Advanced Studies

Matot Adv

11. The world is maintained by two colors only Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yitzchak talk about the wise-hearted women that spin and work with their hands, and from this they derive that those women combine Judgment and Mercy. We hear that Rabbi Elazar said that every woman is considered Judgment until she marries a man of Yisrael, who is compassion, and thus Judgment and Mercy are joined together. The rabbis explain why it is forbidden for men to have intercourse with women from the other nations. We hear that God called the souls of Yisrael Chesed so that the world would never be without love. From this it is clear that anyone who destroys Chesed will not exist in the World to Come. Matot ends with a reference to levirate marriage, where the childless man’s brother restores Chesed to the world.

1. “But all the women children that have not known man by lying with him” (Bemidbar 31:18). In relation to this, we learned that Rabbi Yehuda said the world is maintained by two colors only, WHITE AND RED – NAMELY CHASSADIM AND CHOCHMAH OF THE LEFT that come from the aspect of the wise-hearted woman. Hence, it says, “and all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple” (Shemot 35:25). What did they bring? THE SCRIPTURE SAYS blue and purple, which are colors contained within colors; THAT IS, THERE ARE TWO MAIN COLORS – WHITE AND RED – AND BLUE AND PURPLE COLORS ARE INCLUDED WITHIN THESE TWO COLORS.

2. This is the meaning of: “she seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands” (Mishlei 1:13), SINCE WOOL PERTAINS TO THE RIGHT AND MERCY, AND FLAX TO THE LEFT AND JUDGMENT. It is also written: “did spin with their hands.” What is “spin”? Rabbi Yehuda says: They spin with Judgment and they spin with Mercy; THAT IS, THEY INTERLACE RIGHT AND LEFT WITH EACH OTHER, AND THE JUDGMENTS OF THE LEFT ARE SWEETENED BY THE MERCY OF THE RIGHT. Rabbi Yitzchak said: Why is a woman (Heb. ishah) so called, WHICH IS DERIVED FROM FIRE (HEB. ESH)? He said to him: She contains Judgment and Mercy. SHE IS THEREFORE CALLED ‘ISHAH’, THE LETTERS OF ESH-HEI, ESH BEING JUDGMENT AND HEI MERCY.

3. Come and behold. Rabbi Elazar said: Every woman is considered to be of Judgment, SINCE THEY ARE ROOTED IN THE LEFT COLUMN. IT IS SO until she tastes the taste of Mercy – THAT IS, MARRIES A MAN – AS A MALE IS ROOTED IN THE RIGHT COLUMN, WHICH IS CHESED AND MERCY. We learned that it is from the side of the man that white is produced, SUCH AS THE BONES OF THE FETUS, FOR HE IS OF MERCY. From the side of the woman comes the red OF THE FETUS, THE RED OF FLESH AND SINEW, WHICH ARE OF JUDGMENT. When a woman tastes of the white – THAT IS, WHEN SHE IS MARRIED TO A MAN – white is more predominant in her, THOUGH HER ROOT IS THE RED.

4. Come and behold: this is why women of the other nations, who know man by lying with him, are forbidden to be wed. We have learned that there is right – CHESED – and left – JUDGMENT – which are Yisrael and the other nations, AND ALSO the Garden of Eden, ON THE RIGHT, and Gehenom, ON THE LEFT. This world is ON THE LEFT and the World to Come is ON THE RIGHT. The children of Yisrael correspond to Mercy, ON THE RIGHT, and the other nations to Judgment, ON THE LEFT. We have learned that when a woman has a taste of Mercy – THAT IS, WHEN SHE MARRIES ONE OF THE MEN OF YISRAEL – Mercy overpowers JUDGMENT AND SHE TURNS INTO MERCY. When a woman has a taste of Judgment-THAT IS, WHEN SHE MARRIES A FOREIGNER WHO PERTAINS TO JUDGMENT, AS MENTIONED – Judgment cleaves to Judgment. THE JUDGMENT IN THE WOMAN ADHERES TO THE JUDGMENT IN THE FOREIGNER. It is written of them: “the dogs are insolently greedy, they never have enough” (Yeshayah 1

5. In relation to this, we have learned that a woman who is married to a foreigner is attached to him like a dog. Just as a dog has a strong impudent spirit, she WHO IS MARRIED TO A FOREIGNER is also most impudent, WHEN Judgment CLEAVES to Judgment. We learned that she who is married to one of the children of Yisrael, it says OF HER: “but you that did cleave to Hashem your Elohim are alive every one of you this day” (Devarim 4:4). What is the reason thereof? The soul of Yisrael comes from the spirit of living Elohim, as written: “but the spirit…should faint (also: ‘envelop’) before Me” (Yeshayah 57:16). This is understood from the phrase, “before Me,” WHICH MEANS FROM BEFORE THE SHECHINAH, NAMELY FROM ZEIR ANPIN CALLED ‘LIVING ELOHIM’. Therefore, in a virgin woman, who does not cleave to the Harsh Judgment of the other nations, AS MENTIONED ABOVE, but cleaves to Yisrael, WHICH IS OF MERCY, Mercy is more powerful, and she is corrected FROM THE JUDGMENT IN HER.

6. Come and behold. It is written: “for I have said, ‘The world is built by Chesed'” (Tehilim 89:3). What is Chesed? HE ANSWERS: It is one of the King’s supernal Sfirot, NAMELY THE HIGHEST OF THE LOWER SEVEN SFIROT. For the Holy One, blessed be He, named the soul of Yisrael Chesed, on the condition that it would build CHESED. Thus, Chesed will never cease. This is derived from the phrase, “is built,” WHICH REFERS TO CHESED THAT WILL BE BUILT. We have therefore learned that he who causes Chesed to cease in the world will perish in the world to come. Hence, it is written: “the wife of the dead shall not marry abroad to a stranger” (Devarim 25:5), in order to do kindness (Chesed) with the dead man, so that he will be built and established, as it is written, “the world is built by Chesed” (Tehilim 89:3).