Zohar 68a: Genesis 7:7, “Communities, Repent! And The Shekhinah Will Guard You From The Evil Eye”

Parable: A king had a palace. Beneath his palace, he dug caverns and tunnels in case he and his family should be attacked by an evil army. The evil army does come, but they are soon routed, and they try to hide in the caverns and tunnels beneath the palace. Quickly and easily the king searches out the wicked in the tunnels. He gathers them and says, “Did you think you could hide from me in the tunnels which I built?” HaShem, the creator of earth, knew where the wicked of Noah’s generation hid and did not spare them.

HaShem desires communal repentance. Noah’s family is a model of repentance. Noah lived fully 600 years when he had attained righteousness through repentance. In your faith community, don’t be discouraged by the struggle of repentance, but keep pursuing complete repentance together!

But wicked ones think that they can hide their sins from HaShem in the Time of Trouble. (See Jer. 23:24, Isa. 29:15).

HaShem shields the repentant in the Time of Trouble, but the ones bent on evil and greed and try to hide it, He will seek out and punish them publicly, which we learn in the lesson of the flood. Our passage derives this principle from Numbers 24, concerning Balaam against Israel. Balaam was possessed by the “evil eye”, a man who will destroy others for monetary gain. When Balaam used his evil eye, he previously had the ability to destroy enemies. Balaam lifted his evil eye toward Israel, but Israel was shielded by the Shekinah, (i.e. HaShem’s presence over His repentant servants), who positioned itself according to the 12 tribes beneath it. Likewise, so Noah was protected while the wicked were destroyed.

Here is an interpretation of the parable in Luke 11:33-36:

  • The Lamp: The light of repentance/kingship of HaShem
    • Oil: implied from lamp, represents deeds of Torah
      • Cellar: Withhold deeds of Torah for personal merit
      • Eiphah/Basket: Withhold an abundance of deeds of Torah
      • Lampstand: Shares his abundant repentance with others and does good deeds of Torah within the community of faith.
  • The Eye: The lamp of the person
    • Integrity/Light: One who repents and does deeds of Torah with faith community.
    • Evil/Dark: Sets himself against the faith community, and tries to hide evil deeds and greed.

Noah and his family had given themselves over to HaShem’s protection. When the wicked generation openly mocked Noah’s family for building the ark, they cast their evil eye to destroy them. Yet HaShem’s light is His Kingship and Praise. His Light overpowers the darkness. Nothing dark can overcome His Kingship! We should shine forth the Light of Torah to everyone in the presence of the community of Faith which we are part, and also be a catalyst to light an eiphah bushel size of oil’s light (about 22 Liters!) for those around us to see!

Trust in HaShem! In the days we live, the light of a faithful community draws sinners back to HaShem!

Please share a story of a time when your Light drew people to repentance in the comments.

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