G‑d spoke to Moses, and said, "I am Havayah. But I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as 'G‑d Almighty', and did not make known to them My Name Havayah." (Ex. 6:2)

It is true that what we say - that Abraham [personified] chesed and Isaac [personified] gevura - does not refer to the arms of Zeir Anpin, as most of the [earlier] authorities of Kabbalah think. For if this were so, they could not couple, for how can two arms [of the same partzuf] couple?

One of the innovations of the teachings of the Arizal is the description of the sefirot as partzufim that couple, etc.

Rather, Abraham [personified] the states of chesed within Imma, which descend into Zeir Anpin, while Isaac [personified] the states of gevura within Imma. In this way, each is an independent partzuf.

Since they are both within Imma, it is difficult to understand how they can be considered independent partzufim. As Rabbi Shalom Sharabi writes on this passage, "I did not merit to understand the question or the answer."

Jacob [personified both] the states of gevura and the states of chesed within Abba that are present within Imma and descend into Zeir Anpin. Moses [personified] the exact same phenomenon. But whereas Jacob personified Imma, which acts as an external garment around Abba, Moses expressed the internal aspects of Abba himself.

The Patriarchs achieved only a superficial consciousness of G‑d relative to what Moses achieved….

As will be developed further, the Patriarchs achieved only a superficial consciousness of G‑d relative to what Moses achieved. This is because the Patriarchs perceived G‑d as He is revealed in the world, which is only a superficial revelation compared with the way G‑d is revealed in the Torah, which is what Moses was able to comprehend.

Notwithstanding, [Moses personified] the back of [the internal aspects of] Abba, inasmuch as all [aspects of Abba and Imma] that enter inside Zeir Anpin are their backs, and the [way the supernal partzufim] conduct weekday affairs is only derived from their backs.

G‑d runs the world (during the workweek) by infusing the seminal divine consciousness of Abba, through its development in Imma, into the source of human consciousness, Zeir Anpin. Only a diminished version of the divine insight of Abba can be transferred into the lower partzufim; this is referred to as its "back".

On Shabbat, the world's divine consciousness ascends and is not processed through the lower partzufim.

Thus, you will note that the sum of the numerical value of the back [achorayim] of the name Ab [Havayah spelled out with yuds, =72] is 184, plus 161, the numerical value of the front of the name Eh-yeh [spelled out with yuds], is equal to the numerical value of "Moses" [in Hebrew, "Moshe" =345].

The four ways the name Havayah is spelled out are associated with the four principle partzufim. The name referred to as "Ab" [= 72] is associated with the partzuf of Abba.

    Yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-yud-vav hei-yud = (10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10) + (6 + 10 + 6) + (5 + 10) = 72.

The "back" of this name is the following, "disappearing" iteration:

yud-hei-vav-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-yud-vav hei-yud

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10) + (6 + 10 + 6) + (5 + 10)

72

yud-hei-vav

yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-yud-vav

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10) + (6 + 10 + 6)

57

yud-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-yud

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10)

35

yud

yud-vav-dalet

(10 + 6 + 4)

20

total  =

184

The "front" of the name Eh-yeh (alef-hei-yud-hei) spelled out with yuds is the simple spelling out of this name, as follows:

alef

alef-lamed-pei

1 + 30 + 80

111

hei

hei-yud

5 + 10

15

yud

yud-vav-dalet

10 + 6 + 4

20

hei

hei-yud

5 + 10

15

total  =

161

Moses is the sum of the back of Abba as present in Imma….

The name Eh-yeh is associated with Imma. Thus, Moses is the sum of the back of Abba as present in Imma.

All of this applies during the weekdays, but on Shabbat, [Moses] reaches [the consciousness of] the shining of the face [of the partzufim].

This is the significance of the numerical value of the name "Moshe". For all that the forefathers reached was [the consciousness of] the name E-l Sha-dai ["G‑d Almighty"], referring to the yesod of Abba or Imma, but "My Name [Havayah]"- as it was revealed to Moses - "I did not make known to them".

The name Havayah is G‑d's "proper" name, or as it is called further on, His "explicit" name. It thus indicates His real presence, His interest, focus, and purpose in creating the world, His "inner" desire. In contrast, the name E-l Sha-dai ("G‑d Almighty") refers to G‑d the Creator of the world. The Sages note that the word "shadai" can be interpreted to mean "He who ['sha-'] said 'enough' ['-dai'] to the expansion of the world [at the end of the creation week]."

You will note that the initials [of the forefathers' names] also indicate that they only reached [the consciousness of] E-l Sha-dai, in two ways:

First: The sum of the numerical values of the initials of the names Abraham [alef, 1], Isaac [yud, 10], Jacob [yud, 10], and Israel [yud, 10] is the same as the numerical value of the name E-l [= 31]

    1 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 31.

    "E-l" is spelled: alef-lamed = 1 + 30 = 31.

- and the final letters of the names Abraham [mem], Isaac [kuf], and Jacob [beit], transform via atbash into Sha-dai.

    "Sha-dai" is spelled: shin-dalet-yud.

    Mem -> yud; kuf -> dalet; beit -> shin.

The Patriarchs perceived G‑d's presence in the world….

Second: If you add the numerical values of the alef from Abraham, the lamed from Israel, the hei that was added [to "Abram"] to form "Abraham" (Gen. 17:5), the shin [which is substituted in the book of Psalms for the tzadik] of Isaac (Psalms 105:9), which is written [there as] "Yischak", the vav that is added [on occasion] to Jacob (Lev. 26:42; Jeremiah 30:18, 33:26, 46:27, and 51:19), together with the three unit values of the three names [of the patriarchs], the total is the numerical value of E-l Sha-dai [345].

    alef + lamed + hei + shin + vav + 3 = 1 + 30 + 5 + 300 + 6 + 3 = 345.

    "E-l Sha-dai" is spelled: Alef-lamed Shin-dalet-yud = (1 + 30) + (300 + 4 + 10) = 345.

Thus, you have in these two calculations two allusions to E-l Sha-dai, referring to yesod of Abba and yesod of Imma. It was to these levels [that the forefathers] reached. But as to the inner aspect of "My Name, Havayah, I did not make [it] known to them."

Furthermore, you will note that the numerical value of the initials of Abraham [alef, 1], Isaac [yud, 10], and Jacob [yud, 10] is 21, the numerical value of the name Eh-yeh, which is associated with Imma. This further indicates that they did not reach [consciousness of] the inner dimension [of these partzufim,] i.e. the name Havayah. Only Moses did this.

    "Eh-yeh" is spelled: alef-hei-yud-hei = 1 + 5 + 10 + 5 = 21.

If you consider [the Patriarchs' four] names - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel - stripped of their first and final letters, the numerical value of the remaining letters is 976, the value of the phrase "the explicit Name" [in Hebrew, literally, "hashem hameforash"].

"The explicit Name" is one of the ways the Talmudic sages refer to the name Havayah.

"Abraham" (in Hebrew, "Avraham") is spelled: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem -> beit-reish-hei = 2 + 200 + 5 = 207.

Isaac (in Hebrew, "Yitzchak") is spelled: yud-tzadik-chet-kuf -> tzadik-chet = 90 + 8 = 98.

"Jacob" (in Hebrew, "Yaakov") is spelled: yud-ayin-kuf-beit -> ayin-kuf = 70 + 100 = 170.

"Israel" (in Hebrew, "Yisrael") is spelled: yud-shin-reish-alef-lamed -> shin-reish-alef = 300 + 200 + 1 = 501.

    207 + 98 + 170 + 501 = 976.

    "Hashem hameforash" is spelled: hei-shin-mem hei-mem-pei-vav-reish-shin =
    (5 + 300 + 40) + (5 + 40 + 80 + 6 + 200 + 300) = 976.

This indicates that the inner dimension of what the Patriarchs perceived - G‑d's presence in the world - was what Moses perceived - G‑d's revelation in the Torah.

It is this [explicit name of G‑d] that Moses reached in all its aspects, which are [indeed] alluded to by the name Havayah, [as follows.] You will note that in this name, the sum of its front and its back is 976, which alludes to the levels [of divine consciousness] that Moses achieved. This level is called "the explicit name". To wit:

The yud [of the name Havayah] is associated with the name Ab [=72], the hei with the name Sag [=63], the vav with the name Mah [=45], and the final hei with the name Ban [=52]. The sum of the numerical values of the "fronts" [simple values] of these names is 232.

    72 + 63 + 45 + 52 = 232.

The numerical values of the "backs" of these names are yud - 184, hei - 166, vav - 130, and hei - 144.

We saw above that the numerical value of the "back" of the name Sag is 184. If we perform the same calculation on the other spellings-out of the name Havayah, we have:

For Sag:

yud-hei-vav-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-alef-vav hei-yud

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10) + (6 + 1 + 6) + (5 + 10)

63

yud-hei-vav

yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-alef-vav

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10) + (6 + 1 + 6)

48

yud-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-yud

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 10)

35

yud

yud-vav-dalet

(10 + 6 + 4)

20

total  =

166

For Mah:

yud-hei-vav-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-alef vav-alef-vav hei-alef

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 1) + (6 + 1 + 6) + (5 + 1)

45

yud-hei-vav

yud-vav-dalet hei-alef vav-alef-vav

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 1) + (6 + 1 + 6)

39

yud-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-alef

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 1)

26

yud

yud-vav-dalet

(10 + 6 + 4)

20

total  =

130

For Ban:

yud-hei-vav-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-hei vav-vav hei-hei

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 5) + (6 + 6) + (5 + 5)

52

yud-hei-vav

yud-vav-dalet hei-hei vav-vav

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 5) + (6 + 6)

42

yud-hei

yud-vav-dalet hei-hei

(10 + 6 + 4) + (5 + 5)

30

yud

yud-vav-dalet

(10 + 6 + 4)

20

total  =

144

To summarize:

letter of Name Havayah

corresponding spelling-out

value of "back"

yud

72

184

hei

63

166

vav

45

130

hei

52

144

total =

624

The total numerical of these "backs" is the same as that of the word for "will tread" [in Hebrew, "tidroch"], as in the verse "Every place upon which your feet will tread" (Joshua 1:3).

    "Tidroch" is spelled: tav-dalet-reish-kaf = 400 + 4 + 200 + 20 = 624.

Yesod is oriented outward, toward expressing its content to the lower levels….

Thus, the sum of [the front and back of these names,] 232 and 624, is 856. But, as is known, if we count these names, which correspond to the four letters [of the name Havayah], together with the ten letters used to spell [each of] them out, plus the kolel, we have [an additional] 15.

As we have seen, 3 letters are always used to spell out the yud of the name Havayah, 2 letters to spell out the hei, up to 3 letters to spell out the vav, and 2 letters to spell out the final hei. 3 + 2 + 3 + 2 = 10.

We thus can add 15 for each of the four names, or 60, to 856.

The same applies to the backs of these names [meaning that we can add another 15 for each of the four names, totaling 60] such that the 8 names give 8 x 15, or 120. When this is added to 856, we have 976, the numerical value of "the explicit Name" ["hashem hameforash"], of which Moses achieved divine consciousness in all its aspects, that is, its inner aspects.

In contrast, [as we said,] the forefathers only reached [consciousness of] the name E-l Sha-dai, referring to yesod [of Abba and Ima]. The custom [of this name] is to extend outward.

Yesod is oriented outward, toward expressing its content to the lower levels.

[They did not achieve consciousness of] the name Havayah, which is hidden inside, as G‑d said, "This is My Name forever." (Ex. 3:15)

The Sages point out that the Hebrew word for "forever", "le'olam", is spelled so that it can be read "to hide" (in Hebrew, "le'aleim"), meaning that the name Havayah is hidden.


Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from 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.