Friday, May 26, 2006

Sufah And Se'arah

The sufah "stormwind" of Sefer Yetzirah 1:6 and 6:1 is from the Hebrew shoresh סוף. This root1 implies being thrust beyond the boundaries of the mind, and tottering on the edge of chaos. It implies an exodus of experience - relentlessly powerful, liberating, dangerously divine. A mystery of true devekut, it is Ruach HaShem, and the first experience of true nevuah. A divine blast meant to uproot deep-rooted distortions, Ruach HaShem brings the object of the divine's reconstruction project into a state of perfect kedushah.

Ruach se'arah2 (from the shoresh שער) is a klipah, in contradistinction to ruach hakodesh or divine inspiration. Like its ezer knegdo, the shoresh "against it" (שרע), it implies stretching and extending in response to a strong inner movement. In other words, it is deliberate, measured, active work. This klipah gives the soul something to push and pull against enabling growth. As a yetziratic "agitating wind" meant to loosen distorted complexes in the soul for removal and/or reconstruction, ruach se'arah is neither as powerful nor as potentially destructive as Ruach HaShem.

Ruach se'arah results when the human moves toward the divine. Ruach HaShem results when the divine bestows upon the human.

Regarding Ruach HaShem, I once wrote a poem:

relentless, riveting, crazy
maybe even insane
certainly a perfectly misfit madness
playing she-devil rhythm and blues
some iconoclastic tune
as laughing lightning bugs
dance with itty bitty bytes
of irrational disequilibrium
without negotiation

into heaven or hell
only singleminded love
goes there


1 Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R. Matityahu Clark
2 Inner Space, R. Aryeh Kaplan

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