Monday, January 29, 2007

Raisin Circle - Key To Achdut

י"א בשבט תשס"ז

Raisin is one key fruit eaten and shared among both Celtic Imbolg (February 2) and Jewish Tu B'Shevat (February 3 this year) sacred days. The Hebrew word for raisin [1] is צימוק.

The shoresh (3 letter root) of raisin (צמק) means "shrinking", "drying" and "shriveling" [2]. The word raisin is found in Torah in 1 Shmuel (Samuel) 25:18 in the form צמוקים. This form, though seemingly plural, is translated as raisin, singular (yachid). Moreover, the form צמוקים follows the Masoretic tradition - the text used by R. Shmuel Raphael Hirsch, from whose commentaries the etymological source dictionary I use was compiled. In other words, צמוקים is the way the word appears according to the Aleppo Codex (כתר ארם צובה).

However, in most printed and online Hebrew texts of Torah, the word in 1 Shmuel 25:18 isn't spelled this way. It is spelled צמקים. Neither the letter yod (י) nor the letter vav (ו) as found in the normative word for raisin (צימוק) is found in commonly available Hebrew texts of Torah (the Bible).

There seems to be some confusion about whether raisin is singular or plural (where ים is a plural ending), and whether or not it is spelled with a yod and a vav added into the root. Normatively, raisin is spelled with a letter yod following the letter tzadi (צ), and then a letter vav following the letter mem in its open form (מ). However, in the Aleppo Codex, singular raisin is spelled with a plural form, and with a letter vav (as opposed to a letter qof ק) after the letter mem. There is no letter yod in the root in the Aleppo Codex concerning 1 Shmuel 25:18 - but there is a letter yod in the plural form preceding a closed letter mem (ים) in its final form in the Aleppo Codex.

What can all this quasi-confusion mean?

First, the root implies dry because there is no water (מים) in it. Raisin, as found in the Aleppo Codex changes the entire meaning of the root - because (written in the plural form), singular raisin indeed has water in it (צמוקים). The open mem pertains to wisdom of the revealed world, while the closed mem pertains to wisdom of the hidden world. Consequently, the masoretic form contains both kinds of wisdom - concealed and revealed. In the normative Hebrew form of raisin, hidden wisdom is not present.

The root letter yod (in distinction to the yod of the plural ending), missing in most (if not all) printed and online versions of Torah and Tanakh, is also not present in the Aleppo Codex. Yet, the letter is present in the mundane sense, in the normative spelling of the Hebrew word raisin. This means that we have to find this letter in our everyday material world of action. It's not somewhere "out there", far from us. It is close, very close to us. It is even within our own souls, each and every one of us. It's not in the exclusive domain of the learned and mystically pious. It's ours, every one! Yod, in the soul, represents the feminine power of the left hand. Thus, what brings revealed and hidden mysteries to unified expression is the feminine power of the left hand.

Taking all this together, we can see that sharing is key to uncovering, partaking of, and bringing to revelation, the hidden mysteries. It is for this reason that singular raisin is written in the plural form - written plural yet pronounced singularly - the essence of achdut (egregore) is perfect unity in the presence of multiplicity.


[1] New Bantam-Megiddo Hebrew & English Dictionary

[2] Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, R' Matutyahu Clark

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