaven. So the Moon is completed in the realm of transcendence into that which it should be, and all this on the Sabbath day, upon which all is perfected in the mystery of the Sabbath above and below. On this day, therefore, radiance is increased everywhere. The heavens receive it from the source of life; and they then impart light and completeness to the supernal Glory from the mystery of the supernal Numberer (Sopher), the Father of all; then from the mystery of the Numbered (Sippur)-the Supernal Mother; finally from the mystery of the Number (sepher).[Tr. note: v. Sefer Yezirah.]
Therefore it says: "The heavens declare" (mesaprim), namely, as we have pointed out, in the mystery of these three Names which, on the Sabbath, reign supreme more than on other days. Therefore David uttered this Psalm of praise, through the Holy Spirit, in regard to the light and the effulgence of the Sabbath and its pre-eminence over the other days of the week because of the mystery of the Supernal Name which in it lightens up and radiates and sparkles in the spheres of holiness, and is completed above and below. Therefore the "Men of the Great Synagogue" have ordered that this Psalm of David should be the first one to be sung on the Sabbath day, since it refers to those particular "Heavens" which lighten all the others.
Then follows (in the liturgy) that "river which goes out of Eden", alluded to in the Psalm which follows this one in the Sabbath service: "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous" (Ps. XXXIII); for this "River" gathers into itself the whole mystery of the "heavens" and the source of life on this day, and the sun is perfected for its appointed task of the distribution of light. Then the Moon, when she separates herself from the "other side"-as on this day she does-in order to receive light from the sun, is alluded to in the Psalm following this one, namely (Ps. XXXIV): "Of David, when he changed his behaviour towards Abimelech." When the "other side" has separated itself from the "Moon", then the latter is united with the "Sun", and therefore this Psalm begins (acrostically) with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, signifying the merging of the Sun with the Moon.
Then follows the union of the Matrona with Her Spouse: "A prayer of Moses, the man of God" (Ps. xc): He spreads out both His right and His left hands to receive Her and to unite Himself with Her in perfect union. Then follow other psalms of joy and ardent longing. "A psalm. Sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand and his holy arm hath wrought salvation for him" (Ps. XCVIII). This Psalm has been expounded elsewhere, and the Companions were perfectly correct in their assertion that it was chanted by the kine Soncino Zohar, who bore the sacred ark. [Tr. note: v Zohar, Genesis, 123a.] This corresponded to the mystery above: when the "living beings, (Hayoth) lay hold of the Throne in order to raise it to the highest heights, then we sing this Psalm. As to the question, why, then, is it called "new" when it is perpetually being repeated, the fact is that it is indeed a "new song" because it refers to the "new" moon at the time when she receives light from the sun.
"His right hand and his holy arm hath wrought salvation for him": this denotes the rousing of the right and the left hand to receive Her (the Moon, signifying the Shekinah) when She arrives at "Beth Shemesh", the "House of the Sun", which hands receive and bear Her even as the kine bare the ark. This psalm of praise was therefore ordered to be chanted on the Sabbath by the "one people", namely the children of Israel. (Ps. XCII): "A song. A psalm for (to) the sabbath day. It is good to praise the Lord, to sing unto thy name, O most high. To proclaim thy lovingkindness in the morning and thy faithfulness in the nights." It has been established by the Companions that this hymn of praise was sung by the first man (Adam) after he had been driven out of the Garden of Eden, when the Sabbath drew nigh unto the Holy One and interceded for the created being.
Then he sang this hymn in honour of the Sabbath which had delivered him. It is a hymn of praise sung by the world below to the world above, to a world which is altogether "Sabbath", the sphere of the "King whose is the peace". It is a hymn of the sabbath below unto the Sabbath above: the sabbath below, which is like night, sings to the Sabbath above, which is like day. In fact, whenever "Sabbath" is mentioned it refers to the "eve of the Sabbath" (i.e. the Shekinah), but when it says "the Sabbath day", it denotes the Supernal Sabbath (i.e. Tifereth). The former is symbolized by the Female, the latter by the Male. Thus "And the children of Israel should keep the Sabbath" (Ex. XXXI, I6) alludes to the Female, which is the night (layla), and "remember the Sabbath day" (Ibtd. xx, 8) alludes to the Male. Thus the sabbath here below sings a hymn to the Sabbath above.
Therefore this psalm is anonymous, as we find everywhere where there is a reference to the world below (the Shekinah) that the Name is not actually mentioned, as, for example, "And he called unto Moses" (Lev. 1, I), "And to Moses he said, go up to the Lord" (Ex. XXIX, I). Since in this psalm reference is made to a higher sphere, therefore the divine name is not applied to the lower grade, just as a candle cannot shine in the sunlight. All the hymns sung in praise of and on the Sabbath are the aids to its ascension to supernal regions where it is crowned with supernal holy crowns above all other days. The Sabbath service continues with the prayer: "The soul of all living shall bless thy name, O Lord our God." The Companions have made some true observations on this prayer. [Tr. note: Zohar, Exodus, p.205b.] But the real truth is that on Sabbath it is incumbent on us to mention that soul [Tr. note: The "additional soul" given to the Israelite on Sabbath.] which emanates from "the Life of Worlds" (Yesod).
And since this soul belongs to Him from whom all blessings proceed and in whom they are present, who wills to water and to bless that which is below, she is given permission to bless this Place. Thus the souls which fly forth from this "Living One" on the entrance of Sabbath do actually bless that Place in order to communicate blessings to the world below which is called the "Lower Name" (Malkuth). At the same time, the region whence those souls emanate blesses the Name from above, and so it receives blessings from below and from above, and is completed in all aspects. During other days she receives blessings from those souls which bless her from below; but on the Sabbath she receives blessings from those supernal souls which bless her with forty-five words according to the numerical value of the word Mah (What?) From the words "the soul of all living" to "the God of the first and last ages" there are forty-five words; from the words "were our mouths filled with song as the sea" to the words "and with us" are very nearly fifty words, corresponding to the Mi [Tr. note: For the symbolic meaning of Mah and Mi, v. Zohar, Genesis, lb.] (numerical value=fifty).
From here on follow other praises which resolve themselves in the number one hundred, the completion of all (to "the great God") and form one chariot. Thus this hymn of praise and all the words contained in it are numerical symbols of the perfection of the Sabbath, and the perfection attained through it, according to the Divine purpose. Blessed is that people that has learnt how to conduct a service of praise in well-pleasing fashion! From here on follow prayers proper (connected with the Shema and the Amidah). It is written: "But be not thou, O Lord, far from me; my Hind (eyaluti), haste thee to help me" (Ps. VLXIIa 20). These words did King David speak in that hour when he ordered that hymns of praise should be sung to the King, so that the unity of the Sun and the Moon should be accomplished.
While he composed these praises, he said: "But be not thou far from me". The combination of "Thou" and "Lord" signifies the mystery of the one inseparable union. "Be not far": this refers to Her (the Shekinah) when she ascends to be crowned by her Spouse in the world above, and from thence to ascend still higher into the Infinite, to be united there, high, high, above. Therefore it says: "be not far", that is to say, do not ascend to such heights that will leave us without Thee. Therefore through this service of praise Israel seek to attach themselves closely to the Shekinah and her Glory, so that if this Glory should seek to rise aloft they may still cling to it and not allow it to abandon them. Therefore, also, the prayer proper (Amidah) is recited quietly, as one would speak confidentially with a King; for as long as Israel holds Him in confidential converse He cannot depart from her, leaving her alone. "My hind": even as the hind and the gazelle, though they flee to a far distance, yet soon return again to the place from which they went, so also the Holy One, blessed be He, even when He ascends into the unscalable heights of infinity, soon returns.
Why so? Because Israel here below cling to Him, and being so attached to Him do not allow Him to forget them and abandon them. This is the significance of the prayer, "My hind, haste Thee to help me." Therefore it behoves us to cling to the Holy One,blessed be He, in order so to speak to draw Him down from the heights, so that we should not be deserted by Him for an instant. Therefore, when we pass quickly from the Geulah (Redemption) benediction to the Prayer (Amidah or eighteen benedictions) we must, as it were, lay hold on Him, and lead Him apart, and converse with Him privately and in a still voice, in confidence, so that He should not depart far from us and leave us alone. Concerning this it is written: "And ye who cleave to the Lord your God, ye are all alive to-day" (Deut. IV, 4); "Blessed is the people who is in such a case; blessed is the people who has the Lord for its God" (Ps. CXLIV, 15).
R. Eleazar then explained to them the symbolic significance of colours and metals in connection with the Tabernacle. Gold is mentioned first because it is the emblem of the lower Power, or the Left Hand. Silver, which, on account of its whiteness, signifies Mercy, or the Right Hand, although it comes second here, is nevertheless the essential hue as regards the mystery of the Divine attributes in their manifestation to Israel, as it is written, "Mine is the silver and mine is the gold" (Haggai II, 8). It is also represented by the "cup of benediction" (the cup drunk after a meal) which, although it is taken up with both hands, is actually held only with the right hand. This is the esoteric meaning of the words "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me" (S.S. II, 6). Shining polished brass is a colour resembling gold, combining the colours of both gold and silver. Hence the "brazen altar was too small (I Kings VIII, 64), because it symbolized the "smaller light which rules by night", while the golden altar symbolized "the greater light to rule the day" (Gen. 1, 16). Hyacinth (purple-blue),