In the previous article Royal Rectifications, we began to explain the mystical significance of the eight kings "who ruled in the land of Edom before any king ruled the children of Israel":

"And Bela ben Be'or ruled in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhavah. Bela died -
"And Yovav ben Zerach ruled in his place. Yovav died -
"And Chusham from the south land ruled in his place. Chusham died -
"And Hadad ben Badad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, ruled in his place, and the name of his city was Avit. Hadad died -
"And Salmah from Masreikah ruled in his place. Salmah died -
"And Shaul from Rechovot HaNahar ruled in his place. Shaul died -
"And Baal Chanan ben Achbor ruled in his place. Baal Chanan ben Achbor died -
"And Hadar ruled in his place, and the name of his city was Pa'u. And his wife's name was Meheitavel bat Matreid bat Mei Zehav.
"
(Gen. 36:31-39; cf. Chronicles I 1:43-51)

We continue now with this exposition.

The first king [Bela ben Be'or] personified daat, which [issues forth] after bina. Opposite [daat, in the realm of evil], issued [the gentile prophet] Balaam ben Be'or. [As the Sages state, it is written in the Torah that] "There arose no prophet in Israel like Moses," (Deut. 34:10) but amongst the gentiles there did arise such a prophet, namely Balaam. (Bereishit Rabbah 14:2) Just as Moses personified daat on the side of holiness, so did Balaam [personify daat] on the side of evil, inasmuch as he personified strict judgment.

"Bela" (spelled beit-lamed-ayin) and "Balaam" (spelled beit-lamed-ayin-mem) are spelled exactly the same, except for the final mem at the end of Balaam. Thus, they are considered to be the same person, or at least personifications of the same spiritual archetype.

Balaam was the gentile prophet hired by Balak to curse the Jews on the eve of their entry into the Land of Israel. He was granted prophecy - even though he misused this gift and was evil - so that the non-Jews could not claim that had they, too, had a prophet like Moses amongst their ranks, they would have accepted the Torah and obeyed G‑d's word.

Balaam… represents evil knowledge….

Moses personified the sefira of daat, subjective knowledge of G‑d, and imparted this quality to the Jewish people (see Tanya, ch. 41). Since Balaam was his equivalent on the side of evil, he personifed evil daat.

We are taught that G‑d becomes angry with the world for one moment each day. (Psalms 30:6) The Sages say that Balaam's main prophetic talent was that he always knew this one, precise moment of each day, (Sanhedrin 105b) and could channel this energy to curse whomever he wished. He thus represents evil knowledge, the sensitivity to what is wrong with the world, the quality of being judgmental. Of course, a certain amount of this quality is necessary for us to objectively evaluate our progress in life and improve our behavior (and this is why G‑d allows Himself to be judgmental for a split second every day), but focusing exclusively on this quality, as did Balaam, is evil.

This is why Balaam boasted that he "knows the supernal knowledge". (Num. 24:16) He was referring to the daat that precedes the holy daat of Zeir Anpin; this is why he called it "supernal knowledge". Just as from the third [i.e. posterior lobe of the] brain of Zeir Anpin, which houses its daat, and [in the words of the Zohar, sits] "in the third cavity of the skull, there issue a million rooms and halls over which the brain of daat presides and dwells in". (Zohar III, Idra Rabba:135b-136a)

Chochma resides in the right cerebral hemisphere of the brain, bina in the left cerebral hemisphere, and daat in the occipital lobe. 1,000,000 "lights" (states of consciousness) issue from daat and inform the "rooms", i.e. the sefirot of chesed, gevura, and tiferet, and "halls", i.e. the sefirot of netzach, hod, and yesod.

(Chesed-gevura-tiferet are alluded to by the word "rooms" because the word for "room" in Hebrew, "cheder", is taken as an acronym for the words chesed-din-rachamim. "Din" (meaning "judgment") is an alternate name for gevura, and "rachamim" ("mercy") is the inner motivation of tiferet.)

Daat comprises five states of chesed and five states of gevura, as we have mentioned previously. Each of these ten states is subdivided into ten sub-states, giving 100, and each of these is further subdivided into ten sub-sub-states, giving 1000. Elsewhere, the number 1000 is associated with the intellect, so we have 1000 x 1000 or 1,000,000 manifestations of daat informing the sefirot below it.

…so it is with regard to this [evil] daat, which expresses strict judgment and is synonymous with Bela ben Be'or. [Thus, the Zohar continues] "…it makes decrees of the strictest judgment, and together with it join a million masters of moaning and groaning." (Ibid. 135a)

The male approach to life is relatively more abstract, while the female approach is relatively more practical….

The "masters of groaning and moaning" are the "kings" of chesed and gevura (which we will discuss further on). They join with daat since daat comprises the twin modes of relation, chesed (attraction) and gevura (repulsion) and regulates them.

Since the holy daat enters and permeates the torso, "filling the rooms and halls", this [evil] daat is called "Bela", for it is "swallowed up" inside the torso and the two upper cavities.

"Bela" literally means "swallowing".

It is further called "ben [the son of] Be'or" [since "Be'or" means "burning",] because the arousal of G‑d's strict judgment is likened to a great inferno, as in the verse, "For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven…." (Malachi 3:19)

This verse refers to the final judgment day.

King Bela was somewhat rectified, and thus made into [the seventh king,] Baal Chanan. He thus was pardoned, this being the significance of [the second word in his name,] "Chanan".

The letters of the name "Bela" (spelled beit-lamed-ayin) may be rearranged to spell "baal" (spelled beit-ayin-lamed). The word "Baal" means "master of", and the word "chanan" means "pardon" and "grace", so "Baal Chanan" means "the master of pardon".

[As part of this rectification,] the letter chaf was added to [Bela's] father's name Be'or, and thus [Baal Chanan] was "the son of Achbor".

"Be'or" is spelled beit-ayin-vav-reish; "Achbor" is spelled ayin-chaf-beit-vav-reish. Thus, the two names are composed of the same letters, except that "Achbor" also possesses the letter chaf.

Now, it is known that "women's knowledge is light." (Kidushin 80b) Therefore, the Zohar, in its discussion of Nukva of Zeir Anpin, mentions only "the rectification of two lobes of the brain", for the third lobe, daat, is light. For the same reason, in the case of this king, who personified daat, kingship is not mentioned in the Book of Chronicles. For [the account of the Edomite kings in] the Book of Chronicles describes Nukva of Zeir Anpin, whose daat is light. In contrast, [the account of the Edomite kings in] the Torah, which describes Zeir Anpin itself, who does possess [full] daat, does mention kingship.

The male approach to life is relatively more abstract, while the female approach is relatively more practical. Thus, the female within us is the drive to consummate the purpose of Creation by making the world into G‑d's home, while the male within us is the abstract drive for inspiration. In this context, it is clear why "women's knowledge", i.e. their daat, must be "light".

Daat is tolerance, the ability to see the validity in other points of view….

Daat is tolerance, the ability to see the validity in other points of view, to compare and weigh the merits of chesed and gevura within any entity. There are situations where tolerance is appropriate and situations where it is not. As long as the discussion is abstract, tolerance is acceptable and even laudible, since it enables us to examine all points of a topic objectively and thereby arrive at the truth. But once the truth has been arrived at, i.e. once it has become clear how exactly to accomplish G‑d's purpose in this world, tolerance is no longer a positive force; we must become intolerant of anything that opposes this.

A practical example of this would be the field of Talmudic dialectics. As long as the discussion is abstract, all opinions and possibilites are legitimate; "both are words of the living G‑d". But once the legal decision is reached, all other opinions become academic and anyone who conducts himself in accord with them is in error, not accomplishing G‑d's will, and even liable to punishment.

Thus, the feminine side of us must not have "strong daat", i.e. a generous sense of tolerance, for that would contravene its purpose.

The disadvantage of having "light" daat is that we can become intolerant of the wrong things. If we become convinced of something that is not right, our intolerance can make us unwilling to become unconvinced. Thus, women generally are more in danger of being seduced than are men.

For all these reasons, it is clear why in Kabbala great emphasis is placed on the union of male and female. Our male and female aspects need to cross-fertilize each other, so that we may always be refining our awareness of truth while simultaneously being single-mindedly devoted to its implementation. The female aspect prevents the male aspect from keeping us in a state of abstract non-accomplishment, while the male aspect prevents the female aspect from being seduced into misguided zeal.

Malchut is the sefira of femininity….

In the Torah, the account of this king is: "And Bela ben Be'or ruled in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhavah…." In the Book of Chronicles, the corresponding verse reads: "Bela ben Be'or, and the name of his city was Dinhavah…"; there is no specific mention of this king ruling (although his kingship is included with that of all the other kings in the opening verse of this passage: "These are the kings who ruled in Edom…").

Malchut is the sefira of femininity, as can be seen from the fact that malchut becomes the partzuf of Nukva, the female archetype. Thus, the absence of any mention of kingship with regard to daat in the account of Nukva alludes to this inherent deficiency/strength in feminine psychology.

And since this king personifies daat, as we said, and [therefore] comprises all the others, it is stated in the account of his rule that "the name of his city was Dinhavah". Holy daat draws [the consciousness of] the supernal chesed - which is revealed in the mouth of Imma (Zohar II:123a) - from the supernal mind [i.e. Imma, and transmits it] to the bride [i.e. Nukva]. [Nukva] continuously requests this chesed from it [i.e. from daat].

The remaining kings personify the midot; thus, this first one, corresponding to daat, comprises them all.

The "mouth of Imma" is the point at which the intellect, Imma, begins to express itself. Inasmuch as chesed is the first and driving force of all the emotions, the supernal chesed - the abstract chesed of the intellect - is the potential within the intellect to evoke an emotional response. It is made relevant by daat, which then passes this relevance and motivation to Nukva, providing it with the drive to actualize the inspiration produced in the intellect.

The same is true of this [evil] daat of judgment. [The evil Nukva] requests G‑d's judgment from it, as is stated in the Zohar, saying "give judgment" [in Aramaic, "din-havah"]. [Thus, we are told the name of] his city, just as we say that the "city of David is Zion," (Kings I 8:1) for "G‑d created the one opposite the other". (Ecclesiastes 7:14)

Here, the evil Nukva requests the insight of how the world is imperfect and needs to be judged. The word "Dinhavah" is seen as the combination of the two words "din" and "havah", together meaning "give judgment".

The "city" here is seen as the concretization of the ideals of the person who built it. Just as King David's ideals were concretized in the city of Zion, the focus of the kingdom of Israel, so were the ideals of Bela ben Be'or concretized in Dinhavah.

In the next installment Evil Kindness, the Arizal will continue his exposition with a discussion of the fourth king.


Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Shaar HaPesukim, Sefer HaLikutim, and Likutei Torah; 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.