Zohar Lech Lecha
“וַיַּעְתֵּק מִשָּׁם הָהָרָה, מִקֶּדֶם לְבֵית-אֵל–וַיֵּט אָהֳלֹה; בֵּית-אֵל מִיָּם, וְהָעַי מִקֶּדֶם, וַיִּבֶן-שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה, וַיִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה”
“Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to YHVH and called upon the name of YHVH.”
Abraham set his dwelling place between the city of Beth-el on the west and Ai on the east. The two cities represent the levels that the soul can go. Beth-el, literally means ‘house of God’ is on the higher place and Ai is the lower place and judgments that the souls cal fall into. The city ‘Ai’ was burnt and destroyed later by Joshua. It has the energy of falling and punishments. The Hebrew term עִיֵּי חֳרָבוֹת that include the city name ‘Ai’ ‘עי’ describes ‘ruins’ and ‘rubbles’. This a state of a soul that fall to the evil side.
“אֶל מְקוֹם הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שָׁם בָּרִאשֹׁנָה וַיִּקְרָא שָׁם אַבְרָם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה.”
“to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of YHVH”
‘he had made an altar at the first’ is the Holy One Blessed be He that made the Altar as a connection to the Shechina with the support of the 12 tribes that initially gathered by Jacob when he ‘hit the place’ (Genesis 28:11) that is the gate to heaven (Genesis 28:17). Jacob called the place ‘Beth-El’ to describe what he saw. Jacob brought the 12 tribes to establish the connection to Zeir Anpin and the upper levels. He was named Israel to indicate his connection to Zeir Anpin. The name ‘Israel’,’ישראל’ has the letters ‘לי ראש’, ‘my head’. It tells us that Israel received the light from the ‘head’ that is the upper three sefirot.
The Altar for the Shechina was made in the supreme and concealed world. The archangel Michael, high priest, was elevating souls of Tzadikim on this supernal altar.
‘And there Abram called upon the name of YHVH’ is the aspect of the elevated soul that calls with the name of YHVH and joins the ‘bundle’ of Life. This bundle is the connection to the light of Chokmah that is called ‘Life’. This state keeps the souls ready to rise to immortality in the Final Redemption.