In parashat Vayeshev, Joseph is brought to Egypt after his brothers sell him to a passing caravan. The beginning of the Egyptian exile was due to this, since it caused Jacob's entire family to eventually settled in Egypt, where they were later enslaved. The Egyptian exile is the prototype for all subsequent exiles and for all states of spiritual exile, and thus understanding its details is prerequisite to understanding the dynamics and flow of spiritual life.

We have to explain now a number of expositions that are included in this exposition, as you will see.

It is known that initially, in its immature state, Zeir Anpin possesses three facets of intelligence, expressed as three names Elokim: spelled out with the letter yud, spelled out with the letter hei, and spelled out with the letter alef. These three letters form the mnemonic acronym "yehei" [meaning, "may it be"].

The name Elokim always signifies a contracted or constricted state of affairs relative to the name Havayah. Elokim is spelled alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem. This may be further spelled out as follows:

Elokim spelled with
the letter alef

 

Elokim spelled with
the letter hei

Elokim spelled with
the letter yud

alef

alef

1

alef

alef

1

alef

alef

1

lamed

30

lamed

30

lamed

30

pei

80

pei

80

pei

80

lamed

lamed

30

lamed

lamed

30

lamed

lamed

30

mem

40

mem

40

mem

40

dalet

4

dalet

4

dalet

4

hei

hei

5

hei

hei

5

hei

hei

5

alef

1

hei

5

yud

10

yud

yud

10

yud

yud

10

yud

yud

10

vav

6

vav

6

vav

6

dalet

4

dalet

4

dalet

4

mem

mem

40

 

mem

mem

40

 

mem

mem

40

 

mem

40

mem

40

mem

40

total

 

total

 

total

 

"Yehei" is spelled: yud-hei-alef.

Later, when [Zeir Anpin] matures, its intelligence is expressed as the name Havayah. When these mature states of mentality enter its consciousness, they expel the immature intelligence and push it downward, as we have explained elsewhere. There we explained that the first place they descend to is Zeir Anpin's throat.

Now, the following requires an explanation: All a person's other limbs correspond to one or another of the ten sefirot. The three aspects of his intelligence correspond to the first three sefirot: chochma, bina, and daat. The lower seven sefirot correspond to [the parts of the body] from the right arm and below, covering the whole length of the body. But there is no sefira corresponding to the throat!

The explanation of this phenomenon is understood from what we just said, namely, that when the three immature states of intelligence are expelled [from the brain] and descend, they descend first to the throat.

Rather than corresponding to a specific sefira, the throat is just the respository of the initial state of the head.

Since the throat is a narrow and thin organ, the immature mental states get stuck there….

Since [the throat] is a narrow and thin organ, [the immature mental states] get stuck there.

Now, it is known that three vital channels or pipelines pass through the throat: the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular veins, through which all a person's blood and life-force passes, as is known, and as is stated in the Talmud: "Take care with the jugular veins, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah, who said that [the slaughterer] must cut through the jugular veins." (Berachot 8b)

Kosher slaughtering demands that these veins be severed, in order to effect instant death to the animal. If the slaughterer does not sever these veins together, the animal is considered to have been killed piecemeal, not ritually slaughtered, and is thus rendered unfit for Jewish consumption. We see, therefore, that in order to completely and instantly bring the animal from a state of life to death, these vital conduits must be severed.

These three channels are formed from the three aspects of immature intelligence that descend there. Specifically, the trachea is formed from the immature chochma, the esophagus is formed from the [immature] bina, and the jugular veins are formed from the immature daat.

To explain: The right lobe of the brain, the seat of chochma, spreads through the trachea, which is on the right side [of the throat]. This is the significance of the statement in the Zohar that the lung absorbs all types of moisture. (Zohar III:218b, in Raaya Mehemna) This is a very curious statement, because we know that if even a drop of water enters the trachea, the person will die. We also see that the lower end of the trachea extends into the lungs and the heart, and there is no passageway there through which water that enters the [upper] trachea could exit [elsewhere].

The trachea is similar to the World to Come, in which there is neither eating nor drinking….

The meaning, rather, is that the esophagus carries food and drink and all types of moisture [downward], while the trachea is used only for producing the voice and speech, as is mentioned in the Talmud (Berachot 61a; Zohar III:227b) and in the passage from the Zohar in question. (III:232a, in Raaya Mehemna). [In this respect,] the trachea is similar to the World to Come, in which there is neither eating nor drinking, etc.

The air that enters the body via the trachea is used to produce sound. Presumably, the Sages do not mean to say that the air entering the body via the trachea is not used for any other purpose, such as providing oxygen for the lungs, but merely that it is not used at all for carrying fluids.

Nonetheless, when the fluids and moisture descend through the esophagus and reach the location of the lungs, the intensity of the heat of the fire issuing from the flame of the heart toward the lungs, as is known, causes the lungs to absorb the distilled and pure liquids via the membranes of the esophagus and the lungs. The lungs then pass these liquids to the heart to cool off its intense heat. It is known that the esophagus is attached to the trachea and the lungs until it descends lower, to the location of the stomach.

Therefore, the moisture in the esophagus can pass into the trachea via the membranes in their attached walls.

Since the lungs absorb the fluids and water, which are manifestations of chesed, the right side, the immature right [lobe of the] brain, the seat of chochma, therefore extends through the trachea and descends into the lungs. This is as is stated in Tikunei Zohar, that the element of water, which is manifest in the person as the white fluids, originates in the lungs.

All forms of nourishment originate in gevura….

Water is associated with chesed because (1) life is dependent upon it and (2) it flows downward freely. The fact that the lung absorbs moisture means that it is associated with chesed, and since the trachea is attached directly to the lungs, it, too, is associated with the right side. Therefore, the right side of the intellect (chochma) passes through it.

The [lobe of the] brain of bina extends through the esophagus, which is on the left side, and through which the food passes. As is known, all forms of nourishment originate in gevura, this being the mystical significance of the Sages' statement that "[Providing] sustenance for people is as hard [for G‑d] as splitting the Sea of Reeds," (Pesachim 118a ) and as is mentioned in the Zohar. (II:170a)

Since nourishment and sustenance is associated with difficulty and obstacles, it requires gevura to overcome these.

The middle [stem] of the brain, the seat of daat, extends via the jugular veins, which are an intermediary between the trachea and the esophagus, and which transport [the blood, the vehicle for] the chief life-force of the person. For the blood, which is [important because it carries] the animating-soul [nefesh] of the person, passes through them.

In this view, just as trachea and esophagus carry air and nourishment from the upper part of the body to the lower, the jugular veins carry the "soul" from the head to the rest of the body. We are accustomed to think of life-giving blood as the oxygenated blood that travels through the arteries, while the blood that travels through the veins is the deoxygenated blood that has been used by the body and is merely in transit back to the heart to be replenished. Here, however, the imagery centers on the spiritual life-force from the soul, rather than the physical life-force from the oxygen, and we are to envision the blood leaving the head through the jugular veins as having been not only depleted of its oxygen but also "charged" or "vitalized" with the animation of the soul, which is manifest first in the intellect in the brain.

We have previously explained, on the verse "Whoever sheds the blood of a person will have his blood shed by another person," (Gen. 9:6) how the yesod of Imma is signified by the name Eh-yeh, and that the numerical value of the regressive iteration of this name is the same as that of the word for "blood" [in Hebrew, "dam" = 44], and that this iteration becomes vested in the letter vav of the name Havayah of Zeir Anpin - this being its tiferet - when this name is spelled out to equal 45, i.e. with the letter alef. The letter alef used in spelling out the vav alludes to the name Eh-yeh [vested in it].

The name Eh-yeh is associated with Imma - bina - as we have seen previously many times. The name Eh-yeh is spelled alef-hei-yud-hei, and its regressive iteration is as follows:

1

alef

1

2

alef

1

hei

5

3

alef

1

hei

5

yud

10

4

alef

1

hei

5

yud

10

hei

5

.

44

The numerical value of the word for "blood", "dam", is also 44; it is spelled: dalet-mem = 4 + 40 = 44.

The 45-name Havayah is:

yud

yud-vav-dalet

10 + 6 + 4

20

hei

hei-alef

5 + 1

6

vav

vav-alef-vav

6 + 1 + 6

13

hei

hei-alef

5 + 1

6

.

45

This name is associated with Zeir Anpin, as we have seen previously. We see now that the alef used in spelling out the vav in this name alludes to the presence of the name Eh-yeh (which begins with an alef) within it.

The blood is therefore the presence of the name Eh-yeh….

The blood is therefore the presence of the name Eh-yeh, signifying bina, in the vav, or the midot, of the individual. Relative to each other, the intellect is "dead" while the emotions are "alive"; an emotional person is likely to be described as an "animated" person more than an intellectual would. True, it is the presence of the intellect in the emotions that makes the latter alive, but pure intellect not vested in emotions is not manifest life.

This [presence of the name Eh-yeh in the name Havayah] is known as the person's blood, for the yesod of Imma is the garment of daat, which includes states of chesed and gevura that descend via these veins in the form of ten types of blood, as we have mentioned in our exposition of Pesach and the Exodus from Egypt. (Shaar HaKavanot, 1st exposition on Pesach)

There are five states of chesed and five of gevura within daat, as we have seen previously. These become manifest in the life-force carried by the blood as ten "types of blood", or ten variations of life-force that animate the person.

This is the mystical meaning of the verse "and the rooms will be filled with knowledge [daat]." (Proverbs 24:4) [This] refers to the blood, the life-force of a person, which extends throughout the entire body via the veins, which are called "little rooms".

The veins are thus filled with the states of chesed and gevura originating in daat.

It follows that the blood found in the jugular veins is the immature brain-stem, the seat of immature daat, as it descends there [i.e. to the throat] during maturation, as is known.

So we have now explained the throat and its three channels, and how the latter are formed from the three immature mentalities that descend there, as we have described. This is why this narrow part of the body is called the "throat" [in Hebrew, "garon"], for the numerical value of this word is equal to three times the numerical value of the name Elokim [plus the kolel], which signify the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular veins. The throat includes all three, as we have explained in our exposition of parashat Vayeitzei.

"Garon" is spelled: gimel-reish-vav-nun = 3 + 200 + 6 + 50 = 259.

"Elokim" is spelled: alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem = 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 86.

3 x 86 = 258.

To be continued…


Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Shaar HaPesukim, parashat Vayeshev; 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.