When the question comes up who the mother of Israel is, many think of Deborah, who said of herself that she rose a mother in Israel (Judges 5:7). But the phrase is mother in Israel (AM B’YShRAL), not Mother of Israel, which should be AM YShRAL or AM H’YShRAL. The term AM YShRAL does appear in the Hebrew Testament, but it’s usually lost in translation. Why? Because the title Mother of Israel is assigned to a man – Jacob.
This is the verse in question: Genesis 32:28 And he said, thy name shall be called Jacob no more, but Israel instead: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
That is the common translation. If you had a closer look at the original Hebrew wording, you would notice that seven words went missing. Moreover, the phrase for as a prince hast thou power is the translation of the single word saryth, ShRYTh, H8280, which means to have power.
The literal translation: And he told Jacob that his name ceased to be Jacob, and shall now be Mother of Israel, who has power over Elohim’s nation and has prevailed over the nation of males.
How can Jacob be the mother of Israel?
The phrase mother of Israel is AM YShRAL. Its value is 582 and its Gematria a dead end.
Let’s have a closer look at the terms used in the verses from the angle of spiritual psychology.
Jacob means supplanter and he represents the ego that usurps the higher self. That’s why it’s written that Jacob bought the right of the first-born from his elder brother Esau. The distinction between the ego and self is an important phase of the great work, the third to be precise. It’s a great lightbulb moment. We realize that we aren’t a feeble mortal soul, but a divine, immortal being. Jacob had his moment when he overcame his ego. This happened in Gen 32:24. He wrestled with his ego until it gave up and blessed him with a new name: Israel.
On a side note: it is commonly believed that Jacob wrestled with an angel (as in the featured image). The verse in question does not support this. The man who wrestled with Jacob is aish, AYSh, which is always used for a mortal person.
According to Paul Foster Case, Israel means He-who-shall-rule-as-God-rules. Israel is a promise, a renewal of the covenant: perform the great work and you will be able to yield divine powers.
After Jacob turned self-less and became Israel, he reunited with Esau (the true self). Esau’s face was said to be god-like, which reminding us of the Lesser Countenance mentioned in the Zohar. The Lesser Countenance is a title assigned to Tiphareth, the Sephirah of Adam, Christ, and mankind. God-like is the literal meaning of Michael, MYKAL, the archangel who rules Tiphareth in Briah (Heaven). Last but not least, Jacob called the place where he had his vision Penial, which means God’s face.
Clear now? Jacob is the mother of Israel, because he gave birth to his spiritual aspiration by subduing his ego and prevailing over the ego’s nation, the nation of males, i.e. his natural personality.
Meister Eckhart said something similar: We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if the eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within myself?
As a result of his spiritual awakening, Jacob received the rulership over Elohim’s nation. What is Elohim’s nation? Some Qabalists explain that it’s the spiritual Israel or spiritual mankind. What is spiritual mankind? The Grand Soul. This is the Biblical context: Elohim created Adam in His image and likeness. Adam is the universal soul of mankind from which all individual souls emanate. Logically, Elohim’s nation is the totality of immortal souls that populate the universe.
Elohim is the God-name of Binah, the third Sephirah, also called the Higher Shekinah. In Qabalah, Shekinah is God’s female side and it re-appears in Malkuth, the physical universe as the Lower Shekinah. The Lower Shekinah is the miracle of miracles: the presence of the transcended God inside the physical universe. Shekinah can only be discovered by organisms on the level of Homo sapiens. In a way, Jacob had a vision of Shekinah after overcoming his ego. Moses built a tent for Shekinah – a temporary (mortal) abode. David erected a house and his son, Solomon a temple. The temple could still be destroyed and it took Jesus Christ to demostrate the immortal personality, the New Jerusalem.
Sometimes, Shekinah is called the mother of Israel’s nation. In this case it’s the Lower Shekinah. After we experienced a spiritual awakening, the great work begins, i.e. the building of the New Jerusalem. We reconstruct mind and body with the purpose to immortalize both of them. The new, spiritual personality is Israel’s nation (OM YShRAL) opposed to the old, mortal personality, which is OM ANShYM, the nation of males or nation of the ego.
Picture attribution: Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (modified)