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Tashbetz III Print E-mail

writingsAnother Responsum on the Kabbalah is addressed to the same Isaac b. Saadiah. On the verse: ‘And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats’ (Lev. 16:9_ the Zohar comments: ‘ in order to sweeten it from terufina’. Isaac b. Saadiah wished to know the meaning of this comment and, especially, the meaning of the last word. Duran replies that there is a scribal error in the text of the Zohar and it should read: ‘ in order to sweeten it from the filth’ (tinufa). He then proceeds to give the Kabbalistic meaning of the passage. The two goats represent the Sefirot of Hesed (‘Lovingkindness’) and Gevurah (‘Power’). The goats were placed in front of the High Priest, one on his right, the other on his left, to represent the ‘right side’ of mercy and the ‘left side’ of judgment: Abraham the ‘pillar of mercy’, on the right, Isaac, the ‘pillar of judgment’, on the left. Aaron the High Priest belonged to the right and, by casting lots, succeeded in harmonizing the two sides, causing the harmonizing Sefirah Tiferet )’Beauty’) to emerge from Hesed and Gevurah. This is represented by the third Patriarch, Jacob. Satan belongs to the ‘left side’, but his powers are nullified. The operation of the harmonizing Sefirah prevents Satan from prosecuting. This is the meaning of the ‘bribe’ to Satan of which the Rabbis speak. Were it not for the harmony that is produced, were it not that Hesed softens the rigours of Gevurah, the latter would become so strong that mercy could not come into operation and the ‘left side’ would prevail. As it is, the power of Gevurah had been ‘sweetened’ and Satan is incapable of bringing before God the filth of Israel’s sins. This is what the Zohar means when it says: ‘in order to sweeten it from the filth’.
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