Eve’s Sheild – A Spiritual Symbol of Peace

tikkun chava

According to Kabbalah, peace and protection are most sought by those souls who are from the left, feminine aspect of reality. When Abraham became the first believer in G-d, he was granted the power to protect his offspring.

This exquisite hand crafted design combines the three shields of Abraham, David, and Solomon, with 5, 6, and 8 vertices, respectively. Together they form Eve’s Shield – a symbol of peace.

 

The Fulfillment of Femininity

The Torah teaches us that the Hebrew name of someone or something both reflects its inner essence and is a determining factor in the fulfillment of its destiny. The Hebrew name of the first woman, Eve, is Chavah, which means “the source of life.” It was Chavah who participated first in the primordial sin, which introduced death to the world. Even so, she was named–after having committed this sin!–“the mother of all life.” Chavah is the archetypal woman; every woman (and man, by giving expression to the female side of his personality) can thus rectify the primordial sin and transform its punishment, death, into a source of eternal life.

If we look at the Hebrew word Chavah (חוה), we see that it is composed of three letters: chet (ח), vav (ו), and hei (ה). Understanding the significance of these letters and the effect of their combination together will help us understand the power of women to root out the source of the primordial sin in human psychology.

The numerical value of chet is 8; that of vav is 6; and that of hei is 5. These three numbers are the numbers of points of the three classic forms of the star, which are known as the “shield of Abraham,” the “shield of David,” and “the shield of Solomon.” It follows that the combination of these three stars, in this order, alludes to how women can rectify reality.

Abraham, David, and Solomon

Abraham lived nineteen generations after Eve, and 19 is the numerical value of Chavah. He, together with his wife Sarah, began the rectification of the primordial sin. King David is the fourteenth generation from Abraham, and 14 is the numerical value of his Hebrew name, David. King Solomon was the fifteenth generation from Abraham, and the reduced numerical value of his name, Shlomo, is 15.

Woman in general (and Eve in particular) is compared to the moon and the lunar cycle to the woman’s physiological cycle. Our sages teach us that the generation of King Solomon, the fifteenth generation of the Jewish people, is the generation of the full moon. Just as the moon reaches its fullest form on the fifteenth day of its monthly cycle, the Jewish monarchy reached its apex in the generation of King Solomon. (It then began to wane and continued to do so for another fifteen generations, until its cessation with the destruction of the first Temple.) In this context, Abraham, the first generation of the Jewish people, symbolizes the new moon, and King David symbolizes its last phase before reaching completion.

The sum of these three numbers–1, 14, and 15–is 30, the number of days in the lunar month. These numbers (and the essences of the personalities they represent) are thus the key to rectifying the whole lunar cycle, which, as we said, is a symbol for woman. By internalizing the essences of these three great personalities, we can fully manifest the feminine side of our own personalities and thereby rectify the primordial sin. As we said, these essences are reflected in the numerical values of the three letters of Chavah and the three forms of the star that share their numbers of points with the numerical values of these letters.

The Shield of Abraham

The eight “wings” of the 8-pointed shield of Abraham are half-squares, that is, right triangles pointing outward. Our sages approximate the ratio between the hypotenuse of a right triangle to its side as 7:5. (Exactly, the ratio is the square root of 2:1.) It is explained in Chassidut that the soul is able to meditate on the Divine nothingness that continuously brings created substance into being. This is spoken of as the ability to gaze “diagonally,” that is, not to be deluded by the direct experience of physical reality, but to perceive the inner reality “behind” it.

This is the essence of Moses’ level of prophecy, which our sages refer to as “seeing through a clear pane of glass.” The clarity and precision of his prophetic perception is reflected in the way he introduced his prophecies: “This is what God has commanded?.” The Hebrew word for “this”–zeh (זה) is composed of two letters, zayin and hei, whose numerical values are 7 and 5, respectively.

When a person is able to perceive the Divine nothingness that brings created substance into being, the dimensions of time and space merge in his consciousness. For this reason there are eight “wings” in the shield of Abraham, which allude to the eight extremities of the four dimensions time and space: past, future, south, north, east, west, up, and down.

The Shield of David

The shield of David is the only star whose inner polygon and outer wings are equal in area. We may imagine the wings folding in to exactly cover the inner polygon, similar to the way a rose’s petals open in the morning and close at night. (The Hebrew word for “rose,” shoshanah, is related to the Hebrew word for “six,” sheish.)

When a person’s outer behavior is unaffected, reflecting perfectly his inner feelings, it is an indication of his sincerity and truthfulness. The Torah considers these traits the essential qualifications for a king. This is because unaffectedness implies two things: that there is no dichotomy between the person’s inner feelings and outer behavior, and that his inclinations toward introversion and extroversion are perfectly balanced.

The righteous king manifests the second trait in that the royal aloofness from his subjects he exhibits in order to rule is directly proportional to his inner sense of essential lowliness. In fact, his aloof detachment not only does not contradict his humility but actually mirrors it exactly.

It is therefore fitting that this geometric form is associated with King David, for he said of himself: “I shall always be lowly in my eyes.”

It is explained in Chassidut that God employs two different manifestations of His creative power to create and sustain reality. The transcendent creative light is responsible for existence in general, while the immanent creative light determines the form and nature of each created being. The transcendent light cannot normally be revealed in human consciousness, since its intensity would overpower the individuality derived from the immanent light. The unaffectedness characteristic of the sincere individual, however, unites God’s transcendent light (reflected in the individual’s outer behavior) with His immanent light (reflected in his inner feelings).

The Shield of Solomon

The form of the shield of Solomon expresses the most fundamental underlying principle of art, both of Divine art (i.e., the creation of the world) and human art: the golden section. The Golden Section is a mathematical ratio represented by the formula:

chavah1

The unique element of this ratio is the square root of five, which is reflected in the form of this star, as follows.

Upon examining the five “wings” of the shield of Solomon, we see that each possesses two external sides of equal length and a third side that is part of the inner pentagon. The ratio between either of the external sides to the other two is the golden section. Thus, the inner meaning of the shield of Solomon is the inner, essential grace reflected in all aspects of God’s creation. The human artist considers it his goal to imitate and expose this inherent beauty.

Indeed, this form may be seen to reflect the Divine image in which man was created, since man’s body possesses many instances of the golden section, far beyond the frequency of its appearance in other creatures or elements of creation. (We can even picture this star as a man standing on two feet, his head above and two hands extending out to the sides.)

This star is therefore aptly associated with King Solomon, since he evinced the highest sensitivity to beauty and grace, as consummately reflected in holiness in the construction of the Holy Temple. The construction of the Temple is in a sense the main occupation of every Jew at all times and in all places, in that his life is dedicated to transforming the world into a home for God, as it is said: “They shall make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell amongst them.” Every Jew is bidden to perform every mitzvah and good deed in the most beautiful and exquisite manner possible, in order to glorify God to his greatest ability.

The Relationship between the Shields

According to what we have said, it follows that the three stars–following the order of the three letters of the name Chavah–correspond to the three basic reorientations of intellect, emotion, and action, that together form the basis of Divine service.

The shield of Abraham is the rectification of man’s intellect, his ability to recognize and consider the Divine nothingness within creation. The shield of David is the rectification man’s emotions, his sincerity and uprightness in his dealings with God and man. The shield of Solomon is the rectification of action, infusing beauty and elegance in all man’s affairs, as he dedicates them to the greater glory of God.

Thus, these three stars, the rectification of Chavah, encompass all the reorientations of consciousness required to rectify the primordial sin and restore mankind to its original, pristine level and usher in the final redemption.

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