Din Rodef & Negative Mitzvah 310

I dreamt.

I observed namelessly throughout the dream. I was in a mystical school, like a boarding school. There were many students in the background, but my observation focused on the headmaster of the school, the elder female student and two novice students, one male and one female who were “partnered” together in craftwork.

Much was going on in hidden places. The novice male student was building a 3-sided mystical poster presentation like one might do for a scientific symposium describing one’s research project. The novice female student was writing a research thesis. These two novice students were really kabbalistic scientists [1] as opposed to “mystics” or wonder workers.

The elder female student was a witch. She cast an evil eye upon the novice female student. She feared that the novice female student might be competition for her. The headmaster was impressed with the novice students’ craftwork.

At first I thought she only feared that the novice female student would excellently outdo her regarding craftwork, but then I saw that the headmaster and the elder student were engaged in a hidden affair of some sort. She feared her place might be usurped by the female novice student who demonstrated excellent work.

In a hidden room like a storage area, I saw the witch call up curses (see motzi shem ra) against [2, see rodef] the novice female student. Little formless things appeared out of nowhere as she called up the curses. The little formless things then morphed into poisonous insects [3, חיפושות]. The witch commanded them toward the female novice student’s room.

They attacked the novice student in the dark as she slept, causing her to break out in boils and hives which disfigured her face so that she wouldn’t be pretty to the headmaster. When the novice female student woke up, she was horrified at her appearance and curled herself up into a corner in solitude [4,5 see hitbodedut], hiding herself from the view of others.

The headmaster knew immediately who had cast the curses as only one person in the school had been taught the black magical arts. He summoned the witch to an audience.

The witch knew she had violated the rules by casting the curses, but she felt confident that she could escape judgment due to her intimate relationship with the headmaster. She felt that the headmaster was addicted to her physical charms. But she was wrong.

When she entered the study of the headmaster, the witch bared her breast and tried to coax the headmaster into a dalliance. But, the headmaster was not swayed from the business at hand – the illegal use of black magic against a fellow student.

He condemned the witch, which turned her into a bowl [6, קערה] of dirty mire and clay. All that was left of her was complete tuma.

The headmaster set the bowl of tuma on a dock (רציף) as if waiting for something in preparation for burying it in a sea of mire and clay [7]. Other students were swimming in this sea. Though made of mire and clay, the sea was not tuma.

I could only observe. I didn’t want the bowl of tuma to be buried in the sea of mire and clay and contaminate everyone else in the sea. But, somehow I could sense the headmaster’s thinking for burying it in the sea – like the 1/60th law, the sea would nullify the impurity of that in the bowl.

But, I was thinking more like pesach where I didn’t want any chametz in the sea [8], not even a drop [see ערף].

I woke up.

And turned on my computer and noticed that today I am a lowly insect in the TTLB jewish blogging ecosystem, when yesterday I was a wiggly worm. And although my face is not disfigured with boils and hives, I did become nauseous as I wrote this post and had to go throw up. I’m not sick and I don’t throw up normally for no reason at all.


[1] Paraphrased from the Torah Science Foundation homepage: kabbalistic scientitists “consider the Torah as the ultimate source of Divine wisdom accessible to human exploration and seek to implement a new constructive paradigm for the unification of Divine and secular knowledge, exploring the physical world and developing models based upon experimentation, to propel humanity forward.”

[2] A rodef (Hebrew רודף, literally “pursuer”), in traditional Jewish law, is one who is “pursuing” another to murder him or her. According to Jewish law, such a person must be killed by any bystander after being warned to stop and refusing. Wikipedia on rodef

[3] חיפושות , insects reduces to 9 where 9 links to the letter tet ט and represents the feminine yesod and the female “serpent” energy

[4] “Hitbodedut is the Hebrew verb, to be alone. It also refers to a method of prayer and meditation taught by the Hassidic rebbe, Nachman of Breslov. The method involves talking to God in an intimate, informal manner, where the practitioner pours his/her heart out about all of his/her problems, thoughts and feelings. Nothing was viewed by Nachman as being too mundane for the practise – business dealings, conflicting desires, spiritual problems. Even the inability to properly articulate what to say in a session of hitbodedut, was viewed as a legitimate subject to engage God with.” Wikipedia on hitbodedut

[5] “The only way to return to the roots of one’s being and merge in the unity of God is through nullifying the self. One has to efface the self completely until one becomes wholly merged in God’s unity. The only way to achieve this state of self-transcendence is through hitbodedut. By secluding oneself and giving voice to one’s inner thoughts in the form of personal prayers to God, one is able to remove all negative traits and cravings to the point that one nullifies all materialism in oneself. Then one is able to become merged in the Source. True hitbodedut is practiced in the depths of night, at an hour when everyone is free from their toil in the material world.” The Field, R’ Nachman’s Teachings at Azamra

[6] קערה from the shoresh קער meaning to contain; deep spots (see tzara’at)

[7] “In Hebrew, mire is refesh רפש, and clay is tyt טיט. The only place in Tanakh where the two are mentioned together is in the verse (Yishayahu 57:20), ‘the wicked are like a troubled sea. He cannot rest, and its waters cast up mire and clay. … ‘Mire and clay’ allude to the interaction between chochmah (water) and malchut (earth). Mire consists mostly of water, and therefore represents the dominance of chochmah. Clay consists mostly of earth, and respresents the dominance of malchut. The mire is in the writing fluid, while the clay is the medium upon which it is written.” Sefer Yetzirah 1:11

[8] And this is an inner meaning of negative mitzvah 310 “do not suffer a witch to live”. In other words, it is referring to the thinking that one can nullify that which cannot and should not be nullified and must be transformed.


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