This is a continuation of the 2nd installment (click here).

"When you acquire a Hebrew bondsman, he will work for six years, and in the seventh [year] he will go out freely to freedom. If he came [to you] alone, he shall leave alone; if he is married, his wife will leave with him. If his master gives him a [Canaanite slave-]woman and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall remain with the master, and he will leave without them. If the bondsman says "I love my master, my [Canaanite] wife and my [Canaanite] children; I would rather not leave freely", his master will present him to the judges, and they will take him to the door or the doorpost. His master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he will serve him until [the Jubilee year].

"If a man sells his daughter as a maidservant, she will not go out [of servitude] the way a bondsman goes out. If she be evil in the eyes of her master and he did not designate her and redeem her, he will not rule over her by selling her, when he betrays her. If he designates her for his son, he must grant her the due of all daughters. If he takes another wife in addition to her, he must not diminish her food, clothing, or conjugal rights. If he does not do these three things, she will leave freely to freedom."

When someone strikes a person and he dies, he shall be put to death. But one who did not lie in wait, but G‑d arranged it for him, [he goes into exile,] and I have set aside a place for you that he should flee there." (Ex. 21:2-13)

At the end of the first installment, Building the Soul, the Arizal discussed how the Torah can allow a Jewish bondsman to marry a Canaanite slave-girl.

And just as Metatron has a mate in the world of Yetzira yet descends occasionally to couple with[a different mate in] the world of Asiya, so can the master give the [Jewish] bondsman - if he has a proper [Jewish] wife - a [Canaanite] slave-girl. If [the bondsman] is unmarried, [the master] may not do this.

If he is married, he is anchored in holiness….

Metatron is the name of the chief angel of the world of Yetzira. As we have mentioned previously, it is customary not to pronounce names of angels that are not also used as names of people.

We see here that the bondsman is modeled after Metatron, and it is the fact that he has a mate at the higher level that allows him to have an additional mate at a lower level. The reason for this is now given:

Furthermore, if he is married, he is anchored in holiness, and even if he will descend below he will not remain there. But if he is unmarried he will get stuck below, and it is possible that he will remain there and be lost.

Thus, the bondsman is deemed capable of surviving the spiritual test of mating with a slave-girl only if he is already married to a Jewish woman.

This is instructive for our general involvement in the physical world, which is necessitated by the divine imperative to make the physical world a home for G‑d. Although this is our purpose, we must always ensure that we are "married" to the higher levels of spirituality, where evil does not have such a strong hold, before we venture forth to "couple", or bond, with the lower levels of reality in order to accomplish our goals there.

Metatron personifies the Tree of Knowledge….

Another reason why the master may give him a [Canaanite] slave-girl is that Metatron personifies the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Evil clings to his back and [thereby] suckles from him. Therefore, this bondsman, who descended to this level, can cohabit with a Canaanite slave-girl.

This, apparently, is the other side of the coin. Let us recall that a person becomes a bondsman only because he sinned by stealing something, was caught, and sold by the court. Such a person has, in a sense, already "mated" with evil, so only he, having already lowered himself to this level, can consort with a Canaanite slave-girl.

We will now explain the Biblical verses [in light of all the above].

"When you acquire a Hebrew bondsman, he will work for six years" - This means that this soul that was rooted above in Zeir Anpin [sinned and thereby] caused a blemish in the six extremities.

The six "extremities" are the six divine emotional attributes.

It therefore came down below as a bondsman. Therefore "…he will work for six years". Since he was rooted in the six extremities above and descended below, he needs to work only six years. Each year he rectifies one divine attribute that he blemished.

Every soul is rooted in Zeir Anpin; by sinning - especially by stealing - the individual causes a blemish in the six attributes that metamorphose into the partzuf of Zeir Anpin. This is because the essence of G‑d's attributes is giving, the opposite of stealing.

"And in the seventh [year] he will go out freely to freedom" - This means that in the seventh year, he ascends. He does not [yet] return to his original place, but only to the "throne" or to malchut.

He does not yet ascend back to Zeir Anpin of Atzilut, but remains at the level of malchut of Atzilut, which is sometimes referred to as G‑d's "throne", in line with the translation of malchut ("kingship").

"He will go out freely to freedom" - [This means] that he will accrue no reward for the commandments he performed [during his service], for we hope that he manages to rectify all that he blemished by the time he ascends.

The Hebrew word "freely" here, "chinam", means "free of any baggage or possessions", and in this case "free of any merit".

"If the bondsman says, 'I love my master…'" - This means that he does not want to ascend and return -

"His master will present him to the judges" - [This means that] he will descend to Asiya.

His soul will remain at the level he has descended to.

"And they will take him to the door or the doorpost" - This refers to malchut, which is the "door" down below [in Asiya].

Malchut is the passageway between its world and the world below it. Here, the world below Asiya is the realm of evil.

Once he has descended to the level of a Canaanite slave, it would befit him to serve [his master forever,] just like a Canaanite slave does, but in the final analysis he does have some connection to the higher levels. He therefore serves only until the [next] Jubilee year.

This is [what happens in] the case of a bondsman. But -

"If a man" - this refers to chochma - "sells his daughter" - this refers to bina - "as a maidservant" - this refers to the soul -

The Torah allows a person to sell his daughter as a servant girl while she is a minor. This is meant to provide a poor father a way of marrying off his daughter, for ideally, the master marries this girl (or marries her to his son) when her term of service is over, her "wages" for this service becoming the "betrothal money" he would otherwise betroth her with. Her term of service ends either (a) when the Jubilee year arrives, (b) once she has served for six years, (c) when she reaches physical maturity, or (d) once she reaches the age of physical maturity, which ever comes first.

We may presume that a person loves his daughter more than he loves his sister….

This is contrasted with the way a Canaanite slave is freed. A Canaanite slave usually remains a slave for life once he has been purchased. But if, in the course of his service, his eye or tooth falls out, this grants him automatic freedom. This is not the case with a Jewish servant girl, however. If she is injured, she remains a servant; the master must only pay her monetary restitution for her injury.

[The level of] bina is more highly esteemed [than the lower levels]. It is [the level] referred to in the following Midrashic passage [from Shemot Rabba 52:5]:

This passage discusses the verse: "Go out, daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon in the crown that his mother crowned him with on the day of his wedding and on the day of his heart's joy." (Songs 3:11) The Midrash notes that nowhere in Scripture is it mentioned that Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, ever crowned him.

"Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai asked Rabbi Yishmael bar Rabbi Yossi: Perhaps you heard from your father what 'with the crown that his mother crowned him with' means? He answered: Yes. It may be compared to a king who had an only daughter. He loved her greatly and called her 'my daughter'. He loved her so much he called her 'my sister', and eventually called her 'my mother'."

This passage continues: "…So did the Holy One, blessed be He, first call the Jewish people a daughter, as it is written, 'Listen, daughter, and see, and incline your ear. Forget your people and the house of your father.' (Psalms 45:11) He loved them so much he called them 'My sister', as it is written, 'Open for Me, My sister, My beloved, My dove, My perfect one, for My head is filled with dew and My locks with the drops of the night.' (Songs 5:2) He loved them so much he called them 'My mother', as it is written, 'Listen to Me, My people, and My nation [in Hebrew, 'le'umi'], give ear to Me, for instruction will issue from Me and My judgments I will calm to the light of the peoples.' (Isaiah 51:4) Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai stood up and kissed him on his head."

The allusion to "My mother" is achieved by reading the Hebrew word for "My nation", "le'umi", as if it was vocalized to read "to My mother" - "le-imi".

Thus, the G‑d's love for the Jewish people is so great that calling them His daughter does not convey the extent of it and He searches, so to speak, for a greater term of endearment, arriving finally at "My mother".

But [on the other hand,] we may presume that a person loves his daughter more than he loves his sister, and that he loves his sister more than he loves his mother.

Common experience thus seems to contradict the order of increasing endearment as portrayed by the Midrash.

The explanation is that when the soul is at the level of malchut, it is referred to as "a daughter" in that it receives its divine beneficence through Zeir Anpin. When it is at the level of Zeir Anpin both of them are equal and it receives its divine beneficence [directly] from Imma, and is then called "my sister". When the soul is at the level of bina it then gives divine beneficence to Zeir Anpin and is therefore called "my mother".

The term "the Holy One, blessed be He" often refers to G‑d as He is expressed at the level of Zeir Anpin, as we have seen previously.

At the level of malchut the soul receives from Zeir Anpin and is therefore its daughter….

At the level of malchut the soul receives from Zeir Anpin and is therefore its daughter, and so on. Thus, as it passes from daughter to sister to mother, the soul ascends in spiritual level. It is in this sense that the soul as "mother" is more greatly esteemed than it is as "sister", and more as "sister" than as "daughter".

Thus, this Midrashic passage indicates that the soul at the level of bina is a highly esteemed level.

Such as soul is so esteemed that even if it causes a blemish it will not descend any lower than Beriya, and does not become subject to Zeir Anpin.

Thus, even when such a soul sins and its consciousness descends to that of the world of Beriya, the first world where evil has any foothold, it still descends no lower than this level. In Beriya, good outweighs evil; in Yetzira, they are equal; and in Asiya, evil outweighs good.

Since it was only in her previous lifetime that she sinned, the laws regarding how she attains her freedom are more lenient….

The question is: what sin did the daughter of the poor man commit that she must become a maidservant, that is, descend from Atzilut, the Jew's natural domain of divine consciousness, into a lower level, even if that level is as sublime as the world of Beriya?

Rabbi Shalom Sharabi postulates that this girl stole something in her previous incarnation, and therefore needs to undergo some kind of rectification in this lifetime. Since it was only in her previous lifetime that she sinned, the laws regarding how she attains her freedom are more lenient than the laws regarding how a Jewish bondsman attains his freedom, for he is serving time for having sinned in this lifetime.

Even though the light of Imma only descends into Beriya via Zeir Anpin [of Atzilut], the latter serves only a passageway.

On its way down through Atzilut, the light of Imma traverses Zeir Anpin, but in so doing, it is not changed or processed at all in this case by Zeir Anpin. The intellect of Beriya is lower than the intellect of Atzilut, but it is still intellect and has not been changed into midot.

[Such a soul] therefore does not become subject [to Zeir Anpin]. Such a soul - "…will not go out [of servitude] the way a bondsman goes out" - [This means that a maidservant does not go out of servitude] when her tooth or eye are injured, for someone who is freed because his tooth or eye are injured is blemished. When the master pays him the value of his tooth or eye, it means that just as he pays for them [and thus "acquires" them], so do his limbs remain above [in their injured state]. It is thus not proper to blemish her.

Since injury is not an avenue of freedom for her, we presume that divine providence will be less inclined to cause an injurious accident to happen to her in order to hasten her freedom.

"If she be evil in the eyes of her master, so that he did not designate her…" - The word for "did not" [in Hebrew, "lo"] in this verse is written with an alef [and therefore means "did not"], but it is read as if it was spelled with a vav [and means "for him"]. This means that [we are talking about a case when] she did not repent properly, and for that reason he did not marry her, as by right he should have.

As mentioned above, the intention in selling a daughter to someone is for that person to marry her when she comes of age. The Torah recognizes that when this point in time is reached it may become clear that the daughter and the master (or his son) are not suited for each other, and therefore she may be freed without being married. But it still refers to this as an act of betrayal on the part of the master.

This idea is seen in that fact that the word for "did not" can be read as if it meant "for him", the sense of the verse then being "if she be evil in the eyes of her master, who was intended for him, but he freed her…."

The word for "designate" [in Hebrew, "yi'ud"] means the same as "betrothal" ["kidushim"] when it happens at a higher level, but at the lower level it is simply called "designation".

"…and redeems her." – [This means that] even then, she does not descend to a lower level.

Thus it is written, "…when he betrays her," because she is vested in the divine name Elo-ha.

"…and if he designates her for his son" - meaning that she ascends to the level of Zeir Anpin, "…he must grant her the due of all daughters".

This is [the rule] when a person causes a blemish [by sinning] with regard to money. But - "When someone strikes a person" and kills [him], the law is not like this. Rather his rectification is that "…he shall be put to death".

The explanation of this is that the court executes him and hastens his death so that he can return again to This World, [complete his rectification,] and die [again]. For this [first] death does not cleanse him of sin. This is why the double idiom used: "death, he shall be put to death."

The Hebrew for "he shall be put to death" is in the emphatic form - often translated "he shall surely be put to death", in Hebrew, "mot yumat", which literally reads, "death, he shall be put to death."

The Torah then proceeds to discuss the case of inadvertent manslaughter.

"And one who did not lie in wait…" - meaning that he did not intend to kill him,

"…but G‑d arranged it for him" - meaning that the killed person was [anyway] liable to the death penalty.

…in either this or his next incarnation, he is killed inadvertently.

According to Kabbalah, inadvertent manslaughter happens when a person is liable to the death penalty because of some sin he committed, but there were no witnesses to testify against him in court. He thus lives his life unpunished. In either this or his next incarnation, he is killed inadvertently. The person who killed him inadvertently had already killed someone else inadvertently but again, there were no witnesses. This time there are, so he goes into exile and flees to a city of refuge.

The rectification for [an inadvertent manslaughter such as this] is in the month of Elul. For G‑d brings them into this world through reincarnation.

The month of Elul is the month of stock-taking and repentance before the Days of Judgment, the High Holidays of the month of Tishrei. Inasmuch as we have all sinned in some way, by devoting ourselves to repentance is how we rescue ourselves from the attribute of divine judgment.

Thus, the initials of the words for "arranged it for him, and I have set aside" spell the word "Elul".

"…arranged it for him, and I have set aside" in Hebrew is "inah leyado vesamti lach". The initials of these words are alef-lamed-vav-lamed, which spell Elul.

For he must flee there in Elul. [G‑d] reincarnates him in another person so he can achieve respite.

Thus, it is written, "…lest the blood-redeemer pursue him." (Deut. 19:6) For the blood-redeemer is Samael, who pursues him, but when he is reincarnated as someone else he can achieve respite.

Samael is a name for Satan, the accusing angel. It, too, should not be pronounced.

This is what I found [written] in the Rabbi's name.