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The Prophetess Devorah: Judge and Heroine

Many Halachic and Kabbalistic questions arise when considering the story

of Devorah from the Book of Judges. How was she allowed to judge people as a

woman, since that is expressly forbidden? Why was the salvation from Jabin and

Sisera delivered through her hands? Why is her story included in the book of

Judges and she was called the heroine when Barak, her husband, was the leader

who fought the wars?

These answers we cannot know for sure, but they do give us an idea of her

incredible spiritual level and indicate how highly esteemed she was in Jewish


Holy Songs of Creation

The sages teach us that up until our current era we received 9 exalted

songs, and that the 10 th one will come with the coming of Mashiach. Perhaps one

of the most striking aspect of Devorah’s tenure as a judge is that she herself sang

one of these 9 songs, when the Jews triumphed against the Cana’anites.

This fact alone should speak volumes on Devorah’s level of divine service. A

song in the mystical sense is more than just notes, melody and harmony. Rather,

in the Torah, it’s a marshaling of the forces of Creation to bring forth a massive

rectification in the spiritual and physical worlds. In a biblical sense, the song gives

us also a glimpse of the inner workings of Creation and how they interact with

each other. In fact, one great Segulah to see miracles is to recite Devorah’s song,

which should take about 10 minutes.

In Devorah’s song, she praised the tribes of Israel who joined the fight and

cursed those that cowered. She narrated how the stars came to Barak’s aid and

stroke the enemies. She blessed Yael who, as the sages state in the Talmud

(Tractate Horayot), sacrificed her body to tempt Siserah and ultimately kill him.

They relate that she felt zero pleasure and had 100% holy intentions, in order to

bring about the salvation of the Jewish People. Through that, she earned a merit

higher than the holy Matriarchs.

The power and meaning of song cannot be underestimated. There’s a

Midrash that states that in Heaven, all speech is made with song, and the Arizal

explains in Sha’ar HaYichudim that Yehoshua only stopped the sun by singing its

song since the heavenly bodies only move when they sing! The Chatam Sofer adds

that when a person prays in melody, his prayer has a much higher power and

chance of being heard.

A happy person naturally sings in gratitude and given that we all have

things to be grateful for, singing is an expression of the ultimate truth, which is

that Hashem is good with all His Creatures.

This can also be tied out to the subject of song where we see that every element is important and synchronises to produce music. Same thing with gilgulim, while they may be very complex, they form a beautiful song.

Secrets of Reincarnation

Astonishingly, Rav Chaim Vital in Sha’ar HaGilgulim (Hakdamah 28) stated

that Devorah was reincarnated in a bee (as her name signifies). He adds that she

was “dabranit” (she used to speak a bit too much), and praised herself as a

“mother of all Israel”, and urged her soul to be stirred when she sang “u’ri u’ri

Devorah”. Apparently, these minor slips were considered a slight to Hashem’s

honor and so she had to go through reincarnation.

(Generally women don’t reincarnate because of their own faults, but only because her soulmate (husband) needs her in his new reincarnation since she’s from the same soul root. It could be Devorah reincarnated because she was a special general soul that was not allowed to do this. But the language of Rav Chaim Vital is very clear that she was indeed reincarnated.)

This illustrates a little bit about how exacting Hashem is with Tzaddikim.

The truth is however, some people have to reincarnate one way or another

to rectify their soul. It can actually happen due to one of the 7 reasons below

which are:

1. Add the positive commandment he missed

2. To fix a negative commandment he transgressed

3. To study the quantity of Torah you need

4. To get the spouse that is really meant for you since someone else may

have taken it in the previous reincarnation

5. To be punished for the bad and receive the full reward later in Olam


6. To receive the reward for the little good one did and be destroyed later.

This is for truly evil people.

7. To rectify other people of the generation. Some very special few

individuals only come to help other people and are assured not to sin

(Rav Chaim Vital says it’s almost impossible for men not to be reincarnated because of one of the 7 reasons. When this happens, Hashem sends his wife even though it’s not because of her fault.)

This however is good news as Hashem gives us ample of opportunities to rectify what we need. May we merit to sing the ultimate song of redemption very soon in our days!

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