In discussing the dynamics of the spiritual dimension of reality, the Ari”zal makes frequent use of the male-female metaphor. This is because the basic concept of creation is duality, beginning with the fundamental duality of the Creator and His creation. G-d is one, but He has created a world that appears to exist outside of Him, and this automatically sets up a tension between the existential consciousness of creation as being a separate, independent reality and its consciousness (or lack of consciousness) of its origin in and dependence upon Him. G-d and creation yearn to reunite with each other since this reunion expresses the original, perfect state that existed prior to creation. Yet both G-d and creation are conscious of the fact the world was created for a purpose, and the “business” of this situation must be attended to in order for the ultimate union of G-d and creation to occur on an even deeper level than existed originally. Along the way, however, besides the underlying yearning for ultimate fulfillment that informs the entire process of life, there are the ups and downs of periods of partial reunion followed by renewed enforced estrangement. Thus, the underlying dynamic of life is one of yearning, passion, and romance. In the dynamic of duality, G-d assumes the role of the male and creation that of the female. The male is “trapped” in His consciousness of the ideal, original state of reality. His challenge in working toward the reunion is “get out of his head,” to realize and yearn for the superior fulfillment that is possible only through uniting with what the female represents. The female, in contrast, is “trapped” in her consciousness of perfecting created reality. Her challenge is to remember the goal towards which she is working, to reveal the subconscious yearnings of her heart to transcend created reality. Although, as we said, G-d is generally assigned the role of the male and creation that of the female, the male-female dynamic is replayed throughout all levels of created reality. In other words, every level of creation has its male and female aspects—the part of it that represents the orientation towards abstract perfection and the part of it that represents the orientation towards concretizing and manifesting perfection in reality. The final, lowest manifestation of this duality is, of course, man and woman in our physical world.

This metaphor is “replicated” in the Mishkan/Tabernacle, which was built (to be likened) to the physical body. In the same way as a person’s consciousness (literally “brain”) influences from within its encasing, so too the holy spirit is made within a body. This is the secret of the holy Shechina that contains the Above and Below, the secret of the holy spirit, that is connected in the spiritual world and revealed in the physical world. The Shechina is always drawn down from the spiritual to manifest in the physical; this is the secret of the Tabernacle as a “body” built to receive the “brain” within its shell. This was all done in accordance with Moses’ vision. The holy spirit of the Shechina, became dressed, as it were, in the body of the Tabernacle. This was in order that a different spirit would be infused in it – a higher finer brightness – the light from the name Havayah, the “masculine aspect” of G‑d. All was united together and included one within the other, entering and dressing each within the other, until the Shechina united with this world, which is the outermost shell from the spiritual world. This “dressing” represents the drawing down of the Infinite into the finite through a series of layers such as those that were the skins over the Tabernacle.

The shell of This World is the most physically manifested of all [the three shells that are the contraction of the spiritual light which seem to create entities separate from their source. These shells, or klipot, are) like the shells of the walnut growing on its tree. The outer, green shell, is not the hardest shell (it is soft and damp), whereas the shell beneath it is hard (like wood); this is like the negative spirit (i.e. tendencies) that govern the physical body. Beneath this shell is another, finer, shell – the membrane which covers the brain [the source of the spirit and consciousness in man.

There is so much more, but for now, this will suffice.

Baruch Ad-nai Amen v’Amen


It is written: ולא שמעו אל-משה מקצר רוח Velo shamu el-Moshe mikotser ruach, “But they hearkened not unto Moshe for impatience of spirit” (Shemot 6:9, Va’era). The Rashi here says, “But they did not listened to Moshe. They did not accept the consolation. That is, they [the people] got completely desperate over being redeemed at any time due to their shortness of breath. Anyone who is under stress, his wind and breath are short, and he cannot breathe deeply”. The lack of air to breathe is what a person feels when drowning. She can only have a few short respirations, not enough to sustain her. This is what the moment of stress causes in the individual. Behold, the gematria katan of this pasuk is 78, the same as Mabul (the “Deluge”): mem-bet-vav-lamed = 40 + 2 + 6 + 30 = 78. Mystically, the word mabul alludes to the removal of the vital Divine force. This is why the sense of desperation occurs, because the “turbulent waters” from stress rise and “flood” the person’s mind, so to speak. And when we calculate the “regression” (the vision of the posterior/achorayim) of the 3 Divine Names (the manner in which the Tetragram/YKVK is spelled) – the 72-letter Name (Shem Ayn Bet), the 63-letter Name (Shem SaG), and finally the 45-letter Name (Shem MaH) – we have a total of 78 letters, indicating (by the regression of these iterations of the Divine Names) a “withdrawal” of the Shem Havaya (YKVK) from the world, signifying in the global scale the earth’s “drowning” and its demise. Now, we can understand why stress is so dangerous!



“On the night of 28 of Tevet, 5774 on parashat Bo, I was meditating on the verse זה-שמי לעלם וזה זכרי לדר דר ‘This is My name forever, and this is My remembrance to all generations’[1], expanding my conscious with the millennia old mental exercises from the Torah. And it was them that suddenly I felt as if I had entered into something – it was another environment. When I realize that this dimensional translation took place, I immediately began feeling a great primal anxiety, generated by the biological instinct that sharpen the senses when we find ourselves in an unknown habitat. My heart accelerated. And with the eyes of the mind, there I saw an all-dark environment, not like the darkness of the night but rather as if in some manner the sunlight was absent during the day, and amazingly, I could feel the darkness. In this great region, different things and objects shined with intense colors. The colors were strong, almost saturated. The only light there was the one coming from these things and objects, for all the rest was the purest of darkness. There were no bright stars glittering, nor visible heavenly bodies, nothing. Only the intense darkness and the things and objects with their strong and gleaming colors that irradiated the path in that place. I thought I was in another dimension, being allowed to see some far physical location in the universe. I even prepared myself for a possible encounter with some being. However, at that moment, I lost focus and came back to the state I was before the meditation. But, a few seconds later, I returned to that place and the same anxiety came back to disturb me. I did not see anything different in this second experience, but only confirmed the vision of the first one: full darkness and objects of varied sizes with intense colors that were the only light source in the place. Moreover, I could see everything as if standing somewhat above ground, or on top of a mount. Both experiences did not last much, perhaps a minute, but it seemed like an eternity… And it was when I began to meditate again and soon after I heard what I heard from my Maggid: ‘G-d is with you. Shalom my dear. Know that what you saw was truly the singular darkness from the makat choshech, the plague of darkness. The colorful lights were the divine sparks extraordinarily revealed from the objects and treasures that the Jews acquired during the three days of this plague. And this is why it is written, ולכל בני ישראל היה אור במושבתם, ‘All the children of Israel had light in their dwellings’[2]. Here I finished my meditation. After this, I investigated and found that the gematria atbash of this verse is 2370, that is, 10 times 237, that being the gematria of זכרי zichri ‘My remembrance’, as in the verse וזה זכרי לדר דר ‘and this is My remembrance to all generations’[3]. This relates to my experience in that, all Hashem does is eternal and can be ‘remembered’, that is, ‘accessed and experienced’ at some level. As written, יבש חציר נבל ציץ ודבר-אלקינו יקום לעולם ‘The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our G-d shall endure forever’[4], with mispar siduri 350, that being equal to the gematria of שמי shemi ‘My Name’, as in the verse זה-שמי לעלם ‘This is My name forever’[5]. The Torah in of itself is made of infinite portals. Through one’s study, meditation and by realizing that Torah is alive and dynamic, the light then shines in ‘their dwellings’, that is, in one’s mind and life”[6].


[1] Shemot 3:15.

[2] Shemot 10:23.

[3] Ibid. 3:15.

[4] Yeshayahu 40:8.

[5] Shemot 3:15. The sum gematria of the two citations of this verse is 587. By adding the gematria of יהו”ה, which is 26, the result is 613 (mitzvot). So, 237 + 350 + 26 = 613.

[6] Nachon Libi, pgs. 1044-1045.


“Consider a rasha/evil person that in some manner finds himself in Gan Eden, going and coming amongst the tzaddikim/just people that sear in the splendor of their crowns of glory, bathing themselves in the light of the Shechina. The tzaddikim experience there indescribable pleasures, while he suffers incommensurably. Completely unaccustomed to spirituality, for the rasha, this Gan Eden is an incomparable discomfort. As such, this is the essence of the makat choshech [‘the plague of darkness’]. And thus Moshe brought the darkness below, for he ‘extended his hand above the Heavens’ [Shemot 10:21] and Egypt fell in a darkness like never seen before” (the Slonimer Rebbe, Netivot Shalom, Parashat Bo).

The makat choshech meant a tzimtzum (“contraction and restriction”) of the light of Hashem and its physical manifestation. Truly, first a tzimtzum occurred at the spiritual level, in the degree of נטה ידך על-השמים Nete yadecha al’hashamayim, “Extend your hand to the Heaven” (Shemot 10:21), which was the command Hashem gave to Moshe to begin this plague on Egypt. And the ordinal gematria (mispar siduri, in the sofit version) of this pasuk is 166. This is the numerical value for the “regression” (i.e., the posterior/achorayim vision) of the Shem SaG (Name of Hashem spelled with 63 letters, being that the gematria of SaG equals 63). The Shem SaG is associated to Binah, and in man, it means the power of rational intellect. When the Holy Name is “regressed”, this indicates a diminishing or immaturity in the rational understanding – a state of contraction and restriction of the consciousness. In a level, the darkness indicates exactly the incapacity to see, hence rationally understand, resulting from the withdrawal of Divine light. Now, in the physical level, the material darkness is the actual result of this spiritual regression. This is the reason that immediately following the verse says, “That there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt”. Now we can understand something more. For the talmid/student still distant from Torah, everything is strange, uncomfortable and devoid of meaning. The light of Torah, through the words of the rebbe/master, is so strong that the students close their eyes and hid themselves with fear from the great intensity of this Divine irradiation. Then, in this period, they still exist against a thick darkness, in a state of rational immaturity. With the eyes completed closed, they fear opening them to then experience the restrictive reality of their own (private) Egypt. In time and great patience from the master, as they begin opening their eyes so unaccustomed to see the spiritual truths, the light finally begins to enter them, at least to some degree. Finally, they begin perceiving that there is אור במושבתם Or bemoshvotam, “Light in their dwellings” (Shemot 10:23). In fact, the gematria of this verse with two for the kollel for each one of the two words being 999 – the equal gematria of the milui/expansion of the Holy Name Kel Shakai “G-d Almighty”, which refers to the level of “Creator of the world”*. Now, more illuminated, they can be cured and redeemed, and in this way begin revealing the aspect of Mashiach that exists in each and every one, G-d willing.

* The Sages note that the word shakai can be interpreted as meaning “He who [sha-] said ‘enough’ [-dai] for the expansion of the world, at the end of the week of creation” (Talmud, Chagigah 12a).