Assignment 10

With your study partner, read the following passage from the Zohar and write an interpretation of it. Remember that the Zohar sees parallels between the heavenly and earthly worlds.

Zohar passage:

"Torah calls to them every day in love. . .
And hides herself right away,
She does so only for those who know her intimately.

A parable.
To what can this be compared?
To a lovely princess, beautiful in every way and hidden deep within her palace.
She has one lover, unknown to anyone; he is hidden too.
Out of his love for her, this lover passes by her gate constantly.
What does she do?
She opens a little window in her hidden palace and reveals her face to her lover,
then swiftly withdraws, concealing herself.
No one near the lover sees or reflects, only the lover,
And his heart and his soul and everything within him flow out to her.
And he knows that out of love for him she revealed herself for that one moment
To awaken love in him.

So it is with a word of Torah: She reveals herself to no one but her lover.
Torah knows that he who is wise of heart hovers about her gate every day.
What does she do? She reveals her face to him from the palace
And beckons him with a hint, then swiftly withdraws to her hiding place.
No one who is there knows or reflects; he alone does,
And his heart and soul and everything within him flows out to her.
That is why Torah reveals and conceals herself.
With love she approaches her lover to arouse love within him.

Come and see!
This is the way of Torah: At first when she begins to reveal herself to a human
She beckons him with a hint. If he knows, good;
If not, she sends him a message calling him a fool.
Torah says to her messenger: 'Tell that fool to come closer, so I can talk with him.'
As it is written: 'Who is the fool without a heart? Have him turn in here!' (Proverbs 9:4)
He approaches.
She begins to speak with him from behind a curtain she has drawn.
Words he can follow, until he reflects a little at a time.
This is derasha.
Then she converses with him through a veil, words riddled with allegory. This is haggadah.

Once he has grown accustomed to her, she reveals herself face to face,
And tells him all her hidden secrets (razim),
All the hidden ways since primordial days secreted in her heart.

Now he is a perfect human being, husband of Torah, master of the house.
All her secrets she has revealed to him, withholding nothing, concealing nothing.

She says to him, 'Do you see that word, that hint with which I beckoned you at first?
So many secrets there! This one and that one!'
Now he sees that nothing should be added to those words and nothing taken away.
Now the peshat of the verse, just like it is!
Not even a single letter should be added or deleted.

Human beings must become aware!
They must pursue Torah to become her lovers."