Rabbi Elazar opened [his discourse] by saying: "And I have put My words in your mouth, and I have covered you with the shadow of My hand." (Isaiah 51:16) We learned that G‑d protects every man who is occupied with the Torah, whose lips speak the words of the Torah, and the Shechinah spreads Her wings over him. Hence, it says: "And I have put My words [of Torah] in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of My hand [if you are occupied with it]." Moreover, he [who learns Torah] sustains the world [as it says, "So said the Lord: If not (for) My covenant (of the Torah being observed) day and night, I would not sustain the statutes of heaven and earth", (Jeremiah 33:25) i.e. the existence of the heavens and earth are based on the observance of Torah in the world.]; G‑d rejoices with him, as if he planted heaven and earth on that day. Hence, the verse (Isaiah 51:16) ends "that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, 'You are My people'".

From here, we learned that Israel are called by the name Zion, as written: "And say to Zion, 'You are My people'." We saw that the Congregation of Israel is called by the name Zion, as written: "Zion shall be redeemed [from exile] with judgment, and her returnees with righteousness." (Isaiah 1:27)

He further quoted: "Bind up the testimony, seal the Torah among My disciples [in their hearts that they not forget the Torah they have learned]." (Isaiah 8:16) "Bind up the testimony:" This is David's testimony [for David is malchut] as written, "And My testimony [the Torah] that I shall teach them." (Psalms 132:12) "Bind" refers to a bond, as in fastening to make a bond in one place [for through learning Torah, one merits to bind malchut with Zeir Anpin, Her Groom]. "Seal the Torah among My disciples" the Torah's seal [tiferet] with all the abundance and greatness drawn from above. Where is its seal? It is "among My disciples" [called netzach and hod] since greatness and oil [influences] are gathered between the two pillars [of netzach and hod] that dwell there. They are the place of all greatness and oil that flows from above and they pour it according to the mouth of yesod to empty it into the testimony [malchut]. Then everything is fastened into one faithful bond.

Come and see: what is the difference between those who strive in the Torah and the faithful prophets? Those who strive in the Torah are always more valuable than the prophets. Why? They are in a much higher level than the prophets, since they who strive in the Torah stand above in the place called tiferet, which sustains all faith [malchut]. The prophets stand below in the place called 'netzach' and 'hod'. Those who strive in the Torah are of more importance than the prophets and are superior to them, for the ones stand above and the others stand below. Those who say things through Divine Spirit are the lowest.

Fortunate are those who labor in the Torah, who are of the highest level of all. He who labors in the Torah needs neither sacrifices nor burnt offerings, because the Torah is better than everything. It is the bond of everyone's faith. It is therefore written: "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace," (Proverbs 3:17) and, "great peace have they who love the Torah, there is no stumbling block to them." (Psalms 119:165)

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Above we find a "teaching" Zohar, one that seeks to elucidate a certain principle according to the mystical perspective. The principle is: "Chacham Adif MeNavi"--a Torah Sage is more important than a prophet. What?! Can this really be?! That one who strive in Torah every day is considered more important than one who receives a direct transmission from G‑d?! YES. The Zohar says that the Torah is connected to the sefira tiferet, while the prophets receive from netzach and hod. That is the secret. Too, the word for Sage is chacham, related to the sefira of chochma, a very high level.

On a simple level, the Torah Sage is more important for he can look into a Torah book anytime and get an answer, with his G‑d-given wisdom. The prophet must wait until he or she is called. For us this is good news. It means that even though we may not hear explicit voices telling us answers to our questions, by learning Torah we can achieve for ourselves even better responses. Build yourself a strong vessel immersed in the waters of Torah and you will drink deeply of all the wisdom you need!

What does the above mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.