Vayikra 2024



By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron

This parsha discusses the service in the Mishkan and the Temple. In this painting, which describes the
Temple as its central theme, we find four groups of dancing hasidim, one group at the bottom of the
painting and three groups at its top. It seems that these groups come as pairs, I.e one group of seven
members and adjacent to it another group of five members, altogether twelve. This “pair” may hint to the
twelve tribes or may also hint to the word “zeh,” “this.” This may hint to the teaching that in the
redemption the righteous will be able to say “this is our God,” hinting to the great conviction of the Godly
truth that will be perceived in the redemption.
The pilgrimage to the Beit Hamikdash here is on a blue pathway which resembles a river. This may hint to
the verse “venaharu elav kol hagoyim,” (Isaiah 2, 2) which uses the word “nahar” which carries both the
meaning of “flocking/traveling to” and “a river” to describe the pilgrimage to the Temple in the
redemption. Indeed, we see in this painting flocks of fish upon these “blue pathways” supporting the
identification of these pathways with rivers. Also in the book of Yoel (4, 18) there is a description of a
river emanating from a spring found at the “House of Hashem,” I.e the Temple. The spiritual meaning of
this is that water/river represents life and the force of life/spiritual light and vivacity, and this spiritual
force will be very manifest in the future due to the great spiritual life-force of the Temple. Another idea
attached to the river/water theme here may be connected to the mikveh seen here, thus suggesting the
power of purity inherent with [dunking in] a river.
Going back to the fish theme here, we may say that the fish are also symbolic of the righteous since the
Kabbalists teach that the righteous are likened to fish [also see Rabbi Akiva’s analogy of Israel needing
Torah study just like a fish needs water]. We see one flock of ten fish and another flock of thirteeen fish.
This may hint to the ten sefirot and the thirteen attributes of mercy. The reason these concepts are hinted
to by fish may be due to the fish’s connection to water [as we just explained], and water is a symbol of
mercy and compassion and Godly light according to the Kabbalists. Thus, the thirteen attributes of mercy
are hinted by this and also hinted are the ten sefirot, which stand for the various types of Godly light.
Note that the Temple here is painted in hues of yellow and red, resembling the sunrise/sunset horizon
adjacent to it. This matter may hint to Hebron, which was mentioned in the service of the Temple when
determining the sunrise for the service, as the priests would ask “has the sunrise reached Hebron?” This

matter may also hint to Hebron being the spiritual and historical catalyst, I.e “sunrise” to the building of
the Temple in Jerusalem.

In this parsha we find that the building of the Mishkan is described, ending with a verse that also
describes the cloud that rested with the Holy Presence at the Mishkan that went with Israel in all of their
travels. Similarly we see in this painting the Temple, which is the continuation of the Mishkan, with a
cloud upon it. It seems that this cloud, along with representing the resting of the Holy Presence, may also
represent the resting of blessing with this Presence, since many drops of water representing blessing are
also painted here. There is also a group of drops that seem to form one drop surrounded with righteous
hasidim at the top of the painting. The righteous are Kabbalistically associated with the sefira of yesod
which is strongly connected with the sefira of Da’at as well, which are both also symbolized by “the
drop.” All these are also awakened by the waving of the four species on Sukkot, as painted at the bottom
of the painting. Note also that the main Biblical commandment of waving these species is at the Temple,
also painted here. The holiday of Sukkot is also known to be the time the world is judged for rain, another
theme that can be attributed to these drops.
Returning to the hasidim, we find that they are seven, along with the seven trees with red berries at the
bottom of the painting, representing the special Jewish number. This parallelism may represent a
connection between the heavenly hasidim and the earthly trees, representing the blessing that comes from
heaven to earth. Also note that on the holiday of Sukkot we invite the seven Ushpizin, saintly guests, to
our Sukka. These seven hasidim correspond to the seven lower sefirot as these Ushpizin are also
associated. We find one hasid holding a Menora, representing the power of light, which was created on the
first day of Creation, which is Kabbalistically associated to the sefira of hesed. On the other side is a hasid
holding fire, which is associated with the sefira of gevura. At the center of all at the top of these hasidim is
the “central path” associated to tiferet. To the sides of this hasid are two hasidim holding the four species.
The Midrash describes the four species as symbols of victory. The sefirot of netzach and hod, considered
adjacent/”students” of the tiferet, are also connected to the holy Name Tzevaot, which literally means
“army” by which victory is achieved. Below these towards the center there are two hasidim crowned.
These represent yesod and malchut, considered more “central-pathed” sefirot and that are also associated
with kingship. The yesod is associated with the kingship of Mashiach ben Yosef, and the malchut is
associated with the kingship of Mashaich ben David. Hebron is a conduit towards all the righteous, since
all of these Ushpizin are deeply connected to this place. The three Patriarcrhs are obvious. According to
the Midrash Moshe Rabeinu was brought to rest at Maarat Hamachpela after his passing. For this reason
there is an ancient custom to make pilgrimage to Maarat Hamchpela on the 7th

of Adar, the yahrzeit and
date of birth of Moshe Rabeinu. Thus Aharon, Moshe’s brother whose spiritual work was strongly
associated with that of Moshe, is also connected to Hebron. Also, the Mishkan/Temple strongly associated
with Aharon the Kohen, is considered by the Arizal to come through the spiritual work done in Hebron
which triggers the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Yosef was sent to Shechem from Hebron. David
began his rule in Hebron. Let us follow in their footsteps

Skip to content