• About Us
  • What's new
  • Newsletter
  • Sources
  • Forum
  • Community
  • Support TSF
  • Links
  • Contact Us
  • Search Site

  • Site Map

    9. "Towards the body of the Menorah shall the seven lights radiate"

    Table of Contents


    The spectrum of electromagnetic radiation divides into seven distinct regions. The middle region-that of visible light-is the region whose range of wavelength is employed in the process of photosynthesis, making it the specific type of radiation upon which all complex life on our planet is dependent. The region of visible light itself is usually divided into seven colors.

    Within the visible light spectrum, photosynthesis pigments best absorb photons with blue or red wavelengths. Other wavelengths of visible light contribute very little to photosynthesis. The reason leaves look green is because that particular light wavelength is barely absorbed by the chloroplasts, and most of the green photons are reflected 'off' the leaves.

    With regard to the compounding of primary colors, there are two central approaches: the approach of most exact sciences is to define blue, red, and green as the primary colors from which all others are constructed, whereas the approach of the arts is to define blue, red, and yellow as the primary colors.


    The seven regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (top-to-bottom in order of increasing wavelength) correspond to the seven sefirot from Lovingkindness to Kingdom, as follows:
    sefirah electromagnetic radiation
    Lovingkindness gamma waves
    Might x-rays
    Beauty ultraviolet waves
    Victory visible light
    Splendor infrared waves
    Foundation micro waves
    Kingdom radio waves

    We can observe from this that the region of radiation visible to the human eye (visible light) lies exactly in the middle of the spectrum, and corresponds with the sefirah of Victory. The central location of visible light in the electromagnetic spectrum and its pivotal and indispensible role in driving photosynthesis, corresponds with the seven candles of the Menorah [candelabra] housed in the sanctuary of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, of which the Torah says (Numbers 8:2): "Towards the body of the Menorah, shall the seven lights radiate". According to our sages, this verse presecribes that the three lights on either side of the central candle of the Menorah have their wicks turned toward the center candle.

    When correlating the seven colors of the visible light spectrum to the seven sefirot of Lovingkindness through Kingdom, we find that blue and red correspond to the sefirot of Lovingkindness and Might. Since these are the two major colors whose wavelengths are captured in photosynthesis, it follows that nature itself is founded upon Lovingkindess and Might.

    A surprising corolary of this is that nature very demonstratively expels the color green, which according to Kabbalah corresponds to the sefirah of Beauty. The metaphysical counterpart of this can be found in the following passage from the Talmud (BT Berachot 33b):

    Mishnah: If one says: "May Your mercy extend to this bird nest," or "May Your Name be remembered in regard to the good" or "We do acknowledge, we do acknowledge"-we silence himů

    Gemara: This is well understood with regard to he who says "We do acknowledge, we do acknowledge," for it appears as if he is acknowledging two [Divine] authorities. And with regard to he who says "May Your Name be remembered in regard to the good," it is also well understood, for it sounds as if he only remembers G-d over the good and not over the bad, while we have learned in a Mishnah: "Man is obliged to bless G-d over the bad just as he does over the good." However, in the case of he who says "May Your mercy extend to this bird nest," what is the reason that we silence him? Two Amoraim in the west argue in this regard, Rabbi Yosi bar Avin and Rabbi Yosi bar Zavida. One states that it is because he is causing envy amongst the works of creation, while the other states that it is because he is casting the Holy One's attributes as no more than expressions of mercy when in truth they are Divine decrees.

    The implication is that in establishing the natural order and the 'constraints' therein upon His own activity, G-d excluded mercy (rahamim., rahamim), which is the inner power of Beauty, from playing a foundational role. Rather, it is the sefirot of Lovingkindness and Might which provide that foundation, insofar as they are the primary emotive attributes upon which the universe is built. Beauty, on the other hand, is an "intermediate" attribute, harmonizing Lovingkindess and Might by aligning itself with a higher power that transcends them both.

    Realizing this should awaken man to the fact that he alone is suited to dispense mercy within the world, as he indeed is exceptional within the natural realm. His uniqueness expresses itself in yet another aspect of Beauty, i.e. in the human aesthetic sense.

    Another statement of our sages (Ibid 33a) establishes that:

    "one is not allowed to have mercy on any creature that does not possess intelligence, as stated: "for it is a people of no understanding; therefore He that made them will have no mercy on them".

    Hence the ability to properly feel and accept another's mercy, as well as dispense it oneself, is dependent upon the makeup of one's sefirah of Knowledge (dat., da'at).

    As explained elsewhere in greater length, there are two types of Knowledge, known as higher knowledge (datelyon., da'at elyon) and lower knowledge (dattachton, da'at tachton). These can also be translated, and understood, as Higher Consciousness and Lower Consciousness. Higher Knowledge - the more advanced form of human consciousness or Knowledge - centers on consciousness of the Divine. Hence, one can arrive at genuine mercifulness, thereby capturing the entire range of visible light (including green which corresponds to mercy, as above) only by developing one's awareness of G-d, Creator of the universe.

    Fully annotated version to appear in Volume one of the Wisdom Journal.

    Copyright ©2001 Torah Science Foundation - All Rights Reserved