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The Zohar teaches about the influence of one's name

Comforting Unifications

Comforting Unifications

The Zohar teaches about the influence of one's name

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Rabbi Elazar opened his discourse with the words: "Come behold the work of G‑d who has made desolate places on the earth." (Psalms 46:9)

This verse has already been interpreted in a number of ways, but now let us ask why it starts with the Aramaic expression "chazu" [for the word "behold", instead of the Hebrew word "ri'oo"].

The word "chazu" hints at [the level of prophecy as Isaiah states]: "A grievous prophetic vision has been imparted to me." (Isaiah 21:2) So it is that the works of G‑d reveal supernal prophecy to humankind. The very names which people or things are given have a causal effect on their destiny…

The verse goes on to state "…who has made desolate places [in Hebrew, 'shmoot'] in the earth". Don't interpret the word "shamoot" to mean "desolate places". Instead read the word as "shaymot" [meaning "names"], for [one's] name causes everything!

Now the verse can be interpreted: "Through names which G‑d has placed in the world, you can envision the future that will happen to those people or things." The very names which people or things are given have a causal effect on their destiny. Thus parents, naming a child, are given a type of prophecy, enabling the name chosen to have significance in relation to the child's future. A tzadik can have special insights into a person or thing by relating properly to their name. This is proven by the name given to Noah who was called "Noach", related to the Hebrew root "to comfort".

Thus the verse: "And he called his name Noah, saying, ['This baby will grow up to give us comfort, making our work and our manual labor easier, despite the curse which the Lord has put on the ground']." (Gen: 5:29)

Indeed the Midrash states that Noah invented tools - something he would have certainly needed to build an ark!

Why does the verse state that: "He called his name Noah, saying, This…"

The word "This" seems inappropriate, because one would normally say that he was called "Noah, because he will comfort us etc." These two words which seem out of place - "…saying, This..." actually represent two levels in the spiritual worlds.

"Saying" [in Hebrew, "laymor"] is the feminine aspect [called malchut], and "this" ["zeh"] represents the [sefira of yesod that is also called] "Tzadik".

This comforting unity is what is hinted at by the use of these two words.

Here it is written that "This will comfort us" and elsewhere it is written "This is G‑d, whose revelation we have waited for, we will rejoice and be happy in His salvation of us." (Isaiah 25:9) Happy are those righteous ones whose names are registered with the seal of the King, to be registered in His Name, as He places them on the earth as befits them.

Zohar, Page 59b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

Copyright 2003 by All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
Shmuel-Simcha Treister is a lawyer from New Zealand who made aliya to Safed with his family in 1993 to study Zohar. He continues doing so to this day. He also works in the Ascent multi-media center.
The Zohar is a basic work of Kabbalah authored by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students (2nd century CE). English translation of annotated selections by Rabbi Moshe Miller (Morristown, N.J.: Fiftieth Gate Publications, 2000) includes a detailed introduction covering the history and basic concepts of Kabbalah. Volume 1 (36 pp.) covers the first half of the first of the original’s three volumes. It is available online from our store, KabbalaOnline Shop.
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