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Translation of the Prophet Elijah's prayer-meditation from the Zohar

Patach Eliyahu

Patach Eliyahu

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Patach Eliyahu
Translation of the Prophet Elijah's prayer-meditation from the Zohar

This mystical portion of the Zohar is recited by many chassidim before the mincha prayer on Shabbat eve and by most Sephardi communities before the Shacharit and the Mincha prayers every day. (translation by Avraham Sutton)

The prophet Elijah, of blessed memory, opened, and said:

Eternal Hidden Master of the worlds! You are He whose Unity is infinite and absolute, and therefore indivisible. You are He [the First Cause], transcendent beyond all that is above, and concealed behind all that is concealed. No thought whatsoever can grasp You.

But You are He who brought forth ten rectifications - we call them the ten sefirot Atzilut - with which to regulate [the powerful illumination of Your Light that flows down through] hidden worlds that are not revealed [the worlds of Adam Kadmon and Atzilut], as well as worlds that are revealed [Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya]. Indeed, it is through these [the ten sefirot of each universe] that You are hidden from human beings [so they can exist and not be overwhelmed by Your Light]. You are He who binds them [sefirot together] and unifies them [to Yourself]. And inasmuch as You are within them, anyone who separates one from the other is regarded as having caused a separation in You [and Your Absolute Unity]. There is no power that directs You - neither above nor below…

These ten sefirot are arranged in a special order [of three columns]. [The right column is said to be] "long" [because it represents Your Love and Kindness]. [The left column is said to be] "short" [because it represents Your Judgment and Power of Restraint and withdrawal]. [The middle column or trunk is said to be] "intermediate" [because it represents Your Mercy, the perfect Harmony of Love and Restraint]. [In this way, the ten sefirot are conduits through which You regulate Your interaction with human beings according to their deeds.] [Above all] it is You alone who directs them. There is no power that directs You - neither above nor below, nor from any direction.

[The ten sefirot of Atzilut thus constitute one entire system or "body", and You are the Soul that fills it and directs it. Just as the human body disguises the intensity of the soul, the sefirot serve to disguise and conceal Your Light.] You also arranged [a system of three lower worlds, Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya, that serve as] "garments" [to further cover over the sefirot of Atzilut and protect us from the intensity of Your Light]. It is from these "garments" that the souls [Neshama, Ruach and Nefesh] of human beings originate.

[The sefirot of Atzilut are clothed within these "garments", and for this reason] they are called ["limbs" of] a "body" relative to the "clothes" that cover over them. [These "limbs"] are arranged as follows: chesed (or loving-kindness) is the right arm, gevura (restraint) is the left arm, and tiferet (harmony) is the torso. Netzach (dominance) and hod (empathy) are the two legs, and yesod (foundation or channel) is the body's extremity, the sign of the Holy Covenant. Malchut (kingship) is the mouth [of the holy covenant]. It is therefore called the "Oral Torah".

[Above these "limbs" is the "head" in which] chochma (wisdom) is the [right] brain, the seat of thought, and bina (understanding) is [the left brain and] the heart, the heart's ability to discern. Concerning these, it is written, "The hidden things belong to G‑d [corresponding to chochma] our G‑d [corresponding to bina]". (Deut. 29:28)

Keter Elyon (Supernal Crown) is the keter of malchut, concerning which it is said, "I [G‑d] declare the end from the beginning". (Isaiah 46:10). [Keter surrounds and contains the two hemispheres of the brain, chochma and bina, like] the leather box of the Tefillin [that surrounds and contains the parchments].

Within [this unified system of "limbs" and "head" which constitute one "body" or "tree," is the Divine Name "spelled-out" with alefs, i.e. Mah, thus]:

Yud-vav-dalet = 20, hei-alef = 6, vav-alef-vav= 13, hei-alef= 6.

[With this name You determine] the way [in which Your Light is transmitted through the sefirot] of Atzilut. This name therefore fills and saturates [the "roots" and the "trunk" of the "tree" of the sefirot, together with] its "limbs" and "branches", as water irrigates and saturates a tree. [The "tree"] then grows in proportion to how much "water" flows through it. That flow is the very life-force of the 'tree' - like a soul to a body…

Eternal Hidden Master of the worlds, You are the Supreme Cause of all causes and the Origin of all effects! You water the tree with that flow. And that flow is the very life-force of the "tree" - like a soul to a body. But no "human" likeness or "bodily" image exists in Your Infinite Essence with which we might liken You to anything within or without.

You alone created the starry galaxies and the earth. From the galaxies above, You brought forth sun and moon, planets and starry constellations. On the earth below, You brought forth trees and plants, the Garden of Eden and [fields of] grass, living creatures, birds and fish, animals and humanity.

Through them [through all that exists Below], You make known that which is Above. [You also make known] how all that is above [in Atzilut] and below [in Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya] is regulated, and how the higher worlds may be known from the lower But knowledge of Your Essence is completely impossible Without You there is no unity in the higher or lower realms You are therefore known as the Cause of all and the Master of all. You are He who permeates them all, and You are He who perfects them all…

Each sefira corresponds to a specific divine name [or attribute], and it is with these names that angels are called [or, it is with these names that angels can be called down]. You, however, are beyond any name, for You are He who permeates them all, and You are He who perfects them all. Therefore, when You withhold Your Light from [the sefirot], all the Names remain [as empty vessels], like a "body" devoid of "soul".

As for You, You are intrinsically wise, but not with a knowable attribute of wisdom. You understand, but without a knowable attribute of understanding. No "place" can contain You [You clothed Yourself in the sefirot] only in order to make Your mastery and power known to human beings and to show them how the world is conducted through Justice and Mercy - i.e. that Righteousness and Judgment are meted out in perfect accord with the actions of men.

[The seven lower sefirot are also likened to a scale, wherein chesed corresponds to the right arm of the scale.] Din [i.e. justice] is gevura [the left arm]. Mishpat [i.e. judgment] is the middle column [mercy, tiferet]. Righteousness is the holy malchut [the base of the scales]. The scales of Righteousness are the two pillars of truth. The measure of Righteousness is the sign of the Holy Covenant [yesod]. All of these together show how You conduct the world [relative to man], but not that You Yourself possess a knowable quality of righteousness with which to be Just. Neither do You possess an attribute of Judgment with which to be Merciful. The same is true of all these qualities. May the Eternal G‑d be blessed and revealed in this world and forever more, Amen and Amen

To learn more about Patach Eliyahu, please read the two articles commentating on "Elijah's Prayer Meditation" in our Zohar section in the Classical Kabbala category (click here).

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
Avraham Sutton is an Orthodox Torah teacher and author. Born in 1949 in Los Angeles to Syrian Sefardic parents, he has lived in the Jerusalem area since 1974, where he and his wife Esther have raised a family. For over 25 years, he has been learning and teaching Kabbala, Talmud, Midrash, prayer and meditation. He has translated, edited and/or authored over 15 major works in English on the deeper significance of Torah for our age. These include Innerspace -- Introduction to Kabbalah, Meditation and Prophecy from transcripts of classes given by the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, and Pathways to the Torah, the official sourcebook used in Arachim and Discovery Seminars worldwide. You can partake of his lectures on YouTube -- search for "Rabbi Sutton".
The Zohar is a basic work of Kabbalah authored by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students (2nd century CE). English translation of annotated selections by Rabbi Moshe Miller (Morristown, N.J.: Fiftieth Gate Publications, 2000) includes a detailed introduction covering the history and basic concepts of Kabbalah. Volume 1 (36 pp.) covers the first half of the first of the original’s three volumes. It is available online from our store, KabbalaOnline Shop.
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mercy philippines April 23, 2013

i love hashem, i love torrah Reply

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