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Shemah: Flourishing Salvations

“For He alone is exalted and holy, effects mighty deeds, makes new things, is Master of wars, sows kindnesses, makes salvations flourish.” How will these salvations flourish as light?


“Who is she that looks forth as the dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners (Song of Songs 6:10).” Rabbi Judah explained: This verse refers to Israel, at the time when the Holy One, Blessed is He, will raise them up and bring them out of captivity. At that time he will first open for them a tiny aperture of light, then another somewhat larger, and so on, until He will throw open for them this supernal gates which face on all the four corners of the world. And, indeed, this process is followed by God in all that He does for Israel and the righteous among them.

For we know that when a man has been long shut up in darkness it is necessary, on bringing him into the light, first to make for him an opening as small as the eye of a needle, and then one a little larger, and so on gradually until he can endure the full light. It is the same with Israel. Their light will come little by little, until they will become strong. God will illuminate them forever.

All then will ask: “Who is she that looks forth like the dawn,” this being a reference to the first tiny streak of the Dawn, then, “fair as the moon,” the light of the moon being stronger than that of the Dawn, and then, “clear as the sun,” that is, a still stronger light, and finally, “terrible as an army with banners,” expressive of the light in its full strength.

For, just as when the dawn emerges from the darkness its light at first is faint, but gradually brightens till full daylight is reached, so, when God will bestir Himself to shine upon the Community of Israel, He will first shed on them a streak of light like that of the daybreak which is still black, then increase it to make it, “fair as the moon,” then, “clear as the sun,” until it will be, “tremendous as an army with banners,” as already explained. (Zohar II 170a)

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