Thursday, January 18, 2007

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The Name

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel, at Mystical Paths

In this week’s portion of the Torah G-d tells Moshe that He is appearing to him as One Whose Name is Hashem, but He appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and to Yaacov only as the One Whose name signifies “Sufficient.” [i] The Name that represents Hashem is the highest manifestation of any of His Names.

But the Torah clearly states that “Hashem” appeared to Abraham and to Yitzchak. So what does He mean now when He says that He did not appear to them as Hashem?

Hashem appeared to the Fathers showing Himself to be One and the only G-d. This was a tremendous revelation in that day because at that time the entire world believed that there were many gods (as do the majority of the people alive today!). But now Moshe was learning something more. He was being shown that not only is Hashem One, and not only is He the only G-d, actually He is the Only One Who exists at all. This higher perspective was not revealed to the Fathers.

Even to say that G-d is One is not such a simple teaching. We must understand that although He has many Names and each Name represents a unique aspect or function of G-d, still He is a simple, constant, single One.

But the idea that Hashem is All there is, is a much more difficult teaching to understand. After all, aren’t we here in the All too? Since the Torah is saying that He is All, is this really saying that we are Him?

The entire creation, the higher and the lower are constantly being created each instant by Hashem’s will. The creation is His will and He and His will are one.

As an analogy, it is as if G-d with His “breath” is blowing creation into being and He and His breath are one. The creation is actually His “voice” as He says, “BE!” So, although we are His creation, we are not simply His creation, but the entire creation (including us) is an actual aspect of Him.

This is found in many places in Torah but is almost always hidden, as it is the deepest mystery of all. A primary source that reveals this concept is, “Know this day and take it to your heart that the L-rd is G-d in the Heavens above and upon the earth below there is nothing else.” [ii]

The Name Yud Kay Vav Kay

This Name signifies the entire Existence as the One Who was, is, and will be. Its actual pronunciation has been lost, perhaps intentionally to prevent abuse. Even though we do not know its true pronunciation and therefore could not misuse the actual Name, still we do not even try to pronounce It. This prevents any possibility of profaning this Holy Name.

When the Temple was standing, on Yom Kippur the High Priest would pronounce this Name as it is actually spelled and all who were present would fall to their faces prostrating themselves before the One G-d Who revealed His Presence in that Holy place.

The written letters of this Name actually form a diagram of this aspect of G-d. “Hashem” (literally “The Name”) usually refers to G-d but here we are referring to the Name.

The Yud signifies the upper realm as the entire letter is written only in the upper area of the line.

According to the Kabbalah, the letter Kay signifies the “revelation of self through giving.” So the Kay following the upper letter (Yud) signifies the revelation of the self through giving of the higher existence that the Yud represents. The Kay is shaped like a house or structure so it represents the revelation of “what is”, “what is readily found”, or “being.”

The Vav signifies the drawing down of the Yud since its shape is actually a downward continuation of the Yud.

The final Kay like the first Kay means the “revelation of self through giving” but here since it is following the Vav it signifies the revelation of the self giving that which is drawn down and becoming the lower existence, i.e. the lower structure.

The first two letters diagram the revelation of the higher existence, and the last two letters diagram the revelation of the lower existence, the manifested creation.

This Name shows “pictographically” that Hashem is the One and Only in the upper existence, and the One and Only in the lower existence. He is revealing an aspect of Himself by becoming both the upper un-manifested worlds and as the lower actualized worlds. This Name shows that He is all that exists at any level.

To our Fathers (and to those who follow in their ways) He showed Himself as the One Who is Sufficient, the One who provides for all of our needs. To Moshe (and to those who follow Moshe and the Kabbalah) He shows Himself not only as the Sufficient One but also as the Only.

[i] Ex 6:3
[ii] Deut 4:39

Tags: torah, parsha, hashem, judaism

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