"And when Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear [in Hebrew 'romach'] in his hand." (Num. 25:7)

[On the above verse, the Zohar comments:] Pinchas saw the letter mem floating in the air….and he attached to it reish-chet and also vav, so that it made "romach". (Zohar III:237a)

The floating mem relates to the level of prophecy known as "aspaklaria d'eino me'ira " - "a vision through an unclear lens". This was the level of prophecy experienced by all prophets other than Moses. The floating mem lets the prophet know the level of his clarity.

I heard from my grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov, that Pinchas saw and understood from within himself that malchut lacked unification - for a human being is a microcosm. Thus, he made the unification [in himself].

Another explanation by the same author: he perceived that the aspect of malchut in his own mind had fallen, and so he raised it up by taking the "spear".

To explain this a little further. Pinchas realized this from his own thoughts of fallen love [chesed].

It was not the illicit act of Kozbi and Zimri that Pinchas saw, but his own inner fall….

Every human emotion and characteristic, in its purest form, is directed toward G‑d. However, these emotions can fall to lower manifestations. Thus, the love of G‑d can become love of the flesh. According to the Baal Shem Tov, it was not the illicit act of Kozbi and Zimri that Pinchas saw, but his own inner fall - an extraneous thought of carnal love that entered his mind. This signified that the sefira of malchut (where all thoughts are manifest) had fallen from its attachment to G‑d. This is the meaning of the floating mem - i.e. malchut disconnected from its higher source. By overcoming the thought, through the trait of Isaac, he reconnected it to its source. This is the meaning of the "romach".

However, he strengthened himself, as it says, "Who is strong? He who conquers his nature." (Avot 4:1) This reflects the aspect of gevura, the trait of Isaac, whose name has the numerical value of the letters reish-chet [208]. Then the sparks of chesed rose from their fall and brokenness and were revealed through the letter vav, making the aspect of "romach", whose numerical value is that of "Abraham" [248].

Actually, the numerical value of the word "romach", when spelled with the letter vav is 254. When it is spelled without the vav, as it is in the verse, it equals 248; the same as "Abraham".

Every harsh Judgment, which occurs because malchut lacks unification….

This is true of every harsh judgment, which occurs because malchut lacks unification. But when you find the aspect of love in the judgment, the judgment is rectified in its root and transformed into the aspect of Abraham. The good ascends and the evil falls away. This also happened in the story of Nachum Ish Gamzu (Taanit 21a), who said "This is also for the good" [in Hebrew, "gam zu l'tovah"]; He found the aspect of chesed that was there, and so the judgment was sweetened to become love; and this is what Elijah said in the story, that it was the dirt was that of Abraham - meaning, from the aspect of Abraham, which is love; then it rose up, and they fell and were broken.

There is much more that could be said here, but this should be sufficient to the wise. A wise person will understand from my grandfather's words that the reish is chochma, and that chochma is the source of gevura. (Degel Machane Ephraim, parashat Balak)


The Zohar says: "He saw the letter mem, etc. "

All the suffering in the world results from malchut not being united with its Beloved, as I heard from my Master, and as I wrote elsewhere on the verse: "For the L-rd G‑d is a consuming fire " (Deut. 4:24). This is the secret of "romach" - to unite [the names] Havayah and Ado-nai [corresponding to tiferet and malchut].

People should realize that extraneous thoughts come from malchut…not being in union….

For malchut without unification becomes Judgment - a consuming fire. But by means of the unification, it becomes compassion. Pinchas felt this, and immediately made the unification of "romach " in his mind, joining the two attributes: "I am G‑d",which is the union of the Holy One and the Shechina. This creates compassion.

"I " - in Hebrew, "ani" - is a name for malchut. "Havayah" is the name related to tiferet. The repair of malchut occurs when it rises out of the impure shells and unites with tiferet.

For the letters reish chet have the numerical value of the name "Isaac". People should realize that extraneous thoughts come from malchut, which is the letter mem, not being in union. And they should at once join the mem to reish chet in their thoughts, to create RMCh, and through faith, it becomes "romach", as Pinchas did. (Tzafnah Paneach, p. 18b-c, 22b)

[From Sefer Baal Shem Tov, Balak; translation and commentary by Eliezer Shore
Reprinted with permission from www.baalshemtov.org]