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Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:11 pm
by Elder Gideon
Feast Day Blessings of St. Lazarus!

Grain is crushed for bread,
but one does not thresh it for ever;
one drives the cartwheel and horses over it,
but does not pulverize it
(Isaiah 28:28).


Galgal has fascinated me ever since encountering it. A noun meaning wheel, whirl, or whirlwind, its denotation of swift, circular motion is found throughout writings of prophets, particularly Ezekiel. There's one, rare Aramaic use of the same word in Daniel (7:9) describing the fiery wheels enthroning Atik Yomin, but what I never knew from Isaiah 28:28 is how its vowels move to make the word gilgal to describe the wheel threshing grain.


Galal is inseparable from the noun galgal, being the root word of its action: to roll. Connotations from this sprawl as actions to remove, commit, or trust. Wheels—Galgalim—roll—galal. The very same letters and sounds form the Aramaic adjective gelal, meaning 'large,' as of a stone that rolls. Gelel is also a noun made by a shift in vowels of these same letters meaning dung fuel, even human feces, from what is to be separated, passed, even as the qlippot within human flesh itself (Zephaniah 1:17).


Rabbi Isaac Luria uses this word gilgalim very specifically to weave the meanings of these roots into a core teaching of his Habad: Transmigrations. Oversimplified here, he taught a doctrine of the shattering of vessels of Primordial Adam, the descent of its holy sparks into qlippot, and how the rectification of those sparks could be accomplished only through righteous deeds of souls continually reincarnating. His text Sha'are ha-Gilgalim (Gates of Reincarnation) narrates this process exactly, how all the biblical characters from Adam up to his own, are reincarnating to give and receive sparks reconstituting the Primordial Human One: Adam Kadmon.

Gilgalim then, become a contemplation of journeys in this and disincarnation. I no longer isolate gilgalim to afterlife, but regard their movements playing out as this life. In other words, the living and the dead are always moving, always migrating through gates of decision and windows of opportunity. Who one is in this life is one's unique, astrological signature of strengths and weaknesses, a hand of poker that wins or loses a pot of sparks for souls to come. The roundness of these movements are circuits, cycles, and sequential narratives with beginnings, middles, ends, and thresholds in-between. There isn't one movement, but innumerable, simultaneous movements, gears that are infinitely small and large, called in my hearing ‘the wheel-work’ (Ezekiel 10:13).

The work of the wheels is to crush what is obsolete and gather what is needed. The biblical interpretation of the word threshing wheels may by oversimplified by the Hebrew exegetical practice of PaRDeS:

P'shat: By literally threshing, grain needed for food is separated from extraneous chaff.
Remez: Sustenance depends upon distinguishing what is and is not to be done.
D'rash: Judgment weighs and sifts what is real, to be gathered, from what is unreal, to be thrown away.
Sod: Souls are continuously revealed through their physical and metaphysical transmigrations. Of darkness, theirs is the End of Days; of light, theirs is the World-to-Come.

May souls awaken in this life and the life after to the intention of the inmost spark wearing them.

Elder Gideon

Re: Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:26 pm
by Elder Sarah
Shabbat Shalom!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful exploration Elder Gideon. It stirs many contemplations. Praise the Mother Spirit for the inspiration!

Where this has initially sent me is to look further into this verse you brought up from Isaiah. When reading this verse as well as the few verses leading up to this there appears to be a teaching regarding Gilgalim, one I feel you drawing on.

Isaiah 23-27 reads;

"Do those who plow for sowing plow continually? Do they continually open a harrow their ground? When they have leveled its surface, so they not scatter dill, sow cumin, and plant wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border? For they are well instructed; their God teaches them. Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten with a stick, and cumin with a rod."

All of these images point to the right knowledge of harvest. Specifically, the right tool to be used as well as the process. I really enjoy the question posed, "Do those who plow for sowing plow continually?. Linking this verse with the one Elder Gideon quotes becomes very interesting. Just as one would not continue plowing over and over again never planting, so too, one would not "pulverize" the wheat. That the word for the "cart wheel" is related to the word Gilgalim, speaks to me there must be knowledge of the Gilgalim in order to participate in an aware state. The cart wheel is a tool that will rightly harvest the wheat, not pulverize. Therefore, to come into awareness of the Gilgalim might be to come to awareness of how to use the cart wheel, and also too, how to learn to plant and not continually plow a field.

Learning to plant, or use the cart wheel draws to a teaching of becoming aware of needs and calls in the Soul to evolve. Perhaps we can say, the endless plowing and pulverizing of wheat is symbolic of the endless transmigrations of Soul that somehow get stuck in a state that for what ever reason avoids growth and evolution. Or, perhaps a state where a Soul comes face to face with a very significant Soul Tikkune and avoids or turns from pushing through?

I am also taken to a very significant image in regards to this conversation, the image of the stone that is rolled from the tomb of Yeshua. Also, too the stone that is removed at the tomb of Lazarus. In the case of Yeshua, the stone being removed is very significant to the revelation of the Risen Messiah. In the Gospel of Mark we read, And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. they had been saying to one another, "who will roll away the stone for us at the entrance of the tomb? when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back."(Mark 16:3) What is this stone? especially in the context of the Gilgalim.

In the case of Lazarus, when read closely, when the stone is removed from the tomb, this where Yeshua speaks the very powerful prayer that is instrumental in the raising of Lazarus. In John we read, "Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the deadman, said to him, "Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days." Yeshua said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Yeshua looked upward and said, "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the cross standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" Again, what is this stone?

In both cases the removal of the stone leads to a revelation of the Resurrection Body. This revelation appears related the idea Isaiah presents, with planting and using the cart wheel. Both appear to speak of a shift from an unconscious swirl lifetime after lifetime to a conscious taking up, becoming awake and aware, Resurrect! I am wondering how our dance with Gilgulimmight shift as the Soul becomes more and more awake, more and more willing with Gods help to roll away that stone?

Holy One, may beings awake within you to come to behold your Glory

Elder Sarah

Skillful Means

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 6:54 am
by Elder Gideon
Shalom Elder Sarah!

Your drawing out the context of Isaiah's use of gilgal-cartwheel as an opportune tool is fantastic. Doing anything to the point of overdoing simply un-does and destroys, yielding nothing. The intention of all activity is to effect a change of some kind; this is why we act. So all you're hearing, of the different tools, their timing, and application, really helps me understand how we may wake up here while among the living or 'there' among the dead in our shared transmigration. It now sounds like our work here or 'there' is to engage in skillful means, to act precisely and timely in response to what is happening. This sheds a whole new light upon Solomon's A time for everything in Ecclesiastes, the Hebrew for which I'm still studying closely and discovering many more radical nuances than the way they're often translated. To post more of what these times for everything say in light of your beautiful insight as to how we navigate and even negotiate our transmigration, would be perfect in this topic, Ma willing.

The rolling stone image you're linking with tombs uncovered is very perceptive. Wells in Kabbalah are attributes of Malkut; the hidden source of their water is an attribute of Binah. The verb for galal-rolling is everywhere stones are moved from wells, as when Patriarchs water their flocks in Genesis, which makes your connection to the Empty Tomb that much more impressive. It's even wilder when we learn that Yeshua's tomb, like his mother's womb, was entirely new: a virgin womb and a virgin tomb whose openings are revealed by rolling their stone. What happens to this contemplation when we overlay a well-opening over tomb-openings of Lazarus and Yeshua?


Elder Gideon

Re: Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:19 pm
by staroath
Shalom dear Elders,

What a marvelous and complex contemplation!

Of some interest is the teaching that the persons of Jacob-Joshua- Elisha and Yeshua shared a common soul stream or Neshamah, I believe that is how the teaching would describe the swirlings through the reincarnation drama of these souls.

Genesis 29 speaks of the meeeting of Jacob and Rachel:

0Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept aloud. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father.

As has been spoken in the past teachings much is prefigured in this story because it has been taught that Rachel herself was to become the person of Magdalene. Rachel as Malkut and Jacob as Tiferet reaching only into Beriyah points to another future story involving the rolling away of the stones and "the kiss on the mouth" with the future wheel turning and grinding of time, eventually reaching beyond into the Supernal Abode.

Another contemplation does fill my mind in regards to the swirlings and turnings of the Sacred Circle with the 8 Solar rites and Continuum of 26 Lunar rites and the journey of embodiment, transcendence, and reintergration within the revolutions and evolution within the solar year- wheels within wheels. May 1st the Feast of the Holy Bride being the opposite the Feast of St. Lazarus on the Sacred Circle each story involving the removing of a stone from a tomb/womb.


Re: Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:06 pm
by Marion
Shalom All,

What a wonderful and beautiful contemplation!
Reading what has been shared here I get a sense that this verse from Isaiah has alot to do with right timing of things. As Elder Sarah pointed out with the verse on how crops are rightly planted and harvested. It also reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes "a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal..." 3:2-3.

This contemplation goes further as one begins to study the three words being discussed: Galgal, Gelal and Gilgalim. Galgal means wheel, whirl or whirlwind, and reminds me of the story of Elijah being taken by a whirlwind. One gets a sense in the story, that his work was complete in this world, and that is why he was taken in that moment. Doing so he creates the space for Elisha to shine as a prophet of God, and that is exactly what Elisha does right after his teacher departs from him. The whirlwind also creates the space for Elisha to invoke receiving twice the power of Elijah. As we know, this invocation leads Elisha to become the messiah in a future life.

The cartwheel-Gilgal, in this verse from Isaiah tramples the wheat, separating the useless stalks from the grains that will eventually become bread. Separating Klippot from sparks of light. Curiously, in this verse there are two words one right after the other that mean "threshing "אָד֣וֹשׁ"-Adovus and "יְדוּשֶׁ֑נּוּ"-yedusenu. Adovus as a double meaning: to thresh and mantel as in the mantel that Elijah throws over his disciple Elisha when they first meet. Curiously, Gilgal also enumerates 66, 3+30+3+30, broken down further, 6+6 (66)=12. As in the 12 zodiacal signs, the fullness of the human one. Associated with Hokmah on the tree of life.

Gelal, means dung fuel. What I'm hearing here is discernment. This dung is the klippot that is separated from the body and used as fuel, like the chaff separated from the wheat. Yeshua says "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:12. I am hearing this dung or chaff as the material plane. Because it protects and guards for a time, and then at the appointed moment, it is thrown off and burned. As Yeshua says in the Gospel of St. Thomas "His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you? Jesus said, 'When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample them, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.'" Saying 37.

Gilgalim is a further exposition of this idea of the grain and chaff. Because we know that slowly through the transmigration of souls or reincarnation the klippot, or that which is not the soul of light gets thrown off, and the sparks of light are released. This endless cycle of the being of the becoming. I'm feeling that these three words build upon one another with the word Gilgalim being the culmination, which is the whole point of the entire process.

There is a curious thread that runs between these three words as well. That is the saying "Keter is in Malkut and Malkut is in Keter." Because each one of these words explains a little further how this is so. With regards to this, I am very curious about the stone that is rolled away in the story of Lazarus and the story of Yeshua. This stone binds the dead inside the tomb, not letting anything in or out until it is time. Therefore, I am wondering if this stone has a correlation with Malkut? Because this physicality hides the supernal light that is within it until beings are able to receive it. Also, one word for stone in hebrew is Eben "אֶ֫בֶן" which enumerates 703. 7+0+3=10, being the number of the sefirah Malkut. I can't help but think of the saying "the womb is the tomb" and that everything begins in Ain, and goes back to Ain. But there is this process in between. This process is in the three words: Galgal, Gelal and Gilgalim.

Blessings and Shalom!


Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:57 pm
by Elder Gideon
Shalom Sisters:

"Rocking" contemplations. Thank you! I've really particularly the gemmatria as well as the scriptural quotations of threshing, setting me up to add what's continuing to haunt me about this mystery.

Yohanon and Yeshua's metaphors of threshing are entirely about afterlife. While the analogy must have been inescapable to agrarian people long before them, there's no denying that these great masters mean to point the listener exactly to the judgment of every soul. Unlike many in my generation, I relish in this teachings. They exhilarate me. It's not because I assume to be immune or chosen, not at all. Rather, I've already felt, and continue to feel, mysteries of the judgment while I live.

The threshing floor was a place of separation. Did you know, for example, that the verb thresh changes in time to also be the verb thrash ? The act of threshing is also later called thrashing: to violently beat and hit. This very act of thrashing is related to the ordeal of breaking the kernel of wheat, so that what is not edible may be separated from what is. What's most astonishing to me is that what is of no use and to be discarded from this process also gives another word: trash.

As no etymology I've found either confirms or denies the unknown origin of another word of this context, I'm stepping out here further, to wonder if a threshold is related to the threshing floor area. What was the point of so describing this step, if not to keep in what was being threshed from mixing with the dirt outside? This said, we can all agree that a threshold is a transition, a metaphor for every in-between appearing constantly throughout scripture. To imagine a threshold as a barrier keeping in the contents of an indoor threshing process complicates all that we're exploring of gilgalim in this metaphor of a threshing floor.

I delight in what you might hear in this.


Elder Gideon

Re: Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:37 pm
by sheryl
Shalom Dear Elders and Friends!

What a delightful for conversation! We are blessed to have this abundance of beautiful insights, allowing for delightful contemplations. Praise and gratitude to Imma Gadol!

Elder Gideon, in considering the connection between Galgal, whirlwind, and Gilgal, threshing wheel, and the last question that you have posed, it comes to mind that perhaps threshold is the place of threshing. Both threshing and threshold have treading in their definitions, the threshold being the stone that is tread upon before going through the gate.

It has been taught that gates or doors are angels or guardians of the realm into which the gate leads, and if we wish to pass through the gate, we must become like the angel or door. Perhaps the threshold is the place where what cannot pass through is let go of, dissolved. And thus perhaps threshing or thrashing and dissolution are one and the same, the experience depending on attachments.

It also comes to mind that the stone of threshing and the whirlwind are likewise speaking of the same divine energy or principle. What is experienced depends again on possible attachments. The experience of this wheel or stone, being either gilgal or galgal, threshing or dissolution!

In considering what has been shared in many lovely posts about rolling away of the stone, the thread that Sister Anna started on Saying 77 of The Gospel of Thomas comes to mind:

Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things.
I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.
Split a piece of wood; I am there.
Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

While reading all of your wonderful insights, the image of Master Yeshua lifting the stone to reveal the I Am in Lazarus came to mind, and likewise the lifting of the stone on his own tomb, to reveal a full manifestation of the I Am in himself. Both of these intimately connected as a stone was lifted in both occasions, and in both, we indeed found the light there.

These thoughts are swirling this day with a contemplation on gravity and love, for love seems to be underlying our experience of the threshing stone or whirlwind, but perhaps another thread will be a more fitting place to share these thoughts.

May all greet dissolution with joy and be uplifted in the Whirlwind into greater nearness.

With gratitude,


Re: Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:40 pm
by Marion
Shalom Brothers and Sisters!

I loved your contemplation Elder Gideon of threshing as the afterlife. I was thinking about how for many the afterlife experience can be scary. Because everything that was hidden under the veil of asiyah is now revealed. However, why would a tzaddik fear the threshing floor? If one is not identified with the chaff being discarded, but only the light? I did some investigating and I found that indeed, threshold comes from the word thresh. Apparently it’s because in the winter, one stomps on the floor just inside the door to get all the snow off. This makes it even more interesting because it brings up the contemplation of every transition as a small taste of the afterlife. Every transition in life is trying. It pushes and pulls us, so that any impurities are swiftly revealed. We can no longer hide; the shields simple don’t work any more.

I was really intrigued about how Sheryl said: “It has been taught that gates or doors are angels or guardians of the realm into which the gate leads, and if we wish to pass through the gate, we must become like the angel or door. Perhaps the threshold is the place where what cannot pass through is let go of, dissolved. And thus perhaps threshing or thrashing and dissolution are one and the same, the experience depending on attachments.”

It makes me think about how there are moments in life where the buck stops here. It’s either let go and move forward or cling onto and die. If we choose to cling, it not only follows us in this life, but in the afterlife as well. All grain will be threshed; it’s only a matter of when and how.

One thing that’s really been haunting me since learning more about threshing is there are three actions to harvesting grain: reaping, threshing and winnowing. reaping is when a long blade on a pole called a scythe was used to cut the stalks of grain down. Threshing is the action of stomping on the stalks either by driving carts over it or animals so that the grain can be loosened from the chaff. The final action is winnowing. This is where one throws the grain into the air either by hand or using an instrument such as a winnowing fork. The air then separates the chaff from the grain and the chaff is discarded. Among many things, I’m hearing teachings on death and dying echoed here. First the grain is separated from the ground that gave it life. Much like the body being separated from the soul at the time of death. Then the grain is literally stomped on which sounds like what is called “the judgement”. Here, where ones heart is becomes fully revealed. Then afterwards, in winnowing, the soul of light is uncovered. I am particularly intrigued by how threshing is the act on stomping on the EARTH and winnowing uses AIR to remove the chaff. That these are done in succession, seems to imply an ascending pattern? From least subtle to most subtle? Which would coincide with the pattern of the dissolution of the elements at the time of death.

There’s another process that grain goes through before it is eaten. That is the process of making it into bread. To make bread, one has to pulverize the whole grain into flour. Instead if revealing, now we are completely changing the grain to become something new and different; a different form than it was before. I was wondering, could this be parallel to a soul coming into a new body? Then water is mixed with yeast, activating it and the yeast is added to the flour. Could the yeast here be the male and the flour the female? since the flour becomes the context, or the womb for the yeast to make it rise? Then it is baked in a fiery oven to make bread. What is beautiful about this process that I just learned is that the yeast unlocks nutrients in the grain that would otherwise be impossible for the body to process. Also, the act of baking unlocks further nutrients. So bread is not just bread. Rather, it is a coming together of all of these different elements that make it what it is. Much like the coming into being of a new body. There has to be just the right amount of all of these different things that make it work. Too much are too little of one or the other and it is no longer viable. I wonder if this is an aspect of gilgalim?
I'd be delighted to hear what y'all hear in this!

Blessings and Shalom!

Re: Wheel-Work of Rolling Stones

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:34 am
by sheryl
What is beautiful about this process that I just learned is that the yeast unlocks nutrients in the grain that would otherwise be impossible for the body to process. Also, the act of baking unlocks further nutrients. So bread is not just bread. Rather, it is a coming together of all of these different elements that make it what it is. Much like the coming into being of a new body.

These thoughts brought a glee of delight, Sister Marion! Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful contemplations.

A Zohar teaching recently heard comes to mind, which ties in perfectly with what you have spoken. Yeast is shefa, it is what we invoke into our words, our thoughts, our actions, and into objects. Shefa or everflow can be invoked from the Tree of Life, or we can invoke shefa from the Tree of Knowledge, or ignorance - it all depends on the purity of heart and intentions behind the thought, word, or action.

If we substitute Divine Attributes for yeast in what you have shared above, our contemplation is further deepened:

What is beautiful about this process that I just learned is that the Divine Attributes unlock nutrients in the grain that would otherwise be impossible for the body to process. Also, the act of baking unlocks further nutrients. So bread is not just bread. Rather, it is a coming together of all of these different elements that make it what it is. Much like the coming into being of a new body.

Is it not the influx of Light, the everflow of Divine Attributes that unlocks or reveals potential, hidden nutrients, within us, making us more than human?

Hallelu-El! Praise to El and to the Mercy of El, who pours out Light unto all according to their capacity to receive.

With gratitude,