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Tov: An Invocation of Good
Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:23 am
Commenting on the verse, "And Elohim saw the light that it was good"
the Zohar speaks of the mystic power of the word Tov (Good). Essentially, creation comes into being on a metaphysical level through Ten Sayings of Elohim, as though ten magical spells - all of the Sayings representing the power of the Word (Logos) manifest by way of Wisdom (Sophia). Following each Saying, with the exception of the second day of creation, Elohim says Ki Tov, "it is good." On the third day Ki Tov is said twice for a total of ten times. Thus, Tov acts like a holy seal upon every cycle of the creative process, blessing each aspect of creation, with the exception of the second day on which it is said that evil was created.
This seal of Tov upon creation indicates that everything in creation in its essence and nature is blessed, and that rather than through "original sin" we are conceive through original blessing. According to Judaic Midrashim (myth and legend) God created repentance at the outset of creation so that human beings might be empowered to restore themselves to the original blessing of their initial creation, namely the Supernal Human Being. According to the Zohar, Tov is the vehicle of restoration to the original blessing.
Unlike English words, such as "good" in English, Hebrew words bear the direct energy-intelligence of what they name - Hebrew is one of the true sacred and holy languages that conveys Light-power directly. Thus, if one meditates upon the letters that form a word or one sees them written on a page and rests one's mind upon them, then one may experience an influx of the corresponding energy-intelligence or Light-power. If one meditates on the letter of Tov (Tet-Vau-Bet) one may invoke "good" into one's consciousness and life.
Tov is first written in connection with the first day of creation and the generation of Primordial or Supernal Light - "the Light with which Adam Ha-Rishon sees from the beginning to the end of creation," and with which all of the navi (seers or prophets) are able to see and know. Thus, the Zohar says that the first letter of Tov, Tet, conveys the power of this Light. Tet literally means "serpent," and alludes to the serpent power which sustains creation (as in the kundalini of Eastern Schools) and the Messiah who is called the Good Serpent (Tov Nechash).
Vau in Tov is the power of Zer Anpin, thus Tet is Arik Anpin, the Little Face and Big Face of God. Likewise Tet is 9, Yesod, and Vau is 6, Tiferet, so this word bears the power of the Middle Pillar, according to the Zohar.
Bet represents the upper and lower Shekinah, and the blessing power of God. Tet is the Light the Shekinah conveys which is the essence of all blessings; Vau is the power binding together the upper and lower Shekinah which brings about a flow of Supernal Grace and Blessings; and Bet is the receptacle and distributor of Blessings and Grace, namely Malkut.
Contemplating Tov in this way, and envisioning the Hebrew letters of Tov and meditating upon them, one can invoke "good" into one's consciousness and life, or bring about a flow of auspicous circumstances. The same is true for any Hebrew word - contemplating the letters and meditating upon them one can invoke their energy-intelligence or Light-power. One might say that it is a simple form of magic anyone can do!
If one wished, one could extend this practice by actually drawing the holy letters, and once drawn they could be put upon one's shrine or altar with the intention of an invocation. In the Kabbalah there is much play with the holy letters for mystical and magical purposes. It is said each letter itself is a holy angel!
Blessings & shalom!
Tet and Yesod.
Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 12:32 am
I was contemplating the correspondence between Tet and Yesod that seems to be alluded to here by way of the number nine. Yesod is the ninth sefirot, and Tet enumerates to nine. It is said that Tet, or the serpent power is the force that sustains all creation. I was contemplating creation as Malkut, and Yesod filters the rahoniyot and shefa of the other sefirot into Malkut, therefore, like Tet, Yesod is the force that sustains all creation, without it Malkut would get all dried up.
Blessings and Shalom,
Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 10:13 am
Indeed, if the Sefirot were communicated in numbers Yesod would be Tet, and as you note there is an esoteric correspondence between the simple primordial light and Yesod as the transmitter of that Supernal Light to Malkut. It is interesting, for associating Tet with the Serpent Power and the astral planes with Yesod, frequently the most common initial signs of the awakening of the Serpent Power is the perception of the astral or psychic experiences of an astral nature - especially when the ascending force is not uplifted by the Light from above.
So, yes, the energy-intelligence of Tet may be said to be behind Da'at-Yesod. (Interesting that in the Christian Kabbalah Tet is the Netivah between Hesed and Gevurah.)
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:25 pm
The seal of Tov on everything in creation certainly reflects your post 'The "Common Man" & Christ Consciousness' where you speak of the Divine spark of Christos in every soul.
Yet I'm curious where the Bet comes from in Tov (Tet-Vau-Bet)? While I find Hebrew quite beautiful, I also sometimes find it confusing!
Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 10:24 am
Bet is one of seven double-letters which can be pronounced soft or hard; hence Tob or Tov - the latter being the way Bet is pronounced in this word "Good."
The truth of Tov as God's blessing on creation is reflected in the contemplation I wrote on The "Common" Man & Christ Consciousness, for in that post I'm speaking about the original blessing in which we are conceived, the Light which is the True Source of our being-consciousness-force. Even in the Gnostic teachings on the bestial/material, faithful/psychic and spiritual/elect there is no elitism meant among Sophians, for these are cycles in the evoluition of souls and are aspects in all of us - thus the whole is blessed by God.
I'm reminded of the Zohar's instructions concerning dreams - that whether bright or dark we should interpret all dreams in a positive light; hence envision the blessing rather than the curse. The same would seem true of life and the events in the world; after all, the waking consciousness is akin to a collective dream. The tendency to divide "us" and "them" is a product of mental dualism and is the cause of much violence and darkness in the world, just as are concepts suggesting that the present humanity or world ought to be different than it is tends to invoke forms of negativity like self-righteousness or depression. The blessing of Tov suggests that the world is sacred as it is and that all cycles of human evolution are sacred as they are; hence blessed.
In this regard we might inquire what the role of the sons and daughters of Light is, and what the role of true Light-bearers is - surely it is to bless and uplift; hence to draw out the innate goodness of creatures and creation.
Blessings & shalom!
the great name
Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 11:10 pm
Dear Tau Malachi and Elder Rebekah!,
I was contemplating how Tov bears the power of the middle pillar. And I was noticing that the numbers of the sefirot in the middle pillar all add up to 26, 1+6+9+10=26, which is the enumeration of the great name, Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh, 10+5+6+5=26. So in this way could one say that Tov bears the power of the great name?
Blessings and Shalom!
Posted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 7:33 pm
I really enjoyed reading your discovery Maid Marion! It does appear that the power of Tov, this blessing power is connected to the power of the Name, or Master of the Name. I wonder if this is saying something of a power to reintegrate conciousness. To re-collect so to say. In this re-collection I am reminded of a union of the ascending and decending forces and a sublimation of desire energy. If desire energy is re-collected and focused with a conscious intent it would seem this is the power of Blessing. Hence God Blesses each day of Creation. This Blessing also reminds of the teaching that as each Sephirot comes into being there is a shattering and then a putting back together. The Blessing would then seem to imply a rectification or mending and a re-manifesting. I wonder if then the shattering of the vessels can connect to a cursing power? This contemplation connects to what is said in John 20:21 "Yeshua said to them again ,"Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you." When he said this he breathed in them and said to them, "Recieve the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Blessings and Shalom,
Posted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 10:25 pm
Shalom Marion and Sunny!
This Middle Pillar angle is very dynamic! I can't help but recall the "Path of the Arrow" attributed to the Middle Pillar (Keter to Malkuth) as Pure Grace.
Who could withstand this pure "Tov-good" were it not for the intermediation of the sephirot? Like these sephirot, each day of creation is a gradation and unfolding of the light of the First Day. Except the Second, each is sealed by "Ki Tov". That-Which-Was-Is-and-Forever-Shall-Be, the Great Name YHVH, is pure grace, very much like the first of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy being "God"; the first mercy (or grace) is God bestowing "God's self", God's goodness. Seeing that "13" doubled is the value of the the Great Name and that this value is equal with the sephirot of the Middle Pillar, there something of Pure Grace, the Pure "Tov" at play!
Tov and compassion
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 4:31 pm
I am intrigued by the number 13 being attributed here to Tov, 13 dubbled being the enumberation of the great name. I was noticing that 13 is also the enumeration for achad-love and yichud-unity, which seems to have to do with the blessing power of Tov as Sunny pointed out. this perhaps can also be seen in the middle pillar, which is called the pillar of love or compassion often times, and we are told that true compassion is a dynamic balance between the elements of mercy and severity. It is like if a child was never disiplined their whole life, that would not benifit the child, likewise, if a child were always disiplined it would be just as bad. Therefore, balance seems to be a key element here in discussing Tov.
I was also thinking that this is illustrated in the Letters of Tov, Tet-Vau-Bet, which mean Serpent, Nail and House. which seems to indicate that is one joins (Vau) the serpent power(Tet) to the house of God, or the divine will and didine kingdom(Bet) Then it will be Good-Tov. alternatively I was thinking, perhaps if one tames, or nails down (Vau) the serpent power (Tet) then one will have gnosis of the house of God (Bet). Or when the serpent power is tamed, which is to say, the assending and desending force of the serpent power are united, one becomes a "Pure" vehicle of the light presence, having become empty of oneself.
Blessings and Shalom!
Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:09 pm
I couldn't help but be drawn into the contemplation Yeshua's saying in Matthew when the rich man comes to him and says, "Good teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" to which he responds, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one that is good."
That only "one" that is good, implies "God", however, he uses the word "one" here, curiously. At first it may seem like nothing but a figure of speech, but when we see that he later says, "if you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
Here he uses the word, "perfect". So I wonder if his words aren't carefully chosen here to penetrate these same depths of 'Good' drawing the contemplation to the greek word, 'perfect' meaning 'complete', thus drawing our attention to this statement that, "there is only one that is good." The word 'perfect' in this context is drawn from the same root as "limit" and therefore "cross".
So perhaps he is intimating these same ideas here behind the word, "good", this 'oneness' being spoken of by Malachi when he spoke of "Arik Anpin." Does he then propose to this disciple the key teaching to unification to this oneness in his choice of the word, "perfect", implying the "limit" or cross that Yeshua is headed, this ultimate cessation in death, that which creates this pure vessel, or a "perfect" vessel as Marion noted?
Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:31 pm
One. Good. Perfect. Complete. These seem to dance around each other and are woven well through the verse Gnostic cited below of the young man who approached Yeshua, calling him "Good Teacher"!
This peels away moral sentimentality of what is meant by "good", meaning "complete". The post below cites "perfect", "cross" and "limit" in the same context, all which support the meaning of Hebrew letter "Tau". What is curious to me regards the "Tau" sealed over each day, as if the perfection and limit of completeness of each day is within the First Day, reminding me of every experience of Gnostic and Light Transmission; each experience after the 'first', like the First Day of Creation, is but another dimension of the one, complete and perfect experience.
Posted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:38 pm
I'd like to go back to Marion's acute observation with the number 26 and the middle pillar and develop that idea further. In the section we're looking at here with "Tov" or "good" there is a reference to each letter and it's qualities in the context their speaking. Teth here is "ninth of all, a letter radiating from Primordial One above, contained within," implying with 9 Yesod, however the reference to "radiating from the Primordial One above," to Yesod in the Olam above it, therefore Da'ath.
Then the Zohar goes on to say, "From it's energy emerged Vav, whereby heaven came into being." Implying Tiphereth, Heaven in this context being Zer Anpin in the Olamat generated. Which Olam? Hmmm, I'd love to hear theories, I as yet, don't have a clear notion. Perhaps Briah or Atzilut since the Olam before it is the "Primordial One above," but beyond that I'm not sure.
Next it presents the idea of Beth, "When it culminated in a single point and was hidden within a letter, Beth glowed. From it emerged above and below - above concealed; below revealed - in the mystery of two." What is this mystery of two? Yesod, which is the culmination of all of the energies of Zer Anpin before it flows into Malkut, or Nukvah. This is the mystery of two because both Malkut and Tiphereth are joined in Yesod through the mystical embrace, which then perhaps explains why in the next section the rabbi's go on about the division of heaven and earth and their love play in the gazing face to face and their "cleaving" to one another.
I'm also intrigued by your idea of 13 and the 13 attribues of mercy, Marion... psalm 145 which is referenced in this section seems to have a similar tone... I wonder if there is a more direct connection to these 13 attributes of mercy that we aren't seeing...?
Attributes of Mercy
Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:09 am
It would seem that the thirteen attributes of Mercy is the 'Good' with which God blesses creation, the ultimate aim of which is unification with God and Godhead. After all, the supreme attribute of the Mercy of God is God giving Godself to creatures and creation - does this sound like the mystery of the Holy Gospel?
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:16 am
On another note...
Heaven and Earth, Beriyah and Asiyah, with Yetzirah, the world of the angels, in between; hence He-Vau-He. Note the two (Bet) He - the two, which equal ten (Yod).
Blessings & shalom!