Tiferet is missing from the State of the Union


By Yonatan Gordon

Even before the State of the Union speech Tuesday night, it was clear what the focus was going to be. According to the daily apportioning of the weekly Torah reading, the speech followed the first appearance of the root for “Kabbalah” in the Torah. In Exodus 26:5, the word makbilot is used to describe the “corresponding” loops which, when clasped together, joined the two sections of the overhanging Tabernacle covering.

The fact that the root of Kabbalah later came to denote the act of “receiving” informs on the original definition. In order for a correspondence to be received, the recipients first need to believe that the correspondence is a correct one.

Of course, the intention of a speech, especially one of this magnitude, is that the listeners should accept the words of the speaker. But in order for the ideas to be received, correct correspondences need to be made.

As the speech is called the “State of the Union,” the greatest union that we each are vested with affecting today is what the Zohar calls kissing the lower waters of worldly wisdom with the higher waters of Divine wisdom. The correspondence (union between two opposites) that we will now present is according to the Torah Academy model, first taught by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh about forty ago. For the five main unions attempted in the speech, we will make use of a recent Mashable.com article.


Gevurah (Might)

Torah Academy:


State of the Union:

More Executive Decisions


Chesed (Loving-Kindness)

Torah Academy:

Social Sciences

State of the Union:

Push for Social Reform


Tiferet (Beauty)

Torah Academy:


State of the Union:



 Hod (Acknowledgement)

Torah Academy:


State of the Union:

Climate Change and New Energy Resources[1]


Netzach (Victory)

Torah Academy:


State of the Union:

The Future Depends on Education


Yesod (Foundation) 

Torah Academy:

Communication Sciences

State of the Union:

Technology and Innovation[2]


Noticeably the fourth level of the Torah Academy—tiferet (beauty): Medicine (health insurance in our context)—was not included in the Mashable article. Of the six points, there was no clear correspondence made for a positive, future state for healthcare (only an attempted justification for the past). Accordingly, given the correspondence/receiving relationship above, this was also the least receptive portion of the speech as was evidenced by many articles written since the speech.

According to the Torah Academy, tiferet corresponds to health, which for our discussion, can be translated as the state of the overall health of the country. The inner experience of tiferet is rachamim (compassion/mercy), which also indicates why many articles also question whether the speech itself was compassionate to the needs of the public.

Not mentioned in the Mashable.com article, is the seventh and final sefirah of malchut (kingdom), which according to the Torah Academy, corresponds to Political Science. The inner reason why it was not included is because this is implicit in the political nature of the event itself.[3]

Post-Speech Analysis

How the news is analyzed is a big topic today. But without going into detail now, there are three main questions post-event analysts ask, corresponding to the three intellectual sefirot of our Torah Academy:

Binah (Understanding)

Torah Academy:

Natural Sciences


Is the world better off?



Chochmah (Wisdom)

Torah Academy:



Do the numbers/facts add up?



Da’at (Knowledge)

Torah Academy: Psychology


Did the public connect with the content?


Polishing Diamonds

As you may have noticed, the name of the politician who spoke Tuesday night was not mentioned. This is because the importance of an article like this is in its application to the true “state of the union address” between God and the Jewish people. The receptivity between speaker and receiver was expressed optimally between God and Israel at the time when the Torah was given.[4]

When interpreted this way, we can view the speech as a reminder that all that is now needed for the true union to take place—between God and the Jewish people—is for the tiferet (beauty) of the Jewish people to return to its previous glory, and shine through like a shimmering diamond, [5] as is manifest in our heartfelt “union” speech (i.e. prayer) to the Almighty.[6]

Once this happens, then not only will the health of the world improve, but each other correspondence as well.

For more on narratives (the approach of articles like these) read: The Megilah and Kabbalistic Terminology; on the word “Kabbalah”: Kabbalah: A System of Correspondences


[1] The correspondence between economy and energy was explained by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in the context of not being manipulated by the “lowly nations” of the world. In the body, hod corresponds to the immune system. A healthy immune system = a healthy economy, i.e., not being manipulated by dangerous foreign elements. See the Rebbe’s video in HERE and part 2 HERE.

[2] Specifically six technology hubs were announced to be created, an attempt to inter-include yesod with each of the six emotive properties mentioned in this article.

[3] Additionally, the lack of tiferet indicates that the other “correspondences” were not true or correct either.

[4] The giving of the Torah on Shavuot represents the great annual union of fifty states, the day after the 49 days of the Omer period.

[5] From recent tweets of Rabbi Ginsburgh: Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Be’er said that every Jew is a shimmering diamond, “And all the Children of Israel had light…” “Diamond” (יָהֲלֹם) is a permutation of the word “circumcision” (מִילָה). Circumcision reveals that every Jew is a diamond. “Every Jew” (כָּל יְהוּדי; 85) has the same numerical value as “diamond” (יָהֲלֹם; 85).

[6] Prayer corresponds to malchut, thus through this prayer. We can also actualize our own leadership potential through heartfelt prayer.

Photo credit: picfivestudios.com


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