Rabbi Yosei reveals that the markets in Egypt were full of idols. In every house they had all kind of sorcerers and warlocks. They were connected to the Keter level of the impure system to draw impure spirits.
“וּלְקַחְתֶּם אֲגֻדַּת אֵזוֹב וּטְבַלְתֶּם בַּדָּם אֲשֶׁר בַּסַּף וְהִגַּעְתֶּם אֶל הַמַּשְׁקוֹף וְאֶל שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת מִן הַדָּם אֲשֶׁר בַּסָּף וְאַתֶּם לֹא תֵצְאוּ אִישׁ מִפֶּתַח בֵּיתוֹ עַד בֹּקֶר”
“וְעָבַר יְהוָה לִנְגֹּף אֶת מִצְרַיִם וְרָאָה אֶת הַדָּם עַל הַמַּשְׁקוֹף וְעַל שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת וּפָסַח יְהוָה עַל הַפֶּתַח וְלֹא יִתֵּן הַמַּשְׁחִית לָבֹא אֶל בָּתֵּיכֶם לִנְגֹּף”
“”You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.”
“”For YHVH will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, YHVH will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.”
The use of a bunch of hyssop was to remove the impure spirit from among them. Marking the doors on the head frame and the two sides was to connect to the three lines of the Tree of Life. This connection revealed the Light and the name YHVH on the door and for that reason “the destroyer will not be allowed to come into your houses”.
Similar to the previous DZ study, we see again that we must do an action to have the protection from God. The Israelites were instructed to use blood and hyssop to mark their dwellings for protection.
We will study about the use of blood in the next DZ study and here we will expand on the use of hyssop.
The word for hyssop ‘אזוב’ and ‘סף’, ‘Threshold’ together have numerical value of 156, same as ‘יוסף’,’Joseph’, also 6 times YHVH (26). The hyssop has the aspect of Yessod (Zohar Hasulam Metzora #19).
The use of hyssop is found in several places in the Torah. All of them related to purification and removal of negativity. Exodus 12:23, Leviticus 14:4, Leviticus 14:49, Numbers 19:18
Other references to its value in health and removal of negativity found in the Talmud, Maimonides. Also in the writings of Rabbi Chaim Vital telling us that the Holy Ari was careful to put hyssop and salt on his eating table.
Hyssop is commonly used in Israel and some middle east countries as food spice. It comes mixed with other good herbs like Thyme, Sumac, roasted Sesame seeds. Some variation available with salt and fennel seeds. It is called Zaatar or Zahtar. You can find information and buy it online. There are hyssop oils that are good for health related purposes but on the dinner table use the herb itself because it is close to its natural state.
I don’t eat much bread but sometimes I like to mix a little Zaatar with pure olive oil and salt and spread on fresh warm bread or dip the bread in it. On shabbat I sprinkle a little bit on a slice of challah. It’s good for the digestion among other benefits.