From "Manos HaLevi" by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz (page 263)

Translated and annotated by Carmel Kehati [words in brackets are the translator's additions.]


 And thus I [Esther] will approach the king. [Esther 4:16]

Rabbi Yosef Gackon writes, concerning Esther’s three-day fast, that Esther [in fasting for exactly three days] had the following kabbalistic intention.  Namely, that three days and nights contain seventy-two hours, and  “B’chen [“thus”, in 4:16] equals seventy-two numerically [in letter-gematria], corresponding to the [exalted 72-letter] Name of G-d hinted in the three verses [that begin], “Vayisa”, “Vayavo”, “Vayet” [Exodus 14:19, 20, 21, each of which contain seventy-two letters precisely].  It was with the power of this Name that G-d split the [Red] sea and had the Israelites cross over, and He guided them in His protection and they had no fear [of the enemy].

From that Name, [the flow of] the Divine life-force comes to Esther’s supernal [corresponding] sefira; for Esther [as our Sages say] was greenish in complexion [green is a color associated with the sefira Chesed, Divine kindness, as the life-flow descends through the upper worlds, and the numerical value of "chesed" is 72].

Esther, with the power of these seventy-two hours, approached [G-d], King of the world, in her prayers; for she was sure of His help [that He would answer her and save the Jews].  Then, in this [lowly physical] world, she approached King Ahasuerus.


Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz c. 5260-5340 (c. 1500-1580 CE), famed as the author of the mystical hymn Lecha Dodi in honor of Shabbat, was the brother-in-law and Kabbala teacher of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero (the “Ramak”), leader of the Safed Kabbalists before the holy Ari.


[Carmel Kehati is a diligent Torah scholar who has lived in Safed for nearly two decades. He may be contacted at: POB 494, Safed Israel.]


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