The Mystical Mountains

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The Visual Torah Portion

The name of our Torah portion is Re’eh, which means, “See.” After the Jewish People entered the Land of Israel, the first place that they were commanded to stop was at the City of Shechem, where the Priests and Levites would express God’s blessing to them if they would fulfill the Torah, and God’s curse if they sin. Six tribes were commanded to ascend Mount Grizim, to the south of Shechem to receive the blessing, and the remaining six tribes were commanded to ascend Mount Eval, to the north of Shechem to receive the curse.

The blessing and curse are visually apparent on the mountains themselves. Mount Grizim, the mountain of blessing, is green and verdant.

Mount Eval, the mountain of curse, is gray and barren

In Kabbalah, we learn that these two mountains represent two eyes. Mount Grizim represents the right eye of wisdom, from which emanates pure blessing. Mount Eval represents the left eye of understanding, from which judgments — even severe judgments — manifest.

The Source of Curse

The fact that six tribes stood on Mount Eval means that there was a positive element to the curse. In Hebrew, the word for “curse” is klalah; kuf, lamed, lamed, hei. The root of klalah is kalal; kuflamedlamed, which means “brilliant, shining light,” as in the expression nechoshet kalal, “brilliant copper.” At its source, a curse is a brilliant, shining light. This brilliance can be blinding, making it impossible for us to understand and incorporate it into our consciousness. Even though a curse is the result of transgression, it is not a punishment or an expression of Divine revenge, God forbid. Rather, the curse that comes from the Torah is from a very high source, whose purpose is to rectify the souls of those who have transgressed.

Because of the lofty nature of the curse, the holy altar built after the ceremony on the two mountains was erected specifically on Mount Eval, the site most befitting the blinding brilliance of the curse.

Obviously, God wants us to enjoy only manifest good. To this end, He gave us Torah and the commandments to guide us. On a deeper level, however, the interplay between the blessing and the curse create a state of equilibrium and stability in the consciousness and soul of the Jewish People, and are both necessary.

The Crown Above the Eyes

The Torah portion of Devarim discusses Mount Hermon, at the north of Israel. This is the first mountain that will be seen by the Jewish People returning to Israel in Messianic times. The Hermon is a tall mountain, whose peak is covered by snow in the winter. It represents the peak of faith in the superconscious level of the crown of the Jewish soul.

Together with Mount Grizim and Mount Eval, the Hermon forms a triplet in the form of a triangle, called a segolta. Mount Hermon represents the crown in the Jewish soul, and is at the summit of the triangle. It can be perceived as the third eye in the middle of the forehead, which can envision the crown. Mount Grizim, representing wisdom and the right eye, is at the right corner, while Mount Eval, representing understanding and the left eye, is at the left corner of the triangle.

The image of the three mountains can also be pictured by color. At the top is the snow white Mount Hermon. To the right is the green, flourishing Mount Grizim and to the left the gray, barren Mount Eval. Gray is closer to white than green, implying that there is a cycle here beginning with Mount Hermon, to Mount Grizim, to Mount Eval and then returning to Mount Hermon.

Mountainous Mathematics

The numerical values of the names of the three mountains are as follows:

  • Hermon = 304
  • Grizim = 260
  • Eval = 112

As we saw above, Mt. Eval links to Mt. Hermon. Their combined value is 416, which equals 16 times 26, God’s essential Name, Havayah. The value of Mt. Grizim, 260, is 10 times 26.

The four Hebrew letters of the Name Havayah are:

The 10 times 26 of Mt. Grizim correspond to the yud of Havayah, which represents wisdom, while the 16 times Havayah of Hermon and Eval correspond to the other three letters of Havayah. All together, the numerical value of the triplet of mountains is 676 = 26 times 26, Havayah squared, a most consummate number.

The Quadratic Series

The numerical values of the mountains are part of a quadratic series. To extend the series we use the method of finite differences as follows:













The green numbers in the first row are the values of the names of our three mountains. The red numbers in the second row are the differences between the numbers above them. The blue -104 is called the base of the series and is the difference between the differences. The rest of the numbers in our finite differences table were found by copying the base (-104) to the right and solving for the unknown values.

[If you are mathemtically inclined, you can go to our finite differences resources page to read more about this mathematical method.]

There are 5 positive numbers in this series; the three numbers of the mountains, 676,which equals 26 squared, and the two added numbers, 244 and 80. 244 plus 80 = 324, which is 182. 262 plus 182 = 1000, 103.

This quadratic series can be drawn as a parabola, with the summit, 304, on top, like so:
















Perfect One and Amicable Pairs of Numbers

The numerical values of this series provide us with another amazing phenomenon. The sum of the first, third and fifth numbers, (112, 304, 80–Hermon, Eival, and its hidden reflection) equals 496, the numerical value of kingdom. The second and fourth numbers (260 and 244, Grizim and its hidden reflection) equal 504.

The number 496 is a perfect number. A perfect number is a number whose divisors beside itself add up to that number. The first perfect number is 1, and the following perfect number is 6, whose divisors are 1, 2 and 3. The sum of 1, 2 and 3 is 6. The next perfect number is 28, and the following perfect number is 496. (The next perfect number is 8128, followed by 2096128….)

Another important group of numbers in mathematics are known as amicable numbers. This is a pair of numbers such that all the divisors of one number of the pair will equal the other number, and vice versa. For many years, the only known pair of amicable numbers was 220 and 284, whose sum is 504. 496 is the numerical value of livyatan (“Leviathan,” alone–perfect in itself–for its male was killed at the outset of creation). If we add a chet to livyatan, the words livyat chen are produced, which mean “a graceful pair of mates.” Amazingly, livyat chen equals 504. 496 and 504 are the numerical values of the mountains, as above which together equal 1000. Thus we see that the origin of curse (Eival and its reflection together with its super-conscious source–Hermon) is in the singularity of the Leviathan, while the source of blessing (Grizim and its reflection) is the secret of “a graceful pair of mates.”

“I Lift My Eyes to the Mountains”

In Psalms ( 121:1) it is written: “I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where shall my aid come?”

This verse alludes to the two mountains Grizim and Eival. The Priests and Levites stood in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval, lifting their eyes first to the right and then to the left to express blessing and curse.

In Hebrew, the word for “from where” in the above verse is mayayin. This word can also be understood to mean “from ayin,” from the Divine Nothingness, the inner essence of the eye (also pronounced ayin). W hen we lift our physical eyes to Heaven, we reach the vision of Divine nothingness, which is the source of all aid and salvation.

In Job ( 28:12) it is written: “From where will wisdom be found?” Chassidut illuminates this verse in a deeper light: Wisdom comes from ayin, from Divine nothingness. Kabbalah and Chassidut explain that wisdom, represented here by Mount Grizim, comes into existence only when it unites with understanding, represented here by Mount Eival. Even though Mount Grizim represents apparent blessing, it has a hidden unity with the curse of Mount Eival, which balances the secret of the blessing.

Mount Moriah

In the above verse in Psalms 121, the word for “the mountains” is heharim. When the letters of heharim are rearranged, they spell hamoriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The word moriah means “insence” or “teaching,” alluding to God’s word to the Jewish People and all humanity that emanates from the holy temple on Mount Moriah (“teaching”), and to the ultimate service and union with God in the Holy Temple (“incense”).

Hamoriah equals 260, the same numerical value as Gerizim. According to the principle that the left is included within the right, Mount Eval is included within Mount Gerizim. These two mountains unite at Mount Moriah.

In Kabbalah, Mount Moriah corresponds to yet another point in the geometrical configuration of the mountains. The Hermon is the crown at the top, Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval are the two eyes of wisdom and understanding to the right and left, and Mount Moriah corresponds to knowledge. Kabbalah teaches that knowledge is the point between the shoulders. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was situated in the basin between the shoulders of the mountains surrounding it. This image is called knowledge, the power that connects the mind (wisdom) to the emotions of the heart (understanding). When something connects two seemingly opposite faculties, its source is higher than the faculties that it connects. Thus, the source of knowledge is higher than both wisdom and understanding. It derives from the crown of Mount Hermon. The point of Mount Moriah reflects the crown, and is situated between and below Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval, directly opposite Mount Hermon. Mount Moriah is the culmination of the three preceding mountains.

Mount Sinai

The four mountains mentioned above correspond to the sefirot of crown, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. These mountains are all in the Land of Israel. Yet another mountain with deep significance for the Jewish People is Mount Sinai, where God gave us the Torah. Mount Moriah, which represents the Torah manifesting in the world, must relate to Mount Sinai, where the Torah was given. The numerical value of Sinai is 130. This is the same value as ayin, and is half of 260, Moriah. The relation of Sinai and Moriah is the deep Kabbalistic secret of half to whole.

We have meditated on five mountains, whose progression is from the Torah, to the Temple, the Mashiach and the mission of the Jewish People to spread the knowledge of the Divine Nothingness throughout the world.

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