[This article is a continuation from Part 1: Not through the Land of the Philistines (click here).]

This week's Torah portion opens with the words: And it was, when Pharaoh sent away the people, that G‑d did not lead them by way of the Land of the Philistines, for it was close. For G‑d said, "Lest the people change their mind when they see war, and return to Egypt." So G‑d led the people around by way of the desert of the Sea of Reeds, and the Israelites went out from Egypt armed. Moses took Joseph's bones with him, for he had made the Israelites swear, saying, "G‑d will certainly redeem you, so take my bones out of here with you." (Ex. 13:17-19)

The Arizal now explains the Kabbalistic dynamics behind this change of plans:

Now, the Philistines are situated [spiritually] in the location of the hairs [referred to in the phrase] "his locks are curled". (Songs 5:11) [They are alluded to] by the combined numerical value of the ten names Elokim of constricted consciousness, from which these hairs issued above [in the spiritual realms].

Energy passes out of the brain and metamorphoses into hair….

Hair is seen as a manifestation of the brain's excess "light" (mental energy). As this excess energy passes out of the brain and metamorphoses into hair, it undergoes an extreme qualitative contraction (tzimtzum); hair, together with nails, is the most lifeless part of the body, since it can be cut painlessly.

The Arizal states elsewhere (Shaar HaKavanot, Tzitzit 5) that the hair on the head of Arich Anpin is white (or blonde), the hair on the head of Zeir Anpin is black, and the hair on the head of Nukva is red. The verse applying to the hair of Zeir Anpin is "His locks are curled, black as a raven".

He further states that there are three types of hair on Zeir Anpin's head: long locks ("kevutzot"), medium-length hairs ("nimin"), and short hairs ("saarot"). These three types of hair originate in the three parts of the brain, which in turn correspond to the three components of the intellect.

The long kevutzot originate in daat (which is centered in the brain stem or cerebellum). Daat comprises the origin of the midot, which, as we have seen previously, are manifest principally as fives states of chesed and five states of gevura. There are thus ten contracted states of excess mental daat-energy that emerge from daat. Inasmuch as the name Elokim signifies contraction (tzimtzum), these ten contracted states are manifest as ten names Elokim.

To continue on to Part 3: Medium-Haired Philistines (click here)

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.