Sefer ha-bahir – Para 34 – The Hebrew letter Chet
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
34 They asked him: Why is the letter Chet open? And why is its vowel point a small Patach?
He said: because all directions are closed, except for the North, which is open for good and evil.
They said: How can you say it is for good: Is it not written (Ezekiel 1:4) ‘And behold a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud and burning fire’. Fire is nothing other than fierce anger, as it is written (Leviticus 10:2) ‘And fire went out from before God and it consumed them and killed them’.
He said: There is no difficulty. One case is speaking of when Israel does the will of God, while the other is speaking of when they do not do his will. When Israel does not do His will, then the fire comes close [to punish]. But when they do God’s will, then the attribute of Mercy emcompasses and surrounds it, as it is written (Micah 7:18), ‘He lifts up sin and passes over rebellion’.