The Mystery of the Kiss

Zohar II, 146a-146b

Notes are ‘mouse hover style’, connected to passages in green.

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Fischel Lachower and Isaiah Tishby, eds. The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts , 3 Volumes (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization). (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), pp. 364–69.

Gustav Klimt: Il bacio [The Kiss] (detail)
Gustav Klimt: Il bacio [The Kiss] (detail)

Another interpretation: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth [SoS 1:2]. What did King Solomon mean by introducing words of love between the upper world and the lower world, and by beginning the praise of love, which he has introduced between them, with let him kiss me? They have already given an explanation for this, and it is that inseparable love of spirit for spirit can be [expressed] only by a kiss, and a kiss is with the mouth, for that is the source and outlet of the spirit. And when they kiss one another, the spirits cling to each other, and they are one, and then love is one.

In the Book of the Ancient Rav Hamnuna Sava, he says on this verse: The kiss of love extends into the four spirits and the four spirits cling together and they are within the mystery of faith, and they ascend by four letters, and these are the letters upon which the Holy Name depends and upon which the upper and the lower depend, and upon which the praise in the Song of Songs depends. And which are they? Alef, he, bet, he. They are the supernal chariot, and they are the companionship, unison and wholeness of all. These letters are four spirits; they are the spirits of love and delight, for all the limbs of the body are without any pain at all. There are four spirits in the kiss and each one of them is comprised within its companion. And since one spirit is comprised within another, and this other is comprised within the former the two spirits become one, and then the four are wholly joined together in one single unison, flowing into one another and being contained within one another. And when they spread abroad a single fruit is made from these four spirits, one spirit comprised of four spirits, and this ascends and splits firmament until it ascends and dwells by a palace called “the palace of love,” a palace upon which all love depends, and this is similarly called “Love.” And when this spirit ascends, it stimulates the palace to unite with that which is above.


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