A couple of months’ back, after I read Rebbe Nachman’s story of the Bull and the Ram, and I realized that it was talking about all the stuff going on in the solar system prior to Moshiach showing up,
(see this article for more on that: how-God-uses-comets-to-fight-for-the-jews)
I decided to pick up the English translation of the Sefer Yetzirah (the Book of Creation), by the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.
To be honest, I didn’t really like the book very much, primarily because I was majorly creeped-out that someone translated a book into English describing how meditating on certain permutations of Hebrew letters could enable them to ‘create’ animals and change the forces of nature.
That’s God’s job!
When I finished reading it, I thought about another one of Rebbe Nachman’s stories, this time The Cripple, and how the very wise, holy Rabbi had a book that contained all the names of the demons in the world that would enable him to ‘control nature’ - but how his ancestors told him to never use it, and always just to rely on simple emuna alone.
I had the feeling that maybe the Sefer Yetzirah was the book being talked about.
So I put it to one side, and forgot about it.
Until the post I put up a few days’ back (THIS one) where I described my dream thingy about the two dragons fighting it out in the heavens before Moshiach comes. For some reason, after I wrote that up, I picked up the Sefer Yetzirah again, and in one of those bizarre incidences of hashgacha pratit (Divine providence), it opened to this:
"This is one of the most mysterious words in the Sefer Yetzirah. The term occurs neither in the Bible nor in the Talmud, and there is considerable discussion as to its meaning. The only place where we find a similar word is in a single reference to a weapon, where Yitzhak told Esav: ‘Take your instruments, your Teli and your bow’ (Genesis 27:3).
“Some commentaries interpret the Teli here to be a kind of sword, and it’s given this name because it hangs (talah) from one’s side. Others say that it is a quiver, in which the arrows are piled high (talal).’
(Click the image, above, so see my post from June discussing how 'fire' is also mentioned a lot in the Book of Daniel, and also see THIS post over on Dov Bar Lieb's blog.)
Curious person that I am (read that however you wish…) I decided to look up the verse for 5778.
Here’s what it said (Parshat Haazinu, 32:23):
“I shall accumulate evils against them, My arrows shall I use against them.”
So now, what the heck is the Teli actually meant to be?! Let’s find out, by returning back to the Sefer Yetzirah:
“According to many kabbalists, the Teli …is the imaginary axis around which the heavens rotate. It is seen as an imaginary line from which the celestial sphere hangs (talah, ‘to hang’).
“Many authorities identify the Teli with the ‘Pole Serpent’ mentioned in the verse, ‘By His spirit, the heavens were calmed, His hand pierced the Pole Serpent (Job 26:13).’ It’s also mentioned in the verse: ‘On that day, with His great, harsh sword, God will visit and overcome the Leviathan - the Pole Serpent, and the Leviathan - the Coiled Serpent, and He will kill the dragon of the sea. (Isaiah, 27:1)’
So, here’s our first mention of two massive serpents, or dragons, in Jewish thought - and they’re identified with the Leviathan, and also identified with the heavens.
In the Midrash Aseret HaDibrot 2, we find the following: “the world rotates around the fin of the Leviathan’, while another Midrash, Seder Rabbah DeBereishit 17 tells us that the world “hangs from a fin of the Leviathan.”
In other Jewish sources, the Pole Serpent is associated with the constellation Draco - and we’re back to dragons again. (I scanned this picture of ‘Draco’ from the Sefir Yetzirah, who in turn copied it from a 14 century Hebrew manuscript.)
Sefer Yetzirah continues:
“In ancient times, the Teli, in the form of Draco, was worshipped as an idolatrous deity. Rabbi Isaac of Acco also identifies it with the idol Baal, mentioned in the Bible.”
“Hebrew astronomers also used the term Teli to denote the inclination of the orbit of a planet from the ecliptic, particularly in the case of the moon.
“There are two points were the orbit of a planet intersect with the plane of the ecliptic. The point through which the planet passes from the south of the ecliptic plane to the north is called the ascending node, which the other point is called the descending node.
“In medieval astronomy the ascending node was often called the ‘dragon’s head’ while the descending node was referred to as the ‘dragon’s tail’…The ‘dragon’ whose head and tail form the two nodes is then identified as the Teli.”
Remember I saw two dragons in my weird dream? Well, here’s what the Sefer Yetzirah has to say about that bit:
“There is also a tradition that there are two Telis or dragons, one male and one female. These are identified as the two Leviathans, and are mentioned in the account of creation: “God created the great dragons” (Genesis 1:21).”
It then says:
“God will spread it out [the remainder of its hide] on the walls of Jerusalem and its splendor will shine from one end of the world to the other. ‘And the nations will go by your light and kings by the brightness of your shining.’ (Isaiah 60:3)”
“The nodes of the Teli are the points were two divergent orbits meet [and we’re back to Dave Dobbs’ diagram again…] The physical and spiritual worlds can also be looked upon as two divergent orbits. The Teli would then represent the nodes where the physical and spiritual meet.”
“[T]he Teli is the axis around which the universe revolves…the Teli is king over space, but doesn’t become part of it. The same is true if we view the Teli as the link between the spiritual and the physical…The Teli thus represents the spiritual being lowered so as to interact with the physical.”
Sadly, none of the people who really know what this stuff actually means go anywhere near the internet, so it’s left to us far lesser individuals to try and make some educated guesses about what this may be talking about.
This is what I think, although I would be thrilled for others out there to add in their views, especially if they have more or different Jewish sources to shed some light on this. So here’s where we’ve got to, so far:
- ‘Dragons’ are Jewish ideas, and are mentioned in kabbalistic writings that associate them both with the Pole Star / Pole Serpent and also with the Leviathan.
- Leviathan is one of those mystical ideas that is very tightly bound up with stuff that happens at the end of days, when the Moshiach shows up.
- The Teli also describes the intersection of two different orbits (like what Dave Dobbs is suggesting is going to happen around Rosh Hashana Sept 21, 2017 with Nibiru / Kochav Yaacov and planet earth (node 1: the Dragon’s head) and also around Jan 2, 2018, just after Chanuka (node 2: the Dragon’s tail).
- The Teli also describes the spiritual dimension somehow being ‘lowered’ into the physical dimension - and the King’s throne somehow being ‘lowered’ into the world.
- The King is clearly Hashem. His place in this lower world is clearly the Temple Mount, and the rebuilt third Temple.
Long story short: There are some very solid JEWISH sources that the next few months *could* be extremely interesting.
Whether the ‘arrows’ referred to in the passuk are going to be meteors aimed at a whole bunch of people, and / or North Korean rockets aimed at the US, and / or Grads from Gaza falling on more cities in Israel (God forbid!) and / or something else entirely, only time will tell.
But 5778 seems to be shaping up to be quite a year.