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כְּגַוְנָא | the Secret of Oneness and the Mystery of Shabbat from the Zohar on Parshat Terumah

Zohar Terumah §163-166 (K’Gavna)


כְּגַוְנָא דְאִנּוּן מִתְיַחֲדִין לְעֵלָּא בְּאֶחָד. אוֹף הָכִי אִיהִי אִתְיַחֲדַת לְתַתָּא בְּרָזָא דְאֶחָד לְמֶהֱוֵי עִמְּהוֹן לְעֵלָּא חָד לָקֳבֵל חָד. קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא אֶחָד. לְעֵלָּא לֹא יָתִיב עַל כּוּרְסַיָּא דִּיקָרֵיהּ עַד דְאִתְעֲבִידַת אִיהִי בְּרָזָא דְאֶחָד. כְּגַוְנָא דִילֵיהּ לְמֶהֱוֵי אֶחָד בְּאֶחָד. וְהָא אוּקִימְנָא רָזָא דַיְהֹוָה אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד:
Just as they (the six sefirot: ḥesed gevurah, netzaḥ, hod and yesod) unite above in Oneness, so She (malkhut/Shekhinah) unites below in the mystery of Oneness, to become One with those above: One receiving One. The Holy One Blessed Be He, who is One “above,” does not sit upon His Throne of Glory until She too is transformed in the mystery of Oneness, that they become One within One. This is the secret of “God is One and God’s Name is One: יהוה (the six sefirot above) Eḥad, u’Shemo (malkhut/Shekhinah) Eḥad.

רָזָא דְשַׁבָּת אִיהִי שַׁבָּת דְּאִתְאַחֲדַת בְּרָזָא דְאֶחָד. לְמִשְׁרֵי עֲלָהּ רָזָא דְאֶחָד. צְלוֹתָא דְמַעֲלֵי שַׁבְּתָא דְּהָא אִתְאַחֲדַת כּוּרְסַיָּא יַקִּירָא קַדִּישָׁא בְּרָזָא דְאֶחָד. וְאִתְתַּקָּנַת לְמִשְׁרֵי עֲלָהּ מַלְכָּא קַדִּישָׁא עִלָּאָה. כַּד עַיִּל שַׁבְּתָא אִיהִי אִתְיַחֲדַת וְאִתְפַּרְשַׁת מִסִּטְרָא אַחֲרָא. וְכָל דִּינִין מִתְעַבְּרִין מִנָּהּ וְאִיהִי אִשְׁתְּאָרַת בְּיִחוּדָא דִנְהִירוּ קַדִּישָׁא. וְאִתְעַטְרַת בְּכַמָה עִטְרִין לְגַבֵּי מַלְכָּא קַדִישָׁא. וְכָל שׁוּלְטָנֵי רוּגְזִין וּמָארֵי דְדִינָא כֻּלְּהוּ עַרְקִין וְאִתְעַבְּרוּ מִנָּהּ. וְלֵית שׁוּלְטָנָא אַחֲרָא בְּכֻלְּהוּ עָלְמִין (בַּר מִנָּהּ). וְאַנְפָּהָא נְהִירִין בִּנְהִירוּ עִלָּאָה וְאִתְעַטְּרַת לְתַתָּא בְּעַמָּא קַדִּישָׁא. וְכֻלְּהוֹן מִתְעַטְּרִין בְּנִשְׁמָתִין חַדְתִּין כְּדֵין שֵׁירוּתָא דִצְלוֹתָא. לְבָרְכָא לָהּ בְּחֶדְוָה בִּנְהִירוּ דְּאַנְפִּין. וְלוֹמַר:
The mystery of Shabbat is Shabbat herself: She (malkhut/Shekhinah) is called Shabbat when She is united in the secret of Oneness, that She may immerse in the mystery of One. This happens during the Ma’ariv prayers of Shabbat, for then She, the Throne of Kavod, is unified through the secret of Oneness, and becomes ready for the Highest Holy One to descend upon Her. When Shabbat comes, She enters into union and sheds the side of otherness, the sitra-aḥra -the forces of negativity. All judgement and harshness pass from Her, and She remains in union with the Holy Radiance. She crowns Herself with many crowns as she faces the Holy King. All the forces of anger and grievance flee, and there is no power but She in all the worlds. Her face glows with a heavenly light, and She is crowned from below by the holy people who themselves are enwrapped and crowned with new supernal souls (that come with Shabbat). Then their prayers begin by blessing Her with bliss, with radiant faces, as they call out: “Barkhu et יהוה ha-me’vorakh!”

Zohar Terumah §169-170


בָּרְכוּ אֶת יְהֹוָה הַמְּבוֹרָךְ. אֶת דַּיְקָא דָא שַׁבָּת דְּמַעֲלֵי שַׁבְּתָא: בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה הַמְּבוֹרָךְ. דָּא אַפִּיקוּ דְבִרְכָאָן מִמְּקוֹרָא דְחַיֵּי וַאֲתַר דְּנָפִיק מִנֵּיהּ כָּל שַׁקְיוּ לְּאַשְׁקָאָה לְכֹלָּא וּבְגִין דְּאִיהוּ מְקוֹרָא בְּרָזָא דְאָת קַיָמָא קְרִינָן לֵיהּ הַמְבוֹרָךְ אִיהוּ מַבּוּעָא דְבֵירָא וְכִיוָן דִּמְטָאָן הָתָם הָא כֻלְּהוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. וְדָא אִיהוּ בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה הַמְּבוֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:
(If one is praying alone, continue here:)
Barkhu et YHVH Hamevorakh: As we have established, את (et) is the Shabbat at the entrance of the Shabbat. “Barukh YHVH Hamevorakh” is the source of blessings from the source of life and the place from which all waterings go forth to water everything. It is the source in the secret of the sign of the covenant, which we call ‘Hamevorakh,’ for it is the fountain of the well. When [the blessings] reach there, the well certainly becomes filled, for the water never stops flowing. Therefore we say, ‘Barukh YHVH Hamevorakh L’Olam Va’ed‘ — it fills and waters ‘forever and ever.’

In siddurim following the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l, the Barekhu call to prayer is immediately preceded by a passage from the Zohar, Parshat Terumah, explaining the profound significance of the Maariv service. The translations here were adapted from Rabbi Marcia Prager’s Pnai Or siddur (Terumah §163-166), and from Michael Berg’s translation of the Zohar (Terumah §169-170).

In the terminology of the Zohar, the sphere called Malkhut (Majesty/Kingship) refers to our world, indeed, our reality. In a midrash aggadah, the Primordial Adam was shown all the souls that would descend through them and after perceiving one particularly radiant soul that otherwise might not have lived, asked for seventy years of his life to be gifted to the soul so that it might be embodied in our world. As with King David, so to the nature of Malkhut whose existence is entirely dependent on a gift of lovingkindness from the Most High, the king of kings, the Blessed Holy One. These passages from the Zohar Terumah explicates the relationship by which Malkhut, gendered female, is prepared as the immanent divine presence — the Shabbat Queen and Shekhina — for unification with the transcendent Blessed Holy One. In the realm of kabbalistic symbolic associations, the Shekhina here is synonymous in many ways with the Jewish people. United in the castle in time, as A.J. Heschel refers to it, the people prepare for and enact this wedding with Blessed Holy One in a choreography realized through prayer and joy. The yiḥud (unification) of Shekhina (immanent perception of the divinity suffusing all of reality) with the Blessed Holy One (the transcendent divine approached through imaginative and intellectual feats) is an everpresent goal in kabbalistic Judaism. — Aharon Varady

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