By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
The Four Expressions of Redemption
This parsha begins with the four famous expressions of redemption which we hint to on Seder night by the four cups of wine. Actually, we see the theme of four many times on Seder night, such as in the four sons, the four hundred years of bondage told to Avraham, the four pieces of matza [as the middle matza is split], and more. Also in this parsha we find four children of Kehat: Amram, Yitzhar, Hebron, and Uziel. Amram had three children: Miriam, Aharon, and Moshe. Also Kehat was one of three, his siblings being Gershon and Merari. Also the verses in this parsha discuss how the three Gershon, Kehat and Merari were the children of Levi who was also the third child after Reuven and Shimon. What does all this mean? The Zohar and the Arizal discuss a concept called the “Divine Throne,” so-to-speak, which is comprised of six “stairs” grouped into two groups of three, four “legs” of the throne, and the “Throne” itself, comprised of three elements. We may say that the Divine Throne represents the revelation of the Divine Presence. Thus, we may say that the verses in this parsha that discuss the genealogy of Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam, the spiritual leaders of Israel’s redemption, meant to also “redeem” and reveal the Divine Presence found with Israel in exile, essentially discuss the revelation and “unfolding” of the Divine Throne, i.e the revelation and “redemption” of the Divine Presence through these leaders, considered the main topic here, as is clear from the context of these verses in the middle of the Exodus story. “Leading up” to these three leaders are four siblings that can be paralleled to the four “legs” of the Throne. Then, there are also the two generations each of three siblings, altogether six, representing the six “stairs” leading up to the four “legs.”
In Nachshon’s painting here we see many elements with the themes of six, four, and three, as we discussed in context of the Divine Throne. Moreover, the central theme in this painting is the Star of David, and David is the prototype of the Jewish monarchy, i.e “throne,” which is meant to pave the way for the Divine Throne to take rule and be manifest. We see lots of the number six at the center, at the points of the Star of David, the central “petals” and also points, the six orange diamonds, the six spheres with a flame-like “petal” at their center, etc. surrounding these we see spheres of four points or extremities, four yellow petals, four hal-spheres on each side of the painting. There are also four pomegranates, a fruit which resembles a crown, at the extremities of the painting. Notice also that this “crown” has three points. Kabbalisitically speaking the encircling aspects, called “makifin”, are considered of “higher” spiritual rank.
All these ideas come together in Hebron, where King David, hinted to by the Star of David, ruled for seven years, i.e the theme of three plus four. Hebron is also Kiryat Arba – the City of Four. Hebron is also hinted to in the name of the person Hebron the third child of the four children of Kehat we mentioned above. Indeed, this is Hebron, the cradle of the Davidic line, the onset of the Divine Throne.