The Image of the Tree
At the end of the Torah portion of Shoftim, the Torah describes the dynamics of the laws of battle. If a siege is placed on a city in the Land of Israel in order to conquer it, the Torah forbids us to destroy its fruit trees. To support this prohibition, the Torah explains (Deuteronomy 20:19): "Man is likened to the tree of the field." In the Torah (Genesis 1:26) we learn that God created man in His image (tzelem). Significantly, the numerical value of the Hebrew word eitz ("tree") is 160, identical to the numerical value of tzelem. The tree of the field is the image of man created in God's image.
Knowledge and the Nervous System
The numerical value of the Hebrew expression eitz hasadeh ("the tree of the field") is 160 (eitz) plus 314 (hasadeh), which equals 474. 474 is the numerical value of da'at ("knowledge"). Da'at is the most central and all inclusive of the sefirot. It is knowledge or consciousness, an all-inclusive state of the soul that unites intelligence and emotion. The power of da'at creates unity within the mind, but its ultimate purpose is to unite all the mental and emotive faculties of the soul.
In Kabbalah and Chassidut, we learn that every physiological system corresponds to a supernal sefirah. The sefirah of da'at corresponds to the nervous system. More than any other physiological system, the nervous system, which conveys the electrical impulses of knowledge throughout the body, can be envisioned as a tree. The trunk is the spinal column, and the branches are the nerves.
The Energy Field
The word hasadeh ("of the field"), spelled hei, shin, dalet, hei, shares two letters, shin and dalet with God's Name, Shakai (shin, dalet, yud). The remaining two letters of hasadeh, the two hei's, each equal 5. When they are combined, they equal 10, equal to the remaining letter of Shakai, yud.
God's holy Name, Shakai, represents energy -- the power to project force outward. The tree of the field, representing da'at, the nervous system in man, is an energy field.
God's Name, Shakai, also corresponds to the sefirah complementary to da'at -- yesod. The sefirah of yesod is the foundation of all the sexual energies of man. In Kabbalah and Chassidut we learn that there is a close interdependence between the proper function of the nervous system and the proper use of our creative energies, as represented by yesod. When we meditate on the tree of the field, we must consider the field to be an energy field, directing our potent, creative yesod energies, by the means of the force field of da'at.
The Key to the Chambers of the Heart
As above, the phrase eitz hasadeh equals da'at, 474. When we divide 474 by the six letters of eitz hasadeh, we see that the average value of each letter is 79. 79 is the numerical value of dei'ah, which shares a root with da'at. Maimonides, in his Code of Jewish Law, devoted an entire section of his work to the laws of dei'ot, "the attributes of the heart." Thus, there are six expressions of dei'ah in da'at. Da'at, consciousness, is the key that opens the six doors to the six chambers of the heart (dei'ot). Each chamber is an attribute of the heart, an emotive characteristic. Eitz hasadeh, the tree of the field, is the key to all of our emotive characteristics.
The word eitz is also equal to the word noam, (nun, ayin, mem), which means "pleasantness" or "sublime pleasure." Thus, the phrase eitz hasadeh, our consciousness (da'at) can also be understood as noam Shakai, the "serene pleasure of the Almighty." We must see man as a tree of the field, whose nervous system directs his creative energies to manifest as Godly serenity.
The Serene Pleasure of Knowing God in all our Ways
The two words of the phrase "noam Shakai" have six letters, three in each word. We will calculate the value of the phrase using a numerical method known as haka'ah pratit, i.e., multiiplying the first letter of the first word by the first letter of the second word, the second letter of the first word by the second letter of the second word, and so on, and then summing the products (this is similar to the dot product in vector algebra). This numerical method allows us to understand deeper implications of the phrase.
|nun (נ) = 50
||shin (ש) = 300
|ayin (ע) = 70
||dalet (ד) = 4
|mem (מ) = 40
||yud (י) = 10
The sum of noam Shakai in haka'ah pratit is thus 15,680 or 10 times 1568, or 10 times 282.
Our sages teach that there is one verse in the Bible that succinctly expresses our service of God as it should be perfected in our consciousness. In Proverbs 3:6 it is written: "In all your ways know Him and He will straighten your paths." (For a deeper understanding of this verse, listen to this audio lecture by Rabbi Ginsburgh)
Integral to this verse is the word da'eihu ("know Him"), from the root of da'at. Our goal must be to know God in all the paths of our lives -- whether at war, as in this week's Torah portion, or in times of peace and prosperity -- from the summit of the sublime to the monotony of the mundane.
The verse says to know God in all your ways. God's ways are the ways of His commandments. Your ways are all the minute details that weave the fabric of our lives. Whether at work, while eating or even while we sleep, we must know God and be conscious of His presence in our lives and in our every action. If we do so, God promises that He will then straighten all our paths.
The Seven Paths
The numerical value of the verse: "In all your ways know Him and He will straighten your paths" is 1568, or 2 times 282. Thus, the value of "noam Shakai" in haka'ah pratit is ten times the value of this verse. This verse expresses the experience of knowing God in every facet of our lives with all the ten powers of our souls.
If we divide 1568 by 7 we get 224, the numerical value of "path" (דרך). In Kabbalah and Chassidut it is explained that there are 7 paths in which each soul root can properly serve God. The verse "In all your ways, know Him, and He will straighten your paths" encompasses all 7 paths. When we connect to the image of man as a tree of the field, we can direct all of our creative energies to one goal -- to know God in all our ways and to spread His consciousness throughout the world.