Daily Zohar # 3232 – Vayigash – Judge every man to the side of merit
Daily Zohar 3232
86. בֹּא רְאֵה מַה גָּרַם אוֹתוֹ הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁל אֵלִיָּהוּ, שֶׁכָּתוּב וְהִשְׁאַרְתִּי בְיִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁבְעַת אֲלָפִים כָּל הַבִּרְכַּיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא כָרְעוּ לַבַּעַל וְכָל הַפֶּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא נָשַׁק לוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מִכָּאן וָהָלְאָה, שֶׁאֵין הָעוֹלָם לִסְבֹּל אוֹתְךָ עִם בָּנַי [אָדָם]. וְאֶת אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן שָׁפָט מֵאָבֵל מְחוֹלָה תִּמְשַׁח לְנָבִיא תַּחְתֶּיךָ, יִהְיֶה נָבִיא אַחֵר אֵצֶל בָּנַי [אָדָם], וְאַתָּה תִּסְתַּלֵּק לִמְקוֹמְךָ.
1 Kings 19:10
“וַיֹּאמֶר קַנֹּא קִנֵּאתִי לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת כִּי עָזְבוּ בְרִיתְךָ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתֶיךָ הָרָסוּ וְאֶת נְבִיאֶיךָ הָרְגוּ בֶחָרֶב וָאִוָּתֵר אֲנִי לְבַדִּי וַיְבַקְשׁוּ אֶת נַפְשִׁי לְקַחְתָּהּ.”
“He said, “I have been very zealous for YHVH, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
Elijah complained to God about the children of Israel that left the path of the covenant (ברית) and killed God’s prophets.
God scolded Elijah, telling him that as an immortal person, his criticism is a judgment that the world can’t handle. Because of that, God told Elijah to be present wherever the children of Israel perform circumcision that is the sign of the Covenant.
The Zohar tells us that immediately after Elijah’s criticism over the Israelites, God decreed a harsh judgment.
1 Kings 19:18
“וְהִשְׁאַרְתִּי בְיִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁבְעַת אֲלָפִים כָּל הַבִּרְכַּיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא כָרְעוּ לַבַּעַל וְכָל הַפֶּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא נָשַׁק לוֹ.”
“Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
God also told Elijah that from this moment on, the world can’t hear his words of judgment. God told him to anoint Elisha to replace him as a prophet because he now needs to leave this world.
The Biblical aspect of ‘jealous’ is about keeping the ‘cleanliness/purity’ of the holy in this world. As we already know Mikveh קנא = 151 = מקוה jealous. Pinchas ‘cleanse’ the ‘Yessod’ from the corruption that the Midianites brought to this level with the sexual acts with the Israelites. Elijah cleansed the Ba’al’s prophets of the other side.
In both events, the Torah used the words קנא קנאתי
Elijah, who is Pinchas, was immortal and that gave him power above nature. His words could cause unmitigated judgments and for that reason, God gave him the duty to welcome every Israelite when they go through circumcision.
During the circumcision ceremony, we dedicate and announce a seat for Elijah that comes to participate in the process of bringing a child into the covenant of Abraham.
A new prophet needed to replace Elijah because after he expressed criticism on the Israelites, he can not carry the words of God to the people.
Criticism is a form of judgment that doesn’t do good for the person who delivers the judgment. In Leviticus 19:15 we have the precept of “In righteousness, you shall judge your neighbor”. The Sages tell us that we should ‘judge every man to the side of merit/favor’. This precept gives us merit in this world and in the world to come. It is so because by going the positive path, we remove the negativity or judgment that we saw.
A rabbi was asked to give a eulogy to a thief that never came to the synagogue. He couldn’t lie or tell the person ‘occupation’. He said that the deceased never spoke bad in the synagogue and he was an expert in opening doors. God sees every action we do and it will be corrected sooner or later. We should not be the cause of justice that may expedite the execution of the judgment.
This story is somewhat funny but at the same time we learn from that, how we can transform negative to positive without lying.