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© 2010 by John D. Brey



Circumcision is not simply an incision of the male sex organ; it is an inscription, a notation, a marking. This marking, in turn, is the semiological seal, as it were, that represents the divine imprint on the human body. The physical opening, therefore, is the seal that, in its symbolic valence, corresponds to an ontological opening within God. . . The opening of circumcision, in the final analysis, is transformed in the Zohar into a symbol for the task of exegesis. . . The uncovering of the phallus is conceptually and structurally parallel to the disclosure of the text.

Professor Elliot R. Wolfson, The Circle in the Square, p, 30.

One is said to see the Holy One from the sign of the covenant inscribed in one's flesh, the letter yod. As we have seen, in the case of the Zohar the letter yod is not understood simply as a sign of the covenant between God and Israel but is the very sign of the Holy One himself. . . Here we meet a convergence of anthropomorphic and letter symbolism: the physical organ in its essential character is interchangeable with the letter, and the letter with the physical organ.

Professor Elliot R. Wolfson, Circumcision, Vision of God, and Textual Interpretation: From Midrashic Trope to Mystical Symbol.

Where flesh and letter converge it’s notable that both the sacred tetragrammaton and the sacred flesh wear two crowns. The tetragrammaton shares a thorny crown with the flesh since the yod י which crowns the tetragrammaton is directly related to the crown circumscribed into the flesh. The "mark" left by the mohel's blade is directly associated with the Hebrew yod [1]. ----- Flesh and letter manifest a second crown in the guise of divine androgyny. A man is surrounded by a woman. Man and woman in one flesh: in the letter --heh-vav-heh [2] ---- in the flesh, the image found at the frenular-delta [3].

The supernal corona is uncovered when the first crown is engraved into the physical head of the covenant (so to say).

The cutting of the first crown is the process which uncovers the supernal corona. Bris milah cuts the thorny-crown into the flesh simultaneous to removing the veil covering up the supernal crown.

Since the supernal crown is often conceived as an image of divine androgyny (fashioned in human flesh), the intact foreskin (which the sages equate with female flesh) represents the fact that in the profane image of the union of male and female (i.e. un-circumcision), the female flesh covers and obscures the male's role in the union. In un-circumcision, the female flesh (the prepuce) covers up the male member, while during coitus (where the male member's purpose is most clearly evident) the masculine element is again veiled by female flesh. To paraphrase Lacan, the male member of the union is most absent precisely when it's most present.

Unlike the fleshly crown removed during circumcison (the crown of  un-circumcision), the supernal crown represents a vision of the union of male and female fixed by God at creation and neither dissevered nor re-united by a decision outside the Godhead. The image found at the frenular-delta (formed by the newly uncovered corona and the male-member) is emblematic of a union where the male is seen to be "in" the female (he is not completely covered); thus there's no need for the temporary sexual coupling of otherwise discrete genders.

Letterally, YHVH is crowned with the yod (the yod crowns the Name) [4]. . . beyond that, a man (the vav) is surrounded/crowned by woman (the hehהוה - י  . ----- The first "Y" in YHVH is a thorny crown (yod) . . . and then we see a man (vav) surrounded by woman (heh): "HVH."

Jeremiah 31:22 provides the first clue to viewing the corona uncovered at the bris as the crowning achievement of the ritual cutting. Speaking of the "new" covenant (which would seemingly require a new covenant "sign") Jeremiah exclaims: "The Lord will create a new thing on the earth --- a woman will encircle a man" (the vav will be circumscribed by heh).

Whereas the yod is the "sign" of the first covenant, the heh-vav-heh is the "sign" of the new covenant. The whole purpose of the first covenant is to "uncover" the mystery of the new covenant. Carving the yod into the flesh removes the two veils hiding the sign of the new covenant [5]. The yod is the first "crown of the tetragrammaton" in that it’s the manner in which the tetragrammaton’s "secret" (Yesod) is made manifest in the remaining letters: heh-vav-heh.

* * *

Ritual circumcision requires the rending of two specific veils. The first opening is associated with the word “milah” and the second with “periah.” ---- Milah and periah are firstly the opening of the closed flesh (the same flesh which in the female body develops into the labia), and secondarily the tearing of the mucus membrane beneath the flesh (the same membrane which in the female body becomes the hymen).

The mystery associated with the new covenant man, the vav of the tetragrammaton, is the fact of his being hidden safely behind/beneath the two intact female veils. It’s his revelation rather than his inception/conception which requires the opening of the veils. The removal of the veils, the crowning “mark” of the first covenant, is simultaneously the revelation of the new covenant.

These two female veils are signified in the letter by the two dalet which can be removed from the two Hebrew letters heh to uncover the mark of circumcision (which is the yod beneath the dalet in the letter heh). In the flesh the two veils are made up of the labia and the mucus membrane, the intact nature of the latter acting as the sign signifying sexual innocence. ----When the mohel’s blade passes through the labial flesh he arrives at the same membrane which in the female gender has developed into the hymen. The mohel tears (with his hand) the membrane which (in female anatomy) is normally intact until torn in the sexual act where natural offspring are conceived.

The mohel’s opening of the fleshly veil, and his tearing of precisely that membrane whose intact nature marks sexual innocence, signifies the non-sexual nature of the event through which a child initially born in the usual way, the sexual way, is secondarily (on the eighth day) born-again into a non-sexual state marking the child not as the son of sexually engendered parents, but as a child of God, a product of the androgynous union of Shekinah and Keter.

Where the frenular-delta is conceived as picturing the androgynous union of the divine male (Keter) in the divine female (Shekinah), the mohel's actions signify the birth of a child not from the brief sexual encounter of his parents, but from the androgynous union of Keter and Shekinah. This union is uncovered in the act which witnesses the mohel passing through the same two biological encumbrances which the gendered male’s sexual organ must negotiate to consummate the “fleshly” birth of his natural offspring.

The mohel’s ritual act manifests itself as a real historical event when both female veils are opened for the first time during an actual birth instead of during the sexual act resulting in the birth. The child of God is not born of a momentary sexual union fixed at a particular point in time, but from the androgynous union of Keter and Shekinah. The removal of the two dalet by the “hand” of the mohel represents the “revelation” of the new covenant man, rather than his inception or conception.

* * *

As the prototype recipients of the first covenant rituals, Abraham and Sarah are said to be crowned with the heh which is added to their names. --- Since the miraculous birth of a male child is the central event of the covenant, the two heh mark Abraham and Sarah as both the letteral and the fleshly bookends which enclose the vav produced by means of their union with God.

The production of a child in union with God, rather than through sexual congregation, is marked by the substitution of the reish in the word for "pregnancy" (heh-reish-hehhara הרה, with the vav in the tetragrammaton (heh-vav-heh) הוה, which we find beneath the crown of yod in the sacred tetragrammaton. [6] ----- The Hebrew word for “pregnancy,” hara הרה, shows a reish, which is the symbol of the “rasha” or “wicked one,” between the two female veils (the two heh) veiling the way to the womb. The profane pregnancy, based as it is on conjugal sex, always delivers up a child contaminated by the fact that the veils are transgressed by the fleshly serpent rather than the “hand” (yad) of God [7].

The tetragrammaton is a picture of the vav of God conceived in the womb not by the sexual union of male and female, but by the hand or yad [8] of God. Abraham and Sarah are letterally and physically the two heh in hara, “pregnancy,” but since God’s hand, yad, and not the fleshly serpent, is responsible for what’s found in the womb, the reish, or rasha, is replaced by the vav found between the two heh in the hara of the tetragrammaton.

The tetragrammaton-in-the-flesh is marked by the oddity that the same two female veils opened on the woman’s body by the fleshly serpent (in the profane pregnancy), are in fact opened on the male organ (the prepuce and the membrane) by the hand/yad of the mohel. In the ritual, the phallus is treated as though it were the androgynous emblem of male and female aspects of God’s permanent union.

Circumcision works as the preeminent sign of the covenant in the two-fold sense that not only is the female flesh cut off the androgynous phallus (the emblem of divine androgyny), thereby severing the concept of a pregnancy based on the profane union of gendered flesh, but secondarily the opening of the flesh (representing the two veils transgressed on the way to the womb) is performed by the hand (yad) and not by the organ signifying serpentine masculinity [9].

If the first yod in the tetragrammaton is the yad of God, so that God’s hand transpierces the two female veils in the pregnant letters of the tetragrammaton, הוה (heh-vav-heh) --- then to arrive at the proper convergence of letter symbolism with the fleshly liturgy (bris milah), we should see the dalet (the female veils) removed from their position over the mark of circumcision, the yod, in which case the vav of the tetragrammaton becomes Yesod (the secret of the yod) precisely when it’s transformed into the alef by the removal of the two dalet previously veiling the union of the "mark" of circumcision with the vav of the sacred tetragrammaton [10].

* * *

The alef is formed by the conjoining of the mark of circumcision with the vav of the tetragrammaton (when the two dalet, letterally symbolizing the two elements of the fleshly prepuce, are removed from the tetragrammaton). It’s fitting that Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla claims that this particular vav stands (so to say) for the entire Name: "One finds that the letter vav of the Name YHVH, may He be Blessed, stands in the place of the whole Name, and to it all the other names hold fast" (Gikatilla, Gates of Light, p. 220).

By suggesting that the vav of the tetragrammaton stands for the entire Name, Rabbi Gikatilla makes us aware that the Name, YHVH, in its textuality, is subject to the same deconstructive exegesis required for a circumspect reading of the rest of the written Torah. The same deconstructive exegesis which is demanded to get to the life-blood of the written text is necessarily applied even to the Name written Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh. Thus, we can’t get to a true anthropomorphic convergence with the letters in the Name until the letters are circumcised like the mind and flesh of the properly prepared Jewish exegete.

Where the uncircumcised letters of the Name are visualized in conjunction with anthropomorphic images, the image of YHVH at first glance pictures the vav of the Name as the external reproductive organ of God. The vav unquestionably appears to be the ithyphallic organ through which God will produce offspring with His bride.

. . . Yet if we think of the phallus in androgynous terms, as the emblem of the androgynous God, rather than as a masculine homunculus, we can easily affect a Gestalt shift in perspective so that the same vav of God appears not as the outer organ of the male body, but as the organ of God hidden within the womb of a female body.

Since the heh which surround the vav of the tetragrammaton are constructed of the dalet (“door” or “veil”) covering the mark of circumcision, the yod  יוד (homiletically yad יד  the “hand” or “male organ” of God) we can know that circumcision represents the removal of the two veils, or dalet, covering the two yod, which will be conjoined with the vav to form the alef.

Viewed in this manner God appears to be a female pregnant with a male. ----- Yet if the male in the womb of the female is thought to have been there all along, as a real and ontologically sound androgyny . . . then the female element is not antecedent to the male, but rather, the antecedent male element was, by divine design, hidden away in the female from her very genesis. The mystery hidden in the seed of the woman. The alef torah (Oral Torah) hidden in the beit torah (written Torah) [11].

If the male hidden beneath the outer female element of God’s image has been there all along, then it’s not the case that this originary male requires insemination from an externally dissevered male or even the organ of such a male. On the contrary, this androgynous male element of the Godhead justifies His divine title as God’s “son” (God’s masculine element) precisely by coming out (hand first) from behind the two intact female veils which normally would have already been transgressed in the process of the profane pregnancy.

In two births, physical birth, and the new birth (the latter ritualized in bris milah), the male (who ontologically speaking is originary) proceeds from female flesh. In the first birth, the male comes out from behind the two veils which have previously been transgressed by the serpent in the middle of the man's body. But in the new birth (the second birth), the two veils are still intact, so that instead of being transgressed from an external source, i.e., the serpent, it is the hand, or yad of the male being born (or better "reborn" on the eighth day) who/which transgresses the still intact veils (the mohel's hand . . . or more specifically his nails, or rather fingernails, represents the hand or yad of the Living God) [12].

In Professor Wolfson's terms (see note 11) the "origin" is hidden in the "beginning." The male who is "reborn" on the eighth day is actually the "original" male hidden in the "beginning" which is the initial birth taking place as it does on the first day. Stated in language which is intentionally or unintentionally a double-entendre on the language of bris milah, Professor Wolfson states that, " . . . to maintain the distinction between `origin' and `beginning,' the origin cannot begin nor can the beginning originate. To render this in the bahiric idiom, what is `at the head,' ba-ro'sh, is not the `beginning,' tehillah, even though there is no way to the head but through the beginning. To know alef, we start with beit, the beginning that is before the origin that precedes it." . . . And proceeds from it . . ..

Uncircumcision pictures female flesh completely covering yesod, the male shaft, while circumcision pictures the newly revealed frenular-delta as being emblematic of the naked glory of an origin-al (and permanent) androgynous union: an image of the corona as the female crown with the male (the shaft) permanently in her by divine design rather than the will of a husband. Situated this way, we needn't assume (as Professor Wolfson has done) that the Zohar's repeated references to female genitalia as the place of hiddenness, the cover of secrets, is based on "misogynist structures of traditional authority that empowered men and impaired women." [13].

Since it's a fact of biology that the foreskin on the androgynous phallus develops into the labia (when the Y chromosome is absent in fetal development), and similarly that the membrane cut in periah develops into the hymen without the Y chromosome, it comes as no surprise that the zoharic fraternity referred to the vagina as the "holy of holies."  In a clear coalescence of temple liturgy and post-temple ritual (keeping in mind that the "naming" ceremony takes place at bris milah), Professor Wolfson points out that on the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur [14], the high priest passed through both veils of the temple to pronounced the sacred Name. In post-temple ritual, where the Jewish body is recognized as the homunculus of the temple, the male child's name is pronounced only after the two veils covering the holy of holies have been removed. 

Instead of the intact nature of the female veils acting to justify and sanctify the holiness of the profane marriage of two discrete genders, in divine androgyny the intact veils hide the male element which is not only already present behind the veils, but which in truth is seen to be not just a male child, per se, but rather a male-androgyny. This male-androgyny is not a product of the re-union of dissevered male and female elements, as represented in the profane marriage, instead, this male element is the untainted element of the original androgynous Adam which God hid in Eve when she was dissevered from Adam’s body [15].

The sexual reunification of Adam and Eve produced offspring tainted with their original sin. But hidden in the “seed of the woman” (undisclosed until a time preordained), existed an untainted element of human flesh. [16] This untainted element of human flesh represents the “second Adam” who is in fact the “first Adam” where revealed truth trumps the chronology presented in that written Torah marked by the antecedence of the beit over the alef.

The revelation of the arrival of the original Adam (chrono-logically the "second" Adam) is signified by the fact that the mark of circumcision is produced when the flesh of the male-member of the covenant is made to pass through its own female veils without compromising anyone’s sexual innocence. This process is ritualized when the mohel, acting as the “hand” or yad of the Father, removes the two dalet, anthropomorphically stationed as the fleshly veils on the androgynous phallus.

The infant enters the covenant when his male flesh passes through both his female veils wholly apart from any sexual activity. This transgressing of the two dalet of the prepuce (flesh and membrane) stations the child of the covenant as a holy androgynous being and not a wholly masculine entity per se. There is neither male nor female in the body of the covenant, but a new creature, carved in the likeness of divine androgyny.

The mohel further implicates himself as the stand-in for the Father-God [17], when, during the ritual entrance of the Jew into the sacred covenant, and after severing the virgin veils on the androgynous phallus, he places his mouth over the bleeding spectacle of virgin birth and sucks (metzitzah) symbolizing the creation of a child from the breath of God, from the mouth of God, the "breathed" word (milah) of God, the cutting word (bris milah) of God, rather than the masculine serpent, representing as it does, the intact scroll [18].




Notes:

1. The Hebrew yod is a pictogram of a thorn י. --- Symbolically the letter represents a thorn and Rabbi Ginsburgh speaks of the yod as a thorn of divinity, as a mark of tzimtzum, i.e. divine self-limitation. For a fuller treatment of the concept see the essay Tzimtzum: Crowning Self-Limitation. ------ Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Hamshire College -- Leonard B. Glick – discusses how the Name YHVH is synonymous with both the Torah scroll and the circumcised organ: “In kabbalist thought, Torah, name of God, and circumcised phallus were essentially identical --- manifestations of a single ineffable mystery. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the elemental components of the Torah, were envisioned as a visible representation of the Divine Being; while the immediately visible object, the Torah scroll, was the “divine edifice,” hewn from God’s name. And the circumcised phallus, having been inscribed with God’s name, could itself be envisioned as a sacred text” (Marked in the Flesh, p. 71).
2. In Hebrew letter symbolism the heh represents “woman.” The addition of the heh transforms the word “boy” into the word “girl.” Rabbi Munk explains that, “The Torah uses just one letter, ה, to illustrate the distinct characteristics of a woman. . .” (The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, p. 89). On the other hand the vav, represents “a man.” ------ These three letters of the tetragrammaton (heh-vav-heh) revealed behind the yod of the circumcision event, are a play on the word for “pregnancy”, hara (heh-reish-heh), הרה. The tetragrammaton’s הוה (heh-vav-heh), picture a “pregnancy” with the man of God, the vav, encircled between the heh, instead of the reish, or rasha, (“wicked one”) in the word hara (heh-reish-heh). The Hebrew word for “pregnancy,” hara (heh-reish-heh), shows a reish, which is the symbol of the “rasha” or “wicked one,” between the two female veils (the two heh) which guard the way to the womb. The profane pregnancy, based on sexual conjugation, always delivers up a child contaminated by the fact that the veils are transgressed by the fleshly serpent rather than the hand (yad) of God. ----- In Daniel Matt's translation of the Zohar (Vol. 1, p.9), Matt quotes the Zohar: "Then the letter ה (he) departs and י (yod) enters, and She adorns Herself in masculine clothing in the presence of every male in Israel."  --- Matt's note on the passages states, "The letter  ה (he) signifies the feminine; the letter י (yod) , the masculine. When the masculine powers of the sefirot reach Shekhinah, She is transformed from feminine to masculine . . .." ------ Midrash Rabbah, (Genesis, p. 96) states that the heh is closed on all sides, "and open underneath [see Rashi Gen. 2:5]: that is an indication that all the dead descend into she' ol; its upper hook is an indication that they are destined to ascend thense; the opening at the side is a hint to penitents . . . ." ----- In this vein, Proverbs 5:5 speaks of the adulteress woman and how here feet go down to death, her feet to she' ol . . . ." ----- Unless the dalet is removed from above the yod (which yod is the mark of circumcision), i.e. the dalet which makes up the heh when it is stationed over the yod, the person will descend to she' ol. When the yod is completely covered by the dalet, so that it's not even seen, as in the word "shed," shin-dalet, the word speaks of a demon. When the yod is visible beneath the dalet, the resulting word --- shin-heh -- speaks of a "lamb." And when it's completely uncovered, circumcised, it speaks of "Shaddai," shin-dalet-yod. ------ In Barbra G. Walker's, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Symbols, p.988, Walker says: “The root of YHWH is the radical HVH, he-vau-he, which meant `being' or `life' or `woman' – interchangeable concepts in the ancient Middle East. The same letters in Latin are E-V-E: Eve. Thus the so-called inner meaning of the Tetragrammaton was really Eve, Mother of All Living, the real creator of the world and mother of Adam, according to Gnostic scriptures. . . On Samaritan phylacteries the masculine and feminine versions of the Tetragrammaton were intertwined."
3. To fully appreciate the associations being allegorized one should have a working knowledge of the writings of Professor Elliot R. Wolfson, particularly his book “Through a Speculum that Shines” (see pages 317, 339, 342, 358, 359).
4. See Tzimtzum: Crowning Self-Limitation. According to Sofer Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Berger,"There should be a small kotz [thorn] sticking out of the bottom left corner of the head of the Yud. According to many Poskim, a Yud without this kotz [thorn] is invalid." This yod [yud] forms the head on Adam Kadmon. So that ironically, his crown is formed by the thorn of the yod. The sacred tetragrammaton wears a crown of thorns even in the textual embodiment pictured as a letteral Adam Kadmon. Thus, the incarnate tetragrammaton, the Holy One of God, the textual-embodiement of God, wears a crown of thorns. A yod without a thorn is invalid, so that even a textually-embodied Holy One of God not wearing a crown of thorns must be considered a sham according to the rules of STaM.
5. The carving of the yod into the flesh “creates” a thorny crown even as it reveals the supernal crown. The prepuce both hides, and then is the medium of the revelation. The yod carved into the flesh transforms the “hiding” into the “revelation.” The thorny crown marks the revelation of that which was hidden by divine design: “Textual interpretation, as circumcision, involves the dynamic of closure/openness: as the one who is circumcised stands in relation to the Shekhinah, so the exegete --- through interpretation --- enters into an intimate relation with Shekhinah. The duplicity of the text as that which simultaneously conceals and reveals --- indeed conceals as that which reveals and reveals as that which conceals --- is a thoroughly appropriate metaphor to convey the erotic quality of hermeneutical stance” (Elliot R. Wolfson, Interpretation: From Midrashic Trope to Mystical Symbol).
6. Theological Workbook of the Old Testament: “Generally hārâ is used to state the results of sexual intercourse. In this respect there is often a connection with some phase of the redemptive program of God. That is, the conceptions of which the ot speaks concern children who were to play an important part in redemptive history. Although a secondary issue in the structure of Genesis, the record of the conception of Ishmael (Gen 16:4–5) may be considered a memorial to the folly of using men’s ways to achieve the purposes of God: “the promised seed is not of nature but of grace” (Dodds, The Book of Genesis, London:1896, p. 148). Sarah’s faith could not stand the strain of delay. . . The successive births of Cain, Abel, and Seth, set out for us the hope of personal redemption. All did not go in the way of Cain, and the message of grace was preserved until and through Noah. The selective, monergistic power of God is demonstrated in the conception of Isaac (Gen 21:2), demonstrating that the power of God alone is able to bring about his redemptive purposes, for both Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children. Men must trust solely in God’s power, not in their own desperate attempts”.
7. From the Christian perspective there is the outrageously apropos picture of Mary’s hymen being torn by the hand (yad) of Jesus as he proceeds from two female veils transpierced for the first time at his birth.
8. Munk, op. cit., p. 129: “The word yud [yod] may be read homiletically as יד [yad], hand, and denotes power and possession”.
9. Where the Torah scroll is thought of as the womb of God’s immanence (incarnation), it’s notable that the scroll cannot be touched by the human yod, or yad, hand, or phallus (Isa. 57:8 uses “yad” for the male organ). ---- A silver yad, representing spirit, or divinity, is placed on the end of a rod, and it alone is allowed to touch the Torah scroll. ------- This concept appears to dovetail with the thoughts of Professor Wolfson in terms of conflating the letter and flesh. If there is an erotic dimension to proper exegesis (see The Sacramental Protocol of Hermeneutics), then opening and following the letters on the flesh of the Torah scroll with a human yad is tantamount to a profane interest only in the peshat meaning of the text: an uncircumcised exegeting of the text. For the text to deliver up circumcised meaning requires the meaning in the text to be consummated by the hand of God, and not the hand of men. The meaning must come out of the text without the pretext of human context, which is an impossibility analogous to a male child opening for the first time the veils which should have previously been opened to give meaning to the concept of his birth.
10. Rabbis Munk and Ginsburgh (with every other meaningful sage of Hebrew letter symbolism) key us in to the fact that the alef is constructed of two yod separated by a vav. The vav is said to be the middle ground, the separation, and also the mediator, between the higher realm and the lower realm, heaven and earth, God and man: "The union of `higher reality,' the upper yud, with the `lower reality,' the lower yud, by means of the connecting vav of Torah, is the ultimate secret of the letter alef" (Ginsburgh, The Alef-Beit, p. 25). More importantly, Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla long ago revealed the fact that the vav of the tetragrammaton (which becomes the alef when the veils are removed) stands in place of the entire Name: "One finds that the letter vav of the Name YHVH, may He be Blessed, stands in the place of the whole Name, and to it all the other names hold fast" (Gikatilla, Gates of Light, p. 220). If the vav of the tetragrammaton is the central figure of the entire Name (as Rabbi Gikatilla suggests), i.e., the Holy One Himself, and if heh-vav-heh is a veiled allusion to heh-reish-heh, "pregnancy," as it appears, then we have justification both for the fact that the Name and the alef share the number 26, and that they are both understood to be letteral incarnations of the Godhead, so to speak.
11. This concept is addressed in Wolfson's Alef, Mem, Tau, (p. 121-126): "To return to the symbolism of the Bahir, the beginning, we can say, is beit, while alef is the origin. Beit, accordingly, is a veil that conceals alef, but can what is hidden be veiled. . . Beginning and origin have diametrically opposite trajectories: beginning is what stands behind us, origin what stands before us. The origin invades the future by awaiting us in the past, advancing beyond all that is to come by returning to where it has been. To see what lies ahead one must be mindful of what is at the head. Beginning is a veil that shrouds what has come before, and thus origin keeps itself concealed in the beginning. . . If we are to maintain the distinction between `origin' and `beginning,' the origin cannot begin nor can the beginning originate. To render this in the bahiric idiom, what is `at the head,' ba-ro'sh, is not the `beginning,' tehillah, even though there is no way to the head but through the beginning. To know alef, we start with beit, the beginning that is before the origin that precedes it."
12. On page 65 of Nachmanides' Commentary on the Torah, Ramban states that: "The last letter (hei) of the Tetragrammaton is in the Cabala considered the yad hashem (the hand of God)." ----  According to the thrust of this current essay, the yod of the Tetragrammaton is also the hand of God. The yod is the right hand, while the last hei is the left hand. This world is created with the left hand of God, Elohim, while the world-to-come is created by God's right hand, or the One hidden in the shadow of his His right hand. Understood this way, the written Torah must be thought of as though we’re viewing God from His backside, since the right hand yod, is situated on our right hand and not our left (where it would be if He were facing us). Gikatila explains that the last hei in the Tetragrammaton is the tree of knowledge, while the vav is the tree of life, and the first hei is CHaYYiM, life itself (Gates of Light, p. 221). ---- Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 12 (p. 96), adds that the hei is closed on all sides but open underneath, indicating that the dead of this world descend into she'ol. ---- Consequently, since the world-to-come is said to be created by the yod, it's significant that removing the dalet of the hei exposes the yod, through which the world-to-come is created.
13. See Wolfson, Language, Eros, Being, (p. 133-137).
14. According to the Zohar, Abraham was circumcised on Yom Kippur.
15. There is reason to believe that Eve is representative of God’s angel as presented in Exodus 23:21. In the same way that God hides an untainted element of the spiritual Adam in the fleshly body of Eve (to be revealed at a future time), God reveals to Moses that His “Name” is hidden in the angel of the Exodus. This uncircumcised phallus presents himself as a male entity while the male element of the androgyny is kept hidden beneath the outer appearances. The uncircumcised phallus hides the fact of its androgyny by hiding the true male element of the union beneath the covering flesh. The outer appearance of masculinity is in truth the clearest manifestation of the revolt of the feminine: its attempt to mask its true place in an androgynous union by masking the male element which it seeks to displace and replace.
16. . See essay (Circumcision Allegory) concerning how meiosis and polar body leave an uncontaminated seed to be re-contaminated through sexual conjugation.
17. The mohel has always been a stand-up for the father, acting on his behalf, since the original circumcision was performed by Abraham on his own sons, Ishmael and Isaac.
18. See Wolfson, Language, Eros, Being, (p. 139, 144) where he speaks of the fact that there are two covenants, "the covenant of the phallus," and the "covenant of the tongue." On page 139, Professor Wolfson states dogmatically that, "What is real about the phallus points upward to the tongue, and what is real about the tongue points downward to the phallus, for revelation of Torah is justified by the circumcision of the flesh and circumcision of the flesh by revelation of Torah." ----- In this sense, the written torah is represented by the scroll, which is represented by the flesh (phallus), while the oral Torah is represetative of the "breathed" word which comes out from the scathed, cut, de-flowered scroll: the circumcised scroll. Metzitzah can therein take is place as that ritual which pictures the "breathed" word as tearing the two veils of the written Torah scroll. Symbolically, emblematically, metzitzah represents the actual tearing of the veils, the transgressing of the veils, by the "breathed" hayah word, the Living Word, therein signifying that the written word must be transgressed by the Living Word.