Updated: Feb 1
There’s some poetic hope when we see Hashem protecting the righteous women of Tanach. Sarah came out unscathed from Egypt when she and Avraham descended there. The same happened for Rivka when she and Yitzchak were in Gerar. But how can we explain the seeming unjustice when righteous women suffer and have to go through the worst possible suffering? We are, after all, not talking about ordinary women, but those on whom the entire Creation depends upon.
Surprisingly, the Zohar (as brought also in Etz Chaim), teaches us that Esther was never intimate with the wicked Achashverosh! The Tzaddikim at her time, presumably Mordechai as well, knew how to create entities using divine names. This is brought in the Talmud, when Rabbi Chanina and Rabbi Oshaya mastered the supreme secrets of Sefer Yetzira (the “Book of Formation”), and celebrated by creating a calf from thin air (they were punished for that and forgot everything they learned). And so, Esther (or Mordechai) used the power of divine names to create a female demon in her exact form, which would be used to be intimate with the wicked king. And that’s why “her child”, Darius was not considered Jewish at all.
An unlikely heroine Avigail
The story of Avigail is very intriguing. How could a righteous and truly modest woman marrie Naval, one of the worst characters in Jewish history?
For those not familiar, Naval was a rich miser, who refused to even give what was due to David, a vagabond king at the time in great distress, what was due to him. David came with 400 mighty soldiers, paralleling Esav’s meeting with Yaakov, to exact justice. However, in the middle of the way, Avigail met him with plenty of provisions and assuaged his anger. The next day, she told her foolish husband what had transpired. When Naval heard that part of his riches had been given, he had a heart attack, and 10 days later died.
The secret of Reincarnation
One of the reasons why she had to be married to Naval was parallel to that of Batsheva. Like Batsheva, Avigail was destined to marry King David, but she also had to fulfil her time to bring the Tikkun (rectification) to her husband. The Arizal teaches us that Naval was actually the reincarnation of Laban (Yaakov’s uncle) and Bila’am, two very powerful sorcerers. This is indicated by the the letters of Naval’s name (Nun, Beit and Lamed) which are the initials of Naval himself, Bila’am and Lavan.
We find in Sha’ar HaGilgulim (Gates of Reincarnation), that almost every soul has to reincarnate and achieve a level where it can enter Gehinom in order to be fully purified. Sometimes, however, a person’s love for the pleasures of this world is so strong that he is cast “from one end of the world to another”. This is called the Pouch of the Slingshot (Kaf HaKelah) and, interestingly enough, it was Avigail that first revealed this to us when she blessed King David in their encounter when she said “And may He throw away the souls of your enemies like one shoots a stone from a slingshot”.
As for Avigail herself, she was also in the middle of deep rectifications in the world. The source of evil in the world is the evil serpent(Nachash), which brought sin to the world. This serpent has had influence over the course of human affairs, tempting people to sin and also vesting itself in individuals. Not surprisingly, it will be Mashiach, who has the same Gematria as Nachash who will rectify the whole world and bring it to perfection. Nevertheless, throughout the course of the generations, many individuals had the priviledge of fighting the serpent in its most pristine form by doing massive Tikkunim.
An Unlikely Blessing
It was also Avigail that blessed King David that he should not require any further rectification by blessing him with the words “The Nefesh of my master is bound up in the bundle of life”. Our sages tell us in the Talmud that Hashem told David that had he been in Saul’s place, He would have killed many “Davids”. This is puzzling, but in light of the fact that each successful reincarnation weakens the power of the serpent, we can readily understand that Saul helped establish David’s kingdom by weakening the evil power of the Serpent.
In Baba Batra 17b, the sages explain that Avigail was the daughter of “the one who died due to the bite of the Snake”, alluding to the fact that Yishai had the Nefesh of Cain, who had the poison of the Snake and had finished his full rectification. This part is also explained in Sha’ar HaGilgulim.
We see then how deep is Hashem’s wisdom and how much He grants to his holy people. While we can’t appreciate Avigail’s piety and efforts in the fight against the serpent, we can nevertheless wonder how much she achieved in her lifetime.
This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!