For this sefirah I have chosen the less known name RAHAMIM meaning compassion rather than the preferred label TIFERET meaning beauty following Gershom Scholem’s definitions (Sholem:Kabbalah p. 106). I would say Freddie and Elsbeth certainly do embody both beauty and compassion; however, as this is strong linking sefirah to the Natural World it seems compassion is a more synergic characteristic.

THE STORY: Freddie and Elsbeth are TANTRA NOVA INSTITUTE which if you’re interested, you can hear our conversation with them on EPISODE 43 in the Deviant Minds Salon. They have been on the front lines of Chicago’s Sacred Sexual community and our close friends for decades.  They became tantric partners and set up shop in Chicago after graduating from Charles and Caroline Muir’s Source School of Tantra Yoga. Their teacher, Charles Muir (EPISODE 30) and his ex-wife Caroline were founders of the Source School of Tantra Yoga and considered by many to be the originator and pioneer of the Modern Tantra Movement in the United States.

I couldn’t imagine a more sublime example of eternal compassion that Freddie and Elsbeth  demonstrate as they define RAHAMIM for the deck of the Sacred Marriage.  Their mantra is: I choose to be free from inhibitions, guilt, and bondages in all my relationships. Tantra is about healing the mind, body and spirit and soothing the wounds our erogenous centers have sustained through the centuries.

By moving to the center of the Tree of Life, we bring together the energy and flow of the involvement of entities through Priesthood and Power into mortal lives.  We find synthesis and the combining together head and heart, feeling and intellect. The union of what is divine in us and in the universe. The coming together of opposites. Working with a partner or in preparation for partnership.

GEMATRIA: The numerical equivalent of the vav is six. Six represents con­nection, exemplified by the angels in Ezekiel’s vision, whose six wings enabled them to soar to unite and connect with G‑d.  Six also represents completion, because something that is surrounded on all six sides—north, south, east, west, above and below—is complete. 

The world was created in six days—the Six Days of Crea­tion. The first word in the Torah is Bereishis (“In the beginning”) which itself is composed of six letters, בראשית. Furthermore the Torah clearly states: “G‑d created six days.” There are also six alefs in the first verse of the Torah. The first vav in the Torah is found at the beginning of the sixth word (v’es). So Creation is connected to the number six.

Each of these six days was created with a different emotional attribute. Additionally, the progression of these six days is consistent with the Talmud’s assertion (discussed in the chapter on alef ) that G‑d created the world (as we know it) to exist for 6,000 years. If we look into each day of Creation, we can observe each of the six millennia and its corresponding attribute.

MEANING: The sixth letter of the alef-beis is the vav and the letter associated with RAHAMIM is VAV which means connection. The design of the letter vav is a hook.The form of the vav can also represent a chute which connects a higher level to a lower level.  While the design of the vav looks like a hook, the word vav actually means “hook.” A hook is something that holds two things together. It is also a means to connect the spiritual and the physical. As in the story above, “If a man is connected on high, he doesn’t fall down below.”

On a syntactic level, adding a vav to the beginning of any word creates the meaning “and”; for example, v’eileh means “and these things.” Within a sentence, “and” is the hook that connects one word or clause to the next. Furthermore, the vav attached to a verb converts that verb from either the past to the future tense, or from the future to the past tense. For example, the word hoiya in Hebrew means “it was.” The word v’hoiya means “it will be.” By merely attaching the vav, the past is transformed into the future. In reverse, consider the word yehi, which means “it shall be,” as in “Yehi or—[And G‑d said,] “Let there be light.” Place a vav in front—vayehi—and the meaning becomes, “There was light,” in the past tense.

With this in mind, we can appreciate a lesson from the Rebbe as stated in his commentary to the Tanya:“In the Torah there are fifty-three portions. All except ten begin with a vav. Simi­larly the Tanya, also known as the Written Law of Chassidic thought, has in its first section fifty-three chapters. All fifty-three, with the exception of ten, begin with a vav.”

SO vav connects MERCY with POWER AND vav connects the Psychic World with the World of Nature. This is an excellent letter to be at the center of the Tree.

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