updated b



based on the writings of the chabad rebbes[1]


From a discourse of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, "the Alter Rebbe."

This week’s haftorah[2] tells the story of a woman whose husband, a student of the prophet Elisha, had passed away leaving her without money. She went to Elisha and cried: “Your servant, my husband died, and the creditor has come to take my two children for himself as slaves.” Elisha asked her what she had left in her house and she replied that she had nothing more than a jar of oil. Elisha then told her to gather many empty vessels and then pour from the jar into them. Miraculously the one jar was able to fill all the vessels. Elisha told her to sell the oil “and pay the creditor, and you and yours sons will live on the remainder.” The following is the kabbalistic interpretation of the story.


And one woman, of the wives of the prophets’ “children,”>[3] cried to Elisha: your servant, my husband, died…and the creditor has come to take my two children for himself as slaves….

And one woman - Woman It is called one woman, since the soul is one with G-d. 

of the wives of the children of the prophets – The Hebrew word for prophet, nahvee, is related to the expression neev, which means “speech” (as in neev s’fasayim, “speech of the lips”), referring to the speech of G-d, which the prophets perceive and grasp. So prophets, in this context, refers to the soul, which also perceives and grasps Divinity.    

Eili Sha.) The soul cries out to G-d that

My husband, ishi, can be read as aish and the letter yud, or “the fire of yud,” referring to the burning love of the soul that inspires its desire to be subsumed in the yud, supernal Chochmah (wisdom). The soul cries to G-d that this love has died.

nosheh, is related to the word for forget. Joseph called his eldest son Menasheh, because “G-d has made me forget…[my father’s house.]” “The creditor” thus refers to the animal soul, which has caused the soul to forget its root, its source in Divinity.

Children refers to love and awe of G-d. The emotions are called offspring, since they are produced by the intellect. Love and awe are the primary emotions, the others being its offshoots.

So “the creditor” has come, cries the soul to G-d, to take my “two children” as slaves, to employ them toward destructive loves and debilitating fears.

– What part of you has not been commandeered by the animal soul? What is left “inside your house,” in your deepest depths?

The soul responds that it still retains its essence, its untouchable core.

– the soul and its attributes of love and awe will eventually be enlivened.


the last gate

haftorah and the parsha.

writes that the word choleh, meaning a sick person, has the numeric equivalent of 49. This means that before Avraham was visited by G-d, he was on the level of the 49th gate of understanding. This is the level to which a human being can reach through his own efforts. The fiftieth level cannot be attained by man through his own deeds. Rather, after he has done all that is in his power, he is granted the revelation of the fiftieth gate by G-d as a gift.

Similarly, during the 49 days of the Omer, between Passover and Shavuos, we count each day, ascending the 49 gates of understanding. The fiftieth day is Shavous, but we do not count it. It is beyond us; thus we receive it from G-d as a gift.

choleh, 49, and granted him the power of the fiftieth gate. He had now entered the realm of the Creator.


[Adapted and summarized by RabbiYosef Marcus.]

[1] Maamarei Admur Hazaken Haktzarim, p.137. Sefer Hamaamarim Melukat 4:43. Likutei Sichos 5:334-5.

[2] II Kings 4:1.

[3] I.e., disciples.

[4] Proverbs 31:30.

[5] Isaiah 57:19.

[6] As for why it is called of the wives of the children of the prophets, see Pelach Harimon (by Rabbi Hillel of Paritch), end of Vayeira.

[7] The Divine Name Havayah is made of the letters Yud, Hey, Vov, Hey. Each of these letters represents a different section of the ten sefiros. For our discussion, we will explain the first two letters. The Yud, which is the smallest letter, embodies Chochmah, the tiny, unexpanded kernel of a thought. The more elaborate Hey, represents Binah, expansiveness and articulation.

[8] Genesis 41:51.

[9] Tanya 1:3.

[10] Oil is associated with Chochmah (see Zohar 3:34a, 38b, and Nitzutzei Oros ad loc.; Tanya 1:53). [See also Menachos 85b regarding olive oil: The Gemara cites the verse (II Samuel 14:2): Yoav sent to Tekoa and brought a wise a woman from there…. The Gemara then inquires as to the distinction of Tekoa and explains that because the people of Tekoa use a lot of olive oil (regilin bishemen zayis), wisdom is found among them. Rashi ad loc.: “Olive oil opens the heart.”]

The jar of oil thus refers to the Chochmah of the soul, over which the animal soul can have no control. See Tanya (1:19): This aspect of the soul causes the Jew to remain loyal to his faith in the face of death. This loyalty cannot be explained rationally (since it is exhibited by those who otherwise ignore their faith) and is therefore attribute to the intuitive nature of Chochmah, which is the soul’s knowledge of G-d that cannot be rationally defined.

[11] Finite man does not by nature possess the tools with which to interact with the Infinite. The most sublime, spiritual, transcendent, human experience is just that—a human experience. It is only through fulfillment of the Divine mitzvos that man creates a connection with the Infinite.  See also Likutei Torah, Re’eh, 32d.

[12] 3:168a. See Tanya 1:29.

[13] Eccceliastes 2:13. The simple meaning of the verse is “I have seen the advantage of wisdom over folly like the advantage of light over darkness.”

[14] The second half of the haftorah speaks about Elisha’s promise to a woman that she would have a child, which parallels the story of the promise of the birth of Isaac in this parsha. What, however, is the connection between the parsha and this part of the haftorah?

[15] Taamei Hamitzvos beginning of Vayeira.

[16] Fifty gates: The Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 21b) speaks of fifty “gates” of binah (“understanding”). These fifty gates are seen to comprise the seven emotions inter-included of each other (7x7=49) plus one additional, transcendent level. This division into 49+1 is reflected in the fifty-year agricultural cycle, which is composed of seven 7-year sabbatical cycles (7x7=49) followed by a fiftieth super-sabbatical, the jubilee year.  –from Rabbi Moshe Wisnefsky’s commentary on Arizal




Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION