Zohar: Abraham and Initiation
On observing this general deprivation of manners and modes of living [in this physical world, the sephirah Malkuth], it is written:
“And [the psyche of] the [people of the] earth was formless, and void; and darkness was upon the face of that void. And [the sephirah Chesed] the Spirit of the Elohim [our Monad] moved upon the face of the [sexual] waters [of Malkuth].” – Genesis 1: 2
“And there was a deprivation in the land: and Abram [Chesed] went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the deprivation was grievous in the land.” – Genesis 12: 10
Here the question may arise, what was the reason and object of Abram [Chesed] going down into [Malkuth] Egypt?
It was because at that time [as in this time] Egypt [Mizrahim-Malkuth] was a great center of learning, of knowledge, and the science of the Divine Mysteries, and therefore referred to in scripture as:
“Even as the garden of יהיה, like the land of Egypt, as thou come unto repentance.” – Genesis 12: 10
'The garden of יהיה [is] like the land of Egypt.' Because in it [is wisdom], as in the Garden of Eden, of which it is stated:
“And [from Daath] a river went out of [the supernal] Eden [Abba and Aima Elohim Binah] to water the garden [in Mizrahim-Malkuth-Egypt]; and from thence [Daath] it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.” – Genesis 2: 11, 12
From Pison flowed a great mystical river of divine knowledge, very precious and unobtainable elsewhere. Abraham [Chesed] having entered into the [supernal] Garden of Eden [Daath] and become an adept in the secret doctrine [of Alchemy], desirous of passing through all its grades onto the Major Mysteries in order to become 'teloios' or perfect, [through the sephirah Geburah] went down into [Havilah-Malkuth-Mizrahim] Egypt where there was gold or the hidden wisdom [of Samael].
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "It is written:
“And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt. - Genesis 12: 11
Why is the word הקריב 'hiqarib [to sacrifice]' found here instead of קרב qarab [to approach]? The explanation is, that as the same word הקריב ‘hiqarib is used when the Israelites were before the Red Sea, it is said:
“And Pharaoh drew near [הקריב hiqarib].” - Exodus 41:10
Which means that [the Archetypes of] Israel were excited to come near to repentance for liberation, so was it with Abraham on his nearing Egypt, where he was soon to come into contact and interaction with men whose bad actions arising from their ignorance of the worship of יהיה; it made him feel a greater need of the divine life and power to preserve him from the evils of idolatry then prevailing there [as today in this physical world].
Editor's Note: Idol worship is psychological, not physical. Any psychological attachment is idol worship. Idol worshippers are defined as people whose minds are absorbed by any desire, including religious or scientific fanaticism, which is excessive intolerance of opposing views. In such people, their fanaticism controls their thoughts, emotions, and actions—that is to say, their behavior, or their motivations towards their neighbors. In general, our self-esteem makes us worshippers of our own egotistical idols. Worse, when someone is trying to awaken consciousness but is still a fanatic of any point of view, their fanaticism influences their mystical experiences, and thereafter the person makes a psychological image or idol with terrible power. Fanaticism leads people to become fully enslaved as worshipers or disciples of their own egos.
The Zohar explains more detail:
“Idolatry, the inclination towards [the reversed Sephiroth, Klipoth, specifically, Chokmah / fanaticism, Binah / stupidity and Daath / black tantra] that which comes from the liver [כבד chabad, spelled Chet, Beth, Daleth; these are the three initial Hebrew letters of the three Sephiroth Chokmah, Binah, Daath כבד]. Idolatry comes from the liver [כבד chabad], which word signifies hard, bitter, or grievous, and therefore idolatry is called or termed a torpid service.
“The liver moreover is the seat of rage and wrath [Klipothic Geburah], and this is why it is said that whosoever gives way to rage and passion is as guilty as he who commits an act of idolatry. And this is the meaning of the words:
“And Jehovah Elohim commanded Adam, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” – Genesis 2: 16, 17
“Thus, [sexual passion] fornication is forbidding idolatry; he also forbade the indulgence in anger, for they proceed from one common source and lead to the shedding of blood, thus:
“Whosoever sheds [אדם] Adam's [דם] blood, by [אדם] Adam shall his [דם] blood be shed: for in the image [צלם] of Elohim [that is the breath in the blood] made they [אדם] Adam.” – Genesis 9: 6
“The inclination for murder comes from [כבד chabad] the liver and is as a sword in the hand of the angel of death, thus:
“And in the end is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.” - Proverbs 5: 4.
“The word "saying" signifies the spleen, of which it is said:
“Such is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats, and wipes her mouth, saying, I have done no wickedness.” – Proverbs 30: 20
“The spleen has neither orifice nor canal, but is a solid substance with veins and arteries and absorbs dark blood from the liver. Adultery is therefore in scripture symbolized by the spleen, as its perpetration leaves no traces behind it, whilst murder becomes quickly detected by blood marks and therefore men fear to commit murder more than adultery.
“When these sins of idolatry, murder, fornication and adultery, cease to prevail among mankind [in Malkuth, the physical world], in that day there shall be one Lord [Yehidah], and his name One [יהיה].”
"Murder does not refer exclusively to cold-blooded killing. Bloodshed also occurs when we publicly or privately disgrace or humiliate others, causing the blood to rush to their face out of embarrassment. This includes, for example, character assassination caused by an evil tongue."
SAID Rabbi Yehuda: "Observe that as Abraham [Chesed] went down into Egypt without the divine assistance, he caused his descendants [archetypes] to suffer four hundred and thirty years of bondage [subjection to animal passion]; He should first have obtained this [divine assistance] and all would have gone well; From the first night of his entrance into Egypt [first Initiation], he had to suffer on account of Sara Sara = Sarah, his wife, as it is stated:
“And he said unto Sarah his wife, behold now I know [through sexual alchemy] that thou art a fair woman to look upon.”
Did not he know this before; that she was such, and if so, why did he use the word 'now.' It was because up to then the conjugal life of Abraham had been so pure and chaste that he had not gazed upon and beheld her face to face [in sexual alchemy]. It was only on approaching Egypt [first Initiation], Sara raised her veil [as Shechinah, Kundalini], when her beauty became manifested to Abraham.
Another explanation is, that during the fatigue and wearisomeness of a long journey the human body becomes shrunken and enfeebled, but with Sara it was not so, for she had retained her beauty of feature and form without the slightest change or diminution [of chastity]. Observing this, Abraham used the word quoted.
A third and most likely reason is what has been traditionally stated, that Abraham then beheld the Shechinah or divine glory and presence [of Mother Kundalini] about her that so affected him with a feeling of joy and delight that he exclaimed, 'I see that thou art fair to look upon.' Knowing also the manners and customs then prevailing in Egypt, he considered how to avoid the taking of Sara from him and therefore said unto her: 'Say I pray thee that thou art my sister.' This word sister [אחות achath] has a two-fold meaning, one literal, the other allegorical or mystical, as in the verse:
“Say unto Wisdom, thou art my sister.” - Proverbs 7:4
By Wisdom is here meant the Shechinah, who is also called sometimes a sister. In inducing Sara to say thus, Abraham was guilty of causing her to prevaricate and utter a falsehood, as the Shechinah was really with her, and becomes as a sister to every human soul that enters on the divine and higher life, It is further added, 'that it may be well with me for thy sake, and my soul shall live because of thee.' These words were addressed by Abraham to the divine glory, their meaning being, 'that the Holy Spirit may through thee do good unto me and my soul preserved and saved as it is only through the grace of the Holy Spirit that a man on quitting earth life is accounted worthy of everlasting life."
Said Rabbi Yessa: "Though Abraham [Chesed] knew of the luxurious manners and unchastity of the [egos or red demons of the] Egyptians, yet he was not afraid of taking his wife thither, because the Shechinah was with her and therefore he felt no apprehension of the future."
Said Rabbi Yehuda: "'And the Egyptians beheld the woman [the wisdom] that she was very fair.' Abraham had concealed his wife in a [cryptic] coffer, which when opened by the Egyptian excise officers there flashed forth a light as bright as that of the sun, and therefore it is said, 'she was very fair.' What they really beheld was a form other than that of Sara that remained visible after they had brought her out of the coffer [of symbolisms]. This explains the somewhat pleonastic and similar expressions: 'the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair,' and 'the princes also of Pharaoh saw and commended her before Pharaoh,' Genesis. 12:15 because, as tradition asserts, they beheld the Shechinah abiding with Sara."
Said Rabbi Isaac, "Woe unto the evil minded and unbelieving souls! who know nothing, nor care to understand the doings and acts of the Holy Spirit, therefore they perceive not that every event that takes place in the world is arranged and ordered afore hand by him who sees the beginning and the end of all things ere they come to pass, as it is written:
“Declaring the hindermost from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.” - Isaiah 46:10
Observe, if Sara had not been brought before Pharaoh, he would not have been visited with great plagues, similar to those that afflicted the Egyptians in after years. In both cases the same term 'gedolim [great]', is applied to them.
“And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his household with great plagues [negaaim gedolim] and the Lord shewed signs and wonders great [gedolim] and sore upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household.” - Deuteronomy 6:22
From the use of the term 'great' we may infer that the plagues [karmic ordeals] inflicted upon Pharaoh in the time of Abraham were the same in number [as in these times of the end] if not in character as those in the time of Moses, and in both instances were done during night time [darkness was upon the face of the infra-consciousness]."
Said Rabbi Isaac: "It is written:
“But thou, oh Lord, art a shield for me, my glory and the lifter up of my head.' - Psalm 3:4
David [who represents perfection of Nephesh, animal soul] said these words unto the Lord: 'Even though all men should stand up against me, I will not fear, for thou art my protector [a shield before me]'. Remark here the use of the word 'a shield [magen].'
David at one time said unto the Holy One, 'Ruler of the world, wherefore is it no form or prayer of benediction is found ending with my name like that of Abraham which the children of Israel address to heaven, and concluding with 'Blessed be thou, oh Lord, protector of Abraham.' To which the Holy One replied, 'Abraham by enduring great protracted trials, proved himself faithful and perfect.' Then said David:
'If this be the reason examine me, oh Lord, and prove me and try my reins and my heart.' - Psalm 26:2
After his sin in connection with Bathsheba, David remembered these words he had said unto the Holy One and exclaimed, 'Thou hast proved my heart, thou hast visited me in the night without finding--oh, that I had never spoken! I said try me and thou hast proved me; try my reins and my heart as by fire, and thou hast done so and found me not as I wished or ought to be. Better if I had kept silent and not demanded to be tested and tried.'
Yet, notwithstanding David's weakness and frailty [in Nephesh] there is now a prayer of benediction concluding with, 'Blessed art thou, oh Lord, protector of David.' This is why he said, 'Thou, oh Lord, art my protector [magen], my glory and the lifter up of my head' which he appraised more than his jeweled crown and kingly scepter."