The portion of the Torah read this week begins:

"When you go out to war against your enemies, and G‑d your Lord delivers him into your hand, and you capture its captives, and you see amongst the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire her, you make take her for a wife. You shall take her into your house, and she will shave her head and grow her nails long. She shall take off her [beautiful] dress of captivity and dwell in your house, mourning over her father and mother for a month. Only after this may you [again] engage in intercourse with her, and she will become your wife. But if [after the mourning period] you do not desire her, you may send her away, but you may not sell her for money…." (Deut. 21:10-14)

Know, that the hair of Zeir Anpin is black, due to the influence of the states of gevura [which produce this hair]. [His hair] is black as a raven, due to [the influence of] the attribute of judgment.

The flow of divine energy between the partzufim is reflected in the hair….

The male (Zeir Anpin) is the archetype of chesed while the female (Nukva) is the archetype of gevura. This is because the female personifies G‑d's drive to be revealed in Creation, and this requires both strength and severity (to resist the enticements of evil), while the male personifies the abstract Divine idea itself, outside the context of Creation.

One aspect of the flow of divine energy between the partzufim is reflected in the hair. Hair is seen as a hollow channel filled with divine "light". However, since it is possible to cut the hair without experiencing any pain (which is of course not the case with any other part of the body), the life-force present within hair is seen to be extremely attenuated. The force flowing through hair is thus highly contracted, a manifestation of the power of gevura and judgment (in the sense of being strictly rationed and apportioned).

The hair of the Nukva is red, since Nukva is itself constructed out of gevura….

The black hair of Zeir Anpin is contrasted with the white (or grey) hair of Arich Anpin. Arich Anpin is such a high, intense level of divine consciousness that even the contraction represented by hair does not produce truly contracted (dark) light, but rather a lower state of chesed.

The hair of the Nukva is red, since Nukva is itself constructed out of gevura.

As our sages said, "Black [blood] is really red [blood] that has deteriorated" (Nidda 19a), this being [the influence of] the attribute of judgement.

The color red is associated with gevura. The fact that black (in this case) is a form of red provides the association between black and gevura.

The Mishna lists five colors of blood that are considered a sign of menstrual impurity, but the Sages of the Talmud find only four scriptural allusions to different colors of menstrual blood. This is solved by pointing out that black blood is simply red blood that has changed its color. As the Talmud continues, "….Black blood is not black originally. It assumes the black color only after it is discharged, like the blood of a wound which becomes black after it had been discharged from it."

These powers of judgement are the ten names Elokim that enter Zeir Anpin from Imma, and then return upward as reflecting light, which is judgement.

The process of intellect becoming emotion…is a further contraction….

The name Elokim is associated with the sefira of bina, and specifically, with its power of contraction and limitation. Bina in general is a process of limiting, defining, honing down and contracting the infinite insight of chochma. But beyond this, the process of intellect becoming emotion - the creation of Zeir Anpin out of Imma - is a further contraction, a quantum leap lessening the intensity of revelation characteristic of intellect into that characterizing emotion. The ten names Elokim are the ten sub-sefirot of bina that enter into Zeir Anpin.

If so, [the light] which itself is judgement is surely severe judgement, enough so that the red is changed into black, as it is written, "His locks are curly, black as a raven". (Songs 5:11)

The Song of Songs is considered, Kabbalistically, to be the song of love between Zeir Anpin (the groom) and Nukva of Zeir Anpin (the bride).

These are the hairs whose numerical value is ten times that of Elokim, being equal to the word for "lock".

The numerical value of "Elokim" (alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem, 1 + 30 +5 + 10 + 40) is 86. Ten times 86 is 860. The word for "locks" (in Hebrew, "taltalim") may be split into the singular for "lock" ("taltal") and the plural suffix (-im). The numerical value of "taltal" (taf-lamed-taf-lamed, 400 + 30 + 400 + 30) is 860.

The plural suffix ["-im", spelled yud-mem, = 50] of the word for "locks" signifies the 50 letters comprised by the ten names Elokim. This is why the verse concludes, "dark as a raven".

Each name Elokim comprises five letters, 10 x 5 = 50. The word "taltalim" thus signifies the numerical value of ten names Elokim and the letters that form these names.

When the Jewish people used to go out to make war, the five names Elokim of the right side would be joined with the five names Elokim of the left side, in order to exact vengeance from their enemies. All that would thus be evident of these ten names Elokim would be the five of the right side, for would the five of the left side be visible, the forces of evil would latch onto them.

Although one would think that wartime is when one should demonstrate gevura, the power of the left side, we learn here that this is not the case. True, power and might (gevura) must be present within the army (or individual) waging war, but its/his outward conduct must be that of chesed. The fact that the enemy has chosen to oppose the forces of holiness means that he must be fought, conquered - and if necessary annihilated - for his own good. (It should be remembered that the Torah enjoins the nation to exhaust peaceful overtures before resorting to war.)

Fighting the enemy is an act of chesed for him and for reality as a whole….

Thus, fighting the enemy is an act of chesed for him and for reality as a whole. There is thus no place for any outward demonstrations of vindictiveness or the like. On the contrary, should the people evince any of the outward trappings of gevura unnecessarily, they weaken themselves by allowing the essence of their enemy to intrude into their being. This of course lessens their merit to win. As we are taught, when the Jews were crossing the sea on dry land and the Egyptians were being drowned in it, the angels complained to G‑d that both parties were guilty of idol worship; why, then, was He showing favor to one over the other? And anger, according to Sages, is equivalent to idol worship. Also, the Song at the Sea, which the Jewish people sang to G‑d after being delivered from the Egyptians, mentions G‑d's right arm twice, but not His left arm.

This is why the straps [of the tefillin] are black, for they are to reflect these [black] hairs [of Zeir Anpin]. Furthermore, the right strap is to be longer than the left one.

The tefillin manifest the flow of consciousness from the intellect of Zeir Anpin (the man wearing them) downward. The head tefillin comprises four compartments, signifying chochma, bina, and the two aspects of daat (the five states of chesed and the five states of gevura). The two sides of the straps emerging from the head tefillin and encompassing the head signify chesed and gevura themselves. The knot at the rear of the head signifies tiferet. The two straps descending from the knot signify netzach and hod.

The female is the warrior whose task it is to battle the materialism of this world….

The straps are to black in order to reflect the hair of Zeir Anpin, i.e. the protracted flow of divine light into Nukva and the world in general. This is reflected in the fact that the partzuf of Leah is said to be situated behind the head of Zeir Anpin, at the level of the knot of the head tefillin, while the partzuf of Rachel is the hand tefillin itself. As we said, the female (both in woman in general as well as in the female aspect of man) is the warrior whose task it is to battle the materialism of this world. Thus, in the flow of divine energy reaching her through Zeir Anpin, the right side must predominate. Then the war will be able to be fought properly, as described above.

This is alluded to in the verse [which opens this passage of the Torah]. The numerical value of the word for "when" [in Hebrew, "ki"] together with the first letter of the word for "you go out" ["tetzei", tav] is that of the five names Elokim of the right side.

The numerical value of "ki" (spelled kaf-yud, 20 + 10) is 30; that of tav is 400; 400 + 30 = 430. The numerical value of "Elokim", as above, is 86. 5 x 86 = 430.

These [aspects of the name Elokim] appear [in this verse] with G‑d's proper Name [the name Havayah].

[G‑d's proper Name is spelled] Havayah [and read as] Ado-nai; the numerical value of these together is 91, the numerical value of "amen".

Havayah (yud-hei-vav-hei, 10 + 5 + 6 + 5) = 26; Adni (alef-dalet-nun-yud, 1 + 4 +50 + 10) = 65. 26 + 65 = 91. Amen (alef-men-nun, 1 + 40 + 50) = 91.

This is also the numerical value of the remaining letters of the word for "you go out" ["tetzei"].

"Tetzei" is spelled tav-tzadik-alef. The numerical value of the final two letters (tzadik-alef, 90 + 1) equals 91.

This, then is the implication of this verse: "When you go out" [alludes to the five names Elokim of the right side, together with G‑d's proper Name, Havayah,] as we have said. "…to war against your enemies" [in this way], then it is a sure thing that "G‑d [Havayah] your L-rd [from the name] Elokim", i.e. [G‑d as manifest in] these two names Havayah and Elokim "will deliver him into your hand". "Your hand" alludes to the five names Elokim of the right side, reflected in the five fingers of the right hand. Then, "you will capture its captives".

Thus, success in the war against evil is predicated on holy conduct, as opposed to fighting evil with evil conduct.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah and Sefer HaLikutim; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.