Choshen Mishpat

‘ומפני מה התחיל התורה בב
Sefer HaBahir, verse 3 excerpt

Traditional translation: “Why does the Torah begin with the letter beit?”

Liorah’s translation: “Particularly focusing, ‘more than’ my attention (with clarity), which develops power and ability in its appointed time, to explore (ideas), arrange and cover a focused point …”

In an earlier entry, Hitbonenut, Clear Focused Kavanah, I wrote pertaining to the word התחיל, “begin”:

The hebrew word התחיל is traditionally translated here as “begin”. The word’s root, חיל, means “enable”, “concentrate power and resources”, “developing power and abilities”, “host”, “soldier” and “accumulating possessions”.

Permutations of the letters comprising the word התחיל are found in Bereshit 6:19 and Devarim 2:31.

Bereshit 6:19 – להחית – “to keep alive” – “And from all that lives, of all flesh, two of each shall you bring into the Ark to keep alive with you; they shall be male and female.”

Devarim 2:31 – התלתי – “I have begun” – “Hashem said to me: See I have begun to deliver before you Sihon and his land; begin to drive out, to possess his land.”

This is very important given the חיל root’s association with “appointing time”.The importance is underscored given that the two examples of times where a permutation of the letters from the word from the Bahir are found in Torah both refer to situations involving Og and Sihon.

The Og connection to the Noach story which includes Bereshit 6:19 is indirect through the midrash, which explains that Og clung to Noach’s Ark to survive the great flood. In Devarim, the connection is direct, as the Torah here in the verses surrounding Devarim 2:31 describe the battle with Sihon, King of Cheshbon, and the subsequent war with Og, King of Bashan.

The permutation meaning “to keep alive” suggests that the blemish giving rise to the kingly wars resides in the sefirah, Yesod. The root meaning “accumulating possessions” suggests the blemish itself. Consequently, the tikun of Yesod, in this context, is to eschew accumulating possessions. In this way, the “kingly wars” may be avoided.

And moreover, this is exactly what King Solomon failed to do – eschew accumulating possessions. And what resulted? Kingly wars between Yeravam and Rechavam which split the united people of Yisrael.

One more thing to point out as significant, given Reb Chaim HaQoton’s current fascination with the number 13 (and 12) – the letters of התחיל, with a gematria of 453, reduce to (have a digit sum of) 12.

Twelve pertains to completed tikun of Yesod. Thirteen pertains to the situation following successful tikun Yesod, and the “next step” into Malchut. This step is “The Danger Zone”, if the feminine tikun of Malchut has not been completed.


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