Our Torah portion continues the theme of the construction of Tabernacle. The Hebrew word for "Tabernacle", "Mishkan", has a numerical value of 410, the same numerical value as the name of the central prayer relating to G‑d's unity, the "Shema". This theme, connecting the Tabernacle with Prayer, is continued in this week's Zohar, which dwells on the "Heichalot", or "Palaces", in the spiritual worlds. These Palaces are entered as one ascends in prayer to the world of Beriya after the "Barechu" prayer read before the Shema in the Morning Service.

The Palaces are seven in number. They correspond to the sefirot in ascending order as explained in the chart below. Tiferet is placed higher than chesed and gevura because it is a synthesis of the two of them. The following table shows the Palaces and their "place" in the Morning Prayers. You can compare the table to your Prayer Book to see what they are related to in the prayers. Our translation will deal with the Palace of netzach.

Palace Place in Prayer Sefira Inner Experience
Building of Sapphire,

Livnat HaSapir
Yotzer Ohr to E-l Baruch Malchut and yesod
Kingdom and Foundation
Lowliness and truth
Essence of the Heavens,
Etzem HaShamayim
E-l Baruch Gadol Deah to E-l Baruch Ne'imot Yiteinu Hod
Sincerity, Thanksgiving
Palace of Glowing, Noga E-l Baruch Ne'imot Yiteinu to HaMichadesh BeTuvo Netzach
Palace of Merit, Heichal HaZechut HaMichadesh BeTuvo to Ahavat Olam Gevura
Awe, Fear
Palace of Love, Heichal Ahava Ahavat Olam to Emmet Veyatziv Chesed
Palace of the Will, Heichal HaRatzon Emmet to Amida Tiferet
Palace of the Holy of Holies,

Heichal Kodesh Hakodashim
Ado-nai Sefatai Tiftach Chochma, bina and daat; Wisdom, understanding and knowledge Selflessness, joy and union

This spirit [a seraph called Zoharie-l (Note: we don't pronouce angels' names out loud - Ed.) who is in charge of the Palace of Glowing] when he is included in that light [of Ahadie-l1], and all of the other lights, and when the lights push against each other, gives issue to a Holy Chaya.

The E-l Baruch prayer consists of 22 words starting with the letter alef and finishing with Tav. The recitation of the prayer causes a reaction in the Palace of Victory and gives rise to a Holy Creature. The word "creature" does not adequately translate "Chaya", which literally means "alive". This life-force enlivens the lower forms of angelic forces called "ofanim", which directly affect the physical world. Traditionally, the names of these various angelic forces are not to be pronounced out loud, because they are summoned to a person by the use of their names. The reason is that an angel summoned for no reason may become annoyed! This rule does not apply to angels that have names used by people such as Michael or Gabriel. They each have eight wings…

[This Holy Chaya] includes two aspects, the lion and the eagle merged into one form named Ahi-el. (Note: we don't pronouce angels' names out loud - Ed.) When it receives the sparks of light from that spirit [Zohari-el] which is above it, this Holy Chaya causes four Ofanim to issue forth. They include all aspects [of guidance and activity] and they are called Hadri-el, Yehadri-el, Ahadriah and Assimon. (Note: we don't pronouce angels' names out loud - Ed.) They each have eight wings [two cover their face, two cover their legs, and they fly with four]. These [four ofanim] are in charge of all of the Heavenly Hosts that arrange wars.

These four ofanim receive the judgment from the higher courts in the Palaces and influence people in the physical world to make war as according to the heavenly decree.

For there are no wars in the world and no ruler [of a nation] is uprooted from his place in his kingdom, until the Heavenly Armies and the stars of the other Heavens [except those of Israel], all wage their battles and disputes each with the other. Then these four ofanim stand over [those below] in the four directions of the physical world.

They execute judgment through war in the four primary aspects of chesed, gevura, tiferet and malchut. These four…take the power to make war from the secret of the Higher Palace…

These four, when they fly to make war, take the power to make war from the secret of the Higher Palace that is the Court, that sits in the Palace of Zechut [related to gevura, see our table above]. From their sweat [as they exert themselves flying] they produce innumerable armies and camps of angels, all of which stand under their command. Some of them stand and sing, and some of them are made messengers over the world, opposing the messengers from the side of impurity that issue from the Third Palace of Impurity. They prosecute the world to harm it [in order that the fear of G‑d will prevent people from sinning].

These [holy] messengers oppose them so they will have no power over those who study Torah, as it is said "For He shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall carry you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone". (Psalms 91:11-12)

That "stone" is "the stone that causes stumbling and a rock that is a stumbling block" (Is. 8:14), whereas the other is called "a tested stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation" (Isaiah 28:16), the "Rock of Israel". These stand one opposed to the other.

The Shechinah is called the "Rock of Israel". The last letters of the words in the verse "For He shall give His angels charge over you" are yud, vav, hei and chaf. The last letters of the words "to keep you in all your ways" are chaf, lamed, chaf. These spell two names that are good for protection. And a person can meditate on the idea that these four ofanim will guard him and carry him on their hands out of danger, as is written, "They shall carry you up in their hands".

Parashat Pekudei - Zohar, pg. 249b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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