The Zohar/Rav Brandwein Writings
Kabbalah News/Essays Search Our Site Kabbalah Audio Files Contact Us Home
ZOHAR PARSHAS YISRO
1) "And Yisro, the priest of Midian, the father in law of Moshe, heard all that G-d did..." Rabbi Chezkiah opened and said: "And Aharon raised up his hands." It is written "yado", his one hand, since it is necessary to raise up the right hand above the left hand. And we have already explained the secret.
2) I have found in the book of King Solomon that whomever raises up their hands upwards, and not for prayers or requests, this is a man that is cursed by the ten rulers (angels). And these are the "ten rulers that were in the city." These are the ten that are appointed over those who raise their hands upwards, to receive that prayer or that blessing, and they place in it the power to honor the holy name, and it becomes blessed below. Since it becomes blessed below, from that raising of the hands upwards, then it becomes blessed above, and becomes honored from all the sides.
3) And these ten appointed (angels) are prepared to receive the blessings of above and pour them out below, and to bless that person that is blessing him. For it is written, "And I will bless them."
4) Therefore, a man should guard himself at the time he raises his hands upwards, that they be in prayer or blessing or request, and not to raise his hands for nothing, since these ten appointed (angels) are readied and awakened to that spreading of hands, and if it is for nothing, these ten curse him with two hundred and forty eight curses. And this is what is written, "And he loved cursing and it came to him."
5) And then the spirit of impurity dwells on these hands, for it is its way to dwell on an empty place. And the blessing does not dwell in a empty place. And therefore it is written, "And I rise up my hand to Hashem, the supernal G-d," which we translate (in Aramaic) (I raise up my hand) in prayer.
6) And in that spreading of the hands there are supernal secrets. At the time that they are spread out and raised upwards, man honors the Holy One Blessed Be He with many supernal secrets. And he is worthy to unify the secret of the "ten sayings" in order to unify everything and to bless appropriately the Holy Name. And he is worthy to unify the secret of the Inner Chariots and the Outer Chariots, so that the Holy Name should be blessed from all the sides and all will be unified like one, above and below.
7) He opened and said: "And do not appear before me (fanai) empty." This is the secret of the uplifting of the fingers. That when a man raises them upwards, he needs to not raise them empty, but with prayer and requests and blessings. And on this, "And do not appear before me (fanai) empty." It is not written, "And do not appear '(lifanai)' 'before me'", but "(fanai)" "my face" (my inner level), which is the secret of the raising of the fingers, that it is unnecessary to raise them up for nothing, as we have said.
8) The ten appointed (angels) that we have mentioned are the "ten sayings" below, in the secret of imprinted letters, just like above. And these stand first over that raising of the fingers. And through this, all the side of Holiness is unified above. Then all of the Other Side are all subjugated and praise (admit) to the Holy King.
9) Come and see. In the secret of the Holiness there is a king and a Cohen (priest) who serves under him, both above and below. There is a king above which is the secret of the Holy of Holies and he is the supernal king. And under him is a Cohen, the secret of the first light who serves before him. And this is the Cohen who is called Gadol (great, or High Priest), the right side.
10) There is a king below who is like that upper king, and he is the king over everything that is below. And under him is a Cohen that serves him, which is the secret of Michoel (the angel) the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) who is to the right. And this is the secret of the complete faith, the side of Holiness.
11) On the Other Side (Sitra Achra), which is not the side of Holiness, there is a secret which is a king. And so we have established that he is called the old and foolish king. And under him there is the priest of "On" (power, or evil). And this is the secret that is written, "And Ephraim said, 'Yet I have become rich, I have found "On" (power) for myself,'" since this power rules on that action which Yeravam did. And if this power was not found, he would not have been able to succeed in that action.
12) The secret of the matter: at the time that this king and this Cohen are subjugated and broken, then all the Other Sides are subjugated and praise (admit) to the Holy One Blessed Be He. The Holy One Blessed Be He rules alone above and below, as is written, "And Hashem (G-d) will alone be exalted on that day.
13) Like this and this secret literally, the Holy One Blessed Be He has done on Earth, for he broke the old and foolish king, and this is Paroh (Pharaoh). At the time when Moshe came to Paroh and said, "The G-d of the Hebrews calls upon us," (Paroh) opened and said," I do not know Havaya (G-d). And the Holy One Blessed Be He wanted that His Name be glorified on the land just as it is glorified above. Since (G-d) struck him (Paroh) and his nation, he (Paroh) came and admitted (praised) to the Holy One Blessed Be He.
14) And afterward, that Cohen of "On" was subjugated and broken, i.e. Yisro, who served under him (Paroh), until he (Yisro) came and admitted to the Holy One Blessed Be He, and said, "Blessed be Havaya who saved you..., now I know that Havaya is great..." And this is Cohen of "On", the Other Side, which is the left side. And this is the secret which Rochel said when she saw that she was dying, as it is written. "The son of my 'On' (power)." And because of this Yaakov hurried and said, "The son of the right ("Ben Yamin") and not the son of my "On" (power) ("Ben Oni"), the right side, and not the left.
15) Since that king and Cohen admit to the Holy One Blessed Be He and are broken before Him, then the Holy One Blessed Be He ascends in His glory over everything above and below. And before the Holy One Blessed Be He ascended in His glory when these admitted before Him, the Torah had not been given. Until after Yisro came and admitted and said, "Now I know that Havaya is greater than any other gods, bless Havaya who saved you," Then the Holy One Blessed Be He ascended in His glory above and below and afterwards gave the Torah in the completeness of His rulership over all.
16) Rabbi Elazar opened and said: "Let th nations praise (admit) you Elokim (G-d), let the all the nations praise you." Come and see, King David got up and praised and acknowledged (admit) to the Holy King. And he engaged in Torah (study) at that time when the North Wind awakened and would strike the strings of the Kinor (lyre) and the Kinor would play and he would say a song.
17) Come and see, at the time that the Holy One Blessed Be He awakens to all those Chariots to give them food, as we have established that it is written, "And she gets up while it is still night and she gives food to her house and a portion to her maidens." Then all of them open and say with joy, "Elokim (G-d) find favor with us and bless us, let his face shine upon us forever." When the North Wind awaken and descends to the world, it blows and says, "To know your ways upon the earth, among all th nations your salvations." The Kinor, at the time that it is playing by that wind, it opens and says, "Let all the nations praise (admit) you." David, when he got up and the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) awakened upon him, he opened and said, "The land has given her bounty, and Elokim, our Elokim, should bless us. Elokim should bless us and let all the ends of the earth fear him," in order to draw down the good of the Holy One Blessed Be He from above to below. Afterwards David came with Ruach Hakodesh and placed them (these praises) together in order. Look (deeply) in all of this verse of the Kinor for it is the complete glory of the Holy One Blessed Be He above and below.
18) At the time that the other nations are subjugated and come and praise (admit) to the Holy One Blessed Be He, since they are subjugated and acknowledge Him, the honor of the Holy One Blessed Be He is completed above and below. At the time that Moshe came to Paroh and said to him, "Havaya (G-d) the G-d of the Hebrews calls upon us...," he (Paroh) opened and said, "I do not know Havaya (G-d)."
19) And the Holy One Blessed Be He wanted His name to be glorified on the earth as it is glorified above. Since He struck him (Paroh) and his nation, he (Paroh) came and admitted to the Holy One Blessed Be He, as it is written, "Havaya is the righteous one." He who was the most important king in the entire world, since he came and admitted, all the other kings admitted (praised G-d), as it is written, "Then the princes of Edom were afraid."
20) Yisro, the great supernal priest, the appointed minister of all the other gods, came and admitted (praised) to the Holy One Blessed Be He, and said,"Now I know that Havaya (G-d) is greater than all gods." Then the Holy One Blessed Be He was exalted and glorified in His glory above and below, and afterwards gave the Torah in His complete rulership over all."
21) Rabbi Shimon said to Rabbi Elazar his son: On this it is written, "Let all the nations praise (admit) to you Elokim, let all the nations praise you." Rabbi Elazar came and kissed the hands of his father. Rabbi Abba cried and said: Like a father has compassion for his children. Who will have compassion on Rabbi Elazar and complete his words, except for the love of my master (Rabbi Shimon). Praised be our portion that we have merited to hear these words before him, that we should not be ashamed by them in the World to Come."
22) Rabbi Abba said: By Yisro it does not write Cohen of "On", it writes Cohen of Midian! He said to him: it is all one. Initially he was called Cohen of "On" the father-in-law of Yosef (Joseph), and afterwards he was called the father-in-law of Moshe the Cohen of Midian. And it is all one secret, for these two, Moshe and Yosef are (both) found at the level of one secret, in the secret of the (Hebrew) letter "vav", two vavs (together) like one. And what is said, "Cohen of Midian", it is the secret of the wife of the Midianites.
23) Rabbi Abba raised up his hands on his head and cried. He said: the light of the Torah now ascends to the heights of the heaven of the Supernal Throne. After my master (Rabbi Shimon) departs from the world, who will shine the light of the Torah? Woe to the world that will remain an orphan from you. But the words of my master (Rabbi Shimon) will shine in the world until the King Moshiach comes, and then, it is written, "And the land will be filled with the knowledge of Havaya (G-d)..."
24) "And Yisro the priest heard..." Rabbi Chiya said: this verse one should look (deeply) into it. Initially it is written, "All that Elokim (G-d) did to Moshe," and afterwards it is written, "for Havaya (G-d) took (them) out." But this secret, "that Elokim did" this is the Name that protected over Moshe and over Israel and did not turn away from them in Galus (exile). And afterwards the Supernal Name took them out of Egypt, for the Holy Name that took them out was in the secret of Yovel (Jubilee).
25) Another explanation: "All that Elokim did to Moshe," was when he was thrown into the river, and when he was saved from the sword of Paroh. "And to Israel his nation," for it is written, "And Elokim heard their crying," and it is written, "And when they afflicted them, so they multiplied and grew."
26) Rabbi Yosie opened: "He sent redemption to His nation, He has commanded His Bris (covenant) forever, holy and revered is His Name." Why the difference that in all the (prior) verses they all contain two words (which start with alphabetically progressing letters) from the (Hebrew) alphabet, and in this verse and the verse after it there are three (words in each which begin with three (alphabetically progressing letters)? But (this was done) to complete the six sides in this (Hebrew) alphabet. This (verse) corresponds to the three Geulas (deliverances), excluding the first deliverance (from Egypt). The other (following) verse corresponds to Torah, Neviim (Prophets), and Kesuvim (Writings). And everything depends on this Wisdom.
27) "He sent redemption to His nation." When the Holy One Blessed Be He took out Israel from Egypt and performed fro them miracles and (acts) of strength. "He commanded His Bris (covenant) forever," when Yisro came and the Holy One Blessed Be He received him and brought him close to His service. And from there all the Gayrim (converts) come close under the wings of the Shechina (Divine Presence). From there and onwards "His Name is holy and awesome," for the Holy Name is sanctified when the Sitra Achra (Other Side) is broken and subjugated, as was in Yisro.
28) "And Yisro heard..." Did Yisro hear and the rest of the world did not hear? Behold it is written, "The nations heard and trembled!" But (really) the whole world heard (but) was not broken. And he (Yisro) heard and was broken and subjugated before the Holy One Blessed Be He, and he came close to the fear of Him.
29) Rabbi Abba said: In many places we have learned that the Holy One Blessed Be He, all that he does above and below, all is in Truth and His actions are Truth. And there is nothing in the world that man needs to push away and to treat with disgrace, for all are actions of Truth, and everything is needed in the world.
30) For one time, Rabbi Elazar was walking on the road and Rabbi Chezkiah was walking with him. Rabbi Elazar said to him, "See, a snake." Rabbi Chezkiah went to kill it. Rabbi Elazar said to him, " Leave it, do no kill it." He (Rabbi Chezkiah) said to him, "Behold it is an evil thing, for it kills people." He said to Rabbi Chezkiah, "Behold it is written, 'If the snake bites without being charmed.' The snake does not bite a person until they charm (whisper to) it from (heaven) above and say to it, 'Go and kill so-and-so.'"
31) And at times, just as it does this, it also saves man from other things. And through it the Holy One Blessed Be He makes miracles for people. And all depends on the hands of the Holy One Blessed Be He, and all is the works of his hands, and the world needs them. And if the world did not need them, the Holy One Blessed Be He would not make them. And therefore, man should not treat things of the world disgracefully, and how much more so the words and action of the Holy One Blessed Be He (which relate to Him).
32) He opened and said: "And Elokim saw all that He made and behold it was very good." "And Elokim saw," this is the Living Elokim. "And He saw," that He looked to shine to them and to watch over them. "All that He made," all included in one, above and below. "And behold it was good," this is the Right Side. "Very," this is the Left Side. And we have already established, "Good," this is the Angel of Life, "Very," this is the Angel of Death. And i is all one secret. It is a secret for those who look in the secret of the Wisdom.
33) "And Elokim saw all that He had made." In all of the act of Creation it is written, "And Elokim saw that it was good." And here, "And Elokim saw all that He had made?" Elokim below rules on the lower ones, Elokim above rules on the upper ones. This is the secret of Elokim Chaim (Living Elokim), which shines and lights all of these upper and lower lamps, and from there all these lights go forth to shine.
34) In the hiddenmost of all the hidden is impressed (marked) with one impression that cannot be seen and is not revealed. That impression is an impression and is not an impression. The masters of understanding and the ones with open eyes cannot apprehend it. It is the sustaining (force) of everything. It is small (to the point) that it cannot be seen and it is not revealed. It stands there with the will to sustain everything, to receive what it receives from (the one) which has no impression and no will and cannot be seen.
35) That impression wanted to cover itself and made for itself one palace (chamber) to cover itself in it. That palace brought it out from itself and drew it out in a large and great expansion, and glorified it in a glorious garment and opened in it fifty gates.
36) In the innermost (part) of that palace, that impression was covered and hidden. Since it was hidden in it and entered it, they were filled with light. From that light flows lights and sparks, and they go forth from these gates which are in the palace and illuminate everything.
37) That palace is covered with six curtains. These six curtains are five. In the innermost of these curtains stands one embroidered curtain. In this curtain the palace is covered, and from it he views and sees everything.
38) This palace is the "open eyes which do not sleep," which constantly watch to illuminate below from the midst of the light of that impression. That understanding, the hidden wisdom, and the will of wills is hidden and covered and is not revealed. It is found and not found. Bless him from the hidden of all hidden ones, bless him forever and ever, Amen.
39) Come and see, Yisro is the one who gave advice to Moshe about the establishment (repair) of judges. And this is how it needs to be, and this is the secret of that he (Yisro) admitted (praised) to the Holy One Blessed Be He, and set in order before Him the repair of his judgments. To show what is written, "For judgment (belongs) to Elokim," and not the Sitra Achra (Other Side). And the judgments are given to Israel and not to another, for it is written, "His statutes and laws are to Israel." And come and see, a man should not treat another person disgracefully, and a word of a common person is a word. For by Moshe it is written, "And Moshe listened to the voice of his father-in-law."
40) "And Yisro heard." He opened and said: "Therefore I will praise (admit) to you Havaya amongst the Nations, and to your Name I will sing." King David said this with Ruach Hakodesh (Divine Inspiration) at the time when he saw that the glory of the Holy One Blessed Be He was not ascending in exaltation and was not glorified in the world, only because of the other nations. And if you say, behold the Holy One Blessed Be He is only glorified in the world because of Israel, this is absolutely so. For Israel is the foundation of the lamp to illuminate. But when the other nations come and admit to Him, in subjugation, to the glory of the Holy One Blessed Be He, then the foundation of the lamp is increased and is strengthened over all his actions (creations) in one bond, and the Holy One Blessed be He rules alone above and below.
41) Like this, fear and dread before the Holy One Blessed Be He befell upon the whole world. And since Yisro came, who is the supernal priest of all the other gods, then the glory of the Holy One Blessed Be He strengthened and ruled over all.
42) Since all of the world when they heard the hearing of the strength of the Holy One Blessed Be He, they trembled, and they all looked at Yisro, who was wise and the great appointee over the gods of the world. Since they saw that he came and worshiped the Holy One Blessed Be He, and said, "Now I know that Havaya is greater than all gods," they all distanced themselves from their worship and realized that there is nothing to them at all. Then the glory of the Holy Name of the Holy One Blessed Be He became glorified in all the sides. And therefore this portion (Parsha) is inscribed in the Torah and the beginning of the portion is with Yisro.
43) Yisro was one of the wisemen of Paroh. Paroh had three wisemen, one was Yisro, and one was Iyov (Job), and one was Bilam. One was Yisro, for there was no worship or appointed (angel) or sun or star that ruled over its rulership that he did not know the appropriate worship and service. Bilam was a sorcerer in all types of sorcery, both in action and in speech.
44) Iyov was afraid (of G-d) in fear, and in that fear was his main (power), since a word from above, whether of Holiness or of the Other Side (Sitra Achra), man cannot draw down the spirit from above to below and to bring it near to him except with fear. That he focus his heart and will in fear and a broken heart, and then he can draw down the spirit of above and the will that he needs.
45) And if he does not focus his heart and will, in fear, to that side, his will is not able to attach to it, except for those ethereal forms (demons), and not all of them, because they have within them rulers who need the will of the heart and fear towards them. Certainly these supernal things which require excessive fear, awe, and will.
46) Yisro constantly needed to worship to that side, both at the time someone needed him, and at the time noone needed him, in order that that side be attached to him for when the time (came that) he would need it. Bilam attached to those sorceries as we have said.
47) Iyov with his great fear, in Egypt, returned to fear the Holy One Blessed Be He when he saw the might and the miracles that the Holy One Blessed Be SHe did in Egypt. Yisro in spite of this did not return to the Holy One Blessed Be He until Israel went out from Egypt, for all the (magical) bonds and forms that Egypt bound them with, were nothing, and they went out. And after they (the Egyptians) were drowned in the sea, then he (Yisro) repented and returned to the service of the Holy One Blessed Be He.
48) Bilam did not repent and return, for the filth of the Other Side (Sitra Achara) was attached to him. Nevertheless, a view from afar he saw in the midst of that filth and attachment to the Sitra Achara. For in the Sitra Achra (Other Side) there is a very fine shine that illuminates from around (outside), as it is written, "And a glow it has around it." And this small view he had from afar, and not with everything.
49) And when he would see a small thing from that shine, it was like he was behind a wall. He said, but did not know what he said. And he would see in that shine with closed eyes, for the eye rolls and a man sees a hidden light and does not see. And this is the secret of "Shisum Haayin" (whose eyes are open), and we have explained "Sisum" (closed eyes), and it is all one.
50) There is no Sitra Achra (Other Side) that does not have a fine and small shine from the side of Holiness. Like most dreams, that in much straw, there is one kernel of wheat, except for those small forms (demons) which are all excessively impure, and through them Bilam did know.
51) Praised be the lot of Moshe for he is above in all the supernal Holinesses, and he looked at what no other man has been given permission to look at. And as like Bilam who saw a small and fine shine as if from behind a wall, from that Sitra Achra (Other Side), even Moshe, from the great and large supernal shine, he would see below as if behind a wall, one fine darkness, that appeared to him, and not at all times, just as Bilam did not see that shine (of the Sitra Achra) at all times.
52) Praised be th lot of Moshe the Faithful Prophet. What is written about him? "And he saw the Angel of Havaya in the flame of the fire from within the (thorn) bush." The thorn bush was definitely in that Holiness, and attached to it. For everything attaches one to another, the pure and the impure, and pure only comes within the impure.
53) And this is the secret of "Who gives pure from impure?" The shell (Kelipah) and the brain (Mo'ach) (meat of the nut) go up one in another, and this shell (Kelipah) will not be missing and will not be broken until the time when the dead will rise up from the dust. Then the shell (Kelipah) will be broken and the light will shine in the world from the brain (Mo'ach), without concealment. Praise be the Tzadikim (Righteous) in this world and in the world to come.
54) "And her two sons." Rabbi Chiya said: were they her sons and not the sons of Moshe? But since she since she took care of them without her husband, the Torah called them "her sons" and not his sons. Rabbi Yosi said: even though they were the sons of Moshe, a word of truth- they were certainly her sons. Rabbi Elazar said: Moshe would unite in another supernal holy place, and it is not in his honor to call them his sons. Now, even though they are his sons, because of the honor of that place that he unites with, it calls them her sons here. Afterwards, it calls them his sons. What is the reason? Because at that time that they came (to Moshe) Moshe was speaking with the Shechinah (Divine Presence). Afterwards, after he separated and went out to greet his father-in-law, then it is written, "And Yisro came, the father-in-law of Moshe, and his sons..."
55) Rabbi Shimon said: Elazar, Elazar, I see in this Parsha (portion), that the beginning of the issue is correct, but the ending is not as you have said. Certainly because of the honor of the Shechina (Divine Presence), which is the upper bonding that attached to Moshe, it is written "her sons." And if you ask, behold it is written, "And Yisro came, the father-in-law of Moshe, and his sons, and his wife to Moshe," it is all one rule. And what it says "his sons," they are the sons of Yisro,, for after Moshe came to him, he (Yisro) had sons.
56) And so was with Yaakov (Jacob). Since he came by Lavan and made his dwelling with him, he (Lavan) had sons. Also here, Moshe, since he made his dwelling with Yisro, he (Yisro) had sons. And all of his household he (Yisro) brought with him to enter them under the wings of the Shechina. And Yisro said to Moshe, "I, your father-in-law Yisro come to you, and your wife and her two sons with her. And it is not written "and your two sons." That there were sons to Yisro, for it is written, "And the sons of Kayni, the father-in-law of Moshe, went up from the city of the dates. And his sons he left with Moshe.
57) "And Yisro the father-in-law of Moshe came." He opened and said: "And many people will go and say, 'Let us go and ascend the mountain of Havaya (G-d)...'" This verse we have established in many places. But the other nations will, in the future, go and tread their feet to come under the wings of the Shechina (Divine Presence). "Let us go and ascend." All the gods of the world have a descent (a fall), and the Holy One Blessed Be He, whomever attaches to Him will have an ascent.
58) "To the mountain of Havaya (G-d)." This is Avraham (Abraham), for it is written, "As it is said to this day, on the mountain Havaya will appear." For Avraham is called a mountain. "Just as a mountain is free to whomever in the world wants it, also this holy place (the Temple) will receive whomever in the world wants it." "To the house," this is Yaakov (Jacob), who called this place Bayis (house), for it is written, "This can only be the house of Elokim (G-d).
59) Another explanation: Mountain and house, even though that it is all one level, one goes on top of the other, the mountain is for the other nations, when they come to enter under the wings of the Shechina (Divine Presence). The house is for Israel, to be with them like a wife with her husband, happily in one abode, and crouches over them like a mother over her sons.
60) Come and see, what is written here by Yisro. "And Yisro came... to Moshe to the desert." Since it is written "to Moshe," why is it written "to the desert?" But the main thing is that Yisro came to the desert. And what is it? It is the mountain of Elokim (G-d), for this is the place for the converts to convert. And therefore it is written, "to Moshe to the desert." "To Moshe," (means) to convert them and to bring them under the wings of the Shechinah (Divine Presence). "To the desert," they were coming, which is the mountain of Elokim (G-d), to make their souls.
61) And because of this that place stands in the secret of a mountain, for whomever comes will merit in it, and is called a Ger Tzedek (righteous convert). And behold we have established, he is called a Ger (convert/stranger) even though he is attached to this supernal holy place, because since he left his nation and fathers. He is called a Ger Tzedek (righteous convert) like one who made his dwelling in a place he had not previously known.