The Oasis of Transformation

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(Online audio) Lecture No. E_004

 For the weekly Torah-Portion of
B’shalach

The 12 diagonal lines of the Tree of Life

 Elimah: The Oasis of Continual Recreation

Elimah is the first place that Israel stopped after their redemption from Egypt and the splitting of the Red Sea. The word Elimahalef, lamed, yud, mem, hei  is a permutation of God’s Name, Elokim; alef, lamed, hei, yud, memElokim is the Name that symbolizes God as He manifests in Creation.

Elimah is the only place that the Torah describes the physical surroundings of the encampment; Elimah had 12 fountains and 70 date trees. Hence we learn that Elimah, a permutation of Elokim, is the oasis in which God’s continual recreation of the world is uniquely manifest as 12 fountains and 70 date trees. What do the fountains and dates symbolize?

Tribes and Elders

Rashi explains that the 12 fountains allude to the 12 Tribes, while the 70 date trees allude to the 70 Elders of the Sanhedrin.

Sefer Yetzirah delves into the inner meaning of this explanation. The 12 Tribes are referred to as the 12 diagonal borders or lines — gvulai alachson. Each diagonal line on the Tree of Life corresponds to one of the Tribes. (see Tree of Life diagram above).

 Fountains — Perspective on Reality

The fountains in this weeks Torah-Portion (B’shalach) are described as einot, which literally means “eyes.” The eye is our perspective on reality. Each tribe is an individual soul root of the collective soul of Israel. Each tribe perceives reality from its own unique angle, diagonally. A straight perception of reality sees the object as it was created — its tangibility. A diagonal perspective gives a glimpse of the nothingness that precedes the somethingness of creation — its intangibility. One of the purposes of the Jewish soul is to be able to perceive, not just believe, that the world is being recreated. In order to see and experience recreation one must be able to see things from an angle–diagonally.

 Dates — Transformation

The Hebrew word for date is tamar, whose root means change or transformation. The deep meaning of the date, which represents malchut — the renewed and perfected Kingdom of Israel –, is its power of self-transformation. The 70 Elders represented by the date trees give the people the power of continuous self-transformation, which is the purpose of malchut.

When embarking on a process of self-transformation, we must first gain a new angle on reality. After this is achieved we can then proceed to the next stage: spiritual metamorphosis through the 70 individual powers.

A Mathematical Conceptualization

Every diagonal has a square surrounding it. The area that the diagonal line creates is exactly twice the initial area of the square. Mathematically, this is defined as the square root of 2. The ratio of the diagonal to the square is approximately 7:5. This is the closest approximation of the square root of 2, which is an irrational number.

 When we add our diagonal (7) to the side of the square (5) we receive 12, the numerical value of  zeh — “this.”This is the secret of the 12 diagonal lines of the Tribes. We must gain the perception of the diagonal, so that we can explicitly point to an object, saying zeh, this — and see not only its tangibility, but rather its inner essence.

New Perception and Transformation

 Area of square = 25

Diagonal (7) squared = 49

25 is the mid point of 49. What is the next pair of numbers in which the square of one is the mid point of the square of the other?

29 and 41

29 squared = 841

41squared = 1681.

29 squared is the mid point of 41

7 plus 5 = 12 zeh — New Perception

29 plus 41 = 70 (Elders) — Transformation

This is the secret of the two stages of transformation: first gaining a new perception — as symbolized by zeh —the diagonal in the square. This perception then helps us to transform and adjust to a new perception of reality, as symbolized by 29 and 41 — the 70 Elders.

Transformation from Translucent to Transparent Prophecy

Moses begins to prophesize with the word “koh,”  (numerical value 25) which means “approximately.” This is the term used by all the prophets, who envision their prophecies through the “Translucent Pane,” and relay their prophecy in approximate, allegorical terms.

At Elimah, Moses undergoes his greatest transformation. When connected to the transformative power of this oasis, he begins a new stage of prophecy: Zeh — which means “exactly thus.” Moses relays God’s words exactly. This type of prophecy is exclusive to Moses, and is called the prophecy of the Transparent Pane.

When meditating on the image of the oasis of 12 fountains and 70 date trees, we, too, can use the power of our own vision of recreation to gain a new perspective on reality and transform our personal prophecy from translucent to transparent.

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