This week's parasha, Miketz, alludes to an auspicious date for the advent of the Mashiach. Such a date is called a "ketz" in Hebrew, which means literally "an end" - an end to the exile. In the following excerpt the Arizal predicts that the year 1976 would be a "ketz", at least in the higher worlds…

At the end of two years…. (Gen. 41:1)

Two years add up to 730 [days]. Each [solar] year is 365, and when multiplied by two = 730. Now by adding to this the six letters1 the sum total comes to 736, which equals the sum of the name Ado-nai spelled simply = 65, together with the same name spelled with the milui = 671. [Thus] 736 is called above the "End of Days". (Likutei Torah)

[End of Days…: The apparent intention here is to indicate that the year (5)736, 1976 in the Gregorian calendar, was an auspicious year for the advent of the Mashiach.]

"…Seven healthy cows" (Gen. 41:2)

In Yetzira there is good and evil…

These are the seven heichalot of the world of Beriya, and this is why the cows are referred to explicitly as "beriyot" [meaning "healthy", related to the word "Beriya"]. The "seven other cows" [mentioned in the verse following] are the seven heichalot of the world of Yetzira. [They are] described as "of evil appearance". This is because in Yetzira there is good and evil, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. For this reason the verse states that "[they stood …] on the banks of the river", but not in the river. (Likutei Torah)

[The "river" alludes to bina which "nests" (i.e. is revealed primarily in) the world of Beriya (Tikunei Zohar 23a; Etz Chaim, Shaar 47. ch. 2), as will be explained below. The heichalot of Yetzira are thus "only on the banks" of Beriya.]

"Seven ears of grain… healthy and good" (Gen. 41:5)

These are also from the world of Beriya. Pharaoh is the aspect of malchut of Atzilut, where "all the lights are uncovered". Malchut [of Atzilut] is clothed in Beriya, which is the river and the twelve cattle upon which the sea [of Solomon] stands. This is the meaning of "[Pharaoh was] standing over the river." The river is also yesod of Atzilut, the river that pours forth its bounty…

The river is also yesod of Atzilut, the river that pours forth its bounty to Pharaoh [i.e. yesod feeds malchut], who is the single stalk of wheat [in Hebrew, "kaneh" mentioned in verse 5]. "Kaneh" together with one for the kolel is the numerical value of 156, the equivalent of the numerical value of "Joseph" [in Hebrew, "Yosef"]. (Likutei Torah)

"…the cows ate up" (Gen. 41:4)

As you already know, all famine and harsh decrees come from the side of Nukva, since it rules over the male aspect [the column of chesed] and has lost her sweetness. This is indicated by the letters [of the Tetragrammaton] in jumbled sequence. This is alluded to by the Torah in the words of the verse "the cows of good appearance, healthy… [in Hebrew, 'haparot yefot hamar'eh v'haberiyot']" for the initial letters of this verse spell out hei, yud, hei, vav. Note that the feminine letters are placed before the male letters thus ruling over them - the hei over the yud, and the second hei over the vav. Famine…is caused by sins which arouse the harsh judgments of Nukva

This is why there was famine, which is caused by sins which arouse the harsh judgments of Nukva. Nukva is called "isha" [Hebrew for "woman"], the word formed by the initial letters of the verse "the seven cows" [in Hebrew, "et sheva haparot"]. For it is from this aspect that famine comes. (Likutei Torah; Shaar HaPesukim)

[According to the redactor of Shaar HaPesukim this excerpt was not recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital, but rather by one of the other students of the Arizal.]

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from the Writings of the Ari; 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.