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p. 391 96a

AT the birth of Isaac, justice became united to mercy; these divine attributes, symbolized by the patriarchs Isaac and Abraham, became blended in the person of Jacob, their offspring; and, therefore, it is written, 'Thou art my servant, oh Israel, in which I will be glorified' (Is. XLIX. 3).

"Notwithstanding what has just been stated, we can divine why scriptures uses the word song (sherath), and 'I will sing to my well beloved.' These words refer to Isaac, who was so called before his birth in the world. Another interpretation applies them to Abraham, as it is written, 'What doth my beloved in my house' (Jer. XI. 15). Now it is true, Abraham acquired by merit what his posterity afterwards inherited and enjoyed. The words 'the song of my beloved for his vineyard,' refer to the Holy One who is called 'beloved,' as it is written, 'My beloved (dodi) is white and ruddy (Cant. V.10). We observe the terms ledidi (well beloved) and dodi (my beloved or friend) are joined together, and from their union of the male and female principle comes forth a vineyard planted in Qeren ben Shamen, which appellation, indicates its origin and nature. Qeren has here the same meaning as in the words, 'And it shall come to pass when they make a long blast with the Qeren Hayyabel (the horn

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of Jubilee)' (Josh. VI. 5). Thus the vineyard has for its96a-96b origin the Jubilee or the deliverance, and this horn or trumpet of deliverance is associated with the male principle, termed here ('Ben Shamen,' which has the same meaning as the term 'ben horin' (son of nobles) (Eccles. X. 7). It also means 'son of the oil,' because of the source whence the oil flows, for supplying all the heavenly lamps whose light becomes more intense in proportion to its abundance. Furthermore, at the coronation of kings, this oil is poured into a horn, called the horn of Jubilee, and for this reason no one is crowned except he is first anointed with oil from this horn. On account of this the reign of David was of long duration.

"It is further added, 'And he fenced it (vajatzqchou) with a fence like a ring on the finger.' The words, 'and gathered out the stones thereof,' denote that he separated it and so arranged that it should not be under the rule and government of the spiritual chiefs that hold authority over idolatrous nations; and, having freed and delivered it from evil demoniacal influences and force, he chose this vineyard for his own possession, as it is written, 'He chose his people for his portion, and took Jacob for his inheritance' (Deuter. XXXII. 9) . 'And he planted it with the choicest vine.' 'Which words have the same meaning as the verse, 'I have planted thee a choice (soreq) vine, wholly (couloh) a right seed' (Jer. II. 21). The word couloh is here written with a final H, symbol of the grade on the divine life to which Abraham attained and then gave rise to offspring to whom was imparted divine truth which made them righteous. The words, 'Thus (coh) shall thy seed be,' have the same esoteric meaning. Blessed is the lot of Israel who possess such a holy inheritance.

"The second part of the verse is, 'And he built a tower in the midst of it.' What is here the mystical meaning of the word tower? It is the same as that of the words, 'The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth, into it and is safe' (Prov. XVIII. 9). It is further added, 'and also made a wine-press therein,' referring to the gate of the Just, as it is written, 'Open unto me the gates of righteousness' (Ps. CXVIII. 19). How know we that at the time of circumcision

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every Israelite enters into the tower of the Just and the gates of righteousness? Or how know we that whoever offers his son as a sacrifice, that is, causes him to undergo the rite of the covenant, initiates him into the mystery of the sacred name on which heaven and earth are both founded? We are assured of it from the words, 'Thus saith the Lord, if my covenant had not been made with day and night, I should not have prescribed the laws that govern heaven and earth' (Jer. XXXIII. 25). Blessed is the master of this house, who by his obedience to the law and rite of the covenant has enjoyed the presence of the Holy One this day. Blessed also are we who have been present on this occasion as witnesses of it. To this child, I shall apply the words of scripture, 'Everyone that is called by my name, I have created him for my glory. I have formed him, yea, I have made him' (Is. XLIII. 3), and also the verse, 'And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children' (Is. LIV. 13).

Next: Chapter CI. Rabbi Abba's Punishment