This week's commentary by the Zohar refers to the commandments against infidelity by the daughter of a priest and the testing of an unfaithful wife by her drinking "the water of the sota". The Zohar analyses these types of law from their inner perspective and explains how they will apply at "the end of time", i.e. now! The prophet Elijah relates this discourse and explains, through analyzing various prophecies, why learning the Zohar will be so important at the time of the final redemption.

And the daughter of a priest, if she defiles herself by prostitution, defiles her father; she shall be burned with fire. (Lev. 21:9)

Idolaters would entice their followers with prostitution. A priest whose daughter became a prostitute therefore became tainted with idolatry. This law ensured that Jewish priests and their families would never be associated with such practices. The Zohar, however, interprets the word "daughter" to refer to the soul.

"The daughter of a priest…" refers to [the soul which is sourced in chesed, represented by the angel] Michael. "…If she defiles herself by prostitution, [i.e. following after the vain physical pursuits of this world, she] defiles her father, [i.e. G‑d, and therefore] shall be burned with fire [in Gehinom, to cleanse her in preparation for her next incarnation]." When Israel secularizes the Torah, it causes G‑d to push them into...exile…

In the same way, when Israel secularizes the Torah, it causes G‑d to push them into the exile of Edom and Ishmael, to be in servitude to them. Their spiritual level is that of the dog and the snake [respectively]. [The Jewish People] are judged from there, and [in their exile] they are broken [of their pride] and whitened [from their sin which is a red stain on their soul], purified like the smelting process of silver and the testing of gold.

So we see that the Jewish People left the Torah in Germany, starting with the Reform Movement in the 1840's, and the disastrous consequences of that were felt in that country, which is associated with Edom and their German Shepherd dogs. The snake was the first creature to lie, and the world recently made great fun of the (Ishmaelite) Iraqi "Information Minister", whose lies made him infamous. In modern day Israel, Ishmael claims a land that never belonged to them and controls the Temple Mount, lying that there is no Jewish connection to it. This exile of Israel from its most holy place would not have happened had they not secularized the Torah. Exile is therefore a form of mercy, saving Israel from the fires of Gehinom and purifying them until the Mashiach redeems them from exile.

This is referred to in the verse: "And I will bring this third through the fire, and I will refine them as silver is refined and will test them as gold is tested; they shall call on My name, and I will hear them. I will say, 'It is My people'; and they shall say, 'The L-rd is my G‑d'." (Zachariah 13:9) [This process will continue] until they complete [the prophesy]: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18) Israel will be tested in the same manner before the final redemption…

And because of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, it is written [concerning the waters of Marah] "And G‑d showed him [Moses] a tree, which he threw into the waters and made the waters sweet." (Ex. 15:25) [The reason why the waters were bitter was] because Israel had been infiltrated by the Mixed Multitude [in Hebrew, "erev rav"]. This is the reason why half [of the water] is sweet, from the side of the right [chesed, associated with righteous acts and divine favor] and half is bitter, from the side of the left [gevura, associated with sin and divine judgment].

And at the time when the Mixed Multitude were causing Israel to sin, it was as though they were all from the side of evil, thus the water seemed bitter to them, like the bitter tree that they cast into the water. This is the meaning of the verse "And when they came to 'Marah' [in Hebrew, literally "bitter"] they couldn't drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter". (Ex. 15:23)

And this bitter tree [that Moses cast into the water] is similar to the testing of the unfaithful wife. If she has been unfaithful to her husband, those waters [which have been sweetened by having the name of G‑d written on parchment and dissolved in them], returned to their bitter state. They caused the fulfillment of the verse: "And when he has made her drink the water, then it shall come to pass that, if she is defiled…her belly shall swell and her thigh fall." (Num. 27:5)

And what is written if she did not have illicit relations? "If the woman is not defiled, but is pure; then she shall be free, and conceive seed." This means she will have a son, and so here [at Marah, Israel were tested by the bitter waters and found pure, and] the waters were sweetened.

Israel will be tested in the same manner before the final redemption, as is stated in the verse: "Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined". (Daniel 12:10) These are from the side of the good [of the Tree of Knowledge]. They will withstand the test. [And the verse continues,] "…but the wicked shall do their wickedness; and none of the wicked will understand; and the wise shall understand." They have led My people astray, saying 'Peace'; and there was no peace…

These [wicked] are from the side of evil [of the Tree], and through them will manifest the verse: "Nor shall they enter into the Land of Israel…[because they have led my People astray, saying 'Peace'; and there was no peace]" (Ezek. 13:9-10) and they will be killed.

Here the prophet Elijah is stating that at the end of time two-thirds of the Jewish people will be lost, and one-third brought through the fire, perhaps referring to modern day assimilation and the Holocaust. (See Zachariah 13:3) Those that remain will be separated out from the aspect of "the mixed multitude" that live among them - those that make treaties with enemies who have no intention to fulfill their word.

"And the wise [in Hebrew, "maskilim"] will understand [from the Hebrew root bina]", from the sefira of bina, which is the Tree of Life [as opposed to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as recounted in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden]. On their account it is said, "The wise shall shine like the 'brightness' [in Hebrew, "zohar"] of the firmament." (Daniel 12:3) This prophecy refers to your [Rabbi Shimon's] compilation, this book the Zohar, which is from the light of the Higher Mother [bina of Atzilut, called] "teshuva". In the future Israel will taste of the Tree of Life, which is this book, the Zohar…

Note that the Hebrew word for "wise" is from the root "sechel". This root appears in English words like "psychology". Studying the Zohar enables one to understand the wisdom behind the inner workings of the world. This understanding can only be fully achieved by doing the will of G‑d and is therefore dependant on returning to our spiritual source through teshuva, often translated as "repentance", but which literally means "to return" in Hebrew. Understanding that one has to return to one's spiritual roots is the first step to reaching the level of bina-consciousness.

Those [who understand the secrets of the Zohar] will not need testing [through exile], and because in the future Israel will taste of the Tree of Life, which is this book, the Zohar, they will be redeemed in a merciful way in its merit. They will fulfill the words "G‑d [in His aspect of mercy] alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him" (Deut. 32:12). And the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, of what is forbidden and what is permitted [by the Torah], of what is pure and impure, will no longer govern Israel. Their sustenance will only come from the side of the Tree of Life, wherein there is no misunderstanding, coming from the side of evil, and no disagreement, coming from the spirit of impurity, as is written, "The unclean spirit will pass from the land". (Zachariah 13:2) Studying the Zohar…amounts to eating from the Tree of Life…

Studying the Zohar in the Aramaic, even without understanding the words, has a purifying effect on the soul and amounts to eating from the Tree of Life. Furthermore, the Zohar explains the inner reason for the commandments of the Torah. Once this is understood, there are no difficulties in keeping the laws because their requirements become obvious and clear. This amounts to a disintegration of all the difficulties posed by the lower level of consciousness caused by "knowledge of good and evil"; in its place, knowledge of truth becomes the sustaining life-force of the wise.

The laws of the Torah place one outside the realm of good and bad and into the realm of truth. The holy Ari would literally sweat over a problem in Jewish law and explained the expenditure of this great effort as "breaking the kelipot". The act of learning Torah to arrive at the definitive law at hand separates out the good from the bad that have become mixed as a result of man's lower level of consciousness, associated with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the future the law will be clear to all, because the spiritual nature of the laws will be revealed, and they will become obvious and clear as the brightness of light.

Zohar, parashat Naso, p.124b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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