The Essence of Nezirut
Now we need to clarify what nezirut means in the Torah. Nezirut is explained in the book of BaMidbar, Parashat Naso chapter 6. The Torah says:
And HaShem spoke to Mosheh saying, “Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: If a man or a woman expressly (yafli) vows the vow of a nazir, to separate himself to HaShem, he shall separate himself from wine and alcohol. He shall not drink wine vinegar or alcohol vinegar, and he shall not drink anything soaked in grapes, and he shall not eat wet or dried grapes. All the days of his separation, he shall not eat of anything made from wine-grapes, from grape skins to grapeseed. All the days of his vow of the nazir, a blade shall not pass over his head. He shall be holy until the completion of the days that he separates himself to HaShem, growing wildly the hair of his head. All the days of his separation to HaShem, he shall not come upon a dead body. He shall not defile himself to his father or to his mother, to his brother and to his sister, when they die, for his God’s nezer (crown) is on his head. All the days of his separation, he is holy to HaShem.
The Sages explain in the Zohar, Parashat Naso, 3:126a:
What is ki yafli? That he separates from the rest of the people of the world to sanctify himself in the supreme aspect and to become complete. When a person comes to purify himself, he is made pure; a person who wants to sanctify himself is sanctified, and the supreme holiness, the holiness with which HaKadosh Baruch Hu is sanctified, is spread upon him.
It follows that nezirut is a path to supreme holiness, the holiness of HaKadosh Baruch Hu.
HaKadosh Baruch Hu desired to create a word where all of its inhabitants would prevent themselves from following the desire of their heart, not only in forbidden things but also in permitted things, and would cling to holiness. Accordingly, the nazir is the one for whom HaKadosh Baruch Hu desired to create the world, and even made him king over the ministering angels, as is said in the Zohar, Tikkunim 137b:
The supreme angels, although they are “mighty of strength who perform His word” (Tehillim 103:20), don’t act mightily in the service of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, because they serve out of necessity, and they don’t have a mixture of flesh and an evil inclination. Therefore, “Let us make man” (BeReshit 1:26), and he will rule over you.
The Sages say in Tractate Sotah 2a:
It was taught, Rabbi says: Why was the section of nazir written next to the section of sotah? To teach you that whoever sees a sotah in her shame will separate himself from wine.
Rashi explains there:
“He will separate himself from wine” – because wine leads to levity, and this is what caused her to do it.
It follows that nezirut is a form of distancing oneself from evil, to distance a person from sin.
Rabbenu Bachya writes on verse 3:
“If a person expressly vows the vow of a nazir” – I have already explained in Parashat Emor what the kohen gadol corresponds to. Yet the nazir is above him, because he is above the middot, clinging to the supreme mercy itself. And since he is crowned with the virtue of nezirut, he is called nazir, which comes from the word for crown, and this is the meaning of “for his God’s crown (nezer) is upon his head.”
Thus nezirut is explicitly connected to the keter (crown).
The Ramak in Or Yakar, Tikkunim, Bava Kamma, 3:6 also connects the language of pele (as in yafli) to the keter. This is what he writes:
They are the three pelaim, in the secret of the keter, and they are the three first ones, among which are the tikkunim of arich anpin, and which is removed in the secret of these three pelaim which are hinted at in the secret of alef pele.
The Ramak further writes in Or Yakar, Parashat Naso 5:
Souls are separated from physical desires after they are removed from this world, but he preempts this while still in body and soul to become one with his creator. And this is the meaning of yafli – he separates himself from the ways of the world by vowing the vow of a nazir, in order to cling to his creator, which is the meaning of “to separate himself to HaShem.” … He separates himself from strict judgment … However, the main thing is that he is attached to all of the ten sefirot generally; however, on the side of the attributes that act below he only holds onto the right side. And this is the meaning of what it says “no action is seen from him”: he is separated from the sefirot of strict judgment and their action, but he is not separated from their actual existence, so that he not cut away. This is following the example of the action of the right side, that all ten sefirot act in an action and are included with it in the action of chesed.
It is known from the Zohar that there are a few systems of behavior in the spiritual world, which are the behavior of arich anpin, which is the keter; the behavior of ze’er anpin, which is the male; and the behavior of the female, malchut. The same can be seen in the Ramak’s Pardes Rimmonim 3:7:
“The place where beginning is found,” i.e. the place of the revelation of atzilut, and its being found to us means that although the beginning of atzilut is from keter elyon, which is arich anpin, even so it is hidden and doesn’t reveal itself because of its great hiddenness, and the beginning of the revelation of atzilut is from ze’er anpin, whose beginning is chochmah, and this is what is called “beginning,” because it is the beginning of the revelation. And it says that its atzilut and its existence in reality is from arich anpin, which is the keter. And this is the meaning of “the place where the beginning is found,” i.e. the place where the wisdom is emanated, found and revealed is from attika kaddisha, meaning keter arich anpin which is called attika kaddisha. The word attika implies precedence, as in “the ancient of days (attik yomin)” (Daniel 7:9). And it is called kaddisha because there is the source of all forms of holiness (kedushot), or because kadosh means separate and supreme, and it is separate as compared to ze’er anpin which is emanated openly.
And in his book Or Yakar, Parashat Naso, his own commentary, 30, the Ramak writes as follows:
The nazir’s name testifies about him, because it comes from the language of nezer (crown), so nazir means “crowned.” The explanation is that nazir hints at the keter elyon, and his hairs testify about him, because they are the hairs of arich anpin. And this is what it means by “If a man or a woman expresses (yafli),” using the language of pele, which is alef, which is the secret of keter which is called pele. And since the keter is crowned over tiferet, therefore it says “to vow a vow of a nazir, to separate himself to HaShem.” The explanation is that ordinary adam is a chariot to tiferet, and just as he crowns himself below in the secret of hair, so too the supreme adam crowns itself in keter, meaning that he vows the vow of a nazir, meaning for him to be crowned to bring a crown to tiferet, and this is the meaning of “to separate himself to HaShem.” Now, the long hair indicates the secret of hair, and therefore “growing wildly the hair of his head.” The explanation is that when strict judgment is becoming stronger among the hairs of ze’er anpin, they must be shaved off to remove the forces of strict judgment, and this is the meaning of “If a man’s hair is plucked off, he is bald; he is pure” (VaYikra 14:30), because this indicates the removal of the forces of strict judgment. However, in arich anpin it is forbidden to shave the hair, and hair of one who vowed to be a nazir is in the secret of the keter, and therefore there is a positive commandment for him to grow the hair of his head.
He writes further there:
Now, he commanded not to shave his hair, because once he vowed to be a nazir, he repaired himself in the tikkunim of arich anpin, and if he shaves his hairs, he denies the tikkunim of arich, which is an egregious sin, because he cuts off those growings, God forbid.
We thus learn that the normal behavior of the world for Israel is in ze’er anpin, but the behavior for a nazir is in arich anpin in the secret of alef. Like these two behaviors, so too the tablets of the covenant were given twice. Furthermore, the covenant was consummated with the generation of the desert, as it is said in Shemot 34:10:
And he said, “I am now entering a covenant: I will perform wonders in front of all your nation which were never created in all of the world and all of the nations, and all the nation that you are part of will see the awesome act of HaShem, which I perform with you.”
The vow of a nazir is also called a covenant, as is mentioned in Tehillim 89:35: “You annulled the covenant of Your servant; You desecrated his crown (nizro) to the ground.” Therefore, the generation of the desert abstained from wine and alcohol, as is brought in Devarim 29:5: “You ate no bread, and you drank no wine or alcohol, so that you would know that I am HaShem your God.” Further in verse 8: “And you shall guard the words of this covenant and perform them, so that you succeed in everything that you do.” But in the sin of the Golden Calf, they broke the covenant and desecrated the holiness that they left, as is said in Shemot 32:6: “And they woke up early the next day, and they burnt olot and brought shelamim, and the nation sat down to eat and drink, and they got up to mock.”
Here we can ask a question: If they wanted to drink wine and to “mock” (meaning to perform idol worship and engage in forbidden relations), then why did they sacrifice the korbanot to HaShem? The answer is that the olot were to permit them to cut their hair, and the shelamim were to permit them to drink wine and every grape product. While the Temple stood, a Jew who became a nazir for a specified amount of time would bring these korbanot at the end of the period of his vow. Therefore, the first tablets of the covenant were broken, and they received the second tablets of the covenant.
The first tablets were given in the aspect of the Tree of Life, i.e. in the aspect in which there is no death at all, as it is said (BeReshit 3:22): “And he will eat and live forever.” And the Sages say in the Gemara, Tractate Avodah Zarah 5a that Israel only received the Torah so that the angel of death wouldn’t rule over them! The same is said in Zohar Chadash, Megillat Rut 2:40a:
“The writing was the writing of God, engraved (charut) on the tablets” (Shemot 32:16). Don’t read charut (engraved), but cherut (freedom): freedom from the angel of death, from enslavement to kingdoms, and from all the bad sicknesses of the world. And once they made the calf, letters flew from two sides, front and back.
It is further stated in the Zohar, Parashat Ki Tissa 2:193b:
When Israel stood on Mount Sinai, the pollution of the snake was removed from them, because then the evil inclination was annulled from the world, and they expelled it from them, and then they were attached to the Tree of Life, and they rose above and didn’t descend below. Then they would know and see supreme visions, and their eyes were enlightened, and they rejoiced to know and hear. Then HaKadosh Baruch Hu girded them in belts of letters of the holy name so that the snake couldn’t rule over them or contaminate them as in the beginning. Once they sinned with the calf, all of those levels and supreme lights were removed from them, and the armed belt that was crowned with the holy supreme name was removed from them, and they channeled the evil snake back onto them as it formerly was, and they caused death to the entire world.
The same is found in Shemot Rabbah 51:
Another explanation: “These are the accounts of the mishkan” (Shemot 38:21). What are “these”?
When HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave Israel the Torah, they were no longer to be under the dominion of the angel of death, as it is said: “Engraved (charut) on the tablets.” What is charut? Rabbi Yehudah says: Freedom (cherut) from exile. And Rabbi Nechemyah says: Freedom from the angel of death.
Rabbi Pinechas ben Chama said in the name of Rabbi Yehudah in the name of Rabbi Eliezer the son of Rabbi Yosi HaGelili: HaKadosh Baruch Hu said, “If the angel of death comes and asks me why he was created, I will tell him: I created you as an officer over the idol worshipers, but not over My children.” For once they received the Torah, HaKadosh Baruch Hu dressed them with His radiant splendor.
And what was the dress? Rabbi Yochanan says: He dressed them in crowns. And Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says: He gave them weapons on which the great name was engraved, and as long as they possessed this, the angel of death had no dominion over them.
Come and see what the Sages say in Shir HaShirim Rabbah 4:5:
Rabbi Yochanan said: On the day that HaShem descended on Mount Sinai to give the Torah to Israel, sixty myriad ministering angels descended with Him, and in the hand of each one of them was a crown to crown each one of Israel.
And in Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer chapter 47 it is stated:
Rabbi Elazar ben Arach says: When HaKadosh Baruch Hu descended on Mount Sinai to give the Torah to Israel, sixty myriad angels descended with Him corresponding to the sixty myriad warriors of Israel, carrying weapons and crowns, and they crowned Israel with the crown of the ineffable name.
As long as they didn’t come to do that act (the sin of the calf), they were as good as ministering angels before HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and the angel of death didn’t rule over them, and they didn’t defecate like humans. But once they made the calf, HaKadosh Baruch Hu was angry at them and said to them: I thought that you were like the ministering angels, as it is said (Tehillim 82:6): “I said you are gods, and you are all sons of the most high.” But now: “In fact, you will die like man, and you will fall like an officer.”
Rabbi Yehudah says: When did this happen? Just like when a person wears his glorious garments, beautiful in appearance and honor, so too when Israel wore that name, they were as good as ministering angels before HaShem. But once they made the calf, He became angry at them, and that night sixty myriad ministering angels descended and each one took from them what he put on them, and so they were stripped naked against their will, as it is said: “And the Children of Israel were stripped (vayyitnatzelu) of their ornaments from Mount Chorev” (Shemot 33:6). It doesn’t say “they stripped” (vaynatzelu), but “they were stripped” (vayyitnatzelu).
The same is found in Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught: A weapon was given to Israel in Chorev, and the ineffable name was engraved on it. And when they sinned in making the calf, it was taken from them.
In other words, after the sin of the calf, they fell into the domain of the angel of death, Samael.
This fall was a fall from spirituality to physicality, from a spiritual body to a physical body. This is what the Reshit Chochmah writes in Sha’ar HaKedushah chapter 15:
A person’s body of flesh is drawn from the skin of the snake, as explained in the Tikkunim. This is what it says:
At the moment that the daughter of Pharaoh touched him, the shechinah departed from him. Therefore, when he wanted to approach it at the bush, it said to him: “Don’t approach here until you undress yourself of the body that the daughter of Pharaoh touched. There He showed him that the human body in this world is tzara’at from the skin of the snake. After he undressed himself of it and returned to the Garden of Eden, he dressed himself in his holy body, and this is the meaning of “and it returned to be like his flesh” (Shemot 4:7).
This is as much of the quote as concerns us.
Together with Israel becoming physical, the Torah and commandments also became physical. This may also be seen in Reshit Chochmah, Sha’ar HaYirah chapter 4:
Every single commandment above is a supreme light attached to the Tree of Life, because a commandment is יהו”ה as the Tikkunim and Raya Mehemna explain. But in the sin of Adam HaRishon and also in the sin of the calf, the Torah and commandments became physical, and a person now does a physical commandment like wearing a tallit with tzitzit or tefillin of leather, and similarly for the other commandments.
The Ramak, Pardes Rimmonim 31:6 brings the same idea regarding Adam HaRishon’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden:
Just as the soul is dressed in a physical dress, so too the Torah is dressed in a physical dress. When he returns to internality and undresses himself of the physical clothing, the Torah will also undress itself of its clothing, and its generalities, its specifics, its details and the orders of its mishnayot will be understood in their internality. And this is the occupation of the righteous in the Garden of Eden.
And in his book Or Yakar, Tikkunim, Bava Kamma, 7:8, the Ramak explains this more in depth:
The same thing that happened to Adam HaRishon happened to Israel, in the same way. When Israel stood at Mount Sinai, the pollution was removed from them and they were purified, and they all merited tunics of light, but this depended on the completion of the matter after the continuation of existence until the world would be renewed, as I will explain elsewhere. Immediately, they merited the first tablets, which were tunics of light. But when they sinned with the calf and they made themselves belts of fig leaves when they said “These are your gods, Israel” (Shemot 32:4), HaKadosh Baruch Hu wanted to totally destroy them.
The reason is that this is unlike the case of Adam HaRishon, because if He had destroyed Adam HaRishon, the entire world would have been ruined. But in this case, Mosheh Rabbenu was there as a portion of mankind, and even if He destroyed everything, as He did in the days of Noach, there would remain a male and female, Mosheh Rabbenu and Tzipporah, who would suffice to keep the human race in existence. This is why it is said, “Allow Me to destroy them … and I will make you a great nation” (Shemot 32:10).
But Mosheh stood in prayer and repaired them so that they would wear tunics of skin, which is the secret of the second tablets, because HaShem said to Mosheh: If so, carve for yourself, so that the physical portion can be a container for the spiritual, and so that the light of the Torah can descend and become physical and be worn below.
This was exactly the tunics of skin made for Adam HaRishon, when the secret of that spiritual light descended, and was made physical and Adam HaRishon was dressed in the secret of help in this body, and all the work that Adam HaRishon was meant to do in tunics of light descended and became tunics of skin, which is the secret of “To work it and to guard it” (BeReshit 2:15), which are the positive and negative commandments. What they were was in the secret of the garden and its creation, from spiritual things, like the difference between the tefillin of weekdays and the tefillin of Shabbat, as the Zohar explains on Shir HaShirim.
This analogy can be applied to all the commandments. All the commandments were spiritual, in tunics of light, and were dressed physically in tunics of skin. This is the kindness and mercy of HaShem to His creations, for having dressed His Torah and made it physical in this form of physicality in order to perfect Adam HaRishon instead of having him fall in his sin.
And these are the tunics of skin that will be the secret of the supreme shiur komah becoming physical in the dress of skin. And the shiur komah of the image of the form of the supreme was made from the dust of the snake and this physicality, as is known to those who know the secret of shiur komah regarding this physical parable, hairs, forehead, nose, eyes, ears, face and the like. It is all the secret of the dressing of the skin of the snake.
The supreme form of the tunics of light was engraved onto this foreign dress, and the existence of the fulfillment of the commandments descended to this physicality, because we take from the skin of the snake to perform the supreme service. The sefirot are unified in the secret of tefillin through the skin of physical beasts and animals, and the lulav from the external parts of earthlike trees, and the mishkan and mikdash from gold, silver, copper, stones and trees made from the skin of the snake and physical dust. All this is the secret of the tunics of skin that the Creator wondrously created in His wisdom, and dressed the Torah in the tunics of leather skin of a Torah scroll, and the stones that Mosheh carved below.
Now, these garments emit a fragrance of the performance of commandments. However, in the hands of the wicked, who perform acts that are essentially physical, which is the skin of the snake, and transform this image into a mockery, and take from the things of the world in order to benefit from them, whether forbidden or permitted, these garments don’t emit fragrance. On the contrary, they emit a stench, as it is said (BeReshit 26:35), “And they were rebellious of spirit to Yitzchak and Rivkah,” and Yitzchak’s eyes became heavy from old age, as it says (Tehillim 18:19): “Smoke rose in His nose,” “a flaming fire all day long” (Yeshayahu 65:5).
Therefore, this was the case when these garments belonged to Nimrod and Esav and others of the wicked who wouldn’t have been included in the holy image that dresses itself in skin if not for Adam HaRishon, those who would not have merited this kindness of God which they brought to bad company. However, Adam HaRishon and the righteous who are like Adam HaRishon are different. What is written about Ya’akov? “And he smelled the fragrance of his clothes and blessed him” (BeReshit 27:27), meaning that the secret of his tunics of skin emitted a sweet fragrance to HaShem, like the tunics of light that Adam HaRishon had before his sin.
And the unification of atzilut was performed by him, as is known in the secret of the fulfillment of commandments. While they are immersed in the garments of the skin of the snake, Adam participates in this and is purified of his sin, as we will explain. This is enough to clarify this teaching, with the help of HaShem.
It follows that nezirut is a form of teshuvah, since it raises Israel to the aspect they had before the sin of the calf, the aspect of before the sin of Adam HaRishon.
The same is stated in the Zohar, Parashat Naso, 3:126a:
What is ki yafli? That he separates from the rest of the people of the world to sanctify himself in the supreme aspect and to become complete. When a person comes to purify himself, he is made pure; a person who wants to sanctify himself is sanctified, and the supreme holiness, the holiness with which HaKadosh Baruch Hu is sanctified, is spread upon him.
Rabbi Abba opened: “Of David. Bless HaShem, my soul; and all my innards bless His holy name” (Tehillim 103:1). How much a person must examine and know in the service of his creator! For every single day a herald cries out and says: “Until when, fools, will you love foolishness?” (Mishlei 1:22). “Return, wayward children; I will heal your waywardness!” (Yirmeyahu 3:22). But no one turns his ear to listen. The Torah announces before them, but no one pays attention.
We thus learn that repairing the sin and bringing the redemption closer depend on the ascent of Israel in the light of the supreme keter, and this is effected through the ascent of the nation of Israel to the level of a nazir, as the Ramak explains in Or Yakar, Tikkunim, Bava Kamma 3:6:
Through the da’at, the branch of the keter, the mercy of the supreme keter spreads towards tiferet and ascends, which is the supreme Israel, and from there goes to the keter in ein sof. And this is what it means by “it stands in the supreme Israel,” which is the da’at in keter, “until your infinite ascent,” and its ascent is the ascent of all of Israel from their exile, and their elevation will certainly be infinite, because after Israel ascend in the light of the supreme keter in their redemption, as it says (Yeshayahu 54:7), “And with great mercy I will gather you,” their light will no longer be finite, and they will rise from one level to the next, from the time of mashiach to the time of the revival of the dead, and from the time of the revival to the time of the renewal of the world, and they will be elevated beyond any end or limit.
The Ramak writes in Or Yakar, volume 13, Parashat Naso, page 248:
“What is ki yafli?” I.e., why did it not write “if a man vows (yiddor) the vow of a nazir”?
“To separate from the rest of the people of the world.” As it concludes below, Israel are the choicest part of the world, and the tribe of Levi are the choicest part of Israel, and the nazir is the choicest of all of them.
“To sanctify himself in the supreme aspect,” etc. The matter is that the main part of the nazir’s completeness in the existence of his body was only in growing hair. However, if another man now came without a vow and wanted to grow his hair, on the contrary, that growing of hair would be a defect to him, because a person’s hair, especially in his youth, symbolizes strict judgment. However, since the nazir was careful to avoid wine, which is strict judgment, and also impurity, the growing of his hair was a beautiful and appropriate way of imitating God. And this is what it means by “to sanctify himself in the supreme aspect,” which are the supreme hairs, “and to become complete,” that that holiness should be to complete and not the opposite.
And it’s possible that it is expounding on three words of the Torah: The first is yafli, the second is lindor neder, and the third is nazir. And it says “yafli, that he separates,” because not only will the true nazir be separate from this, but he will also be separated from the rest of the world in his other attributes: separated in play, in physical desires, and this is the meaning of “that he separates from the rest of the people of the world” in physical attributes.
Lindor neder (to vow a vow), which is “to sanctify himself in the supreme aspect,” to be separated from impurity and wine and to grow his hairs, which is a chariot to all the attributes of mercy and not at all to the side of judgment, as it explains below.
Nazir is “and to become complete,” which is the crown on his head.
And it is possible that the word lindor includes wine and impurity, and nazir includes “the crown (nezer) of his God is on his head,” which is the growing of hair.
Corresponding to these three things that the nazir is forbidden from – impurity, wine and shaving hair – it says “when a person comes to purify himself” as a nazir. One who comes to separate himself from all impurity – like the leviyyim, about whom it says “And this is what you shall do to them to purify them” – is purified. “And when he comes to sanctify himself,” like a nazir who comes to separate himself from wine. For a levi, although he is pure, is attached to wine, as it explains after this, but this one is separated. He comes into the place of holiness, which is from the right. “They sanctify him,” even more than a kohen, which is the meaning of “the crown of his God is on his head,” that he grows his hairs. “The holiness with which HaKadosh Baruch Hu is sanctified is spread upon him.” It’s possible that these three are yafli from impurity, neder from wine, and nazir with hair, as we explained. This also appears to be so from the fact that it says “but this one who is called nazir has additional holiness over kohen and levi,” which is “wildly growing.”
There is no doubt that he is above chesed and gevurah and tiferet so that he be in arich anpin, the place where growth of hairs is good, because in ze’er anpin his hairs are din and it is better to have less of them, as we explained on the Zohar in Parashat Tazria on the verse “And if a man’s hair is plucked” (VaYikra 13:40), etc.
“Furthermore, leviyyim,” etc. In hair he does more than a kohen and levi, in wine more than levi because the attribute of strict judgment is on the left to raise voices, and that is where the attribute of the levi is, as is known.
“But to this one wine is forbidden,” etc., because he is from wine, far above in the place of oil which has no voice, and he is in secret, which is in arich as we explained, in the side of wine, alcohol and grapes, which are from the side of binah, as it concludes below.
The Ramak writes further:
Souls are separated from physical desires after they are removed from this world, but he preempts this while still in body and soul to become one with his creator. And this is the meaning of yafli – he separates himself from the ways of the world by vowing the vow of a nazir, in order to cling to his creator, which is the meaning of “to separate himself to HaShem.”
Since wine is forbidden to him, which appears to be mainly “lest he drink and forget the decree” (Mishlei 31:5) then why are grapes forbidden, if they don’t contain alcohol? The question is even greater with regard the kohanim, about whom it is written “You shall not drink wine and alcohol” (VaYikra 10:9) but they were permitted to have grapes, and this is what is says, “here it is necessary to examine,” etc.
“Wine above” in binah, from which strict judgment is aroused, as is known.
“Alcohol in the left” in gevurah, in which the alcoholic wine in the secret of the harsh attribute of strict judgment is drawn from binah. Grapes are the seven sefirot included in malchut, receiving from the strict judgment of gevurah and binah, which is the wine that was preserved in its grapes from the six days of Creation, etc.
“And if you say,” etc. Since you said that wine and alcohol and grapes are these three attributes, and he separates himself from them, it turns out that “they lose faith,” he is truly cutting away at fundamental truths, pushing off these three attributes and removing his portion from them.
It answers “no action from the left side is seen in him,” etc. To understand this properly we would have to explain it extensively as we have commented in the book Pardes Rimmonim regarding the fact that each of the sefirot is composed of ten, and yet the main action is in one, and they all take part in that action. But briefly, the intention is that he should not, God forbid, hold on to one attribute and push off another. However, the main thing is that he is attached to all of the ten sefirot generally; however, on the side of the attributes that act below he only holds onto the right side. And this is the meaning of what it says “no action is seen from him”: he is separated from the sefirot of strict judgment and their action, but he is not separated from their actual existence, so that he not cut away. This is following the example of the action of the right side, that all ten sefirot act in an action and are included with it in the action of chesed. And if anyone holds onto this, even if he doesn’t hold onto gevurah in the action of strict judgment, since it is included with the chesed in the action of the chesed, he will not be called cut off, God forbid. And this is the way that Avraham is a chariot for chesed and Yitzchak for gevurah.
“He seeks to grow the hair of his head,” etc. In order to understand this subject properly, one introduction is needed about the secret of hair, which is explained in the Tikkunim regarding the study of the face. There are three types of hair: one indicates gevurah, strong strict judgment, and this will be cut off and short; strong, short and cut off hairs indicate strength and gevurah. The second indicates complete chesed, and this will be smooth, weak and long hair, meaning that long and smooth indicates complete chesed. The third is intermediate, neither long nor short, neither weak nor strong, and slightly cut off, is in tiferet, an intermediate attribute. These three aspects are the secret of tekiah, shevarim and teruah, which actually indicate the existence of the hairs. Now, these three aspects are in the secret of the faces of people. Since when a person is a chariot to the left side below and the face above, the hair above is an actual source for this, because the face in his hair, which is “His locks are curls, black as a raven” (Shir HaShirim 5:11), indicates strict judgment.
“And the hair is not long,” because those forces don’t have the secret of length (arichut), which is suckling from erech appayim, which is arich anpin, and therefore they are sources drawn in the shortness of the forces of strict judgment, which is the short hair of which we have spoken, because ordinary hair is the secret of vavin, the aspects of tiferet which are drawn from the supreme well yud, and when they are drawn in chesed on the right side, they continue to be drawn to water below, as the length of hair and its smoothness indicate granting of bounty of mercy. However, from the side of gevurah, it is very short from the side of gevurah and strict judgment, and being cut off indicates the prevention of bounty, and its hardness indicates the harsh attribute of strict judgment. Therefore it says that the nazir separated himself from the side of strict judgment, as it concludes below this.
Therefore, “he seeks to grow the hair of his head,” which indicates the drawing of mercy, which is from the right side.
“And he seeks to separate from wine,” which is binah, and alcohol is gevurah, and grapes malchut, “so that the entire left side,” for these three attributes are called Elohim, as I explained in the book Pardes Rimmonim in the Gate of Names (with God’s help).
“And the hair is not long,” as we explained, for length of hair indicates mercy and chesed, but these are attributes of strict judgment, and since hair only exists for us in gevurah as we have explained, therefore it attempts to force an answer to this matter.
And it says “Wine is the supreme imma; alcohol is the side that is attached … and they come from supreme wine.” The law for alcohol is the same as the law for wine, and since alcohol is certainly not long hair, as is clear from the matter of the leviyyim, so too is the wine, which is binah, although we don’t know of the matter of hair in it explicitly.
“He is separated from the entire left side in order to show,” etc. This means that he is separated from strict judgment, and this indicates this matter by actual deeds by separating himself from the things hinted at by them. Or “he separated himself from the entire left side” means that he wasn’t actually separated, God forbid, to cut away at fundamental truths, but his separation was “in order to make seen,” meaning in the aspect of actually showing in himself the actions of these sefirot, as we explained above.
“To cut the hair as is appropriate, to copulate,” etc. Meaning the hairs that grew during her menstrual period, as we explained in the Zohar, Parashat Acharei Mot.
“And no beard is found in her.” There are three types of hair. One is the beard which is not usually taken off. She doesn’t have this at all, because if she did, strict judgment would be very harsh and would make defects in its source. The second is the hair of the head. The male takes off his strict judgment and takes it off. However, the female repairs it in another way, by growing it, and in this way it is repaired in chesed, which is long and weak. The third is the rest of the hair of the body, which are the forces of strict judgment. On a male they are holy, but the female takes it off entirely, in order to copulate with her husband. If there were a single hair attached to her, she would cut off his penis, which would make it a cut off pipe which spills outside, God forbid, because that hair which is external is attached to him, and makes a hole in him. Corresponding to this, it says “no beard is found in her,” which is the reparation of hair, and the rest is taken off. The hair of the head is long, as we explained, which is “and the edge of your hair is like purple,” which will be explained in its place.
“Therefore, it is long,” etc. To demonstrate that its place is above where there is no strict judgment, the right side. By “it is long” it indicates incidentally its difference from strict judgment, as we have explained.
“A nazir of Elohim,” etc. From the three sefirot which are called Elohim, which are binah, gevurah and malchut.
“He separates from strict judgment generally.” This means from all the existence of strict judgment, and he has no attachment to them at all.
The Ramak asks there (at the end of chapter 5) why, if so, Shimshon was punished, and he explains:
“Shimshon was a nazir of Elohim. Why was he punished?” For he was in a place where there was no strict judgment, so how did the attribute of strict judgment harm him? This is no problem according to what we initially thought that he actually literally “sinned on the soul”; but according to what you said that this is minimizing strict judgment, why was he punished?
“In him, in what was seen by him,” in malchut, to draw it from chesed and chochmah, as we explained.
“And there is one who says,” to prove that his sin was not merely the matter of nezirut as we initially thought, because someone thought to say that he doesn’t have a portion in the next world. And if he has no sin other than nezirut alone, would he have no portion in the next world just for this? Rather, it must be as we explained, that the defect that he created by “cohabiting with the daughter of a foreign god” (Malachi 2:11) was greater than others who sin in this manner, because of his holiness of nezirut, as we explained.
“What is the reason? Because he said.” It is not because of this that he has no potion, but this is a proof that he had destroyed himself in the sin and he knew that he didn’t have a portion. And he said (Shofetim 16:30) “may my soul die with the Philistines,” and he didn’t say “may I die with the Philistines,” implying that his soul too would die with them in that world.
“This is what they would announce.” This shows that he would stay far from this attribute while it was in the vineyard, which is the grapes, from which he was removed.
But as for the leviyyim, “This (ko) is what you shall do to them to purify them” (BaMidbar 8:7). Thus they are in the attribute of ko in purity, which is from the side of gevurah in removing the hair of the forces of strict judgment. However, the nazir is holy, above the attribute of the leviyyim, as it explains further: holiness is from the right in chesed, and purity is from the left in gevurah. There are places in the Zohar that indicate the opposite; we have written at length on this subject in the book Pardes Rimmonim in the gate Arachei HaKinnuyim (with the help of heaven).
“All the days of his being a nazir to HaShem,” unlike the attribute of ko with the leviyyim.
“And the hair of His head is like pure wool.” This is the hair of arich anpin, as explained below in the Idra, and they are certainly the hairs of mercy.
“Long hair,” as we explained above.
“For in this he is similar,” because in the other attributes who can be similar to God? However, in the matter of growing his hair wildly, he is similar.
“He tells with his hair.” This argues on what was said above: his holiness is not in his hairs alone, but he is holy in the whole body, but his hairs are the sign. And this is what the verse says, “he will be holy” – and how is his holiness recognized? – “wildly growing the hairs of his head.” In this it is recognizable that he is holy.
“If they knew,” etc., as is explained at length below in the Idra.
“The secret of secrets of chochmah,” because hairs are sources from the internality of the brain, which is chochmah, and this is the secret of secrets of chochmah.
The role of the nation of Israel is to be an entirely holy nation and to serve in holiness, as is said in the Torah in Shemot 19:6:
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Children of Israel.
The Ramban comments there:
“A kingdom of priests” – and you will be a kingdom of My servants. “And a holy nation” – to cling to the holy God, as He said: “You shall be holy, because I, HaShem, am holy.” Thus He gave them assurance for this world and the next world.
This means “Be nezirim,” because there is nothing else in the Torah that is as holy and clings to HaShem as the nazir.