Printed from kabbalaonline.org
The Altar cries with the divorcee's soul, left to an alien world.

Tears Shed Over Divorce

Tears Shed Over Divorce

Advanced Advanced
 Email
Tears Shed Over Divorce
The Altar cries with the divorcee's soul, left to an alien world.

Chapter 10: Section 1

The Ruach that is reincarnating because he did not fulfill the mitzvah of procreation is called "Acher", literally meaning "Other". He will marry a woman who was divorced by her first husband because this first husband saw in her "some lewd thing". The two divorcees get together and the Altar sheds tears because Knesset Yisrael (the Community of Israel) is going into exile under the dominion of El Acher (the "Other [i.e. foreign] G‑d).

{159} Now, since we have arrived at this place there are hidden ways of the Master of the World to be revealed. People do not know about them, but they are all true ways, as it is written, "…The ways of G‑d are straight. The righteous journey upon them, but sinners stumble upon them." (Hosea 14:10)

People do not know, and they do not pay attention to how exalted are the deeds of the Blessed Holy One, and how strange they are. People do not know, but they are all true ways that do not diverge to the right or to the left.

When a man divorces his first wife, the Altar sheds tears over this….

In Chapter Eight we learned that the soul of a man who has not fulfilled the mitzvah of reproduction is banished and divorced from the Pargoda De-Malka (the Palace of the King) and falls from the world of Duchra (the Masculine) to the world of Nukva (the Feminine). From that adverse situation she (the soul) reincarnates. Nevertheless, she has the ability to repair herself, in which case she will receive the substantial reward of that world. She will eat of Priest's Due and enjoy the tremendous lights and illumination that are attendant upon those souls from the world of Nukva who fulfill the Will of their Creator.

{160} These that are reincarnating have been banished by divorce from that world, and they do not have a soul mate [in this world].

Who are the mates that they marry in this world - [who are] the women that they marry in this world? Every person has a soul mate except these.

In Section 8.4 {133}, we learned that these reincarnating souls did not have a true soul mate in the world together with them. During that gilgul they could marry a woman whom they acquire according to merits, deeds and prayers beseeching Mercy, which is also how they acquire wives in this world during their second gilgul. However, who are these women?

{161} Now, see how mighty and supreme are His powers. We learned that when a man divorces his first wife, the Altar sheds tears over this.

It is necessary to take note of the entire discussion of Talmud which states, "Anyone who divorces his first wife - even the Altar sheds tears." (Gittin 90a-b) Much of it, and not only this concluding statement of Rabbi Elazar, is pertinent to the teaching of the Sabba that follows.

Why is it the Altar [that sheds tears]?

All the women in the world are in the image of the Altar….

The Sabba now eschews the basic answer of the Talmud (explained in Appendix 18), because he wants to base his answer on the kabbalistic idea that the Daughters of Israel and the Altar are both in the image of Knesset Yisrael. Consequently, all three concepts - the Daughters of Israel, the Altar and Knesset Yisrael - are similar, as will be explained in his next statement.

However, I say that all the women in the world are in the image of the Altar. And that is why they inherit seven blessings derived from Knesset Yisrael.

Knesset Yisrael is the supernal root of both the Altar and each and every Jewish woman. In Section 4.1 {76} we learned that Knesset Yisrael is Malchut of Atzilut, the Shechina in her specific relationship to the Children of Israel. Zohar (III:6a) discusses the relationship of Knesset Yisrael to the seven blessings that are recited under the marriage canopy (see Section 9.1 and Appendix 19).

In brief, the Daughters of Israel inherited these seven blessings because Knesset Yisrael is blessed with them, and they are in her image. This inheritance, therefore, is a proof that the Daughters of Israel are in the image of Knesset Yisrael. Furthermore, the Sabba knows that the Altar is also in the image of Knesset Yisrael. This is a further proof, therefore, that the Daughters of Israel are in the same image as the Altar. In other words, all three concepts are more or less identical.

However, there is a difficulty with this thesis of the Sabba. If so, we should expect the Altar to cry when any woman is divorced. However, the teaching the Sabba is referring to, and which was taught in the name of Rabbi Elazar in Talmud Gittin, refers only to brides of youth who are divorced. Does the Altar cry when any woman is divorced, or does the Altar cry only when the first wife of youth is divorced? The Sabba will answer this question in the next paragraph {162} after the general introduction that follows next.

If he divorces her, then the stones of the Altar are depreciated. What is the reason? It is because "divorcees" have joined together one with the other.

The "divorcees" are the man whose soul was divorced from the world of Duchra (the Masculine), and the woman who was divorced in this world by her first husband because "he found in her some lewd thing".

{162} Concerning this secret [of divorcees joining together], it is written, "…He shall write to her a Bill of Divorce, and put it in her hand…And she will leave his house, and go and be to another man." (Deut. 24:1-2)

The laws of divorce are based upon Deut. 24:1-4, which is also the basis of the Sabba's dissertation here:

(1) "…If she will not find favor in his eyes because he found in her some lewd thing, he shall write to her a Bill of Divorce, and put it in her hand, and send her from his house. (2) And she will leave his house, and go and be to another man. (3) And the last man will hate her, and write to her a Bill of Divorce, and put it in her hand, and send her from his house. Or, the last man who took her for his wife will die. (4) Her first husband who sent her away cannot return to take her to be his wife since she was defiled…."

"She will…go and be" means that after her divorce she will go and marry another man.

The divorced from that world, and the divorced in this world - join together….

The Sabba will explain now a difficult teaching that was only cryptically mentioned in passing in Talmud Gittin 90b. (Appendix 18.4)

Since it is said that "She will…go and be", do I not know that it is not to the one that divorced her? Why does it say "Acher" ["another" - the other one]?

She leaves the house of her first husband, and goes from there to be married to a second husband. Obviously, she is not leaving and going to be married to the first husband! Therefore, the word "acher" - "the other one" seems to be superfluous.

However, it is as it was said. It was taught "acher", and it is written "acher".

[Ed note: It was taught in the tradition that is related in Talmud Gittin, and it is written in Deuteronomy that the second husband, specifically, is called Acher.]

And he is called Acher as it is written, "…They will sprout from different [or 'other', in Hebrew, "acher"] dirt." (Job 8:19)

What the Sabba is deriving from this verse is that the reincarnating soul is called "Acher". (Sulam)

The divorcees - the divorced from that world, and the [woman that was] divorced in this world - join together.

"The divorced from that world" refers to the soul that was banished from the world of Duchra and fell into the world of Nukva because of failure to perform the mitzvah of reproduction. Now, he reincarnates, and he is called "Acher". The woman who was divorced by her first husband because he saw in her "some lewd thing" has left his house and gone to be married to this Acher. The two divorcees have joined together.

And this woman who was in a supernal image is now dominated by a lower image that is called Acher.

Also his consort in this world is someone who has also descended from one level to another….

This woman was in the image of Knesset Yisrael, Malchut of Atzilut. She was, relative to her first husband, like Malchut-Nukva relative to Zeir Anpin. Instead of the supernal, higher image of Zeir Anpin lying on top of her, a lower image from the world of Nukva will dominate her. She has gone to be the consort of that lower image, called Acher, and it is Acher who will dominate.

Acher, originally, was in the image of Zeir Anpin, but because of his failure to perform the mitzvah of procreation he lost that image when he fell from the world of Duchra into the world of Nukva. Then he is called "Acher". That is, his image - and his consort in that gilgul - will be below him.

Thus, just as Acher has fallen from one level to another lower one, so also his consort in this world is someone who has also descended from one level to another lower one. Instead of Zeir Anpin lying on top of her, she will be dominated by a lower-level image from the world of Nukva, called Acher, and she will be below him.

This is the reason, according to the Sabba, why the Altar cries when a man divorces his first wife of youth, specifically. As a result of her divorce she is falling to a lower-level person who is called "Acher". Acher will now dominate her, and he will dominate the Altar because both the Altar and the woman are in the image of Knesset Yisrael. That is why the Altar cries. Knesset Yisrael is going into Exile among the kelipot - to be dominated by Acher. The Altar, in her image, exiled like her, is shedding tears because she is going to be subjugated to Acher rather than to Zeir Anpin.

[This article is excerpted from Shabtai Teicher's new translation and commentary on "Sabba d'Mishpatim".]

Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He was a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.
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.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
6 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Joshua Richardson, TX January 2, 2016

I saw in my wife no lewd thing. I am still deeply and MADLY in love with her. I did not want this divorce. I love her more than I have words. I hate being divorced from my Eva, the wife of my youth! If the altar sheds tears then it sheds them with me. I cry till my eyes burn and my muscles ache from sobbing. I stay up late praying. I wake up while still dark and continue my prayers. I am constantly heartbroken and in pain. Torah and Mitzvot, G-d Himself, will be my spouse during this time.May it be pleasing in His sight, may it be His holy will, that Eva and I are to be husband and wife to each other again. May G-d return me home to my wife Eva and my children! Reply

David Rankin New Zealand June 1, 2015

Paul Natan-Shlomo Valadez-Goldstein. Despite having read the scriptures for many decades I cannot recall finding anything there which clarifies or relates to your letter. Could you please inform me of the source of your information. Reply

Paul Natan-Shlomo Valadez-Goldstein Jerusalem, Israel via kabbalaonline.org May 10, 2015

B"H
Before everyone who reads this gets offended or indignant please understand that this work is discussing the movement of souls through various dimensions of a series of multifaceted universes. This discussion does not imply your particular marriage or divorce. The work is actually talking about which universe is going to be the "active" and which the "passive". Acher is a male soul energy l in a universe that experiences less awareness of Hashem. It implies the two souls will have to join within an atmosphere of a " lesser" awareness of Hashem and as such the altar cries. Based on the principle that all Jews are the same person this means the Knesset Israel suffers from this awareness. Once rectified though the tears are transformed as the copper mirrors were transformed through the altar. Lewdness to Holiness. But neverthelesd the process creates a temporary reduction in "awareness" thereby creating a "separation" between Hashem and Israel. Reply

Luiz Niterói, Brazil via kabbalaonline.org January 2, 2014

If a man is aging and cannot have children with his wife (although he tried everything in order to have children) what he should do? Get a divorce (although he loves his wife)? Impregnate another woman? Or what? Isn't it the will of Hashem that is preventing him to have children although he wants them? Reply

David Rankin September 27, 2012

Please look back at the quote of Chapter 10: section 1. "this first husband saw in her "some lewd thing"." This states "saw in her", it does not say "imagines he saw". If there was nothing for him to see, then there is no excuse for him to divorce her, and any sin is his alone. G-d will not punish the innocent, see Ezekiel 18: 4, nor will He desert them, Psalm 27: 10. Deuteronomy chapter 22. G-d says, "If..." "but if.." He gives provision for the protection of those accused falsely. We can trust our safe keeping to a G-d of justice, even if it is hard to wait until the day of Judgement to be vindicated in the sight of others. Reply

Anonymous Montreal, Canada January 29, 2012

I'm a two time breast cancer survivor. I've gone through chemo, radiation, mastectomy, and hysterectomy all before age 37. I just got divorced by a man who became increasingly abusive during our marriage and especially after the birth of our daughter. I was hoping to meet someone better, kinder, for me and my daughter. Am I to feel lesser for the rest of my life? I tried to be a great wife, I begged him to stay and he went for another divorced woman with two kids while we were still married and still tormented me emotionally. How is it fair to say that no matter what I do, I have fallen back spiritually and will be dominated by another lesser spirit? This does not feel ordained and I want to grow from this and not feel like a lesser person spiritually after everything I did to survive and keep a family intact. Reply

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.