ועתהלא ראו אור בהיר
“and they do not behold the light, brilliance …”
Sefer HaBahir, line 2 excerpt

The two hebrew words denoting “behold light” ראו אור (ra’o aur), are letter permutations of one another. Ra’o is from the shoresh (root) ראה meaning to look, see and understand.

“Seeing” in terms of building understanding is typically an attribute associated with Binah and its shorashim (roots): bin בין (to understand), and banah בנה (to build). Significantly, neither of these “Binah” roots are used here in this sentence fragment introducing “the brilliance” (ba-hir, see tehiru ela’ah of Ein Sof and tehiru tata’ah of Kadmon).

The word used here in Sefer HaBahir – preceding, concealing yet revealing the brilliance (given “they do not see” [1] but those who see experientially, will see) – is ra’o ראו, derived through the root ra’oh ראה. To elaborate on the connection between experiential vision and the ability to behold this brilliance, I offer the following from the teachings of R’ Yitzchak Ginsburgh of The Inner Dimension on the Aramaic word, ra’oh:

Though Moses longed to see G-d and know His ways directly he was told that he would only be able to see His “back.” This sense of indirect sight is represented by “vision.” In Aramaic, a language considered the reverse side of Hebrew, the word for “sight” (ra’oh) is translated as “vision” (chazah). Until we actually experience the redemption we can only “see” it indirectly in our deeply hidden consciousness of heart and soul.

The word ra’o is our indirect “backside” link into experiential bahir. Given this experiential link through the word ra’o, we can unfold direct experience of “the brilliance” from the white space between the two “mirror” words ra’o and aur – bringing into that “empty space” a surge of infinite energy, light and chazah – redemptive vision.

It takes a human being to behold the light called brilliance.


[1] “they do not” ועתהלא – Traditionally, it is taught that malachim (angels) cannot understand Aramaic. The word ראו following “they do not” is an Aramaic-Hebrew construct for “see, understand”. The “they” who do not understand are the angels.


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