The Zohar/Rav Brandwein Writings
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Introduction to the Zohar, Lesson 6, Parshas Tetzaveh, 5765, Feb. ‘05
By our Honorable and Holy Master, Teacher and Rebbi, Rabbi Avraham Brandwein, Of Yerushalayim, Israel, may he live long and happily, Amen.
Section 4: “In order to understand all of these questions and inquiries, one strategy is to look at the end of the creation, which means to look at the purpose and goal of creation. It is impossible to understand anything while it is in the middle of being made, but rather from its end.”
This means that if we see a carpenter saw and split wood, or a tailor cut fabric, and we do not know what is the goal, we would think that the carpenter is ruining the wood or the tailor is destroying the fabric. However, when the work is completed, we can understand that the splitting of the wood or the cutting of the fabric, not only is it not a harmful thing, but on the contrary, this work is an obligatory step in order to acquire a complete form. Without it, it would not be a magnificent cabinet or perfect garment.
This is as we find by the Halachos (laws) of Shabbos, that work is forbidden on Shabbos, as the verse says, “Do not do work.” However, someone who ruins something is not punished, since only work that brings a Tikkun (repair or improvement) is forbidden. But if someone ruins something in order to improve it, this is like improving it in the first place, since the ruining is part of the repair, for without the ruining, the work would not be completed.
Indeed, only from the end of the action or work can we understand that even those stages in the middle of the work, which appeared to us as ruined, were necessary for the sake of completing the work. Furthermore, we can know the final goal, which is entirely positive.
Therefore, the questions of why there are corrupt creations, and why there is a need for the chariot of the Sitra Achora and Impurity, all of these are questions come from looking at the middle of the work (a work in progress), i.e. before we see the final goal.
However, if we contemplate the end of the action, we can understand that everything has a role, and nothing was created unnecessarily.
This is as it is written in the Song of Unity, “You did not leave anything out, you did not add anything extra, and you did not create in them anything wasteful.” Also it is written in Pirkei Avos, Chapter 4, “Every person has his time and everything has its place.”
“This is clear, that you do not have someone acting or working without a purpose, for only someone who is insane, will you find them acting or working without a purpose.”
This means that someone who does not have a goal in life, they will act without a purpose. This means that even someone who is insane will act, but his action will not have a purpose to achieve a positive outcome in that others may derive benefit from it, but his action is only for the fulfillment of his own needs. For example, for employment or occupational therapy, without a thought that this action should also provide a positive result for humanity.
Also, a purpose has a goal in the end of the action, like the carpenter who builds a cabinet or the tailor who sews a jacket, when he finishes his work. This is the purpose of his work, and the goal is that a person can wear that garment or have a cabinet to make use of for books or items. The purpose of the action is to actualize the goal, which is to benefit another person.
“I know that there are those who pretend to be wise, who through off the yoke and responsibility of Torah and Mitzvos, who say that the Creator, may He be blessed, created all of existence and left it to itself, because of the worthlessness of those creations, it was not fitting for the Creator, may He be blessed, due to his great loftiness, to oversee their lowly and repulsive ways.”
Those who throw off the yoke do not, G-d forbid, deny the existence of the Creator, may He be blessed, but they say that because of His great loftiness and greatness, it is not respectable for Him to oversee the “dwellers of material homes” (Iyov 4). His overseeing is only found in the heights, over the angels and hosts of heaven, not over the activities of humans, who relative to Him are like ants. Therefore, there is no overseeing, there is no judgment and there is no judge.
This is what is written in Yechezkel Chapter 9, “And he said to me, ‘The sin of the House of Israel and Yehuda is very very great, and the earth is filled with blood, and the city is filled with crookedness and corruption of the law, for they say that Hashem has left the land and that Hashem does not see.’”
“However, they do not say this from knowledge, for it is impossible to draw conclusions about our lowliness and worthlessness without first drawing the conclusion that we have made ourselves and all of the corrupt and repulsive natures that are within us.”
If we say that the evil and repulsive natures and characteristics that are within us are our fault, and we have placed them upon ourselves, then certainly we are lowly and worthless.
“However, the moment we decide that the Creator, who is perfect in all of perfection, He is the Master of the work, who created and setup our bodies, with all of its positive and negative tendencies…”
As it says in Yeshaya (45), “He formed light and created darkness, made peace and created evil, for I am Hashem who made all of these.” Everything was created for His glory, as it says, “All that is called in my Name and for My glory I created it (Yeshaya 43).” “Everything Hashem did was for Him (Mishley 16).”
From here it is clear that all of creation, with all of its characteristics and natures, are all the work of the Creator, may He be blessed, who is perfect in all of perfection, then “…behold, from the hand of the perfect Maker can never be produced a disgraceful, corrupt work. Every work testifies to the quality of its maker.”
This means that when we contemplate a remarkable, artistic creation, we understand the great wisdom of the craftsman or artist. This is as Chazal say, “There is no creator like our Lord; there is no artist like out Lord,” since the work testifies to the quality of the maker.
“Is it the fault of the damaged garment, if some unsuccessful tailor sewed it?”
If the garment is damaged, the guilt is not upon the work, but upon the maker.
“See an example like this (Tractate Taanis 20) the story where Rabbi Elazar the son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai came… He happened to meet a man who was very ugly… He said to him, “That man is very ugly…” That man replied to him, “Go and tell the craftsman who made me, how ugly this vessel is that you made…” Look well there in the Talmud.
This means that like the analogy of a garment, where the success is dependent on the tailor, also the outer form of a person is established by the hands of the Creator, may He be blessed. A person has no choice whether they would be born tall or short, handsome or ugly. The same applies to the inner form, i.e. his natural and spiritual characteristics, which were implanted within him by the Creator, may He be blessed.
“Behold, these people, who pretend to be wise, say that due to our lowliness and worthlessness, it is not fitting for Him, may He be blessed, to oversee us, and He left us, they are only proclaiming their lack of knowledge. Imagine for yourself if you met a person, who from the outset created creatures in order for them to agonize and suffer, all the days of their lives, like us!” Not only did this person create them, but afterwards they did not even care about their welfare. “Furthermore, this person turned his back to them, without even the desire of overseeing them, to even slightly help them,” just as these people claim that Hashem left the land, “you would greatly disparage and denigrate such a person. Is it possible to consider such a thing upon Hashem, who must necessarily exist, may He be blessed and exalted?”
Let us summarize Section 4:
The question regards those who admit that Hakadosh Baruch Hu created all of existence, and they do not deny this, yet they claim that we, humans, who live in material homes, are lowly and worthless, and therefore He does not oversee us, as it is written in Yechezkel Chapter 8, “For they say that Hashem does not see us, Hashem has left the land.”
This viewpoint is illogical and contradicted by itself, since every action testifies to its maker, and it is not possible that the perfect Creator would create us corrupt and repulsive. Rather, we must say that we have made the repugnant natures within ourselves. But, this is heresy, since no action was done except from the Creator, for “Hashem our Lord, Hashem is One.” According to what we have mentioned above, there is a purpose to creation and certainly He would not create creations and then ignore them.
Now we will continue with Section 5:
“Therefore, a healthy intellect obligates us to understand the opposite of what appears superficially, and to conclude that we are truly the best and highest creations, to the point that there is no limit to our importance. This is exactly in the manner appropriate and fitting for the Master craftsman who made us. The smallest lack and flaw that you wish to consider about our bodies, after all kinds of answers which you can offer, only fall on the Creator, may He be blessed, who created us and all of the natures within us, for it is clear that “He made us and we did not make ourselves.” He also knew all of the resulting factors which would be produced from all of these evil natures and tendencies, which He implanted within us.”
This means that the first premise is that everything was made by the Creator, may He be blessed, as it is written in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law Section 5), “The name Havaya is that He was, is, and will be, and He is the Master of ability, power and all forces.”
If so, nothing was made except from His power, and even if we say that we corrupted the natures within us, behold even this the Creator took into account, that it was possible, Heaven forefend, to ruin things. “Therefore, after all of the answers which you could give, (our question) falls just on the Creator, may He be blessed,” who took all of the outcomes into account, since, as it says in the prayer of Musaf Rosh Hashanah, “Hakadosh Baruch Hu looks and sees until the end of generations and nothing is hidden from You.”
If so, it comes out according to this that we must conclude the opposite, that truly all of the natures within us, and we ourselves, are found at the highest heights, like the Maker who made us, the Creator who created us.
“However…” the fact that, nevertheless, we see flaws, corrupt and repugnant natures, “this is the matter that we spoke of, that we must look at the end of the action, and then we can understand everything. There is a metaphorical saying in the world, ‘Do not show a fool something in the middle of its being made, (a work in progress).’”
This is the difference between a wise person and a fool. Chazal define a wise person as, “Who is wise; someone who sees what will be produced. This means that they understand the future outcome, which will be produced from the present reality. The fool sees only the “now” reality; they do not see the future.
Therefore, Chazal also say, “A person does not sin unless a spirit of foolishness enters them,” for the pleasure of the present, without taking into account the damage which will be caused in the future, is what causes the sin.
This is like smokers, who even though it is clear that smoking is harmful and in the future the smoker will come to harm, but the present pleasure overpowers them regarding what will be in the future.It is impossible to know anything from its present reality, since the reality of “now” can be the opposite of the intended purpose, like an apple that grows on the tree, which is still unripe and bitter, but in the end, when it is completely ripe, it will be changed into sweet. Therefore, it is always necessary to judge according to the end of the action.