Eitz Hayyim: Sefer ha-Bahir on the Tree of Life II
"The Tree is Really Rooted in the Sky" -Simone Weil
So I understand Terrence Malick has filmed a movie with Brad Pitt in Texas entitled The Tree of Life. Always an interesting filmmaker, I look forward to seeing it. Seems like a good moment to continue my translation of the Jewish mystical sources for that motif:
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters, and the fountain of wisdom is a gushing brook (Proverbs 18:4).
What this Tree that you speak of?
He said to him, [It is the] powers of the Holy Blessed One,
one atop another, so they resemble a tree.1
Just as a tree, by water[ing], yields fruit, so too the Holy Blessed One
multiplies the powers of the Tree by water[ing].
And what is the ‘water’ of the Holy Blessed One?
It is Wisdom, and the souls of the righteous fly forth2
From the fountainhead toward the great channel,
ascend and cleave to the Tree. And by what means do they fly?
By means of Israel, for when they are righteous and good,
the Shekhinah dwells in their midst,3
and through their deeds they dwell in the bosom of the Holy Blessed One.4
He makes them fruitful and multiples them.5
1. It is the powers of the Holy Blessed One. The Sefirot.
2. The souls of the righteous fly forth. In The Tree that is All, the image was of all souls blooming/flying forth from the Tree. Here, the image is reciprocal: wisdom flows “down” the conduit of the Tree, and in response, the souls of the righteous soar “upward” to nest in various branches of the Tree. The sacred communion of Israel serves as the fountainhead, the source of wisdom below to propel the ascent.
3. The Shekhinah dwells in their midst. The Divine Presence. Alluding to Exodus 25:8. Elsewhere she personifies righteousness (75), the quality that allows her to dwell with the people.
4. They dwell in the bosom of the Holy Blessed One. Through moral and ritual perfection, Israel becomes one with the Godhead. A cosmic union is realized at several levels.
5. He makes them fruitful and multiples them. The deeds of the righteous magnify God’s presence, but also multiply righteousness itself, sustaining the tree from below. The language of fruitfulness alludes both to the procreative blessing of primordial humanity (Genesis 1:28) and the cosmic potency of wisdom (Psalms 1:3) that the Tree embodies.
To learn more, read the EJMMM, available at amazon.com. Click here - http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Jewish-Myth-Magic-Mysticism/dp/0738709050/sr=1-1/qid=1159997117/ref=sr_1_1/002-7116669-7231211?ie=UTF8&s=books
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