Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oil Of The Left & The Secret Of The Red Cow


some of the oil that is in his left hand ... Vayikra 14:27
מִן-הַשֶּׁמֶן, אֲשֶׁר עַל-כַּפּוֹ הַשְּׂמָאלִית

The oil in the priest's left hand pertains to oil produced by the 'left hand' path of the Divine Feminine.

Potential roots of the oil (השמן) from the gate of שם (the middle path):

שׁמן - nourish, eight (right hand path)
שׂמל - cover (as in kaparot), left protected side (left hand path)

In the priest's ritual, the oil must come from the left hand path, from the root שׂמל in contradistinction to the right hand root שׁמן. Importantly, a root traditionally believed to have given birth to the "oil root" שׁמן is also the root of neshamah, namely נשם meaning to breathe and to move air. Interestingly, the root נשם can also mean an impure creeper. We can see then, why the priest must use oil from the left hand (from the root שׂמל) as opposed to oil from the right hand (from the traditionally linked roots שׁמן and נשם) in this purity ritual. The left hand path's root will not give rise to an impure creeper.

Traditionally believed to be pure, the neshamah in this element of the ritual will enable introduction of impurity into the whole rite. Traditionally believed to be impure, the left hand in this element of the ritual makes pure.

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