By Yonatan Gordon
Back in January, I compared the American peace proposals to a plate full of fruits filled with worms in, “America Serving Israel Plate of Worms, Not Fruit.” No matter how much you try to mask the sight or taste, I wrote that nothing can change the fact that the plan is not “kosher” (i.e., against the Torah).
I even included a cute personal story about wormy popcorn kernels, and the former children’s TV program, “How to Eat Fried Worms.” Since then I’ve written lots of other things, so I didn’t think back to that article much. But ideas have a way of hitting the “airwaves.” So when similar comments were made yesterday, comparing the proposed Pollard exchange (God forbid) to America’s attempt to “sugar coat a cyanide pill” it gave me pause. Not because I thought this person read my article a few months back, or that he even thought much into the comment before saying it. Rather, the reason it gave me pause was because his way of saying it was way cooler than my plate full of wormy fruit analogy.
Between Sugar and Cyanide
In order to enter a meaningful discussion about the difference between sugar and cyanide, we need to first embark on a short chemistry lesson. Those experts in the field will forgive me as I’m simply copying from Wikipedia hoping that the “wisdom of the crowds” paid off in this case.
Without going into the details (again, I leave this to the experts) the molecular formula of Cyanide is CN− (the result of a chemical bond between carbon and nitrogen). On the other hand, sugar includes carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. For instance, the molecular formula for glucose is C6H12O6.
What is the difference? Whereas cyanide has carbon and nitrogen, sugar instead of nitrogen, has hydrogen and oxygen.
Now we get to our meditation, our story behind the story…
According to Kabbalah*, these chemicals represent the following:
C (carbon): Represents fire, the state of active combustion, and the sefirah of gevurah, might.
N (nitrogen): Represents earth, the solid state of matter, and the sefirah of malchut, kingdom.
H (hydrogen): The main component of water, represents the liquid state of matter and the sefirah of chesed, loving-kindness.
O (oxygen): Represents air, the gaseous state of matter, and the sefirah of tiferet, beauty.
Let’s start with Cyanide, CN−, or the grouping of fire and earth. Since this whole topic, the negotiations, is over earth (i.e., land), then it is easy to image how N comes into play. But the cyanide example relates very well to our topic in general. More than a discussion over land, the negotiations themselves are bitter, severe, and even deadly (God forbid). This is clearly the C or fiery component that combines with N to make this land-talk pill so very bitter to swallow.
The hero of the analogy is of course the sugar. The question is not whether the sugar is good, but whether there is also cyanide present. If having sugar is good, then let’s analyze what its made out of:
Sugar is composed of C (carbon), H (hydrogen), and O (oxygen). As we discussed, C relates to fire, might. That leaves H and O — The liquid flow of the sefirah of chesed (loving-kindness) and the sefirah of tiferet (beauty), which blends together the two opposites of chesed (loving-kindness) and gevurah (might).
While sugar contains the full triad of the emotive sefirot — chesed, gevurah, and tiferet — noticeably it does not contain the earth element — malchut (kingdom). This is an indication, an allusion made using our likely spontaneously said example, that before speaking about land, before even entering into a conversation, the three emotive sefirot must first be properly balanced and rectified.
The use of the cyanide in the example then indicates two things:
1) That the emphasis from America is on might, severity, C, and not at all on the other two sefirot of loving-kindness and beauty.
2) As indicated by the sole emphasis on might, the American intention is that the negotiations lead to forceful land concessions (God forbid), and not a rectified approach to land (N).
As for the statement that the news also made his hair “stand on end,” this relates again to breathing and oxygen (tiferet in our model), and the sharp, initial experience of joy called chedvah.
* Chemical correspondence to the sefirot (for C, N, H, O) from forthcoming material by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh (Inner.org).