When a man or a woman shall commit any sin of those of mankind…. (Num. 5:6)

In order to explain this verse, Rabbi Shimon introduced a different verse and said:

Come and see.

What is written in relation to the war between Barak and Yavin, the king of Canaan?

And Heber, the Kenite, who was one of the descendants of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites. (Shoftim 4:11)

Note that Heber the Kenite was a descendant of Jethro, who was also known as Hobab. That is why King Saul warned them to move their camp from the Amalekites before he fought them.

The verse states, "And Saul said to the Kenites, 'Go…'". (Samuel I 15:6) Why were they called "Kenites"? This we have explained elsewhere because they were descended from people called "Keni".

They are specifically mentioned as living in Israel at the time of Abraham:

When a person performs the mitzvot of the Torah, he draws down onto himself a higher holy spirit….

As stated in the verse in Gen. 15:19, "The Kenites and the Keneezites…."

Now you might say that the name "Keni" comes from the Hebrew word for a bird's nest [in Hebrew, "ken"] because they made a temporary home in the desert, like a bird that fashions himself a temporary nest. They left their cities and went to the desert to learn Torah.

But this was not making a new nest because the verse we quoted states specifically that they separated from the Kenites - and didn't make a nest.

What they did was to separate themselves from the people called Kenites that were with them in the beginning, and joined themselves to the Holy One Blessed be He.

[Thus,] they "separated themselves from 'Kayin' [Hebrew for 'Cain']".

How happy is the life of a person who is worthy to immerse himself in the Torah in order to cleave to it and walk in its paths.

Learning is not enough; one must also perform the mitzvot commanded. This is the term "Halacha", which means both "law" and "walkway".

And when a person performs the mitzvot of the Torah, he draws down onto himself a higher holy spirit, as is stated in the verse "Until the spirit is poured upon us from on high". (Isaiah 32:15).

In the beginning, a person has only their vivifying soul [Nefesh],and if he learns Torah and performs mitzvot he acquires his spirit [Ruach].

Even if a person falls to the lowest levels, they can…leave their wicked nature behind and attach themselves to the Holy….

However, if a person deviates from the path, he draws down upon himself a spirit from the other side of the holy. Then he receives an impure spirit from the source of Nukva deTehoma Rabba.

This is the level of bina from the world of Beriya of kelipa. Then his understanding is perverted by egotistical thoughts that distort his ability to grasp reality.

This source is the dwelling place of bad spirits [depression, justification of wicked deeds and the like] that harm a person and cause damage to the world. They are called "damagers" [Hebrew for "nizikin"] of the world. They are extant on account of the first Cain [the murderous son of Adam].

Now Jethro was originally a priest of idolatry. He was worshipping exactly that evil side. It was from there that he drew down an evil spirit on himself, and it was because of this that he was called a "Kenite".

Now even though he was called a Kenite after he did teshuva and repented and returned to G‑d, this was not a name given in the derogatory sense.

He cleaved to G‑d and fulfilled the good side that was in Cain.

Thus we learn from Jethro, that even if a person falls to the lowest levels, they can, through learning Torah and walking in its ways, leave their wicked nature behind and attach themselves to the Holy.


Zohar, parashat Naso, p.122a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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