Quadratic Iron Wives (Ekev)
Meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind things, they were in them, in all of them. -Hermann Hesse
The Torah describes that the land of Canaan, the Promised Land that the nation of Israel is about to enter has stones of iron, “BaRZeL” in Hebrew. Hebrew doesn’t really have letters for vowels; hence I only capitalized the actual Hebrew letter equivalent of “Bet,” “Resh,” “Zayin,” and “Lamed,” which also happens to be an acronym of Jacob’s wives, namely Bilhah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Leah.
The Bat Ayin on Deuteronomy 8:9 states that the mention of the word BaRZeL, which encompasses the names of the four wives of Jacob, the women who gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel, hints at other deep and significant foursomes. One foursome are the four elements; earth, wind, fire, and water which comprise our physical reality. Israel is a microcosm of all of reality.
However, then he delves into an even more esoteric foursome, the four worlds discussed in Kabbalistic works. Following is an extremely brief and insufficient description of these four levels of existence and reality:
Assiyah (Action): The physical world of tangible reality and actions.
Yetzirah (Formation): The realm of emotions and spiritual energies.
Beriah (Creation): The world of intellect and divine knowledge.
Atzilut (Emanation): The highest realm of pure spirituality and divine essence.
These interconnected worlds form an existential framework that governs the universe and our comprehensive reality.
The Bat Ayin provides further hints as to the divine source of reality and how these worlds impact our body, our mind, and our hearts; how our very thoughts and speech are influenced by these otherwise unseen realms. However, if we internalize that God is the source of both our perceived as well as our unperceived realities, then we can more easily draw on the divine blessings that ultimately emanate from Him.
There is a vast reality, way beyond what we can perceive with our senses and it’s all to our eternal benefit.
To the memory of Maxine Thau z”l. May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.