Razin Setimin, Turning History

וגם ענן וערפל סביביו
“and also cloud and gloom surround him …”
Sefer HaBahir, verse 1, line 3 excerpt

וגם, “and also”

From the root גמה, the shoresh means to “absorb addition”, and “accept eagerly”. From the gate גם, it also implies the meanings: absorb, mature, develop completely, reward, hollow out (a place for “receiving”), “conclusion”, and “ceasing to exist” (i.e., the interface [1] between that manifest and that unmanifest).

Thus, the word וגם is “preparing” a hollow place within the “mekubal” [2] to receive the higher brilliance (tehiru ela’ah), the reward of spiritual development attained by way of Torah lishmah, being transmitted through Sefer HaBahir.

ענן, “cloud”

From the root ענן, the shoresh means to “fructify through rain clouds”. This “cloud” is bringing waters of wisdom and Torah. R’ Aryeh Kaplan, writes that ענן is a stage one must pass through on the way to receiving prophetic influx [3]. It is an acute lack of sensation and experiential nothingness.

וערפל, “and gloom”

From the root ערף, the shoresh refers to the “intense darkness” before “pouring down”. Combined with the root רפא, as in Raphael, it implies “healing” waters are on the verge of pouring down (through subsequent verses of Sefer HaBahir).

סביביו, “surround him”

From the root סבב, the shoresh means “turn of events”. Through intercalation with the “additional” the letters ייו, “turning history” is the implication of this word. The 3 letters ייו have a gematria of 26, the same gematria as the tetragrammaton, a 4-letter Divine Name. Hashem is turning history with this word, סביביו.

Taking all this together, the 4 Hebrew words וגם ענן וערפל סביביו of the phrase in verse 1, traditionally translated as “and also cloud and gloom surround him”, are acting (in a focused manner, like the trope patach creates an “opening”) as a mashpia to the mekubal (an individual or collective) prepared and ready to receive the higher brilliance of the teaching; and through it, Hashem is turning history.


[1] The universe of Splendors (Tzachtzachot) forms the “interface” between Ein Sof and the “created” worlds, where the “created” worlds include Atzilut, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Assiyah.

[2] A human being is endowed by G-d to act and receive on behalf of all creation. In Judaism, the terms kohen (m.) and kohenet (f.) are employed to described this function. All human beings are able to do this. The soul of Israel (as a spiritual state) is “focused” (has a mission) to act as a “prepared critical mass” (as opposed to any individual mekubal) of “hollow receivers” from which the brilliance spreads out (via the mashpia function) globally into all humankind, like falling dominoes.

[3] Inner Space, R’ Aryeh Kaplan, in chapter “The Merkavah As A Meditative Experience”


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