"Elokim" - Rav Yizchok Isaac Chover

Dr. Joseph Frager‏,

Dr. Joseph Frager,
Dr. Joseph Frager,
Courtesy of Dr. Frager

Rav Yitzchok Issac Chover ZT'L (1789-1853) was a second generation student of the Vilna Gaon ZT'L (1720-1797). He is considered the spiritual heir of the Kabbalah taught by the Vilna Gaon.

He was the Chief Rabbi of Suwalk, Poland. He was one of the Rabbis who conferred Semicha (Ordination) upon Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor who established The Rabeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Seminary(RIETS)(Yeshiva University) in 1896. Many of the descendants of Rav Yitzchok Isaac Chover were burnt alive in the infamous Barn set ablaze by Poles in association with the Nazis in the Jedwabne Pogrom of July 10, 1941.

I am a descendant of his grandson Leib Rabinowitz Z'L who made Aliyah to Israel in 1917. What follows is an analysis of the name of Hashem-"Elokim" with a heavy dose of Kabbalah. It is not for the uninitiated. This is a continued translation of Rav Yitzchok Isaac Chover's Commentary on the Hagadah. To further elucidate the verse in Tehillim( Psalms) (68:18) "Elokim's entourage consists of 22,000 Angels; Hashem is among them at Sinai in Holiness."

The name of Hashem-"Elokim" is explained by many as signifying the rule of the laws of Nature which is not directly through Hashem Himself but indirectly through a chain of command as Chazal state that everything in this world of ours has an Angel or heavenly body specifically assigned to influence it. "Elokim" is equal to the word HaTeva (Hei, Tet, Bet, Ayin) "Nature" in Gematria (total=86). Therefore the name "Elokim" is often linked to any person in authority or rulership.

And the Creator Himself is the ultimate ruler and therefore he too is called "Elokim" and more to the point Hashem is called "Elokei HaElokim" (Devarim 10:17) for this reason. Namely He gives authority to these lower entities but "He rises above them to be the Head" ( Divrei HaYamim Aleph-Chronicles Aleph 29:11) And it is well known that all created things are dependent on the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in the Torah. Because the letters themselves are highly elevated spiritual lights (energies) which Hashem used to create the world.

(Sefer Yetzirah) In addition, every letter is specifically empowered to influence an entire order and construction in this world as it says "With the word of Hashem the heavens were made and by the breath of his mouth all of their host" (Tehillim-Psalms 33:6). Just as speech is impossible without combining these letters so too by combining the underlying spiritual lights (energies) all was created and maintained. This is unlike Man's speech which once the word or sentence has been said-it is over and finished. But by Hashem, may He be Blessed, we say in the Rosh Hashanah prayers-"And your word is truth everlasting and eternal, and Truth-"Emet" is the seal of Hashem" (Shabbos 55A).

Because it includes the 22 letters of the alphabet-the letter "Aleph" at the beginning,the letter "Tet" at the end, and the letter "Mem" in the middle which spells out "EMET" showing the power of the alphabet as a tool.

"EMET" is further alluded to in the last letters of the first three words of the Torah- "BereishiT BarA ElokiM". With G-d's utterance at the time of creation He formed and energized the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to be his instruments of creation and its continuation throughout history and into the future as it says "Forever Hashem, Your word stands firm in the heavens" (Tehillim 119:89). Chag Sameach