Rav Dovid E. Eidensohn - 845-578-1917 – firstname.lastname@example.org
The gemora in Berochose 17A says, “Greater is that which HaShem promised to women than what He promised to men,” as it is said (Yeshaya 32) “Confident women, rise up and hearken to my voice; daughters who trust, hearken to my words.” Rashi explains that when the prophet called out to women and said that they were trusting and confident, it meant that this was a special quality of women. The gemora thus learns that women were greater than men in trusting and confidence in HaShem.
A man has power and does not need so much to trust and be confident in HaShem, but the woman does. This level of the woman requires her to trust in HaShem and to maintain a confidence in Him even when this world is not hospitable.
This quality is crucial. People who have everything and don’t need to trust and be confident because they are already happy with their lot are missing out on the great level of trusting Hashem and being really confident in Him even when such seems remote. Thus, the Jewish people are always getting exiled and killed and who knows what. But even in the darkest moments, they turn to HaShem. So many stories are known about Jews in the camps of Hitler. One said he felt the years in the camps that it was one long Yom Kippur. I prefer the regular Yom Kippur, but his level is a trust and confidence in HaShem that powers him to a totally new dimension. I always say, “When I come to the Other World they will say, ‘What did you bring here? What great deeds did you do?” And I will say, “I ate two bowls of cholent every Shabbos.” And they will say, “Well, how does that match up with so and so who was tortured for four years in the camps and he hid his tephilin and wore them regularly?”
Yes, the people who are ready for the other world are those who are completely removed from it. They saw Gehenum in this world, and the next world will be the opposite. And those who had pleasure in this world, what can they expect, two pleasures for both worlds, for what?
Israel – the Founding Family Man and Wife
The greatest Jews were the first three who founded the Jewish nation, Avrohom, Yitschok and Yaacov. They all married. Who was greater, Avrohom or his wife Soro? Who was greater, Yitschok or his wife Rivka? Yaacov or his wives Rochel and Leah?
Beraishis 21:12 features an argument between Avrohom and Soro regarding Avrohom’s son Ishmael from Hagar. Soro wanted him expelled from the family and Avrohom wanted to keep him. HaShem intervened and told Avrohom, “Everything that Soro tells her hearken to her voice.” Rashi explains, “Hearken to her voice, to her Ruach HaKodesh. We see from this that Soro was a greater prophet than Avrohom.” What would have happened to the Jewish nation if Avrohom would have kept Ishmael? We would be a nation of Arabs. Soro realized that but not Avrohom.
Now we come to Yitschok and his wife Rivka. Who was greater? Yitschok and Rivka had twins. Rivka had great pain from them before they were born. She went to ask the prophet Shem to explain and he told her that she had twins, two brothers who will quarrel about who will control the Jewish nation. He concluded, “The older son will serve the younger son.” The two sons were the oldest Aisov (Esau) and the younger Yaacov. Would the Jewish nation be led by Aisov, a wicked person whose wives were pagans, and who attacked women, or Yaacov who spent his time learning Torah?
When Yitschok became very old and weak, he decided to assign Aisov, Esau, his eldest son who was very careful to honor his father, as the leader of the Jews. But Rivka knew that the prophecy from Shem was that the younger son, or Yaacov, would lead the Jewish people. So she commanded Yaacov to trick his father and get the blessings, which he did. Now, what would happen to the Jewish people if Esau, the rapist, whose wives were pagans, would control the Jewish people? Rashi in Beraishus 26:34 tells us that Aisov raped women for forty years and then married a woman who was a pagan. What would happen to the Jews if Aisov would have been the leader of Israel? But Rivka saved us from this, even after Yitschok tried to bless Aisov. Who was greater?
Yaacov had various wives, mainly Rochel and Leah, but there were also two other wives of lesser stature so that Yaacov had four wives. His main and most beloved wife was Rochel, and he was tricked into marrying Leah and he was unhappy with her. The Torah says that he hated her. (Ber. 29:31) Eventually, Yaacov by mistake caused the death of Rochel who had only two children, and most of his sons, the major ones, came from Leah. Levi and Yehuda, the tribe of priesthood and monarchy came from Leah, as did the Torah tribes of Yisoschor and Zevulun (Yisoschor studied Torah and was supported by Zevulun who went to foreign countries to make the money to support him and Yisoschor.) (Ber.29) So who built the Jewish people? Rochel who had two sons, or Leah, who had the major tribes of Levi and Yehuda, the tribes of priesthood and monarch, and Yisoschor, the tribe of Torah, and Zevulun.
It is important to note that Leah was hated. The hated person ends up the mother of the tribes of monarchy, priesthood and Torah. The beloved Rochel is cursed by Yaacov mistakenly and dies. That is something to notice. Yes, men have power and glory and women don’t. But what does that mean? What does it really mean?
Another point: The hideous story of Joseph being sold by his brothers was clearly caused by Yaacov, who treated Yosef very specially and created great envy from the other brothers. But let us leave it at that. We have established that the first and founding generation of Jews succeeded despite the men and because of the women. That says a lot.
The Jews were led out of Egypt by Moshe and they crossed a water that dried up for them and then the water returned to kill the Egyptian army chasing the Jews. When that happened, the women took music instruments and danced with joy, but the men did not dance and they did not play musical instruments. The men took weapons from Egypt and the women took musical instruments from Egypt. The women were led by Miriam. Moshe led the men in reciting a song of praise for G-d’s miracle, but we don’t find that they danced, or had musical instruments.
This was Miriam whose father divorced his wife and Miriam told her father, “Pharaoh has decreed on Jewish boys to kill them. But you decree no marriage and thus no children, not boys and not girls.” Her father remarried her mother and Moshe was born. Who saved Moshe when he was cast into the river in a tiny boat? It was Miriam who approached the daughter of Pharaoh and arranged for Moshe to be a ward of the daughter of Pharaoh. Here the men went backwards and the ladies went forward. Who was greater?
Another thought. Many great prophets and judges rose up to serve the Jewish people. But only one had a perfect record. It was Devorah, a woman, who was the judge, the leader in war, and the head of the Jewish people.
To jump forward a bit, I grew up in Baltimore where my mother’s family lived. I recall that somebody in Baltimore once said, look at the difference between men and women, meaning, in Baltimore. This means, the non-Orthodox Jews. It seems that when men wanted to join an organization and meet new people, they would join a gentile club. But the woman would join a club serving Israel or another Jewish service. We have established from the above that women are superior to men in many ways.
We will now enter a Kabbalistic study of male and female, and the teachings of the Ari z”l and Reb Moshe Chaim Lutsato, known as Ramchal, a very great Kabbalist.
Let us take a look at Shir HaShirim, Solomon’s Song of Songs. The work is very hidden. We know however that it is about love of a man and a woman. The second passage is “Let him kiss me from the kissings of his mouth.” Strangely, we have no idea who “him” is. He has not been introduced.
Passage three “The scent of your good oils, your name is poured oil. That is why the young lasses love you.” This is very strange. A woman who seems to be in love with a man tells him that the young lasses love him. Why should she, a woman in love, tell her lover of others who love him?
Perhaps we could answer that “The scent of your good oils” is an ordinary thing, because oil is supposed to give off a lovely scent. But “your name is poured oil” is something else. A name is poured oil? What does poured oil off have to do with a name? But the woman in love tells her lover that his power is such that his name itself arouses strong feelings in all of the young lasses. Furthermore, she tells this to him without fear that he will leave her and find a young lass. Her love is strong and his love is strong, so there is no fear of either one looking for another person to love. But the woman arouses her husband’s love for her by letting him realize that her love is perfect because his love is perfect, and that his level is so elevated in that regard that young ladies swoon at the mention of his name. This is surely a wonderful love for any man. But to have his female partner mention this tells us something special.
The fifth and sixth passage have the woman describe herself as black, and various shades of black. That is, passage 5 has the woman describing herself as black. Passage six has her calling herself extremely black, and she calls out, “Do not see me as I am extremely black, for the sun has blackened me…” She begins a complaint about how “the sons of my mother caused this to me, and they made me guard the vineyards but my vineyard I did not guard.” Can it be that a mother would allow one of her children to be blackened and disgraced? And those who did this to blacken a sister, do they have no feelings for a sister?
Note that a mother is a female. The black lady is a female. Those who created the blackness are men. And the men make sure that they have a slave, the daughter of the mother. So powerful are the men children of the mother that the mother can do nothing to protect her daughter from turning black with the slavery imposed by the men sons of the mother.
The next passage, 7, introduces the male, the lover of the female who is black. He ignores her problems and speaks lovingly to her. He begins his remarks, “Tell me, she who loves my soul, how do you pasture, where do you crouch in the afternoon, because why should I be as one who goes from place to place to the flocks of your fellows?” There is no trace of anything but love. There is no trace of anything negative. What happened to the travail of blackness?
Who is this male? Why does he ask her for her address so that he doesn’t have to travel all over to find her? Doesn’t he know where she lives already if he is greatly in love with her?
See the commentary of the Ari z”l on the second passage in Shir HaShirim, “Let him kiss me from the kisses of his mouth.” It seems that the Shir HaShirim is a story of the love of HaShem and the Schechina, which is the love of HaShem and Klal Yisroel. And yes, the Schechina suffers “blackness” and other things, and yet, this does not disrupt the love of HaShem and the Schechina, nor does it disrupt the love between HaShem and the Jews. Furthermore, just as the Schechina in this song of Solomon suffers blackness and other suffering, so do the Jews. They are a people of suffering. But the Shechina suffering and Klal Yisroel suffering are still united closely with HaShem, with all of the pain they endure.
The Schechina is a divine property, very close to HaShem, higher than any mortal can be. And yet, the female level of divinity suffers terribly. We discussed before her cries that she is black and even very black. Understand it or not, she is Schechina and suffers. The Jews are also a holy people very close to HaShem, and they, the holiest nation, suffer more than other nations. It seems that the female level of high holiness and the Schechina, and also the Jewish people, have a role in great holiness but that role is somehow connected to suffering. We turn now to the Kabbalist teachings of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lutsato.
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lutsato is not only one of the greatest Kabbalists, but his book on simple improvements to our behavior is a very famous classic that is owned by nearly any Torah Jew. This is what he says about our topic, the fact that a holy female Sefira seems to have much suffering. See in his Kabbala classic Adir Bamorom (in my volume it is on page 119) he writes, “You must know that all things found in this world must have a source in the Sefirose, and even the deeds of mortals, otherwise they could not exist.” If so, if this world is comprised of male and female, and there are male and female Sefirose, we assume that one is rooted in the other. Thus, if the female Sefira of Schechina is the source of females in this world, both of them likely share how women relate to men. We know in this world men seem to be the powerful and famous gender and the women are weaker and tend to suffer more than men, and this matches exactly what we see in Shir HaShirim about the misery of the Schechina who is blackened and complains bitterly.
Having said that, we must continue with the Shir HaShirim and its passages about the male and female Sefrose, or sacred worlds that relate directly to the male and female of this world. The Kabbalistic female is the lowest world or the Sefira of MALCHUSE. The Kabbalistic male are the holy worlds above MALCHUSE.
Passage seven in Shir HaShirim is the end of the many passages of the problems of the female and her relation to the one she loves. Now the male talks and he knows nothing about her problems and her blackness, only love for her. It seems he can’t locate her and wants her to tell him where she is, otherwise, he will have to skip and jump here and there to find her. Now, if the male is a sefira, which is a very holy even divine property, why can’t it locate the Schechina or MALCHUSE who is also a divine property?
Here we see a very important revelation about the heavenly and this world relationship between male and female. Even in heaven, in the realm of holy Sefirose, the male suffers because his love, the Schechina, is somewhere he cannot locate. He needs her to tell him where she is. Does she call him up or send him a telegram? It doesn’t tell us that. But for our purposes, we have established the suffering of the higher sefirose as both male and female. And as Rav Moshe Chaim Lutsato already told us, that what happens in this world and what happens in the Sefirose are similar, because this world cannot exist without the forces that come to it from the sefirose. Thus, this world and the sefirose are similar. The female of the Kabbala as a Sefira called MALCHUSE suffers and so do women in this world.
Now we are at a point where we must know exactly what the situation is with the male and female in the higher world of sefirose, because they are the source for what happens in this world. We turn once more to the work of Rav Moshe Chaim Lutsato, Adir Bamorome, on the same page we are previously, page 119 in my edition.
We come to an incredible teaching. We know that there are ten stages in Kabbala. The highest level is KESER and the lowest level is MALCHUSE or Schechina. There are also ten Sefirose. There are higher and lower levels in both. We assume that number 10 comes first and is next to level 9, which is close to level 8, down to the bottom. If so, Malchuse or Schechina is at the bottom of the count, the farthest from the highest worlds. But Rav Moshe Chaim Lutsato turns everything upside down. He says that Malchuse, the bottom female level, is quite close to KESER the highest level. Keser is such a holy level so close to HaShem that we are not allowed to describe it and we cannot understand it at all. How could such a super holy sefira be very close to Malchuse?
The problem is worse than that. It seems that KESER number 10 is remote from Chochmo father, number 9, because he is afraid of Keser. But it seems that the bottom level which is Malchuse is not at all afraid of KESER. See on page 3 of Adir Bamorome an explanation of this: “HaShem wanted a connection between the higher lights and people in this world. So that the deeds of people can reach to the higher worlds. And for this to take place HaShem created the MALCHUSE with the power to rise and fall according to the deeds of people.”
Thus, if we assume as before that mortal women of this world and the female of higher worlds are similar, and we accept that MALCHUSE was designed to be a conveyor of mortal deeds to the higher sefirose, even to KESER, we see that MALCHUSE and KESER are together. This is stated clearly on page 119 of Adir Bamorome, namely that there is a deep relationship between KESER and MALCHUSE. He writes, “The MALCHUSE rises to the high KESER, and the secret of the matter is that KESER is only the higher lights that rests upon the lower…and behold, the connection for KESER is with the MALCHUSE, and this is a great secret with the covert statement of ‘I am first and I am last.” (Yeshayeh 44:6) …The power of the higher lights to rest upon the lower creations is with the hidden power of MALCHUSE. And this begins with the very beginning of reality. Afterwards is revealed that which is necessary to sustain the MALCHUSE. And when Malchuse comes down she is the secret of KESER itself. For from her goes forth all of the rest [which is necessary for the lower worlds]. And the hidden level of this is KESER MALCHUSE.”
This means as follows: The MALCHUSE receives the deeds of mortals, good and bad. It sends them to the higher world and to KESER. At that point, the very highest world of AIN SOFE is aroused and pours down into the lower holy worlds and this finite world a response to those forces sent earlier to the higher worlds above MALCHUSE.
We conclude our study of male and female with the following:
1) The Talmud and the Written Torah make it clear that women historically, in biblical times, were superior to men. We explained this above, such as the Rashi that says clearly that Soro the wife of Avrohom was superior to him in prophecy.
2) The Talmud makes it clear that greater is the trust of women in HaShem than the trust of men. This is also discussed above with the source.
3) In our Kabbalistic study we find that the female level of Schechina was designed to have all of the deeds of mortals organized to be shot up to the higher holier worlds. They reach to Keser and beyond, to the world higher than Keser which is AIN SOFE. The AIN SOFE then takes the deeds of mortals, the good and the bad, and sends them down to the bottom of the Sefirose, or MALCHUSE. From MALCHUSE the deeds are distributed to this world.
4) The female MALCHUSE has much evil in it because it is where the deeds of people good and bad are deposited and then shot up to the higher worlds. The MALCHUSE has evil and suffering, and this is the “blackness” of Shir HaShirim, among other sufferings mentioned there.
5) Since the levels of this world and the levels of the higher worlds are equal, when women suffer in Kabbala in the higher worlds, as MALCHUSE or SCHECHINA does suffer, we must therefore understand that women in this world also suffer. And just as MALCHUSE suffers and yet because of her suffering she ends up shooting the affairs of this world to KESER and above KESER to AIN SOFE, and because AIN SOFE shoots these lights back down to MALCHUSE, we see the greatness of the female in this world and the next. We do not find that the male levels such as Father or the six levels above MALCHUSE are close to KESER. Only MALCHUSE is. Thus, the female suffers but this brings her to a level higher than the male, as the gemora says, “Greater is the trust and confidence of women than that of men.” They belong in the highest worlds, not the men. This is based upon the reality that women are DIN or justice and men are CHESED or kindness. DIN has suffering but CHESED or kindness is the opposite of suffering.