Date: Jul 20, 2018
Tonight’s shiur is on the topic of the pnimius of loshon ha’ra—internal/esoteric meaning of evil speech.
Reviewing the Fundamentals
Fundamentally, we know that if a person speaks loshon ha’ra, what results is a mida-kneged-mida---measure-for-measure reaction. If you speak derogatorily about another Jew, then the Satan can mekatreg--prosecute you, measure-for-measure. If you bad-mouth another Jew, the Satan immediately has heavenly permission to do the same. He can degrade you, denigrate you in the heavenly tribunal. He can meore din--invoke judgment.
If a person is found guilty then, of course, he will probably be punished unless he has certain merits whereby the judgment itself is suspended. If he doesn’t have merits, he’s appropriately punished.
In addition, when a person receives a psak din—determination of (guilt) judgement, the Satan is able to yonek--nourish from the kedusha--holy energy from that person. The Satan grows in might and thrives and is able to apply tigbores ha’ra—proliferation of evil in the world depending on that person’s kedusha. Depending on the kedusha of klal Yisrael, of Jews in general, the shechina—Divine Presence could be revealed among them but, when the Satan can be yonek from their kedusha, they lose the shechina; that’s the punishment. When that happens, the Satan can nourish on that and, as I’ve spoken of before, can, among other things, found new religions in an effort to try to get Jews to leave Judaism. If the Satan is nourished from the ohr mashiach--messianic Light, as happened in 1240 and other critical junctures of time, he is able to bring new ideas to the world, create scientific progress and revolutions….all these I’ve discussed in previous lectures.
More Than Just Merit
To continue with the pnimius of loshon ha’ra, I’ll ask: why do we find that loshon ha’ra is fundamental to the geula--Redemption?
We know, for instance, that the exodus from Egypt was possible because they did not speak loshon ha’ra. The midrash—exegetical commentary says this. The Jews were redeemed because they didn’t speak loshon ha’ra. Was refraining from loshon ha’ra merely a merit they had or was there something inherent in the geula process itself which demands shmiras ha’loshon--guarding one’s speech?
Shmiras ha’loshon is inherent to the geula, is necessary for it to take place. Why? What is the pnimius of loshon ha’ra that makes it so devastating and makes it necessary for the geula to occur?
To understand it’s pnimius more than we’ve done before, there is a dimension of loshon ha’ra which is very important to understand but, to understand it in such depth, there are certain preliminary ideas that must be understood. Therefore, it is necessary for me to introduce these ideas that most people don’t know.
These ideas are found in the pnimius of Torah, the internal framework of the Torah, and referred to as “secrets of Torah” in Kabbalah, the esoteric, mystical doctrine of Judaism. It’s called the “sod” of the Torah and was given at Sinai and transmitted from generation to generation. It includes the discovery and rediscovery of the Zohar, giving these ideas greater gilui--revelation than they’ve ever had.
Sefira: Spiritual Forces
The first idea to understand is about the “sefira” (singular form) or “sefiros” (plural form). The Ribono Shel Olam--Master of the Universe creates ten forces, ten sefiros, which are fundamental to the fabric of all Creation. All of Creation is made from these ten forces. These ten forces create the briyah—Creation. They are given their metzios--existence and energy from G-D. They are the entire internal structure of Creation.
I’m going to touch on these in a superficial manner to explain what they are but will not give them any in-depth treatment here. I want to limit the explanation only to suffice to explain the pnimius of loshon ha’ra.
These ten sefiros emanate from G-D and form the underlying structure of all Creation. They are forces and there are ten: keser, chochma, bina, chesed, gevurah, tiferes, netzach, hod, yesod, malchus.
It’s important to understand that these forces create realities, but which reality they create depends on the level they appear to. What do I mean by that? Any particular level to which they appear is an olam—world, a particular level of reality. A level of that olam, of that existential reality, looks a certain way.
When they first appeared, the reality they created was an unimaginable reality in which the presence of G-D was completely revealed to the greatest extent at that level. That reality in loshon kabbalah--kabbalistic language is called “Adam Kadmon”--Primordial Man. That level of reality is one in which everything is understood as emanating from the Ribono Shel Olam. There is no hester--concealment of His presence. His yichud--Oneness is completely revealed. That’s the level which we’ll perceive in Olam Ha’ba--Future World. That’s the first level of reality which the sefiros “created.”
From that original state, the sefiros are transformed and become grosser to create a second level of reality in which is perceived differently, perceived as a yichud but it’s not as clear as in Adam Kadmon. I won’t go any more deeply into the specificity of the olamos--worlds. This second reality is called “Atzilus”—World of Emanation.
The sefiros then create a third reality called “Briyah”—World of Creation. A fourth reality, a different existential setting where the presence of G-D is perceived at yet a lower level with much hester—concealment, is called “Yetzirah”—World of Formation. The last level is the world we recognize, “Asiyah”—World of Action. Therefore, the sefiros create all these levels of reality and they, themselves, become “thicker” as they “descend,” as they become more and more gross. The amount of perception of the yichud of G-D changes and the amount of concealment grows with each reality.
These are the olamos—worlds. The word “olam” comes from the Hebrew word “helem”--concealment. Every olam conceals some aspect of G-D.
Groupings and Distinctions
There is a difference among the sefiros. We distinguish them in terms of the gimel rishones--upper three: keser, chochma, bina. (These are affiliated with “Chabad”-- chochma, bina, da’as.) These gimel rishones are the “highest” of the sefiros and they inject, transmit—or what’s called “mashpia”--cause to flow (from the word “shefa”)--to the zayin tachtones--lower seven. These lower seven are: chesed, gevurah, tiferes, (“חגת”—for short) netzach, hod, yesod, (״נהי״—for short). Malchus is the seventh of the seven “lower” sefiros.
The zayin tachtones--lower seven receive from the gimel rishones—first three. These “bottom” seven are subdivided into two sets: there are the first six, with the seventh regarded separately as the last. The first six of the seven, are called “zeir anpin,” also called “zachor”--male because they feed into the seventh, malchus, which is a nekeivah--female because it receives from the upper six. Malchus receives completely from the six above. They “pour” their shefa, their Divine influence, into the lower seven and, of those lower seven, the six pour into the seventh.
It's like a pipe connected to a reservoir. That reservoir is the gimel rishones, the foremost three. The “pipe” is the zeir anpin. The flow goes to the “faucet,” the sixth sefira of the seven-- yesod (the last of the full set) which is “open” and “pours” into malchus which is a keili--vessel. That’s the mashal--analogy, example.
The nature of zeir anpin as a zachor--masculine is to “thrust,” to give, to mashpia, to influence. The mekabel, is “to receive.” That is the essence of the nekeivah--female. Malchus, the seventh, or the tenth of the entire set, is nekeivah and receives, fundamentally, from all the nine above it.
The universe was created only with the bottom seven. In fact, the essential idea of the entire Creation is not the upper gimel rishones; it is the zayin tachtones which really create the entire universe. Where do we see this?
One Sefira Per Day of Creation
How many days are there to Creation? There are seven sefiros and each of the seven “reigned” on each day of the creation process. The seventh is Shabbos--Sabbath which is malchus. From chesed until malchus are the sum of days because it says that “the world is created through chesed”--lovingkindness. G-D didn‘t have to create a world, but He wants to bestow what’s called tremendous “hatava”--goodness.
Four Analogues: Human Anatomy, Beis Ha’Mikdash, Hebrew Letters, Geometry
What is fascinating is that the ten sefiros which comprise the study of Kabbalah, have four analogues to the mystical structure of the briyah--Creation.
The first analogue is human anatomy. Man looks exactly like the sefiros. If you were to take the sefiros and create a physical model, a physical paradigm, it would look just like a human being. The human anatomical structure, all its parts, how it operates, is a direct manifestation of the sefiros themselves. Someone who understands the correspondence, the parallel, between what is in the body and the workings of the upper sefiros, can figure out what is in the entire universe. That’s the sod meaning of the pasuk--verse that says, “mi besarai, ech ze elokim”--from my flesh I can understand G-D. From the human anatomy one can figure out the Creation, mystically.
The second analogue is the Beis Ha’Mikdash—Holy Temple. It’s a model of the entire mystical universe: the divisions of the kodesh, the kodesh kedoshim and so on, are an exact replica of the briyah. One of the most incredible aspects of it, one of the sodos—secrets, is that G-D enabled us to manipulate the spiritual worlds by interfacing with its counterpart here in this world! If you interfaced with its parallel here, you would affect its counterparts in the olamos. The shechina occupied the central part of the Beis Ha’Mikdash just as the ein sof—infinite (aspect of G-D) occupies the center of the entire mystical universe.
The third analogue to all the spiritual worlds and why they are so powerful are the osiyos--Hebrew letters of the aleph-beis--alphabet. They too are an exact analogue. The essence of the power of the letters, particularly of shemos—names, addresses the exact aspect of the spiritual worlds that you want to tap into. That’s where the letters get their power.
A fourth analogue is that of the “geometric.” The sefiros are described as having a geometry, either circular or linear. Linearity and circularity of the sefiros doesn’t mean that they are, literally, circular or linear. There is a certain state of the sefiros that, in the physical world, is called a “circle” or a “line.” What is truly there, we don’t know. It doesn’t make a difference; we know that its counterpart, physically, is considered a “line” or a “circle” as sefiros have different “situations” to them. So, “geometry” is another way of describing that.
If you observe a man, you will notice that he really “lines up” like the sefiros, which I’ll explain.
Structure of the Sefiros and Human Anatomy
Let’s consider the human anatomy. At this point, everybody is probably wondering what all this has to do with loshon ha’ra. We are not far so just be patient.
The ten sefiros are arranged in three “lines”:
right side are three: chochma, chesed, netzach (abbrev: “״חחן).
left side are three: bina, gevurah, hod (abbrev: (״בגה״
middle are four (from the top down): keser, tiferes, yesod in malchus (abbrev: (כתימ
A human being, anatomically and structurally, resembles, b’yosher--in straightness, the linearity of the sefiros:
skull is keser with “three brains”: chochma, bina, da’as;
right arm is chesed;
left arm is gevurah;
torso is tiferes;
right leg is netzach;
left leg is hod;
male organ is yesod;
atara—“crown,” foreskin on that organ is malchus
In a woman:
female organ is yesod;
rechem--uterus is malchus (which is concealed)
You’ll notice a man is like a stick figure that lines up as described. The guf--body of an adam--human, is just like the sefiros. Just like there are sefiros in the “body,” there are also ten in the head. It’s apart, segregated, from the guf--body. Fundamentally:
skull is keser—crown;
eyes are chochma;
ears are bina;
nose is tiferes;
tongue is yesod;
mouth is malchus
We now see how the human anatomy, regarding the head, has ten, and the body has ten sefiros. Once we understand this, we can now begin to understand the Kabbalah of loshon ha’ra.
The Kabbalah of Loshon Ha’Ra: Yesod and Malchus and the Mechanism of Damage
As laid out above:
The loshon--tongue is k’neged “yesod”—parallel to “foundation.”
The peh--mouth is k’neged “malchus”--parallel to “kingship.”
Yesod is the ninth sefira, in terms of all ten, that pours into malchus. The gimel rishones, the bottom seven, are divided into two sets. The first six “pour” into yesod and yesod “pours” into malchus. So, yesod is the “faucet” from where all the shefa—Divine energy pours out from all the nine above into malchus which receives it and then creates the entire Creation or, at least, the world below it. Yesod is a very pivotal point of exit, so to speak, of all the shefa--flow of Divine forces.
The tongue is k’negedyesod. We can now understand that when you do an aveira--transgression using a certain organ, you cause a defect, damage, to that particular sefira which is the analogue of that anatomical region. If the yesod is the loshon, the tongue, then a person’s loshon ha’ra damages the yesod. He does a pgam--damage to the yesod. You’re using that organ that represents yesod to cause damage. The damage is the “split” between yesod and malchus. The yesod that pours all its forces into malchus “below” gets disrupted by the damage from loshon ha’ra.
The pnimius of loshon ha’ra is that it interferes with the proper flow from one sefira into another. The loshon represents yesod so when a person speaks loshon ha’ra using his tongue, he damages the sefira of yesod and that has enormous repercussions for the entire well-being of the briyah. The entire Creation stands in harmony when the forces line up correctly. When you speak loshon ha’ra, the forces become misaligned spiritually. Damage occurs throughout all Creation as a result! All the flow of the sefirotic forces must “funnel” correctly into malchus. Only then is the world “created” from those correctly-aligned forces. If they are interfered with, misaligned, the repercussions are enormous throughout the entire physical universe.
Although we may not see it clearly as it expresses itself in history, we now understand the secret of lohon ha’ra and how it has the unique ability to damage yesod with its anatomical counterpart of the loshon, the tongue. Once we understand that yesod is the major exit point of all the Divine forces into malchus, into all Creation, then loshon ha’ra is extremely damaging to the entire Creation.
Loshon Ha’ra, the First Conversation in History
Now we can begin to understand ideas in the Torah that are based on our understanding of this framework. The snake, who is the manifestation of the Satan, had to tempt Adam and Chava to eat from the tree, the etz ha’da’as tov v’ra--Tree of Knowing Good from Evil. What was his argument? He said the following: if you eat from the tree, you will be like G-D. What does that mean?
What the nachash--snake told Chava, and what she eventually told Adam, is that: G-D is not the sole being in Creation; there’s an independent force that exists besides G-D--the tree! This is the midrash of Rashi. In other words, the tree is a “being” independent of G-D and He got His power from the tree. Not only is the tree independent, but the Ribono Shel Olam is not as great as you think He is. You think He’s omnipotent? It’s not true! This was the message the snake conveyed.
As a result, they ate from the tree, sinning. What they should have understood is the following: G-D is yichud shlitoso--omnipotent because they were created at the end of Creation on the sixth day; they knew of his omnipotence so couldn’t fool themselves. What they didn’t know was that He is not only yichud shlitoso--omnipotent, singular in power, but He is also yichud mitsiuso--omnipresent, the only independent being that exists and from Whom everything emanates.
G-D created a tree so that people could think, perhaps, that He is an independent being. G-D wanted Adam to realize that. Adam and Chava were supposed to comprehend that G-D is the only thing that exists and that the snake’s argument was false. But Adam failed; he bought the argument that the tree was an independent being and there is a place for independent beings besides G-D and that the tree was superior in potency to G-D.
Two Types of Loshon Ha’ra: “Motzi Shem Ra” and “Rechilus”
The snake spoke two types of loshon ha’ra about G-D, motzi shem ra--defamation, slander and rechilus--gossip. Where do we see this?
First, the nachash said that G-D is not an independent being, that there are others besides Him. He also inferred that the tree was superior--both lies. The tree is not superior nor is it independent. That’s clearly motzi shem ra. He is degrading the stature of G-D in the eyes of Adam and Chava. Since that information is false, that kind of loshon ha’ra is called “motzi shem ra”--defamation.
He was also speaking rechilus against the Ribono Shel Olam. What is “rechilus”? Not only do you defame somebody but you cause the listener to hate the person of whom you’ve spoken. The snake was, essentially, proposing: Why didn’t G-D reveal that He is not the only independent being? Why didn’t He make known to you this truth? It’s because G-D knows that if you’d eaten from the tree, you’d be as powerful as He. G-D isn’t interested in your well-being. He’s jealous of you and doesn’t want you to become a rival to Him.
When Adam heard this, how would he feel about G-D? G-D’s exalted stature, His omnipotence, is degraded, but there’s a sina--hatred that develops between G-D and Adam because Adam now believes that G-D fooled him, dealt dishonestly with him. Hatred develops in Adam and Chava. That’s rechilus.
In the first recorded conversation in Torah, there was already loshon ha’ra, motzi shem ra and rechilus all in one! Why did the snake want Adam to listen to and believe this loshon ha’ra? The Satan knew that if Adam were mekabel—receptive to the loshon ha’ra, he will pgem his yesod and the Divine force that goes from yesod to malchus would be interrupted. That is what the nachash wanted. Not only did he want Adam to eat from the tree, he wanted Adam to mekabel the loshon so the force would be interrupted, deflected. That’s why loshon ha’ra is in the first recorded conversation in history. It’s no accident; He knew what he wanted!
Motive and Mechanism of Evil
Why should the snake, the Satan, want to do that? He wants the yesod going into malchus to be blocked and diverted. Why? Then the Satan can take from the shefa of yesod. He wanted it. Therefore, by getting Adam to receive the loshon ha’ra, he could yonek--nourish from the yesod itself and deflect the kedusha, the enormous holiness so that, instead of pouring into malchus, he gets it.
What does it this do for the Satan? It gives him a “makom”--place in Creation. From the time he receives the shefa, he could exist in the physical universe in a stature equal man. He wants a makom. So right after Adam and Chava believed his argument and ate from the tree, the Satan gained equality.
How do we see this manifest? From this point, the Satan was able to enter the physical body of man and the neshama within the body--both! He now would have a makom in body and soul because the Satan was able to damage and divert the yesod, diverting the shefa to himself. That’s how he did it.
The Satan, therefore, can be nourished from that yesod. Once that happens, he has a place in Creation because the snake, prior to this, was external to the physical universe. He could only offer them an argument but couldn’t give them the drive to sin because he was not part of the physical universe. Now that he would have such a “place” in the universe, his argument would be different.
As a result of the Satan’s reception of this kedusha from yesod, he now has a place in what chazal –sages express as “bo ha’nachash al Chava”—comes the snake upon Chava. The midrash defines the snake that “lives upon Chava,” with the phrase, “matel l’zohama,” referring to that force, that influence of zohama—defilement; that’s his influence. As a result of his being able to yonek--nourish from the yesod, he could now access that force, take that force and instill it into Chava but as filtered through him, instilling pollution, the filth of the Satan which can now enter her. In many ways, the Satan becomes the zachor—masculine. Chava, the nekeivah—feminine becomes a receptacle of his polluting influence.
There are many important ideas that emerge from this, that Chava received the zohama from the Satan because he became the zachor, the masculine “giver” when he took from the yesod.
Man Mirrors the State of the Sefiros
The first idea is that Adam, anatomically, mirrors the state of the sefiros. When they change, so does man. That is why man changes; the spiritual world changed and man mirrored that change. That is the secret of all disease. When you do a sin, it damages some aspect of the sefira which comes back on you and damages that organ the sefira relates to, is parallel to. In fact, a kabbalistic doctor wouldn’t prescribe medicines; he’d prescribe the mitzvah--commandment to mesaken--rectify that sefira which damaged the organ. Don’t ask me for any names and addresses. I don’t think they’re licensed by the authorities.
This is the inherent cause of disease; it’s not what people think. It’s not germs, viruses. The inherent cause of disease is damage to the sefiros which you are an analogue of. The way you disrupt the sefiros is by doing a cheit--sin using a certain organ which damages the sefira which parallels that organ and damages it; that’s why people get sick.
The proper way of getting around that would be to do a tikkun of that sefira. Obviously, there aren’t many people well-versed in the analogues. The Ari (Arizal) was able to do it. There have been great mekubalim--kabbalists who could know exactly which tikkun could be done because they recognized the pgam--defect in the olamos. That’s how they knew exactly what you had to do to get out of whatever tzara--trouble you were in. They could bypass the entire physical universe. All this is an aside.
Pnimius of Circumcision
Adam—mankind mirrors all the olamos, the spiritual universes, anatomically. As a result of his being mekabel loshon ha’ra, the shefa, the flow from yesod into malchus is disrupted so, anatomically, Adam must mirror that defect in the sefiros. Where do we see this?
Chazal say that Adam was “born circumcised.” He lacked the foreskin that covered the male organ. There had been, until the sin, no such thing as a foreskin; it didn’t exist. Why? Yesod, which is represented by the male organ, pours unimpeded into malchus however, once the Satan got Adam to mekabel the loshon ha’ra and yesod was damaged and the Satan could be yonek, suddenly the foreskin grew and covered the “yesod” and its anatomical counterpart, the male genital organ. That is why adam--man has an orlah—foreskin; that’s the defect in the sefira.
How did it happen? How was the Satan able to split the yesod from malchus? Adam believed the loshon ha’ra so it damaged his tongue which is yesod. The word “orlah” is comprised of two words: “lamed” and “ha’ra”= loshon ha’ra (.(ל הרע The way to grow the orlah, or conceal the yesod, is by speaking or believing loshon ha’ra. The yesod and malchus are split and that is what the orlah does! The word itself reveals how it, itself, is generated.
Numerological Support, Gematria
In fact, the words “sitra achra”--other side (referring to the satanic environment) has the gematria--numerological value of malshinim—slanderers. That is how the Satan, the sitra achra, derives most of his power. When the Satan derives his power due to loshon ha’ra, he’s able to inject zohama into Chava, therefore the gematria of “bo nachash al Chava” is equal to that of “sitra achra.” Similarly, “malshinim” is the same gematria as “sitra achra” because malshinim gives power to sitra achra and the result is “bo nachash al Chava,” the injection of the zohama into the physical universe.
Adam grew the orlah which is a product of the letter “lamed” (ל) and ha’ra—evil. This itself indicates how it came about, what generated it-- loshon ha’ra.
Correcting the Defect
How do we correct this defect Adam made? We do mila--circumcision. What do we do with this orlah? We know it represents the zohama because that is what conceals. What conceals the yesod?-- the zohama. It’s the force of the Satan and he’s being nourished by it. The orlah is the physical analogue of the zohama itself. G-D wants the Jews to remove the orlah. When we remove it through mila, we throw it to the ground because it is the chelek--part that belongs to the Satan because it is from the adama--ground that Satan has shlita—dominion over the physical universe.
Mila does what? It reveals the yesod so it can flow again into the malchus. That is what mila is. The gematria—numerological value of “peh”—mouth is “85,” the same as “mila”—circumcision. “Peh” is kneged malchus because the ritual of mila is to enable yesod to, once again, pour its kedusha--holiness into malchus.
Malchus is the anatomical parallel to peh—mouth, therefore the numerological equivalent of “peh” is malchus. The concept is to megaleh, to mechabeh--connect the yesod of malchus. When that happens there’s a tikkun--rectification in the briyah. Now you begin to understand the secret of mila.
There are some mitzvahs called “os” –sign that exist between G-D and klal Yisrael--the whole of the community of Yisrael. What is an “os”? Why is it a sign? The flow that goes from yesod to malchus but gets bypassed to the Satan for his benefit and generates zohama, is what G-D wants the Jews to remove. The Jews must end the influence of the Satan and his zohama and reconnect the yesod to malchus.
G-D says to a Jew: I want you to remove the foreskin with mila so you can reveal the yesod so it is, again, connected with malchus. I want you to mesaken--rectify that connection.
Removal of the foreskin reveals the yesod reconnecting it to malchus. The flow is reestablished correctly and kedusha flows once more and the shechina--Divine Presence is revealed throughout Creation because it is the disconnect that stops it. The presence of the Ribono Shel Olam cannot be revealed throughout Creation because the flow is not coming down from the upper olamos--spiritual worlds correctly. Through mila, the hester--concealment that the orlah creates, the zohama of the Satan, is removed so the flow comes into malchus and the gilui--revelation of the shechina can return. This is the “os”--sign.
Why is it called that? It is a “sign” of the actual agreement between us and the Ribono Shel Olam that we bring a rectification to the Creation and, if we do that, we will experience its rectification! The damage to Creation is that G-D is not revealed so, when we rectify it, we reveal Him to the Creation.
G-D says: I will give you a sign, an exact replica, an exact statement, of what lies between Me and you. It is represented by the orlah and you will remove it, remove the influence of the Satan, the zohama, the yetzer ha’ra—evil inclination, the sitra achra—“other” side, to expose the yesod as it is connected to the atarah of malchus--crown of kingship.
This is done on the eighth day which is, symbolically, the beginning of Olam Ha’Ba. Circumcision is “eight” after the zayin tachtones—lower seven sefiros of the seven days of Creation. The eighth day is the beginning of Adam Kadmon, in that sense. Therefore, if you remove the orlah, which is the zohama, reconnecting the flow between yesod and malchus then, on the “eighth day,” you will experience that restoration of the corrected flow.
The eighth day begins that time because we know that this world endures for 6000 years and then there is 1000 years of desolation beginning with the 7,000th year. With the 8,000th year, Olam Ha’Ba begins. Therefore, mila happens on the eighth day. The very act you do to remove the zohama to produce the gilui--revelation of yesod which is the shechina, will be exactly what happens to you on the eighth day, and that’s your chelek—portion. In the singular act of mila is the complete statement of the agreement between us and G-D. For this reason, it is called an “os.”
As a result of the cheit--sin, we see what happened, anatomically, to Adam. It’s not by chance that this happened. Man mirrors the condition of the sefiros.
We know what happened to Adam but what of Chava? When the nachash brought the zohama into the world, who did it go through first? The Satan put it in her. He damaged her malchus and she received zohama, tumah, pollution from the Satan. Her malchus, her rechem--uterus was spiritually damaged so there must be a defect in her uterus; this is called “niddah.” Niddah came about because of her role in the sin. Her anatomical region corresponding to malchus is the womb which would suffer a pgam; that’s niddah. She would have to experience death in the uterus where the ovum would be lost.
Why should a woman have to go through this process in which she has an egg that implants itself but, if not fertilized, it’s out? The place of her malchus is the life-giving place of the womb. Niddah is the result of the defect that she caused by believing loshon ha’ra which allowed the Satan to be nourished from that. That’s the concept of niddah and why it’s so important. At the time of her niddah, there’s a shlita--dominion of zohama. This period of time strengthens the Satan and his influence so, by observing niddah, she brings her tikkun to the world by rectifying what she did which, of course, was to believe the loshon ha’ra and convince Adam of the snake’s argument.
She didn’t have to do what she did. She could have reasoned: I fell for the argument but why should I destroy my husband? She didn’t look at that because, as the midrash says, she was jealous, thinking that G-D would give Adam another wife. She willingly destroyed her husband. Therefore, the major defect of the zohama occurs in a woman because of that sin.
We now understand very important ideas: what loshon ha’ra does and why the nachash employed it in his first argument. We see how central it is to the entire briyah—Creation. It disrupts the flow of kedusha into the briyah and enables the Satan to introduce the zohama.
It Gets Worse
Adam enabled the Satan to be equal to an adam—man in this world. Cain, however, did worse. He gave shlita-dominion to the Satan. When Cain killed Hevel, he allowed the Satan not only to be equal to man, but to rule over man. The Torah indicates this when it says, “l’pesach chatos rovetz”—sin lies in wait at the the door, the entrance. What’s the “pesach,” the entrance?—the mouth! Loshon ha’ra from the mouth is what fuels sin therefore sin lies at that entrance and waits for loshon ha’ra. This spells it out as the power of the mouth. Cain allowed the Satan to have dominion over him and, from there, the Satan’s power proceeds through to the time of the Flood and the destruction of the whole world.
There are two phases here: a phase where the Satan has equality with man and a phase when he has dominion over man. Both are very important ideas. The flow of yesod is blocked and the reversal of that is the tikkun to reconnect yesod to malchus. That will bring a tikkun to the world.
Pekidah, Event of Enormous Proportion: Two Stages
We can now proceed to understand the subjects of “pekidah” and “zechirah.” In the prayer “Ya’ale V’Yavo,” when we ask G-D to send the messiah, we see the words: “yipoked” and “yizocher.” Both words evoke the idea of “remembrance.”
When G-D approached Moshe, He said, “pokod pokaditi”—I have surely remembered which refers to His having “remembered” the afflictions of the Jews and that He’s come to take them out. Not only that, Moshe went to the klal—community and told them this and he used that expression of “pekidah” by which they recognized him as the mashiach because he used the “right language,” of “pekidah.”
When Yosef was dying, he said, “pokod yifkod” don’t forget me; remember me. What is this loshon--language of “pekidah”? We know that the major pgam is when yesod is disconnected from malchus and it is our task to bring them together so the flows align themselves and then the shechina is revealed. When yesod is reconnected to malchus, that is the pekidah. That is the event of enormous proportion. That’s what the tikkun is, this reconnection. This reconnection occurs under the influence of the sefira right above it-- tiferes influences yesod to reconnect to malchus. That, precisely, is “pekidah.” Kabbalistically, mystically, that is the process. Then everything become realigned.
What happens then? The Satan can no longer be yonek as much so he loses his dominion but still maintains a makom--place. He becomes equal, but not overpowering. When that happens, he must release the holy souls that are in his power. There are certain entities, beings, that are “in the hands” of the klippah, zohama, the Satan.
Moshe is in the klippah which means the Satan is able to envelop him and disallow him from receiving the ohr—Light. The yessurin—suffering that he and other great souls go through is called “miat ohr” diminishment of the holy Light which they should have proportional to the greatness of their neshamos--souls. When they suffer this diminishment, it’s an enormous tikkun. The one who makes them suffer it is the Satan. That’s sovlei choloyim—suffering of the righteous on behalf of the Jewish people via illnesses or whatever for the purpose of enacting tikkun. The Jews couldn’t do it based on their own suffering so they need the suffering of great neshamos.
Who are these major neshamos in the hands of the Satan who are aiding klal Yisrael? They are Moshe, the two meshichim—messiahs (Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David) and all the other tzaddikim—righteous ones.
The greatest entity in the klippah is the shechina, not G-D Himself but the Divine Presence, His representation. It is not at the Satan’s mercy but G-D allows the Satan to nourish from the holiness of the shechina. That is termed “shechinta d’galusa”--shechina in the exile indicating that G-D allows the Satan to derive a certain amount of holy energy from the Divine Presence itself. That’s a great benefit for klal Yisrael, without going into why or how.
It is the great souls who are released at the time of the pekidah when the Satan will have no more dominion over man. He merely occupies a “place.” What Cain did is neutralized and we’re back to the stage of Adam right after the sin. This stage is where the Satan has a makom—place but no longer has dominion.
This Kabbalistic event of pekidah is stage one of the Redemption. The soul of the mashiach is released, his yechida, the essence of his soul. His soul, without going into it with much detail, is the yechida. It’s that aspect of his soul defined as the “crown of mashiach” when he is released from the klippah. That is when the mashiach becomes the mashiach. That is what happened when G-D told Moshe, “pokod pokaditi” using that precise language. Yesod had reconnected to malchus under the influence of tiferes and, even though the messiah was released, there was no revelation because the Satan still had his “place.”
Zechira is the second stage. Kabbalistically, it’s when tiferes joins with yesod and malchus together—all three! It produces a gilui—revelation, not merely an emancipation. It’s the revelation of the shechina and of Mashiach ben Yosef and, of course, Mashiach ben David. There’s the gilui--revelation and that’s mamash—literally, the messianic era.
The pekidah is the term that, especially, pertains to Mashiach ben Yosef when there is a release of the neshamas. The gilui of the zechirah, the time of Mashiach ben David, is the revelation of the y’mei ha’mashiach—messianic era when evil doesn’t even have a makom—place and the satanic influence is completely obliterated.
When G-D told Moshe “pokod pokaditi,” it’s because the pekidah had arrived. This occasion happened as indicated in the verse which says, “v’yida elokim”—and G-D knew. “Knowing” is an expression of intimacy. The best-known expression is “v’yodah Adam es Chava”—and Adam knew Chava. It is the loshon of sexual intimacy. Yesod and malchus together is the counterpart of sexual intimacy, the analogue. When it says G-D “knew,” that was pekidah, kabbalistically; that’s when it happened. G-D “knew” in a way similar to how a man “knows” his wife. That’s the zivug—predestined pairing of yesod and malchus, the exact anatomical analogue of the sefiros as organs connecting. That’s the zivug—predestined pairing done between a man and a woman or between yesod and malchus because they represent the organs involved, the exact anatomical relationship, an exact parallel.
These are the concepts of pekidah and zechirah and this is what is meant in the “Ya’ale V’Yavo” prayer that says: “v’yipoked v’yizacher,” that we should be zoche—worthy of both stages.
“Pekidah” is the emancipation of the souls because of the connection between yesod and malchus under the influence of tiferes. “Zechirah” is the connection of all three, bringing the revelation of the messianic era, principally at the time of Mashiach ben David.
Expressions in Torah: Yosef and His Brothers and Egypt
How do we see this in the Torah? What happened to Yosef ha’Tzaddik—Joseph the righteous? He, without going into what it means, is an individual who personified, who was especially under the influence of, yesod. It had tremendous shlita over Yosef. As it says, “tzaddik yesod olam”—the righteous (one) is the foundation of the world. Yehuda, who is malchus, was particularly influenced by the sefira of malchus.
What was the story of Yosef and Yehuda? Yosef got sold. Yehuda was responsible in many ways for selling him. Yosef spoke loshon ha’ra—remember? He informed on Yehuda to his father, Ya’akov, about the sins Yehuda and his brothers were committing. Even though Yosef had it in mind to correct his brothers—he didn’t mean it maliciously—the halacha is that he shouldn’t have gone to his father to say that. He should first have gone to his brothers to confer with them in the hope they would change. What Yosef did is classified as “loshon ha’ra.” As a result, he damaged his yesod, and this is more serious since he is most influenced by yesod. He split the yesod from malchus which gave the Satan tremendous power over Yehuda so that, eventually, Yosef and Yehuda split. That’s what loshon ha’ra does, splits yesod from malchus. That’s one of the major reasons why Yehuda ended up selling Yosef into slavery and the kingdoms split.
A fascinating and esoteric understanding of this is how Yosef suffered due to this severance. The Gemara asks: “What can repair the damage that loshon ha’ra does; what’s the takana—repair? What is the repair to yesod?—Torah. Learning Torah brings back the yesod to malchus. Torah is learned, literally, with the organ parallel to yesod, the mouth. That is one of the mitzvos that is a takana--rectification. Since Yosef damaged yesod with his loshon ha’ra, one of the symptoms of this damage was that he forgot much of his learning. That is why his son, Menashe, was given that name because Yosef said he’d forgotten that Torah which he learned from his father, all that his father had learned at the academy of the prophets, Shem v’Ever. He bemoaned that fact by naming his son whose name means “forgetting.” In damaging the yesod, the Torah itself became defective in him.
Yosef also damaged theanalogue of yesod in the guf—body which is why he had the test with Potiphar’s wife. There is the yesod in the head—the tongue, but his test was in the body too, the male organ tested with sexual temptation.
Let’s now look at Egypt. The Jews were in Egypt, we know, because they spoke loshon ha’ra. Like Moshe said, “achi noda ha’davar”—surely the matter is known when he observed one Jew hitting a fellow Jew and asked, “Why are you hitting your fellow?”
The rasha—evil doer answered, “Who made you the boss? You want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian?”
Moshe realized then that, on a literal level, “surely the matter is known” referred to his murdering of the Egyptian. It is known, Moshe surmised, likely to Pharoah, and this Jew would probably inform on him. This is what happened. Moshe, who was the Mashiach ben Yosef, had to run from Egypt and was in exile for fifty-four years due to loshon ha’ra and the severance of yesod from malchus. Again, it’s the loshon ha’ra of Jews damaging the sefiros.
On a deeper level, “surely the matter is known” speaks really to the awareness that it is the loshon ha’ra of the Jewish people that caused their bondage and suffering. The matter that was known was what triggered their exile.
In the end, twelve months before the Redemption, they stopped speaking loshon ha’ra. This can be found in several midrashim—exegetical commentaries. Moshe approached G-D through the Burning Bush telling Moshe to take the Jews out of Egypt. Moshe countered with: You can’t take them out. They speak loshon ha’ra. The reason they’re in exile is due to the loshon ha’ra so how can you ask me to take them out?
G-D told Moshe that they don’t persist in loshon ha’ra anymore, referring to the twelve months before the geula—Redemption. That’s why He told Moshe to place his hand inside his coat, remove it wherein it was infested with tzaras (an ailment indicative of having spoken loshon ha’ra), then return his hand to his coat and remove it to discover the condition was cured.
Besides the suffering they’d endured in bondage, their worthiness to be taken out of Egypt was due to the cessation of their loshon ha’ra. Yesod had been reconnected to malchus so G-D told Moshe, “poked pokaditi.” Moshe returned to the Jews and told them that G-D “remembered them.”
A Precarious Balance, then Downfall
Moshe, enroute to Egypt after the event at the Burning Bush, encountered a malach--angel wanting to kill him because he neglected to perform mila--circumcision on his son. Why does the Torah single out that event other than to inform about a danger to Moshe’s life?
If the essence of geulah is the reconnection of yesod to malchus, what is the essential mitzvah that affects that and demonstrates the repair of that mutilation?—bris mila! Performing that mitzvah would have been a reflection of the sefiros in their repaired state at the time the Jews were worthy to be taken out of Egypt. Since Moshe was negligent, he himself, possibly, renewed defects resulting in a possible onesh—punishment to Moshe, that he almost got killed.
The Jews got out of Egypt and the zohama got “lifted” off them at Har Sinai. When they sinned with the golden calf, the zohama was restored. They succeeded in removing most of the zohama right before the zechirah. There was no gilui--revelation yet. It would have “come down” the mountain with Moshe. When the zohama was restored, all the gains were returned.
The sin with the calf was a repeat of what Adam and Chava did with the snake. They gave a makom, again, to the Satan to be equal to man but had not given him back his dominion as Cain did. The sin of the calf restored the makom but, had they stopped there, Moshe still could have been Mashiach ben Yosef.
What really killed it was the sin of the meraglim—spies. That’s why that sin was so devastating. Again, a split was created between yesod and malchus totally. That gave the Satan back his dominion over Creation. What sin caused this?—loshon ha’ra! The meraglim spoke loshon ha’ra, the nation believed it, and yesod, again, split from malchus to such an extent that the Satan went onto stage two, dominion. That’s what lost the nation the opportunity for Moshe to be mashiach and it was decreed that the generation must die and would not enter the Land. That redemptive era was over because of the sin of the spies which was loshon ha’ra. The Creation would not be rectified at that point and would have to come sometime later.
That’s why on the day the meraglim returned, on the 9th of Av, that date became associated with acute suffering to klal Yisrael: the first Beis Ha’Mikdash was destroyed by the Babylonians and the second Beis Ha’Mikdash was destroyed by the Romans. Both tragedies are indicative of the dominion of the Satan over klal Yisrael. That is the day of churban—destruction and the start of the true exile. All of this is a reflection of the Satan’s dominion over the Jews, not just his makom in the briyah.
The last event I’ll mention is prompted by a question: when again do we find that Yosef and Yehuda were split? It was by Rehoboam, who was the malchus of David, and Yeroboam who was the malchus of Ephraim/Yosef. The split came because, as the Gemara says, David ha’Melech—King David believed loshon ha’ra spoken about Mephiboshet. At that time, when he believed the loshon ha’ra, the g’zera--decree came out that his kingdom would be split. When David mekabel—was receptive to the loshon ha’ra, he split the yesod from malchus so the kingdom split. It’s interesting that Yosef/yesod spoke loshon ha’ra, and David/malchus received the loshon ha’ra and believed it.
What have we seen so far?--the devastating consequences of loshon ha’ra which has taken us down a completely different road. Until now, we understood that the pnimius is about invoking the kitrug--prosecution, mida k’neged mida. When you speak loshon ha’ra against another Jew, the Satan can speak against you; that’s the prosecution. That invokes a din, judgment. If you lose, the Satan can be yonek.
With this lecture, we see a pnimius from within the ruchniustic framework, the framework of spiritual forces, and why it’s so devastating. It can damage the yesod from the malchus due to it being an anatomical analogue, giving the Satan dominion to wreak havoc in the briyah. The way to rectify it is through mila, the mitzvah which affects the physical analogue. The other mitzvah is shmiras ha’loshon—guarding one’s speech. This brings the pekidah and, ultimately, the zechirah.
By looking at history in the Torah, we see how events can be described according to damage and rectification. Shmiras ha’loshon is pivotal; it’s not a luxury item. In the higher worlds, the repair can occur, the neshamos can be released, the pekidah of the mashiach can occur, and the Satan loses his ability to control the Creation.
If you recall, I once spoke about how, in 1871, the Chofetz Chaim wrote “Sefer Chofetz Chaim” the exact same year that Germany united for the first time in history. Shmiras ha’loshon was needed once Germany would unite. Without going into what Germany is, which I’ve discussed in a previous shiur, we know Germany is bad news for the Jews. That’s why G-D sent down a shefa, an awakening, an arousal, to the Chofetz Chaim to write about shmiras ha’loshon when G-D is going to bring the geula imminently. We know he began to write this in 1867, four years before that unification process began. In 1990, who knew that Germany would be united again, when even Russia was capitulating to Germany and would begin to go against Israel? In 1986, shmiras ha’loshon began again as a movement; it must be intact for the geula process to begin in earnest. This began in 1990.
The reason for the defects of the mashiach are due to the defects of the klal. Moshe was, according to the Torah, defective in speech; he had a speech impediment. This was due to the defect within klal Yisrael, the split they created with the peh—mouth. The mashiach suffers from the sins of the nation so his defect mirrors theirs. Moshe had the pgam in the loshon, just as the klal had.
All this goes to illustrate how critical it is to refrain from loshon ha’ra. Someone who refrains from it brings the Redemption closer. Now you understand why. He who guards his speech reconnects yesod and malchus so the world can receive its proper shefa—flow, its proper nourishment, its proper force from yesod. The result of the tikkun of malchus is that G-D can reveal Himself.