House That Hashem Has Built

כמה דאתחיל ברכה
Sefer HaBahir, verse 3 excerpt

Traditional interpretation: “… in order that it begin with a blessing.”

Liorah’s interpretation: “… (to discern) how many thirst to know enabled power to develop proper abilities.”

כמה has a gematria of 65, which has a digit sum of 11. There are 11 spices of the ketoret (ritual incense used in temple service, Shemot 30:34). The Ari teaches that these 11 spices correspond to the 11 sefirot of the universe of Tohu [1]. R’ Aryeh Kaplan writes regarding the 11 incense spices:

They represent the complete rectification of evil .. and to the elevation of evil back into the realm of the holy [2]. The Talmud teaches that Moses was taught the mystery of the incense by the Angel of Death [3]. It is for this reason that when a plague broke out among the Israelites in the wilderness Moses ordered Aaron to walk through the camp with the incense [4]. This is the concept that the eleven perfumes have the power to overcome death and evil [5].

From this we can see that כמה contains the primordial great light of Tohu in it. Unrectified, it shatters the vessels of being. Rectified, Tohu brings new light into existence with the power to rectify and resurrect reality.

דאתחיל has a gematria of 453, and a digit sum of 12. As written in a previous entry, these gematriot are connected to the sefirah Yesod. Yesod is the power of the tzadik (tzedeket) to act as a conduit for the bestowal of this great new light into the world of human action and physicality. The ultimate manifestation of this ability is one’s spark of mashiach [6] ben Yosef.

ברכה has a total gematria of 227. This value is the sum of the 221 gates [7] of David HaMelech plus 6, where 6 is the value of vav ו which represents the entire Torah. These 221 gates represent gates of anointing [8] with the Torah of mashiach.

227 has a digit sum of 11, with a second digit sum of 2, beit ב. This is the House that Hashem has built.

Taken together, this excerpt from verse 3 brings down all the way to malchut the rectified light of Tohu, the Torah of Atzilut and messianic consciousness, and fills the House with the Glory of it. This is the power of one’s spark of mashiach ben David.


[1] Etz Chaim 9:2(p. 120); 48:1 (p. 370); 49:3 (p. 383ff.)

[2] Sha’ar HaKavanot, Drush Tefilat HaShachar p. 87ff.; Etz Chaim 49:8 (p. 390f.)

[3] Shabbat 89a; cf. Likutey Halachot, Gerim 3:16, note 61.

[4] Cf. Numbers 17:11; Zohar 1:100b, 2:224a

[5] Sha’ar HaKavanot, ibid. p. 89 top.

[6] The ultimate manifestation of the power to act as a conduit for the bestowal of this light is (one’s spark of) mashiach, which is also associated with the sefirah Yesod. (Studies In The Zohar, Yehudah Liebes)

[7] Sefer Yetzirah 2:4; see Saadia Barceloni, ad loc.; R. Eliezar of Wormes ad loc, p. 5a.; Tehilim 23:5

[8] Chayah Olam Haba 4b; Tehilim 23:5


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