The whole of the above is implicit in the teaching of our Sages on the verse, — "And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I shall dwell within them": not "within it," but within each individual Jew.

For when each individual transforms darkness into light, "the glory of G‑d rises [and is diffused] throughout all the worlds," and a superior form of light is revealed.

[In the Mishkan, the transformation of darkness into light is hinted at in] the use of acacia wood, whose name in the Holy Tongue (atzei shitim) echoes the evil-based folly (shtus) that needs to be refined and transmuted to serve holy ends.

This wood was used for the vertical boards, whose name (krashim) likewise hints at their elevation of two similar combinations of letters — sheker ("falsehood") and kesher ("bond").

In terms of the personal spiritual tasks that are collectively termed avodah, the above processes entail transforming one's pleasurable attraction to worldly things into a warm sensitivity to G‑dly things.

One's attraction to worldly things derives from sources that are lower than intellectual; by means of the Torah and the mitzvos one can convert it into light, so that one is enabled to appreciate the pleasant sweetness that is to be found in the fulfillment of the Divine commandments and the study of the Torah.

[This manner of avodah reflects the interpretation of the verse,]: "I have come into My garden," implying G‑d's return "into My bridal chamber."

This is a metaphor for the place where G‑d first chose to focus His Presence.

For G‑d's primary intention in creating the worlds was His desire to have a dwelling place in this lowly world.

And this dwelling is built through man's endeavors in the subjugation and transformation of materiality.

When a man conducts himself in this manner, [both possible interpretations of the above-quoted opening verse materialize in his life].

That verse reads: "You who dwell in the gardens, friends listen to your voice; let me hear it."

[According to the first interpretation,] the voice of the mortals who engage in the study of the Torah and the observance of the mitzvos is listened to by "those who dwell in the gardens" — by the souls who dwell in the Higher and the Lower Garden of Eden, where each is accorded its abode according to the level of its divine service during its stay on earth.

Because of their bond with each other, these souls are called "friends"; indeed, "at times one soul emanates from another."

Each such soul Above addresses the Jewish people on earth: "Let me hear your voice," for the Torah and mitzvos below elevate the souls Above to ever more exalted levels of spiritual perception.

[According to the second interpretation of the same verse,] it is G‑d Who is addressing the House of Israel: "You are dispersed in exile, pasturing in alien gardens. It is of you that the prophet speaks when he says, — `Like the four winds of heaven have I spread you abroad.' Nevertheless, you abide in places of worship and in houses of study, where you dedicate fixed hours for the public study of the Torah. And there you are visited by the angels, who are called friends because `between them there is neither envy nor hatred nor competition,' and they `listen to your voice.'"

By virtue of their deeds, the people of Israel are called — "the hosts of G‑d," as in the verse, — "It was on that very day that all the hosts of G‑d left the land of Egypt."

The reference to Israel here is explicit.

So too in the verse, — "It was on that very day that G‑d brought the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts."

Now why are Israel called by this name, when the word [though it sometimes serves as one of the Names of G‑d] never appears as a Divine Name in the Torah?

On another occasion, too, the same term clearly applies to Israel: — "On this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt."

[An analysis of this word will throw light on our subject.]

The word tzava (the letters "tzadi bet aleph") allows for three different interpretations: (a) an army; (b) a set time, as in the verse, — "Has not a man a fixed time on earth?" (c) varied beauty, as a derivative of tzivyon.

This term appears in a comment of the Sages (Rosh HaShanah 11a) on the verse, — "And the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their host."

Interpreting the final word tzva'am as implying tzivyonam, they read: "And the heavens and the earth were completed in all their varied beauty."

The third meaning alludes to the various levels of Jewish souls.

Some are intellectuals — masters of Torah, masters of sublime mysteries, masters of wisdom.

Some are simple folk — merely masters of good deeds, who observe the Torah and its commandments with artless faith, and who support the Torah, each to the best of his ability, through personal and financial effort.

For the ultimate in beauty cannot be attained by one color alone; beauty lies in the harmony of many hues, as in the combined endeavors at divine service of these varied souls, who in unison draw down to this world a revelation of G‑dliness.

This third meaning of Tzeva is connected to the second and to the first.

There is a verse that states, — "Days were created, and [lit.:] for him one of them."

For "a man has a fixed time on earth": every man is apportioned the fixed span of "the days that were created."

And when he fills those days with the divine service of refining materiality, through subjugating and sublimating the unholy element within it, he is worthy indeed of being counted among the "hosts of G‑d" — which was the first meaning of the term.

All the above teachings underlie the above-quoted verse:

"It was on that very day that all the hosts of G‑d left the land of Egypt."

The hosts of G‑d are the people of Israel, who through the above- described divine service of refining materiality purify and elevate the world.

They explode the delusion that makes worldly existence appear to be a meaningful entity.

They lay bare that lie (sheker); in its place they reveal the Divine energy that in fact animates the world. Moreover, they transpose the letters of kesher [which is a mystical allusion to evil] into keresh.

Their involvement in the Torah and its commandments constructs [within their personal Sanctuary] the upright beams of acacia wood, that stand like pillars to connect G‑d's infinite light [with the finite world below]. And it is by virtue of this that the people of Israel are called the hosts of G‑d.

But tzava also implies a limited time.

It is the life-task of every man, during the "days that were created" for him, to realize within his life the continuation of that verse: velo echad ba'hem — so that his divine service should reveal within himself the illumination of echad, the One G‑d.


The chapter continues to explain how the kesher (implying evil) and sheker (falsehood) of the world can be transformed into keresh (one of the wooden columns in the Sanctuary that connect the infinite light with the world below).

Thereby G‑d is (so to speak) enabled to say, "I have come back to My garden — to My bridal chamber"; i.e., G‑dliness becomes manifest in this world.

"Friends" (who are the angels or souls in Gan Eden) "listen to the voice" of the Torah and prayer of the House of Israel. By virtue of this divine service the people of Israel are called the "hosts of G‑d."

The chapter concludes by explaining the three interrelated meanings of the word tzava: an army; a fixed time; varied beauty.