Inner Dimension Audio
Summaries, Charts, Translations and aids
for recorded lectures by Rabbi Ginsburgh
The Weekly Torah Portion of: Vayetzeh
Before retiring for the night, Jacob placed twelve stones under his head as a pillow. Miraculously, these stones all fused into one. King David also had a similar experience of stone fusion when the five stones he inserted into his slingshot to kill Goliath all fused into one. Why did the stones of Jacob and of King David fuse together and what secret do they hold for us? In this audio lecture, Rabbi Ginsburgh reveals how the unification of diversity represented by these stones ultimately brings us to the recognition that everything in reality is simply "God is One."
The following is a written summary of the audio lecture
for the Torah Portion of Vayetzeh (#E_044).
Click here to listen to the lecture.
The Twelve Stones and the Twelve Tribes
Verse 28:11 in the Torah portion of Vayetzeh describes how Jacob took stones (in plural form) to put under his head as a pillow. Verse 28:18 refers only to the stone, in singular form, that Jacob had put under his head. This apparent discrepancy brings our sages to the conclusion that the twelve stones that Jacob placed under his head on his way to Charan fused into one stone. Whether on a conscious or unconscious level, the fact that Jacob gathered twelve stones alludes to the twelve tribes that he will bring into the world as a result of his marriage in Charan. More specifically, the fusion of the twelve stones alludes to the fusion of the twelve tribes. This unification of the twelve sons of Jacob occurred just prior to his death. Surrounding Jacob's bed, his twelve sons proclaimed as one:
Hear Israel (Jacob's name) God is our God, God is One
The Patriarchs served God at the level of atzilut ("emanation"). They were completely null to God and served as a conduit through which God revealed Himself on earth. The twelve sons of Jacob were on a lower level — the level of Beriah ("creation"), in which a certain degree of self-consciousness exists. Although they were not on the same spiritual level as their father, the twelve tribes declared to him on his deathbed that they share Jacob's total and perfect faith in the One God. With this declaration, their souls fused together.
Father and Son
The Hebrew word for "stone" is even, spelled alef, beit, nun. This is an acronym for av ben, which means, "father son." Every stone is the union of father and son.
King David and the Five Stones
The only other instance in the Bible of stones fusing together is when King David kills Goliath. In Samuel 1 17:40 David takes five stones to put in his slingshot. Verse 49 describes him as killing Goliath with the one stone in his slingshot. Here too, the five stones fused into one.
The numbers of these stones reflect a beautiful mathematical phenomenon that sheds a new light on the inner meaning of these two fusion events. There is an important mathematical relation between 12 and 5. 12 squared equals 144, while 5 squared equals 25. 144 plus 25 equals 169, which is 13 squared. 13 is the numerical value of the word echad ("one"). This reflects the plurality of the many stones becoming one.
The Unification of the Twelve Tribes Reflected in Echad
The word echad is spelled alef (1), chet ( 8), dalet (4). Together, the chet and dalet represent the twelve tribes. They combine with their father, Yisrael, represented here by the alef, in their proclamation that God is One. The 12 sons combine with their one father to manifest the unity of echad (13).
The Stones in David's Slingshot Reflect Echad
Our sages explain that twice daily Goliath would thunderously mock the entire camp of Israel. He synchronized the timing of his tirade of scorn to coincide with the times in the morning and evening that the Israelite soldiers recited the Shema Yisrael prayer. In this way Goliath mocked not only the soldiers of Israel, but also the God of Israel. He wished to demoralize the Jews by weakening their faith in their God. The Tikunei Zohar explains that the five stones that David put in his slingshot represent the first five words of the verse:
Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem echad
"Hear Israel, God (is our) God, God (is) One"
In the Torah scroll, there is a pause line that separates the first five words of this verse from the final word of the verse, echad. This line is the secret of David's slingshot. Each stone enters into the slingshot and fuses together with the other stones to create one complete stone. It is with this "one" that David killed Goliath and reemphasized Jewish pride and faith in the One God of Israel.
The Consummate One in Creation
|Reality has three dimensions: time, space and soul|
In Sefer Yetzirah we learn that reality has three dimensions: time, space and soul — the human dimension. Parallel to these three dimensions, we find that the word echad ("one") is repeated three times in the story of creation.
The first mention of echad is in Genesis 1:5:
And there was evening and there was morning one day
In this verse, echad parallels the dimension of time.
The second mention of echad is in Genesis 1:9 "May the waters beneath the heavens gather to one place…" In this verse, echadparallels the dimension of space.
The third mention of echad is in Genesis 2:25
So man shall leave his father and his mother
and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh
In this verse, echad parallels the human dimension.
Significantly, each of the above verses has 13 words. The first verse has 49 letters, the second verse has 52 letters and the third verse has 43 letters. Together, these three verses have 144 (12 squared) letters. This represents the unity manifest in the three general dimensions of reality — time, space and souls. If we can find a verse of 25 (5 squared) letters to add to these three verses, we would reach echad (13) squared. Amazingly, the verse of 25 letters that we are looking for is "Hear Israel, God is our God, God is One." With the addition of this verse to the verses corresponding to the general dimensions of reality above we achieve a unit of verses that reflects the absolute unity of God in all created realms of reality. This verse unites with the three specific and individual manifestations of time, space and soul to become 13 squared — a perfect and consummate interinclusion of 13 within 13. Each detail manifests the whole while the whole becomes one beautiful and complete array that reflects that everything in reality is simply "God is One."