The Mysterious Divine Secrets of Salt

 

Salt 2

Salt of Sodom

Before Grace After Meals we must wash off the remnants of our selfishness.

from notes written By Shaul Yosef Leiter

Mid·rash

/ˈmidˌräSH/

An ancient commentary on part of the Hebrew scriptures, attached to the biblical text. The earliest Midrashim come from the 2nd century AD, although much of their content is older.

mitz·vah

/ˈmitsvə/

     A precept or commandment.

  • a good deed done from religious duty.

According to the Midrash, Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she sinned with salt, and thus she was punished. This happened when the angels were invited home by Lot, who wished to fulfill the mitzvah of having guests. When he asked his wife to give them some salt, she answered, “Even this evil custom (of treating guests kindly by giving them salt) you want to do here (in Sodom)?!’

Salt is connected to the Jewish tradition to rinse our fingers and lips at the end of a meal at which bread was eaten. There are a few reasons given as to why we wash after the meal. Eating in most cases is not in itself a mitzvah, for essentially we eat to give life to the body, yet the blessing we say after the meal is a mitzvah from the Torah. (Deut. 8:10) If we wash before the meal – a physical event – how important it must be to wash after the meal, in order to purify ourselves before reciting prayers.

Kab·ba·lah

/kəˈbälə,ˈkabələ/

The ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and using esoteric methods (including ciphers). It reached the height of its influence in the later Middle Ages and remains significant in Hasidism. MORE definition below this first article.

Instead of fighting with them, we placate them….

A small Jewish Hassid population maintains the Kabbalah Jewish mysticism, which gives another explanation; the main reason given for washing after the meal is to wash away the “salt of Sodom” that we used during the meal. While today salt is pure and refined, in previous generations salt came from salt flats, like in Sodom, which were filled with caustic chemicals. Rather than risk chemical burns, it became a custom to rinse off our fingers and lips from the salt.

You have eaten. Give thanks again to God. Receive his blessing. Be more love and light, honesty and kindness. Be not caustic or stingy as is so much of the world.

Be cognizant of the needs of others….

Why should we have to wash our hands after the meal if we did not use salt specifically from Sodom? The book Ani Tefilati answers that the people of Sodom were so inhospitable, like Lot’s wife, that they did not give their guests even salt. Salt itself is not food, it is a seasoning, and thus turned into a trademark for inhospitality, of taking care of yourself but ignoring the requirements of those in need.

Our Rabbis instituted the custom of washing after the meal to forewarn against forgetting the needs of our guests, in particular when we have fulfilled our own needs. Wash off the salt of Sodom – wash away any tendency toward stinginess. Recognize the needs of others; by this your meals will always be holy events!

Kabbalah Online  Basics  What is Kabbalah?

Kabbalah: A Brief Definition

Kabbala is an ancient Jewish tradition integral to the Torah

By Baruch Emanuel Erdstein

Often referred to as the “soul” of the Torah, the Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish tradition which teaches the deepest insights into the essence of G‑d, His interaction with the world, and the purpose of Creation. Kabbalah teaches the essential Jewish cosmology, integral to all other Torah disciplines. Sometimes called “the Inner Torah” or the “Wisdom of Truth”, it offers a comprehensive overall structure and plan for the universe, as well as a detailed understanding of the particulars of our lives. The student of Kabbalah is made aware of the personal as well as the collective rectification process and is encouraged to play an active part in it.

The next article in the Kabbalah for Beginners tutorial: The Need to Learn Kabbalah Go here to find out what the Kabbalah for Beginners Tutorial is all about.

For those of us who believe Jesus the Christ was the walking, Living Word of God, the Torah walking among women and men we should ask ourselves; would we want the words of Jesus without the soul? What authority do I, a speck of dust beneath God’s heel, have to accept Jesus as Messiah but delete his Soul?

Contrary to those who teach that the very words “Jewish Mysticism” means something evil and bad, it appears to me you are welcome to look deeper into the meanings of God and the nature of God and then if you think something there is not right for you, simply don’t have anything to do with it.

Kabbalah, what little I have learned of it, teaches me to be more charitable, to give and give more and give until it hurts and then think about that and ask, “Am I like God yet?” Of course no mere man will be like God, but am I moving toward the Light of God? Am I doing His will. Am I following His leading. Is my guilt that I should be giving more righteousness or foolishness?

The Bible does not tell us Lot’s wife was evil. But if the commentary is right then we have a bit more important detail.

A Pillar of Salt

from notes By Sara Esther Crispe

So I’m told we should “live with the times” and find how our lives are connected to the Torah portion (parshah) of the week. That only when we see ourselves in the Torah can we say we’ve truly learned. The problem for some of us is, we detest our sins and want to be righteous but we never are righteous enough! We want to be like “The Infinite” but no one can be like unto his Glory! We remember again our sins and the detested parts of our past and recognize that we are part of the universal evil and that it is part of us. It will destroy us and itself. Only the salvation given us by the Grace of God through Messiah can rescue us from our endless evil It seems we are by nature far from all that God saw as good.

The city “Sodom” was an evil community, destined to its own destruction. It’s people were sick with sexually transmissible diseases. It’s population was constantly immoral, without kind, knowing nothing of love. God intended it to be  annihilated and Abraham was foretold of the destruction. He begs G‑d, to delay and do not destroy the land and those who inhabit it. He begs that the people be spared in the merit of 50 righteous people. Yet he cannot find 50. He tries to find 45. Forty. Thirty. Twenty. Ten. Still, he cannot. The city is utterly evil, and it is either going to destroy itself with its own plagues or must be destroyed. Only Lot and his family may be saved if they will do as they’ve been ordered. Lot had been told not to go here. He had been told not to pitch his tent inside the walls of Sodom but he did and now his tent was a home and his home and business would be destroyed. He was going to lose it all and be homeless in the dessert wilderness, or he would die a terrible death with the others. This is what happens when we sin. Eventually the sin’s punishment reaches us and if we are to be forgiven and rescued it will not be without some sacrifice.

 There is one condition. Don’t look back. Do not return to your sins. Cleanse yourself of your temptation, beg God to deliver you from evil and help us to follow His righteous way. But the temptation for Lot’s wicked wife was too great. She longed for her sinful life and that sinful society. She turned to look back at sin and was turned into a pillar of salt.

So we too, must change our ways and turn always toward the light, always striving, walking up the rocky hill toward the living righteous light of God. Some feel set in our ways between that which we should do but do not do.

As Apostle Paul wrote

Romans 7:15 
Verse

New International Version
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

New Living Translation
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

English Standard Version
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Struggling with Sin
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I admit that the law is good.…

Let’s read a bit more to get all of what Paul meant to express:

Romans Chapter 7

Release from the Law
(Galatians 3:15-25)

1Do you not know, brothers (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For instance, a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law and is not an adulteress, even if she marries another man.

4Therefore, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5For when we lived according to the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, bearing fruit for death. 6But now, having died to what bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

God’s Law Is Holy

7 What then shall we say? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed, I would not have been mindful of sin if not for the law. For I would not have been aware of coveting if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”a 8But sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from the law, sin is dead.

9Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10So I discovered that the very commandment that was meant to bring life actually brought death. 11For sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through the commandment put me to death.

12So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.

Struggling with Sin

13Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Certainly not! But in order that sin might be exposed as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I admit that the law is good. 17In that case, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. 20And if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So this is the principle I have discovered: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law. 23But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

If only we could have the strength to let go. There is no good there. There is nothing to be redeemed. It must be destroyed. The relationship between ourselves and our sins must not exist. The only thing that can be saved is me. And only if I leave never return to my sins.

It is a lifetime effort. We promised ourselves to remove this sinful thought from our lives, to do more, give more, love more, help more, to truly leave behind what exists to destroy us and itself.

If I can keep going it will be gone forever. If I can let go, it will lose its power to hurt me. And yet, time and time again, I look back. And I am once again as frozen as that pillar of salt.

I had a friend who would say, “God doesn’t want me. I am not good enough.” No one is good enough. No one can be good enough. That is why God allowed his Only Begotten Son to be sacrificed. He did this to provide a way to relieve us of the penalties of the law. He hurt himself terribly to do for us, we specks of dust beneath his heel, and to raise us to be no longer specks of dust but children of The Infinite, eternal Creator of Eternity and all that is in it.

Forgive us Heavenly Father through the precious sacrificial blood of Jesus Our Christ. Rescue us from sin and receive us to be your subjects in your Kingdom forever and even Amen.

More wisdom from https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380164/jewish/Bread-and-Salt.htm

Intellect is the life-force that enlivens reality. People act with enthusiasm and vitality when they understand the value and purpose of what they are doing, and the constant flow of new understanding keeps life from getting boring. Indeed, the zest for life that accompanies intellect is probably a major factor in health and longevity.

Sustenance issues from Abba, for selflessness (bitul), the experience of chochma, is the prerequisite for success in worldly endeavors. In order to receive the divine blessing of success in pursuit of a livelihood, we must dedicate our efforts to G‑d’s purpose is making the world into His home and conducting our affairs in accordance with His will, i.e. following the Torah’s laws and intentions.

More Wisdom From: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/484194/jewish/Why-Do-We-Dip-the-Challah-Bread-in-Salt.htm  go here to read all of it

 

the custom is to always dip bread into salt—not only on Shabbat.2 Why?

Your Table Is an Altar

In describing his vision of the altar to be placed in the Third Temple, Ezekiel says, “The altar was wood, three cubits high and two cubits long . . . and he spoke to me, ‘This is the table that is before the L‑rd.’”3 Note that the verse starts off calling it an altar, but then refers to it as a table.

The Talmud explains: When the Temple stood, the sacrifices brought on the altar would atone for Israel. But now, when there is no Temple, a person’s table—upon which he feeds the poor—atones for him.4

If the table is like the altar, the food eaten upon it is like the offerings. With regard to the offerings, the verse states, “You shall not omit the salt of your G‑d’s covenant from [being placed] upon your meal offerings. You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices.”5 Hence, we add salt to our staple food, bread—even the most delicious varieties.6

How Is the Dipping Done? A Mystical Perspective

According to Kabbalah, salt, which is bitter, represents divine severity, and bread, the staff of life, represents divine kindness. Both the Hebrew word for bread, lechem (לחם), and the word for salt, melach (מלח), contain the same letters. However, we wish to overpower the severity of the salt with the kindness of the bread. Therefore, the common custom is not to sprinkle the salt (severity) atop the bread (kindness), but instead to dip the bread into the salt—kindness atop severity.7

Dipping aside, it is important to have salt on the table. Why? At the start of a meal we wash our hands and then sit down to wait for everyone else to do the same. The Midrash explains that while we wait silently—one may not talk between washing and the blessing over the bread—we are “bereft” of mitzvahs. At that point, the prosecuting angel (a.k.a. the Satan) tries to draw attention to this shortcoming. However, the “covenant of salt” mentioned above protects us. 10

Why is it a “covenant of salt”? What has salt got to do with our bond with G‑d? Salt is a preservative that neither spoils nor decays. These unique properties make salt the perfect metaphor for G‑d’s eternal covenant with the Jewish people.11

So next time you wash for bread and are waiting to eat, take a look at your salt shaker and remind yourself of G‑d’s eternal covenant with the Jewish people. Even as you sit momentarily bereft of mitzvahs, the salt brings attention to the fact that G‑d’s pact with Israel will last forever.

From: https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2491121/jewish/Got-Salt.htm

The Torah seems to have an obsession with salt.

Among the various laws and details of the sacrifices we find the following commandment:

And you shall salt every one of your meal offering sacrifices with salt, and you shall not omit the salt of your God’s covenant from [being placed] upon your meal offerings. You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices.12

The commandment to place salt on every sacrifice is repeated three times. Why so much emphasis?

Furthermore, why is it called “the salt of your G‑d’s covenant”? Since when did salt enter into a covenant with G‑d?

First, a Talmudic teaching:

Raba said, when man is led in for Judgment he is asked: Did you deal in business with integrity? Did you fix times for Torah study? Did you engage in procreation? Did you hope for salvation? Did you engage in the dialectics of Torah? Have [you delved deeply enough into your studies to the degree that] you deduced one principle from another?

[He may have answered in the affirmative to all of the above.] Nonetheless, only if the fear of the Lord is his treasure is it well. If not, it is not well for him.

This may be compared to a man who instructed his agent, “Take up a kor (a large measurement) of wheat into the loft.” The agent went and did so.

When he returned, the master asked him, “Did you mix in a kab (small measurement) of chumtin (a preservative)”?

When the agent replied in the negative, the master said, “Then it would’ve been better had you not carried it up in the first place.”3

A person may have done many wonderful things in his life; he may have been honest in business, learned a great deal of Torah, created a family, hoped for the Messiah etc., but this still does not guarantee him passage into the next world. There is one more criterion that is of absolute importance: fear of heaven. If one does not possess fear of heaven, “all is not well.”

The wheat in this analogy is a reference to Torah and good deeds. This may be seen in its very name. The Hebrew word for wheat is chittah (חטה), which has the numerical value of 22. This is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, from which the Torah is composed.

The chumtin represents the fear of heaven, without which all our Torah and good deeds are useless.

But what exactly is this preservative? Rashi translates it as “salty soil.”

We now have the key to the mystery of salt.   In addition to being a commandment to literally place salt on the offerings, our verse carries a profound lesson in the service of G‑d.

Salt adds flavor to a dish that might otherwise be tasteless or bland. Our fear of heaven is the salt and flavoring for G‑d’s “food”: the Torah and mitzvahs we serve Him on a daily basis. They can be tasteless and bland, and that’s not the way G‑d wants it. He wants us to add salt.

The salt is kavanah, the intense mental concentration with which we study Torah and perform mitzvahs, and the excitement and passion that it generates.

G‑d repeats the instruction to place salt on every sacrifice three times because it is of utmost importance. Every bit of Torah we study and every mitzvah we perform must be infused with the passion and excitement we feel when we recognize that we are doing the will of G‑d.

That is why salt is called “the covenant of G‑d.”

It is important to do good, to learn Torah, to pray and to perform mitzvahs. But quality counts. Our divine service must be done with passion and a sense of G‑dly awareness, otherwise our offerings will be bland and tasteless.

That’s why G‑d reminds us, “Do not omit the salt.”

Messianic believers Jews and Gentiles are advised here to not just believe but passionately, fully, completely and with great joy believe, cling to, rely upon and trust in the promises of Jesus our Messiah for our salvation is near but ONLY if we do all we can to follow God’s Righteous Ways.

from: https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/683763/jewish/The-Eternal-Covenant.htm

The Eternal Covenant

Salt represents a fusion of the elements fire and water.

  Intermediate

From the teachings of Rabbi Bachya ben Asher

 

It is an eternal salt-covenant before G‑d.” (Num. 18:19)

The words “it is an eternal covenant” mean that the covenant described as a “salt-like covenant” is an eternal covenant. Just as salt preserves the meat indefinitely, so this type of covenant endures indefinitely.

The major ingredient of salt is water. Due to the power of the sun which shines upon it, it turns into salt. In other words, salt represents a fusion of the elements fire and water. Similarly, the covenant is a combination of the attributes Mercy and Justice.

Jacob…even tithed his children….

The share of the Levites is the tithe which in itself is an allusion to the tenth sefira. This is why the Torah phrases this, “To the members of the tribe of Levi: I have given every tithe in Israel as a heritage,” etc.

You will find that Jacob treated his son Levi as the tenth amongst his sons. Jacob took the vow to tithe everything G‑d would give him so seriously that he even tithed his children!

When a shepherd wants to tithe every tenth of his flock as prescribed by the Torah, he first leads all the sheep into the fold and then counts them individually, one by one. The last one in, then, becomes the first one out. Similarly, when Jacob, a shepherd, set out to tithe one of his children, he first brought them into the fold commencing with his eldest Reuben and concluding with his youngest Binyamin. When he counted them subsequently, commencing this time with Binyamin, Levi was the tenth and therefore became sanctified; given to God for service in the Temple.

[Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of “The Torah Commentary of Rebbeinu Bachya” by Eliyahu Munk.]

From the teachings of Rabbi Bachya ben Asher

Rabbi Bachya ben Asher, also known as Rebbeinu Bachya [1255-1340] of Saragosa, Spain, was the outstanding pupil of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the “Rashba”), a main disciple of Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the “Ramban”). Several books have been written about the Kabbala-based portions of R. Bachya’s commentary.Eliyahu Munk, the translator, was born in Frankfurt, and emigrated to England as a young man, later moving to Toronto. After retiring from education and moving to Israel in 1978, he began an extraordinary second career as a translator, publishing English versions of the Torah commentaries of Rabbeinu Bechayei, Akeidat Yitzchak, Shelah, Alshich and Ohr Hachaim.

from

https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380604/jewish/The-Kabbalah-of-Salt.htm

The Kabbalah of Salt

Descent can catalyze a sweetening of judgments.

Adapted by Yosef Marcus from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

…Do not omit the salt of your G‑d‘s covenant from your meal-offerings – on all your sacrifices offer salt.” (Lev. 2:13)

Can the plain be eaten without salt?” (Job 6:6) Salt brings out the taste in other foods. Ironically, salt itself is not pleasing to the palate, yet it can make another food tasty.

The reason for this is as follows: Salt is a derivative of water. It is formed by the fiery beating of the sun upon the water. Water is chesed, kindness; salt is gevura, severity. [Hence the sharpness of salt.]

It is an axiom of kabbalistic thought that every physical substance is, in essence, the devolved form of a higher spiritual entity. Thus salt does not only “symbolize” or “represent” the supernal realm of gevura, it is gevura in its physical manifestation.

Rabbi Chaim Vital writes in Eitz Chaim that what is gevura on one level creates chesed for the level immediately beneath it. Thus gevura of chochma becomes chesed of bina.

When it descends to a lower…it becomes chesed

Salt on its own is gevura, meaning bitter, but when it descends to a lower level [i.e. it enters the substance of another food], it becomes chesed and grants taste to that food.

[Note: Salt does not truly enter the substance that it affects; it brings out the natural flavor of the food. When you eat a properly salted food, you are not tasting food with salt; you are tasting a food whose natural flavor has been brought out by salt. For example:] When a person separates the edible from the inedible, he does not “enter” the substance that he is sifting. Rather, the sifting process is achieved by him [from the outside]. Similarly, in the process of making cheese, the rennet does not “enter” the cheese. The taste of the rennet is not present in the cheese. Yet despite its detachment, the rennet separates the various substances and creates the cheese.

Salt is also the embodiment of the root of all severities and therefore has the capacity to sweeten judgments. It is for this reason that salt must always be present on one’s table as an antidote to misfortune, for, as is known, severities can only be sweetened by their root. The example given for this is: “The wood for the ( handle of the) axe that will chop down the trees of the forest is taken from the forest itself.”

In the realm of Torah, “salt” is Kabbala, the inner dimension of Torah.

Salt is Kabbala…

Unlike the legal aspects of Torah, which can be completely understood and “tasted”, Kabbala is hidden and concealed. It cannot be truly “tasted” and assimilated by the human mind. It remains detached [like salt and rennet which achieve their function without truly entering the item].There is, however, an advantage to both aspects of Torah. The advantage of the legal aspects is that man is able to fully digest divine wisdom as it is manifest on the physical plane in the form of the laws of the Torah. This level is called chochma, wisdom, where the human mind can become one with divine wisdom.

Kabbala, which speaks of supernal realities, is beyond chochma. This is its advantage-and its disadvantage. Because it is beyond chochma, it cannot be fully absorbed by the human mind. Conversely, because of its transcendence its effect on its student is much more powerful.

Only through study of the law can one truly grasp and absorb Divine wisdom

Without knowledge of the law, one does not gain a taste of chochma – G‑d’s wisdom. For it is only through study of the law that one can truly grasp and absorb Divine wisdom. With Kabbala or Midrash, one does not truly digest the essence of the thought.

On the other hand, although in studying Kabbala one perceives only a ray of the actual ideas, nevertheless, this ray stems from the inner dimension, the soul of Torah and has the capacity to affect the spiritual perspective of its student.

From this we learn that the Torah law is the bread and meat. Midrash and Kabbala are the salt, which grants taste to the food, neutralizing negativity.

The above lesson is illustrated by the Talmudic parable (Shabbat 31a):

A man said to his agent, “Bring a kor of wheat to the attic for me”. [A kor is the volume of 4,320 eggs, estimated to be between 248 and 430 liters.] He went and brought it up for him. Afterwards, the man said to his agent, “Did you mix into the wheat a kav of chumton [soil with a high salt content used to preserve grain]?” [A kav is the volume of 24 eggs.] “No,” said the agent. The man said, “It would have been better if you had never brought the wheat.”

The salt preserves the wheat and ensures that it does not spoil.

Without the salt, the wheat can be useless…

Without the salt, the wheat can be useless. Similarly, Torah study without fear of heaven, which is brought on by study of Kabbala, is susceptible to corruption.

The numerical value of the Hebrew word for “wheat”, chitah, is 22, alluding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, with which the Torah is written. Additionally, the giving of the Torah is celebrated on Shavuot with the offering of the first produce of the wheat harvest (Ex. 34:22).

Hence the necessity for the study of both dimensions of Torah: the hidden and the revealed. (Likutei TorahBiur “lo tashbit”)

Salt is a preservative…

Salt is a preservative. Thus G‑d’s everlasting covenant with Aaron is associated with salt [“…an everlasting covenant of salt”, as in Numbers 18:19]. As Rashi explains, “G‑d made a covenant with Aaron with something that is ‘healthy’, enduring, and which preserves others…salt, which never spoils.”

Severity Sweetened at Its Root

The Arizal points out the connection between salt and the priestly blessing:

The Hebrew word for salt, melach, is numerically equivalent to 78, which is 3 x 26 [3 x the divine name Havayah, which equals 26]. Similarly, the priestly blessing contains the name Havayah three times: “May Havayah bless you…May Havayah shine His countenance…May Havayah raise his countenance….” These blessings keep the world in existence and are therefore compared to salt, which sustains other items.

Numbers 6:22-27 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Priestly Blessing. 22 The Lord said to Moses: 23 Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 The Lord bless you and keep you!
25 The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
26 The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace![a]

27 So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:26 Peace: the Hebrew word Shalom includes the idea of happiness, good health, prosperity, friendship, and general well-being. To use this term as a greeting was to pray for all these things upon the one greeted.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Another characteristic of salt is that it cuts down and destroys negative things. It has this capacity because it stems from gevura of holiness. Thus the divine name used in the verse regarding the covenant of salt is elokim [“brit elokecha“], which is the divine name that embodies gevura. It can therefore transform and “sweeten” the negative forms of severity, since severity is sweetened by its root.

The waters of Jericho were therefore cured by the prophet Elisha through salt. And when negativity is cured or sweetened through its source, the change is internal and hence much more powerful.

Salt also has healing powers. Thus, the Tikunei Zohar (54a) points out that one of the permutations of the word melach is chalam, which connotes strengthening and healing. (see Job 39:4 and Isaiah 38:16)

The sacrifice, therefore, had to include salt. For in the spiritual “sacrifice”, man’s approach toward G‑d, all of the properties of salt must be present. His approach must have the staying power of salt, i.e. it cannot be a transient affair. Furthermore, it must involve and transform the animal soul, not only overwhelming and silencing it, but actually causing the animal soul to experience an internal change, i.e. the sweetening of the severities through their root.

Adapted by Yosef Marcus from Sefer Hasichot 5749 pp. 337-8

Adapted by Yosef Marcus from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memoryRabbi Yosef Marcus is the director of Chabad of the Northern Penisula, based in San Mateo, California. More from Yossi Marcus  |  RSS

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