[This is a third installment of a series, a continuation of Abraham Moves Out on His Own (the first installment) and Love of Abraham (the second installment). It is suggested that the reader review these previous installments before proceeding.]

The portion of the Torah read this week begins:
"And G‑d said to Abram, 'Go forth from your land, and from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. I will make you [there] into a great nation…'" (Gen. 12:1-2)

The Ari develops the following:

We will now explain the name "Joseph", for he is connected with Isaac, as we have mentioned.

We have already explained his [mystical] significance in our discussion of parashat Vayeshev, in reference to the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker.

In any case, the numerical value of "Joseph" [in Hebrew, "Yosef"] is 6 times that of the name Havayah.

"Yosef" is spelled: yud-vav-samech-pei = 10 + 6 + 60 + 80 = 156.

6 x 26 (the numerical value of Havayah) = 156.

The significance of these [six names Havayah] is as follows: We have explained in numerous contexts, including that of the commandment of circumcision in our discussion of parashat Lech Lecha, at length, that even though the five states of chesed spread throughout the body of Zeir Anpin, from chesed to yesod, nonetheless, the radiance of all the five states of chesed is absorbed in yesod; the five states of gevura descend into yesod as well.

The content of all the midot coalesces in yesod, where it is prepared to be transferred to expression in malchut.

Still, even though all five states of chesed and all five states of gevura descend [into yesod], their main states are the three revealed states of chesed, i.e. those present in tiferet, netzach, and hod, as is known.

The three revealed states of gevura are sweetened by the three revealed states of chesed….

As we have mentioned previously, yesod of Imma extends until the upper third of tiferet of Zeir Anpin, meaning that the drive of the intellect to express itself is present in the midot produced by the intellect as far as the intellectual aspect of tiferet. From that point on, the midot "take over", and the dominant consciousness is that of pure midot, with the intellectual rationale for the midot present only in the background.

The three [revealed] states of gevura are sweetened by the three [revealed] states of chesed there [i.e. in yesod].

True, all five states of gevura are given to the feminine [partzuf, Nukva,] i.e. into her daat, as is known. And so too, all the five states of chesed are transferred to the feminine [partzuf] during the coupling [of Zeir Anpin and Nukva], as a drop of "male water" [i.e. seed]. Nonetheless, since [the lower three states] are revealed lights, [only] their source and radiance remains in yesod.

Though all five states of chesed and gevura that make up the sub-sefirot of chesed-gevura-tiferet-netzach-hod of Zeir Anpin pass through its yesod, what remains in it is the lower midot, i.e. the summation of chesed and gevura in tiferet and the orientation of the midot outward in netzach and hod.

Joseph … personified yesod….

These [states] are the three names Havayah of the [revealed] states of chesed and [those of] the three [revealed] states of gevura. [These six names Havayah] are the numerical equivalent of "Joseph".

Joseph, as is known, personified yesod.

With this knowledge, you can understand why yesod is called "the second arbitrator", for the said reason, namely, that in it the three [revealed] states of chesed are intertwined with the three [revealed] states of gevura, which are thereby sweetened.

The first "arbitrator" is tiferet, which reconciles chesed and gevura. Here, yesod reconciles the states of chesed and gevura above it.

With this you can also understand why this sefira is called "yesod". The reason is that this sefira tends to the left, this being the mystical meaning of "the live end", referring to yesod tending toward Isaac, which is the left axis.

The name "Isaac", in Hebrew, "Yitzchak" (spelled yud-tzadik-chet-kuf) can be rearranged to spell "the live end" ("keitz chai", kuf-tzadik chet-yud). The midot are also known as the six "ends" or "extremities", inasmuch as they define the six directions of three-dimensional space. Yesod is the "alive end", for it undergoes change (growth and shrinkage), thus exhibiting the properties of life.

The numerical value of the three states of gevura that remain in it, which are three names Havayah, is 78. Together with 1 for each of them, this sums to 81, the numerical value of "yesod" with the kolel.

3 x 26 = 78.

"Yesod" is spelled: yud-samech-vav-dalet = 10 + 60 + 6 + 4 = 80

The seven names…are called 'seven pearls'….

Another reason [this sefira] is called "yesod" is the following. What is written in the Zohar (II:92a, in Raya Mehemna) about the verse, "Remember the Shabbat day" (Ex. 20:8), concerning the seven names, is well-known. They are called "seven pearls", and the Shabbat is called "Y-ah Ado-nai".

These seven names are associated with the seven blessings of the Shabbat Standing Prayer (see third installment of parashat Tetzaveh), and that the fourth blessing of the Shabbat Standing Prayer, which is the only one that refers specifically to the Shabbat, is associated with the name Y-ah Ado-nai.

It is also known that the Shabbat is associated with yesod, which is called "the Seventh".

Normally, we associate the Shabbat with malchut, the seventh midah. However, in the context of Zeir Anpin, malchut is not truly a separate sefira, but is called "the crown of the yesod", associated physically with the glans of the male reproductive organ. Malchut comes into its own only as the full partzuf of Nukva. Thus, the "seventh" of the midot within Zeir Anpin - and therefore, the Shabbat as well - can still be considered to be part of yesod.

Therefore, the numerical value of "yesod" is the same as that of the names Y-ah Ado-nai.

"Yesod" = 80, as above.

"Y-ah Ado-nai" is spelled: yud-hei alef-dalet-nun-yud = (10 + 5) + (1 + 4 + 50 + 10) = 15 + 65 = 80.

These two names correspond to the two aspects with [yesod]: yesod [itself] and its "crown". Yesod itself is called "Y-ah", and its "crown" is called "Ado-nai".

Furthermore, the yesod of Leah and the yesod of Rachel are [signified by] two final mem's, the combined numerical value of which is also that of yesod.

Leah and Rachel are the two partzufim of Nukva, as we know. The female yesod, the womb, is indicated by a final, closed mem, which depicts a closed, empty space that will be filled by the male seed. The numerical value of mem is 40, so the 2 yesod's of Leah and Rachel equal together 80, the numerical value of yesod.

This indicates that yesod couples with the two yesod's of Rachel and Leah.

Now that we have explained the two names of Isaac and Jacob, and how both are manifestations of the states of gevura, we will now explain how these two names combine and thereby contain all the states of gevura.

The summation of all the states of judgment are the 288 sparks that were rectified by the 32 names Elo-him, which were other states of judgment, as is known. All together, these add up to 320 sparks.

When the vessels of Tohu shattered, 288 general sparks were entrapped in the fallen remains of these vessels….

As is known, when the vessels of Tohu shattered, 288 general sparks were entrapped in the fallen remains of these vessels. In the account of Creation, the Torah refers to G‑d exclusively by the name Elo-him, and this name is used exactly 32 times. The creation of this physical world, subsequent to the collapse of the world of Tohu, effected a certain rectification in the shattered vessels, preparing them for their further rectification by man.

Now, the combined value of "Yitzchak" [Hebrew for "Isaac"] and "yesod" is 288. This, too, will be explained more fully in our comments to parashat Vayeira, on the verse "…on the day Isaac was weaned".

"Yitzchak" is spelled: yud-tzadik-chet-kuf = 10 + 90 + 8 + 100 = 208. Yesod = 80, as above. 208 + 80 = 288.

The numerical value of the name "Yaakov" [Hebrew for "Jacob"] is equal to 7 times the name Havayah.

"Yaakov" is spelled: yud-ayin-kuf-beit = 10 + 70 + 100 + 2 = 182. 7 x 26 = 182.

These refer to the seven mentalities comprised within Zeir Anpin. We have already explained their significance in our comments to parashat Vayeitzei, how these seven mentalities are called "Beersheba" [literally, "the well of the seven"].

The seven mentalities of Zeir Anpin are its four original mentalities (chochma, bina, and the two aspects of daat - the source of chesed [attraction] within daat and the source of gevura [repulsion] within daat) and its three secondary mentalities (simply chochma-bina-daat) that it acquires when it ascends into Imma and is vested inside netzach-hod-yesod of Imma.

Alternatively, netzach-hod-yesod of Abba becomes vested in the chochma-bina-chesed-gevura of Zeir Anpin, while the netzach-hod-yesod of Imma becomes vested in the chochma-bina-daat of Zeir Anpin.

The first verse in parashat Vayeitzei is: "And Jacob went out from Beersheba and went to Haran." (Gen. 28:10)

There are in Zeir Anpin three more, immature mentalities, signified by the name Elo-him.

In contrast to the seven mature mentalities signified by 7 names Havayah, the immature mentalities are signified by names Elo-him.

These are alluded to in the phrase [that continues this verse:] "…and he went to Haran."

The numerical value of the names Elo-him (3 x 86 = 258) is the same as that of "Haran" ("Charan" is spelled: chet-reish-nun = 8 + 200 + 50 = 258).

As we explain there, the name Elo-him spelled out with yud's signifies [the partzuf of] Leah, the name Elo-him spelled out with hei's - this being the third spelling-out of the name Elo-him - signifies [the partzuf of] Rachel, and the middle spelling-out of the name Elo-him, using alef's, signifies [the partzuf of] Yaakov, which encompasses both of them, his two wives.

He is therefore called "Yaakov", for this name can be read "yud-akev", "akev" meaning "heel" in Hebrew. The numerical value of the word "akev" is that of two names Elo-him, i.e. that of Rachel and that of Leah. There are ten letters in these two names [Elo-him], 10 being the numerical value of the yud of [the name] Yaakov. This indicates that this yud comprises both names Elo-him.

Tiferet reconciles and harmonizes the preceding sefirot of chesed and gevura….

"Yaakov" is spelled yud-ayin-kuf-beit; the word for "heel" ("akev") is spelled ayin-kuf-beit. Thus, "Yaakov" can be read: "yud-heel".

Ayin-kuf-beit = 70 + 100 + 2 = 172.

"Elo-him" is spelled: alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem (5 letters) = 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 86.

2 x 86 = 172.

Let us now return to the general discussion of the three names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Jacob reconciles the first two, and therefore takes twice as much as they do, as follows.

Jacob signifies tiferet, and as we know, tiferet reconciles and harmonizes the preceding sefirot of chesed and gevura.

[The numerical value of] the name "Avraham" [Abraham] comprises [the numerical value of] the name "Yaakov" plus [the numerical value of] the name Ado-nai [plus the kolel].

"Avraham" is spelled: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248.

"Yaakov" is spelled: yud-ayin-kuf-beit = 10 + 70 + 100 + 2 = 182.

"Ado-nai" is spelled: alef-dalet-nun-yud = 1 + 4 + 50 + 10 = 65.

182 + 65 + 1 = 248.

[The numerical value of] the name "Yitzchak" [Isaac] also comprises [the numerical value of] the name "Yaakov" plus [the numerical value of] the name Havayah.

"Yitzchak" is spelled: yud-tzadik-chet-kuf = 10 + 90 + 8 + 100 = 208.

182 + 26 = 208.

Thus, Abraham took one value-of-the-name-Ado-nai more than the-value-of-the-name-Jacob, while Isaac took the-value-of-the-name-Havayah more than the-value-of-the-name-Jacob.

But Jacob took twice what they took, i.e. two names Havayah and two names Ado-nai, the combined value of which is the numerical value of "Yaakov".

(2 x 26) + (2 x 65) = 52 + 130 = 182.


Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sha'ar HaPesukim; 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.