THE SALVATION OF YITZCHAK

And it is written: ויאמר יצחק אל-אברהם אביו ויאמר אבי ויאמר הנני בני Vayomer Yitzchak el-Avraham aviv vayomer avi vayomer hineni veni, “And Yitzchak spoke unto Avraham his father, and said: ‘My father’. And he said: ‘Here am I, my son’”[1]. Note that the gematria albam of אבי avi “my father” is 370. Now, there are 370 lights (ShA Nehorin) which shine out of the “face of Arich Anpin”, the outer partzuf of Keter, and in so doing manifest tremendous good will and mercy. Thus, these 370 lights of kedusha/holiness are pure “states of chesed” (propensities to give). More so, they correspond to the two spelled-out (milui) Names Kel (alef-lamed) as such: Alef, alef-lamed-pei = 1 + 30 + 80 = 111. Lamed, lamed-mem-dalet = 30 + 40 + 4 = 74. 111 + 74 = 185 (the gematria of הפנים hapanim, “the face”, meaning the profile of a “cheek”). Thus, for the two Names Kel, we have: 2 x 185 = 370 (that is, two hapanim/cheeks). Therefore, the expression avi is a powerful conduit to bring down great mercies. Furthermore, this is intrinsically related to Avraham, the channel of chesed/kindness to the world, for the gematria of the name Yitzchak is eight times that of the Name Havayah (gematria 26): Yitzchak, yud-tzadik-chet-kuf = 10 + 90 + 8 + 100 = 208 = 8 x 26[2]. These eight Names Havayah are the eight “states of gevurah” (propensities to withhold) of Yitzchak (while Avraham has eight states of chesed), each one corresponding to one Name Havayah. Also, the 370 lights yield eight Names Kel, which together equal the numerical value of Avraham, to wit, Kel: alef-lamed = 31. 31 x 8 = 248. Avraham: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248. So, as Yitzchak perceives the moment of great tension, his deep and humble call for avi/Avraham signifies the inner aspect of his being pleading for mercies to “sweeten” the gevurot/severities. We note Avraham’s (concealed) kindness and utter trust in Hashem in the secret of his immediate reply: הנני בני hineni veni, “Here I am my son”, with milui 776, that being the same as the gematria of the pasuk בטחו בה’ עדי-עד כי ביה ה’ צור עולמים “Trust you in the L-rd forever; for the L-rd G-d is an eternal Rock”[3]. Now, Avraham could not reveal his feelings for his son’s impending fate. Yet, he was overwhelmed with emotions, and secretly shed tears when replying to his son, as shown in the gematria of hineni veni being 177, the same numerical value of זעק za’ak “to cry out”. Nevertheless, his cry was with the unhesitant intention to act, fulfilling G-d’s command[4], for as written: והאמן בה’ ויחשבה לו צדקה “And he believed in the L-rd; and He counted it to him for righteousness”[5]. The gematria of this pasuk is 696, as it is of עתיק יומין Atik Yomin, the inner partzuf of Keter, which is enclothed by Arich Anpin. We see here how intimately is the association of Avraham and the Name Kel, which corresponds to Keter/ShA Nehorin.

The pasuk continues: הנה האש והעצים ואיה השה לעלה, “Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” with reshei tevot ההווהל has gematria atbash 450, this being the numerical value of מררי Merari. The Ari”zal explains regarding the sons of Merari[6] (meaning “bitter”), that “They manifest the hardest and most bitter states of gevurah in the yesod of Nukva that do not ascend. For were they to ascend, they would make the higher states of gevurah bitter”[7]. Therefore, in this imminent moment of rigor, “fire and wood” are the embodiments of gevurah, as it is known[8], which are made bitterer through the basic doubts and fears expressed by the question ואיה השה לעלה “Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” with gematria avgad 613. This is the same numerical value as בגבורת b’gevurot, “with severities”. Now, I understand that, as these bitter states of gevurah “do not ascend”[9], Yitzchak avinu does nothing with these primary emotions. That is, no action is taken (he did not try to escape from his father[10]) since at a basic human level, these emotions are too much a matter of pure feelings to be diverted to the path leading toward practical action. More importantly, by subjugating these primary emotional responses, he “sweetens” them. This is a major part of his test, that is, the fact that these feelings do not ascend and negatively affect his mentality. Otherwise, ‘they would make the higher states of gevurah bitter’, to wit, he could have thought of fleeing from this test. However, he “conspicuously honored his father”[11]. Still, Yitzchak sought understanding, as the pshat shows and as hinted by the gematria avgad of the sofei tevot (השםההה) being 474, the same numerical value of da’at (dalet-ayin-tav = 4 + 70 + 400 = 474). ויאמר אברהם אלקים יראה-לו השה לעלה בני וילכו שניהם יחדו Vayomer Avraham Elokim yirelo hase leola beni vayelchu sheneihem yachdav, “And Avraham said: ‘G-d will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son’. So they went both of them together”[12]. This verse’s reshei tevot (ואאילהלבושי) has gematria 401, the same as ישעיהו Yeshayahu, “Salvation of Kah/G-d”[13]. We see that the Akedat Yitzchak/Sacrifice of Yitzchak is actually a narrative of the salvation that G-d performs on the merit of the patriarch. Salvation is a deliverance from death – a preservation of חיים chayim “life” (chet-yud-yud-mem = 8 + 10 + 10 + 40 = 68), also the ordinal gematria of Yeshayahu.

 

[1] Bereshit 22:7, Vayeira.

[2] The Ari”zal, Sha’ar HaPesukim, Lech Lecha.

[3] Isaiah 26:4.

[4] See vayizak in Esther 4:1.

[5] Bereshit 15:6.

[6] Shemot 6:19.

[7] Likutei Torah, Bamidbar.

[8] Also hinted by the number 671, the gematria avgad of האש והעצים, the same as ארץ מצרי eretz Mitzrayim, “land of Egypt”, a place of utter bitterness.

[9] For these being are the five states of gevurah, each one of which is a type of mayin nukvin/feminine water.

[10] See Zohar 103a, Vayeira.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Bereshit 22:8.

[13] The Hebrew name of the prophet Isaiah.

 

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