Constant Connections

By the time you read this blog I will have a new hip. It is made of ceramic. When it comes to hip replacements you could say the hip (ceramic) bone is connected to the earth.  From earth we are created and unto the earth we will return. The body can only go so far until it returns to its source. So too, in our Jewish tradition, the soul goes forth but never leaves its source.

We celebrated another year at Kabbalah Experience with our annual party, this past Sunday at the home of Sally and Tom Stich. It was a perfect setting for celebrating how our KE community continues to grow. Rita and I are so fortunate to be a part of your overflowing warmth and caring and now Eva and Isabel join the KE community.  We bestowed Hebrew names for each in the presence of all.  Isabel’s name in Hebrew is Zahava Pa’amon which translates as Golden Bell and Eva’s Hebrew name is Chava Rimon which translates as Eva Pomegranate. The derivation of these names comes from a description of the High Priest’s vestment worn in his service in the Temple. His outer garment was adorned on its fringe by bells inside pomegranates so that the High Priest could be heard moving to and fro inside the Temple.

Nachmanides (a Kabbalist from the 13th century) comments that the bells were inside of a hollowed out ivory pomegranate. It is a bit difficult to depict in the mind’s eye what either the pomegranate shapes or the bells looked like, at least until a month ago. After 2,000 years a tiny golden bell was discovered in a drainage ditch in Jerusalem.

The lead archeologist on the team could not be definitive but offered that the most likely history of this tiny golden bell was that it was one of the 72 bells on the hem of the High Priest’s robe. How did it get to the drainage ditch? Was the High Priest outside the temple when it fell off or did it fall inside the temple and find its way flushed out into the streets of Jerusalem?

Now it is said (and Yehudis Fishman reminded us of this in her words of Torah during the naming ceremony) that parents name their children from a state of prophecy. We picked out the name Zahava Pa’amon (golden bell) this past February after learning that the twins were girls.  And the name Chava Rimon is its twin (idea and sister).

So who found who? Did the gold bell materialize as her corresponding soul mate is named or is it Is-a-bel waiting for her tiny golden bell to emerge mysteriously from the past? At the baby naming I quoted Eli Shukrun (head of the Jerusalem dig) as saying that an archeologist can dig his whole life and never find something like this. “It’s amazing how the little bell tinkles just like it did 2,000 years ago.”

The phrase in the Torah that inspired our naming Eva and Isabel with their Hebrew names is a twin production—a rare time (I could only find one other instance) when a phrase is repeated exactly after itself. The phrase that is repeated in the Hebrew is “Pa’amom Zahav ve’Rimon” translated “A golden bell and a pomegranate.” There is no apparent necessity to repeat the phrase so we took note—it is an identical twin.

Addendum: What would a Kabbalistic baby naming be without a little recourse to gematriyah (numerology)? The first obvious parallels are the names Zahava and Chava both of which equal 19.  The significance of 19 in Kabbalah is the 19 year cycle in which the moon calibrates itself with the sun—thus aligning the lunar and solar calendars. The moon is characterized as feminine as it receives its illumination from the sun. And so the moon symbolizes the feminine aspect—and the moon will yet again ascend to its proper place and women –in the times of the Messiah (of which we have begun to awaken to already) will share equally with men. That is what is symbolically alluded to in the number 19 and the names Chava and Zahava who were born on the full moon of the month of Sivan—the month of twins (Gemini).

Another beautiful link is between the total value of the phrase “Pa’amom Zahav ve’Rimon” =561 and the word Tikkun (as in Tikkun Olam) which also carries its value of 561. Tikkun is rectification or another way to translate tikkun = making whole. What are Isable and Eva a tikkun for? I have alluded to in a prior blog the tikkun of souls that perished in the Holocaust.

There were other times in Jewish history that lives were extinguished early in their bodily development. Perhaps, somewhere in the underground drainage system, beneath the pavement of known Jerusalem, were places of refuge for those hiding from the Roman conquerors. It was a place (albeit temporary) of refuge where twins could play with an errant golden bell. It would land just where one tossed it to the other and sit there for 2,000 years until and when its echo could be heard again.  It is but a faint tinkle of a bell–but a loud reminder of how prophecy connects the present to past and future.

David Sanders

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