90. וּכְשֶׁקָּמוּ הַלְוִיִּם לַהֲרֹג הֶרֶג, אָז הִתְעוֹרֵר הַנָּחָשׁ הָרָע וְהָיָה הוֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם, וְלֹא יָכֹל לִשְׁלֹט בָּהֶם, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ מִזְדָּרְזִים כֻּלָּם בַּחֲגוֹרוֹת מְזֻיָּנוֹת, וְלֹא יָכֹל הַנָּחָשׁ לִשְׁלֹט בָּהֶם. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁאָמַר לְמֹשֶׁה (שמות לג) וְעַתָּה הוֹרֵד עֶדְיְךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ, נִתְּנָה רְשׁוּת לַנָּחָשׁ הַזֶּה לִשְׁלֹט עֲלֵיהֶם
91. בֹּא רְאֵה מַה כָּתוּב (שם), וַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת עֶדְיָם מֵהַר חֹרֵב. וַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ? וַיְנַצְּלוּ צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת! אֶלָּא וַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ עַל יְדֵי הָאַחֵר, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנִּתְּנָה רְשׁוּת לַנָּחָשׁ לִשְׁלֹט. אֶת עֶדְיָם מֵהַר חֹרֵב, שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ מֵהַר חוֹרֵב כְּשֶׁנִּתְּנָה תוֹרָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל.
92. אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא, נֹחַ שֶׁהָיָה צַדִּיק, לָמָּה לֹא הָיָה מְבַטֵּל מָוֶת מֵהָעוֹלָם? אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא הִסְתַּלְּקָה הַזֻּהֲמָה מִן הָעוֹלָם. וְעוֹד, שֶׁהֵם לֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ בַּקָּדוֹשׁ-בָּרוּךְ-הוּא, וְכֻלָּם אֲחוּזִים בֶּעָלִים שֶׁל הָאִילָן לְמַטָּה וּמִתְלַבְּשִׁים בְּרוּחַ טֻמְאָה.
if Israel had not sinned again before the Holy One, Blessed be He on Mount Sinai, they would not have died forever, because with the Torah they were about to receive, the impurity of the Snake would be gone.
Since they sinned, the first tablets that had the Light of freedom from the Snake who is the Angel of Death, broke.
“וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׂימוּ אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ עַל יְרֵכוֹ עִבְרוּ וָשׁוּבוּ מִשַּׁעַר לָשַׁעַר בַּמַּחֲנֶה וְהִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו וְאִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ וְאִישׁ אֶת קְרֹבוֹ.”
“And he said to them, “Thus says YHVH God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ ”
When the Levites followed Moses’s command and went to slay the sinners, the evil serpent awoke and went ahead of them. The Snake could not control them, because they were armed with belts that had the names of God.
“וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתֶּם עַם קְשֵׁה עֹרֶף רֶגַע אֶחָד אֶעֱלֶה בְקִרְבְּךָ וְכִלִּיתִיךָ וְעַתָּה הוֹרֵד עֶדְיְךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ וְאֵדְעָה מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לָּךְ.”
“And YHVH had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now, therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’ ”
After the sin, God told Moses to remove the ‘ornaments’ that are the Holy names given to them on their belts for protection, the permission and power of control were restored for the Snake.
“וַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת עֶדְיָם מֵהַר חוֹרֵב.”
“So the children of Israel were stripped of their ornaments from Mount Horeb.”
‘Mount Horeb’ is another name for Mount Sinai. The Israelites lost the protection they received on Mount Sinai when the Torah was given to them. The verse uses irregular forms of the word ‘were stripped’ to tell us that they were stripped by an external force to allow the Snake to have control.
Rabbi Chiyah says why Noah, who was righteous, did not abolish death from the world as it was in the giving of Torah. And he says, it is because the impurity of the Snake has not yet gone out of the world, and moreover, the people of the world have not yet had faith in the Holy One, Blessed be He. The people were connected to the Lower Tree, where the forces of the other-side were dressed with the spirit of impurity.
Connecting to the Torah and Zohar gives us protection on different levels. If we forget ourselves and disconnect from following the path of Torah studies, we lose the protection we earned.
Each time we create disconnection, we lose part of our protection. The sages teach us to avoid trading our merits with benefits from Hashem.
It’s better to ask to receive from the treasures of ‘free gifts’ ‘אוצר מתנות חינם’. This source of treasures was revealed to Moses in the portion of Vaetchanan. These treasures are filled from pure prayers that were not filled for different reasons. For example, sometimes people pray for the health of a relative or a Tzadik but the prayers are not answered because God has made the decree. The Light of these prayers is saved in the upper levels of Keter and given to people in need, even if they don’t have personal merits.
Most of the time, the merits of our good deeds are claimed by past inequities, so if we ask for a gift based on our personal merits, it doesn’t mean that we have enough merits to trade and we may get exposed to judgments. Because of that, the sages recommend that we pray and meditate that even if we don’t have merits, we ask Hashem to grant our wish from the supernal treasures of free gifts.