In Moses' blessing to the tribe of Joseph, he says that Joseph's portion of the Land of Israel is blessed "with choice fruits that are produce of [the light of] the sun, and with choice fruits brought forth by the [light of the] moon". (Deut. 33:14) There are two synonyms for "moon" in Hebrew: "levana" (literally, "white") and "yareiach". Here, the latter synonym is used, and it is in the plural, so the literal translation of the second half of the verse would be "…and with choice fruits brought forth by the moons".

The difference between [the terms] "yareiach" and "levana" is that "yareiach" signifies the moon in its blemished state, while "levana" signifies the full moon. This is why the term "yareiach" appears in the plural, while the term "levana" never does. The moon is a manifestation of the sefira of malchut, the source of the souls of the Jewish people…

Since there are many forms of the "incomplete" moon but only one form of the full moon, "yareiach" can appear in the plural form, whereas it would be inappropriate for "levana" to take the plural form. The meaning of the verse now can be understood to be: "…and with choice fruits that are brought forth by the various phases and appearances of the moon."

This is also the meaning of the verse: "A righteous person will blossom in his days, and abundant peace until there be no 'yareiach'." (Psalms 72:7) This verse is cast in the future, when the moon will no longer be called "yareiach", but only "levana".

As we have seen, the moon is a manifestation of the sefira of malchut, the source of the souls of the Jewish people. As such, the waxing and waning of the moon is understood to reflect the spiritual rise and fall of the fortunes of the Jews. Moreover, the moon was originally intended to be equal to the sun (which is a manifestation of Zeir Anpin), but in order to precipitate history and the odyssey of exile and redemption, the moon was diminished, i.e. sent to retrieve the sparks of holiness from the exile. The Messianic redemption, the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, and the fulfillment of history, are thus conceived of as the return of the moon to its original full-time full state, and even its eventual restoration to the brightness of the sun. The verse quoted, speaking of the Messianic Era, thus refers to the future as the time when the term "yareiach" - referring to the unending waxing and waning of the moon - will not longer be relevant.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah, Zot HaBracha; 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.