Who Is This Who Comes Up Out of the Wilderness

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222) Pillars of smoke were billowing upwards. These pillars of smoke from the offerings—when there were offerings on the altar—would always rise like that smoke. There was no anger at the world and Israel were not exiled from their land.

223) “Who is this who comes up out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke?” When Israel were walking in the wilderness, Divinity was walking before them and they were walking behind her, as it is written, “And the Lord went before them.” It is written, “How thou went after Me in the wilderness.” Thus, Divinity walked before them and they followed her. This implies that they were receiving from her Achoraim.

224) And Divinity was walking and all the clouds of glory with her. And when Divinity moved, Israel moved, as it is written, “And whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tent.” When she went up, the cloud rose up, and all the people in the world see, and ask, and say, “Who is this who comes up out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke?”

225) The cloud in which Divinity was seen was smoke, since the fire that Abraham and his son, Isaac, had lighted gripped her and did not let go of her. And when that fire gripped her, she emitted smoke.

When the left line of Bina shines without right, its illumination is like a consuming fire. And when Divinity is in the form of Achoraim, she rises and clothes the left line of Bina, and then she is lit up by this fire because Isaac is the left line of Bina. Abraham extended it, and before he was included in the right, he was as a consuming fire. Also, Divinity was lit up by this fire while she was in the form of Achoraim, and during the correction of Divinity, when she receives the complete Mochin of Panim be Panim (face-to-face)—when she imparts illumination of Hochma—she imparts with those Kelim [vessels] that are like a consuming fire. This is because she received from the left line of Bina while she was in Mochin de Achoraim.

This fire does not part from the Nukva even when she is in Mochin de Panim because through them, she gives illumination of Hochma because then she evokes the Kelim de Achoraim, which are like a consuming fire and emit smoke.

226) “…perfumed with myrrh and frankincense.” “Perfumed” means she is connected to the two other sides that are mitigated and included in one another, which are Abraham’s cloud—to the right—and Isaac’s cloud—to the left. “…with all powders of the merchant” is Jacob. This means that she was connected in the three lines: myrrh—the right line, Abraham; frankincense—the left line, Isaac; all the powders of the merchant—the middle line, which contains both, and is therefore called “merchant,” for it has myrrh and frankincense.

227) “…powders of the merchant” are the righteous Joseph. This is so because Joseph’s coffin, who is Yesod, went to her. And he is called “merchant” because he was gossiping on his brothers before his father.(6)

228) “Powder” connects to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, which are as one and have one form, as it is written, “These are the generations of Jacob, Joseph.” This is why it is written, “all the powders of the merchant,” since the place from which the river comes out, meaning Yesod, which is Joseph, waters everyone, and everyone’s faces shine.

229) And when Israel were in the land and were bringing offerings, they were all properly near to the Creator. And when the offering was done and the smoke rose upright, they knew that the smoke of the altar lit the candle that was meant to be lit, and everyone’s faces shone and the candles were lit.

Candles are the Sefirot of the Nukva, the light of the fire.

230) Since the day the Temple was ruined, there is not a day without rage and fury, as it is written, “a God that hath indignation every day”; joy had been taken away above and below, Israel walk in exile, and they are under the authority of other gods. Then, the verse, “and there shall thou serve other gods” comes true.

231) But why has all that come to Israel? It is because “thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things.” what is “the abundance of all things”? Here it is abundance of all things and there it is “want of all things.”

Yesod is called “all,” as it is written, “all that is in the heaven and in the earth.” And when Israel were in the land, Yesod was shining for them and it was said, “abundance of all things.” But abroad, in exile, it was said, “in want of all things,” for Yesod is not shining there. This is why it is said, “therefore shall thou serve thine enemy whom the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things.”

232) Until the Creator awakens and redeems us from among the nations, as it is written, “then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity.”


(6) The words Rochel (merchant) and Rechilut (gossip) have the same root in Hebrew.

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