Rav Gedalya Schorr in Ohr Gedalyahu (2nd maamar on parshas Terumah) writes that kesef (silver) hints to a desire of love of G-d in man, while zahav (gold) hints at the awe of the L-rd.

He brings some hints why silver and desire are related, but no support for the relationship between gold and awe. Would you know of such hints, or places where it is clear that gold can be used as an allegorical (midrashic) symbol for the awe of the L-rd?

  • gold is gevura while silver is chesed. once heard this from a seer who makes kameahs.
    – ray
    Feb 2, 2014 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


Gold, in the realm of metals, and awe, in the realm of human religious modes, are both connected to the sefirah of gevurah (and therefore connected to each other). (Silver, on the other hand, is connected to the sefirah of hesed, which is connected to love.)

For the connection of gold to the sefirah of gevurah, one could cite the many mentions in the Zohar of zuhemah de-daheba (the dross of gold) as a kind of extreme extension of the sefirah of gevurah. Also, see Binyan Olam, by the Ramhal, section 'Ha-Matahot' (the metals), in which he gives a full list of correspondences between the earthly metals and the sefirot.

For the connection of awe to gevurah, it is very common for the Zohar to assume that the patriarch Isaac is an embodiment of the sefirah of gevurah. Isaac's religious attitude is assumed to be awe, as manifested in the appellation for God connected to him, 'Pahad Yitzhak' (the Fear of Isaac).

  • Thank you very much. Connection of awe to gevurah is straight-forward, but I was wondering if you could list a couple of connections between gold and gevurah that are more drush and less sod. I did upvote and accept your answer already, thank you this is very helpful.
    – gt6989b
    Feb 3, 2014 at 19:37
  • I don't know--maybe somebody else will know of some relevant midrashim. The only thing I can think of is Isaiah 63:1, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with crimsoned garments from Bozrah?" An image of God manifesting severity and judgement, tied to the color red. I'm assuming that gold is really a form of red (it's not just pure reflective shiny-ness, but has red in it.)
    – paquda
    Feb 3, 2014 at 19:51
  • Or to re-work that last comment: the main thing might be the redness of gold. And red is clearly tied to gevurah.
    – paquda
    Feb 3, 2014 at 19:58
  • interestingly, R' Tzadok haCohen brings in Takanas haShavim the comparison of R' Yochana with a silver goblet - explaining that pure silver when you look into it has a red shade, and so R' Yochanan was a manifestation of middas haDin. Thank you, this was very helpful.
    – gt6989b
    Feb 4, 2014 at 0:11

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