The Word of the Lord Came Unto Abram in a Vision

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271) “The word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision.” “In a vision” refers to that vision that is a degree in which all the forms are seen. Before Abraham was circumcised, only one degree spoke to him. This is the vision, the Nukva, of which it is written, “Who sees the vision of the Almighty.”

272) When he was circumcised, all the degrees were on that degree called, “vision.” And then He spoke to him, as it is written, “And I appeared unto Abraham,” which is Hesed, “Unto Isaac,” which is Gevura, “And unto Jacob,” Tifferet, “As God Almighty,” which are Yesod and Malchut. Thus, all the degrees from Hesed on shine in the Nukva. Before he was circumcised, those degrees were not on him, speaking with him, but only the Nukva, only the vision of the Almighty.

273) But it is written, “And the Lord appeared unto Abram,” which is the degree of Nefesh. And it is written, “And Abram journeyed, going and journeying toward the South,” which is Ruach. Also, it is written, “And he built there an altar,” which is Neshama. Thus, here we have the upper degrees that he attained, so why is it said that prior to his circumcision, the upper degrees were not on that degree, to speak with him?

274) But before he was circumcised, the Creator gave Hochma [wisdom] to Abraham, meaning the upper degrees, to know Hochma and to adhere to the Creator, and he obtained faith. However, he was not speaking with Him, but only the bottom degree, the Nukva, as in, “The vision of the Almighty.” When he was circumcised, all the upper degrees were on that lowest degree to speak with him, and then Abraham rose in all the degrees.

275) As long as one is not circumcised, he has no grip of the name of the Creator. Once he is circumcised, he enters His name and clings onto Him. But did Abraham not cling to Him before he was circumcised? Indeed, he clung to him, but not as it should be, since due to the sublime love that the Creator loved him, He brought him close to Him; this is why it was not as it should be.

276) Afterwards, the Creator commanded him to circumcise, and the covenant, meaning Yesod, was given to him, that is, the connection of all the upper degrees. A covenant is a connection, connecting all of them together, to integrate them in one another. A covenant is a connection, when everything connects with it. For this reason, before Abraham was circumcised, his words with Him were only in a vision. This means that he lacked the upper degrees because he was missing the covenant, that he was the connector of all the degrees together.

277) When the Creator created the world, He created it only with a covenant, as it is written, “Beresheet [In the beginning] God created.” Sheet is a covenant, since the Creator created the world with a covenant. Also, it is written, “If My covenant is not day and night, I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth.” This is so because a covenant is a connection that day and night, which are ZA and Nukva, will not part.

278) When the Creator created the world, it was on the condition that if Israel came and received the Torah, they would exist. And if not, then I will turn you back to chaos. Indeed, the world did not exist until Israel stood at Mount Sinai and accepted the Torah, and then the world existed.

279) From that day forth, the Creator creates worlds. And who are they? They are the Zivugim [plural of Zivug] of people, since from that time, the Creator makes Zivugim and says, “The daughter of so and so with so and so.” And these are the worlds that He creates, since each Zivug is considered a world.

280) It is written, “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision.” These words are words of Torah, as it is written, “These words the Lord spoke.” As they are words of Torah there, they are words of Torah here. And the meaning of the words, after a man engages in these things in this world, the Creator announces the soul and bids it farewell, “I will protect you from all the wicked discernments in Hell,” as it is written, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your reward shall be very great.”

281) “Your reward shall be very great” because anyone who engages in Torah in this world is rewarded with inheriting and inheritance and a lot in the next world, as it is written, “That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance.” “Substance” is the next world, “And that I may fill their treasuries” in this world from all the wealth and abundance in the world. One who goes to the right is rewarded with the next world, and one who goes to the left is rewarded with wealth in this world.

282) When Rabbi Abba came from Babel, he declared, “Whomever wishes for wealth and whomever wishes for long days in the next world will engage in the Torah!” The whole world gathered unto him to engage in the Torah.

A bachelor, a man vacant of a woman, was in his neighborhood. One day, he came to him and told him, “I want to learn Torah so as to have wealth.” Rabbi Abba told him, “You will certainly be rewarded with wealth through the Torah.” He sat, and engaged in the Torah.

283) In time, he said, “Rabbi, where is the wealth?” Rabbi Abba replied, “It means that you are not studying for the Creator,” and he walked into his room to consider what to do about him. He heard a voice saying, “Do not punish him, for he will be a great man.” He returned to him and told him, “Sit, my son, sit, and I will give you wealth.”

284) In the meantime, a man walked in holding a golden vessel. He took it out so it would be seen, and its shine radiated in the house. He said, “Rabbi, I want to be rewarded with the Torah. I myself have not been privileged with understanding the Torah, and I ask that someone will engage for me. I have great wealth, which my father had left for me.” While he was seated at his desk, he set up thirteen cups of gold on it. “I want to be rewarded with the Mitzva [good deed] of studying the Torah, and in return, I will give wealth.”

285) He said to that man, who did not have a wife, “You engage in Torah, and this man will give you wealth.” The man gave him that gold cup. Rabbi Abba said about him, “Gold or glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.” He sat and engaged in Torah, and that man was giving him wealth.

286) In time, the beauty of Torah came within him. One day, he was sitting and crying. His rabbi found him crying and asked him, “Why are you crying?” He replied, “And what am I neglecting for this wealth—the life of the next world! I do not want to study for the man any longer; I want to be rewarded with the Torah for myself.” Rabbi Abba said, “Now it means that he is already studying for the Creator.”

287) He called upon that man and told him, “Take your wealth and give it to orphans and poor, and I will give you a greater share in the Torah, in everything we learn.” He gave him back the gold cup. There is no better reward in the world than one who engages in Torah. And there is no need for anything in return for it, as it is written, “Gold or glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.”

288) “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision.” Wherever the Torah writes, “In a vision,” it is the name that appeared to the patriarchs, meaning God Almighty, as it is written, “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty,” and as it is written, “Who sees the vision of the Almighty.” This is the vision in which all the upper visions are seen. It is like a glass mirror, in which all the shapes are seen. It is all one, the seeing and the vision are one, except one is a translation and the other is the holy tongue.

289) There are many Aramaic words in the Torah. This is why Onkelos was permitted to translate the Torah in the same language that the Creator revealed in the Torah. This language is hidden from the angels of the upper one and they did not know it when the Creator spoke with Abraham.

290) What is the reason that the Creator spoke with Abraham in a language that the angels did not know? It was that Abraham was not circumcised. He was uncircumcised, and with blocked flesh. This is why the speaking was in a translated language, which is hidden from the angels. It is the same as with Balaam, of whom it is written, “Who sees the vision of the Almighty.” “Who sees” is a word that is hidden from the serving angels; it is in Aramaic, so they would not be able to say that the Creator is speaking with that impure uncircumcised one. The holy angels do not need translation; hence, they did not know that the Creator spoke with Balaam.

291) But do the angels not know the translation? After all, Gabriel taught Joseph seventy languages, and the translation is one of the seventy languages! Indeed, they do know, but they do not fear for him and do not watch over him because in their eyes, this is the most loathsome of all the languages.

292) But if it is loathsome in the eyes of the angels of the upper one, why did Onkelos translate the Torah in that language, or Jonathan, son of Uziel, with the Bible [referring only to the Old Testament]? Indeed, it was only loathsome to them, and so it should be, so that the upper angels would not be envious of Israel. However, it is not loathsome to us. This is why the Torah and the Bible were translated into that language and it is not loathsome, since the Creator wrote in the Torah in several places using that language.

293) And because it is hidden from the upper, holy angels, it appeared to Abraham in a hidden way, so the holy angels would not look at him and would not slander that the Creator appeared to an uncircumcised man.

294) When was it revealed to him openly before the upper angels? When He gave him the sign of the holy covenant. At that time, it is written, “And God talked with him, saying.” “God” is a holy name. It does not write, “In a vision,” but a revealed name, which is God.

295) “Saying” means saying and declaring in every language that the Creator spoke with Abraham, meaning that he will no longer be hidden from the angels, and not in another language, which is a translation, but in the language that everyone speaks, so they can tell one another and will not be able to slander and talk. This is why it is written, “And God talked with him, saying.” “God” and not “In a vision,” since He admitted him into the holy covenant and brought him close to Him.

296) This is the reason why the sign of the Creator, which is Divinity, was not given to him until he was circumcised, since she is called “an actual covenant.” Hence, when he entered the covenant, the sign of the Creator was given to him in his name, as it is written, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram.”

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