Friday, February 1, 2013
the Teli and the Pole Serpent
Parashat Chukat tells a very peculiar story regarding the plague of snakes that attacked Israel: “HaShem said to Moses: ’Make yourself a Pole Serpent, and let whoever is bitten look at it and live.’ So Moses made a copper snake and put it on a pole, and whenever a snake bit a man, he would gaze upon the copper snake and live.” The Sefer Yetzirah tells us about a very mysterious word, “Teli,” which comes from the root word “talah” which means “to hang.” The word has many meanings as discussed by the Sages; such as a type of sword, a quiver of piles for arrows, or a kind of bola (a line with a ball at the end used to ensare animals). The text explains the Teli is the axis by which the heavens rotate. It is explained as if there is a line with a ball at the end, symbolizing the place by which the celestial spheres hang.
Rabbinic authorities have identified the Teli to be the “Nachash Bareach” (Pole Serpent). Interestingly, the Pole Serpent is also identified with the Leviathan, an ancient Midrash states that “the world hangs from a fin of Leviathan.” The Pole Serpent has also been associated with the constellation Draco, which means “Serpent” or “Dragon.” It is quite fascinating that its formation has stars in all of the signs of the Zodiac. The Kabbalists explain that Draco, supports all of 12 of the Zodiac constellations; in other words, all of them are “hanging” from Draco. And so Draco is also called the Teli because all the other stars hang (talah) from it. The symbol of the Teli has often been depicted as a dragon, a snake or a fish. According to the Kuzari, the Teli refers to the spiritual realms which mirror its physical demonstration of the celestial bodies.
The Bahir asks: “What is the Teli? It is the likeness before the Holy One Blessed Be He” and references Song of Songs: “His locks (peyot and beard) are hanging (taltalim).” In both Talmudic and Kabbalistic traditions, the link between these two statements are significant, in that it relates to a vision of G-d in battle, and He is seen as a Young Man with locks (peyot and a beard). It is explained that this is referring to Zeir Anpin, which is a Partzuf (personification of the Light of G-d). The link between these two statements also relates to the Torah which is closely associated with Zeir Anpin, referring to fact that the Torah contains “Teli Tela’im Chochmah” (Piles of Piles of Wisdom). The hairs of the peyot and beard are symbolized as the lines upon which the letters of the Torah are written.
Here this is speaking about the Primordial Torah which preceded Creation, not the Written Torah which was “written with black fire upon white fire.” The Sages explain each letter of the Torah is a hair on the peyot and beard of Zeir Anpin, these are not literally hairs but channels through which G-d’s wisdom Emanates from His anthropomorphic “head.” The head is the concealed wisdom which is then revealed through His “hair.” The entire the verse in the Song of Songs says: “His head is a fine treasure of gold, his locks are hanging, black like a raven.” The letters of the Torah, which are written in black ink, is the revelation of the concealed wisdom. Therefore, Zeir Anpin is from where in each “hair” hangs a universe, each of which is represented by the letters of the Torah. The Teli then is Zeir Anpin, which is the axis through which the universe revolves and Torah, which the blue print through which all of Creation is sustained.
Another astounding secret that is revealed is that the Teli is the Moshiach (Messiah), often referred to as the Holy Snake (Nachash Ha’Kodesh), as the Hebrew words “Moshiach” and “Nachash” share the same Gematria (numerical value) of 358. So the Moshiach is the Pole Serpent. Since the association of Teli has already been made with the Pole Serpent, and the Pole Serpent with Draco, and Draco with Zeir Anpin; it is now clear as to the fact that Metatr-n, the Angel who governs Zeir Anpin, is “the the likeness before the Holy One Blessed Be He.” Since Moshiach is interconnected with Angel Metatr-n, it is now also clear as to whom is depicted as the Young Man with locks (peyot and a beard), which then leads to the connection with the Primordial Torah. Referring back to the passage in Parashat Chukat, the Pole Serpent was the Moshiach who saved the Jews as they gazed upon him. Upon looking at the picture attached, you will find an illustration of the Teli which is found in a commentary written by Rabbi Eliezer Rokeach of Wormes, it will be realized when viewed upside down that it is the Young Man with locks (peyot and a beard) that are hanging as described above.
Bamidbar 21:5-9; Bereshit 1:21, 27:3; Yeshayah 27:1; Shemtov Gefen Sefer Zichron pg. 126-128; Teli Atalya pg. 27-35; Bereshit Rabbah 65:13; Targum Yonatan to Sherashim; Radak to Sherashim; Pardes Rimonim 21:8; Choker U’Mekubal 13; Zohar 1:62a, 1:125a, 2:84a, 2:114a, 2:226b, 3:127b, 3:132a; Yesod Olam pg. 16c; Bareita DeShmuel HaKatan 2:8a; Iyov 26:7, 26:13; Ibn Ezra to Iyov 26:13; Ramban to Iyov 26:13; Ohr HaShekel 4:1; Kol Yehudah on Kuzari 4:25, 56b; Targum Yeshayah 44:25; Oh Ganuz on Bahir 95; Sefer Raziel 14b, 18b, 20a; Seder Rabbah DeBereshit 17; Batey Midrashot 1:28; Yalkut Reuveni 17b; Chesed LeAvraham 2:3; Beyt HaMidrash 1:63; Bartenura to Avodah Zarah 3:3; Pirkey DeRabbi Eliezer 9:31; Bahir 106 Kehilat Ya’acov; Talmud Bavli Chagigag 14a; Shemot Rabbah 8:1; Kohilet 11:10; Mechilta on Shemot 20:2; Eytz Chayim Sha’ar Arich Anpin 5:3; Vayikra Rabbah 19:1; Shir HaShirim 5:11; Shir HaSharim Rabbah to Talmud Yerushalmi Shekalim 6:1; Tikuney Zohar 56:90b; Rokeach of Wormes pg. 12b; Sefer Yetzirah [Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan] pg. 231-239
Posted by shvt at 6:13 PM