[This article is a continuation from Part 2: Curly Haired Philistines (click here).]

The word for "lock" is "taltal". The numerical value of this word is 860:

"Taltal" is spelled tav-lamed-tav-lamed = 400 + 30 + 400 + 30 = 860.

The numerical value of the name Elokim is 86 (alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem = 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 86), and 10 x 86 = 860.

The addition two letters of the plural, "locks" ("taltalim"), are yud-mem (10 + 40 = 50), alluding to the 50 letters used to spell ten names Elokim.

The medium-length hairs ("nimin") come from bina and the short hairs ("saarot") from chochma. The short hairs function as the encompassing light (or makif) around Zeir Anpin itself; the medium hairs function as the encompassing light around the partzuf of Leah, and the long hairs function as the encompassing light around the partzuf of Rachel.

The Hair of Zeir Anpin

type of hair


encompassing light

short hair ("saarot")


of Zeir Anpin

medium-length hair ("nimin")


of Leah

long locks ("kevutzot")


of Rachel

The Philistines personified over-indulgence in the sensuality of this world. This is alluded to by their name, which is derived from the root pei-lamed-shin, meaning "breaking through" or "overdoing it". In the realm of holiness, the Philistines signify excessive joy in the service of G‑d, breaking all boundaries of propriety. This is generally frowned upon, because there is always a danger that excessive expression of joy - even in a holy context - can degenerate into "joy for joy's sake", i.e. for the enjoyment of joy itself, and this is a form of self-indulgence and thus evil. This is why Michal rebuked her husband, King David, for rejoicing excessively when he brought the Ark of the Covenant back from the Philistines (Samuel II 20). Michal was wrong because King David was exceedingly pious, but her supposition was essentially correct. (See Or HaTorah, Beshalach, pp. 369-370.)

Thus, inasmuch as both the Philistines and hair express the idea of excess, the Philistines are situated spiritually proximate to the location of hair. Indeed, elsewhere (Likutei Torah on Samuel I) the Arizal points out that the numerical value of the Hebrew word for "Philistines" ("Pelishtim") is also 860:

"Pelishtim" is spelled: pei-lamed-shin-tav-yud-mem = 80 + 30 + 300 + 400 + 10 + 40 = 860.

It is known that [the Philistines] derived from [the partzuf of] Leah.

Leah signifies thought, as opposed to Rachel, who signifies speech….

The partzuf of Leah is situated opposite the upper half of Zeir Anpin, particularly opposite his head or intellect, for Leah signifies thought, as opposed to Rachel, who signifies speech. Although both thought and speech serve and express the intellect and the emotions, thought is used more for intellect and speech more for the emotions.

As we saw above, the medium-length hair of Zeir Anpin originates in bina of Zeir Anpin and forms the encompassing light around the partzuf of Leah. It is evidently these hairs that serve as the thematic connection between the Philistines and Leah. The inner dimension of bina is joy: joy accompanies the full integration of the insight of chochma into the individual's overall worldview, revitalizing his life, and this is accomplished by bina. As a result of this joy, the individual can have an emotional response to his new intellect, as alluded to in the phrase, "the mother of the children is joyful" (Psalms 113:9), which can be read, "the mother [bina, Imma] of the children [the midot] is joy."

But [the Israelites] were now proceeding toward the Land of Israel, which is associated with [the partzuf of] Rachel.

Thus, just like a person has to think before he speaks, the Jews had to pass through the partzuf of Leah (manifest in the Land of the Philistines) before entering the partzuf of Rachel (manifest in the Land of Israel).

[G‑d] feared that if they would go through the place of Leah, where there was hair, they would return to Egypt. For [the territory of Leah] is also a type of "Egypt", and [perhaps] they would become entangled and caught there.

He therefore led them around "by way of the desert of the Sea of Reeds", that is, via Rachel, who is the "end of the levels".

The Sea of Reeds expressed Rachel….

The word for "reeds" is "suf", which is spelled exactly the same way as the word for "end", "sof". Rachel is the partzuf of malchut, which is the last and lowest of the ten sefirot and is therefore termed in the Zohar "the end of all levels". Thus, the Sea of Reeds expressed Rachel.

Now Moses, who personified yesod of Abba, could only enter the Land of Israel, which expressed Rachel, by [being channeled through] yesod of Zeir Anpin, which was personified by Joseph.

We have seen previously that Moses personified yesod of Abba. While yesod of Abba can couple with Leah, for they are at the same level, it is too high to couple with Rachel. It therefore has to descend to the level of Zeir Anpin and be vested in it in order to couple with Rachel. We have seen previously that Joseph - the paradigm of sexual purity - personified yesod of Zeir Anpin.

Scripture therefore states that "Moses took Joseph's bones with him". This means that Moses, who personified yesod of Abba, became vested in Joseph, who personified yesod of Zeir Anpin. In this way, he was able to descend to "the end of all levels", i.e. to enter Rachel.

At this point, it was still assumed that Moses would enter the Land of Israel.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim and Likutei Torah, parashat Beshalach; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.