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The Tosafot Yom Tov22 (R. Yomtov Lipman Heller, 1579-1654) explains that both Ma'aseh Bereishit and Ma'aseh Merkavah refer to the practical use and methods of application of each of these branches of knowledge.


Several facts can be gleaned from the above: 1) That there was a secret mystical tradition in the time of the Mishnah, handed down from Moses via the Prophets, until it was recorded by Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi; 2) that there were two aspects of the mystical tradition as mentioned in the Mishnah - Ma'aseh Bereishit and Ma’aseh Merkava; 3) that the contents of this mystical tradition was a tightly guarded secret and was transmitted to only extremely select individuals in each generation.2j

The Zohar

The Zohar first came to light some time in the last third of the thirteenth century. One of the leading kabbalists of the day, Rabbi Moshe de Leon (1238-1305), had discovered or had somehow come to possess ancient manuscripts, purported to have been written by the Second Century Tanna1 2 3 Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his circle of disciples. Rabbi Moshe began disseminating copies of the text to other leading kabbalists.

It was conjectured that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, one of the teachers of Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi,4 and his disciples had committed the esoteric tradition to writing for the same reasons that

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Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi had committed the Mishnah to writing. These texts were subsequently handed down to Rabbi Shimon s successors and the leaders of his Kabbalistic circle. However, unlike the Mishnah, these writings were not intended for publication, nor even for widespread dissemination, in keeping with the esoteric nature of the Kabbalistic tradition. Instead, they were passed down in each generation to a mere handful of carefully selected disciples until they reached Rabbi Moshe de Leon. Some believed that the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman 1 194-1270, himself a renowned Kabbalist) had sent them from Israel by ship to his son in Catalonia, but the ship had been diverted and the texts ended up in the hands of Rabbi Moshe de Leon.5

Others explained that these manuscripts had been hidden in a vault for a thousand years and had been discovered by an Arabian king who sent them to Toledo to be deciphered. Some maintained that Spanish conquistadors had discovered the manuscripts of the Zohar among many others in an academy in Heidelberg.6 Other explanations have also been offered.

However the texts came to be in the possession of Rabbi Moshe de Leon, according to traditional Jewish sources and authorities, there is no doubt that the Zohar was authored by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his circle of disciples.7 Many of the teachings of the Zohar have been incorporated into Jewish law and philosophy.

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Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his circle

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was one of the great Tannaitic sages who lived during the era of Roman persecution (2nd century). He was one of the foremost students of Rabbi Akiva, who had said to him, “Let it be sufficient that I and your Creator know of your powers.”8 He was also one of the teachers of Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi,9 as mentioned above.

Rabbi Shimon was well-versed in miracles, and was therefore sent by the leaders of the Jewish people to Rome to attempt have the ban on Jewish observance officially lifted by the emperor of the time (Antoninus Pius). The Talmud tells that the daughter of the emperor was possessed by a demon, which Rabbi Shimon exorcised. The ban was subsequently abrogated/10 However, around the year 149 C. E. Rabbi Shimon himself was forced to flee from the Roman authorities. An acquaintance of his had privately praised the Romans for their efforts in initiating and organizing aspects of commercial and social life in Israel. Rabbi Shimon countered that they had done so merely out of self-interest. Word of this discussion reached the Roman authorities, who declared that Rabbi Shimon be put to death. He fled and hid in a cave for thirteen years together with his son Rabbi Elazar, where they studied Torah day and night. They were miraculously sustained by the fruit of a carob tree and water from a spring until the emperor died and the sentence upon them was annulled.11

During his stay in the cave, Rabbi Shimon apparently wrote the main body of the Zohar, which was described as “the First Mishnah.”12 The remainder of his teachings was passed on orally to his disciples and to their disciples, and they committed many of his teachings to writing, probably over a period of several generations.

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Kabbalah

These secret mystical traditions came to be known as “Kabbalah," from the Hebrew word kabeil - "receive." signifying the transmission of the esoteric tradition which was received by the leaders of the generation from the leaders of the previous generation. This tradition was interpreted and expounded in both its theoretical and practical aspects.

We have spoken above of Ma’aseh Bereishit and Ma’aseh Merkavah. Another useful (albeit more modern) classification of Kabbalistic wisdom distinguishes between its theoretical and practical aspects, or Kabbalah Iyunit (“contemplative Kabbalah") and Kabbalah Ma 'asit (“practical Kabbalah").13 14

The Contemplative Traditionj5

Kabbalah Iyunit, the category to which the majority of Kabbalistic texts in circulation today belong, sets out to explain the process whereby the created realm came into being as a finite, tangible existence through the will of the infinite Creator. Kabbalah Iyunit also analyzes the nature of the relationship between the creation as it proceeds toward the fulfillment of the purpose for which it was created, and the Divine source from which it emerges. On a deeper level. Kabbalah Iyunit explores the complex nature of Divine reality itself - in particular, the paradox of GodN simultaneous transcendence and the consequent inability of human thought to grasp Him at all, together with His immanence and active and reactive relationship with Creation and humanity.

An additional aspect of the contemplative tradition is the use of various meditative techniques to ponder the Divine, the manifestations of Divinity and the esoteric underpinnings of the material world. These include the contemplation of Divine Names,

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of Hebrew letter permutations and of the ways in which the sefirot (supernal Divine forces, see below) harmonize and interact. Some ancient forms of Kabbalistic meditation produced a visionary experience of the supernal '4chambers״ and the angelic beings who occupy them. This is known as the Heichalot tradition.

These techniques are also sometimes used as a means of rectifying imperfections in the soul, rather than producing spiritual knowledge or elevation.

The Practical Tradition

The practical tradition of Kabbalah involves techniques aimed specifically at altering natural states or events - techniques such as the incantation of Divine names or the inscription of such names, or those of the angels, upon amulets. On occasion, these methods have been used to fashion a golem (humanoid) or some other creature.15 However, Kabbalah ma’asit is meant to be employed by only the most saintly and responsible of individuals and for no other purpose than the benefit of man or implementation of God?s plan in creation.

Even in the era of the great kabbalist. Rabbi Isaac Luria, known as the holy Ari (mid 16th century), there are indications of these techniques being abused by unfit practitioners. The holy Ari himself admonished his disciples to avoid the practical arts of Kabbalah, as he deemed such practice unsafe so long as the state of ritual purity necessary for service in the Holy Temple remains unattainable.

In essence, however, there is no clear demarcation separating the contemplative elements of Kabbalah from those aimed at influencing or altering existence. Just as Kabbalah lyunit, through its system of kavanot (guided meditations), can influence the configuration of Divine forces impinging upon our reality, so too is

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the efficacy of 4‘practical Kabbalah” predicated upon the knowledge of Kabbalistic theory and doctrine.

Kabbalah and the Zohar

Kabbalah lyunit has thus been characterized as a descriptive “anatomy” of the Divine reality.17־ Kabbalah is concerned with the technical identities and “locations” of, and relationships between, the worlds (planes of reality), the sefirot (Divine emanations), and the order in which they evolve from one another and affect one another in the vast chain of being known in Kabbalah as the seder hishtalshelut - the process by which Divine energy (or “light,” in Kabbalistic terminology) devolves from higher spiritual planes to lower ones, eventually to become manifest in this physical plane of existence.

Of course, the ultimate intention of Kabbalah (including Kabbalah lyunit) is practical - to reveal the Divinity manifested in the sefirot on each of the planes of reality, rather than merely describe the emanations themselves. The ultimate intention of kabbalah is to bring the individual, and then the entire world - all the planes of reality - into harmony with the Divine purpose for which they were initially created.

Within this scheme, the Zohar is regarded as the primary Kabbalistic text on which much if not most of later kabbalah is based. 16

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The Structure of the Zohar

Although the Zohar is generally referred to as a single multi-volume work, it comprises several books which may be further sub-divided into approximately twenty main sections/8 These are:

1)    The main bulk of the Zohar, sometimes also called Midrash HaZohar, written as commentary on sections and passages of the Torah.

2)    Sifra d’Tzniuta, or '‘Book of Concealed Matters.״ This is a commentary on Bereishit - the first section (parsha) of the Book of Bereishit (Zohar //, 176b-179a).

3)    Idra Rabba, or Greater Assembly. In it Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai reveals the mysteries of the extremely recondite passages of the Sifra d’Tzniuta to his disciples (Zohar III, 127b-145a).

4)    Idra Zuta, or Lesser Assembly. Here the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and the teachings which he revealed just prior to his death, are described. The methodology of the Zohar's redaction is also described briefly (Zohar III, 287b296־b). We will discuss this point at length shortly.

5)    Idra de-bei Mishkana, the Assembly in which the section of the Torah dealing with the Tabernacle is discussed (Zohar //, 127ab-146b).

6)    Razin d'Razin, the “Secret of Secrets,” or “Mystery of Mysteries” discusses chochmat ha-partzuf (the “wisdom of the countenance” - i.e., how to “read” a person’s character etc. from his facial features) and chochmat ha-yad (palmistry) (Zohar II, 70a-78a; Zohar Chadash 35b-37c). 17

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7)    Heichalot, a description of the seven chambers of light perceived by the mystic during prayer, or by a righteous person as his soul passes away from this world and ascends on high (Zohar /, 38a45־b and Zohar II, 244b268־b).

8)    Matnitin and Tosefta, are brief statement of Kabbalistic principles which are explained more fully in the sections which follow them. (These are spread throughout all three volumes of the Zohar and are also found in several places in the Zohar Chadash. See below).

9)    Raya Mehemna, '4the Faithful Shepherd,” a Kabbalistic exposition of the commandments and prohibitions of the Torah (scattered throughout vols. 2 and 3. The bulk of the Raya Mehemna can be found in Zohar II, 1 14a־l 121a, III 97-104, 108b-l 12a, 121b-126a, 215a259־b, 270b283־a).

10)    Sitrei Torah, 44Secrets of the Torah,” a mystical interpretation of certain passages of the Torah (found in Zohar /, 74a75־b, 76b-80b, 88a90־a, 97a-102a, 108a-l I la, 146b-149b18).

11)    Midrash HaNe'elam, 44Hidden Midrash,” on various sections of the Torah (Zohar Chadash 2b30־b; Zohar I 97a-140a; Zohar //, 4a-5b, 14a22־a) and on Shir HaShirim (Shir HaShirim)

12)    Sava d'Mishpatim, the wisdom of an old man who reveals the secrets of reincarnation and transmigration contained in the section of the Torah dealing with the laws governing the Hebrew slave (Zohar //, 94b-114a).

13)    Yenuka, “The Child.” The discourse of a young child who reveals mysteries of the Torah (Zohar III, 186a-192a).

14)    Rav Metivta, a description of a journey through the Garden of Eden, and a discourse on the destiny of souls {Zohar III 161b-174a).

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15)    Zohcir on Shir HaShirim, a Kabbalistic exposition of the Shir HaShirim (Zohcir Chadash 61d75־a).

16)    Kav HciMiddcihי “The Measuring Rod.” Mystical insights into the Shema Yisrael prayer (Zohcir Chadash 56d58־d)

17)    Sitrei Otiot, “Mysteries of the Letters.” An exposition of the secrets of the Hebrew alphabet (Zohar Chadash 1-9).

18) Tikkunei Zohar and addenda. Discussing seventy permutations of the first word of the Torah - Bereishit, and commentaries on various other sections of Scripture.

19)    Zohar Chadash, commentary on the Torah and on Shir HaShirim, Ruth, Eichah (Lamentations). The section on Shir HaShirim is actually part of the Midrash HaNe ,elam.

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-III-

Mystical concepts in the Zohar

The Oneness of God

There is One Infinite Creator, the Cause of causes and the Producer of effects. He is not one in a numerical sense - since He is not subject to change, definition or multiplicity - but rather in the following figurative sense:    The    number one signifies an

independent unit and is the basis of all numbers, and in this sense contains all numbers in potential; it is also actually contained in all numbers. Similarly, the Creator is actually within everything, and everything is within Him, in a state of potential. And He is the Beginning and Cause of everything. We attribute these qualities to the Creator, since He does not change - one cannot add or subtract from Him.

Moreover, His existence is necessary existence (i.e. it is not contingent upon anything else), just like the number one is a necessary for the existence of any other (whole) number. If the number one would cease to be, every other number would also cease to exist. However, if other numbers disappeared, one would continue to exist. These are properties of the number one. Similar qualities apply to the Creator. He brings into being, creates everything, and sustains the existence of everything. Even if the act ceases to be, the One who acted remains. Since His existence is not contingent upon the existence of anything else; were they to cease existing, His existence would continue, for He is completely independent of anything else.19

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The Or Ein Sof

Prior to creation, there was only the infinite revelation of God which filled all existence. This is called the Or Ein Sof - the Infinite Light - which is not God Himself, only His Infinite Revelation of Himself. Within this infinite revelation, limited beings could not possibly exist. Accordingly, there was a progressive lessening and constricting of the Or Ein Sof making room for limited existence.

This progressive constriction, called tzimtzum, brought about various planes of reality - called in Kabbalah the five worlds. Each 44world” is a certain level of concealment of Godliness, of the Or Ein Sof From highest to lowest (i.e. from greater to lesser revelation of the Or Ein Sof they are: The world of Adam Kadmon which is the primordial world, or the first level of somewhat finite revelation; the world of Atzilut\ the world of Beriah; the world of Yetzirah; and the world of Asiyah. The entire physical universe is the lowest aspect of the world of Asiyah. In each of the worlds there is an increasingly dim revelation of the Infinite light as it descends further and further and becomes more and more concealed. It is important to note that these worlds do not occupy different geographical places. They are not geographical at all, but descending planes of reality. 20

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The Planes of Reality - the Worlds

Adam Kadmon

The highest of the five worlds is called Adam Kadmon. “Adam” means “in the likeness of,” or ‘*in the image of,” from the word דומה (domeh) in Hebrew. And “Kadmon” means primordial, or primary. So, Adam Kadmon is the primordial world which is “in the likeness of” the Infinite Light which preceded it and which was concealed in the process of creation. This means that even though Adam Kadmon is a world, that is to say it comes into being through the concealment of the Infinite Light; nevertheless, it is such an elevated plane of reality that it is “in the likeness of’ the Infinite Light, the Or Ein Sof which precedes (kadam) the world of Adam Kadmon.

Thus, although the world of Adam Kadmon is a world, it is a level so sublime, pure, and transcendent that it is almost imperceptible. It cleaves to and mirrors the original Or Ein Sof

In Kabbalah the world of Adam Kadmon represents the transcendent will of God. The desire that God has that there should be a creation, and what kind of creation it will be are planned out in one broad, all-encompassing overview, without separation into specific details. This is called the machshava kedumah, or “primordial thought” of Adam Kadmon. The primordial thought functions as the blueprint for all of creation.

In the world of Adam Kadmon everything is seen in one broad overview, but the exact details are not yet separated and ordered into the categories of reality. All the details of creation, from the beginning of space to the end of space, and from the beginning of time to the end of time - are all superimposed in this one thought, for in Adam Kadmon there is no concept of space and time whatsoever. There is as yet no inside and no outside, no up and no

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down, no before and no after. There is only a potential for these limitations. Everything is undefined, unified, and simultaneous. Here lies the root and source of all the other planes of reality which descend from Adam Kadmon.

It is clear that the succeeding levels of creation, i.e. the series of worlds which descend from Adam Kadmon, particularly the lowest world, cannot possibly exist within the parameters of the existence of Adam Kadmon. Everything in Adam Kadmon is undefined, unified, and simultaneous, superimposed in a single primordial thought, which contradicts the very idea of worlds in the sense that we understand them, as limited being which presupposes separation and division. Subjectively, in terms of our awareness of God, the world of Adam Kadmon parallels the highest source of consciousness in man. It is the awareness of total unity with the Infinite Light.

The first step in bringing about the separation and division necessary for creating the lower worlds, is by “breaking” the unity of the light as it is in Adam Kadmon. As the light descends from Adam Kadmon, it breaks up into ten individual qualities or attributes (sefirot, sefirah in the singular), which act as separate independent points of light. Each of these points is an extremely powerful concentration of light as it descends from Adam Kadmon. These are called the sefirot of Tohu, which means chaos or disorder. The world of Tohu is not included in the scheme of the five worlds mentioned previously, by virtue of the fact that it shattered and does not exist as a stable plane of reality.

It will be explained later that sefirot generally constitute the inner structure of each of the worlds, somewhat like the bones give shape and form to the body. However, in Tohu this is precisely what is absent. The sefirot of Tohu are absolutely independent of each other, and form no inter-relationships with each other. Thus there is no order and no structure. Moreover, each sefirah in Tohu is the manifestation of one absolute and quintessential aspect of the light of Adam Kadmon, and therefore it does not interact with the

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other sefirot, since they have nothing in common. A consequence of this lack of interaction is that none of the sefirot of Tohu are able to limit the activity and expansion of any of the other sefirot to a level in which all the sefirot can function together. Therefore none of the sefirot can endure the activity of any of the other sefirot. This results in the disintegration, or “shattering” of the sefirot of Tohu. Scripture hints at this process in describing the succeeding kings of Edom: “These are the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before any king ruled over the Israelites [representing the rectification of Tohu as will be explained shortly]. Bela son of Beor became king. .

. .. died and was succeeded as king by Yoav. . . . Yoav died, and he was succeeded as king by Chusham. . . . Chusham died, and he was succeeded. . . . etc.” (Bereishit 36:31-39). Rabbi Yitzchak Luria explains that this refers to the sefirot of Tohu, each of which rules exclusively, and then shatters and “dies”.

Nevertheless, the shattering of the sefirot of Tohu is no coincidence, nor does it signify a flaw in the creative process. On the contrary, it serves a very specific and important purpose, which is to bring about a state of separation or partition of the light into distinct qualities and attributes, and hence introduce diversity in creation. However, since the ultimate purpose of creation is not to remain in a state of separation and diversity, but to achieve unity and harmony, the separateness brought about by the shattering of Tohu is rectified in Tikkun (rectification, restitution, or reformation), which signifies the synthesis and re-unification of the diversity and fragmentation introduced by the shattering of the vessels of Tohu. The nature and specifics of the rectification that takes place in Tikkun will be discussed more fully below.

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Atzilut

The next plane of reality, the highest and most perfected level of Tikkun, is called the world of Atzilut, the world of emanation. The word “Atzilut” in Hebrew derives from the word אצל meaning “close to” or “near,” for the world of Atzilut is also “close to” the Infinite Light, even though it is not united and identified with it to it to the same degree as the world of Adam Kadmon.

The word “Atzilut” also means “to set aside,” or “take from” and to “draw down,” for the light of the world of Atzilut is, so to speak, taken from and drawn down from the world above it, the world of Adam Kadmon. But is it already a step lower.

At every stage of devolution of the Or Ein Sof an additional factor of limitation is added. The dimension and limitation that is added in the world of Atzilut is the aspect of inner structure. Whereas everything in Adam Kadmon is unstructured and is so tightly bound together that it is impossible to distinguish top and bottom, inside and outside, beginning and end; in Atzilut the dimension of internal structure is added. In fact, the entire concept of internalization, of immanence ־־ as opposed to transcendence - is first evident in the world of Atzilut.

Atzilut is thus the first plane or world of immanence, of structure. In the world of Atzilut there is a distinction between lights and vessels - called orot and kelim. This is not a separation between the lights and vessels, for the lights and vessels of Atzilut are integrally bound up with each other. But nevertheless there is a distinction between them. One aspect is recognizable as light and another is recognizable as the vessels which contain and limit the light.

A simple analogy could be used: in an initial flash of insight, the “eureka” of sudden inspiration, one has not yet had the time to analyze and interpret the original flash of insight, and sort it into

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the appropriate categories of thought and understanding. The inspirational idea is felt, it is present, and the potential to analyze and interpret and understand the inspiration is in some way included in the inspiration, but it hasn't been conceptualized yet. In our analogy, the world of Alzilut corresponds to the structuring of the idea, and the process of understanding it, or, in more technical language, this is the forming of vessels to contain the original unformed light. Obviously, how much light is revealed depends on the capability of the vessels to receive it, just as the degree to which a person understands an idea is dependent on his intellectual capabilities. And so, the original idea (an analogy for the light), and the understanding of it (an analogy for the vessels), are integrally connected - for the idea is grasped only according to the level of understanding. The light fits the vessel perfectly. But they are, nevertheless, two distinct things. It could be that the person doesn't understand the idea. Accordingly, what he doesn’t understand remains in a transcendent state, beyond his intellectual capabilities. The idea is grasped (i.e., internalized or made immanent) only according to the ability of the person to understand. The light is grasped (i.e., internalized or made immanent) only according to the ability of the vessels to receive it. In other words, the quality of light drawn down corresponds directly to, and is dependent on, the receptivity of the vessels. In the world of Atzilut the correlation between lights and vessels is about as perfect as it can be without the vessels actually disappearing, as they do in Adam Kadmon. The vessels in Atzilut exist - but they are nullified to the light.

This is how we would define the world of Atzilut - there is internal structure, and the light becomes immanent; i.e. the light drawn down from above becomes structured and ordered. In our analogy-the idea becomes understood perfectly.

This is why the world of Atzilut is called the world of tikkun, which means rectification and order. This is because the light becomes ordered and structured according to the capability of the vessels to receive it. The vessels of Atzilut are as capable of

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receiving light as vessels can be before disappearing into oblivion. Thus it follows that structure in the world of Atzilut is neither a hindrance to, nor an obscuring of the light, as it is in the lower worlds. In this sense, the world of Atzilut is still a world of non-being, a world of thought, since the vessels are nullified to the light.

This concept of structure will be explained further when we discuss the sefirot, the emanated lights and vessels below. And we will explain later that actual existence comes about through the vessels, not through the lights.

Beriah

The next plane of reality, the next level down, is called the world of Beriah, the world of creation. It is a tremendous step down from the world of Atzilut.

Beriah, or creation, implies limited reality, or bringing into being a limited existence. The dimension, the limitation, which is added by the descent of the light into the world of Beriah is the very concept of “being,” as opposed to the “nothingness” of Atzilut. The world of Atzilut is a world of non-being, because the structuring of the light by the vessels is not a hindrance or an obscuring of the light, as it is in the world of Beriah. In the world of Beriah, however, the vessels begin to obscure the light and thereby create limited being. This can be understood by way of an analogy: if you were to go out on a very bright day - so bright that you would not be able to see anything if you kept yours eyes wide open, so that in order to see you have to almost close your eyes. But you still can’t see properly, even with your eyes half closed - you can only make out vague shapes. So you put on a pair of sun-glasses. Now you can see better ־־ you can see things clearly. This is like the world of Beriah — the clear form and existence of things only becomes apparent when the light is sufficiently dimmed and obscured. Of course the analogy is imperfect since the objects

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which one sees with sunglasses were always separate, individual objects - which is not entirely true in the world of Atzilut.

The previous analogy we used, that of understanding a thought, can be used here, too. But here, in the world of Beriah, we move one step lower. Now we talk about explaining the thought to another person. And between the way you understand something and your ability to explain it to someone else, there is a tremendous gap. A story which is told about Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, better known as the Arizal,21 one of the greatest kabbalistic masters who ever lived, will help us understand this. One day - a Sabbath afternoon - the Arizal fell asleep. One of his students. Rabbi Chaim Vital, saw that his master's lips were moving and when the master woke up he asked him, “what were you dreaming about?” The Arizal answered him, “I ascended to the supernal academy, and there 1 heard an explanation of the story of Balak and Bilaam. But what I saw in that moment would take me eighty years to explain.

Now, as yet, in the world of Beriah, we are not even talking about actually explaining an idea to another person. We are still talking about planning in one's mind how one would explain it to another person before actually doing so. In the world of Atzilut, the structuring of the original flash of inspiration, the original idea, was only in one’s own understanding. And your grasp of the idea is proportionate to your own ability to comprehend. In the world of Beriah, there is an additional factor. The teacher who wants to explain an idea to his student now has to measure out the capability of his student to understand, and the teacher has to tone down and limit the idea accordingly. In fact, although for his own understanding it is not necessary for him to break the idea down into various simpler components, for the understanding of his student he must do so. For the student is, as yet, unable to grasp a vast complexity of ideas all at once. First he needs to understand all of it simpler components, one by one, until he is ready to piece

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together the entire idea. So in order for the teacher to communicate his ideas to his students, he must break down and simplify the original idea, as it is in his understanding, so that it can be grasped by someone with lesser capabilities.

Another definition of the word beriah in Hebrew signifies “outside of.” This implies a new level of separation - it is considered to be outside of the realm of the Infinite Light. That is to say that the Infinite Light, the Or Ein Sof is concealed to such an extent that this plane of reality is considered as separated from the Or Ein Sof even though, as we pointed out before, there is no place devoid of the Or Ein Sof. An analogy is used in Kabbalah to explain the relationship between Beriah and Atzilut. The light of Atzilut is like the light of a candle in a room. And the light of Beriah is like the light of the candle as it is seen on the other side ’ of a curtain which closes off the room.

In a subjective sense, the awareness of separation implies that one is aware of one’s existence as a separate (albeit dependent) entity.

Yetzirah

The next plane of reality, the next world down, is called the world of Yetzirah, the world of formation. The limitation that is added by the descent into the world of Yetzirah is that of dimension itself. Formation is essentially a spatial concept, and Kabbalah also discusses the nature of space. It is important to know that the Kabbalah views time and space as created conditions, and not as intrinsic qualities, as will be discussed shortly. That is to say, until the descent of the light to the world of Yetzirah, the light is not limited by dimension. And even in the world of Yetzirah dimension is still spiritual and has not yet become the physical limitations of space.

Physical space has six dimensions which limit and define it. These are: above and below, right (south) and left (north), in front

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(east) and behind (west). In Kabbalah each of the directions derives from a spiritual quality, one of the six dimensions of the world of Yetzirah, i.e. the spiritual dimension or quality of the world of Yetzirah devolves in the world of Asiyah into actual spatial dimension. These six dimensions as they are in the world of Yetzirah are called the six middot, or the six sefirot which are revealed primarily in that world. The word middah in Hebrew means dimension, limitation, measurement. This is the primary characteristic of the world of Yetzirah; that light which descends to that world is limited and measured.

One of the characteristics of dimension or measurement is that it requires at least two reference points - where something starts and where it ends. This is because the world of Yetzirah is the first plane of existence where polarity and duality (the opposite of unity and oneness) come into being. Thus, here is the beginning of relationship, i.e. where each thing is defined in reference to something else, rather than in terms of its own intrinsic qualities. However, this duality is still spiritual, and therefore the dimensions of the world of Yetzirah are beyond the limitations of physical space. When the surface reality of the world is stripped away, the inner dimension is seen.

Spatial dimension in the world of Yetzirah can be understood in the following way: “Above” is the active reaching out of light and life force (analogous to sunlight streaming down from above), which descend to the vessels which are waiting and ready to receive them (to continue the analogy - like plants or trees which absorb the sunlight). “Below” is the receiving by the vessels. The more light the vessels receive, the more they expand and grow (south, toward the path of the sun, toward the light), and consequently, the more elevated they become (advance toward the origin of the light). Conversely, if the vessels do not receive light from above, being too immature and constricted, or because something obstructs the light and prevents it from reaching the vessels, they contract. They do not grow, and they may even face

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Godliness that is found to greater or lesser extent in all the other worlds or planes of reality, and the rectification of this world is the revelation of Godliness in this world through the actions of man. The Jewish sages therefore recommend that every person say to himself “for me the world was created."4 ' This does not mean one should regard oneself as the center of the universe and everything was created to serve one?s ego. Quite the contrary. “For me the concealment of God was created,” in order that 1 should reveal Godliness in this world and thereby rectify the world. This is the task God set us - to reveal the inner dimensions, the Godliness, of this world (and the other worlds). Thus, the world of Asiycih, the world of action, is really the ultimate purpose of creation. For here, more than anywhere else, Godliness is hidden. And God can be revealed here just as much as in the world of Atzilut and even more so, as will be explained later on. 22

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The Structure of Reality — the Sefirot

In the previous section we discussed the various planes of reality which are called the five worlds. We explained that the higher the world or plane of reality, the greater the unity and infinity of God that is revealed or manifested there. Nevertheless, since all worlds are the result of a constriction and lessening of the Infinite Light (the Or Ein Sof), they are all, in one sense or another, limited and defined. That is to say, the revelation of God is less or more limited, depending on which world is referred to. Therefore the word for “world” in Hebrew, “olamf is etymologically related to the word “/7e 'elem,” meaning hiddeness, or concealment - referring to the concealment of God's Infinite Light, so that in the higher worlds the Infinite Light is more revealed, and in the lower worlds the Infinite Light is less revealed.

The light is revealed in each world by what Kabbalah calls the sefirot. These are Divine emanations by which God reveals Himself to man, and by which He conducts the worlds, as the introduction to the Zohar states, “You are He who brings forth ten. . . . sefirot.

The sefirot are not distinct entities, or intermediaries, which would imply duality or plurality in the Infinite Light or in God. Quite the contrary - they are nothing other than various phases and levels of God's revealing Himself to man. Thus the sefirot are called bli-mah, without substance, in Sefer Yetzirah. The sefirot constitute the inner structure of each of the worlds, somewhat like the bones give shape and form to the human body. How, and to what degree, the sefirot reveal the Infinite Light in each world gives each particular world, each plane of reality, its individual character. Furthermore, the sefirot account for the dynamic interactions that take place in each of the worlds.

Now, even though the sefirot in all of the worlds bear the same names, it is nevertheless self-understood that the quality and power

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receiving light as vessels can be before disappearing into oblivion. Thus it follows that structure in the world of Atzilut is neither a hindrance to, nor an obscuring of the light, as it is in the lower worlds. In this sense, the world of Atzilut is still a world of non-being, a world of thought, since the vessels are nullified to the light.

This concept of structure will be explained further when we discuss the sefirou the emanated lights and vessels below. And we will explain later that actual existence comes about through the vessels, not through the lights.

Beriah

The next plane of reality, the next level down, is called the world of Beriah, the world of creation. It is a tremendous step down from the world of Atzilut.

Beriah, or creation, implies limited reality, or bringing into being a limited existence. The dimension, the limitation, which is added by the descent of the light into the world of Beriah is the very concept of “being,” as opposed to the “nothingness” of Atzilut. The world of Atzilut is a world of non-being, because the structuring of the light by the vessels is not a hindrance or an obscuring of the light, as it is in the world of Beriah. In the world of Beriah, however, the vessels begin to obscure the light and thereby create limited being. This can be understood by way of an analogy: if you were to go out on a very bright day - so bright that you would not be able to see anything if you kept yours eyes wide open, so that in order to see you have to almost close your eyes. But you still can’t see properly, even with your eyes half closed - you can only make out vague shapes. So you put on a pair of sun-glasses. Now you can see better - you can see things clearly. This is like the world of Beriah - the clear form and existence of things only becomes apparent when the light is sufficiently dimmed and obscured. Of course the analogy is imperfect since the objects

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which one sees with sunglasses were always separate, individual objects - which is not entirely true in the world of Atzilut.

The previous analogy we used, that of understanding a thought, can be used here, too. But here, in the world of Beriah, we move one step lower. Now we talk about explaining the thought to another person. And between the way you understand something and your ability to explain it to someone else, there is a tremendous gap. A story which is told about Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, better known as the Arizal,23 one of the greatest kabbalistic masters who ever lived, will help us understand this. One day - a Sabbath afternoon - the Arizal fell asleep. One of his students, Rabbi Chaim Vital, saw that his master's lips were moving and when the master woke up he asked him, ‘1what were you dreaming about?” The Arizal answered him, “I ascended to the supernal academy, and there I heard an explanation of the story of Balak and Bilaam. But what I saw in that moment would take me eighty years to explain.

Now, as yet, in the world of Beriah, we are not even talking about actually explaining an idea to another person. We are still talking about planning in one's mind how one would explain it to another person before actually doing so. In the world of Atzilut, the structuring of the original flash of inspiration, the original idea, was only in one’s own understanding. And your grasp of the idea is proportionate to your own ability to comprehend. In the world of Beriah, there is an additional factor. The teacher who wants to explain an idea to his student now has to measure out the capability of his student to understand, and the teacher has to tone down and limit the idea accordingly. In fact, although for his own understanding it is not necessary for him to break the idea down into various simpler components, for the understanding of his student he must do so. For the student is, as yet, unable to grasp a vast complexity of ideas all at once. First he needs to understand all of it simpler components, one by one, until he is ready to piece

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together the entire idea. So in order for the teacher to communicate his ideas to his students, he must break down and simplify the original idea, as it is in his understanding, so that it can be grasped by someone with lesser capabilities.

Another definition of the word beriah in Hebrew signifies “outside of.״ This implies a new level of separation - it is considered to be outside of the realm of the Infinite Light. That is to say that the Infinite Light, the Or Ein Sof is concealed to such an extent that this plane of reality is considered as separated from the Or Ein Sof even though, as we pointed out before, there is no place devoid of the Or Ein Sof. An analogy is used in Kabbalah to explain the relationship between Beriah and Atzilut. The light of Atzilut is like the light of a candle in a room. And the light of Beriah is like the light of the candle as it is seen on the other side of a curtain which closes off the room.

In a subjective sense, the awareness of separation implies that one is aware of one’s existence as a separate (albeit dependent) entity.

Yetzirah

The next plane of reality, the next world down, is called the world of Yetzirah, the world of formation. The limitation that is added by the descent into the world of Yetzirah is that of dimension itself. Formation is essentially a spatial concept, and Kabbalah also discusses the nature of space. It is important to know that the Kabbalah views time and space as created conditions, and not as intrinsic qualities, as will be discussed shortly. That is to say, until the descent of the light to the world of Yetzirah, the light is not limited by dimension. And even in the world of Yetzirah dimension is still spiritual and has not yet become the physical limitations of space.

Physical space has six dimensions which limit and define it. These are: above and below, right (south) and left (north), in front

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(east) and behind (west). In Kabbalah each of the directions derives from a spiritual quality, one of the six dimensions of the world of Yetzirah, i.e. the spiritual dimension or quality of the world of Yelzirah devolves in the world of Asiyah into actual spatial dimension. These six dimensions as they are in the world of Yetzirah are called the six middot, or the six sefirot which are revealed primarily in that world. The word middah in Hebrew means dimension, limitation, measurement. This is the primary characteristic of the world of Yetzirah; that light which descends to that world is limited and measured.

One of the characteristics of dimension or measurement is that it requires at least two reference points - where something starts and where it ends. This is because the world of Yetzirah is the first plane of existence where polarity and duality (the opposite of unity and oneness) come into being. Thus, here is the beginning of relationship, i.e. where each thing is defined in reference to something else, rather than in terms of its own intrinsic qualities. However, this duality is still spiritual, and therefore the dimensions of the world of Yetzirah are beyond the limitations of physical space. When the surface reality of the world is stripped away, the inner dimension is seen.

Spatial dimension in the world of Yetzirah can be understood in the following way: “Above” is the active reaching out of light and life force (analogous to sunlight streaming down from above), which descend to the vessels which are waiting and ready to receive them (to continue the analogy - like plants or trees which absorb the sunlight). “Below” is the receiving by the vessels. The more light the vessels receive, the more they expand and grow (south, toward the path of the sun, toward the light), and consequently, the more elevated they become (advance toward the origin of the light). Conversely, if the vessels do not receive light from above, being too immature and constricted, or because something obstructs the light and prevents it from reaching the vessels, they contract. They do not grow, and they may even face

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away from the sun and the source of light, and retreat, like a plant shriveling and dying in our analogy. This is the inner dimension of physical space. If we could watch this process we would not see merely the surface of things but their inner dynamic processes.

In the analogy we used earlier, if the original idea and its expansion in understanding represents the world of Atzilut, and thinking how to explain the idea to another person represents the world of Beriah\ then the actual explanation of the idea to another person represents the world of Yetzirah. In explaining an idea to someone else, there is bound to be a limit as to how much of your understanding you can transmit in speech. Some have more success at this than others, but even the best teacher cannot communicate his own exact understanding to his student. The student has to work on this himself. Thus, speech is much more limited than thought. So too, the descent of the light into the world of Yetzirah defines and limits the light so that it can be absorbed by the lower level vessels of the world of Asiyah. In so doing the light becomes much more hidden and much more limited. In this way each vessel becomes separated from the other, because each receives the light and absorbs and expresses it in a different way. Thus there is division and diversity.

Asiyah and the Physical World

The most limiting feature of all is the limitation of time. The limitation of time means that one object cannot be here and somewhere else simultaneously. Moreover, the concept of time is bound up with change. This means that when one thing ceases to be and another thing begins to be, a change has occurred. Change can only take place where the unity and infinity of God are hidden, where the continuity of being is not evident.

Time is created from the process of the extension and retraction of the light and life force as it reaches out to the vessels below and

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returns to its original place. The "gap" between the reaching and returning of the light and life-force, as it pulsates continuously from above, creates time. From moment to moment the light and life force is extended downward, and then retracted, returning to its original place. That which it activated or vitalized '‘dies,” so to speak, as soon as the life force is withdrawn, and then when it reaches down once again, it creates a new being. This change is the origin of time, for time is a measure of change. This process is analogous to a motion picture. Light shining through the constantly changing frames of the strip of film appear to create a continuous scene. But in reality each frame in the strip of film is different from, and separated from the previous one - it is only because the movement of the frames through the projector is fast enough for the human eye to be unaware that these are separate frames. Thus the scene appears to the eye to be continuous. So too is it with the pulsating of the life-force into the physical world - the “gap” between one pulse and the next is so minute, that the scene appears to be continuous.

This reaching out and returning, or pulsating, of the life force from above is mirrored in the advance and retreat of the life-force below. The pulse which you can feel in your wrist and the heart-beat which you can hear is the result of this process. Each time you feel the thump of your pulse or your heart-beat, it indicates that a different “permutation” of the light and life-force is enlivening you, and therefore you change from moment to moment.

In Kabbalah, this continuous pulsation or fluctuation is manifested in the world of Asiyah, or the world of action. The essence of the world of Asiyah is action. The story of creation concludes with the words “that God made to do [or to rectify]”. The word la ״asot, to do, is derived from the same word as Asiyah -action. This world is created for the sake of action, which means rectification. The just about perfect rectification of the world of Atzilut needs to be drawn down to this world too. This world is created “incomplete.” What it is “lacking” is the revelation of

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Godliness that is found to greater or lesser extent in all the other worlds or planes of reality, and the rectification of this world is the revelation of Godliness in this world through the actions of man. The Jewish sages therefore recommend that every person say to himself 4‘for me the world was created.”24 This does not mean one should regard oneself as the center of the universe and everything was created to serve one’s ego. Quite the contrary. 44For me the concealment of God was created,” in order that 1 should reveal Godliness in this world and thereby rectify the world. This is the task God set us - to reveal the inner dimensions, the Godliness, of this world (and the other worlds). Thus, the world of Asiyah, the world of action, is really the ultimate purpose of creation. For here, more than anywhere else, Godliness is hidden. And God can be revealed here just as much as in the world of Atzilut and even more so, as will be explained later on.

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The Structure of Reality - the Sefirot

In the previous section we discussed the various planes of reality which are called the five worlds. We explained that the higher the world or plane of reality, the greater the unity and infinity of God that is revealed or manifested there. Nevertheless, since all worlds are the result of a constriction and lessening of the Infinite Light (the Or Ein Sof), they are all, in one sense or another, limited and defined. That is to say, the revelation of God is less or more limited, depending on which world is referred to. Therefore the word for “world” in Hebrew, "o/ara,” is etymologically related to the word “he ’elem,” meaning hiddeness, or concealment - referring to the concealment of God's Infinite Light, so that in the higher worlds the Infinite Light is more revealed, and in the lower worlds the Infinite Light is less revealed.

The light is revealed in each world by what Kabbalah calls the sefirot. These are Divine emanations by which God reveals Himself to man, and by which He conducts the worlds, as the introduction to the Zohar states, “You are He who brings forth ten. . . . sefirot.

The sefirot are not distinct entities, or intermediaries, which would imply duality or plurality in the Infinite Light or in God. Quite the contrary - they are nothing other than various phases and levels of God’s revealing Himself to man. Thus the sefirot are called bli-mah, without substance, in Sefer Yetzirah. The sefirot constitute the inner structure of each of the worlds, somewhat like the bones give shape and form to the human body. How, and to what degree, the sefirot reveal the Infinite Light in each world gives each particular world, each plane of reality, its individual character. Furthermore, the sefirot account for the dynamic interactions that take place in each of the worlds.

Now, even though the sefirot in all of the worlds bear the same names, it is nevertheless self-understood that the quality and power

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of the sefirot in the world of Atzilut44י for example, are incomparably greater than the quality and power of the sefirot in the world of Asiyah, for in the world of Atzilut the Infinite Light is revealed through the sefirot to a much greater extent and in a much more elevated way than in any of the worlds below it.

The origin of the word “sefircth” is explained in four ways in the classical texts, and one of these four explanations or derivations corresponds to the sefirot as they are in one of the four worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah :

1)    Regarding the sefirot of the world of Atzilut, the world of emanation, the word sefirah is explained as deriving from the word “ sapir” - a diamond or sapphire in Hebrew. Just as the beauty and value of a sapphire is determined by its clarity and purity, that is to say how perfectly and flawlessly it reflects light, so too, the sefirot of Atzilut are characterized by the flawlessness and purity with which they reveal and manifest the Infinite Light, the Or Ein Sof

2)    Regarding the sefirot of the world of Beriah, the world of creation, the word sefirah is explained as deriving from the word “sippurf meaning a story, as is mentioned in the verse in Psalms, “the heavens tell of (mesaprim) the glory of God.” A good story describes an event clearly and succinctly to someone who did not see the event himself, and the person listening to the story can then picture the event in all its details in his mind. Nevertheless, one who hears the story experiences the event only second hand. It is obviously not the same as experiencing the event oneself. This is therefore the proper explanation of the word sefirah as it applies to the world of Beriah, since the sefirot of Beriah do not reveal and manifest the Infinite Light, the Or Ein Sof to a degree comparable to that of Atzilut. They only “tell the story,” so to speak. 25

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3)    Regarding the sefirot of the world of Yetzirah, the world of formation, the word sefircih is explained as deriving from the word “sfor" meaning boundary or border. This is very much the characteristic of the world of Yetzirah, as explained in the previous lecture. The light that descends into the world of Yetzirah is given form and dimension. Borders (in a spiritual sense, of course) signify a qualitative limitation. This means that the light is now limited, in a qualitative sense, to a certain range, just as the natural limitations of the power of sight or of hearing in a human being are limited to a certain range of physical light or sound which the person can see or hear, whereas other creatures are able to focus on a much greater range of light or sound.

4)    Regarding the sefirot of the world of Asiyah, the world of action, the word sefirah is explained as deriving from the word “mispar׳,” meaning number. Numbers signify a quantitative limitation, stressing the idea of finitude. That is to say, the extent of effect or power the light will have is severely limited by its descent into the world of Asiyah.

Although we just now explained that the ten sefirot of the world of Atzilut are very different from those of Beriah, and the ten sefirot of Beriah from those of Yetzirah, etc., nevertheless, in a certain way the sefirot of all the worlds are similar to each other. The reason for this is quite simple. The ten sefirot of the world of Asiyah derive (or “devolve”) from the ten sefirot of Yetzirah, and those of Yetzirah derive from Beriah and those of Beriah from the sefirot of Atzilut. Or, in the language of Kabbalah, within the ten sefirot of Asiyah are the ten sefirot of Yetzirah, and within the sefirot of Yetzirah are the sefirot of Beriah and within them are the ten sefirot of Atzilut, in which abides the light of the Ein Sof. Therefore, keeping in mind that each individual sefirah that we are about to discuss can be placed in the context of any of the four worlds, only that in Yetzirah the sefirot are more abstract and refined than it in Asiyah, and in Beriah much more so than in Yetzirah and so on. So, by a process of increasing abstraction.

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delving deeper and deeper into the essence of these divine manifestations, one can come to some understanding of the inner structure of the increasingly elevated planes of reality, and to ever-increasing awareness of God’s revelation of Himself to man through the attributes which He emanates.

The ten sefirot are called keter, chochmah, binah, chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, and malchut. In certain Kabbalistic texts an additional sefirah is mentioned. In reality, there are only ten sefirot, not eleven. However, sometimes keter is counted in the ten, and at other times da’at is counted instead of keter,26 depending on whether we are looking at them from the point of view of the Creator, or from the point of view of the created. In the process of creation, in which the sefirot are emanated from above, i.e. from God to the physical world, keter is counted, and not da’at, since it is the first emanation, the manifestation of the Divine Will, whence all other emanations derive, as will be explained. But when the process is from below to above, man elevating himself from level to level in his desire to cleave to God, da’at is counted and not keter, since the latter is a level so sublime that it is in general beyond the scope of the average individual’s ability to internalize or comprehend.27 In the discussion of the sefirot, keter will be discussed, and in the discussion of the soul powers, da’at will be discussed.

Keter

The first and highest sefirah then is called keter or “crown,” in which there are two main aspects - the inner aspect of keter, which is called atik or atikyomin, and the outer aspect, called arich anpin. Due to its loftiness atik yomin is sometimes referred to as temira d’chol (emir in (the most concealed of all)28 and as ay in

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(nothingness).29 The infinite light of Or Ein Sof illuminates alik without any separation.30 This aspect is the source of the Torah, which is referred to as "God's delight,”31 and is revealed primarily in the esoteric teachings of the Torah, i.e. in kabbalah.32

A rich Anpin is essentially the expression of God's will. It is also the expression of God's purpose in emanating that plane of reality. In other words, the outer aspect of the keter of Atzilut is the expression of God’s will and purpose in emanating Atzilut, and the outer aspect of the keter of Beriah is the expression of God’s will and purpose in the creation of Beriah, and so on.

This can be understood better by comparing this sefirah to certain aspects of a human being.33 The will of a human being is the most all-encompassing power of his soul, since it gives rise to and motivates all of the other powers of the soul. If a person has a will for something he begins to invent ways in which to achieve his will, his goal. Once he has discovered a theoretical method of achieving his goal he starts to plan out how to achieve this in reality, etc. From there he initiates the action. As long as he has not yet achieved his desire his will drives him onwards until he does so.

Similarly, keter contains within it the ultimate goal which it seeks to attain. The goal or the aim of every plane of reality is to reveal the Or Ein Sof, the Infinite Light appropriate to that plane of reality. Thus keter contains within itself the end-point which it desires to achieve. And when it has achieved that desired end-point, it ceases to drive further. This is the meaning of the statement of the Sages in Sefer Yetzirah (1:7), “the end is wedged in the beginning, and the beginning is wedged in the end.” Keter is wedged in the lowest sefirah, malchut - for the purpose of the

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emanation of the sefirot which is expressed in Keter - is to unfold the level of Infinite Light appropriate for that plane of reality, all the way through the various stages of development (i.e. through the various sefirot) to the final revelation and manifestation of that light in the sefirah of malchut. The will of keter drives onward until it achieves its final aim. And malchut is wedged in the highest sefirah, keter, for it is the end-point which fulfills the purpose of the entire emanation.

Thus keter is the generator and activator of all the other sefirot. For in order to achieve the end-point - the fulfillment of the will of the Creator in bringing into being that plane of reality - the entire range of emanation from its highest point to its lowest is emanated and generated and unfolded from keter until the desired goal (the revelation of the Infinite Light) is achieved.

But, just as a person’s will is transcendent, it envelops all of him, and there is no organ or limb which is the seat of the will. Rather his will envelops all of his organs and limbs and transcends them. So too, the will and purpose of the Creator in producing that plane of reality is transcendent and envelops the entire inner structure of that world. There is no level of revelation, and no level of manifestation which is outside of the Will of God as manifested in the keter of that world. Thus keter is the all-encompassing and transcendent sefirah of every world and is generally beyond human comprehension. The process of immanent, or in-dwelling, and comprehensible revelation of the Infinite Light appropriate for that plane of reality only begins with the next sefirah, the sefirah of chochmah.

Chochmah

The sefirah of chochmah may be explained in several ways, because it has several aspects, each corresponding to a different relationship of the sefirah of choch^h to the other sefirot:

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1)    The Zohar breaks up the word chochmah itself into two words: כח (,koach) and מה (,mah). Koach means “potential,” and “mah " means “what is.” Thus chochmah means “the potential of what is," or, “the potential to be.” This aspect of chochmah describes the state of chochmah in relation to the sefirah of keter. As chochmah emanates from keter, the first dawning of the Or Ein Sof it “appears" in an obscure and undefined state. It is only potential being. It is virtually non-being. Thus the verse states, “and chochmah emerges from nothingness” (Job 28:12).54 In other words it is in a state of constant flux between being and non-being, between revelation, the first point of immanent being, and non-revelation as it returns to its state of potential and merges in its source in keter. Chochmah flashes in and out of existence. The light of Ein Sof thus becomes unified in the world of Atzilut

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through clothing itself first in the sefirah of chochmah.

2)    The second aspect of the sefirah of chochmah is that it is the first of the immanent or in-dwelling sefirot. This is why it is called the beginning. One of the verses in Tehillim (111:10) states ראשית יחכמה reishit chochmah - chochmah is the first, the head, that is to say the first of the immanent sefirot, the beginning and root of immanent being. Whereas keter is the all-encompassing sefirah, from which all other sefirot are generated, chochmah is the first sefirah to be generated.

3)    The third aspect of chochmah is that it is called the life-force of all creation. The account of the creation at the beginning of the book of Bereishit (Genesis) begins with the word “Bereishit” - “in the beginning.” One of the Aramaic translations of the Torah, Targum Yonatan renders the word Bereishit as b'chuchmata -“with chochmah׳;” for this sefirah is also the instrument of creation. 34 35 36

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the life of hundreds, and even hundreds of thousands of people, is analogous to chochmah. And the womb which receives the drop of sperm is analogous to binah, which expands and develops and builds that single drop of potential life into a fully developed person with all the necessary limbs and faculties.

A further analogy: Imagine that you are walking in a unfamiliar place on a very dark night. Suddenly, a flash of lightning illuminates the whole area, and for an instant you can see everything with absolute clarity. But, a moment later, the night is just as dark. Now you have to reconstruct what you saw in that momentary flash of lightning, in order to find your way home. The lightning flash is akin to the activity of chochmah, which flashes in and out of existence. Reconstructing what it was that was revealed when the darkness was briefly illuminated is akin to the functioning of binah.

Again, binah is the expansion and extension of the initial point-like revelation of God into a comprehensive system.

The remaining seven sefirot are called the seven middot (singular: middah). The word “middah” in Hebrew means a measurement or an amount. This is precisely the function of these seven sefirot - to distribute the light and life force of a particular plane of reality, a particular world, according to its proper measure. They are also called in Kabbalah the seven days of Creation, for it is essentially through them that structure of each of the planes of reality is built. If binah is analogous to the builder, or to the process of building, as explained previously, then the seven middot are analogous to the edifice itself.

Each one of these seven sefirot also corresponds to one of the seven days of creation. The sefirah of chesed corresponds to the first day of creation, the sefirah of gevurah to the second day, and so on, until the seventh sefirah, malchut, which corresponds to the Sabbath. The nature of each of these sefirot can be understood by

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examining the seven days of creation as a paradigm of the activity and interaction of these sefirot.

Chesed

The word chesed means kindness or benevolence. It denotes the unbounded loving-kindness with which God created the worlds, and with which all of creation is permeated, as the verse explains: עולם חסד יבנה - “The world is built with chesed(Tehillim 89:3). Kabbalah explains that kindness was in fact the reason for the creation. Since the “nature” of God, so to speak is absolute benevolence and loving-kindness, He created the worlds so that He would have on whom to bestow His kindness - “It is the nature of He who is good, to do good.”37

Light was created on the first day. Light is revelation, as explained previously. This light was infinite, as our Sages say, “The light that was created on the first day shone from one end of creation to the other.” Or, in the language of Kabbalah, “In the beginning, an infinite, uncompounded light filled all of creation.”38 This is the light of chesed which permeates all of creation, and through which all of creation is built.

Gevurah

However, since the chesed of God is infinite and unlimited, while the creatures on whom it is intended to be bestowed are finite and therefore unable to absorb infinite kindness and yet remain in physical existence, the attribute of chesed is controlled and restrained, or concealed and limited, by the aspect of gevurah. Gevurah means restrictive power, the power to limit and conceal

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the Infinite Light so that each creature can receive according to its capacity. Thus, gevurah is also an aspect of God’s kindness, for if the outpouring of infinite kindness were to remain unrestricted, finite creatures would become instantly nullified in the infinite revelation of Divine Love. Therefore the sefirah of gevurah is the manifestation of God's power to restrict and conceal the Light which He emanates, in order that His creatures will be able to receive His loving-kindness according to their capacity.

On the second day of creation, separation of the higher waters from the lower waters was introduced. This is called the firmament (rakia) in the Torah. In Kabbalah water signifies kindness, chesed. The separating of the waters means that the infinite chesed of God, referred to as the higher waters, is separated from the lower waters, signifying finite chesed which can permeate creation.

Tiferet

Tiferet (from pe 'er - beauty) represents the harmonious blending of varying colors and forms, producing a work of great beauty.39 The harmonizing and blending of chesed and gevurah, so that a proper mixture of the two will result in a bearable revelation of chesed to finite created beings is brought about by the attribute of tiferet. In other words, tiferet is the attribute which blends the benevolent outflow of chesed and the restrictive severity of gevurah so that each creature will receive its proper measure of Divine Light and life-force. This is why tiferet is also called compassion or mercy, for it enables chesed and gevurah to balance each other so that God’s benevolence can be absorbed by the limited world without its ceasing to exist.

rsb*. sha'ar 8, chap. 17.


On the third day of creation, water and land were separated, and the vegetable kingdom was created. The third day sets a balance between water and land, so that the vegetable kingdom (and thus the animal and human kingdoms also) can be sustained by both of

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them, when there is a proper balance between them, each plant according to its needs.

Netzach and Hod

Whereas chesed and gevurah signify unbounded loving-kindness, and the limitation and concealment thereof, respectively, so that finite creatures can receive according to their ability; netzach and hod are the two sefirot which define the ability of the recipient to receive. In addition they perform together as the “joint distribution committee,’' which decide how, and in what measure, each recipient will get its due.

Let us give an analogy. A professor wants to teach his student calculus, let us say. Of course, the professor wants to teach his students as much as possible in the shortest possible time, so that the students can go on to other subjects in math (this is the attribute of chesed, the desire to give more and more). But the professor is well aware that his students present level of understanding is insufficient to grasp the entire theory of calculus in a single lesson. So he divides up the subject into several lectures, explaining only one section of the theory at a time (this is the attribute of gevurah, limiting and dividing the outflow of benevolence). When the professor actually explains the subject, he takes into account the individual abilities and limitations of each of his students, and he explain the subject accordingly (this signifies the functioning of the attributes of netzach and hod).

On the fourth day of creation the sun and the moon and the stars were created. Even though light was created on the first day, this light was infinite and too sublime to be of use to the finite worlds. Thus on the fourth day, a finite, usable form of light was apportioned. On the fifth day birds and sea-creatures were created, the first recipients of God’s benevolence and the first created beings able to fulfill the commandment pru u’rvu, be fruitful and multiply.

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According to Kabbalah the powers of prophecy and Divine inspiration derive from the sefirot of netzach and hod - for they actually receive the efflux of Godly light.

Yesod

Just as the sefirah of tiferet harmonizes and balances chesed and gevurah, so too, yesod harmonizes and balances netzach and hod. However, there is an additional un ique aspect of yesod - it acts as the channel through which malchut, the recipient, receives its proper measure of light and life force. In the previous analogy: whereas netzach and hod distribute the Divine efflux and measure the amount the recipients will receive, and in what way, yesod is the actual distribution point. Thus yesod functions as the connector between all of the sefirot which precede it, and the recipient, malchut, below it.

In order for the distribution to reach its intended destination, there must be a proper channel of communication between the giver, yesod, and the receiver, malchut. To continue with the previous analogy: the distributor (yesod), must be able to identify the recipient (malchut) in order to match each portion with its intended recipient. This is why yesod is also called אמת - (emet) “truth” in Kabbalah. Yesod makes sure that the light and life force reaches the proper destination.

But the “identification” process does not only mean that the recipient fulfills the necessary conditions that must be met in order for it to be able to receive. Much more than this, there must be an internal bond between yesod and malchut, between giver and receiver - a bond of love and understanding. Yesod arouses the desire to receive in malchut, and malchut in turn arouses in yesod the desire to give. In this way, yesod unites itself with malchut in complete empathy, so that the giving is direct, face to face, and not indirect, back to back, as it were.

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Thus, yesod could be defined as the divine attribute which joins God to His creation in a bond of empathy and love. This is why the sefirah of Yesod is also called “tzaddikas in the verse צדיק יסוד עולם (tzaddik yesod olarn) ‘־a saint is the foundation of the world” (Mishlei 10:25). A tzaddik, or saint, arouses mankind to seek God. At the same time he draws down God’s compassion and goodness into the world. Thus he is the foundation of the world.

On the sixth day of creation the animal kingdom was created, and also the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, who were created in the Divine Image. Both animals and man are also told “be fruitful and multiply;” which also means to use God’s benevolent kindness to grow and expand in consciousness of Him. But an additional duty is given to man. Be fruitful and multiply, and rule over the animals and the birds and the fish. In other words, be over and above them, and not among them. Transcend your limited nature, transcend that part of yourself which is simply natural, like the animal world, and become the Divine Image in which you were created. The drive to do this is initiated by the power of yesod, the tzaddik.

Mai chut

The tenth and final sefirah is called malchut. Malchut contains two completely opposite qualities, called התנאשות (hitnasut) meaning “exaltedness,” and its opposite שפלות (shiflut) -“humility.” When we explained the sefirah of keter, it was pointed out that keter, the beginning, is wedged in malchut - the end. The reverse is also true - malchut is wedged in keter. We explained there that this means that the final product, malchut, is the original intention of the entire process of emanation. When malchut is still contained in the original intention (that is, in keter), it is in a state of exaltedness. And when it descends to its place as the last of the sefirot, it is in a state of humility. However, it is not the case that malchut is in one state or the other; it is in both states simultaneously.

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On one hand, malchut receives all that it has from the other sefirot, and is described in Kabbalah as “having nothing of her own.”40 Thus the Zohar compares malchut to the moon which has no light of her own;41 42 while on the other hand malchut is the final revelation of the Divine Light for which the entire process was begun. It was for the purpose of malchut that all the .sefirot were emanated. Thus malchut is both the receiver and the consummation of giving.

In a previous analogy, we explained that keter was symbolized by the great depths of water hidden under the earth, the tehom rabbah. Chochmah was symbolized by the well-spring, from which flows a small quantity of pure water, and binah was symbolized by a broad and mighty river which begins from its source in the well-spring of chochmah. Malchut signifies the sea into which the river flows. It is the actualization of the entire revelation which began as a single tiny point of trickling water. Whereas chochmah is the potential to be, malchut is the actual being, the final manifestation, which was the original intention. It is for this reason that malchut is also called “ Shechinah” - the Divine Indwelling Presence, the immanent revelation of God. And so the sea returns to the tehom rabbah, as the final revelation fulfills the original purpose.

The seventh day of creation, the Sabbath day, is therefore a cessation of work. The Sages say, “he who works prior to the Sabbath, will eat on the Sabbath.” That is to say, all the six days of creation which precede the Sabbath must do their work if the culmination of creation is to be revealed on the Sabbath day. The Zohar {III, 92b) states, “Each day does its work.” By fulfilling its function each day’s purpose is consummated. Again the ZohaC-expresses this perfectly - “from the Sabbath day all other days become blessed.” This applies both retroactively and proactively. As the Torah states at the completion of creation: “And the work was complete. . . . and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified

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it.” Thus the Zohar states: "the supernal crown [keter elyon] is the crown of kingdom (keter malchut)." The first, highest of the Divine emanations, keter, is thus linked to the last, malchut.

The Arrangement and Interaction of the

Sefirot

The sefirot represent the various stages of the creative process whereby God generated the progression of created realms which culminated in our finite physical universe. As a coexisting group, the sefirot constitute the interacting components of a single metaphysical structure whose imprint can be identified at all levels, and within all aspects, of Creation.

The sefirot exist not only as individual qualities, but also (and primarily) in configurations which are depicted in Kabbalistic texts as having the structure of the human body, which is called the tzelem Elokim (supernal “image of God”). Just like the body, the sefirot are arranged in vertical arrays along three parallel axes, each representing a mode of Divine influence within Creation. Hence each sefirah is associated with the particular limb or organ that corresponds to its position in the anatomical sefirotic structure. This configuration is also referred to in the literature as a sulam (“ladder”), or an eitz (“tree”).

The interaction among the various sefirot takes place through a network of connecting tzinorot (“channels”) which carry the flow of Divine energy throughout Creation. These connections suggest various sub-groupings of the sefirot, each reflecting a certain dynamic amongst the sefirot which they include. The loftiest triad of sefirot identifies comprises keter, chochmah and binah (or alternatively chochmah, and binah and da'at). This sub-grouping

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defines a cognitive dynamic; the following triad comprises chesed, gevurah, and tiferet - these are the primary emotions; the final grouping comprises netzach, hod and yesod - the instinctual and pragmatic forces. Malchul may be viewed as either an appendage of this last sub-grouping, or as an independent entity receiving and manifesting those energies that precede it.

Another way of dividing the sefirot is into partzufirn (“visages’' or profiles”). A partzuf \s a metaphorical figure of human likeness, used to represent the expansion of a sefirah (or group of sefirot) into an independent configuration with ten sefirot of its own. According to Kabbalah, the sefirot of keter, chochmah, binah and malchut each possess two interrelated partzuf m\ whereas the six sefirot from chesed through yesod form their own common and independent pair of partzufirn.

In the configuration of the sefirot, keter appears at the top of the middle axis, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the skull.

The sefirah of keter develops into two partzufirn. Its outer partzuf is referred to as Arich Anpin, and its inner partzuf is referred to as Atik Yomin.

Chochmah appears in the configuration of the sefirot at the top of the right axis, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the right hemisphere of the brain. In its fully articulated form, chochmah possesses two partzufirn: the higher of these is referred to as Abba Ila}ah (“the higher father”), whereas the lower is referred to as Yisrael Sabba (“Israel, the Elder”). These two partzufirn are referred to jointly as Abba (“the father”).


Binah appears in the configuration of the sefirot at the top of the left axis, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the left hemisphere of the brain.

to as tevunah


In its fully expanded form, binah also possesses two partzufirn: the higher of these is referred to as Imma lla'ah (“the higher mother”), whereas the '־״״T ״ ״fened

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(“comprehension”). These two partzufim are referred to jointly as Imma ('4the mother”).

The union of chochmah and binah (“the higher union,” in Kabbalah), the “father” and the “mother” (the right and left hemispheres of the brain) is continual, and is referred to in the Zohar as “two companions that never separate.” This union is necessary for the continual re-creation of the world (beginning with the birth of the seven attributes of the heart, corresponding to the seven days of Creation, from the womb of “mother,” binah).

Da'at is the third and last conscious power of intellect in Creation. Generally, da'at is only enumerated among the sefirot when keter is not, as explained above. This is due to the fact that da'at represents the reflection of (the inner dimension of) keter itself within the realm of consciousness. Hence da'at appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the middle axis, directly beneath keter; and, corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the cerebellum (posterior brain).

In the Zohar, da 'at is referred to as “the key that includes six.” The “key” of da'at opens all six attributes of the heart (the emotions) and fills them with life-force.

Chesed appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the right axis, directly beneath chochmah, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the “right arm.”

Gevurah is the fifth of the ten sefirot, and second of the emotive attributes in Creation. Gevurah appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the left axis, directly beneath binah, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the “left arm.”

Tiferet is the sixth of the ten sefirot, and the third of the emotive attributes within Creation. Tiferet appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the middle axis, directly beneath da'at (or beneath keter, when da'at is excluded), and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the upper torso (in particular, the heart).

ZOHAR

Netzach is the seventh of the ten sefirot, and the fourth of the emotive attributes within Creation, it appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the right axis, directly beneath chesed, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the right leg.

Hod is the eighth of the ten sefirot, and the fifth of the emotive attributes within Creation. It appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the left axis, directly beneath gevurah, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the left leg.

The two sefirot of netzach and hod are referred to as “two halves of a single body.” This is so because more than with respect to chesed and gevurah (the right and left arms), netzach and hod (the right and left legs), can only perform their function in unison -walking together.

Netzach and hod are also referred to in the Zohar as “the scales of justice.” Netzach merits while hod concedes (“acknowledges” or “confesses”). As the two hips of the body they are responsible for the general state of equilibrium of the body.

Yesod is the ninth of the ten sefirot, and the sixth of the emotive attributes within Creation. Yesod appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the middle axis, directly beneath liferet, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the procreative organ (in the male; in the female, to the womb).

The six sefirot from chesed to yesod join and develop to form the partzuf of Zeir Anpin. Zeir Anpin (or z"a in Kabbalistic shorthand) receives its “head” or “brain-power” (the three higher sefirot of chochmah, binah and da'at) from the higher partzuf m of Abba and Imma.

Malchut is the last of the ten sefirot, and the final emotive attribute within Creation (or, more precisely, the manifestation of what is contained above it in a potential or latent state, as explained above). Malchut appears in the configuration of the sefirot at the bottom of the middle axis, directly beneath yesod, and corresponds

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in the tzelem Elokim to the “crown” of the procreative organ (the corona in the male; the labia in the female). Malchut also corresponds to the mouth, and is often referred to as “the world of speech,” insofar as the spoken word represents the essential medium of self-expression, allowing one to not only reveal himself to outer reality but to guide and influence that reality as well. Hence, speech allows one to exercise authority and “kingship,” the literal meaning of malchut.

Malchut also serves as the means for establishing an identification with outer reality. Analogously, exercising kingship requires utmost sensitivity to the needs of the realm which one seeks to rule. Conversely, every individual creation must accept Divine authority, for only then can the ultimate good of the mundane realm be assured.

In its meditation of Divinity, the soul can only perceive and ascend to the higher sefirot through the “pane” and portal of malchut. “This is the gate to God, the righteous shall enter through it” (Psalms 118:20). In one’s devoted service to God this means receiving upon oneself, in total commitment, “the yoke of the kingdom of heaven.” When this is not done, the result is galut haShechinah - the exile of the Divine Presence.

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The Structure of Consciousness - the Soul —

The divine soul is an indivisible essence inseparably bound to God,43 as the verse states, “For part of God is His People" (Devarim 32:9), and as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai states about himself: “My soul is one with Him, as one flame, cleaving to Him.”44 Nevertheless, as it emanates from the Ein Sof- the Infinite One - eventually to be clothed in the physical body, the soul descends via the five worlds mentioned above, leaving a root in each of the worlds,45 until it is clothed in a physical body. Thus there are five levels of soul, or levels of God-consciousness, corresponding to the various planes of reality, or levels of Divine revelation/concealment manifested in each of the worlds.46

The soul enclothed within the body is a refection of the Divine Form, called the tzelem, or tzelem Elokim. This tzelem Elokim may be described as the human mold of man’s physical form, linking his body and soul. This mold derives from the configuration of the sefirot which structure of the worlds through which the soul descends on its journey down into the body.

At the same time that the soul’s outer dimension refects the configuration of the sefirot, the inner dimension of the soul refects the Infinite Light which illuminates the sefirot. This refection is called the demut Elokim (the Image of God).47 Thus man includes all of creation within him, from the loftiest spirituality to the most mundane physicality 48

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Viewed from the point of view of man's service of God, these levels of soul may be described as five ascending levels of awareness of, and communion with, God. They are called (in ascending order) nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah and yechidah49 50 Regarding these levels of soul, the Zohar70 states that when a person is born, he is given a nefesh from the world of Asiycih, the lowest world, representing the greatest concealment of God. If, through his divine service and proper action, he makes himself worthy, he is then given ruach on the plane of Yetzirah. With greater effort, he can earn the revelation of neshamah, paralleling the world of Beriah. If he purifies himself greatly, he may be able to attain the level of chaya paralleling Atzilut, and even yechidah -the God-consciousness of the level of Adam Kadmon and beyond. (“Beyond.” because the level of soul called yechidah in essence transcends all the worlds, since it is never separated from God. It is described as being “truly part of God above,”51 and as “a spark of the Creator clothed within a spark of the created.”52)

Nefesh

Nefesh, the lowest level of consciousness, is awareness of the physical body and the physical world, the world of Asiyah - the world of action. However, this awareness of the physical body is not awareness in a passive sense; it is merely an observation of the facts. On the contrary, the nefesh is in fact the life-force of the body, and it is precisely because it is the life-force of the body that the nefesh has an awareness of the body. This physical awareness is a result of the enmeshing of the nefesh with the body. Now, although the nefesh is the life-force of the body, this does not mean that the nefesh creates the body. The body was and is created by God, just like everything else. After God created Adam’s body

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“from the dust of the earth;' He blew into Adam the breath of life (see Bereishit 2:7). This is the nefesh - the life-force - that was blown into the body.

It is this part of the person which dies and goes to the grave with the body.7j Just as in the world of Asiyah malchut is the dominant sefirah, so too in the nefesh, which corresponds to the world of Asiyah, the attribute of malchut - action - is the dominant characteristic of the soul.53 54

The divine service associated with the level of nefesh is acknowledgment of, and submission to, the supreme authority of God, particularly in reference to the fulfillment of the Commandments. It is therefore called “accepting the yoke of Heaven” — kabbalat 01 malchut shamayim.”55

Ruach

Ruach is the next level of soul - a higher plane of consciousness than the rank of nefesh. The world (i.e., level of revelation of Godliness) corresponding to ruach is the world of Yetzirah.56 The primary manifestation of ruach is in the emotions, just as the primary activity of the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin (from chesed to yesod) is in the world of Yetzirah. In terms of Divine service this entails arousing the emotions of love and awe of God.

Love and awe of God are aroused by contemplating the divine energy which forms and maintains the world of Yetzirah, and by observing the tremendous self-nullification of the angelic beings which inhabit it.57 Although the intellect may be used extensively on this level of soul; nevertheless, the primary focus of the intellect here is contemplation in order to arouse the emotions. The

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Talmudic sages therefore refer to it as “the toil of the heart,”

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through which one comes to love God with all one's heart. Nevertheless, this is a lower level of love, since it is generated by contemplating lower levels of God's creative energy.

Neshamah

The primary activity of neshamah is in the conceptual grasp of the intellect, as the verse states, “and the soul (nishmat) from the Almighty gives them understanding58 59 60 61״ The level of neshamah contemplates the manifestation of Divine energy in the world of Beriah.8° Just as in the world of Beriah the primary sefirah is binah, so too in the soul - the primary activity is understanding. Unlike the world of Yetzirah, the world of form and relationship, the world of Beriah is nascent divine energy. It is the notion of coming into being from nothingness, rather than structured, quantified existence. Thus one of the primary meditations of the neshamah is the concept of continuous creation (the coming-into-being) and sustenance of life and existence.

Neshamah analyzes underlying principles abstracted from the

categories of thought imposed upon them by the human mind and

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human experience. It seeks to pierce through to the essential rather than the ephemeral. One of the signs that a person is on this level of consciousness is that when the mind is clearly focused on an appropriate Divine concept, all of the senses become temporarily nullified. Subsequently, due to the abundance of spiritual light one experiences at this level, the emotions of love and awe are automatically aroused, and to a much greater extent than in the previous level, where effort was expended in arousing the emotions. This is referred to in Kabbalah as “the rapture of the

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heart" (re ,uta d’libah).62 63 64 Here the heart truly desires Godliness, and love is revealed in its fullness in the heart. This is referred to in the verse as loving God '4with all of your soul.”8־' This may therefore be described as communion with God as the Creator of the worlds.

Chayah

The aspect of the soul called chayah gazes upon the Divine energy of the world of Atzilut.** Whereas the primary activity of the level of neshamah is to use intellectual comprehension in order to come to communion with God as the Creator of the worlds, the level of chayah communes with God as He transcends the worlds. Here the soul’s knowledge is not in the immanence of Divine attributes which identify the nature of the Divine energy manifested in creation, but rather with knowing what God is not - i.e. how He is not limited or defined by the finite universe. Thus the soul merges into a state of complete nullification of the ego. There is no self-seeking and no self-identity outside of God, and is called loving God “with all one’s being.”65 This is knowledge of the absolute truth of things.

Yechidah

Corresponding to Adam Kadmon is the level of soul called yechidah Just as the sublime, pure and transcendent world of Adam Kadmon, cleaves to and reflects the original Or Ein Sof so too the level of yechidah. This is the essence of the soul which is naturally and immutably bound to the Holy One. In the words of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai,66 “Throughout the days of my connection to this world, I was bound to the Holy One blessed be

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He with a single knot. ... at one with Him." This is the level of soul revealed at the moment of self-sacrifice or martyrdom for the sake of God, His Torah, or His people.67 68

Powers of the Soul

From the ten sefirot88 described above the soul derives its corresponding ten soul-powers,69 which have names identical to the sefirot. The soul is expressed and manifested through its powers, of which there are two general categories - the transcendent or encompassing powers, and the particular, or immanent powers (corresponding to the transcendent keter, and the remaining immanent sefirot). The transcendent or super-conscious powers of the soul are called delight (oneg) and will (ration), corresponding to the inner and outer d imensions of keter mentioned above.

The particular or immanent powers are further subdivided into intellect and emotions. The three intellectual powers are chochmah, wisdom or creative intellect; binah, understanding or developmental intellect; and da'at, which is knowledge or conclusive, synthesizing intellect.

Chochmah

Chochmah is the creative and generally unpredictable power of the soul which is manifested in spontaneous insights or inspiration - an intuitive flash of intellectual illumination which has not yet been processed or developed by the understanding power of binah.

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The creative power which illuminates chochmah derives from the concealed level of keter - "and chochmah emerges from nothingness״ (Job 28:12), that is, from the hidden keter.70 The reason that chochmah is able to act as a receptacle for the flash of Divine revelation is that in its inner essence is also "nothingness.” That is, the inner essence of chochmah is self-nullification (bittul). This is why the Zohcir characterizes the nature of chochmah by one of the permutations of the word chochmah itself - ko’ach mah ( חכמה = כ״ח מ״ה) - the potential to be "what,” i.e. undefined and therefore boundless71 In this state of bittul, a person will not experience his own being as an independent creation. Rather, his consciousness is focused on God’s omnipresence.

Binah

Binah, usually translated as understanding, is the cognitive faculty that develops and articulates the seminal energy of chochmah, so that the latter becomes known, in a detailed conceptual way, through binah.72 Binah is also the inductive and deductive faculty of “understanding (or deducing) one thing from another,”73 74 thus expanding the point of chochmah into a multi-dimensional conceptual system. The Zohar9A therefore symbolizes chochmah and binah and their relationship as “the supernal point (1chochmah) within its palace (binah).״ However, binah is not merely an adjunct to chochmah, it involves as well the ability to intuit a more inclusive reality that than encoded within chochmah itself.75

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Binah is also the ability to explain the concept to another person, thus "reproducing” it. In this sense binah is referred to as “the mother of children" (Psalms I 13:9).76

Da’at

Da’at (knowledge) is the third faculty of the intellect. It is the ability to integrate and harmonize diametrically opposed views or states of being. As mentioned above, when keter is counted, da'at is not, and vice versa. In terms of the soul powers, da'at in fact plays a dual77 78 79 role: On the one hand, da’at is the power which binds together the powers of chochmah and binah. In this capacity it is called da’at elyon (higher da'at), which generally remains in a

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state of concealment. As such it is identified with keter. On the other hand, da'at serves as the bridge between the opposing domains of the intellect and the emotional attributes of the soul. In this capacity it is called da'at tachton (lower da'at). Da'at is not merely another stage of intellect; it enables one to convert understanding into the vitality and inspiration of the emotions and actions. In this sense, the Zoharrefers to da'at as “the key to the six [emotions].”

A person who possesses da'at will therefore exhibit rational, mature behavior, whereas one who lacks da'at is emotionally immature and will probably be plagued by inner emotional conflict.

Chesed

Chesed (love, kindness) is the first emotional attribute of the soul. Its motivating force is love and benevolence. Chesed is also sometimes80 called gedulah (largesse), for it nurtures the other

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attributes of the soul into full development and maturity. The Zohar]0] therefore refers to it as “the first day [i.e., the first attribute] which accompanies all the other days [of creation]/’81

Of the three Patriarchs, Avraham embodied the qualities of chesed, as the verse states, “Give. . . . chased 10 Avraham״ (Michah 7:20). He is also referred to as “Avraham, My loving one״ (Yeshayahu 41:8).

G evu rah

Gevurah (fortitude, restrictive power), associated with the force of din (severe Divine judgment) restricts the benevolent expansiveness of chesed. As a soul-power it represents the emotional attribute of awe or fear.82 83 Whereas chesed dictates that one give generously and unconditionally, without concern for the intended recipient’s worthiness to receive, gevurah argues against doing so, for fear that the recipient is not worthy, or will misuse what he has been given. Accordingly, every opportunity to shower goodness upon someone is assessed in terms of the recipient's merit.

On the other hand, gevurah is just as influential in motivating one courageously to uphold another’s rights to the rewards which are legitimately his, even in the face of stiff opposition. Should Divine justice dictate that someone be extended a particular benefit, the fear of Heaven impels one to do everything within one’s power to facilitate it. Since gevurah is concerned with Maintaining proper measure and proportion within Creation, it works to defend the boundaries of the law, be they to one’s advantage or disadvantage, requiring courage or trepidation.

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As complimentary forces, chesed and gevurah actually work together, establishing the rigorous standard of merit that endows

. 7־י &

subsequent overtures of chesed with genuine value and meaning for

1    •    •    105

the recipient.

Gevurah corresponds to the Patriarch Yitzchak,84 85 as in the verse ‘The One whom Yitzchak fears. . .    (Bereishit 31:42, 53).

Tiferet

Tiferet (compassion) is the attribute of the soul which blends and harmonizes the two polar opposites of chesed and gevurah. Tiferet is also referred to as the attribute of truth, for it depends to some extent on the merit of the recipient86 Nevertheless, ideally, tiferet tends towards chesed,87 and is therefore known as rachamim (compassion or mercy).88

Tiferet corresponds to the Patriarch Yaakov.89

Netzach

Netzach has many meanings, referring to different aspects in the soul. It implies “victory” (nitzachon), “eternity” (nitzchiyut) and “orchestration” (nitzuach). Common to all these ideas is a sense of the initiative and persistence necessary in order to overcome the resistance to bringing thought and feeling into positive action. “Victory” assumes initiative; “eternity” implies persistence; and “orchestration” indicates a creative plan that deploys the other qualities in an intelligent way.90

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The quality of netzach in the soul is dependent upon the degree of confidence one has that he is doing what God wants of him.

Hod

Hod (surrender, acknowledgment) is the complementary soul-power to netzach. Whereas netzach thrusts forward, overcoming the barriers between the outflow of benevolence (from chesed) and the intended recipient; hod (a quality derived from gevurah) ensures that the person’s success is predicated on his acknowledging the Divine source of his power and might.91 92 93 94 Hod therefore represents sincerity and innocence. The Zohar refers to this complementary relationship as “two halves of one body, like twins.”"3

Yesod

Yesod is the quality which coalesces all the qualities which precede it into a single creative act binding the giver and the recipient into a single unit. In technical terms, yesod binds the higher sefirot to malchut, or heaven to earth."4 In the soul this represents a person’s ability to bind himself to God’s will and thus bring about the implementation of God’s plan for creation. Yesod also represents the Tzadik (saintly person), regarding whom it is said, “The Tzadik is the foundation (yesod) of the world” (Mishlei 10:25), for it is he who dedicates himself to fulfilling God’s will and actualizing His plan for creation."5

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Malchut

In terms of the powers of the soul, malchut represents receiving upon oneself the yoke of God's sovereignty, and acting in accordance with it, as a slave towards his master. Malchut thus experiences itself as a state of lowliness, for it possess nothing of its own - it is aware that it receives all of its qualities from the other powers of the soul. At the same time, malchut also represents royalty and sovereignty. Only when a king humbly takes upon himself the yoke of Heaven, is he able to find the strength and wisdom to rule properly.

When man does good, his soul disseminates God’s abundant goodness and reveals His greatness. Through man’s good deeds, certain sefirot prevail. For instance, if a person displays compassion towards others, he causes tiferet to prevail. Thus, for example, Abraham represents kindness and love, which derive from the sefirah of chesed, as explained above, for his deeds were concentrated in this direction.95

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Angels

Maimonides96 writes that everything which God created may be divided into three categories: Those things which are a composite of mutable substance and form; those of immutable substance and form; and those creatures which are form without substance. The latter are the angels. They are not bodies nor physical beings, but rather forms which are separated from one another by the principles which they represent. Thus “form” in this case does not mean dimensional structure, but rather a clearly defined spiritual principle, or permutation of Divine energy.

Angelic beings fall into two general categories - those which were created during the six days of creation97 (referred to as the “ministering angels”) and those which are created on a day-to-day basis to fulfill various missions in this world.98 The names of the angels change in accordance with their mission.99

When angels are sent down to this world as emissaries of the Holy One to carry out a specific mission,100 they become clothed in a body101 formed from the element of air102 or of fire.103 Angels may also appear in human form.104 Once they have completed their worldly duties, they divest themselves of their bodies and return to their former spiritual state.

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There are angels which inhabit each of the four worlds: Ofanim in the world of Asiyah;105 chayot in the world of Yetzirah;'106 serafmi in the world of Beriah.'107־ There are also angels in the world of Atzilut.'108

The angels are further subdivided according to the sefirah from which they derive.109 110 111 112 113 The angels are thus divided into “camps” according to the division of the sefirot. The angel Michael and his “camp,” for example, derive from the sefirah of cheseclf' and the angel Gabriel and his “camp” derive from the sefirah ofgevurah,'32 and so on.

Evil and Impurity

Evil and impurity are often referred to in the Zohar'33 as “the other side” (sitra achra), meaning the side distinct from, and opposed to holiness. Evil is also referred to as kelipah'3“' literally, shell or bark. The kelipah conceals within it a spark of holiness, which is the vital force by virtue of which the kelipah exists, analogous to a fruit surrounded by a shell or peel. In order to release the holy spark the encumbering shell must be removed.

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The Zohar distinguishes among four kelipot, three of which are entirely evil.114 The fourth, kelipat nogah, is the shell which actually envelops the spark of holiness. It thus has direct contact with holiness and is not entirely evil. The other three kelipot surround kelipot nogah and are therefore further removed from holiness.

All matters pertaining to the prohibitions of the Torah (the forbidden objects, actions, utterances, thoughts, etc) derive from the sitra achra, from the three impure kelipot. Those matters which are permitted by the Torah (but do not pertain to the commandments of the Torah) derive from kelipat nogah.

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Bereishit

In the Beginning

1:1 בראשית - In the Beginning

(Zohar /, 24a)


The Holy One blessed be He created the world and all created beings through the Torah. Regarding the Torah, the verse states, “God made me (the Torah) as the beginning (ראשית) of His way, the most primal of His works from the outset of time” (Mishlei 8:22). With this beginning, the Torah. He created the heavens and the earth, and He sustains them through Torah.

Rabbi Chiyya taught: “Who can express the power of God, and acclaim all His praises?” (Tehillim 106). When God chose to create the world, He looked into the Torah and created the world with it. With every single act of creation God looked into the Torah again, and created that detail of creation, as the verse states, “I will be An instructor (אמון - amun) to Him, 1 will be His delight day by day!” Do not read אמון, an instructor, but אומן (uman), a workman. However, when He chose to create man, the Torah questioned if man should be created, for if he would sin, God would judge him, and the creation of man would be in vain, for none can withstand God’s retribution. God replied that He had already allocated repentance for this purpose, even before the world was created. Moreover, at the time of man’s creation, God declared that the world could only exist by virtue of the Torah, and for this reason He created man who could occupy himself with Torah. But if man would not do so. He would return the creation to a state of chaos. Hence, the world exists by virtue of man. This is the meaning of the verse, “1 made the earth, and 1 created man upon it” (Yeshayahu 45:12) i.e., the creation of man upon earth is for the sake of its continued

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existence. Therefore, any person who occupies himself with Torah sustains the world, and keeps every aspect of the world in its proper order.

(Zohar vol. I. 134a ff)

The following section of the Zohar discusses the process of creation of the workI The world was created in such a way that it can endure as a created world, and also fulfill the purpose for which it was created This purpose, the Zohar explains elsewhereis that "the creation must recognize God. " The following section explains that God implanted this potential to know Him within creation, by virtue of the letter with which He chose to begin the creation All the letters but one are rejected for the purpose of beginning the creation because they would have created a world which would have been inherently defective, or would not have fulfilled its stated purpose, or

because it would not have allowed man to seek God

Rabbi Hamnona Sabba explained: When it arose in the Will115 116 117 of the Holy One blessed be He to create the world, all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were in a concealed state. For two thousand years prior to the actual creation of the world, the Holy One blessed be He gazed upon the letters and delighted in them. Then, when the Holy One blessed be He chose to actually create the world,117 all the letters came before Him in reverse order, from lav to aleph:

n: The letter lav was the first to claim the privilege of beginning the creation, because it is the concluding letter of the word “truth” ( אמת), which is called the Seal of God.118 Since God is also called אמת, it would be proper for Him to create the world with letters of this word, beginning with ת. However, God replied that even though the letter lav is a good and honest letter, nevertheless, it would not be suitable for beginning the creation, since it would be used in the

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future for a different purpose - to mark the foreheads of men of faith119 120 who had fulfilled the Torah from aleph to tav, from beginning to end. With the letter lav on their foreheads, they would pass away from this world.״ In addition, the letter lav is also the final letter of the word מות, death; hence it would not be proper to use it in creating the world.

ק, ר, ש: Then the letter shin{\v) came before the Holy One blessed be He and claimed that it would be fitting for God to use it to create the world, for ש is the initial letter of the holy Name ש-ד־י and it would be appropriate to create the world using this holy name. But God replied that although the letter shin would be an eligible choice, being a good letter and a true letter, nevertheless, it would not be suitable for creating the world, since the letters kuf and reish, which are the letters of deception and untruth, need the shin together with them, so that שקר (falsehood) can exist. From this we learn that when a person wants to deceive others, he introduces his lies with a true statement, followed by untruths, just as the word שקר begins with a shin, a letter of truth which is associated with the Patriarchs,121 and it is followed by the letters of deception, kuf and reish. But in order to endure, the letters ק and ר take the ש between them, forming the word קשר - a (permanent) knot. Since all three

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letters are associated with falsehood, they are not appropriate for beginning the creation.

צ: The letter tzaddi then came before the Holy One blessed be He and claimed that it would be fitting for God to use it to create the world, for this is the sign of saints (tzaddikini, tzaddik in the singular). God too is called Tzciddik* Hence, He is inscribed within this letter. However, God replied that although this letter is indeed saintly, it must remain hidden, and should not be revealed to such a large extent,122 123 in order to avoid giving the world an excuse for remaining imperfect.124 125 Why should it remain hidden and not be revealed? The letter צ is comprised of two other letters: it itself is a נ (nun), and a י (yud) from the eternal four-letter" Name of God became attached to it, and united with it. In the scribal art of writing the Hebrew letters, according to Kabbalah the letter tzaddi is formed by first producing a נ so that the head of the nun leans over to the left and down, towards its foot: Then a letter yud י is joined to it, though facing the opposite direction, thus forming the letter tzaddi. This is the secret of the creation of Adam, whom the Holy .One blessed be He created with two aspects male and female.126 For this reason, i.e. since the letter tzaddi represents these two aspects, which are joined only back to back, the yud faces the opposite way to the nunand they do not face each other. Rather the yud faces upward, which the nun faces downward. Therefore, since the letter tzaddi, at present, represents two opposing forces, which is called a union back to back, had the world been created by means of the tzaddik, it would necessarily be incomplete and imperfect, which would have the given the world an excuse not to seek completeness and perfection, and the forces of evil would prevail.127 In addition, the Holy One, added that although in the future He would separate these two aspects from one another, and then join them face to face and therefore the letter would be in a state of completeness and perfection, nevertheless, the letter tzaddi would then exist on a

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different much more elevated plane which is too sublime to be revealed. Therefore it could not be used in creating the world.

ע, פ: The letter peh (פ) then came before the Holy One blessed be He and claimed that it would be fitting for God to use it to create the world, because the redemption (פדות) begins with the letter peh. And the advent of Mashiach signals an end to sin and evil.128 Blit God replied that although the peh is indeed a good letter, nevertheless it is the initial letter of the word פשע - deliberate transgression, which is done in secret. Therefore the shape of the letter פ is like that of a snake which has its head curled up into its body, like a sinner who hides his head — in humility, a sign of righteousness129 — while stretching out his hands to sin.130 [An alternative explanation: The sinner hides his head in shame and repentance while stretching out his hands in prayer, begging for forgiveness.131 But, in either case, the peh is associated with sin]. The same applies to the letter ayin, which is associated with ערן -transgression. And even though the ayin is also the first letter of ענוה — humility — which is the gateway to repentance, and because of this quality it would be fitting to create the world with the letter ayin,132nevertheless, the Holy One blessed be He said that He would not use it to begin the creation of the world.

ס: Then the letter samech came before the Holy One blessed be He and claimed that it would be fitting for God to use it to create the world, because it begins the words סומך נופלים- supporting those who are about to fall133 as the verse states, “God supports all those who are about to fall” (Tehillim 145:14). But God replied, this being so, you are needed where you are and you may not move from your place. For if you do, what will happen to those who are about to fall, and are dependent upon you?

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נ: Then the letter nun came before the Holy One blessed be He and claimed that it would be proper for God to use it to create the world, for it begins the words which proclaim the awe-inspiring majesty of God, who is נורא תהלות - "Awesome to praise.”134 Moreover, the righteous delight in singing beautiful praises and hymns to God -נאוה 135־.לישרים נאוה תהלה, which signifies both delight and beauty , also begins with a נ. The righteous and the upright comprehend the glory and the majesty of God. and this inspires them to sing His praises.136 Hence the purpose of creation, to know God, can be fulfilled through the letter nun. But God replied, “Nun, return to your place. Because of you, the letter samech was sent back to its place, and you are what the samech supports. Nun is the initial letter of נופלים - “those who are about to fall,”137 alluding to those who are not yet perfectly righteous, and to the fallen Temple during the time of exile.138־ Hence the letter nun was found to be unsuitable. Immediately, the nun returned to its place, leaving God’s presence.

מ, ל, ך: The letter mem (מ) came before the Holy One blessed be He and said that it would be appropriate for God to use it to create the world, for it is the initial letter of the word מלך - “king,” and because of it, the Holy One blessed be He is called “King״. Since this indicates the submission of all creation to God’s authority, the purpose of creation will have been fulfilled, as the verse regarding the future states “And God will be King” (Zechariah 14:9).139 “This is certainly true,” God replied. “Nevertheless, 1 will not use you to create the world, since the world needs a king.” Had the world been created with a mem, the entire creation would have been imbued with the glory and majesty of God, so that every creature would have felt itself to be a king, and there would be no fear of Heaven. In addition, man would not have had to serve God by consciously submitting himself to God’s authority. Since the continued existence of the physical world is dependent on man accepting the yoke of Heaven, accepting the

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King, this letter is unsuitable for beginning creation.140 The mem is then told to return to its place, and to join together with ל (lamed) and ך (final caf), making the word מלך (king), representing an earthly king, whose duty it is to guide the world in the service of God, for it is not good for the world to be without a king.141 142

כ: At that moment the letter caf descended from the throne of Glory, כסא הכבוד (kisei hakavod) and stood before the Holy One blessed be He and said: "Master of the worlds. It is fitting that You begin the creation with me, for 1 am your כבוד, your glory.” Since the world was created for the purpose of glorifying God, as the verse states, “. . . .For My glory, I created it. . . .יי (Yeshayahu 43:7), it would be proper to create the world with the letter caf1% In addition, the caf (=20) has the advantage of being numerically equal to two yuds, one representing the Jew’s service of God, by which he elicits a corresponding response for God143 Thus, this letter possesses the inherent potential to know God, but only according to man’s depth of service. This fulfills the purpose of creation. But, when the caf descended from the Throne, 200,000 worlds began to totter, and the Throne began to shake. Thus, the descent of the caf caused the Glory (כבוד) of God to be diminished.144 The Holy One blessed be He told the caf to return to its place - i.e. to the Throne of Glory.145 It would not be used to initiate creation, for it is also the first letter of כליה - total destruction.

י: The letter yud came and said, “Master of the Worlds. It is fitting that you use me to create the world, for I begin Your Holy Name י־ה־ו־ה. The yitd symbolizes the sefirah (supernal emanation ־־ see Introduction) of chochmah, the wisdom of God. Hence, by way of the yud the Wisdom of God will be revealed in the world. But God replied that it is sufficient for the yud that as the initial letter of His Name, it is engraved

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and etched within Him, and that all of His Will is initiated through it. Will, or Arich Anpin (see Introduction) is first revealed in chochmah?~ Accordingly, it would not be proper for the world to make use of this letter, since this would entail being separated from the essential Divine Name which is too lofty for creation. As we see. the name Elokim is used in creating the worlds, not the Tetragrammaton.146 147

ח, ט: The letter let (ט) rose up and said, “It is proper that You initiate the creation with me, for I begin the verse, טוב וישר ה׳ -God is good and fair ’148 and God created the world in order to reveal His kindness.149 But God replied that the goodness of this letter must remain hidden, until the advent of the World to Come,150 as the verse states, “How great is Your goodness, which you have hidden away for those who fear You.”151 Moreover, the goodness that is within this letter will sink into the ground with the doors of the Holy Temple, when that edifice will be destroyed, as the verse states, טבעו באח שעריה - “Her gates will sink into the ground”152 and the Jewish people will go into exile, so that God's goodness will not be manifest. In addition, ט may be joined to the letter ח which follows it, forming the main body of the word חטא - “sin.” And therefore it would not be suitable to use it in creation. For this same reason, these letters are not found in the names of the twelve tribes of Israel to show that all of Yaakov’s sons were righteous.153

ז: The letter zoyin rose up and said to the Master of the Worlds that He should use this letter to initiate creation because it alludes to the Sabbath ז is the seventh letter from א, just as the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, about which the verse states, “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy”.154 And since the Sabbath sanctifies and sustains all

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of creation,155 it would be appropriate to initiate creation with this letter. However, God replied that since the word zayin also means 44weapon” it would not be proper to create the world using it. The zayin departed immediately.

ה, ו: Then the letter vav came before Him and said, 4‘it is fitting to create the world through me, since 1 am one of the letters of Your Name. Although the letter yucl made the same claim, and was rejected, nevertheless, the letter vav has an advantage over the yud. It does not begin the Tetragrammaton, and hence is not on the same lofty level. Together with the heh (ה) of the Tetragrammaton, they would be in the correct proportion to initiate the creation.156 However, God replied that both letters must be satisfied with remaining concealed within His Name for if they were inherent within creation, they might reveal more than is desirable. Moreover, since the soul of man as enclothed in his body derives from these letters; if the world would be created through them, the body could not be a vessel and vehicle for the soul, since it would be on the same spiritual level.157

ג, ד: The letters dalet (ד) and gimmel (ג) then arose and they too made the same request. But He replied, ‘4It must suffice for you to be together, for the poor (דל - dal) require acts of loving kindness ( גמילות חסדים), and one must not become separated from the other. Nevertheless, they cannot both operate in creating the world, for since the dalet refers to those who are poor, it alludes to the exile, hence it is unsuitable to be used in creation. And the gimmel, which bestows loving kindness upon the dalet must not abandon it.158

ב: The letter bet then came before the Holy One blessed be He and claimed that it would be fitting for God to use it to create the world, because it is the initial letter of the word ברכה, “blessing,” and with it the Holy One is blessed both above and below. This is the purpose of creation - that all of creation will recognize God?s kindness, and that He has blessed them with His abundance and prosperity. Then they will

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acknowledge Him and bless him.159 The Holy One blessed be He said to the letter bet, “I will certainly create the world with you. You will be the first letter of creation.”

unity.


א: Only the letter aleph remained, and it did not rise up before God. The Holy One blessed be He said, “Aleph, aleph, why did you not come before Me like all the other letters?” It replied, “Master of the Worlds. I saw that all the letters came before You, but gained no benefit from it. What could I accomplish there? Moreover, You have given the letter bet this great privilege, and it is not proper that the Supernal King should revoke the gift He gave to one servant, and give it to another.” Then the Holy One blessed be He replied, “Aleph, aleph, although 1 will create the world with the letter bet, you will be the first and the head160 of all letters, and My uniqueness will be expressed only through you - aleph is the initial letter of the word אחד, which expresses the uniqueness of God. And you will be the first of all numbers (1 = א), and all unity of disparate entities will be through you, aleph - for it is the initial letter of the word אחדות, meaning

(Zohar I, 2 b ff)

The world was created in the month of Tishrei161 בתשרי in Hebrew. The name of this month has the identical letters to the word בראשית however the א is missing. The א of בראשית alludes to Adam אדם in Hebrew, who was created on א (the first of) Tishrei. But because the earth was to be cursed on account of Adam, the א withdrew from ראשית, leaving בתשרי. Hence the Torah begins with a ב, rather than an א, since it is the initial letter of ברכה, “blessing,” so that the earth can be blessed, and rid itself of its curse.162

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 35, 77b)

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1:1 בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

Our Sages explain fhat the w orld was created with ten utterances4 which were spread over six days of creation Although there appear to be only nine utterances, the Sages conclude that the word בראשית ("In the beginning") is also an utterance, even though it is not preceded explicitly by the words, ויאמר אלקים -"And God said. . . . "5° The following extract

explains these ideas.

Rabbi Abba said: The higher world is concealed, and everything associated with the higher world is also concealed, because they are all part of the sublime mystery of the day in which all other days are contained - i.e. all nine utterances, spread over the six days of creation, are included in the first utterance, בראשית, ‘in the beginning/'163 164 165 At this Stage, creation is not yet manifest as material being. However, when the Holy One blessed be He brought the creation into manifest existence, he emanated the six days of creation,166 during which the physical creation came about. Then each of the nine utterances through which creation came about are preceded by, “And God said.” But, since the higher world is concealed, and everything that is associated with it is also concealed, the verse merely states בראשית, and it is not preceded by “God said.” That all the six days of creation are contained in the word can be seen from this word itself, which can be broken down into two words: ברא — “He created,” שית - “six.”167 Nevertheless, while the six days of creation are still contained within the word כראשית the verse does not mention who created them, because this refers to the concealed higher world which remains hidden from the created beings of the lower worlds168 and therefore, בראשית, “In the beginning” is not preceded by “And God said.”

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(Zohar vol. I 39b)


Afterwards, when He chose to reveal and articulate the remaining nine utterances through which the world was created during the six days of creation, the verse states who created them, ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ - '"God created the heaven and the earth,’' for this refers to the revealed worlds. And therefore the verse States אלקים ברא- His name. Elokim, is revealed.יצ However, the higher world alluded to in the word בראשית, which precedes material creation, remains concealed, and who created it is not specified, because it refers to the concealed higher world. The lower world is revealed, so that the deeds of the Holy One blessed be He always comprise two planes - hidden and revealed. This is the mystery of the Holy Name, which is both hidden and revealed. The intention is to show that everything in the revealed world is preceded by. and depends on, the higher world, their source.169

55 Note that this name signifies the attribute of limiting and diminishing the

Infinite Light (the Or Ein S0J) so that a physical world can exist. Zohar, iniinue v    ,    ,    מאמך,See Introduction.

Midrash HaNe'elam, Noach, דור המבול ion

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1:2 הארץ היתה תהו ובהו - The earth was inconceivably void

of Tohu.


God built worlds and destroyed them. He said, -‘These please Me, and those do not please Me.'”7 The verse. --God created the heaven and the earth," refers to those worlds which pleased the Holy One blessed be He whereas, regarding those worlds which did not please the Holy One blessed be He the verse states, “The earth was inconceivably void.” Some maintain that He did not actually build them, but only thought about building them. This is the world

(Hashmatot to section 29 in Zohar vol. 1, 262b)

At those times when the Jewish religion is threatened, if a person does not martyr his soul, his life, or his possessions out of love of his Master, it is as if he reverted the entire world to an inconceivably void state. For this reason, this verse follows the verse, “In the beginning, God created. . .

(Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction, 10b)

1:2 ורוח אלהים מרחפת על פני המים - The Sovereignty of God hovers over the surface of the waters:

The previous verse, “the earth was inconceivably void. . . refers to an era prior to our time, for this is the rule with kelipah - negative forces which block the Divine Light - they precede the light, just as a peel or a shell precedes the fruit.170 171 “The Sovereignty of God hovers over the surface of the waters” - this is the spirit of Mashiach (the Messiah) which hovers over the waters of Torah, and this is immediately

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followed by the redemption, alluded to in the following verse: God said, “There shall be light.״

(Hashmatot si man 29 - Zohar vol. I, 263a)

ורוח אלקים - “The Sovereignty of God hovers”: This refers to the spirit of Mashiach - the Messiah50 - of which the verse states, “And the spirit of God will rest upon him” (Yeshayahu 11:2).

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 26, 71b)

Each day of the Holy One blessed be He equals one thousand years.172 173 Now the verse states פני המים in the plural, literally, “the facets of the waters,” signifying two facets of Torah - positive commandments and negative commandments, which are called white (corresponding to chesed - kindness), and red (corresponding to gevurah - severity or limitation. See Introduction), or right and left.174 And the two thousand years of Mashiach are alluded to in the verse, “God said, "There shall be light,' and there was light.” This does not contradict the previous explanation, for “the Sovereignty of God hovers refers to the era prior to the eternal Kingdom of God. i.e. to the two thousand years of Torah, before the sovereignty of God is properly established. The final era, when the Kingdom of God will be fully established, will be ushered in by Mashiach. This is referred to in the verse, “God said, ‘There shall be light,’ and there was light.”

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 36, 77b)

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1:3 ויאמר אלקים - God said

Our Sages explain that the world was created by means of Asarah Ma'amarot (ten utterancesf2 as mentioned previously. This section of the Zohar explains the correlation between the Asarah Ma amarot and the

Aseret Hadibrot (Ten Commandments)

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught: Regarding the gifts which the heads of the tribes of Israel donated to the Mishkan the verse states עשרה עשרה הכף — i;each incense bowl weighed ten sanctuary shekels*‘ (Bamidbar 7:86). Why עשרה עשרה twice, literally, **ten ten?” Once, to allude to the work of creation, and once to allude to the Torah. There are ten utterances in the creation of the world, and corresponding to them, ten utterances in the Torah — the ten commandments, which God communicated to the Jewish people. What does this tell us? That the world was created for the sake of Torah, and as long as the Jewish people occupy themselves with Torah, the world will continue to exist. But if the Jewish people abandon Torah, the verse declares, “If not for My Covenant i.e. the Torah,175 176 I would not have set day and night, and the bounds of heaven and earth.” (Yirmeyahu 33:25, Rashi).

The Zohar now explains how the ten utterances parallel the Ten Commandments The first commandment, instructing us to have faith in God, States: I am the Lord your God. . . .” (Shemot 20:2ff). Regarding creation the verse states: “There shall be light, and there was light.”177 From the verse ה, אורי וישעי ממי אירא - “God is my light and salvation, whom

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shall 1 fear?” (Tehillim 27:1), we learn that faith in the Holy One blessed be He is also called “light”. Hence, light and faith in God. the first commandment, correspond.

It is written in the second commandment: “You shall have no Other Gods before Me,” and the corresponding verse regarding creation states, “There shall be a firmament between the waters, and it shall divide between water and water.”

“There shall be a firmament,” refers to the Jewish people who are part of God Above (Iyov 31:2),178 for they are attached to that plane which is called שמים (Heaven, or firmament).

“Between the waters,” - among the words of Torah which is called water, as our Sages explain.179

“And it i.e. the Jewish people, shall divide between water and water” - between the Holy One blessed be He who is called “the Source of Living Water” (Yirmeyahu 2:13),180 and false deities which are called “broken wells” (Yirmeyahu ibid) containing bitter, putrid and Stagnant water. . . . Thus, the division between water and water is dependent on the Jewish people learning Torah.

The third commandment states: “Do not take the name of God in vain,” and the third utterance of creation states: “The waters below the firmament shall be gathered into one place. . . Do not cause a separation in the unity of the waters, referring to the Shechinah - the indwelling Divine Presence181 by uttering a false oath.

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The fourth commandment states: “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy,” and regarding creation, the fourth utterance states, “The earth shall sprout vegetation. . . When does the earth become fertile and become covered with vegetation? On the Sabbath, when the bride i.e. the Sabbath unites with the King - the Holy One blessed be He.182 This brings forth vegetation and blessing for the world. Every weekday provides its food by virtue of the blessing it receives from the Sabbath.183 This was also witnessed in the manna which came down only during the week, but by virtue of the Sabbath.184

The fifth commandment states: “Honor your father and mother,” and regarding creation, the fifth utterance states, “There shall be luminaries in the expanse of the sky. . . .” This means that the luminaries are your father and mother - the sun is your father, and the moon your mother, alluding to the Holy One blessed be He your father, as the verse states, “For the sun and its sheath are God, the Lord”185 (Tehillim 84:12). The verse makes an association between God -who is the ultimate source of all 4‘light״ - in the sense of Divine revelation - and the sun, the source of physical light. And the moon refers to Knesset Yisrael the collective soul of the Jewish people, as the verse States regarding Israel, “Your moon shall never disappear” (Yeshayahu 60:20). Although the Zohar does not state this explicitly, it appears that the intention here is that our ”father and mother' (God, and the collective Jewish soul) are honored by the Torah which the Jewish people learn in this world, as our Sages explain, “There is no honor other than Torah.”186

The sixth commandment states: “Do not murder,” and regarding creation, the sixth utterance states, “The waters shall teem with living creatures.” Do not kill a man, who is also called “a living creature”

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(Bereishit 2:7). And do not be like fish, the larger of which swallows the smaller.

The seventh commandment states: “Do not commit adultery,״ and regarding creation, the seventh utterance states, "The earth shall bring forth living creatures. . . .in their species." From this we learn that a man should not approach a woman who is not his soul-mate. For this reason the verse states, ‘‘in their species." For a woman must not bear children from one who is not her "species" i.e. her soul mate.

The eighth commandment states: “Do not steal," and regarding creation, the eighth utterance states, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth.’' i.e. that which I have given you, and allowed you to use, is yours. Do not steal that which belongs to someone else.

The ninth commandment states: “Do not testify as a false witness, and regarding creation the ninth utterance states, “We shall make man with Our image, of Our likeness.’’ Do not testify falsely against one who bears the Divine image. And if one testifies falsely, it is as if he blasphemed.

The tenth commandment states: “Do not be envious of your neighbor’s wife. . . .” and regarding creation the tenth utterance states, “It is not good that man is alone. I will make him a helper to match him.” This refers to each person’s soul-mate who matches him perfectly. Flence, “Do not be envious of your neighbor’s wife. .

These are the ten utterances of creation, which parallel the Ten Commandments, and therefore the verse states, עשרה עשרה הכף -“Each incense bowl weighed ten sanctuary shekels,” for they weigh the same, and by virtue of this the world survives and maintains

equilibrium----

ד    (Zohar    vol.    Ill, llbff)

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1:3 ויאמר אלקים יהי אור - God said, “There shall be light’’

Rabbi Chiyya taught: The Holy One blessed be He foresaw that the world could not exist without a foundation. What is the foundation of the world? A Tzaddik74 a saint, or righteous person as is stated in the verse, “A Tzaddik is the foundation of the world.” (Mishiei 6:25). And a Tzaddik is referred to as 4‘light”, as the verse affirms, “Light is sown for the righteous” (Tehillim 96:11). Also, this may be learned by comparing the next verse, “God saw that the light was good׳,” with another verse which states, “Praise the Tzaddik, for he is good.” (Yeshayahu 3:10). This is the second of Rabbi YishmaePs rules of expounding the Torah, by which an identical expression appearing in two verses shows an inherent link between them.

(Zohar Chadash, Bereishit 7b)

“There shall be light”: This refers to the light which the Holy One blessed be He created before He created the world. ... It is the light which He revealed to Adam, by which he was able to view the beginning of the world to its end.187 188 And this is the same light which the Holy One blessed be He revealed to King David, and he praised God and said, “How great is the good which you have concealed for those who fear You” (Tehillim 31:20). And this is the same light which the Holy One blessed be He revealed to Moshe Rabbeinu, by which he saw from one end of the land of Israel, Gilead, until the other end, Dan. But God foresaw that there would be three generations of sinners; the generation of Enosh who began serving idolatry,189 the generation of the flood, about whom the verse states, “The world was corrupt before God, and the land was filled with immorality (Bereishit 6:9), and the generation which built the Tower of Babel.190 Therefore He concealed this light, so that they would not be able to utilize it;

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but He allowed it to be used for Vloshe during the first three months after his birth, as the verse states, **And his mother hid him for three months. (Shemot 2:2). Moshe was born three months premature, and thus, for three months, his mother managed to evade Pharaoh's decree that all newborn boys were to be cast into the Nile (Shemol 1:22). Since he was shrouded in this light, which the wicked are not able to use. he remained invisible. After this, when Moshe was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, who found him floating in a box in the Nile, and was taken to Pharaoh's palace,7* this light was withdrawn until he stood on Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Then it was returned to him״7־ and he used it throughout his life.

(Zohar vol. I. 31b)

1:3 ־־ יהי אור ויהי אור There shall be light, and there was light

Wherever the word ויהי (“there was”) appears, it alludes to this world and the World to Come.80 יהי אור - “There shall be light” in this world; ויהי אור “There was light.” Was - because it was subsequently hidden, as explained above - to be revealed81 in the World to Come. (See also commentary to the next verse).

(Zohar vol. I, 30b, 31 b)

Rabbi Yose said: This light was completely concealed, and will only be revealed to the righteous in the World to Come, as the verse states, “Light is sown for the righteous” (Tehillim 97:11). Rabbi Yehudah said: Had it been completely concealed, the world would not continue to exist for even one moment. However, it is concealed and sown like a seed which produces plants which in turn generate more seed and more plants. In this way the world is sustained. Not a day passes without some of this light being emitted

ll III clZo! 34229 ff. - Moshe's face shone with a brilliant light.

79.    See Shemot 3 .    |(J    {Q Come, see Introduction.

80.    Regarding the concept of the

81.SeeZoAflrvol.I,p45b;vol.1n־P^a

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(Zohar vol. II, 148b ff)


to the world so that it can continue to exist. And this is how the Holy One blessed be He nourishes the world. In every place that Torah is studied at night, a thread of this light is drawn down upon those who study it.

1:4 וירא אלקים את האור כי טוב - God saw that the light was good

This light shone, and illuminated the world from one end to the other, and through it the world was created, But the Holy One blessed be He foresaw that in the future there would be wicked people, so He concealed it in the World to Come for the righteous. Now you may ask, “Since He was going to conceal it, why did He create it?” And the answer is, that He utilized it in creating the world. And even today, although it is concealed, the world exists by virtue of it. Anyone who achieves understanding of the secrets of Torah, i.e. the wisdom of Kabbalah, will attain this light, as is written, “And the Torah is light” (Mishlei 6:23), and it is also written, וירא אלקים את האור כי טוב - “God saw that the light was good.” The words “that the light [was good]את האור - ״^ Hebrew - has the numerical value of 613: 200 = ר ;6 = ו;1 = א;5 = ה ;400 = ת ;1 = א. This corresponds to the number of mitzvdt (commandments) in the Torah (613 altogether) and therefore alludes to the Torah, which is the concealed light.

(Zohar Chadash, Bereishit 8a)

1:4 ויבדל אלקים בין האור ובין החשך - God separated the light from the darkness

Rabbi Bunn asked: What is the meaning of the verse יוצר אור ובורא חשך - “He formed light and created darkness”191 i.e. why does the word “formed” apply to the light, but the word “created7’ apply to the darkness? He answered: Light has substance, and therefore it is appropriate to talk about forming the light, whereas darkness has no substance.

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and therefore it is called created. The English equivalents do not express the difference between בריאה and יצירה. The former refers to the creation ex nihilo of a primordial substance, or chomer hiyu/i. sometimes translated as ”ether” (see discourse of Rabbi Abba, above. Ramban s commentary on Bereishit 1:1). whereas the latter refers to the mere formation of existing matter. Thus the verse states, uHe formed mountains, and created the wind.” (Amos 4:13).

(Zohar vol. 1. 263 a - Hashmatot. si man 31)

“From the darkness” refers to false prophets whom the Holy One blessed be He separated from the true prophets - “the light.” As explained above, “light” alludes to the righteous.

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 40, 80a)

The Holy One blessed be He separated good synonymous with light - as this verse itself affirms, “God saw that the light was good״ - from evil which is synonymous with dark - “and so God separated the light from the darkness ” This is the secret of the curtain in the Mishkan or Tabernacle, which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Mishkan. See Shemot 26:33.

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 67, 98b)

302a.


115. See Zohar I, 45b.


4. See Shabbat 55 a, Rashi.


to Come, see Introduction.


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1:5 ויקרא אלקים לאור יום ולחשך קרא לילה - God named the light “Day” and the darkness He named “Night”

The following section of the Zohar explains that the secret of Divine Providence, which is fundamental to Jewish thought, is contained in this verse. When one witnesses events that have no rational explanation - know that nothing is incidental God oversees every detail of creation, and everything is known, foreseen and planned Moreover, each thing achieves its proper spiritual level192 As an example of this, the Zohar explains why Yitzchak (Isaac) became blind in his old age. whereas A vraham (A braham) retained his sight

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught: It is written “God named the light “Day,” and the darkness He named “Night.” Come and see193 from this verse that all the deeds of the Holy One blessed be He are absolute truth, and contain supernal secrets. Moreover, every word of the Torah can be relied upon absolutely, and every word is fully illuminated with supernal secrets. The narratives of the Torah are not intended to merely narrate historical events, but rather to reveal Divine secrets.194 The Torah informs us that with age, Yitzchak became blind (See Bereishil 27:1). Rabbi Shimon asks, was Yitzchak less worthy than Avraham, who did not become blind? How could this have happened? Yitzchak was a “pure offering” and a perfect saint, hence it was certainly not sin that caused him to become blind.195 However this is a supernal secret, a secret of faith which is contained in the secret of the verse, “God named the light ‘Day.’“ This alludes to Avraham whose light grows, and shines, and becomes stronger just like the light of day. We see this association of Avraham with dawn and progression of day from the verse, “Avraham rose early in the morning196 - to serve God. Therefore, the verse states, “And Avraham was old, advancing in days” (Bereishit 24:1) i.e. advancing in the illuminating light. And he became old, in the sense of “Shining more, and more, until the height of day.” (Mishlei 4:18). This is the meaning of the verse, “God named the

98


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light ‘Day i.e. He named the attribute to which Avraham cleaved “day”. And therefore, Avraham retained his sight. “And the darkness He named 'Night’“ This is the attribute of Yitzchak. night, which becomes progressively darker. The association of deepening night with Yitzchak is seen in the verse, “And Yitzchak went out to the fields toward evening, to pray.״ (Bereishit 24:63). For Yitzchak's type of Divine service is practiced at night. Therefore, when he became old, it is written, “When Yitzchak grew old, sight faded from his eyes” (Bereishit 27:1). This is the proper situation — that Yitzchak should become blind by cleaving to his


attribute. Hence, the more Yitzchak cleaved to his attribute, the darker his vision became. And therefore “And the darkness - the attribute to which Yitzchak cleaved - He named ‘Night.’״


(Zohar vol. I. 141a ff)


1:5 ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד - There was evening, and there was morning, one day


Rabbi Yehudah taught: Why is it that regarding each day of creation the Torah states, “There was evening, and there was morning?” This is to inform us that there is no night without day, and no day without night. Moreover, they are not called one until they are combined. Hence, it is not proper to view them as separate entities. Since darkness and night generally allude to severity and evil, whereas light and day generally allude to kindness and goodness, as explained previously. Rabbi Yehudah teaches that one should not therefore conclude that there are two divinities.88 Rabbi Yose explained that the light which was produced on the first day accompanies all the days of creation; therefore, “There was evening, and there was morning” is written on each occasion. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai explained that this teaches us that the first day accompanied all the other days, and all the other days are contained in the first day, to show that there is no division in the


89

Holy One blessed be He.


(Zohar /, 46a)


88.    Ziv HaZohar.

89.    cf. Bereishit Rabbah


3:8; Rashi, Bereishit


1:4.


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- ויאמר אלקים יהי רקיע בתוך המים ויבדל בין מים למים 1:6

And God said: There shall be a sky in the midst of the waters, and it shall separate between water and water

Rabbi Yose bar Chalafta said to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, “Why isn't the phrase, ‘that it was good' mentioned on the second day,” in stark contrast to all the other days of creation where It is mentioned? He replied, “because the work was not completed on the second day, and something that is unfinished is imperfect, and therefore cannot be called good. But when it was completed on the third day, the verses197 198 state, “it was good” twice, the first time corresponding to the completion of the work of the second day, and the second for the completion of the work of the third day.9'

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 9a)

Once, when they were traveling through the desert, Rabbi Yitzchak said to Rabbi Elazar, “I would like to ask you one question. . . . Would it not have been preferable for the Torah to state, ‘and God saw that it was good’ before the act of creation, because by saying it after the act, there is an implication the He did not know prior to the act what the nature of the act would be, what form it would take, and its benefit? But when the act was completed, it implies that God examined it, and only then declared that it was good, as is written, ‘and He saw,’ and only then does it state, ‘and it was good!”’ Rabbi Elazar replied, “This should be interpreted homiletically - as a lesson to man, as Rabbi Yehudah explained: When a person learns the work of creation, regarding each day’s work, he should not ask ‘why was this action done in this way, and in this form, whereas another was done in a different way?’ For he has been told why: ‘God saw that it was good’ to do so in that way! Furthermore, this is also a warning and an instruction to man regarding the proper way to comport oneself: The nature and benefit of an act is known and revealed to Him before it is

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performed, and yet He did not wish to declare that it was good before it was finished. Similarly, it is not proper for a person to praise a thing until it is completed, for something may be found deficient, and then he will be regarded as a fraud.

(Midrash HaNe ,elam, Zohar Chadash 12d)

1:9 יקוו המים מתחת השמים אל מקום אחד - The waters beneath the heaven shall be gathered into one place, that the dry land may appear

In the commentaries this verse is treated allegorically. Since the entire creation was brought into being for the sake of the Jewish People and for the sake of the Torah, the entire process of creation can be viewed from this perspective

The Holy One blessed be He wished to give the Torah to the nations of the world199 200 in order to rectify the “shattering of the vessels״ of Tohu (see Introduction), by giving them the commandment of circumcision. This would have provided the necessary basis for the revelation of the Torah,201 but they refused to accept it. Thus, the earth remained desolate and parched — devoid of Torah, which is compared to water. . . • This is the meaning of “The waters beneath the heaven shall be gathered into one place, that the dry land may appear.” “The waters shall be gathered” - this is the Torah.202 “Into one place” - this refers to the Jewish People, for the souls of Israel are drawn from that place of which it states, “Blessed is God from His place” (Yechezkel 3:12).

{Zohar I, 25a)

Rabbi Tanchum began interpreting this verse on the basis of another verse: “The Tzaddik (a righteous, saintly individual) perishes, and no

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man takes it to heart. Men of kindness are removed, and none understand that the Tzaddik has been withdrawn because of the evil to come” (Yeshayahu 57:1)- here we learn that when the Holy One blessed be He looks at the world and sees that man is not worthy, and there are many wicked people around in the world, then He passes judgment upon the world. Rabbi Tanchum added: The Holy One blessed be He made the generation like a body and soul. Rabbi Yitzchak asked, “How so?” He replied: As in this case - Tzaddikim (plural of Tzaddik) are the soul, and the unworthy are the body. When the Holy One blessed be He looks at the world and sees that man is not worthy. He removes the soul, and the body remains as putrid flesh. What does He remove? He removes the souls of the righteous, and the body of the unworthy remain. This is the meaning of, “The waters shall be gathered” - these are the righteous, who are withdrawn to their world, “into one place” - the place that is set aside for them because of their elevated spiritual level. When they have been gathered in to the World to Come (Paradise) then “the dry land appears” - these are the wicked who are without good deeds to their credit, and they are left without anyone to protect and shield them.

(Midrash HaNe’elam, Zohar Chadash 12c)

־־ תדשא הארץ דשא עשב מזריע זרע עץ פרי עשה פרי למינו 1:14

The earth shall sprout vegetation, plants bearing seed, and fruit trees, each producing its own kind of fruit

Rabbi Yitzchak began his discourse with the following verse: “Awake, O north wind, and come, south wind. Blow upon my garden, so that its spices flow forth. Let my Beloved come into His garden, and eat its choicest fruits (Shir HaShintn 4:16). In another section of the Zohar, this verse is interpreted as follows: The 44north (tzafon) wind” refers to the holiest sacrifices which were performed in the north of the Temple Courtyard. These correspond to self-judgment of the hidden depths (izfunei) of one s heart. The 44south wind” refers to the peace-offerings which were performed in the south of the Temple Courtyard, and correspond to a person’s 203

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faith in God, which brings his divine service to completion. ־־Spices" refers to the incense, and corresponds to joy. The Holy One blessed be He delights in these offerings and comes into His garden to partake of these - its choicest fruits. Rabbi Yitzchak then quoted the interpretation of Rabbi Abohu who said: A person204 must reflect to a great extent upon his deeds, the “fruits” mentioned above, and examine them daily to ensure that they are the choicest of fruits) because the Holy One blessed be He gave him a holy soul by virtue of which he can come to know and recognize his Creator, and gaze upon the wondrous deeds He does every day.

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 13a)

יהי מארת ברקיע השמים להבדיל בין היום ובין הלילה 1:14

There shall be luminaries in the expanse of the sky to separate between the day and the night

(Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 44)


“Luminaries” in the plural refers to the Written Torah and the Oral Torah, which reveal the light of God, thus separating between day (good) and night (evil).205

1:16 את שני המארת הגדלים את המאור הגדול לממשלת היום, ואת המאור הקטן לממשלת הלילה - The two great luminaries, the greater luminary to reign by day, and the lesser luminary to reign by night

Why does the verse refer to the sun and moon as the great luminaries, but subsequently refer to them as the “greater luminary” and the “lesser luminary?” Rabbi Yitzchak said: The Holy One blessed be He made the luminaries and placed them in the sky so that they could reign over earth, and be used by the created beings. When He created them.

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He created them equal - each of them was a luminary - the light of the moon was equal to that of the sun. But the moon said to the Holy One blessed be He "It is not proper for You to use9" two equal crowns.” What did the Holy One blessed be He do? He reduced206 207 the light of the moon, so that its light is no longer equal to that of the sun. The explanation is as follows: God's intention in creating the world was that He should come to be revealed to His creation.208 However, this divine revelation (referred to here as the “crown”209) can come about in two ways:210 1) God reveals Himself to man in this world by way of the Divine light which transcends creation. Technically, this refers to Zeir Anpin,211 which is symbolized by the sun; and 2) God reveals Himself to man through the light which He used in creating the world, and which was later concealed.212 Technically, this refers to malchut, which is symbolized by the moon.213 Initially, both forms of revelation were equal.214 However, the moon argued that this situation is untenable, for if the revelation of God on earth would equal that of the higher worlds, evil could not exist, and man would have no free choice between good and evil, and he would be unable to achieve recognition of God by his own efforts.215 Accordingly, the revelation of God within creation must be reduced drastically, so that the moon has no light of its own.216 This argument is accepted,217 and the situation which allows for the existence of evil is achieved by the vessels of the world of Tohu shattering.

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causing sparks ot holiness to become embedded within creation.218 219 The revelation of God now comes about by way of extricating these holy sparks from their entanglement in evil, and by refining and elevating them. When the process of retining has been completed, then Malchut will be equal to Zeir Anpin, as will be explained below.

The Zohar now continues. . . . Rabbi Yose, the son of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakunya came to visit his son-in-law. Rabbi Elazar, the son of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Rabbi Yose's daughter came out to greet him. She took his hands and kissed them. He said to her, “Go and humble yourself before your husband. Rabbi Elazar. for he is a holy man. Rabbi Elazar overheard this and commented, “This reminds me of a valuable teaching regarding the moon: We learned that the Holy One blessed be He told the moon to go and reduce itself. The Zohar thus indicates that the relationship of a husband and wife is a reflection of spiritual dynamics, and fulfills God's purpose in creation.

(Midrash HaNe'elam, Zohar Chadash 14a)

This verse alludes to the commandment to give charity: “The greater luminary” is the secret of the wealthy, and “the lesser luminary is the secret of the poor. Just as the moon borrows from the sun, and has no light other than that which it is given by the sun, so too, the indwelling Divine Presence (the Shechinah) says to the Jewish People, “Borrow from Me - give charity generously220 221 222 - and I will repay you. This is also the explanation of why Joshua received his gift of prophecy from Moses,"4 as it is said1'5 Moses’ face was like the

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(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 44)


sun, and Joshua's face - like the moon. Similarly, all the prophets compared with Moses are like the moon and planets before the sun, for they have no light of their own — only that which they receive from the sun as we see clearly regarding the seventy elders who received their spirit of prophecy from Moses.110

1:17 להאיר על הארץ - To give light on earth

Rabbi Yitzchak said: It is written, “The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun; the light of the sun shall be sevenfold the light of seven days” (Yeshayahu 30:26). Rabbi Yitzchak now asks: Which “seven days” are these? He answers: The seven days of creation. According to this view, the verse from Yeshayahu explains that the light of the moon which will be revealed in the future223 224 will equal the light of the sun now, whereas the light of the sun will be seven times greater than the light which was revealed during the seven days of creation. Accordingly, the moon will still be subservient to the sun. However, Rabbi Yehudah said: This refers to the seven days of inauguration (מילואים) of the First Temple. Accordingly, in the future, the light of the moon will equal the light of the sun, and both will be sevenfold the light that was revealed during the inauguration of the First Temple. Accordingly, the moon will not need to receive its light from the sun, for it too will be a luminary. The Zohar continues: Certainly the verse refers to the seven days of inauguration, for then the world will be completely rectified and the moon will return to its fullness without blemish, just as it was in the days of the First Temple.225 226 (Note that the word מילואים literally means “fulfillment”). And when will this be? At the time of which it is written, “He will destroy death forever” (Yeshayahu 25:8) and life will be eternal. Of that time it is also written, “On that day God will be One and His Name One” (Zechariah 14:9).'19

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(Zohar I, 34a)

1:20 ישרצו המים שרץ - The waters shall teem with living creatures

{Zohar I, 34a)


Rabbi Elazar said: This refers to the waters below i.e., waters in the literal sense of the word, referring to rivers and seas, which teem with species of living creatures, just like the spiritual waters above which teem with the souls of those types of righteous tzaddikim who are called גוני ימא- “fish of the sea/'227 because they are always united with their Source Above, and because their ways are hidden from man, just like those below - fish, which are totally enveloped in their medium, which is the source of their life,228 and are thus hidden from man. Rabbi Chiyya said: The upper waters brought forth a living soul — in the singular. Accordingly, it must refer to one specific soul. Which is this? This is the soul of Adam, as it is written, ‘229Man became a living soul” (Bereishit 2:7).

Since the world was created for the sake of the Jewish People and the Torah, as explained above, there is a necessary correspondence between the commandments of the Torah and the Ten Utterances through which the

world was created}22

The preceding verses all allude to the relationship between man and God:230 “In the beginning,” corresponds to awe of God; “there shall be light, “corresponds to love of God; “the waters shall be gathered, “corresponds to acknowledging God and His dominion; “there shall be luminaries in the sky. . . .”corresponds to knowing that God is One. This verse, however, concerns man himself. Three commandments are alluded to in the verse, “The waters shall teem with living creatures” - 1) To occupy oneself with Torah; 2) To concern oneself with propagation; 3) To circumcise a male child on the eighth day, removing the foreskin.

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To occupy oneself with Torah: 231

This includes reviewing the written Torah, probing the Oral Torah (Talmud) deeply, and daily increasing one's practical knowledge (Mishnah), reviewing it over and over so that nothing will be forgotten. In this way, the bidding of our Sages232 233 to divide one's learning into three parts -Scripture, Talmud and Mishnah - is fulfilled. In addition to rectifying one’s nefesh and ruach, the two lowest levels of the soul through acquiring awe of heaven and fulfilling the commandments, when a person occupies himself with Torah, he acquires another, higher level of soul - the holy neshama,126 as is written, “the waters shall teem” - i.e. shall give birth to a living soul, the literal translation of נפש חיה, a soul with holy life-force, as stated in the verse, ‘‘But you who cleave to the Lord your God - you are all alive today” (Devarim 4:4). For when a person does not occupy himself with Torah, he does not acquire a holy soul, and supernal holiness does not rest upon him. However, when he does strive in Torah, he merits a living soul, and becomes as exalted as the holy angels. . . .

To concern oneself with propagation:

Everyone who concerns himself with propagation as the verse states, “Be fertile and produce many offspring” (Bereishit 1:28) causes that river - the outflow of divine energy from above234 - to flow constantly and Steadily,235 SO that the sea — the reservoir of divine energy assigned to animate this world236 - becomes filled from all sides - i.e., to animate the worlds, and to produce new souls which were originally part of Adam, but split off from him due to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge.237 These now issue forth from that Tree ־־ the Tree of Life.238 Many angels are produced above, together with these holy souls, in order to protect them from harm. This is the meaning of the verse, “the waters shall teem with living

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creatures״ - it refers to the holy covenant - when the commandment of circumcision has been fulfilled, the river flows forth, and its waters increase, generating a multitude of these living souls which are then drawn down to those who are worthy of them. . . . But one who withholds himself from being fertile and multiplying - it is as if he reduces the Divine Image, which includes all images - the image in which man was created239 - and does not allow that river of Divine energy to flow downward, thus blemishing every aspect of the holy covenant240 -regarding both the life-force of the worlds, and the generation of new souls in this world.241

To circumcise on the eighth day:

The third precept alluded to in this verse is the commandment to circumcise a boy on the eighth day, thus removing the defilement of the foreskin, for the sake of the living soul which is the eighth level -the attribute of binah when counting from malchut upwards.242 That SOU I which derives from it - from the attribute of binah - must ascend to this level on the eighth day, since it is the eighth level, in order to drive away the forces of evil and externality, and allow the soul to receive its full illumination from this level.... This is the meaning of, “the waters shall teem with living creatures....” - the waters of holy seed will be imprinted with the image of the living soul.

(Zohar I, 12b-13a)

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1:20 ועוף יעופף על הארץ על פני רקיע השמים - And flying things which flitter about over the earth, in the expanse of the sky

“And flying things which flitter about over the earth” - these are the supernal messengers (angels) which are revealed in human form to man. This is understood from the fact that "over the earth” is written, implying that there are others which are not revealed in human form, but only in ethereal form, according to human comprehension. For this reason, here “the various kinds of winged birds” is not written in regard to them, whereas it is written in regard to others, in the following verse (1:21). The two verses therefore refer to two categories of angels: “The various kinds” refers to those angels which never change -these were created on the fifth day - whereas the Others, regarding whom it is not written, “the various kinds” are created for the necessities of the moment, as supernal messengers, etc.243

(.Zohar I, 34a)

1:21 את התנינם הגדלים - The great water-creatures

Rabbi Shimon said: This is the secret of the leviathan and its mate. However, the word התנינם is written in the defective form (i.e., instead of התנינים), because the Holy One blessed be He killed the female and removed it, and set it aside for the righteous. The explanation is as follows:244 245 The leviathan and its mate have their root in extremely elevated levels of holiness, and are called “great” because they are the first to receive the divine energy flowing from the uppermost levels of the sefirot.m Elsewhere246

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in a concealed way - and it began to have continuity. However, since Godliness was now concealed, “there was darkness upon the surface of the depths”247 (Bereishit 1:2) for the limited and measured light which could be received by the creation did not illuminate the darkness until the words, 44There shall be light” were uttered.


we learn that this refers to the greatest among the righteous. Moreover, the righteous are referred to as **leviathan” because this word signifies unification and integration248 in the Oneness of God. However, this comprises two aspects, corresponding to the male and female leviathan - merging into the Oneness of God Above, and manifesting this Oneness in the world below.249 250 However, it was God's intention that man have free choice, and achieve self-surrender and communion with Him by his own choice, and not as the result of divine 44compulsion.42זיי Accordingly, the Holy One blessed be He killed the female, thus preventing the righteous from openly manifesting His Oneness in the world. If one asks why then were they both created in the first place, the answer is that the female (i.e., the revelation of God below, through His righteous ones) was not killed in the usual sense of the word, but was simply elevated to a level which does not influence man below.251 The Zohar now continues: Until the Holy One blessed be He killed the female (in the sense mentioned above), “the earth was inconceivably void,”252 i.e., void of divine revelation - because the 4‘vessels” (recipients) of the tremendous revelation of God revealed below by the female aspect of the leviathan, could not contain the revelation and shattered.253 254 But after He killed it, it is referred to as Bohuub - which can be read as a compound word בו הוא (bo hu) - “He (God) is within it,”255 albeit

(Zohar//. 34a־b)

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1:24 תוצא הארץ נפש חיה למינה - The earth shall bring forth living creatures, each according to its kind

Rabbi Abba said: From the words נפש חיה (literally *living soul,” in the singular, rather than in the plural) you see that all souls in the world above initially incorporate both male and female. But when they issue forth, i.e., when they are born into this world, they go as either male or female, and then go their separate ways - the male soul in a male body, and the female soul in a female body.256 If they are worthy, they will unite in marriage. Then the female soul is referred to as the man’s S0ul־mate, and they join together to form a single unit in every way - soul and body. This is the meaning of the verse, **The earth shall bring forth למינה נפש חיה” - literally, “living soul each according to its kind.” What does “each according to its kind” mean? That it unites with that soul with which it was originally coupled. And what is the meaning of “the earth shall bring forth” in the verse? The meaning is as another verse states: “I was constructed in the lowest parts of the earth” (Tehillim 139:1 5) — referring to the attribute of malchut,257° the lowest of the ten sefirot. The latter verse thus clearly parallels, “the earth shall bring forth,” for it from this attribute that the living soul issues forth. This we have explained, “the living soul” refers to the soul of Adam. Due to Adam and Eve’s sin of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which brought evil into the world and caused separation where none existed before,258 when souls issue forth from above, the male and female aspects become separated — until the Holy One blessed be He sees fit to reunify them. However, this depends on the person himself. If he is worthy, his soul-mate is given to him. If not, they are separated, and she is given to another man, and they give birth to children who are not fitting.

(Zohar III, 43 b)

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1:26 נעשה אדם בצלמנו כדמותנו - We shall make man with Our image, of Our likeness

The Zohar explains why the plural form "we " is mentioned only in regard

to the creation of man “We shall make man”: After each workman (each of the sefirot) had completed its work, the Holy One blessed be He said to them, 44I have one more activity to do, which requires the participation of all of us. All of you join together, each one of you doing your part, and I will join in and give My part - his soul.” This is the meaning of the verse, 44We shall make man with our image, of our likeness.”259 Image (tzelem) is the human mold of the man’s physical form, which links his body and his soul. This mold derives from the configuration of the sefirot. The likeness (demut) of man refers to the soul clothed in the body, which reflects the Atzmut, or Infinite Light (Or Ein Sof), which illuminates the sefirot.260 Our Sages explain that 44man” refers only to Israel, as it is written, 44But you, My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God...

(Yechezkel 34:31). That is, only those to whom I am God are men, but not idolators.261 And therefore 4‘Israel rejoices in his Maker” (Tehillim 149:2) - meaning that everyone who is of the seed of Israel should rejoice in the joy of God who delights in His dwelling in the lower physical worlds, which become a vessels for His Oneness through His people.262

(Raya Mehemna - Zohar HI, 238b)

Rabbi Abohu began explaining the words, “with Our image, of Our likeness,” by citing another verse, “What is man, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You pay attention to him? Yet You made him little less than the angels!”263 (Tehillim 8:5-6).

Rabbi Tanchum said: The words, “We shall make----” can be explained

as follows: When the Holy One blessed be He decided to create man,

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He consulted with the angels which surround His throne, and said to them, “Shall we make man?” They replied: “Master of the Universe, what is he worth? What is man, that You are mindful of him?”

Another interpretation of “We shall make man”: Rabbi Buta said in the name of Rabbi Bo: We reviewed the entire Torah, and did not find anywhere that the Holy One blessed be He took counsel with the angels regarding any matter which He intended doing. Moreover, we find that none among them, whether above i.e. the angels of the higher worlds, or below i.e., the angels of the lower worlds can grasp the intention of the Holy One blessed be He. When they run to comprehend as the verse states, 'The Chayot (a category of angels) ran”

(Yechezkel 1:14) - they immediately retreat from their perception, as the verse continues, "and returned” like a fledgling bird which tries to fly, but drops back to its original place.264 So too, the angels make every effort to comprehend God's intentions, but to no avail, until they return to their own level and declare, “Blessed is God from His place” (ibid. 3:12). Accordingly, “We shall make man" cannot mean that God took counsel with the angels.

Rabbi Buta cites a further proof that the verse cannot mean that God took

counsel: We find that the Holy One blessed be He created the first

light (i.e., the light which was created from the utterance, “there shall be light,”

not from the utterance “there shall be luminaries”), and from it He created

everything else that serves Him.265 Now, since He did not take

counsel with the first light He created, when He wanted to produce

all the other hosts of heaven from it, how much more so would He

have no need to take counsel when creating man, who is regarded as a mere

puff of air, as verse 2:7 below states, “God. . . . blew into his nostrils a living soul.”

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RabbiYitzchak said: Leave Rabbi Buta alone i.e.. do not challenge his words, for he lives together with the masters of the baraita^9 - i.c.. he is on their level. Rabbi Buta replied: 1 am not worthy of living together with them, but this question is theirs,266 267 and we have also heard an answer to it - Rabbi Bo said: This is comparable to a king who rules over everyone in his kingdom. He wished to show that all are included in him, and he is everything, as our Sages declare, ‘־the leader of the generation is (like) the entire generation.’*268 Thus when he refers to himself he does so in the plural - the royal “we*’ - “We shall/' So too regarding the Holy One blessed be He. Since He wanted to show that the entire world is His, and everything is under His dominion, He spoke in the plural in regard to Himself, thus demonstrating that He is everything.

Rabbi Yitzchak said: If I would have heard this from on high, and not from Rabbi Bo, I would have said that it is a good answer. However, as it is, it does not satisfy me, for although this could be the case, there is no proof that it is in fact so.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai came to Tiberias to purify the market place of spiritual impurity.269 When Rabbi Pinchas, Rabbi Bo, and RabbiYitzchak saw him, they said, “How long do we have to sit in one spot, without being able to move?” They did not wish to proceed in their studies until they had answered this question to the satisfaction of all of them. “One of the masters of the Mishnah, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, is here,” they said. “Let’s ask him.”

Then Rabbi Abohu arrived. He said to Rabbi Shimon, “If we do not receive an answer to the question regarding this verse, there is an opening for heretics to claim that there are two dominions.”

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Rabbi Shimon said: It is written, 4‘Hear, deaf ones, and look, blind ones, that you may see*’ (Yeshayahu 42:18). Did the Torah really address itself to the blind and the deaf? No, this is not the versed intention. Rather “blind ones’' refers to those who are blind in Torah, for they have a straight path before them, and yet they blunder about in crooked ways like the blind, and do not get to the root of the matter. We have learned this verse, aWe shall make man,” as follows: When the Holy One blessed be He created the world, initially everything was water; and from water He developed the world. He made three craftsmen to do His work in this world -heaven, earth, and water. With these. He created everything in this world. He bid each of these three to produce the creations that were necessary for the world. He bid water to produce earth from beneath it, and commanded the waters to gather into one place so that dry land should appear. I he water did as it was commanded as it is written: “The waters shall be gathered. . . {Bereishit 1:9).

He then called upon the earth to produce its creations - animals and living creatures, and so on as it is written, “The earth shall bring forth living creatures, each according to its kind” (ibid. 1:24), which it immediately did.

He then called upon the heavens to make a separation between the upper water and the lower water, which it immediately did, as it is written, “God positioned the sky so that it separated the water below the sky from the water above in the sky״ (ibid. 1:7).

He then called upon the earth to produce vegetation, plants, crops and orchards. What is written immediately afterwards? “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants bearing their own kind of seed----”(ibid. 1:12).

He then called upon the heavens saying, “There shall be luminaries and lights i.e. stars suspended within you to illuminate the earth, as it is written, “There shall be luminaries in the expanse of the sky” (ibid. 1:14). He also called upon the water to produce

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swarms of fish and birds and their like, as it is written, “The waters shall teem with living creatures” (ibid. 1:20). Thus, it was by way of these three - the heavens, the earth, and water, that He wrought the entire creation, each thing according to its type - i.e., some are sky creatures, some are earth creatures and some are water creatures.

With the advent of the sixth day on which man was created all three elements sky, earth and water were ready to continue producing creatures at God's command, as on the previous days. But the Holy One blessed be He said to them, 44None of you is able to produce this creature man alone. All of you must unite, and I too will join you. Together, 44We shall make man,” for even all of you together cannot create him on your own. His body will be the product of all three of you, and his soul, Mine.” Therefore, when the Holy One blessed be He called upon them to create man. He said, 44We shall make man,” 1 and you. I will provide the soul, and you, the body. And so it was — the body is composed of these three, the 44craftsmen” of creation, and the Holy One blessed be He gave the soul, thus joining with them in creating him.

(Midrash HaNe ,elam, Zohar Chadash 16a־b)

44We shall make man with our image, of our likeness” - so that he will incorporate six sides — the six directions of space: north, south, west, east, up and down.; One hand to the north, the other to the south; his head above, his feet below; his face to the east and his back to the west270which include everything, matching those Above ־־־ the six sefirot of ze '/> anpin in the world of Atzilut. And for this reason man is called “Adam” (0י(אד since he is like (דומה) the One Above.271 Thus, his 248 limbs will be arrayed in the mystery of chochmah, entirely according to the supernal order. Two explanations of “the mystery of chochmah” may be given: 1) The 248 limbs of the human body correspond to the 248 positive

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commandments.272 273 which are referred to in the Zohar166 as the “248 limbs of the King.״ When a person fulfills the commandments, his physical body becomes a vehicle for God’s Supreme Will vested in the commandments274 of the Torah which is called chochmah 2) The 248 limbs of the human body correspond to the 248 letters of the first paragraph of the Shemci prayer,275 276 so that when he recites it with the proper concentration and intention, he merges his physical being, as well as his soul, into the unity of God. This ability to nullify oneself and meree into the unity of God is also referred to as “the mystery of chochmah

“We shall make man” - this is the mystery of male and female as verse 27 below states, “male and female He created them" with all holy supernal wisdom in such a way that man is able to partake of the Godliness which is manifested in this holy supernal wisdom277 for Godliness resides only where there is completeness and perfection,278 and man must therefore incorporate both male and female aspects.

“With our image, of our likeness”: So that one complements the Other — again, image (tze/em) is the human mold of the man’s physical form, which links his body and his soul, and derives from the configuration of the sefirot. Likeness (demut) refers to the soul clothed in the body, which reflects the Infinite Light (Or Ein Sof), which illuminates the sefirot.279 Thus “image” complements “likeness,” for it makes manifest the Infinite Light which illuminates the sefirot Accordingly, man is unique in the world, for only he has this quality, and therefore the ability to reveal the Oneness of God in this world, “One within one.”280 And so he was given dominion over everything, as our verse continues and informs us that man “shall rule over the fish. ... the birds. ... the animals, and over all the earth” by virtue of the fact that He partakes of the Divine Image and Likeness.

(Zohar I, p. 47a)

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7 he following section explains that although the utterance through which man was created is similar in structure to the utterances w hich brought the

rest of creation into being, it must, nevertheless, be interpreted differently.

It is written, “God said, 4We shall make man with our image, of our likeness, and they shall rule. . . The chevrayct (Rabbi Shimon's circle of disciples and colleagues) requested clarification of the verse: It is clear that the Holy One blessed be He spoke to His supernal Hosts, and took counsel with them regarding the creation of man, like a king among his courtiers. However, we wish to clarify whether this verse, concerning the creation of man, is the secret of the higher worlds where the Name Elokim is known as Elokitn Chaim - the Living God, technically, the sefirah of binah - i.e., the mystery of the higher world, or whether the Name Elokim here is the mystery of the lower world — technically, the sefirah of ma/chut i.e.. the Divine power through which the world was created and continues to exist.281 Nevertheless, mat chut “has no light of its own״ - its light is entirely from the nine sefirot above it,282 283 and it is therefore termed a “female״ or receptive, attribute. Accordingly, how must we understand the words “We shall make man. . . on each level?

Rabbi Shimon answers: In fact, the entire matter may be explained according to one mystical teaching. Man comprises all aspects, and this is his secret, which derives from the mystical secret of the Name Elokim, and not from any of the other Divine Names. Note that the Divine Names do not denote different “personages״ (in which case there would be plurality in God, which is absolutely anathema to Judaism), but different actions or activities, as the Midrash176 explains: “I am called according to My deeds.״ And this is why it subsequently states, “Elokim created man with His image - with the image of Elokim He created him” (1:27). Now, why does the verse repeat the words “with His image”. . . . “with the image?” What are these two images? The explanation is this: One signifies the male aspect of man, and the other, the female

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aspect of man. . . .'7״ יWith His image" signifies the male aspect reir anpin and “with the image of God," the female aspect, malchut. (Because malchut '־has no light of its own" - its light is entirely from the nine sefirot above it284 285 it is therefore termed a "female" or receptive, attribute). As we explained previously, the "image" (tzelem) of man is the human mold of his physical form, which links his body and soul. Since the purpose of the tzelem is to link two complete opposites, the soul and the body, it must have some affinity to each of them. This is the reason for the verse alluding to two images - “With His image’’ - the higher world; “with the image of God” - the lower world. The verse thus continues and states. "Male and female He created them." Nevertheless, at this stage, they form a single unit although later on these two aspect are divided as we will see in the commentary to verses 2:21-22.

(Midrash HaNe ’elam, Zohar Chadash p. 73b־c)

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The following extract also discusses the subject dealt with in the previous selection. but from a more technical point of view. Note that this extract interprets the words נעשה אדם as a question - “Shall we make man?”

Regarding the creation of man. it is appropriate to cite the verse “God S secret is for those who fear Him'' (Tchillim 25:14) - for this secret is revealed to only very few.170 A hoary-headed elder286 287 addressed Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai: “Shimon, Shimon!288 Who is it that said, 'We shall make man?' Doesn't the verse state, 'And Elokim'*289 said. . . .?’just like all the other verses describing creation, and therefore the verse should presumably have said, “I shall make man,” or. “Let Me make man.” in the singular, who is the “us” to whom the verse refers here?” The one who posed the question290 disappeared, and Rabbi Shimon could not see him. As soon as Rabbi Shimon heard that he had been addressed as “Shimon,” and not as “Rabbi Shimon,” he said to his colleagues: “Without doubt it was the Holy One blessed be He who just spoke, for of Him it is said, 'The Ancient One sat. . . .’“ (Daniel 7:9). God is referred to as ‘4the Ancient One” or “the Ancient of Days” because He precedes and transcends all of creation.291 He “sat” is a metaphor for God's revelation of Himself to the righteous, as the verse (Tehillim 113:6) states, “Who lowers Himself to reveal Himself in the heavens and on earth.”292 Thus, Rabbi Shimon had just experienced a divine revelation of a very elevated level. Rabbi Shimon continues: Now is the time to reveal the secret of the verse, “We shall make man,” for this is undoubtedly a secret which we did not have permission to reveal until now. But now since the question has

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been raised from on High it appears that permission has been granted to reveal it. It is obvious that the question was addressed to Rabbi Shimon so that

he could clarify the matter to his students, not because the answer was not known

. , 186 Above.

Rabbi Shimon begins explaining by way of a parable: A king had many buildings to construct. He had a workman who would do nothing without the king's permission, as the verse states, “I was a faithful worker at His side”293 294 295 (Mishlei 8:30). He now explains that the parable may be interpreted in two ways: The ”king” denotes supernal chochmah Ha ’ah,m which is also referred to as Abba - '*father/’ and also signifies the middle column, ze ir anpin (the six sefirot from chesed to yesod) - called the king below. The Name Elokim296 (אלקים) is the supernal “workman” in the parable, signifying imah ila ah also referred to as binah - “mother.״ However the Name Elokim also signifies a workman below, which is the Shechinah (malchut) - Godliness revealed within creation. Thus, just as there are two interpretations of the "king” in the parable, chochmah and ze'ir anpin, so too there are are two interpretations of the "workman:” the name Elokim - imah. and Shechinah. The relationship between them is this: Chochmah's "workman” is binah-imah, whereas ze ,ir anpin's "workman” is Shechinah-ma/chut.297

Now we can understand the two questions addressed to Rabbi Shimon by the elder who disappeared. The first question was this: All of the utterances through which creation came into being begin with the same words, "And Elokim said. . .

- indicating a "communication” or transfer of divine energy from the king to the workman, i.e., from abba (chochmah) to imah (binah). However, the verse, "We shall make man,” implies that the king himself (abba-chochmah) also participated in the work, which seems inappropriate. This is what the elder asked: Who is it that said, "We shall make man?” It cannot have been abba-chochmah, for this level does not participate in the actual work of creation.191 Who then does "we” refer to?

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1 he second question was this: All instances of the Name E/okim mentioned throughout the creation signify imah-binah. However, this cannot be the intention here, since the soul of man does not derive from this level, but from the union of ze ir anpin and ma/chut Accordingly, what does the Name, Elokim signify here?

Rabbi Shimon answered by way of the parable of a king who wished to construct a palace using the skills of his workman. He points out that the parable may be interpreted on two levels - as the relationship between abba and imah - a king and his workman above, in the higher worlds; or as the relationship between ze ir anpin and malchut - a king and his workman in the lower worlds. He now clarifies the parable to his disciples:

A woman may not do anything without her husband's permission.298 299 The relationship between the sefirot may be compared to the relationship between a husband and wife. Thus, in our allegory, binah "asks chochmah. The entire construction of the uppermost world, the world of Atzilut,m was by abba “saying” to imah - i.e.. the transfer of divine energy from abba to imah, referred to by our Sages as an 'utterance'300c It shall be like this or like that.” Once the command was given by abba to imah (once the energy had been transferred) it was immediately actualized in imah, in the world of Atzilut. There is no separation between the level of chochmah-abba, and its actualization301 302 in the level of binah-imah.]CH> This is why the verse states. . . . “There shall be light,” and immediately, “there was light.” Rabbi Shimon now explains that the words ויאמר אלקים mean that He — signifying chochmah, Spoke to Elokim signifying binah, the builder,303 saying, “There shall be light,” and this was immediately actualized in binah. So too regarding the construction of the entire Atzilut. He said, “There shall be a sky,” “There shall be luminaries,” and these immediately came into being. All of the above applies to the world of Atzilut, which is suffused with God’s Oneness,304 and in

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which there is no separation between thought and deed, between potential and actuality.

However, when it came to the creation of the world of separation, i.e.,

the world of Beriah and further down,305 306 307 where the Oneness of God is not

manifested in a revealed way, it is not the king who commands the workman,

but the workman who asks the king, “Shall we make man with our

image, of OUT likeness?'’ - in the image and likeness of Atzilut? This is in

clear contrast to the creation up until this point, for until now the Torah has dealt

only with the world of Atzilut, where divine energy is transferred from abba to

imma. without any separation between them, and therefore the expression of

plurality, ‘־Shall we/' has no place. Moreover, we see here that the workman

speaks to the king, whereas in Atzilut, the king spoke to the workman. Thus the

creation of man signifies a new stage - the world of beriah, where God’s

Oneness is not manifested in a revealed way, allowing for the possibility of ,• 200 separation.

The king - chochmah of Atzilut - replied, “It is certainly a good thing to create man. but he will sin against you in the future, for he is a fool, as it is written, 'A wise son (zeir anpin of Atzilut) makes his father happy, and a foolish son {zeir anpin of Beriah) is the grief of his mother' (binah of Beriah) (Mishlei 10:1). Accordingly, it is better not to create him.”

But she {binah of Atzilut) replied: “Since his sin concerns only his mother — for repentance is on the level of binah201 - and not his father, as the words, “the grief of his mother (exclusively)” imply, I wish to create him in the world of Beriah with my image only, as it is written, “And Elokim created man with his image. . . (below, 1:27), without abba participating.

Accordingly, as regards the latter level the world of Beriah it does not have image {tzelem), that which links his body and his soul, deriving from the configuration of the sefirot; and likeness {demut) - the soul as it reflect the

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Infinite Light (Or Ein Sof). which illuminates the sefirot,308 but only image, as we see from verse 27: "Elokim created man with his image - with the image of Elokim, He created him." Male and female he created them."

(Zohar /, 22a-b)

1:26 בצלמנו כדמותנו - With Our image, of Our likeness

The ninth commandment309־ as listed in the Introduction to the Zohar, is to show the poor grace, and provide for their needs, as it is written, “We shall make man with our image, of our likeness.” Thus, man is commanded to emulate his Creator and strive to reflect His image and likeness, based on the verse, “You shall go in His ways״ (Devarim 28:9; 11:22). Sifri (Eikev) explains, “Just as the Holy One blessed be He is called *Gracious,’ you should be gracious; just as the Holy One blessed be He is called ‘Righteous.’ you should be righteous. Expounding the verse, “Follow the Lord your God. . . . (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara310 derives the practical implication of this concept: "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One blessed be He: Just as He clothes the naked. ... so should you; just as He visits the sick. ... so should you. . . .״

(Zohar I, 13 b)


“With our image” - refers to the wealthy, since the Holy One blessed be He endowed man with the human mold (the tze/em) which derives from the ten sefirot, and by virtue of which he is human. However, “of our likeness” refers to the poor - because we have not been granted the revelation of the Infinite Light which illuminates the sefirot (the demut), as we deduce from the following verse, “God created man with His image.” - with His image, but not of His likeness. Rather, the latter level must be earned, by eliciting it from Above through the practical performance of the precepts. This is called charity, for the tzelem. which is connected to the human body, endows the demut with a revelation of Infinite Light.

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Man was also311 created through the Torah, as it is written, “God said, 'We shall make man’” - the Holy One blessed be He said to the Torah, “I wish to create man.” But the Torah replied, “Man will in the future sin and anger You. If You are not tolerant and forgiving, how will he continue to exist?” Then He said, '312 313I and you together will support and sustain him - not for nothing am 1 called erech cipayim206 tolerant. Rabbi Chiyya said, 44The Written Torah and the Oral Torah establish man in this world, as it is written 4We shall make man with our likeness referring to the written Torah, which is on the level of zeir anpin of our image - the Oral Torah, male hut.544207

Rabbi Yose said, 4'From this we understand why the verse states, 4that which has already been done by them' (Kohe/et 2:12) is in the plural, for this refers to image (tze/em) and likeness (demut). 44Image” -the male aspect; 44likeness'’ - the female aspect. And therefore, the Torah begins with the letter ב — which is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and has the numerical equivalent of 2, alluding to these two aspects, male and female.

(Zohar III, 35b)

1:27 ויברא אלקים את האדם בצלמו - God created man with His image

Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva were traveling together. Rabbi Akiva said, “My master, explain to me why after the verse, “We shall make man,” it does not state ויהי כן - “This immediately took place” or “and it was so?״ On all the other days of creation, when the Holy One blessed be He voiced one of the ten utterances through which the world was created314 it states right afterwards, “This immediately took place” or “and it was so.” Here, however, after it states, “We

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shall make man,” it is written “God created man. . . Shouldn't it have stated, “This immediately took place?”

“Akiva,” Rabbi Eliezer replied, “Is this the only instance throughout the creation where an utterance is not followed by the statement. “This immediately took place?’' Is it not written, “God said, 4There shall be sky between the waters. . . (above, 1:6) - and it does not subsequently state, 44This immediately took place,” but rather, 44God made the sky” (1:7). Similarly, regarding the utterance “There shall be luminaries in the expanse of the sky. . . . giving light upon the earth” (1:14-15), it should also have said, 44This immediately took place.” instead it is written 44God made the two great luminaries”-(1:16). However, this is to inform you that regarding anything which does not have the aspect of being emanated from Above, it states “This immediately took place,” for the earth brought them forth as soon as they had been completely formed, and there was no need to wait for an emanation from Above to complete its formation. But anything which the earth produced, whose existence was not complete, had to wait until the power from Above would establish it and complete it. So too here in our verse regarding man ־־ the earth produced whatever it could, and it remained that way until He gave what only He can give. For this reason the verse does not say right afterwards “This immediately took place,” for there was a delay until the Holy One blessed be He gave him life from above, thus bringing him into being.

(Midrash HaNe ,e/am, Zohar Chadash 16d)

The following selection explains the apparent contradiction between the Kvo verses, ״We shall make man with our image, of our likeness, ” and ״God created

man with His image. "

Rabbi Shimon the holy lamp asked Raya Mehemna315: Since verse 26 states, “We shall make man with our image. . . what is the

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meaning of what it states in verse 27. “God created man with His image?”316 317 318 He replied, “As the masters of the Talmud have explained it - some angels said, ‘Let him be created/ and others said ‘Let him not be created.' But the Holy One blessed be He alone, created him, as it states, ‘God created man with His image/ And He created him replete with all powers, i.e. embracing all the powers which derive from the ten sefirot. whereas each angel derives from one sefirah only and He set him to rule over everything. Had each one of the angels granted man the aspect which each of them possessed, had they become angry with him, each of them would have taken back his aspect. However, the Holy One blessed be He created man with His image, which is the holy attribute of malchut,2" which is the representation of all of the nine sefirot which precede it, because all of them pour their light into malchut212 Regarding it the verse states, “At the image of God he gazes” (Bamidbar 12:8 - referring to Moses). For it was upon this image which God Himself gazed and then created the world, together with all the creations in the universe. And He included the higher worlds and the lower worlds within it, without any separation at all. It is that which binds all together, and is the completion of everything, and through it is fulfilled, “His kingdom malchuto, a derivative of the word malchut is over all dominions” (Tehillim 103:19).

Rabbi Shimon said: “Certainly no one can remove his aspect from man, for no created being gave him anything. Rather, he was created by the First Cause alone.319 And upon Him alone does man’s reward and punishment depend,320 not on any of the categories of angels. For this reason the masters of the Talmud have said that one who mentions the Name of Heaven in conjunction with something

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else is uprooted from the world.21’ Happy is the lot of he who makes every effort in this final exile to cleave to the holy Shechmah, to give the Divine Presence honor by fulfilling the mitzvot. He experiences distress, but nevertheless remain faithful to God.

(Raya Mehemna - Zohar III, 238b; Hashmatot 252a)

1:28 ויאמר להם אלקים פרו ורבו - God said to them: Be fertile and produce many offspring

This is a commandment to occupy oneself in this world with producing offspring; that is, to give birth to descendants who will fulfill the task of spreading the knowledge of God's Holy Name in every direction (for this is the purpose of man's existence321 322) by gathering souls from their source above and bringing them down to this world. In this way, the glory of God is revealed both Above and below. Conversely, anyone who does not occupy himself with this precept reduces the image (tzelem - the divine mold which connects his soul and body) of his Master, by preventing it from being manifested in this world. Thus he prevents the Shechinah the immanent revelation of Godliness within this world from

tzelem.


dwelling in this world. For according to the increase in souls in this world, so is the honor of the King increased, as it is written, “In the multitude of people is the King’s glory, but in the lack of people is the downfall of the prince” (Mishlei 14:28). “The King’s glory” is drawn down into this world as divine radiance when this commandment is fulfilled, whereas “the downfall of the prince” indicates a reduction of the King’s tzelem in this world, and also Above. This divine radiance does not descend when conception is avoided or prevented, and one who does this (who avoids or prevents conception) is regarded as if having spilled blood.323 Therefore, man is obligated to occupy himself with producing offspring in order to manifest the Divine

(Raya Mehemna - Zohar I, Hashmatot para. 38)

190. Su/am. 191 .Sulam.


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1:31 וירא אלקים את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאד - God looked over all that He had made, and indeed it was very good

Rabbi Shimon said: The verse stales, ‘‘Everything that He had made," without qualification. This implies that everything is included in the statement - even snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes, and even those creatures which appear to be harmful for the world. Regarding all of them it is written, “and indeed it was very good.” All of them have their purpose in this world; and in the way this world is conducted, even though man is not aware of it, as the Zohcir states elsewhere,324 325 “the Holy One blessed be He did not create a single thing for nothing״. Moreover, *‘Everything which the Holy One blessed be He created. He created for His

1    -219

(Zoharlll, 107a)


glory.

Rabbi Akiva said: Everything which the Holy One blessed be He does is so that we can learn great wisdom from it, as it states, “All that God has made is for His sake” (Mishlei 16:4) - i.e., for the sake of knowing Him. This is the purpose of man’s existence,326 as explained previously. Rabbi Elazar derived this from our verse, as it is written, “God looked over all that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” What is the meaning of “very good?” That it is beneficial to learn supernal wisdom from it. Commentaries327 explain that by meditating on the infinite variety of created beings, as the verse states, “How manifold are Your works, O God״ (Tehillim 104: 24), and that each created being has its source in a higher spiritual level, and each higher level in turn, derives from an even higher level, and so on. As the verse states, “How great are Your Works O God” (Tehillim 92:6), a person can come to a deep appreciation and understanding of the Creator.328

(Zohar II, 15 b)

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The following extract gives two additional reasons for the words " very good. "

“And indeed it was very good" - “God saw that it was good" was not said on the second day of creation, because that is when death was created. However, this fact was now rectified, by the verse stating that “it was very good” - which refers to death, according to the interpretation of the chevrayci (Rabbi Shimon's group of colleagues and disciples). Accordingly, the statement "it was good." is appropriate for the second day as well, even though death was created on that day. because on the sixth day it was revealed that death is not only good, but very good.“‘3 Why SO? Because everyone knows that they will die eventually and return to dust. And many repent and return to their Master, and are afraid to sin before Him, due to the fear of death. Many fear the King because this strap hangs before them, and it makes them into good and upright people, and they mend their ways properly. Therefore, death is called very good.

The following secret, veiled in mystery, we learned from the “holy lamp” - Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai:329 330 “And indeed it was good” -this is the angel of life; “very good” - the angel of death, who is even more important than the angel of life.331 Why so? Because when the Holy One blessed be He created the world, everything was created flawless before man, the king of this world, came along. When man was created, he was also established in the way of truth, as it is written, “God created man upright i.e., righteous, but they sought out many schemes” (Kohelet 7:29) - He made him untainted, but then man sinned, and was driven out of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). What is the Garden of Eden? Gan Eden on earth was among those things which the Holy One blessed be He planted, as it states (Bereishit 2:8): “The Lord God (ה׳ אלקים) planted a Garden in Eden of old.” “Planted” in this context may be understood metaphorically -signifying God’s instruction to Adam332 when He placed him in Gan Eden - “to

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work it and guard it” (ibid. 2:15), referring to the positive and negative commandments - ־*work it” and ־־guard it,” respectively,22 so that it would grow and produce fruits.333 334 He planted it with His complete Name ה, אלקים -the former of the two Names, the four-letter Tetragrammaton, signifies the eternal, transcendent revelation of God. incorporating past, present and future. The latter signifies the immanent revelation of God within creation,3359 so that Gan Eden on earth is like Gan Eden Above, in the higher worlds, since all the supernal formations of the sefirot in the higher worlds are also woven and depicted in Gan Eden below. That is where the Keruvim (*'cherubs” - a category of angels which guard the entrance to Gan Eden) are. Now these are not the man-made Keruvim on the Ark (see Shemot 25:18) formed of gold or of some other substance. Rather, they are all entirely supernal illuminations engraved and formed in a skillful interlacing of the letters of the complete Name of God. Everything i.e., every created being in the world below is engraved there. All forms and representations336 in this world are all depicted, engraved and carved out there, just the way are here below.337 Now this place Gan Eden is the dwelling place of holy souls, whether those which have already descended to this world, or those which do not descend to this world, as well as those which will descend to this world in the future. All of them are souls which are clothed in “garments” and “bodies” which have “countenances” just like in this world. Elsewhere,338 the Zohar explains that these "garments” and *'bodies” which have "countenances” are formed by the precepts a person performs in this world - they enwrap his soul before it enters Gan Eden. By virtue of this "body” or “garment” souls enter the Divine Presence and gaze upon the glory of their Master, until they descend to this world. As soon as they leave that place, in order to come to this world, those souls divest themselves of the “body” and “garment” of Gan Eden, and are clothed in a body and garment of this world — the physical body, regarding which it states, “You

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have clothed me in skin and flesh" (Job 10:11). They then make their dwelling in this world in this garment and body that comes from a putrid drop.339

When the time comes for the soul to leave this world, it does not depart until the angel of death strips off this garment and body of flesh and blood. As soon the body is stripped away from the soul by the angel of death, the soul is clothed in the other garment in Gan Eden, of which it was stripped when it descended to this world. The soul has no joy other than when it is in its spiritual garment in Gan Eden, and it delights in the fact that it has been stripped of the worldly body, to be clothed in the other complete body in Gan Eden By way of this spiritual body it goes and gazes upon the Divine Presence to learn the supernal mysteries, which it cannot know and gaze upon in this world in the physical body. Now when the soul becomes clothed in the spiritual garment of that world - Gan Eden - what pleasure and delight it has there. And who caused the soul to become clothed in its spiritual “body” in Gan Eden? The one which stripped it of the garments of this world - the angel of death. Accordingly, the angel of death is very good! The Holy One blessed be He does His creatures a kindness by not stripping man of his worldly garments until he has provided other better and more precious garments for himself in Gan Eden.

(Zohar 1, 47a;//. 149b150 ־a)

uGod looked over all that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” The words “looked over” imply that God saw that they were good only after He created them. Accordingly, we must ask did He not see them previously even before He created them? The answer is that of course the Holy One blessed be He saw everything before He created it and afterwards also. Nevertheless, the verse states, “God looked over all that He had made” to inform us that this includes all generations that would follow afterwards, as well as everything which would be brought anew into the world in every generation, even before they came into being in this world. “That He had made, in the past tense, refers to the

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entire work of the six days of creation - during these six days the foundations and roots of everything which would be brought into the world anew at some point in the future were already created. For •*there is absolutely nothing new under the sun" (Kohe/et 1:9). The basic foundations for everything which would ever exist were created during the six days of creation, and any apparently new being is simply a new combination of these basic elements, which were created by God according to Mis decision as to what would exist at any time in the future.‘34׳ For this reason, the Holy One, blessed it He, looked over the entire creation before it existed and prepared everything during the six days of creation.

(Zohar /, 47a)

Since the entire creation u•as for the sake of Israel and the Torah, the laws of nature may he suspended for them

Everything which the Holy One blessed be He created was created conditionally. On the first day He created the heavens on condition that they would raise the Prophet Elijah aloft in a whirlwind as he passed away from this world. So it was, as is written, “And Elijah soared aloft by a whirlwind into heaven” (II Melachim 2:11). On that same day He created light on condition that the sun would be completely obscured for three days during the plague of darkness which struck Egypt, as it is written, “And there was thick darkness upon all the land of Egypt for three days” (Shemot 10:22).

On the second day He created the firmament to divide between water and water. The Holy One blessed be He made this conditional; as long as water would also separate between spiritual impurity and purity. And so it was. . . .

On the third day, He brought forth dry land from the water, and gathered the waters together. From the waters which were gathered into one place He made the sea. But He made a pact with the sea that it would allow the Israelites to pass through on dry land and drown the Egyptians who tried to do likewise (Shemot 14:15 ff). So it was, as is written: “The sea returned in full force (לאיתנו)” (ibid. 14:27). 340

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Do not read “in full force” (לאיתנו) but, “to its pact” (לתנאו) which the Holy One blessed be He made with the work of creation. He also made a pact with the earth; that it would open up and swallow Korach and his entire company when they mutinied against Moses. So it was, as is written, “The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them. . . .” (Bamidbar 16:32).

On the fourth day He created the sun, the moon and the stars. He made a pact with the sun that it would stand still in the middle of the sky in the days of Joshua, as it is written, “And the sun stood still in the middle of the sky” (Yehoshua 10:13). He also made a pact with the stars to wage war against Sisera, as is written, “the stars in their course fought against Sisera” (Shoftim 5:20).

On the fifth day God created the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky. He made a pact with the birds that crows would feed Elijah when the land was wracked by drought and famine because rain and dew had not fallen for a long time as it is written, “I have commanded the ravens to sustain you there” (/ Melachim 17:5-6) “1 have commanded” in the past tense, i.e., at the beginning of creation. Likewise He made a pact with the fish of the sea that a fish would appear to swallow Jonah, and then spit him out (Yonah 2:1 ff).

On the sixth day He created man and made a pact with him that a woman would be formed from him who would provide for Elijah’s needs, as it is written, “See, I have commanded a widow there to provide you with food” (/ Melachim 17:9). “I have commanded” in the past tense - from the day the world was created! So too, regarding every event that takes place in the world - the Holy One blessed be He planned it from the day the world was created.

(Zohar II, 198b ff)

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1:31 יום הששי - The sixth day

What is different about the sixth day in that it states, 'the sixth day״ (

הששי), with a hei prefix (..ה), indicating the definite article, whereas on all the other days it does not state 44the first day. the second day, etc.?” Elsewhere,341 the Zohar explains that the letter hei represents the sefirah of male hut. i.e., the Divine power through which the world was created and continues to exist.342 343 Nevertheless, malchut "has no light of its own*’ - its light is entirely from the nine seflrot above it.2j7 It is therefore termed a ‘'female/‘ or receptive, attribute. Here on the sixth day, when the world was completed, the female pairs with the six male sefirot of zeir anpin to form one unit344 345 - hei with vav (the numerical value of v<7v is six, signifying the six sefirot of zeir cinpin). For this reason, the following verse (2:1) states, "The heavens (zeir anpin) and the earth (malchut). . . . were completed ( ויכולו).” They were completed to perfection and everything, i.e., all of creation, was now finished. The word ויכולו ("they were completed״) has three interpretations: The entire process of creation was finished, in such a way that each created being incorporated every other being, and in this way together they formed a perfect whole.2

(Zohar /, 47a)

Why does הששי have an additional hei indicating the definite article? Because wherever a hei is written it alludes to Knesset Yisrael, the collective souls of the Jewish people, which come to attach themselves to

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their “Husband, the Holy One blessed be He which takes place on the Sabbath day as will be explained further on.

(Zohar I, Hashmatot 257a)

2:1 ויכלו השמים והארץ וכל צבאם - The heavens and the earth and all their profusion were completed

The following extract interprets the word ויכולו as meaning "perfection

4The sixth day. ... the heavens and the earth. . . . were completed. The passive voice here implies that became complete automatically, with the conclusion of the process of creation. If you ask, doesn’t it state (below, 2:2) 44God completed the creation on the seventh day?'’ i.e., that they were not, in fact, complete until God completed them this is certainly the case for although all of the individual acts of creating the entire world were finished, the world as a whole was not perfect until the seventh day came. When the seventh day came, then all the work was complete and perfect, and with it - the Sabbath -the Holy One blessed be He perfected2 the universe. That is why it states, 44God completed His work on the seventh day.” Thus we learn that nothing in creation was perfect, even though it was complete, until God perfected it, since “You are the perfection of all things.”3

(Zohar II. 222b)

44Were completed” - the work above, of constructing the higher worlds, and the work below, of constructing the lower worlds, which arc called 44the heavens” and 44the earth” respectively was complete.4

Rabbi Shimon explained that the word 44heavens” alludes to the completion of the Written Torah;5 the word 44earth” alludes to the completion of the Oral Torah; and the words 44and all their profusion”

1.    See Or Yakar vol. 2, 94a

2.    Ibid. 97b    .    ״ ״    ,    .    ,

3.    See Patach E/iyahu, Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction: “אנת הוא שלימו דכלהו”.

5' ??־From the heavens He made you hear His voice” {Devarim 4:36).

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allude to the details of the Torah, the facets of the Torah, i.c., the accepted interpretations of the Torah, which are called “the seventy facets of the Torah.’’346 “Were completed״ - each established and perfected the Other, for the Oral Torah gives the explanation and instruction in the practical application of the Written Torah. “The heavens and the earth” - a specific case followed by a general rule,347 and just as when a specific case is followed by a general rule,348 the general rule embraces only that which is embraced by the specific case, so too, there is nothing on earth other than that which is in the heavens, and every thing on earth is merely a replica of what is found above in the heavens.349 “And all their profusion” - the secrets of

(Zohar I, 47b)


Torah.

The following extract also interprets the word ויכולו as meaning perfection

Rabbi Elazar began speaking: “How great is Your goodness which “You have set aside for those who fear You, which You have made for those who trust in You in the full view of other men” (Tehillim 31:20). See how the Holy One blessed be He created man in this world, and set him up in such a way that he can serve Him in every way, and make his ways just and righteous. All this is only out of His goodness so that man will merit the supernal light which the Holy One blessed be He concealed for the righteous,350 351 as it states, “No eye other than Yours has seen what God will do for those who wait for Him” (Yeshayahu 64:3, Commentaries). How will they merit this light? With the Torah, for everyone who applies himself to Torah-study daily will be worthy of receiving a portion in the World to Come. It will be regarded as if he had built the world, for the worlds were built and perfected through the Torah,"

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as it is written with reference to the Torah,12 4'God founded the earth with wisdom and established the heavens with understanding” (Mishiei 3:19). . . . and the more he strives in it, the more he perfects the world and sustains its existence. Rabbi Elazafs intention here is to explain that all the upper and lower worlds were created only for the sake of man. However, one may ask, “Is there a workman anywhere who builds vessels from many bars of iron only for the sake of a single pin?" Accordingly, Rabbi Elazar explains that the existence of the world is dependent upon man studying Torah and fulfilling the precepts, and therefore it is proper that the entire creation should be subject to his authority, as verse 1:27 states, “. . . . fill the earth and have dominion over her.” Thus. He created man with a number of superior qualities, which are not found in all the rest of creation: 1) God Himself participated in man's creation: ״We shall make man. . . .    2)    All    the    other

creatures were created in their species, whereas man was created uniquely single; 3) Man was created last, when everything else had been created, so that it would all be ready for him; 4) God created man with free choice, so that he is able to fulfill the purpose of his creation - to serve God of his own free will; 5) God commanded only man to make his ways just and righteous, and not any other creature.352 353

(Zohar I, 47a)

2:1 ויכל אלקים ביום השביעי מלאכתו אשר עשה - With the seventh day, God had completed all His work

Note that we have translated the word ביום as, ,,With the seventh day. ...” not as it is usually rendered: “On the seventh day. ..." or, By the seventh day. ,,The explanation follows.

(Zohar If 222b)


Grammatically, the letter ב can have several meanings: with, on, by, in. However, in our verse, the word ביום undoubtedly means, “With the seventh day, God had completed.” For, although each of the acts of creation were finished prior to the seventh day the existence of the world was not yet complete until the seventh day came. When the seventh day came, then all the acts of creation were completed. Thus the Holy One blessed be He perfected the world by way of the seventh day therefore the verse states, “With the seventh day....”

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2:3 ויברך אלקים את יום השביעי ויקדש אותו - God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it

Rabbi Yitzchak said: It is written here, “God blessed the seventh day,” and regarding the manna which descended from heaven during the Israelites' forty year journey through the desert, it is written, “Six days you shall gather it, but the seventh day is Sabbath. On it there will be none” (Shemot 16:26). Rabbi Yitzchak now asks: Since food was not found on that day, in what way is it blessed? Blessing does not reside on an empty table - there must be some vessel upon which the blessing can descend, as the Zohar explains below.354 He answers: We have learned as follows -all blessings above in the higher worlds and below in this world are dependent upon the seventh day, since 354the Divine Presence (the Shechinah) rests only where there is wholeness and completeness.”355 The seventh day is the completion and perfection of the entire process of creation, as we saw from the verses and commentary above. Why was no manna found on that day? Because all the six supernal days, i.e. the six attributes above, chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, referred to as *4supernal days,”356 are blessed by it, the final sefirah - malchut and each of them receives its sustenance down below in this world from the blessing with which the seventh day is blessed.

For this reason, a person of faith must set his table and prepare a meal for Friday night, so that his table will be blessed all six days of the coming week, for blessing is not found upon an empty table.357 Accordingly, one must set the table on Friday night with bread and food in order to draw down blessing for all six forthcoming days.

Rabbi Yitzchak said: One must set the table with bread and food on the Sabbath day also. According to both these opinions, setting the table elicits

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blessing trom Above,358 similar to the laying 01 the show-bread on the Golden Table in the Temple,359 360 not actually partaking of the meal."0

Rabbi Yehudah expressed a third view:361 One must delight in that day, and eat three Sabbath meals.362״ This view maintains that the Sabbath loaves are not like the show-bread - it is a mitzvah to eat them., as the verse states, ״. . . . and you shall call the Sabbath ־delight'” {Yeshayahu 58:13). The Sages of the Talmud explain that one delights in the Sabbath with food and drink.363 Why should one eat all three Sabbath meals? So that by way of that day, delight and plenty will be found in the world. . . . The Sages of the Talmud explain"364 that the amount of a person's bread and sustenance for the entire year is set on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, excluding that which he consumes on the Sabbath or Festivals, for the more he spends to provide for those days, the more he will be given. However, since the Sabbath is the source of blessing, the more he delights in the Sabbath, the more its blessing will flow plentifully into the week ahead. This is the meaning of ־*by way of that day, delight and plenty will be found in the world.”365

Rabbi Shimon said: As regards one who has three meals on the Sabbath - a voice comes out and announces,366 “Then you shall delight in God” - this refers to the first meal. ... “I will make you ride on the high places of the earth” - this refers to the second meal. ... “I will nourish you with the heritage of Yaakov (Jacob) your father” - this refers to the third meal. . . . For this reason, the Sabbath is more precious than any other time or Festival, for everything is found in it. This is not so at other times or Festivals.

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Said Rabbi Chiyya: For this reason, the seventh day is mentioned three times here (in verses 2-3): "With the seventh day, God had completed His work;’' ־־On the seventh day He refrained from all work;" “God blessed the seventh day."

(Zohar II, 88a)

The Zohar367 points out in several places that the verse (Shemot 20:11, 31:17) states, literally. "God made the heavens six days (׳׳ ,(ששת ימים and not "in six days (כששת ימים).” The verse therefore alludes to the six attributes, or sefirot368 above. The seventh day, the Sabbath,369 is the completion and culmination of all the days, and surpasses them all, for God’s Oneness is revealed on that day 370

Just as they the six supernal days, in the higher worlds merge above in the One and are nullified within the Infinite Light (the Or Ein So/)371 372 in absolute unity, SO she — the seventh sefirah, malchut of Atzi/ut32 - unites the six weekdays below in the lower worlds, by illuminating them from above with a radiance of Or Ein Sof, as the Sabbath day commences. Consequently all the workdays, and indeed, all the work that was done during those workdays, also become nullified and united373 in the mystery of oneness. The sparks of holiness which are imbedded within creation and have been elevated by using them for Torah and mitzvot during the six workdays, now become elevated in the mystery374 of oneness375 on the Sabbath day where no work is allowed. Through this lower level of unity, the lower worlds become elevated to the level of absolute unity, as in the higher worlds, SO as to be with them above — the days below are elevated to a higher level. Thus, the unity of the lower worlds,

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parallels the unity of the higher worlds.376 The Holy One blessed be He who is One above does not take His seat upon His Throne of Glory — this is a metaphor for God's revelation of Himself, as the verse (Tehillim 113:6) states '*Who lowers Himself to reveal Himself in the heavens and on earth.'377 ד his reters to His revelation in the lower worlds, which does not take place until she male hut, the seventh day - rises up and enters into the mystery of oneness, as the completion and consummation of creation, similar to His, so that oneness in the lower worlds corresponds to Oneness in the higher worlds. This, as we have stated,378 is the esoteric meaning of the verse: “God is One prior to creation and His Name the life-force which brings all of creation into being and sustains it379 380 381 is One (Zecharicih 14:9). The explanation of this follows:

The mystery of Shabbat is this: On the Sabbath she the seventh day, and the seventh sefirah, malchut40 is united within the mystery of Oneness, so that the supernal mystery of Oneness of the higher worlds may rest upon her. This takes place during the evening prayer of the Sabbath eve, for then the holy Throne of Glory - the life-force which brings all of creation into being and sustains it - merges into the mystery of Oneness, and is ready for the holy transcendent King to rest upon it ־־ i.e., for the transcendent revelation of God to be illuminate the lower worlds. As the Sabbath arrives, she merges into Oneness, and is separated from the “other side” - the side of unholiness, and all strict judgments are severed from her. She remains in unity with the holy light, and crowns herself with many crowns for the holy King. Then all powers of negativity4' and all adversaries flee from her and vanish, and no other power reigns in any of the worlds. Her countenance is

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irradiated with a supernal light, the light of chochmah, as the verse states, *ihe chochmah of a person illuminates his countenance” (Kohe/et 8:1). This illumination from chochmah is the revelation of God's Oneness, ־ which is now revealed because all the powers of severity and negativity, which prevented her from beine irradiated, have been removed382 383 and she crowns herself here below with the holy people, all of whom are crowned with new souls - the mystery of the additional soul384 which every Jew acquires on the Sabbath.

Then the commencement of the prayer is to bless her with joy and radiant countenance and say, 4'Bless God who is blessed” (ברכו את ה׳ המברך). The word את - indicating something in addition to the main subject - referring to the Sabbath eve. which is also blessed. 384Blessed is God who is blessed” (ברוך ה׳ המברך) is that which elicits the blessings from the source of life, and the place from which all Streams - the life-force which brings all the worlds into being, and illuminates all of the sefirot - issue forth to irrigate all things. And because it is the source, the mystery of the 384sign” the Sabbath is referred to as "an eternal sign” between God and the Jewish People385 it is called '4the blessed” (המברך). It is the stream of the wellspring the outflow of life-force from the Source Above into the worlds. And since they the blessings reach there, they all flow for all eternity. And this is the meaning of 384Blessed is God who is blessed for all eternity” (ברוך ה׳ המברך לעולם ועד).

(Zoharll, 135a-b)

God created seven supernal days,386 upon which He planted and built worlds, and that is why it is written states, literally, 384God made the heavens six days” (ששת ימים) {Shemot 20:11, 31:17), and not 384in six days” (בששת ימים). Corresponding to these seven supernal days He created seven righteous men - men of truth, who sustain these days and illuminate them - each corresponding to his supernal day. And He planted each one of these seven — in the generation that was

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fitting for him. They are the Forefathers of the world, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon and David. Note that these seven saintly men have been listed in chronological order. However, corresponding to the sefirot, the Zohar arranges them as follows: Avraham (chesed); Yitzchak (gevurah); Yaakov (liferel); Moshe (netzach); Aharon (hod); Yosef (yesod); David (malchut).

(Zohar Chadash, Toldot. 26c)

2:3 אשר ברא אלקים לעשות - which God had created to

do

Rabbi Yitzchak said: When all the work of creation had been completed, God blessed them each creation and prepared them for fulfilling their allotted tasks in the world. He commanded each and every one of them never to change that which it had been prepared for, from its appointed task. He further commanded each and every one of them to produce its proper offspring, from then onward for all times. This is the meaning of the verse, “which God had created to do” ־־ what does “to do” mean? To bring forth and produce according to its own type.

(Midrash HaNe ,e/am, Zohar Chadash 17a)

The Dynamics of Creation

2:4 אלה תולדות השמים והארץ בהבראם ביום עשרת ה׳ אלקים ארץ ושמים - These are the products of the heaven and the earth which were created on the day that God made earth and heaven

Rabbi Elazar said: The entire universe and all of its descendants were created in one moment, in one hour, in one day, as it is written “These are the products of the heaven and the earth which were created on the day that God made earth and heaven. On the very

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everything was created.


same day, and at the very same hour, and at the selfsame moment

(Midrash HaNe ,e/am, Zohar Chadash 2d)

Rabbi Yehudah bar Shalom said: On the very same day that heaven and earth were created, they produced their descendants, so that they were not deficient in any way. Although their descendants were only contained within them in potentia, as is clear from the continuation, nevertheless, whatever would be produced in the future was already '4built in’* to the creation from the very first day thereof - 44In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth" (above 1:1). This is implied by the verse, “These are the products of the heaven and the earth. . . When were these products created? “On the day that God made earth and heaven” - i.e., on the very same day, all the world’s necessities were created. Afterwards, at a later stage, they were revealed each creation on its appropriate day on each of the days of creation.

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 13d)

The following extract from the Zohar explains why the letter ה of בהבראם is smaller than the other letters of the same word

The entire universe was created with the letter hei (387-the final letter of the Tetragrammaton י־ה־ו-ה the sefirah of malchut,388 and by way of it the heavens, the earth, the seas and all living things which were created are sustained, as it is written “These are the products of the heaven and the earth which were created (בהבראם). . . . “i.e., ,־־ בה with the letter hei, He created them - בראם. And since the letter ה is the life-force of the worlds, if it becomes distanced from the world through man’s sin for even a moment, everything would be instantly destroyed and nullified, and the universe would cease to exist.

(Zohar III, p. 123a, Raya Mehemena)

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If not for the attribute of kindness (chesed) the world could not continue to exist, even for an hour, before the severities which are aroused by those who transgress the commandments of the Torah. This is the meaning of the verse, “These are the products of the heaven and the earth which were created (בהבראם) on the day.” Do not read בהבראם “which were created,” but, באברהם - “with Avraham.” The latter word has the identical letters of the former, but in a different order. For the world is sustained through the influence of Avraham. who personifies the attribute of chesed. When the attribute of Avraham is aroused in the world, all those severities. . . . are pushed away and cannot remain before him.

(Zohar III, 31a)

Rabbi Yochanan said: The Holy One blessed be He sealed a covenant with the world that He would create it only on condition that Avraham would live, and then the world could continue to exist in his merit as mentioned above, do not read the verse “which were created,” but, באברהם “with Avraham.” At the moment that He sealed the covenant with Avraham in fire, at the covenant between the pieces (Bereishit 15:9 ff), as the verse states, “there was a smoking furnace and a torch of fire which passed between the pieces״ (ibid. 15:17), at that moment the world became Stable. This is alluded to in the first word of the Torah n^KTDwhich may be broken down into two words which have the identical letters but in a different order ברית אש, “a covenant of fire.” God created the heavens and the earth so that the covenant of fire, which is the Torah, as the verse states, “From His right hand, a fiery law. . . .יי (Devarim 33:2) could be established. Elsewhere,389 our Sages explain that the era of Torah began with Avraham.

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 4d)

Before the Torah was given to the Jewish people, all creatures in the world were dependent upon the heavenly constellations (mazalot),390° even children, health and wealth.391 Essentially, the

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formations of the stars in constellations arc merely a physical manifestation of the various constellations of the sefirot which act as channels for the life-force of this world. However, after the Torah was given to the Jewish People, they were exempt from the influence of the stars and constellations as our Saees state391 392 explicitly *־Israel has no mazal." This we learn from Avraham, for his future descendants, i.e.. the Jewish People, received the ה from Avraham. Originally, Avraham's name was Avram (אכרם), but later God added the letter hei to his name, which thus became Avraham (אברהם) (see Bereishit 17:5). The letter hei has the numerical value of five, alluding to the five books of the Torah, for the Jewish People were given the Torah in the merit of Avraham.393 Regarding the Torah it states, “These are the products of the heaven and the earth which were created (. .(בהבראם בה׳ בראם - . - He created them with the letter hei. He said to Avraham, “Because of the hei which I will add to your name, the heavens, along with all the stars and constellations which shine by virtue of the letter hei, since the life-force of all creation flows from it. are beneath you, and have no influence upon you. . . .

For this reason, anyone who occupies himself with Torah-study is absolved from any influence of the stars and constellations as long as he studies it in order to fulfill its commandments. However, if he does not learn Torah in order to fulfill the commandments, it is as if he did not occupy himself with it at all, and the influence of the stars and constellations upon him is not nullified.

(Zohar III, 216b, Raya Mehemena)

- וכל שיח השדה טרם יהיה בארץ וכל עשב השדה טרם יצמח 2:5

All the trees of the forest were not yet upon the earth, and all the plants of the meadow had not yet sprouted

Rabbi Chagai asked Rabbi Dostai: It states “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants bearing their own kind of seed, and trees

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producing fruit, each with its own kind of seed within it” (above, 1:12). Since the earth brought forth trees and fruit, implying that it had already brought forth; what is the meaning of, “All the trees of the forest were not yet upon the earth, and all the plants of the meadow had not yet sprouted. . . .?”

This is indeed so,” Rabbi Dostai replied, *‘the earth brought forth trees and fruit, but they did not have the ability to propagate at that point in time. Why not? “For God had not brought rain upon the earth” (2:5), and there was no mist rising up from the earth (see 2:6). Had it been SO, i.e., if there was rain from above, and moisture rising from below, they - the trees and plants - would have had the power to propagate; but because rain had not yet fallen, etc. the earth did not have the power to produce plants and fruits.

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 13d)

The Purpose of Creation

2:5 ואדם אין לעבוד את האדמה - There was no man to work the ground

The following sections discuss the centraI role of man within creation

R Chiyya began speaking: “The blossoms are seen on the earth, the time of the song bird has come, and the sound of the turtledove is heard in our land” {Shir HaShirim 2: 12). “The blossoms are seen on the earth” - when the Holy One blessed be He created the world. He implanted in the world everything which was necessary for it to fulfill its function as a physical world, which could but still reveal Godliness.394 Everything was already on earth, but nothing brought forth progeny until man was created. As soon as man was created, everything was

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revealed in the world - the earth brought forth its fruits through the powers with which it was endowed.

Similarly, the heavens did not give potency i.e., rain and dew395 to the earth until man came along, as it is written, “All the trees of the forest were not yet upon the earth and all the plants of the meadow had not yet sprouted, for God has not yet brought rain upon the earth, and there was no man to work the ground.” All those progeny were concealed and not revealed, and the heavens were restrained from bestowing rain upon the earth, because “there was no man. . . .יי He was not there for he had not yet been created on earth, although his supernal form 4*the image and likeness of God” had already been created,396 and everything was held in suspension for that reason. As soon as man appeared, immediately “the blossoms are seen on the earth,” and all the concealed powers with which it was endowed became revealed. “The time of the song bird has come:” The activity of prayer (singing God’s praises) was established, which was not the case prior to the creation of man in this world.397 “The sound of the turtledove is heard in our land:” This refers to the words of the Holy One blessed be He i.e., the Torah,398 and the words of the Prophets399 which were not found in this world until man was created. As soon as man existed, everything was there.

(Zohar /, 97a)

Rabbi Abba said: Everything that was created in the entire universe was created only for man, and everything continues to exist only for his sake. Moreover, they were not revealed in the world even though they were needed by man, but were held in suspension until the one named “Adam” ־־ so named because he was created in the likeness (demut) of the One Above - came along. This is what is written in the

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first part of this verse, “All the trees of the forest were not yet upon the earth, and all the plants of the meadow had not yet sprouted״ because the supernal form the arrangement of the sefirot which are reflected in man400 had not yet appeared. This is why it states, “There was no man to work the ground״ - i.e., everything was held up until that form appeared on earth.

(Zohar III, 48a)

2:6 ואד יעלה מן הארץ - A mist rose up from the earth

Man s submission to God, particularly through prayer and the fulfillment of His commandments, is metaphorically viewed as a stream rising from man to God. Technically, this is called העלאת מ׳ץ - the elevation of the female waters. " The response from Above - i.e., the outflow of Divine benevolence, symbolized by ,,rain, " is called המשכת מ׳׳ד - the outflow of

״male waters. "

Why had God not yet brought rain upon the earth? Because the activity of “rising up from the earth” did not exist as yet. The response from Above, “rain,” is dependent upon the extent to which man seeks God. Accordingly, “from the earth,” means from the earth below as a result of man’s actions, the response is aroused Above. Come and see a practical example of this: Mist, i.e. water vapor (“female waters”) first rises up from the earth, and this stimulates the clouds. Afterwards, the two (water from below- mist, and water from above - the clouds) combine, forming a single unit - the cycle of mist-rain-mist, which is necessary for life on earth. And so it is Above - the awakening must begin from below, from man seeking God. This elicits the appropriate response from Above, bringing the entire process to its consummation.

(Zohar /,35a)

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2:7 וייצר ה׳ אלקים את האדם עפר מן האדמה - The Lord God formed man of dust of the earth

וייצר has twoyuds because God created man with two inclinations:401 the yetzer hatov, the altruistic inclination to do good and to fulfill God's will the side of life, and the yetzer hara, the side of death. When misused, it turns into a self-seeking, and ultimately self-destructive impulse to do evil.402 403

(Zohar I, 27a;///, 46a)

וייצר with two yuds indicates that only now was man complete, having both right and left. This means that he was given a yetzer tov from the moment that he was created. Now, since the verse states וייצר ה׳ אלקים this indicates the he was endowed with a yetzer hara as well. The yetzer tov and yetzer hara are indicated by left and right, as the verse states, “A wise man’s heart is on his right side, and a fool’s heart is on his left*’ (Kohelet 10:2). Elsewhere the Zoharb} and the Midrash404 explain that this refers to the yetzer tov and the yetzer hara respectively.405 The Zohar now asks: Why does man need two yetzersl It answers: The yetzer tov is for himself — it urges him to serve his Creator and gain entry into the World to Come,406 and the yetzer hara for the sake of his wife, as our Sages state: *‘If not for the yetzer hara, a man would not build a home or marry a wife. . . .”407

(Zohar I, 49a)

“The Lord God formed man” - this refers to Israel - i.e., the Jewish people.408 At that time the Holy One blessed be He endowed

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them with the torn! of this world and the form of the World to Come. For this reason, the word וייצר has two yuds; one signifying this world, the other signifying the World to Come.

(Zohar I, 26a)

Happy is the lot of the Jewish People, more than any other nation, for when God created the world. He did so only for the sake of Israel. For they would accept the Torah on Mount Sinai, after all the other nations of the world had refused it.409 At that time they would become completely purified,410 411 and be found righteous before Him.

Come and see what can be deduced from our verse: When the creation of this world was completed with the creation of the Jewish People, so that the lower worlds were just like the higher worlds, as the Midrash71 states '‘God desired a dwelling place in the lower worlds in exactly the same way as in the higher worlds. For this reason Fie created man, a composite of body and soul, so that although man was placed on earth, his spiritual stature reached the highest levels of heaven - thus man contains all levels, from the very׳ highest to the very lowest.412 God wanted to grant the Jewish People with perfection by endowing them with a holy soul from above and a body from below,413 so that they would unite and bind with one another -the soul with the body, and the body with the soul.414 This is the meaning of the verse “The Lord God formed (וייצר) man of dust of the earth, the lowest possible level, and blew into his nostrils a living soul” - the highest possible level, for the soul is “part of God Above” (Iyov 31:2). They — the soul and the body - would bond with one another, and thus be complete as Above, where the Infinite Light is contained in vessels like a soul to a body. Thus he would be able to perfect himself by fulfilling the commandments,415 which is possible only as a soul within a body.416

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For this reason He created him male and female (see above, 1:27) so that he would be complete. For when is a man complete with the wholeness which is found Above? When he unites joyfully with his willing soul-mate and they produce a son and daughter.416 417 Then man is whole just as Above, for he and his wife correspond to abba (chochmah) and imah (binah) above, and their son and daughter correspond to the six sefirot of zeir anpin (ben) and the sefirah of mat chut (bat) respectively, thus forming a complete visage.418 He causes a revelation below, similar to that of the Holy Name above י־ה־ו־ה the letters of which correspond to the sefirot just mentioned419 which is therefore attributed to him420 because the Tetragrammaton is not mentioned unless there is completeness.421

(Zohar 111, 7a)

“Of dust of the earth.” This is the dust of the Holy Land, from which he was created. More specifically - from the site of the Beit HaMikdash, where the Holy Temple would be built.

(Zohar III, 46b)

The Soul Within

2:7 ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים - And He blew into his nostrils a living soul

Rabbi Yitzchak said: Come and see that when the Holy One blessed be He created Man, He gathered dust from all four comers of the earth. He made his body from the site of the Beit HaMikdash below, and drew down a living soul into him from the Beit

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HaMikdcish above.81 ־ his soul comprises three levels,422 423 therefore it has three names:424 nefesh, ruach, neshamah, just like the mystery of their source above.425 Nefesh is the lowest level of them all. Ruach is the level of existence which has mastery over nefesh and animates it, since it is on a higher level. Neshamah is the highest level of existence among these three levels, and it has mastery over all of them.

These three levels are incorporated within man i.e., within the soul of those who have the privilege of serving their Master. Although all three levels are incorporated in every soul, nevertheless they are not revealed initially, until a person becomes worthy of each succeeding level through his Divine service.426 Initially, he is endowed with the level of nefesh, as our verse states, “And He blew into his nostrils a living soul” - a living nefesh which is a holy means of self-restoration by which man can rectify himself. Thus, when a person purifies himself on this level, he rectifies himself sufficiently to be crowned with the next level of soul -ruach, a higher level of holiness which alights upon the nefesh when a person is worthy of it.

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After a person has risen to these two levels, and he elevates himself further through serving his master fully, then the level of neshamah (which is the most elevated level of holiness among these three), settles upon him, so that he becomes crowned with the highest level of holiness. He becomes whole and complete in every way. He acquires the World to Come and is regarded as God’s beloved, as the verse states, “I will give those who love Me the inheritance of True Being” (Mishlei 8:21). Who loves Me?

(.Zohar I, 205b206־a)

Rabbi Yose and Rabbi Chiyya both said: See to what extent a person must introspect and account for himself each and every day, examine his deeds and make a precise reckoning of all matters which concern him. He should consider that the Holy One blessed be He created him and gave him a supernal soul and superiority over all other creations only so that he will occupy his mind with serving Him i.e.. by learning Torah and cleave to Him by way of His commandments, and not run after idle pursuits. For as Rabbi Yose said in the name of Rabbi Chiyya: When the Holy One blessed be He created man, he produced him in His image and instructed him saying, “I have created you for My sake - so that you will be the ruler and king over everything on My behalf. I above, and you below.427 Furthermore, I will place a soul within you so that you can acquire understanding and wisdom which has not been granted to other creatures. Take care to gaze upon My glory, and be careful to fulfill My commandments. Besides Me, no one else will have dominion to the same extent as you.” How do we know that God informed him of his special status, and warned him regarding the fulfillment of His commandments? Because the verse states, “Indeed, the awe of God is wisdom, and turning away from evil, understanding” (Job 28:28). That is, when awe of God is upon you, then you will achieve wisdom, which is above all things, since it corresponds to chochmah, the highest level of revelation.428 However, when Adam saw that he was the most honored ruler of all, He forget the behest of his Creator, and did not do as he was commanded.

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Rabbi Tanchum said in the name of Rabbi Chanilai: God made man solely for His glory, as it is written, 44All those who are called by My Name, and for the sake of My glory - I created them. . . ” (Yeshayahu 43:7, Rashi). What is the meaning of 44for the sake of My glory?” That one must make the effort to know My glory, and weigh one’s actions, so that one can acquire a fitting portion in the World to Come.429

Rabbi Yehudah said: Every day a Voice issues forth from Above. When? At sunrise. It says, 44What a pity for those who do not see My glory, and do not look into knowing and fathoming My glory. These statements can be interpreted as an exhortation to delve into the secrets of the Torah.430

(Midrash HaNe 'e/am, Zohar Chadash 17c־d)

This extract discusses the purpose of the descent of the soul into a physical

body in this world

Rabbi Elazar posed the following question to Rabbi Shimon: 44Since the Holy One blessed be He knows full well that a man will eventually die, why does He send souls down into this world? What purpose does this fulfill?”431

He replied: 44This question has been posed to the Rabbis by several students in the following way - the Holy One blessed be He, sends souls down to this world to make His glory known, but afterwards He takes them back. If so why did they descend to this world which is full of negative forces which are liable to harm the soul? Would it not have been better for them to remain above, where they already delighted in the revelation of the Divine Presence in Gan Edenl What benefit is there in this descent?432

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However, the secret is this: The verse states. “Drink waters from your own well, and running waters from your own spring” (Mishlei 5; 1 5) - from the words, ‘־your own well, your own spring*’ we infer that this means the well and the spring within you, thus, *'well” and '־spring” are metaphors for levels of the soul.433 We explain this as follows - a well does not Bow, nor produce its own water, whereas a spring does. The level of sanctity of the soul above, before its descent into this world, is maintained but does not increase in and of itself. It is therefore compared to a well. When does water flow forth? When the soul achieves wholeness and completion in this world — i.e., precisely through its descent into this world, the soul ascends to an even higher level than it did previously,434 435 436 so that when a righteous person9s dies and his soul leaves the body, and rises up to the place where it is attached Above, then it is whole and complete, comprising all aspects — below and above, for the soul of a tzaddik rises up with all the mitzvot96 he fulfilled in this world with his physical body. Accordingly, his soul is compared to a spring.

When his soul rises up, and the female aspect returns to the male aspect437 - i.e.. when the soul which was clothed in a physical body, ascends and returns to cleave to its Source above, then the water flows from below to above, and what was previously a well, now becomes a spring of flowing water. Since the Torah and mitzvot are infinitely higher and greater than the nefesh, ruach and neshamah themselves,438 through them the soul is able to cleave to God on a far higher level than before its descent into this world. Then unity and oneness, repentance and goodwill are found, for the souls of the righteous perfect that aspect of the soul which descended

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God. Everything i.e., every created being in the world below is engraved there. All forms and representations439 440 441 in this world are all depicted, engraved and carved out there, just as they are down here."1 Now this place, Gan Eden, is the dwelling place of holy souls, both those which have already descended to this world, and those which do not descend to this world, as well as those which will descend into this world in the future.

(Zohar II, 150a)

2:8 וישם שם את האדם אשר יצר - There He placed the man whom He had formed

The Holy One blessed be He chose this place in which to reveal His Shechinah112 and prepared it so that man could be there forever. God attends it, and waters it with His goodness, with the goodness which flows down from Eden above from the level of chochmah which is called Eden. Rabbi Chaggai asked Rabbi Yehudah: What is the need for Gan Eden on earth, since there is a higher level of Gan Eden above? He replied, “The upper level of Gan Eden is for the delight of the soul which is sufficiently elevated and purified to receive from the upper Gan Eden. But if you thought that this is for every soul, we learn that those who do not have permission to ascend above to the higher level of Gan Eden, enjoy and delight in that which the lower Gan Eden receives from above.

(Midrash HaNe ,elam - Zohar Chadash 18 b)

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2:9 ועץ החיים בתוך הגן ועץ הדעת טוב ורע - The Tree of Life in the center of the garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil

Elijah the Prophet, the Master of the secret teachings,442 was speaking to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his colleagues and disciples. He declared: 44And they who are wise, shall shine as the splendor of the firmament” (Daniel 12:3) — those who are wise through this work of yours, which is the Sefer HaZohar (the Zohar - literally, the Book of Splendor) which derives from the radiant splendor of imah ilaah - the sefirah of binah, which is the higher level of repentance.443443Therefore, those who study the Zohar will not have to undergo trials to test their faithfulness, for their righteousness and fidelity will shine forth from them.444

In the future Israel will taste of the Tree of Life, which is the book of the Zohar, and because of it they will leave their exile in a compassionate way. I.e., in the merit of those who study the Zohar, all of Israel will be redeemed from the exile.445 And through them shall be realized that 44God alone will lead him, and there is no strange god with Him.” (Devarim 32:12).446 447 The Tree of knowledge of good and evil - i.e., kelipai nogah,u% the source of what is forbidden and what is

/x )MAR

Durmo^hMi impu''it> and Purity, will no longer dominate Israel."’ the p״p״se ״ Ch CXile °f the Shech^r the principal service of man and and elevate sm f 0^"1,31101י ^ith Torah and the commandments, is to release Slibel'■״״    °'    hollness■    Therefore,    the principal mode of study is the

and nurifv ^ ar£umenlal'on °* ^e *avvs of forbidden and permitted, impurity and imrm"' l*. °F er l° ^6*1011™ber the permitted and pure from the forbidden when    ^    ^ea״s    °f the deliberation and argumentation of the law. However,

snarls ch w    emerge from kelipal nogah, after the extraction of the

e completed and the evil shall be separated from the good, then the ree ot good and evil will no longer dominate. Rather, their sustenance will e rom the side of the Tree of Life alone. . . . When the Tree of 1 e wi dominate, the Tree of good and evil will be suppressed. . . the occupation with the lorah and its commandments will not be for the in rTr1Se ° lsencumbering the sparks, but to achieve more sublimeyichudim.*“ .u    10    e IC,t more and greater “3 light. This will all be achieved by means of

sunn S° 06ן tcac^’nSs °f the Torah, by performing the commandments with the r■ ? intentions known as kavanot, which are directed towards eliciting lights

trom the highest levels.....448 449 450 451 452 453 454

(Zohar ///, 124b-125a, Raya Mehenwa)

en man skives in Torah study and cleaves to it, i.e., even at times when he is not occupied with studying it,125 he becomes worthy of eing 5trengthened by the Tree of Life, for it is written “It is a Tree ot Life for those who hold fast to it” (Mishlei 3:18). Come and see! When man is strengthened by the Tree of Life in this world, he is strengthened by it in the World to Come as well, for when souls leave this world then levels are prepared for them in the World to Come, according to their achievements in this world.

Come and see! The Tree of Life comprises a number of levels, each different from the other, and yet they are all one. For in the Tree of Life there are a number of levels, one above the other

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comparable to the branches, leaves, bark, the trunk and roots of a tree. These correspond to the five levels of the soul - nefesh, ruach neshamah, chaya, yechidah1:6 Nevertheless, all of them are the tree. Similarly, all those who strive in Torah study arc rectified and strengthened by the Tree 0f Life. Commentaries explain that when a person studies Torah his intention should be to draw down holiness upon himself, and attach his soul to its very highest level.455 456 Accordingly, each person acquires the level of soul of which he is worthy.457"8

Israel, the faithful ones, are all strengthened by the Tree of Life, and all of them are attached to the Tree. However, some of them are attached to its trunk, some of them to its branches, some of them to its leaves, some to its roots. We find nevertheless that all of them are attached to the Tree, as the Zohar states explicitly elsewhere - ‘*Israel is attached to the Torah, and the Torah to the Holy One blessed be He.”458 459

(Zohar I, 193a-b)

“The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil:” This is a mixture of good and evil called ke/ipat nogahn0 and is therefore referred to as the “Tree of Deception” intending one thing and saying another.

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 59, p. 93a)

The secret of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil will not be revealed to the world by the Holy One blessed be He until the Messiah comes, but only to the chevraya - the colleagues and disciples of Rabbi Shimon and those who learn his teachings.

(Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 66, p. 97a)

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2:10 ונהר יצא מעדן להשקות את הגן ומשם יפרה והיה לארבעה ראשים - A river emanates from Eden to water the garden, and from there on, it divides and becomes four sources

In numerous places in the Zohar, the natural order is used as a mirror for the mystical order. Analysis of the former can give us an understanding of the latter In this selection, the river which flows forth from Eden mirrors the path of Infinite Light from the very highest sefirah downwards It also mirrors the path of man s Divine service

Rabbi Chizkiyah began expounding: The verse states, ־*A song of ascents. From the depths I called out^ to You, O God’' (Tehillim 130.1). Unlike other Tehillim460 which begin with the same words, this psalm states simply “A song of ascents,” without specifying who said it. However, the explanation is as follows: This psalm is a song of ascents which everyone will recite in the future, for this song will be recited by all future generations. Therefore, the verse does not specify who said it - because it is everyone’s song.

What is the meaning of “from the depths I called out to You?” This is what we have learned. When any person utters his prayers before the Holy King, he must make his request and pray from the depth of his heart, directing his heart and will with absolute devotion towards the Holy One blessed be He. This is the meaning of “from the depths I called out to You.” i.e., 4‘the depths” refers to the depths of man.

This interpretation is now questioned on the basis of another verse: Is this what King David was saying? Is it not written, “I have sought You with all my heart?” (Tehillim 119:10). This latter verse is sufficient to exhort a person to pray to God from the depths of his heart. Accordingly, why is it necessary to state, “from the depths?”461

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This is what we have learned: Anyone who presents his request to the King must concentrate his mind and will upon the root of all roots, in order to draw down blessing from the depths of the well chochmah as it flows into binah so that blessing will flow forth from the fountainhead of all from the Or Ein Sof (the Infinite Light) which is first revealed in the sefirah of chochmah,lj3 for ”the Or Ein Sof does not become unified even in the world of Atzilut, unless it clothes itself first in the sefirah of chochmah. This is because the blessed Ein Sof is the true One who is Alone and apart from whom there is nothing. This is the level of chochmah134 (which is called Eden 35). And what is this Fountainhead of all? That place from which originates and issues forth the river regarding which it states, ,1A river emanates from Eden." But it is also written, 4There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God?!” (Tehillim 46:5). Why is it necessary to reach the very Fountainhead, when the outflow from Above (the river - binah) comes to ”the city of God*' (malchut) via streams (the sefirot of netzach and hod) which arc much closer to the recipient, and therefore easier to reach?136 And yet here it states, “from the depths,” in the plural, indicating the very deepest of all things, the depths of the well from which rivers emanate and are drawn down to bless all. However, this is the very beginning of blessing being drawn down from Above to below. Accordingly, the depths referred to in the verse are the depths above in the sefirot, not below, in man.137

Rabbi Chizkiya explains that the two interpretations are not contradictory, but complement each other: “When the Ancient most Hidden One, the Source of all things, (technically referred to as Atik Yominmwishes to grant blessing to the world, He fills and merges everything into that supernal depth. From here He is drawn and flows down that river from which streams and fountains derive, and by way of them everything becomes watered. But when does this take place? When a person prays and directs his heart and will to drawing down blessing from the deepest of all depths, with absolute self-negation, 462 463 464 465 466 467

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( ugh deep meditation, then his prayers are accepted and his will is carried out.140

R KK' v    (Zoharll,    632-fc)

a 1 itzchak said: It is written, '*A river emanates from Eden

st*    «״*n. This river is the pillar upon which the world

0    *r ^ c^S ex^*a'nec^ above, the river alludes to binah, which draws down the

n ^rom chochmah (Eden) into malchut (the garden). Without it. the world would not be able to exist. It waters the garden, and the garden is watered by it, thereby producing fruits which fly forth into the wor d and sustain the world and the Torah. What are these *fruits?’

1    he souls of the righteous, who are the fruits of God's labor. And °r t is reason, every night the souls of the righteous rise up to Gen

Men, and at midnight the Holy One blessed be He comes to Gan

,,    in    them.    And    this    is    the    reason    for    the    midnight    pn>er

called Pikkun Chatzot.

c question was asked: In which souls does He come to delight, those of th**/ S "    *he dead? Rabbi Yose replied: In both — whether

,y?    world, j.c., Gan Eden, or this world, the Holy One

blessed be He delights in ,hem a, midnight.

(Zohar I. 82b)

Y/hcn lhc 10,y On־ blessed be He created cUwtol ״ »bh a single pillar. The name of the pitta

“ in numerous places'“ as the

H־ «epp״rf, ,he entire ־“£ ״״ ,™he one I    °'    **    “

sustcnanc* far ail . . C S the one w^° provides water and

sustenance for all. ״ .״,״ln1ud (U־״I    ^ ^    ^    ^

H9, Icchnically, in term* of lhc soul, “well” k , meditation; the depth* of the well, chochmah self 11״״^    ^°r    f°r    ־

a person merges Into the Or Eln So/ Explained at "en«h“‘"c? '״ Wh'Ch State chap, I |R, Dovber of Lubavitch). See also Or HaChamah '״    HaYichud

140.    a. zfvof 2:4 - “Fulfill His will as you would your own will

fulfill your will as though it were His will...”    ״    °    that    He    may

141.    This repetition is necessary in order to inform us that not only d

energy flow down to malchut, but that it is also received by malchut    dl vine

142.    Zohar I, 82a, 186a; vol. U, 116a; Chagiga 12b, Commentaries.

143.    Proverbs 10:25.

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in his generation,144 as it is written, “A river emanates from Eden to water the garden, and from there on it divides and becomes four sources.” What does “from there on it divides” mean? All the


(Zohar I, 208a)


sustenance and water is initially taken by the garden, but after that it is distributed to all four corners of the world. Many are those who wish to drink and be fed from there, as it is written, “the eyes of all all Look expectantly to You, and You give them food at their proper time” (Tehillim 145:15).

4‘it divides and becomes four sources.” These are the four sefirot -cheseci (kindness), gevurah (severity or strict judgment), netzach (victory, endurance, eternity), hod (majesty, splendor), which also correspond to the division of the twelve tribes into four directions, three tribes in each direction. Each of the four divisions was headed by one tribe.468 469 This arrangement also corresponds to the *‘camp of the Shechinah" in the higher worlds, headed by one of the angels:470 Chesed is symbolized by the right arm,471 so that at that time — when the Messiah comes and redeems Israel from exile - one who wishes to be wise should face southward, i.e., somewhat to the right of the direction one faces during prayer.472 The camp of the angel Michael is also irrigated by it, alongside of the tribe of Yehudah (Judah) and the Other two tribes, Issachar and Zevulun. Gevurah is symbolized by the left arm, so that at that time one who wishes to be wise should face northward, i.e., somewhat to the left of the direction one faces during prayer. The camp of the angel Gavriel (Gabriel) is also irrigated by it, alongside of the tribe of Dan and the other two tribes, Asher and Naftali. Netzach, symbolized by the right leg. The camp of the angel Nuriel is also irrigated by it, alongside of the tribe of Reuven (Reuben) and the other two tribes, Shimon and Gad. Hod, symbolized by the left leg. The camp of the angel Rafael, who is appointed over

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health during the time of exile is also irrigated by it; alongside of the tribe of Efraim and the other two tribes. Mcnashe and Benjamin. These are the tour sources among whom the outflow from the sefirah of malchut (the garden) is divided as it proceeds from the world of Atzilut to the world of Beriah.

(Zohar I. 26b)

2:11 שם האחד פישון - The name of the first is Pishon

The river Pishon is to the right, corresponding to chesed, as explained above, and flows down to Egypt. When Avraham who also corresponds to the attribute of chesed149 reached the level of complete faith, he wished to realize all those levels which are attached below in this world, so that he could bring the world closer to God473 474 475 and elevate the sparks of holiness buried there.151 For this reason he traveled down to Egypt (see Bereishit 12:9-10), for Egypt took spiritual sustenance from the right side. Come and see the proof of this from the Torah - famine is not generally found in that land, unless compassion is removed from judgment.

(Zohar I, 81b)

- ויקח ה׳ אלקים את האדם וינחהו בגן עדן לעבדה ולשמרה 2:15

The Lord God took man and placed him in Garden of Eden, to work it and to guard it

Rabbi Shimon said: “What is the meaning of “God took man. . . יי From where did He take him? He took him away from the four elements regarding which it states, “and from there on, it divides and becomes four sources.” He separated man from them from division and disunity and placed him in the Garden of Eden in the world

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0( A tzilut - the world of oneness and unity.152 The Holy One blessed be He does the same thing for all men, who are created as composite creatures from the four elements - earth, water, fire, and air. When a person returns to God476 477 and occupies himself with Torah, the Holy One blessed be He takes him away from that of which its says “from there on. it divides.” That is. He separates his soul from the lust for them. Each of the four natural elements give rise to different negative characteristics. These are: anger and pride which emanate from the element of fire; the lust for pleasures - from the element of water; frivolity and scoffing, boasting and idle talk - from the element of air; and sloth and melancholy from the element of earth.478 479 He places it in His Garden, which is the holy Shechincih.155 “To work it” means the positive commandments, “and to guard it” signifies the prohibitions. If he is worthy of guarding it, he becomes the master of the four elements, and becomes a river from whom others drink. Then it is clearly recognized that he is lord and master over them.480 But if he transgresses the Torah, then he drinks from the bitterness of the Tree of Evil, which is the evil inclination.481

(Zohar I, 27a)

Rabbi Shimon said: Come and see - when the Holy One blessed be He placed Adam in Gan Eden, he looked and saw from there all the secrets of the higher worlds and all forms of wisdom, so that he could understand and gaze upon the glory of his Master. . . . But after he was driven out of Gan Eden, the Holy One blessed be He

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prepared all the various levels of Gan Eden for the souls of the righteous, so that they could delight in the radiance of the supernal glory, as befits them.

(Zohar /. 38a)

1:16 מכל עץ הגן אכל תאכל - Of every tree of the Garden you may eat

Since the verse states “from every tree,” we see that He permitted him to eat from all of them, including the Tree of Knowledge. However, there was a condition; that he eat them together with the other trees, and not separately. For we see that Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and all the prophets ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and they nevertheless lived. But it is a Tree of Death, for if anyone takes from it on its own, he will die; for he takes the elixir of death. Regarding this the following verse states, “for on the day you eat of it - i.e., of it alone -you will definitely incur death,” for this is “cutting down the plants” — an expression meaning making a distinction between God as He is in Himself, and His revelation of Himself in this world, as if there were two domains. This is regarded as idolatry, and is punishable by death.

(Zohar I, 35b)

Rabbi Shimon said: “God placed him in the Garden to work it and guard it” - what kind of work is referred to as regards all men, for the verse does not only refer to Adam?482 This is work to perfect his soul and complete that which it did not complete in this world.

Rabbi Shimon also said: The Holy One blessed be He placed man in Gan Eden and gave him His Torah, to work it and keep its commandments, as it is written “the Tree of Life in the center of the Garden,” and it is also written in regard to the Torah, “It is a Tree of Life for those who hold fast to it” (Mishlei 3:18). Hence, the Tree of Life is the Torah. But Rabbi Abba said in the name of Rabbi Chiyya: It was literally a tree, and there were actually two of them. One,

from Yeshayahu 58:13-14


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which gives life to man, and enables him to know the good and straight path which perfects him. The other evil path destroys him. For this reason the Holy One blessed be He commanded him not to eat from the latter, lest the good be pushed away and the evil


strengthened.


(Midrash HaNe'elam, Zohar Chadash 18c)


2:17 ומעץ הדעת טוב ורע לא תאכל ממנו כי ביום אכלך ממנו מות תמות - But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for on the day you eat of it you will definitely incur death

The Holy One blessed be He revealed to them that on the day they would eat from the Tree of Knowledge, they would cause the destruction of the First and Second Temples. For this reason the verse mentions death twice מות תמות (literally, 44die, you will die”), corresponding to the two Temples.


(Zohar I, 26b)


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The following extract tells about Rabbi Akira s adivce to his students before entering the Rardes (i e . meditating on the deepest secrets of the Torahj

Rabbi Elazar said to his father Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai: Father, one day 1 was in the house of study, and the chevrc/ya - the colleagues and disciples of Rabbi Shimon - asked about the meaning of Rabbi Akiva's statement to his disciples, ״When you come to the place of pure marble stones to the world of Atzi/ut, the world of absolute unity483 484 do not Say, Water, water, as if there were two types of water.485 lest you endanger yourselves, as it is written: 4A teller of untruths shall not remain in My sight’ (Tehillim 101:7). Do not sav ־־water, water,״ even though an earlier verse (1:6) states: ־־God said. ‘There shall be a firmament between the waters, and it shall divide between water and water'־* - thus torming the upper waters and lower waters.486 Just then, a hoary-headed elder487' descended and said to them, ‘4Rabbis, what are you presently studying?” They replied, 44That which Rabbi Akiva said to his students, 4when you come to the place of pure marble stones. . .

The old man then replied, “It is clear that there is a deep secret here. But this has already been explained in the Heavenly Academy.488 Now, so that you do not err in this matter, I have descended to you from the Heavenly Academy, in order to explain it you. Moreover, I am

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justified in revealing this matter, which is hidden from the generation, even though this is generally forbidden,489 since the secret has already been discovered by you: Certainly from these pure marble stones, pure water flows. They are alluded to in the letter א which is composed of three parts, the upper י {yud - the upper arm of the letter on the right), the lower י (yud - the lower leg of the letter, on the left), and the ו (vav) which is stretched between them, which is the Tree of Life. One who eats from it will live forever, for it is the Tree of Life. The upper and lower yuds both represent the Holy One blessed be He of whom it states, “I am first, and I am last, and besides Me, there is no god” (Yeshayahu 44:6). The former indicates God as He is in Himself, transcending all of creation, whereas the latter represents the immanent aspect. God as He is within creation. Both aspects are connected by the Torah, the Tree of Life, which informs us of God’s inseparable Oneness in the higher and lower worlds. Thus, do not think that there are two levels, separated by the firmament. This is not true. Rather, what appear to be two separate aspects, the transcendent and the immanent, are in reality one.490

The two yuds are alluded to in the word וייצר - “The Lord God formed (וייצר) man. . . (above, 2:7), implying two formations; the formation of the higher worlds, and the formation of the lower worlds,491 chochmah at the top (i.e., the upper yud, on the right), and chochmah at the bottom (i.e., the lower yud, on the left). These are chochmah and malchut, respectively.492 493 And they are called the hidden supernal wisdom (1chochmah), concealed below the supernal keter. Keter is the most sublime and hidden of all the sefirot169׳ and is also referred to as ay in, nothingness.494 Chochmah is God’s first creative activity, and the initial

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momentary revelation which Hashes forth from keter n1 In this sense it is the beginning trom which everything else derives.495 496 497 Nevertheless, chochmah is not perceptible until it takes form within binah.n3 Similarly, to the lower worlds. malchut of Atzilut is also concealed in the process of becoming keter of Beriah 498 499

These two yuds - chochmah and malchutns - correspond to the two eyes500 from which two tears roil down to the great sea (malchut in the lower worlds501). Why did tears roll down? Because Moshe (Moses) brought the Torah down from these two tablets, but Israel was not worthy of them and they broke and fell, causing the destruction of the First and Second Temples.502 Why did the tablets fall? Because the vav of וייצר which was between them i.e., between the two yuds, joining them flew off. The explanation is as follows: The vav represents the Tree of Life, as explained above, and the two yuds represent the first set of the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. When Israel had rectified the sin of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil through their servitude in Egypt, the poison of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge was neutralized, and they were ready to receive the Ten Commandments. Thus they were worthy of receiving the Tree of Life, which means freedom from the Angel of Death.503 Through the sin of the golden calf, though, what they had rectified was annulled. The Tree of Life once again soared aloft, and the blemish of the Tree of Knowledge returned. Thus they were again under the domination of the Angel of Death. The tablets which derived from the Tree of Life broke and fell.504

Then He gave them the other tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were engraved, but this time from the side of the Tree of

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Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus the Torah was given to them in the form of the permitted and the forbidden, to the right (permitted) -life, and to the left (forbidden) - death. This is called the Torah of the world of Beriah, rather than the Torah of Atzilut - which was given with the first tablets.'81

For this reason Rabbi Akiva told his students, “When you come

to the place of pure marble stones to the world of Atzilut, do not say, 'Water, water,’” for the Torah of Atzilut is absolutely unified. Do not compare the pure marble stones the Torah of Atzilut to other stones the Torah as it is in the lower worlds505 506 which are life and death, for “A wise man's heart is on his right side, and a fool’s heart is on his left” (Kohelet 10:2).507 Moreover, you will endanger yourselves because the stones of the Tree of Knowledge are separated, whereas the stones of pure marble (of the Tree of Life) are unified, without any separation at all. Thus, if you say that the Tree of Life departed from them due to the sin of the golden calf, and there is separation between them in the world of Atzilut as well, “A teller of untruths shall not remain in My sight,” for Above there is no separation between them, for what broke was only the outer garment, but not the light which they contained.508

(Zohar /, 26b)

2:18 לא טוב היות האדם לבדו. אעשה לו עזר כנגדו - It is not good that man is alone. I will make him a helper to match him

Regarding man it is written, “It is not good that man is alone. I will make him a helper to match him.” Rabbi Yehudah said: This

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refers to the soul (neshamah) which is a helper to man, to lead him in the way of his Master, as we have learned,509 “If he comes to be purified, he is helped.’' Our Rabbis taught:510 When a person goes in the ways of his Master, he is given much help. His soul helps him, the ministering angels help him, the indwelling Divine Presence helps him, and all of them declare before him, “When you go, your steps shall not be restrained, and when you run you shall not stumble” (Mishlei 4:12). Rabbi Nathan said: The souls of the righteous help him. If a person does his utmost to purify himself, so that the very root of his soul is revealed to him, he may become “impregnated” with the soul of a Tzaddik, living or dead, who will help him to completely transcend himself.511

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 20d)

The verse states, “It is not good that man is alone.” But was he alone? Is it not written, “Male and female He created them?” (Bereishit 1:27). Regarding this we have learned512 that Adam was created with two aspects. Yet paradoxically it states here, “It is not good that man is alone.” The explanation is this: He had not utilized his female aspect, so it was not his “helper to match him” (literally, ‘opposite him’) because she was at his side, and they were as one at the back. Accordingly, Adam was alone.

“I will make him a helper to match him” - what does “to match him” (literally, “opposite him”) mean? Facing him, so that they could unite face to face. What did the Holy One blessed be He do? He severed the female from him and removed her, as it is written, “He removed one of his sides” {Bereishit 2:21). Which one? His female aspect, as it is written, “One is my dove, my perfect one (תמתי)” (Shir HaShirim 6:9) do not read תמתי “my perfect one,” but תאומתי, “my twin.”513

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Then he took her to Adam, having adorned her like a bride, and brought her facing him, so that their faces illuminated each other. . .

(Zohar 111, 44b)

Rabbi Shimon said: It is certainly the case that man was alone -because he did not have help from his female aspect since she was attached to his side. For this reason it is written, “I will make him a helper to match him,” not "I will create a helper to match him, as it is written, “Male and female He created them” (Bereishit 1:27). This implies that they had both already been created.

(Zohar III, 19a)

(Zohar II, 43a)


The commandment is to redeem the first-born donkey with a lamb, or to break its neck if it is not redeemed, as it is written, “The first issue of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb or a kid, and if you do not redeem it, you shall break its neck” (Shemot 34:20). This is the secret of the yetzer hara the self-seeking, and ultimately self-destructive514 impulse to do evil,515 516 which is compared to a donkey. The yetzer hara can be brought back and turned into the yetzer tov192 the altruistic inclination to do good and to fulfill God’s will. This is as we have explained regarding the verse, if he is worthy, “a helper,” i.e., it becomes an additional yetzer tov if not, “to match him,” i.e., in opposition to him; it remains the yetzer hara until he conquers it.517

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2:19 וכל אשר יקרא לו האדם נפש חיה הוא שמו - Whatever man would call each living thing, would be its name

Rabbi Yaakov bar Idi said: Adam was wise i.e. wiser than the angels for he recognized and knew how to distinguish between those who had only a living soul (nefesh - the lowest level of the soul) and those who had a neshamah, the third level of soul.195 When all the creatures came to him, he recognized the spiritual level of all of them, as it is written, “Whatever man would call each living thing." Read this as: Man would call, “living thing” that which did not know and recognize the service of its Creator. But he named neshamah that which did know and recognize the service of its Creator. And so it is to this very day one who does not know and recognize his Creator, and does not occupy himself with Torah, has only a living soul, but not a neshamah.

(Midrash HaNe 'elam. Zohar Chadash 1 lc)

2:20 וקרא האדם שמות לכל הבהמה ולכל חית השדה - The man gave names to all the cattle and to all the birds of the sky, and to every wild beast

Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rav: The Holy One blessed be He named three things in creation - the heavens (shamayim), earth (aretz), and water (mayim). From which verse do we learn that He named the heavens? As it is written, “God named the sky 4Heaven״’ (Bereishit 1:8). From which verse do we learn that He named the earth? As it is written, 44God named the dry land, 4Earth’” (ibid. 1:10). From which verse do we learn that He named the water? As it is written, 44and the gathering of water He named 4Seas’” (ibid). Why did He Himself name them? So that He could do all His work with them, for everything else was a product of these three, as the previous section of the Zohar explains. What derived from the heavens, the earth, and water - 518 519

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the Holy One blessed be He left for Adam to name. Thus, according to Rabbi Hunna citing Rav. Adam gave names to the fish also, for they are a product of water.

However, Rabbi Berachya said: Everything which the heavens and earth brought forth. Adam named; as it states, “The man gave names to all the cattle and to all the birds of the sky, and to every wild beast.״ This excludes the fish, since they are not mentioned in this verse at all.520 521

{Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 13a)

2:21 ויפל ה׳ אלקים תרדמה על האדם ויישן ויקח אחת מצלעותיו ויסגר הבשר תחתינה - The Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man, and while he slept, He removed one of his ribs and fdled in flesh in place of it

He began by citing the verse, “The Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man, and while he slept” - when the Holy One blessed be He created Adam HaRishon (primordial man), He created him with two aspects, as explained in the commentary to 1:27. Technically, these are zeir anpin and malchut,]9ר which were joined together, without any separation. ... It is written, “Male and female He created them” (ibid) - without separation, for “He created him” is not written, but “He created them.”

They were created as one - one equal to the other. What did the Holy One blessed be He do? He separated them, taking the female aspect from him. He prepared her in a number of ways, adorned her with a number of ornaments, and clothed her with a number of garments.522 Now, where did all this take place? He prepared her in Gan Eden. With how many ornaments did He adorn her? Seventy.

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These are the seventy facets of Torah.523 How many preparations did make for her? Thirteen. These are the “thirteen petals” - Rabbi Yishmael’s Thirteen Rules524 525 - by means of which the Torah is expounded. With how many garments did He clothe her? Six garments. These are the six orders of the Mishnah. . . . The Holy One blessed be He made all of these preparations, ornaments and garments in Gan Eden, and afterwards, “He brought her to the man” (2:22). Where was the man? In the quintessential point of Tzion,20' where the Temple is. From there He took them, and brought them up into Gan Eden, and blessed them with the seven blessings which a bride and groom are blessed under the wedding canopy.

(Zohar Chadash 55c־d)

The following selection interprets the verse as referring to Moshe and the

exile of the Shechinah

Rabbi Shimon said: During the exile, there is not found among them the Jewish people a helper for the Shechinah (the Divine Presence, technically, malchut), nor for Moshe, who is with her the Shechinah. For throughout the exile, he does not depart from her.

Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Shimon’s son, said: “How can one interpret matters relating to Adam as referring to Moshe and the Israelites?”

He replied: “My son, how can you say that? Didn’t we learn the verse, . . .declaring the end from the beginning?” (Yeshayahu 46:10) That is, everything which will take place in the future, at the end of days, is alluded to at the very beginning of man’s creation. “This is certainly SO,’ Rabbi Elazar replied.

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Rabbi Shimon now continues: Therefore, Moshe did not die,20־ rather, he is with the Shechinah in exile, and he is called Adam, since he is “compared to (adameh) the One above,”526 527 because he perfected himself during his lifetime, and rectified the sin of Adam which brought death into the world. Accordingly Moshe did not die.528 The verse refers to him, stating that during the final exile, after the destruction of the Second Temple, “Man did not find a helper” (above, 2:20). Rather, everything was “in opposition to him.” כנגדו - “opposite him” is interpreted here in a negative sense, in the sense of opposition and conflict. (S0 too, regarding the middle column zeir anpin it states, “But man did not find a helper” to take the Shechinah out of exile), as it states regarding Moshe “he turned this way and that, and saw that there was no man” (Shemot 2:12). Thus, Moshe was in the exact likeness of Adam, regarding whom it states, “But man did not find a helper opposite him.”

Then since he had no helper “The Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man.” “The Lord” (י־ה־ו־ה) indicates the aspect of abba (i.e., chochmah), “God” (אלקים) indicates the aspect of imma (i.e., binah). The name of God used here, י־ה־ו־ה the four-letter Ineffable Name of God is associated with the sefirah of chochmah,529 also called abba530 (father), and the Name אלקים is associated with the sefirah of binah,531 also called imma (mother).532

“Cast a deep sleep upon the man.” “Deep sleep” refers to the exile, regarding which it states, “A deep sleep fell upon Avraham” {Bereishit 15:12) at the Covenant between the Pieces, where Avraham was told that his descendants would go into exile, and He cast a deep sleep, i.e., the exile upon Moshe giving him the task of taking the Jewish People and the Shechinah out of exile. “And he slept” i.e., Moshe went to Egypt, where the

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Jewish people had been enslaved. “Sleep” always signifies exile533 for just as in sleep, the intellectual faculty is suspended; so too, during the exile the aspect of intellect is not manifested among the Jewish people534 535 until Moshe comes to redeem them.

(Zohar I, 28a)

2:22 ריבן ה׳ אלקים את הצלע אשר לקח מן האדם לאשה ויבאה אל האדם - The Lord God built a woman from the rib that He had taken from man, and He brought her to the man

Rabbi Shimon said: “Here we learn that the father and mother of the bride must bring her into the domain of the groom. Of the two Divine Names used here. י־ה־ו־ה is associated with the sefirah of chochmah,“ also called abba536 537 (father), and אלקים is associated with the sefirah of binah, also called imma (mother).538 When a bride and groom are brought to the wedding canopy, the father and mother of the bride bring her to the groom, reflecting the Divine order. This is still the practice at Jewish weddings.539 As it is written, “I gave my daughter to this man as a wife” (Devarim 22:16). But from this point on, a man comes to his wife,540 for their home is her domain, as it is written, “and he came to her” (Bereishit 29:23, 30:4); “He came also to Rachel” (ibid 29:30). Initially, i.e., under the wedding canopy, she is brought to him as we learn from our verse. Consequently, it is the obligation of the father and mother of the bride to do this. But subsequently he comes to her as we

(Zohar I, 49a)


learn from the latter verses.

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2:23 זאת הפעם עצם צעצמי ובשר מבשרי - This time the bone is of my bone, and the flesh is of my flesh

See how pleasantly Adam spoke to her. in order to attract her with love, and draw her towards his will, and arouse love in her. Look how beautiful these words are, and what love they express: “The bone is of my bone, and the flesh is of my flesh.” Thus he showed her that they were one, without any split or discord between them in any way. Now he began to praise her: “Therefore, she will be called *Woman.' She is without peer, the beauty of the home; beside her, all others are like apes before man; she is the perfection of all; she is the one and no other.” All these are expressions of love, as it states, “Many daughters have done well, but you surpass them all” (Mishlei 31:29). For this reason, “a man leaves his father and mother, and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” (2:24)

(Zohar I, 49b)

The double expression indicates two levels: “The bone is of my bone,” refers to the light of “the luminous mirror,” the highest level of prophecy;541 and “the flesh is of my flesh” refers to the garments Torah and mitzvot in which My supernal light is clothed542

(Zohar Chadash 55d)

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The Sin

3:1 והנחש היה ערום מכל חית השדה - Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild beasts

The serpent: Rabbi Yitzchak said: This is the yetzer hara - the self-seeking, and ultimately self-destructive543 impulse to do evil,544 as explained in the commentary to 2:7. Rabbi Yehudah said: This was an actual serpent. When they came before Rabbi Shimon, he said to them: They are certainly one and the same thing, for this was Samael, who makes his appearance riding on a serpent. The form of the serpent is Satan, which is the yetzer hara which entices man to sin, and afterwards rises up before the Heavenly Court to accuse the sinner. Accordingly, they are one and the same thing.

{Zohar I, 35b)

(,Midrash HaNe ,elam, Zohar Chadash 18c)


“The serpent was the most cunning.” Rabbi Yose taught: This is the yetzer hara which is the serpent which entices man. Why is it called a serpent? Just as a serpent slithers around in a circuitous fashion, never walking a straight path; so too the yetzer hara. It beguiles man to evil paths, and not directly. As our Sages state:545 Initially, the yetzer hara does not tell you to worship idols, even though this is its ultimate intention. Rather, first he tells you to do some minor infringement, and tomorrow to do another minor infringement, until eventually he says, “Go and worship idols.”

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“The serpent was the most cunning.” This is the yetzer hara,

the angel of death. Because the serpent is the angel of death, it

caused death for the entire world. This is the secret of the words

which God said to Noah prior to the flood “the end of all flesh has come

before Me” (Be re is hi! 6:11) “the one who ends all flesh (the angel of

death) who takes the soul from all flesh, has come before Me.”

(Zohar I, 35b)

The following selection discusses the benefits and hazards of the yetzer hara

Everything which the Holy One blessed be He made, both above and below is for the sake of revealing His glory,546 and everything is for the sake of His service. But did you ever see a servant who accuses his Master? For he makes every effort to ensure that the will of his Master will not be carried out and then he becomes the accuser. God’s will is that man serve Him at every moment and follow in the ways of truth, so that He can merit much good. Since this is God’s will, how can an evil servant come to lay charges against his Master by enticing man to the path of evil, and pushing him off the path of good, making him act against the will of his Master, and turn him to the path of evil?

However, the yetzer hara certainly does the will of its Master! This can be understood by way of an analogy: A king had an only son whom he loved greatly. Because of his love for him, he commanded his son never to befriend an evil woman, for anyone who does so is not worthy of remaining in the king’s palace. The prince swore that he would lovingly fulfill the will of his father.

Outside of the king’s palace lived a harlot of great beauty and charm. One day, the king decided to test the prince’s love for him. He sent for the harlot and said to her, “Go and entice my son, so

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- ויאמר אל האשה אף כי אמר אלהים לא תאכלו מכל עץ הגן 3:1

It said to the woman, “Did God perhaps say that you may not eat from any tree of the garden?”

[The wicked Samael (Satan)] came to the woman and said to her: “Did God perhaps say that you may not eat from any tree of the garden?” Of course, he knew547 that God had told them that they could eat freely of every tree of the garden other than the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (as verses 2:16-17 state explicitly). His reasoning was this: I will ask about more, adding to what was really forbidden, so that she will subtract, for “anyone who adds to God’s commandments actually detracts from them.”548 She replied, . of the fruit of the tree which is in the center of the garden God has said, ‘You shall neither eat of it nor touch it lest you die’” (3:3). Thus she added two things:

She said, “Of the fruit of the tree which is in the center of the garden God said you may not eat,” whereas she had been told only, “of the Tree of Knowledge,” implying the entire tree and not just its fruits;

said at all.


She also added, “nor touch it lest you die,” which God had not

(Zohar I, 263b - Hashmatot Sefer HaBahir 35b)

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3:5 ונפקחו עיניכם והייתם כאלקים ידעי טוב ורע - Your cognition will become developed, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil

Rabbi Yose said: He said to the woman, “With this tree God created the world — the world of Assiyah, which is the lowest world.549 If you eat of it, you will surely become like God, knowing good and evil, and you too will be able to create550 worlds.” For this is how He created the world, and for this reason He told you not to eat from it, so that you will not become divine like Him.551

Disagreeing with Rabbi Yose, Rabbi Yehudah said: The serpent did not say this. For had he said that the Holy One blessed be He created the world by means of this tree, that would have been acceptable, because then it would merely have been like an ax in the hands of the woodcutter. I.e., God is the Creator of the world, but He merely used the Tree of Knowledge as a tool. However, the serpent said that God ate from the tree, and then created the world with the power He received from the tree. It follows that the serpent was a rank heretic, for he maintained that the power to create the world was actually possessed by the Tree of Knowledge, and from it God obtained the power to create. The serpent continued: Since every artisan hates competition, He told you not to eat from it. Regarding this it is written, “It is because God knows that on the day you eat from it. . . . you will become like God.” And because He knew this, he commanded you not to eat from it.

(Zohar I, 36a)

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3:6 וחרא האשה כי טוב העץ למאכל וכי תאוה היא לעינים ונחמד העץ להשכיל — The woman acknowledged that the tree must be good for eating, and that it was enticing to perceive, and that the tree was desirable as a means to gain intelligence

Rabbi Shimon said: When the serpent enticed the woman the verse states, “The woman acknowledged (literally, “saw”) that the tree must be good.” But what is the meaning of “must be good?” Rabbi Elazar bar Shalom said: She acknowledged intellectually that it must be good.

“And that it was enticing to perceive.” This is the desire which both those above the angels and those below man have to know and understand. And therefore, “she took of its fruit and ate.”

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 18d)

The yetzer hara was now incited to seize her, in order to bind her to physical lusts, and arouse other such things which the yetzer hara delights in. Thus immediately afterwards it is written, “The woman acknowledged that the tree must be good for eating, and that it was enticing to perceive.” This indicates that she succumbed to the temptations of the yetzer hara willingly.

(Zohar I, 49b)

“The woman acknowledged that the tree must be good for eating, and that it was enticing to perceive. . . When the Holy One blessed be He created man and honored him with supernal glory. He asked man to cleave to Him with a bond of steadfast faith so that he would be unique, with one heart, and attached to one place. In this way he would not undergo constant change and transformation. In regard to this it is written, “and the Tree of Life in the center of the garden” (above 2:9).

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But then they strayed from the path of faith, and abandoned the one tree which surpassed all others, i.e., the Tree of Life, and they went and cleaved to the place where there is constant change and transformation from aspect to aspect from good to evil, and from evil to good, i.e., the free of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They plunged down from above, becoming attached to multifarious changes. Thus they left the Supernal One, who never changes, as the verse states, “I am the Lord. I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). In this regard it is written. “God made man upright, but they sought out many schemes” (Kohelet 7:29). They certainly did seek out “many schemes” - that is multiplicity, which stems from the instability of the Tree of Knowledge. And then their temperament changed accordingly -sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes compassionate, at other times harsh, just like that to which they cleaved. They sought out multiplicity, and it clung to them.

(Zohar III, 107a)

3:6 ותקח מפריו ותאכל - So she took of its fruit and ate

God had permitted Adam and Eve to eat of every tree of the garden, as verse 2:16 above states: ‘1Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely.” However, verse 2:17 qualifies this: “But of the Tree of Knowledge. . . . you may not eat, for on the day you eat of it, you will definitely incur death.” The words “of it” indicate that something other than the tree is referred to here - i.e., its fruits, which are “of it.” These were forbidden,552 or were forbidden to be eaten separately from the tree.553 “The woman acknowledged that the tree

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must be good. . . She acknowledged and did not acknowledge that it was good. I.e., She acknowledged that the tree itself was good, but could not decide regarding its fruits. How does the verse continue? “She took of its fruit and ate.” It does not state, “She took of it” - i.e., the tree. Thus, she became bonded to the side of death, and caused death throughout the world.

(Zohar I, 36a)

3:7 ותפקחנה עיני שניהם וידעו כי ערומים הם ויתפרו עלי תאנה ויעשו להם חגורות — Then their consciousness was awakened and they realized that they were naked. They sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves loin-cloths

(Zohar III, 261 b)


“Then their consciousness was awakened” to the external appearance of this world of which they were not previously aware, for prior to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, they surveyed and perused everything from above, in the higher worlds, the way everything is in its spiritual root.

“Then their consciousness was awakened.” Literally, this reads: “Then their eyes were opened.” Rabbi Chiyya said: They were awakened to knowledge of the evil of the world, which they had not known until this point. As soon as they became aware of evil, they realized that they were naked; that they had lost the supernal aura which had enveloped them. This departed from them, leaving them naked.

(Zohar I, 36b)

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״They realized that they were naked.” Rabbi Yehudah said: When Adam sinned, the Holy One, blessed is He, removed the holy luminous letters with which He had originally crowned them. Them they were afraid, for they understood that they had been stripped of these letters. . . . They realized that death was calling them; they realized that freedom had been stripped away from them.

(.Zohar I, 53a)

3:8 וישמעו את קול ה, אלקים מתהלך בגן - They heard the sound of the Lord God withdrawing from the garden

(Zohar /, 52a)


The verse does not state מהלך signifying, “moving about,” but מתהלך signifying “withdrawing.” Alternatively, מתהלך can be understood as a compound of two words מת and הלך - “death is at large.”554

3:9 ויאמר לו איכה - And He said to him, “Where are

Here God hinted to him that in the future the Temple which is the dwelling place on earth of the Divine Presence,555 would be destroyed. This is why in the book of Eichah (.Lamentations) (1:1) the same word is used - both words have the identical letters - as it is written, “How solitary (איכה) does she sit. . . .” referring to Jerusalem in general, and to the Temple in particular, after their destruction.

(Zohar I, 29a)

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- ויאמר את קלך שמעתי בגן ואירא כי עירם אנכי ואחבא 3:10

And he answered, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, so I hid”

Before they sinned, they heard the voice from Above. They knew supernal wisdom (chochmah), and were endowed with the knowledge (da’at) and understanding (binah) of the supernal light, and they were not afraid. These three faculties of the soul - wisdom, knowledge and understanding, correspond to three of the highest sefirot of the world of Atzilut - chochmah, da’at and binah respectively.556 When they sinned, however, they could not withstand even the voice as it is heard below. In Kabbalah in general, a distinction is made between the faculties of sight and hearing. “Seeing” is a function of chochmah, and denotes a direct, incontrovertible experience, whereas “hearing” is a function of binah, and denotes an indirect experience of a lower level. Prior to the sin, their hearing was on the level of seeing. This level of insight was again granted to the Israelites when they received the Torah on Mount Sinai, as the verse states, “And all of the people saw the sounds. . . (Shemot 20:18), as our Sages point out.557

(Zohar 1, 52b)

3:15 הוא ישופך ראש ואתה תשובנו עקב - He will crush your head, and you will crunch his heel

“He will crush your head” refers to the Holy One, blessed is He, who will remove the serpent from the world in the future, as the verse states, “He will destroy death for ever” (Yeshayahu 25:8); and “I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth” (.Zechariah 13:2).

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An alternative explanation: “Head” signifies the time to come, when the dead are resurrected, for then the world will become “head.” The first three sefirot, referred to as mochin (intellect) will then be manifest.558 This is the level of the supernal world.

“And you will crunch his heel” - in this world, now, prior to the completion of the world’s rectification. At present, the world is on the level of the heel, a symbol of spiritual insensitivity. The world’s existence is incomplete, and the serpent continues to bite; to darken the face of its creatures.

(.Zoharl, 124a)

Rabbi Yitzchak the son of Rabbi Yose asked: According to the view that maintains that the serpent is a symbol for the yetzer hara (a person’s self-destructive evil impulse) how do we interpret this verse?

Rabbi Yose answered: This teaches us that the serpent, which is the yetzer hara, is put to death only by the “head.” What is the head? The Head of the Academy - the Rosh Yeshivah, whose duty it is to identify and take an active part in destroying the yetzer hara of his disciples. And the serpent kills man only via the heel - when a person transgresses the commandments and tramples them with his heels,559 as it is written, “The sin of my heels surround me” (Tehillim 49:6).560 Rashi (Devarim 7:12) explains that these are the so-called “minor” commandments which people take lightly. Ramban (ad 10c.) explains that this refers particularly to transgression concerning financial matters.

{Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 19b)

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Eve’s Curse

3:16 ואל האשה אמר, הרבה ארבה עצבונך והרנך בעצב תלדי בנים ואל אישך תשוקתך והוא ימשל בך - And to the woman He said, “I will greatly increase your anguish, as well as your childbearing; in pain you will give birth to children. Your husband will be your passion, but he will dominate you”

Rabbi Shimon said: “In pain you will give birth to children.” If you ask how this is connected to the entire episode with the serpent, the answer is: This provided the opening for all souls to descend into this world. The negative forces wish to prevent the birth of holy souls in this material world, arguing that if there are holy souls bom into this world, they will bring the entire world to a state of righteousness and repentance, thus removing man’s free choice. Accordingly, these holy souls must be brought down in a physical body in this world in a devious manner, just like the soul of Avraham, who was bom to Terach, an idolater. The negative forces never suspected that Avraham would turn out to be righteous, given the circumstances into which he was born. The same is true of all holy souls. The negative forces do not allow it to descend until they are given some hold upon it.561 Accordingly, had there not been this opening for souls to descend, the soul would not be able to dwell within the human body. What does the Torah state? “Sin lies in wait at the opening” (Bereishit 4:7). What is the significance of לפתח - at the opening? This refers to the opening of malchut, which is earmarked for the purpose bringing souls into

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this world. It (the serpent, or the yetzer hard) stands at that opening and does not allow the womb to be opened until it is granted some hold upon the soul. Were it not for this situation, which is the will of God, so that man can have free choice, the yetzer hara would never have any hold over the souls of Israel.562

He does not stand at the entrance, and he has no authority over all the souls which are about to descend into the holy bodies in this world, prior to their descent. However, when the soul actually descends into a body in this world, the serpent bites, and the opening becomes spiritually contaminated. Accordingly, the soul becomes contaminated by its association with the body. This is the secret meaning of the words, “In pain you will give birth to children.” It is the secret of the serpent with which souls are bom and descend into bodies. It (the serpent, or yetzer hard) is given jurisdiction over the bodies, but malchut is given dominion over the souls, and although they are clothed in one another, one claims the body, and the other, the soul. A person therefore has both a yetzer tov, deriving from his holy soul, and a yetzer hara, deriving from the body. A person’s divine duty in this world is to ensure that the former dominates the latter.563

(Zohar II, 219b)

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Adam’s Curse

3:17 ארורה האדמה בעבורך— The c3rth is cursed for you

After the Holy One blessed be He cursed the world, as it states “The earth is cursed for you,” Adam asked God, “Master of the Universe, for how long will the earth remain cursed?” He replied, “Until you have a descendant who is bom circumcised, just as you were.” So they waited until Noah was born. When Noah was bom they saw that he was already circumcised, and was sealed with the־ sign of the covenant. For this reason they named him “Noah,” signifying God’s conciliation with the world.564

(Zohar I, 58a־b)

3:19 כי עפר אתה ואל העפר תשוב - For you are dust, and to dust you will revert

(.Zohar II, 268b)


Regarding this God told the serpent, “Dust you shall eat, as long as you live” (above 3:14). “Dust” - this is man, regarding whom it is written, “For you are dust.” Therefore the verse uses the term “dust,” rather than “earth” or “clay.” It is also written, “The serpent’s bread is dust” (Yeshayahu 65:25). This will be man’s portion until the Holy One blessed be He removes the spirit of impurity from the earth,565 regarding which it is written, “He will destroy death for ever” (Yeshayahu 25:8). It is written regarding the resurrection of the dead, “Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust” (Yeshayahu 26:19).

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Adam was forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, as it is written, “But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for on the day you eat of it you will definitely incur death” (above 2:17). Based on this, Rabbi Shimon said: Because he was taken from dust, and nothing in the material world is eternal, it was already decreed that Adam would die, even before he sinned. This we deduce from the words, “on the day you eat of it you will definitely incur death” - implying that on the very same day that he ate from the tree he would die, though had he not sinned he would merely have lived for much longer, but not forever. When he sinned, his punishment was that his life was shortened and he was to die that same day. When he repented, however, God granted him His day, which is a thousand years, as the verse states, “A thousand years in Your eyes are like yesterday” (Tehillim 90:4) i.e., a single day.566

This is a proof that it was originally decreed that Adam would die, for if this were not so, when he repented, God should have nullified the decree and Adam should have lived forever. Since we see that He did not nullify the decree of death, we deduce that Adam was destined to die in any event. Said Rabbi Shimon: When Adam repented, God did indeed nullify the decree. Which decree? The decree that “on the day you eat of it you will definitely incur death.” He extended his life span to one of His days - a thousand years.

{Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 18c)

Although man sinned, what was the sin of the rest of the world? Death was decreed on the entire world, not just on Adam. If you argue that all the creatures came and ate from the tree, after Adam and Eve had eaten,567 and therefore eternal life was taken away from

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everything, this is not so. Rather, when Adam first stood on his feet, i.e., immediately after he had been created, all the creatures saw him and feared him, and were drawn after him like a servant to the king. They all bowed down to him, believing that he was their creator.568 569 Then Adam said to them, “Come, let you and me bow down and prostrate ourselves before God, who created us״ (Tehillim 95:6). They all followed his lead. When they saw Adam prostrating himself before the Tree of Knowledge. ... all of them again followed his lead. This was the cause of his death, and the introduction of death into the rest of the world.

(Zoharlll, 107b)

3:20 ויקרא האדם שם אשתו חוה כי היא היתה אם כל חי - The man named his wife Chava (Eve) for she was the mother of all the living

The word for “living” in Hebrew is חי (chat) According to grammar she should have been named Chaya (חיה), not Chava (חוה). However, Chava and Chaya mean the same thing. The fact that the letter yud of Chaya was replaced by the letter vav of Chava is proper, for the letter vav certainly alludes to life. As explained earlier, in the explanation of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (commentary to 1:1), both the letter vav and the letter yud are part of the Divine Name (the Tetragrammaton). Nevertheless, the yud is on a much loftier level than the vav (the level of chochmah as opposed to the level of tiferet). Thus it transcends the life of this world. Had she not sinned, however, she would have been called Chaya, for the world would have been on a sufficiently elevated level to receive from the level of chochmah.2*

(Zoharll, 137a)

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3:21 ויעש הי אלקים לאדם ולאשתו כתנות עור וילבשם - The Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin, and he clothed them

“Garments of skin (עור)" - Originally these were garments of light (אור), and not of skin (עור). In Hebrew, certain letters are interchangeable, following the rules of temurot (exchange of letters).570 571 In this case, the letter aleph is replaced by the letter ayin, indicative of a spiritual descent - whereas the aleph represents God Himself (the numberical value of

aleph is 1, alluding to the oneness of God),30 the ayin alludes to sin (572.(עון This was the supernal light which illuminated Gan Eden. Therefore, when Adam was about to enter Gan Eden for the first time, the Holy One blessed be He dressed him in garments of light, and then brought him into Gan Eden. Had he not been wearing that garment, he could not have entered. And when he was driven out of there, he required a different set of garments. Hence, “The Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin (עור), and he clothed them.”

(,Zohar II, 229b)

The following extract renders the words כתנות עור as "garments for the skin "

After their sin, the Holy One blessed be He dressed them in garments in which the skin (עור) i.e., the body, delights, as the verse states, “garments for the skin,” and not garments for the soul. Originally they had garments of light, which the supernal beings (angels) would use above in the higher worlds. Even the angels would come to Adam to enjoy the light of his garments which was

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even more elevated than their own,573 as it is written, “And You made him (Adam) a little less than the angels, but You crowned him with glory and honor” (Tehillim 8:6). Now that he had sinned, he wore garment for the skin - from which the flesh benefits, but not the soul.

(Zohar I, 36b)

Banishment

3:22 הן היה האדם כאחד ממנו - Man could have indeed been unique among them

Rabbi Yitzchak said: The Holy One blessed be He wished to make man superior to all His creatures - to be one in this world as He is One Above. But when Man sinned, the Holy One blessed be He said: Adam could have partaken of My Oneness, and this was My intention. ...

{Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 10a)

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3:24 ויגרש את האדם וישכן מקדם לגן עדן את הכרובים ואת להב החרב המתהפכת לשמור את דרך עץ החיים - When He banished Adam, He stationed the keruvim574 to the east of the Garden of Eden, and the revolving sword of flame to guard the way to the Tree of Life

Rabbi Bo said in the name of Rabbi Huna: When Adam sinned, and decrees were enforced upon him, the Holy One blessed be He banished him from that spiritual pleasure and delight which he had in Eden, and appointed guards over the gates of Gan Eden. Who are they (the guards)? The keruvim, a type of angel, as it is written, “He stationed the keruvim. . . . and the revolving sword of flame to guard the way and the opening” (Bereishit 3:24).

Then it was also decreed that from then on, no man had permission to enter there other than the souls of the righteous who have first been purified by the keruvim. If they see that a certain soul is worthy of entering, it may enter. But if not, it is driven away, and receives its punishment, burning by the flame of the revolving sword.

We have also learned that the exact parallel was found in the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple) when the High Priest entered the innermost sanctuary once a year on Yom Kippur.575 It has been taught576: Rabbi Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yehudah who said in the name of Rabbi Huna that the innermost sanctuary is the duplicate of Gan Eden. When the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, his soul went in, not his body. Moreover, he entered it in awe and dread, in cleanliness and purity. The keruvim stand there on guard, just like the keruvim which guard Gan Eden. If the Priest is worthy.

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he enters in peace and exits in peace. If not, a flame shoots out from between the keruvim and he dies.

Rabbi Yehudah said: Happy is the person who is worthy of passing through them in peace.

(Midrash HaNe’elam, Zohar Chadash 19a)

The following extract tells about Rabbi Akiva’s advice to his students before entering the Pardes:>^ (paradise) by meditating on the deepest secrets of the Torah. From this we see that certain of the Sages entered Gan Eden3^ alive.

Rabbi Akiva said to his disciples, “When you come to the place of pure marble stones, to the world of Atzilut, the world of absolute unity577 578 579 580 do not say, Water, water,’ as if there were two types of water30 lest you endanger yourselves, as it is written: 4 A teller of untruths shall not remain in My sight’ (Tehillim 101:7). Do not say ‘water, water,’ even though an earlier verse (1:6) states: ‘4God said, 4There shall be a firmament between the waters, and it shall divide between water and water” thus forming the higher waters and lower waters.581 Just

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then, a hoary-headed eider582 descended and said to them, “Rabbis, what are you presently occupied with?” They replied, “With that which Rabbi Akiva said to his students, ‘when you come to the place of pure marble stones. . .

The old man then replied, “It is clear that there is a deep secret here. But this has already been explained in the Heavenly Academy.583 Now, so that you do not err in this matter, I have descended to you from the Heavenly Academy in order to explain it you. Moreover, I am justified in revealing this matter, which is hidden from the generation, even though this is generally forbidden584 since the secret has already been discovered by you. Certainly from these pure marble stones, pure water flows. They are alluded to in the letter א which is composed of three parts, the upper י (yud - the upper arm of the letter on the right); the lower י (yud - the lower leg of the letter, on the left); and the ו (vav) which is stretched between them, which is the Tree of Life. One who eats from it will live forever, for it is the Tree of Life. The upper and lower yuds both represent the Holy One blessed be He of whom it states, “I am first, and I am last, and besides Me, there is no god” (Yeshayahu 44:6). The former indicates God as He is in Himself, transcending all of creation, whereas the latter represents the immanent aspect -God as He is within creation. Both aspects are connected by the Torah - the Tree of Life - which informs us of God’s inseparable Oneness in the upper and lower worlds. Thus, do not think that there are two levels, separated

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by the firmament. 1 his is not true. Rather, what appear to be two separate aspects, the transcendent and the immanent, are in reality one.41

(Zohar /, 26b)

Cain and Abel

4:1-2 ותסף . . . .והאדם ידע את חוה אשתו ותהר ותלד את קין ללדת את אחיו את הבל - Adam knew585 586 Chava his wife. She conceived and gave birth to Cain. . . . she gave birth again, to his brother Hevel (Abel)

Rabbi Abba said: Come and see. When a person goes in the path of truth and draws down supernal holiness upon himself, and he cleaves to it, then he draws this holiness down to the child bom to him. The child will then be sanctified with the holiness of his Master, as it is written, “You shall sanctify yourselves and be holy” (Vayikra 11:44). But when he goes the opposite way,587 and draws the spiritual impurity upon himself, then he draws spiritual impurity onto the child he produces. . . . Adam attached himself to the side of impurity to which his wife clung first. . . . and the child they had was from this impurity. Therefore, they had two sons. One was from that aspect of impurity, and the other from the pure side, was conceived after Adam repented. One was from the side of unholiness, and the other, from the side of holiness.

Hevel was in the likeness of the supernal image, as the verse states, “God created man with His image” (Bereishit 1:27),

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whereas Cain was of the likeness of the nether image.588 For this reason their paths diverged.

Because Cain was from the side of the angel of death he killed

his brother. I.e., the murder of Hevei paralleled the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, which came about through the enticements of the serpent, who is the angel of death. Just as through the sin of the Tree, the angel of death gained dominion of the world, through Cain he gained the ability to remove the soul of Hevei.589

(Zohar /, 54a)

Rabbi Yehudah said: Two came upon Eve, the serpent and Adam. She became pregnant from both of them, and bore two sons. The first son was from the poison of the serpent, and the second son was from Adam. One therefore possessed the characteristics of the species of the serpent; the other, possessed the characteristics of the species of man. In spirit they were thus different, one was of the side of holiness, and the other on that side of unholiness. One was similar to his progenitor, and the other was similar to his progenitor. From Cain’s side come all the categories of evil, satanism, and witchcraft. From Hevel’s side there is more compassion, but it is incomplete, like good wine mixed with vinegar. And therefore the world was not rectified by him, and it remained without rectification until Seth was bom. All the generations of righteous people descend from him; through him the world became stable.

(Zohar I, 36b)

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4:3-4 ויהי מקץ ימים ויבא קין מפרי האדמה מנחה להי. והבל הביא גם הוא מבכורות צאנו ומחלביהן. וישע ה’ אל הבל ואל מנחתו - In the course of time, Cain brought of the earth’s produce as an offering to God. Hevel also offered of the firstborn of his flock, from the fattest. And God turned to Hevel and his offering

(Zohar I, 54b)


Rabbi Shimon said: What is the meaning of מקץ ימים (keitzyamim) (translated here as “in the course of time”)? This means “the end (קץ) of all flesh” (Bereishit 6:13) stated in connection with the destruction of almost all living things during the Flood. What does this refer to? The angel of death. The verse thus hints that Cain brought his sacrifice from קץ ימים — from the angel of death. For this reason Scripture explicitly uses the term קץ ימים (keitz yamim) and not קץ ימין (keitz yamin - the end of days). The Book of Daniel states that God said to Daniel as he was about to die: “Go your way till the end (pp)will be. For you shall rest, and stand up for your allotted portion at the end of days (קץ הימין)” with the Resurrection of the Dead (Daniel 12:13). Daniel asked God: קץ ימים (keitzyamim) or קץ הימין (keitz hay am in)? I.e., is the angel of death to be my lot, or the Resurrection of the Dead? God replied: קץ הימין the resurrection. However, Cain brought a satanic sacrifice from קץ ימים, the angel of death.

(Midrash HaNe 'elam, Zohar Chadash 19c)


Rabbi Yehudah said: Cain resorted to farming, like Adam, and Hevel became a shepherd. Each of them brought a sacrifice, but Cain’s was offered with arrogance, whereas Hevel offered his meekly, as it states, “The offering [desirable] to God is a contrite spirit” (Tehillim 51:19). What is written subsequently? “God turned to Hevel and his offering, but to Cain and his offering He did not turn.”

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4:7 הלוא אם תיטיב שאת ואם לא תיטיב לפתח חטאת רבץ - If you improve your ways, will you not be forgiven? But if you do not improve you ways, sin lies in wait at the entrance.

Rabbi Yehudah taught: That day was Rosh HaShanah,590 the Day of Judgment when all souls pass before Him. He said to Cain: Why be angry? If you improve your ways, will you not be forgiven? What is the meaning of the word שאת (translated here as “forgiven,” but literally meaning, “lifting up?”) Rabbi Yehudah explained: If you improve your ways, you will become spiritually elevated.

“Sin lies in wait at the entrance” - that is, sin waits at the entrance through which souls pass in order to enter Gan Eden. God tells Cain: The transgressions of which you are guilty await you there, and that is where you will receive your punishment, for only those “whose hands are clean, and whose hearts are pure” (Tehillim 24:4) will be allowed to enter. Thus, a person’s own deeds are the cause of his suffering, for justice is not dispensed arbitrarily, but on the basis of man’s actions.591 The verse states, “Your own wickedness shall torment you, and your failings shall rebuke you” (Yirmeyahu 2:19).

{Midrash HaNe’elam, Zohar Chadash 19c-d)

What does the word שאת mean? It is as Rabbi Abba said: You will be lifted up above, and you will not fall down. Rabbi Yose said: This is a novel interpretation, and it is indeed fitting. However, I heard a different interpretation שאת also means forgiveness. God said to him, “If you improve your ways, the spirit

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01 impurity which clings to you as the result of your sin will be removed from you and you will be forgiven.

(Zohar I, 54b)

4:8 ויקם קין אל הבל אחיו ויהרגהו - Cain attacked his brother and killed him

Rabbi Yitzchak said: Come and see! When Cain killed Hevel, he did not know that his actions would make the soul leave the body, and that Hevel would die.592 Commentaries593 explain that the argument between Cain and Hevel was in fact a spiritual disagreement as to how to re-unite the soul with God after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. According to Hevel, the best way to achieve the desired result was via repentance, which implies self-purification and elevating oneself to a higher level. According to Cain, however, the only way to do this was to elicit an outflow of Divine energy from above which would rectify all blemishes of the soul in its outflow from Above. (As we saw in the preceding selections, God hints to Cain that the former method, elevation from below to above, is preferable). Cain had no intention of killing Hevel. He was not aware that eliciting Divine energy from above also rouses negative severe judgment when the person below is not ready to receive such communion. This is in fact what happened, and Hevel was killed. The Zohar continues: He bit Hevel with his teeth, like a snake, and he died. The explanation594 of this is as follows: The highest level of union of man’s soul with God is called zivug neshikin (unification through “kissing”), as referred to in the verse, “May He kiss me with kisses of His mouth” (Shir HaShirims 1:2). However, this can only be achieved if a person is spiritually purified and ready to achieve such a level of communion. Cain wished to bring this revelation about by force, using the power of sacrifice. Since the world was not ready for such a revelation, the zivug neshikin595 aroused severe judgements

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and became instead zivug neshichin596 result that Hevel was killed.


neshichin means “biting” - with the end (Zohar I, 54b)


4:12 נע ונד תהיה בארץ - You shall be a vagrant and an alien on earth

Rabbi Yitzchak said: He wandered about in all directions, but no place accepted him until he beat his brow and repented before his Master. Then the level below earth accepted him597 but no higher than this because his repentance was incomplete.598

Rabbi Yose disagreed and said: The earth did allow him to be upon it, as it is written, “God placed a mark on Cain” (below, 4:15) which implies that his repentance was accepted.

Rabbi Yitzchak retorted: Not so! This verse also means that he was only accepted on a level below the earth, as it states, “Today you have driven me away from the face (i.e. surface) of the earth” (4:14). He was driven from the surface of the earth, but not from below the surface.

(Zohar I, 54b)

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4:13 גדול עוני מנשוא — My sin is too great to forgive

When Cain said, “My sin is too great to forgive,” the Holy One blessed be He absolved him of half of his punishment.599 Initially it was decreed that he would be a vagrant (נע) and an alien on earth (ונד). Now he only remained an alien (alienated from God) as the verse states, “Cain left God’s presence and settled in the land of Nod (נוד) 600 (below, 4:16). That is, he was expelled from God’s presence and was alienated from Him on earth, though he was not forced to wander from place to place.

(Tosefta Zohar I, 54b)

4:14 מפניך אסתר — I have caused Your presence to become hidden from me

A literal interpretation of the verse reads: ״I am hidden from Your Presence,' seeming to imply that God can no longer see Cain. This interpretation is obviously

untenable. Accordingly, the Zohar here offers a different interpretation

Rabbi Elazar said: What does מפניך אסתר mean? My building (i.e., everything I have built up) is demolished (Rabbi Elazar interprets the word אסתר derivative of the word סותר - demolish, rather than a derivative of the word הסתר - concealment.

Rabbi Abba said: As it is said, “Nor did He hide his face from him” (Tehillim 22:25) and, “Moshe hid his face” (Shemot 3:6). Rabbi Abba interprets the word אסתר as “conceal” or “hide.” However, it refers

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to God’s concealment of Himself from Cain, and not vice-versa. Cain said: I will be distanced from Your Presence. For You will not protect me, so “Whoever finds me will kill me.”

(.Zohar /, 36b)

4:15 וישם הי לקין אות - And so God placed a mark on Cain

Why is the word אות “letter” used here? Because it refers to one of the twenty-two letters of the Torah which He placed upon Cain to protect him. Since Cain had lost his Divine image by murdering his brother, he made himself prey to any animal which wished to attack him. Accordingly, God placed a sign on him to protect him.

{Zohar /, 36b)

4:25 ותלד בן ותקרא את שמו שת - She gave birth to a son and named him Seth

Rabbi Yehudah said: This is the secret of the soul which was lost i.e., the soul of Hevel, which was now reincarnated and was clothed in another body in this world, as it is written, “God has granted me other seed in place of Hevel.” Although the soul was clothed in a new body, it was the same soul as Hevel’s.

(Zohar I, 55a)

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4:26 ולשת גם הוא ילד בן ויקרא את שמו אנוש אז הוחל לקרוא בשם הי - Seth too, had a son. He named him Enosh. Then they began profaning the Name of God

Rabbi Elazar said: In the days of Enosh, men were very knowledgeable in witchcraft and magic, and knew how to block heavenly influence from affecting the world. From the day that Adam left the Garden of Eden, bringing out with him the knowledge of the fig leaves i.e., the secrets of sorcery and witchcraft601 there was no one who occupied himself with it. Adam and his wife, and their progeny before Enosh was born, had abandoned this knowledge.

Enosh came and saw those fig leaves, and realized that knowledge of them gave him the power to defy Heaven and destroy holiness.602 He began to occupy himself with them and perform acts of sorcery and magic. He taught others as well, until this knowledge became widespread during the generation of the flood, when everyone used this knowledge for evil purposes. . . . This is the meaning of “they began profaning the Name of God;” they used the Name of God for sacrilegious purposes.

(Zohar I, 56a)

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Adam’s Descendants

5:1 זה ספר תולדות אדם - This is the book of the descendants of Adam

“This is the book. . . This refers to an actual book. When Adam was in Gan Eden, the Holy One blessed be He gave him a book via the holy angel Raziel,603 who is appointed to guard the supernal divine secrets. In it were engraved the supernal letters of holy wisdom, and seventy-two branches of wisdom were explained therein. . . . All of these branches were concealed within that book before it was given to Adam. When he acquired it the supernal angels would gather around him to study it and understand all the mystical secrets contained in that work. The angels then made their request to God, saying, “Be exalted above the heavens, O God, let Your glory transcend the earth” (Tehillim 57:6) impart the mystery of Your glory to the angels, not to man.604

Then the angel Hadraniel said to Adam, “Conceal the glory of your Master. Do not reveal it to the angels, for only you have been given permission to know the glory of your Master, and not even to the highest of angels. And so it remained concealed with him until he left Gan Eden.

At first prior to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam Studied the book and used it to learn the secrets of his Master. Indeed, supernal secrets were revealed to him which even the angels did not know. But after transgressed the commandment of his Master, the book flew away. Then Adam beat his brow and wept. He repented, and in order to purify his sin, he entered the waters of the Gichon River up to

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his neck, and he remained there until his body began to disintegrate in the water and change appearance. Then the Holy One blessed be He made a sign to the angel Raphael, the angel of healing, and the book was returned to him. He studied it intensely, and bequeathed it to his son Seth. So it went on, through successive generations until the advent of Avraham, whose knowledge of it allowed him to gaze upon the glory of his Master. . . . This then is the meaning of our verse, “This is the book of the descendants of Adam.’’ According to tradition, this is the extant work known as “The Book of Raziel the Angel.”605

(Zohar I, 55b)

Rabbi Shimon said: It is written, “This is the book of the descendants of Adam. . . .” Did he actually have a book? No. Rather, this must be understood according to the explanation of our Sages: The Holy One blessed be He showed Adam each generation and its preachers, each generation and its Sages. . . . each generation and its leaders.606 How did He show him generations which did not yet exist? If you maintain that he saw generations which would exist in the future by way of divine inspiration;607 this is not the case. Rather, he saw them all with his eyes. And he saw them as they would exist in the future in this world - all this he actually saw, because from the moment the world was created, all the souls which would live as people in the future all stand before the Holy One blessed be He in the very same form in which they will live in this world. Commentaries608 point out that this refers to “old souls” which were originally included in Adam. When he sinned, they became divided into 600,000 soul-roots. These souls

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are then re-incarnated in this world so that they can rectify the sin of Adam through Torah and mitzvot. However “new souls,” which have never before been in existence, were not shown to Adam.

(.Zohar 1, 90b)

5:3 ויולד בדמותו כצלמו ויקרא את שמו שת- He reproduced in his likeness, in his image. He named him Seth

Rabbi Yehudah said: It is written, “He (Adam) reproduced in his likeness, in his image.” This implies that his other sons, Cain and Hevel, were not his likeness. Only this one (Seth) was his likeness and image with a properly rectified body and soul, as Rabbi Shimon said in the name of Rabbi Yaiva Sabba: his other sons were contaminated by the poison of the snake and of Samael who rides upon it. For this reason, they were not of Adam’s likeness, since he was made in the image of God, as stated explicitly in verses 1:26-7 above. Now if you argue that Hevel derived from the opposite side of Cain, as explained above, this is indeed true. Nevertheless, neither of them was of the form of Adam below.

Rabbi Yose said: It is written, “Adam had known609 Eve his wife. She conceived and gave birth to Cain” (above 4:1). It is not written that he (Adam) conceived Cain. Even in regard to Hevel it is not written, “he conceived. . . Rather, it is written, “she increased her childbearing with his brother, Hevel” (ibid.). This implies that both Cain and Hevel stemmed chiefly from Eve, rather than from Adam. Herein lies the secret of the matter - that neither Cain nor Hevel were bom in Adam’s likeness. But regarding this one Seth it states, “He reproduced in his likeness, in his image.”

(Zohar /, 55a)

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- ויתהלך חנוך את האלקים ואיננו כי לקח רתו אלהים 5:24

Chanoch went in the ways of God, and then he was no more, for God took him

Rabbi Yose began expounding this verse on the basis of another verse: “While the king was reclining at his banquet, my spice sent forth its fragrance” (Shir HaShirims 1:12). . . . Come and see: this is the way of the Holy One blessed be He. When a person cleaves to God so that His Divine Presence610 rests upon him, if He knows that later the person will sin - before that happens He plucks him while he gives forth a pleasing scent (i.e., before the person sins) and removes him from the world. This is what the verse states: “The king,” referring to the Holy One blessed be He “was reclining at his banquet” i.e.. He rested His Divine presence upon the person who cleaves to Him and goes in His ways. The verse continues: “My spice sent forth its fragrance” refers to his good deeds. Because of his good deeds he passes away from the world before his time so that he will not become tainted. . . . Come and see how this applies to our verse: Chanoch was righteous, but the Holy One blessed be He saw that later he would sin, and therefore he plucked him from this world before that happened. This is the meaning of the phrase, “and then he was no more” - he did not live the same long life as the rest of his generation, “for God took him” before his time came.

Rabbi Eliezer said: the Holy One blessed be He removed Chanoch from the earth and raised him to the heavens, placing all the supernal treasure-houses in his charge.611 What are these? The

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{Zohar I, 56b)


keys to the engraved secrets which the supernal angels use. All of these were put in his charge.

5:29 ויקרא את שמו נח לאמר זה ינחמנו ממעשינו ומעצבון ידינו מן האדמה אשר ארדה ה’ - He named him Noah, saying, “This one will relieve us from our exertion, and from agonizing manual labor on the ground which God has cursed”

How did Lemech, Noah’s father, know that his son would in the future bring relief (the name Noah means “relief’ or “comfort”) to the earth after it had been cursed due to Adam’s sin? However, when the Holy One blessed be He cursed the earth, as it is written, “The earth is cursed for you” (above 3:17), Adam said before Him: “Master of the Universe! For how long will the earth remain cursed?” God replied, “Until you have a descendant who will be bom circumcised, like you.” Elsewhere,612 the Zohar explains that the foreskin is the result of Adam’s sin. Adam himself did not have a foreskin prior to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. So they waited until Noah was bom. When he was bom they saw that he was already circumcised, sealed with the holy sign. And they saw that the Divine Presence613 rested upon him. Therefore they named him according to what would take place later.

At first after the earth was cursed due to the sin of Adam, and even more so after the sin of Cain, they did not know how to sow and reap and plow, and so they worked the earth with their hands. When Noah came along, he invented implements and all types of tools needed

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to work the earth in order to produce fruits. This is the meaning of, “This one will relieve us from our exertion, and from agonizing manual labor on the ground. . .

(.Zohar 1, 58a-b)

6:2 ויראו בני האלהים את בנות האדם - The sons of nobility saw that the daughters of man were comely

Rabbi Yirmeya said: The words בני האלהים mean “sons of nobility.” Their fathers, who were the leaders of the generation, did not rebuke them for their immoral behavior, and this caused their eventual downfall.

{Midrash HaNe 'elam Bereishit, 20b)

The following extract from the Zohar renders the words בני האלהים as "angels, " rather than as "the sons of nobility"1^

{Zohar Chadash Ruth, 81 a)


Rabbi Nechemiah said: “The angels saw. . . .” refers to Azza and Azae-1, two angels614 615 who lobbied their Master against creating man.616 The Holy One blessed be He cast them down from their holy place above. As they descended they acquired human form. For this reason they are referred to as the neftlim in verse 4 below - literally, “the fallen ones.”

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Man’s Decadence

6:3 לא ידון רוחי כאדם לעלם - My spirit will not continue to judge man forever

Rabbi Acha said: At that time prior to the Flood the river617 which flowed out from Eden brought forth an elevated spiritual level from the Tree of Life. This affected the Tree which has a connection to death, i.e., the Tree of Knowledge from which the life-force of man is drawn. For this reason man’s life-span was extremely long. Instead of a life-span of seventy, eighty or ninety years, they lived for seven, eight or nine hundred years. But when their days became so filled with evil, that eventually their evil rose up on High and planted itself firmly at the entrance, as the verse states, “sin lies in wait at the entrance” (above, 4:7) then the elevated spiritual level which issued forth from the Tree of Life was revoked. In this context, the “entrance” referred to in verse, “sin lies in wait at the entrance” is interpreted as the entrance to this world, as the soul descends to the body. Thus, regarding the descent of souls to men it is written, “My spirit will not continue to judge man forever.” The word “forever,” le-olam (לעולם) has another meaning as well - “to the world.” Rabbi Acha thus interprets the verse as follows: “My spirit will not continue to imbue man in this world for such long periods of time.”

(.Zoharl, 37b)

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6:5 וכל יצר מחשבת לבו רק רע כל היום - The entire disposition of his innermost thoughts was only and constantly evil

Rabbi Yehudah said: They were involved in all types of evil, but their debt only became due618 when they spilt blood needlessly upon the earth. To whom does this refer? To those who deviate from their line upon earth i.e., to men who waste their seed needlessly. This is the meaning of “only and constantly evil,” as it is written with reference to Er and Onan who incurred death because they emitted their seed wastefully: “Er, the firstborn son of Yehudah, was evil in God’s eyes” (Bereishit 38:7 ff.). The Zohar thus makes a gezeirah shava619 based on the common usage of the word רע - evil. Just as evil in the verse concerning Er and Onan refers to wasteful emission, so too in this case.

Rabbi Yose asked: Isn’t the word רע synonymous with the word רשע (wicked)? In which case it does not refer only to wasteful emission, but to all types of wickedness!

No, he replied. A person is wicked even if he merely raises his hand against his fellow in a threatening gesture, even if he does not hit him, as it is written regarding Moshe, who rebuked the quarreling Datan and Aviram: “He said to the wicked one, ‘Why hit(rrcn) your friend?’“ (״Shemot 2:10). It is not written, “Why did you hit (הכית),” in the past tense, indicating that he had already beaten his fellow, but rather תכה in the future tense, indicating that he was only threatening to hit him, but had not actually done so. Someone is called evil (רע) only if he does perverse acts, thereby contaminating himself and the earth, giving vigor and strength to the spirit of impurity, which is called “evil,” as it is

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(Zohar /, 56b)


written, "only and constantly evil.” Such a person will not enter the palace, and will not behold the countenance of the Divine Presence; for by his actions he causes the Divine Presence to become concealed from the w׳orld.

6:6 וינחם ה’ כי עשה את האדם בארץ ויתעצב אל לבו- But God consoled Himself that He had made man on earth, and in His heart it grieved Him

Rabbi Eliezer said: Come and see that the attributes of the Holy One blessed be He are not like those of man. The nature of man is to act, and then to regret it, and grieve over it afterwards. If you think that the same is true of the Holy One blessed be He it is written, “See, I have placed before you today life and good, and death and evil. And you shall choose life.” (Devarim 30:19). Thus man has free choice, but he was warned, “choose life, so that you shall live.” If he is sinful, this will be the cause of his death,620 as it states, “The sins of the wicked will trap him” (Mishlei 5:22). Thus it is written, “God saw that man’s wickedness had increased. . . (above 6:5). The Holy One blessed be He said: “I see that everyone is blameworthy. But if they are destroyed by their own evil, My world will be desolate. When Noah and his sons proved to be righteous, and could remain as a surviving vestige in the world, He was consoled and happy. I.e., God’s consolation was that some men were righteous.

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Rabbi Eliezer said: This word וינחם is an expression meaning comfort’ or 44consolation.” Similarly, all instances of וינחם in the Torah mean "consolation.” One sees the evil and one sees the good, and is comforted by the good.

Rabbi Akiva said to him: If so, why does it state,ויתעצב אל לבו — in His heart it grieved Him,” which seems to imply that God was distressed by the situation, and was not comforted by the fact that Noah and his sons were righteous.

He replied: Come and witness the compassion of the Holy One blessed be He. Even though he was consoled by the fact that Noah and his sons were righteous. He was nevertheless grieved that the wicked would be destroyed. Even though they were wicked, He did not wish their deaths; consequently, He was not joyful.

{Midrash HaNe’elam, Noah, 21c)

6:7 אמחה את האדם אשר בראתי מעל פני האדמה - I will obliterate man whom I have created from the face of the earth

The expression “man. . . . from the face of the earth” is deliberately worded in order to exclude supernal 44man” i.e., the configuration of the sefirot in the higher worlds. Can one maintain that the flood affected only man below, whereas the sefirot of the higher worlds were not affected at all? DO not make such a distinction between man below and man above, for one does not exist without the Other. The damage below had its effects above as well.621 As explained previously, this physical world is the consummation of creation, and without it, the entire spectrum of creation lacks this dimension.

{Idr a Rabbah, Zohar III, 144a)

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"1 will obliterate man. . . . from the face of the earth.” This is written in the future tense, because God said, “I will first inform them, via Noah, of what I intend to do if they do not change their ways.” He warned them several times, but they paid no heed. Subsequently, He judged them and then removed them from the face of the earth.

(Zohar /, 58a)

6:8 ונח מצא חן - But Noah found favor

One of the branches of Kabbalah is known as “chochmat hatzeiruf " the knowledge of letter combination 622 The letters of a word can be switched around to reveal hidden aspects of that same word, sometimes referred to as “the backof the word. The reverse combination can often tell even more about the object

it refers to than the direct combination, as the following extract shows.

If the letters of Noah’s name - נח in Hebrew are transposed, the result is חן - “grace,” or “favor.” Rabbi Yose said: The names of the righteous is a factor in causing them good, whereas the names of the wicked are a factor in causing them evil. As regards Noah, it is written, “Noah (נח) found favor (חן) in God’s eyes,” whereas with Er (ער), Yehudah’s firstborn, switching the letters of his name brings out the negative aspect רע, “evil.” “He was evil in God’s eyes.”

Nevertheless, the Zohar points out, the main factor in causing a person good or otherwise is their own actions: After Noah was bom and grew up, he witnessed man’s tendency to sin before God. He secluded himself so that he would not be influenced to follow their ways, and he occupied himself with the service of his Master. If you ask what he occupied himself with, the answer is, with the book which had been given to Adam, and which had been passed on to Chanoch.623

(Zohar I, 58b)

Wished on the basis of identical


1

   Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipman Heller in his commentary on the Mishnah Chagiga 2:1.

2

   It is interesting to note that the very same Rabbi Chiyya who was reported to have possessed various megi/lat s ,tarim teaches us in Gemara Chagiga about the transmission of the mystical tradition. Although we cannot automatically conclude that he had written documents pertaining to the secret tradition, it is nevertheless a reasonable assumption, and might well be worth further examination, especially since his name appears in literally hundreds of places in the Zohar.

3

   Sage of the Mishnaic era.

4

   Rambam Intro. Ibid.

5

   Shem HaGedolim, Chida Sefarim, Zayin, 8.

6

   Shem HaGedolim, ibid.

7

   The translator is currently occupied with writing a series of articles which examine the various theories of authorship in depth, refuting those which maintain that Rabbi Shimon did not write the Zohar. In brief, the claims of those who maintain that the Zohar was written by Moshe de Leon remain largely unsubstantiated.

8

   Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 6b.

9

   Rambam Intro. Ibid.

10

ZX.Me'Uah I7a-b.

11

   Shabbat 33b.

12

   Chabura Kadmaa mentioned in Zohar HI, p• 219a.

13

   See Tiferet Yisrael’s commentary to the mishnah in Chagiga op. cit.

14

   For a more detailed analysis of the following, see Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh s teachings, published by Gal Einai - www.inner.org.

15

Cf. Sanhedrin 65b; R. Yaakov Emden's Megilat Sefer, p. 4 and Mitpachat Sefarim, p. 45a.

16

The following is a paraphrase and adaptation of translator’s footnote to On the Essence of Chassidus, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson, Kehot, 1986, transl. by R. H. Greenberg, p. 34.

17

This division is somewhat arbitrary; some of the sections may be subsumed under others, or may be further sub-divided. See e.g., Shalom, Major Trends p. 159 ff.

18

. According to some, the section of Zohar /, 15a-22b is the Sitrei Torah on Be re is hit).

19

Or Ne 'eravi Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, part 6.

20

The concept of tzimtzum is essentially Lurianic. However, it is based on an abstruse section of the Zohar (cf. Zohar Chadash, Midrash Hene el am, Bereishit, מאמר יקוו המים).

21

An Acronym for Adoneinu (our Master) Rabbi Isaac, zichrono livracha (may his memory be a blessing).

22

Sanhedrin 37a.

23

An Acronym for Adoneinu (our Master) Rabbi Isaac, zichrono livracha (may his memory be a blessing).

24

Sanhedrin 37a.

25

The concept of sefirot as lights and vessels applies only in the world of Atzilut and below.

26

   Eitz Chaim 25b.

27

   See Hadrat Metech on Patach E/iyahu (Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar).

28

   Zohar/, 49a, 147a; vol. //, 234b.

29

   Zohar III, 256b.

30

   See Eit: Chaim, sha'ar 16, chap. 1.

31

   Proverbs 8:30; Zohar /, 5a, 47a; vol. 11, 93b; vol. Ill, 35b, 67b.

32

   Zohar III, 166b.

33

   As will be explained below in the section titled “Powers of the Soul.”

34

   Vol. Ill, 235b, in Raya Mehemna; Tikkunei Zohar p. 111a, 112b.

35

   The literal reading of the text is: “From where shall wisdom be found?” However, this is the interpretation given in kabbalah. See Zohar II, 121a, Zohar III, 290a, commentaries

36

   Note in Tanya chap. 35 (p. 44b) regarding a passage in Eitz Chaim.

37

   Emek HaMe/ech, sha ,ar Sha 'ashuei HaMelech, chap. 1.

38

   Eitz Chaim, Otzrot Chaim, beginning.

39

Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 70, p. 133b; P*

40

   See Eit: Chaim, sha ,ar 6, ch. 5; shaa'r 8, ch. 5

41

   Vol. I, pp. 249b, 251b; vol. H, P• 245b

42

   Vol. HI. 144b.

43

   See Zohar 11, p. 5b, 96a,; Zohar 111, p. 94a; Pardes. sha'ar 4, chap. 7.

44

   Zohar III, p. 292a.

45

   See R. Chaim Vital's Sha'arei Kedushah, part 3, chap. 5;ה יונתי בחגוי הסלעייד in Likutei Torah, Shir Hashirim, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.

46

   See Tikkunei Zohar p. 132b; Pardo. skaar^\\ ctap 2

47

   See Zohar I, 37a, b; Zohar II. 70b; Hashmatot p. 265a; Pardes. sha'ar 31,

chap. 4.

48

   Pardes, sha'ar 4, chap. 10.

49

   Zohar II, Raya Mehemna, p. 198b; Hashmatot p. 267a.

50

   Sec vol. II, p. 94b; vol. Ill, p. 24b-25a, 70b; vol. I, p. 62a, commentaries; Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 3.

51

   Job 31:2, Tanya chap. 2.

52

   Eitz Chaim sha'ar 42, chap. 1.

53

   Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 2.

54

   Zohar /,81a, b; Zohar III, p. 46b.

55

   See Zohar III, Raya Mehemna, p. 29a. See at length Kuntreis HaAvodah, by Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn, chap 1.

56

   Zohar II, 94b.

57

   Zohar ibid.

58

   Devarim 6:5; Zohar /, 178b; vol. II 134a, 162b; Ta'anit 2a.

59

   Job 32:8.

60

   Zohar II, 94b.

61

   Kuntreis HaAvodah chap. 1.

62

   Zohar II, 93b. Ill 22b, in Raya Mehemna; Tanya chap. 39.

63

   Devarim 6:5. Zohar II, 163a, 198b in Raya Mehemna.

64

   Zohar II, 94b.

65

   Devarim 6:5. Zohar II, 198b, in Raya Me emna.

66

   Zohar III, 288a in Idra Zuta.

67

   Kuntreis HaAvodah p. 30.

68

   Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction - Patach Eliyahu.

69

   Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 1.

70

Zohar II, 12 la, Zohar ///, 290a, commentaries. A literal reading of the text is rendered as "From where shall wisdom be found?

71

91 .Zohar III, 235b, in Raya Mehemna; Tikkunei Zohar p. 11 la, 112b.

72

   Tikkunei Zohar tikkun 22, p. 63b.

73

   Chagiga 14a; Zohar Chadash 4a.

74

95'. 7Anato'myofthe Soul, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh (ed. Rabbi Yechezkel Anis),

75

Gal Einai Publications, Jerusalem 1995, p.

76

   See Zohar I, p. 154; vol II, 84a..

77

   See Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh chap. 15, end.

78

   Zohar III, 291a in Idra Zuta.

79

   Zohar III, 220b.

80

   E.g. Zohar II, 59b; 132a, based on the verse in I Chronicles 29:11.

81

!02 Thewven^days of ״«״.־״ cor־׳spo״d to th־ s״־.־ low״.,־/™.

82

,03! Tittm: 2*r P.    p 6*׳*י־* ׳

83

Anatomy of the Soul, Rabbi ז

84

   Anatomy of the Soul, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, p 61.

85

   Zohar I, 90b; Zohar, Tosafot 276a, 302a.

86

   Zohar Chadash, Toldot, p. 26c; Yitro, p. 3 lb.

87

   Pardes, shaa'r 8, chap. 2; sha'ar 9, chap. 3.

88

   Zohar Chadash, Yitro, p. 31 b.

89

   Zohar, Tosafot, 276a, 302a.

90

   See Anatomy of the Soul, p. 63.

91

See Devarim 8:18.

92

   Zohar III, 236a.    ״ ״ ״ ״ . . .

93

   As in the verse (I Chronicles 29:7): T0u’° °0d15 tte***״/a* and the gevurah...for all that is in the heavens and the earth Yours. The words “for

94

all” (ki kof) have the numerical value 0 yeso

95

See Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 1; Ei/imah Rabbati pp. 1, 43.

96

   Yad, Yesodei HaTorah, 2:3.

97

   Bereishit Rabbah 1:4. On which day of creation is the subject of a dispute among the sages: R' Yochanan says that they were created on the second day; R' Chanina - on the fifth.

98

   Zohar II, 1 la; Eichah Rabbah, 3:5.

99

   Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 57, p. 91b.

100

   See Zohar I, 127a; vol. HI, 68b.

101

   Zohar /, 144a; vol. ///, 152a.

102

Zohar /, 101a.    1?99 ,//״a

103

   Zohar /, 40b; Zohar Chadash, Ri

104

   Zohar I, p. 81a.

105

126..£!7r Chaim, sha'ar 40, chap. 15.

106

   Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 40, chap. 13.

107

   Ibid.

108

   Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 28, chap. 1; sha'ar 40, chap. 13; Sha'ar HaGilgulim chap. 19.

109

   Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 40, chap. 13.

110

   Zohar /, 235a; Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction (p. 12a).

111

   Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 55 (p. 89a); tikkun 57 (p. 91b).

112

   E.g., vol. I, 12a, 12b, 13a.

113

   E.g., vol. II, 108b, 141a.

114

Zohar //, 131a, 203a-b.

115

1.    vol. 2,42a, b.

116

2.    See Sha'ar HaClalim 1:6. Damesek El.ezen

117

The world was created with the “speech of God, as our Sages explain, “With M״    the    world    was    ־־־״«״־    Th'“    '־״■׳־» ״־« i־״l״d־

118

all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

119

   See Yechezke/ 9:4.

120

   See Shabbat 55a. Several explanations of this are found among the commentaries: The Gemara (Shabbat, ibid.) explains that the letter tav was written in ink on the foreheads of the righteous to protect them from the Angel of Death, and in blood on the foreheads of the wicked as a sign that they must die. However, the attribute of severity argued that the righteous were also deserving of death since they did not admonish the wicked. Hence, they also died (Or Yakar; Or Hachamah; Matok miDvash) and the letter tav is therefore associated with death. According to Damesek E/iezer, “they would pass away from this world" refers to the wicked, not to the righteous, i.e. that the letter tav on the foreheads of the righteous indicated that the wicked would die, unlike the righteous who observed the entire Torah, from aleph to tav. nevertheless, the letter tav is associated with death.

121

   The three arms of the shin represent the three Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov (Or Yakar; Damesek Eliezer; Matok miDvash.

122

   Tehil/im 11:7.

123

   As it would be if it began the creation of the world.

124

   See Or Yakar.

125

   See Or Yakar.

126

   See Bereishit 1:27, Rashi.

127

   Or Yakar.

128

   Or Yakar.

129

   Or Yakar.

130

   Or Yakar.

131

   Damesek Eliezer.

132

   R. Avraham Galanti; Or HaChamah.

133

   Not those who have already fallen, for if this were the intention, the verse would have said, “raising or lifting the fallen” - Damesek Eliezer.

134

   Shemot 15:11.

135

   Tehillim 33:1, Ibn Ezra, Metzudot.

136

   See Melzudal David to Tehillim ibid.

137

   See Tehillim 145:14.

138

   Damesek Eliezer.

139

   Or Yakar.

140

   See Nezer Yisrael.

141

   See Zohar Chai; Damesek Eliezer; Derech Mitzvotecha מצוות מנוי מלך. See Chinuch, 497.

142

   Zoharei Chama.

143

   Or Yakar.

144

   Nezer Yisrael; Damesek Eliezer.

145

   Or Yakar.

146

   Sul am; Nezer YIsrael.

147

   See Nezer Yisrael

148

   Tehi/lim 25:8.

149

   R. Avraham Galanti.

150

   Regarding the concept of the World

151

   Tehillim 31:20.

152

   Eichah 2:9.

153

   See Pesachim 56a.

154

   Shemot 20:8.

155

   Beitzah 17a.

156

   Or Yakar; Sulam.

157

   Or Yakar.

158

   Nezer Yisrael.

159

   R. Avraham Galanti.

160

   Sul am.

161

   See Rosh HaShanah 10b - R

162

   See Yerushalmi Chagiga 2.1, Bereisnu

163

   Avot 5:1.

164

   Rosh HaShana 32a; Megi/lah 21b; Zohar 15a, 30a.

165

   Zohar, Hashmatot p. 256b; Zohar, Midrash HaNe'elam, Bereishit. See also Avot ibid, and commentaries; Rashi, Bereishit 1:14; Ramban, Bereishit 1:1.

166

   Mikdash Me/ech.

167

   This is explained in numerous places in the Zohar, e.g. Zohar vol. I 15b, 24a, 56a; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 11, Tikkun 69, etc.

168

   Or Hachama.

169

Or HaChama.

170

   See also Bereishit Rabbah 3:7; 9:2. This is not to be understood as implying that there was some accidental flaw in the world of Tohu. Rather, the flaw inherent in the world of Tohu was deliberately formed in order to allow for the possibility of evil and thus provide man with the possibility of choosing between good and evil. See Etz Chaim 11:6; Shaar HaHakdamot p. 228 ff.

171

   See Derech Emet.

172

   cf. Bereishit Rabbah 2:4.

173

   Sanhedrin 97a. As the verse states, “For one thousand years in your eyes is like yesterday” (Tehillim 90:4) i.e. one day. And the week of creation is therefore six supernal days i.e. six thousand years. The first are two thousand years of chaos, the next two thousand years are the era of Torah, and the last two thousand years are the days of mashiachap. Two thousand years of chaos are alluded to in the verse, “The earth was inconceivably void.” Two thousand years of Torah are alluded to in the verse, The sovereignty of God hovered over the surface of the waters,” for “water” always signifies Torah. See Taanit

174

6173See Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar, ה פחח אלירי״ד. Chesed is the right arm and severity the left.

175

   Avot 5:1.

176

   Or Yakar.

177

   Note that this passage in the Zohar does not regard the word 35בראשית the first utterance, as explained previously. Perhaps this is according to the view that the verse, “I am the Lord your God” also expresses belief in God Himself, which is not a commandment, but precedes all commandments. (See view of Ba'al Hilchot Gedolot in Ramban's Hasagot to Sefer HaMitzvot, Aseh 1; view of R. Chasdai in Rosh Amana (Abarbanel) chap. 4. And nnPK^corresponds to this prior belief. Nevertheless, in the light of other passages in the Zohar this seems unlikely.

178

   See Tanya chap. 2.

179

   Bava Kama 17a.

180

   Note that the present version of the Zohar states בארמים חיים, not מקור מים חיים However, since the latter is the same verse which is quoted shortly, perhaps

the text should be amended.

181

   See Chagiga 14b regarding the advice of . k.va to the Sages who entered the Pardes: Do not say, ,Water, water • (• • a separation between the waters); Pardes Rimonim s.v. שיש.

182

   Technically, this refers to the unification (yichud) of ma/chut and zier anpin ־ Commentaries.

183

   Zohar vol. II, p. 88a.

184

   Zohar ibid.

185

   The Names used in this verse are ה־ו-ה-י, the Tetragrammaton, denoting the transcendent revelation of God as He is in Himself, and אלקים, God as He is within creation.

186

   Avot 6:3; Zohar vol. Ill, p. 81b.

187

   cf. Chagiga 12b; Bereishit Rabbah chap. 3.

188

   See Chagiga 12a.

189

   Bereishit Rabba 19:13; Shir HaShirim Rabbah 5:1, and commentaries.

190

   See Bereishit 11:1 ff.

191

Yeshayahu 45:7.

192

   See R. Chaim Vital, quoted in Or HaChamah's introduction to this section.

193

   תא חזי in Hebrew. This is a common expression in the Zohar, usually before citing a verse as proof for a thesis. I have sometimes translated it as “look.”

194

   Or Yakar.

195

   R. Chaim Vital, quoted in Or Hac Hamah; Mat ok MiDevash.

196

   Bereishit 22:3.

197

   Bereishit 1:10, 12.

198

   See Rashi, Bereishit 1:7.

199

   Pesikia Zutrata. Bereishil 1:1. See also Rashi's commentary ad 10c. See also our commentary to this verse.

200

   See Devarim 33:2, Commentaries.

201

“All Who are M S» “ «־ ־**”»> ־׳״*»,

202

Torah (Rashi).

203

Part III, p. 1 la.

204

97 The word used here to denote a person is אדם (Adam) - a cognate of the word אדמה (adamah = earth), since man was fashioned from earth, as verse 2:7

below states explicitly.

205

See Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 67p. 98b.

206

   Other versions (e.g. Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 21, p. 59a) state: “It is not possible for two kings to use one crown.”

207

   Other versions state: He told the moon, “Go and reduce yourself.” See Chullin 60b; Bereishit Rabbah 6:3.

208

   This is the purpose of the world's creation according to Zohar 1142a, b - as explained above in our commentary to Bereishit 1:1.

209

   See R. Meir Ibn Gabbai in Avodat HaKodesh part 4, chap. 8.

210

   See Torat Shmuel, Discourses 5627, p. 399 ff.

211

See Pardes, Shar Arachei Hakinuim, s.v. שמש; Sulam and other commentaries. See Introduction.

212

   See our commentary to Bereishit 1:3, 1:4.

213

See Pardes, Shar Arachei Hakinuim, s.v. ירח; Sulam and other commentaries. See Introduction.

214

   Cf. Bereishit Rabbah 19:13 - “The chief aspect of the Divine Presence (the Schechinah) was in the lower worlds.”

215

   Cf. Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 16.

216

   Zohar /, 181a, 249b, 251b; vol. //, 245b, and several other places.

217

   This is apparently the view of the Zohar as cited by R. Moshe Cordovero in Pardes, Shaar 18, chap. 2: According to this the moon requested to be allowed to reduce itself to a lower level than the sun, and its request was granted. In Avodat HaKodesh part 4, chap. 1, R. Meir ibn Gabbai offers the Talmudic view - that this was a punishment.

218

   Tzemach Tzedek Or HaTorah Bereishit, p. 80-2. The concept of the “shattering of the vessels” (shevirat hakelim) is found in several places in the Zohar (II, 176b, III 128a, 135a־b, 142a-b). The Zohar explains that God originally built a primordial world called Tohu, which He then destroyed (see our commentary to 1:2 above). Fragments of the substance of that world fell from their elevated level and became embedded within the various levels of creation. Man's task is to extricate, refine and elevate these sparks, restoring them to their original level of sanctity.

219

   See Zohar /, 181a, 249b, 251b; II, 245b, Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 44, p. 82b. See also Eitz Chaim, sha’ar 6, chap. 5, and sha'ar 8, chap. 5.

220

   Kisei Me lech.

221

   See Bamidbar 27:18-23    ,

222

   Bava Batra 75a; Sifri, Pinchas 27:20; Zohar 128a; Zohar // 215a.

223

   See Bamidbar 11:25.

224

   See Zohar I, p. 45b; III, p. 93a.

225

   As the Zohar Sitrei Otiot, Bereishit; Zohar, Sitrei Torah, Yitro states regarding the era of King Solomon who built the First Temple: “The moon remained in its fullness.”

226

   The above interpretation is based on Or Yakar, and seems to be supported by Zohar I, p. 45b.

227

   See Zohar ///, 174a; ibid. Raya Mememna 42a. Explained in Likkuiei Torah (R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi), T:av 14b.

228

   See Avodah Zara 3 b.

229

   See our commentary to verse I. a

230

   Zohar I, llbff.

231

   The following interpretation is from Or Yakar.

232

   Kiddushin 30a.

233

   For an explanation of the levels of soul mentioned here, see Introduction.

234

   Technically, the sefirah 0fyesod(Or Yakar).

235

   Or Yakar.

236

   Technically, the sefirah of male hut (Or Yakar).

237

   Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life - see Introduction.

238

   See Raya Mehemna, Zohar II, p. 117a; Sulam.

239

Bereishit 1:26-7.

240

133 According to the commentaries, this apparently refers to the covenant of circumcision the purpose of which is to bring holy souls into this world, and educe holy Divine energy for the benefit of the world. See also Zohar //, 204b ff.; Iir 80-82; Zohar Chadash - Bereishit, p.

241

   Or Yakar; Sulam.

242

   See Sulam.

243

   See Zohar III, 187a.

244

   Sulam, based on Chullin 67b, that the leviathan is a kosher fish, interprets the entire passage in a positive sense - as referring to extremely elevated levels of holiness. The Mikdash Melech, however, interprets the entire passage in a negative sense - referring to the foremost levels of kelipah. We will explain this passage according to the former, positive, interpretation.

245

   Zohar III,*39b. Technically, from binah. See Pardes, Arachei Hakinuim s.v.

. תנינים

246

   Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 21 (42b); Zohar III, p. 279a (Raya Mehemna). See also Avodat HaKodesh, R. Meir ibn Gabbai, part 4, chap. 9.

247

   Bereishit ibid.

248

   Zohar II. 1 lb. See also Likkutei Torah, Nasso 22a.

249

   See Pardes, Arachei Hakinuim s.v.לויתן .

250

   Cf Shabbat 88a - the Holy One, blessed is He, hung Mount Sinai over the Israelites like a barrel (a metaphor for the revelation of His infinite love for them - Likkutei Torah, Re'eh 22a). This “forced” them to agree to accept the Torah, but the agreement is regarded as a “מודעה רבה לאורייתא” - an agreement made under coercion. Only much later on, in the days of Mordechai and Esther, did the Jewish People actually accept the Torah of their own free choice (see Esther 9:27) - Shabbat ad loc.

251

   .Sulam.

252

   Bereishit, 1:2.

253

   Explained in note 104 above.

254

   Bereishit ibid.    Hashmatot p. 263a).

255

   See Sefer HaBahir chap. 30 (Zohar 11. n

256

   Sul am.

257

   Su/am. See Introduction.

258

   This will be explained below.

259

   Or Yakar.

260

   Pardes Rimonim, sha'arl\, chap. 4; Shne, Luchot HaBrit. ־ Beit Yisrael,־־ p 6c; Nefesh HaChaim, sha'ar 1, chap. 1. See Rash!,Bereuhit 1:26.

261

   See Yevamol 61a; Baba Melziah 114b; Zohar 1, 20b.

262

   See Tanya end ofchapAl    lbn Ezra Mel:udat Dav1d

263

156.6ו1אלקים^ is rendered as angels oy

264

   Nitzotzei Zohar.

265

   See Zohar II, 148b ff, according to R.Yehudah.

266

   The beraita, similar to the mishnah. are teachings authored by the Tannaim, but were not included by Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi in the six orders of the Mishnah which he compiled. After the mishnah, beraitot have supreme authority in Jewish law.

267

   See Bereishit Rabbah&A.    .    _    ...    ol ןר

268

   BamidbarRabbah 19:17. See also Rashi, Banudbar 21:21.

269

   See Yerushalmi Shevi'it 9:1.

270

163. OrYakar. Commentaries explain that mystically this refers to six of the soul's powers -kindness, severity, compassion, trust, sincerity, attachment, corresponding to the six sefirot - chesed, gevurah, ti/eret, netzach. hod. yesod. Set Introduction.

271

These words are actually etymologically related cf. I will be compared (adameh) to the One Above” (Yeshayahu 14:14).

272

For a listing of some of the correspondences see R.Elazar Azikri's Sefer HaChareidim.

273

   Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 30.

274

   Tanya, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, chap. 23.

275

   See Zohar Chadash, Ruth, m'amar kriat Shema; ibid. Midrash HaNe'elam, Acharei, parshat HaShemot.

276

   See Tanya, chap. 47, and note on p. 44b.

277

   See Tanya, note on p. 44b.

278

   See Zohar I, 216b, explained in Tanya chap. 32.

279

   Pardes Rimonim, sha'ar 31, chap. 4; Shnei Luchot HaBrit, “Beit Yisrael," p. 6c; Nefesh HaChaim, sha’ar 1, chap. 1. See Rashi, Bereishit 1:26.

280

   Zohar II, 135a.

281

   See also Menachot 29b.

282

   Zohar I, 249b, 251b; II, 245b; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 44, p. 82b. See also Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 6, chap. 5, and sha'ar 8, chap. 5.

283

   Tanchuma, Shemot 20.

284

   Sulam.

285

   Zohar I, 249b, 251b; //, 245b; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 44, p. 82b. See also Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 6, chap. 5, and sha'ar 8, chap. 5.

286

   Sul am.

287

   Literally, “a grandfather of grandfathers” said to Rabbi Shimon. This refers to a very elevated level of Keter - namely, Atik Yomin - literally, “the Ancient of Days” (Mikdash Me/ech). In terms of man's soul this indicates a revelation of the level of soul called yechidah (Su/am). See Introduction.

288

   Our Sages point out (Bereishit Rabbah 30:4, 38:12; Shemot Rabbah 2:6) that anyone whose name is doubled (as in “Abraham, Abraham” — Bereishit 22:1; “Moses Moses” - Shemot 3:4) has a portion in this world and in the world to come - Damesek Eliezer.

289

   One of the seven Divine Names which may not may not be erased (see Maimonides, Code, Yesodei HaTorah 6:2). See Introduction.

290

   Literally, “the old man flew off.”

291

   Technically, this refers to the level of Keter called Atik Yomin, as above.

292

   This is the interpretation of the verse given in Zohar I, p. 195a.

293

   Cf. Damesek Eliezer.

294

   Interpreted according to Targum Yonatan, and Zohar I, p. 134a.

295

   Literally, "the higher level of chochnmah.”

296

   We have pointed out in the previous extract that the Divine Names do not

297

denote "persons” but actions.

298

   Cf. Tanna d'Vei Eliyahu 9.

299

   See Introduction.

300

   Avot 5:1.

301

   See Pardes shaar 11, chap. 3; Derech Mitzevotecha p. 57a ff.; Discourses 5666, p. 5 ff.

302

   Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 69 (p. 112b); Tikkun 61 (p. 93b).

303

   Note that binah (בינה) is a cognate of בונה- build.

304

   As stated explicitly in Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction, p. 3b. Explained at length in /grot Kodesh chap. 20 (Tanya part 4).

305

   Damesek E/iezer, Su/am. Mikdash Melech interprets this as referring to our

physical world.

306

   Damesek Eliezer.

307

   Damesek E/iezer, based on Zohar I/I, 123a. Explained in Tanya, Iggeret

HaTeshuvah chap. 4 ff.

308

   Pardes Rimonim, sha'ar 31, chap. 4; Shnei Luchot HaBrit, ״Beit Yisrael, ” p. 6c; Nefesh HaChaim, sha'ar 1, chap. 1. See Rashi, Bereishit 1:26.

309

   This is also one of the positive commandments as listed by Maimonides in Sefer HaMitzvot, aseh 8; Code, De'ot 1:5, and by Sefer HaChinuch, mitzvah 611.

310

   Sotah 14a.

311

   The previous paragraph of the Zohar explains that the world was also created through the Torah. See the commentary to verse Elabove.

312

   Shemot 34:6.

313

   See Patach Eliyahu, Intro. Tikkunei Zohar.

314

   Avot 5:1.

315

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is often referred to as “the holy lamp.” Raya Mehemna is the soul of Moses to whom R. Shimon addressed many questions (Ziv HaZohar).

316

   Explained according to Z/'v HaZohar.

317

The tenth and final sefirah, identified with the Shechinah, the immanent aspect of the Divine Presence, and the source of all souls. See Introduction.

318

   Z/v HaZohar. See Zohar /, 181a, 249b, 251b; II, 245b; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 44, p. 82b. See also Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 6, chap. 5, and sha'ar 8, chap.

319

   This subject is discussed at length in Tanya - Igeret HaKodesh chap. 20.

320

   See the eleventh of Maimonides' Thirteen Principles of Faith.

321

   Sukkah 45b; Sanhedrin 63a.

322

   Zohar II, p. 42a, b.

323

   See Bereishit 38:7 ff., regarding Er and Onan.

324

   Zohar I, 23a. See also Shabbat 77b; Bamidbar Rabbah 18:18.

325

   Shemot rabbah 17:1; Shir HaShirim Rabbah 3:10.

326

   As stated explicitly in Zohar //, 42a-b.

327

   Or Yakar\ Or HaChamah.

328

   Cf. Maimonides, Code, Yesodei HaTorah 4:12.

329

   Sul am.

330

   Z/v HaZohar.

331

   Sulam.

332

   SeeZohar I, 216a.

333

   Zohar II, 165b.

334

   Cf. Zohar II, 4a.

335

   See Pardes, sha'ar 19, 20. See our Introduction.

336

   The inhabitants of the lower worlds are merely reflections and representations of spiritual formations in the upper worlds. See Introduction.

337

   Since this world is a reflection of the world above.

338

   Zohar //, 210a־b, 229a־b; III, 169a. See also Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 7; cf. Bereishit Rabbah 19:6.

339

A drop of semen. Cf. Avot 3:1.

340

Z/v HaZohar.

341

   See Zohar III, Raya Mehemna, 122a; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 19, p. 40b; Zohar Chadash, p. 11a.

342

   See also Menachot 29b.

343

   Zohar I, 181a, 249b, 251b; II, 245b; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 44, p. 82b. See also Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 6, chap. 5, and sha'ar 8, chap. 5.

344

   See Introduction.

345

   Or Yakar.

346

   See also Zohar III, 20a, Raya Mehemna; Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15.

347

   The fifth of Rabbi Yishmael's Thirteen Rules by means of which the Torah is expounded (see Sifra, Introduction).

348

   “A general rule” = כלל, a cognate of ריכל. Or HaChama.

349

   Ziv HaZohar.

350

   See Zohar I, 31b, cited above in the commentary to Bereishit 1:3.

351

   See Zohar I, 134a ff.

352

Set Zohar I, 207a; //, 221a.

353

13 .Or Yakar vol. II. P• 95a־b.

354

   See also Metzudat David, Radak on II Kings 4:2, 3.

355

   Zohar /, 216b.

356

   Sitrei Torah - Vayeishev in Zohar C ha dash, p. 29b.

357

   See also Zohar //, 155a.

358

18 .Or HaChamah.

359

   Shemot 25:23-30; Vayikra 24:5-19.

360

   It is not a commandment for the Kohanim (priests) to eat the show-bread - it is merely part of their reward for serving in the Temple (see Chinuch siman 97; Smag, aseh 196).

361

   Or Hachamah explains that all three views maintain that one should partake of three Sabbath meals, and their disagreement is only in regard to what elicits blessing and plenty for the coming week.

362

   This is also the view of the Talmud (Shabbat 118a), and the view accepted by the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 291).

363

   Shabbat 118a; Maimonides Code, Shabbat 30:7.

364

   Beitzah 16a; Bava Batra 10a.

365

   Or HaChamah.

366

   The following quotes are

367

Vol. II, 89b, 90a; vol. Ill, 94b, etc.

368

28.1.e., chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod. See Introduction.

369

   Corresponding to the sefirah of malchut.

370

   In many communities it is customary to recite the first two of the following three paragraphs during the Friday evening service.

371

   Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi's Siddur With Chassidic Commentary p. 168a.

372

   Ibid., p. 168c.

373

33.Ibid.

374

   It is referred to as the mystery of oneness because it is a lower level of oneness than the oneness of the higher worlds, where God's Oneness is not a mystery, but revealed.

375

   See Introduction.

376

   Siddur With Chassidic Commentary p. 168d.

377

   This is the interpretation of the verse given in Zohar !, p. 195a.

378

   Zohar II, 134a.

379

   See Patach Eliyahu - Tikkunei Zohar, Intro. //: “Within... is the Name, which is ... the watering of the Tree (the sefirot) with its arms and branches just as water irrigates a tree and it grown by that irrigation.... You water the Tree through that fountain, and that fountain is as the soul to the body, which is the life of the body.” See also Tanya, Shaar Hayichud v'HaEmunah chap. 1 ff.

380

   Or Yakar.

381

   Literally, “wrath, anger" a metaphor for the negat.ve forces of the “other side.”

382

   See Tanya, chap. 35, in note on p. 44b.

383

   Or Yakar.

384

   Beitzah 16a.

385

   Shemot 31:17.

386

   The sefirot above.

387

   See also Menachot 29b.

388

   As the prior paragraph in the Zohar states explicitly, and as found in numerous places in the Zohar.

389

   Avodah Zarah 9a, Rashi; see also Rosh HaShanah 31a; Sanhedrin 97a.

390

   Mazalot - plural, mazal - singular.

391

   Contrast with Mo'ed Kaian 28a, which states that these three are dependent upon a person's mazal even after the Torah was given to the Jewish people.

392

   Shabbat 156a.

393

   Shemot Rabbah 28:1.

394

See commentary to Bereishil 1:1.

395

   Damesek Eliezer.

396

   Or HaChamah.

397

   Note that Rashi offers a similar interpretation of this verse.

398

   Damesek Eliezer. קול התור (the sound of the turtledove) has the same letters as קול תורה (the sound of Torah).

399

   Or Yakar; Or HaChamah.

400

Or Yakar.

401

   See also Berachot 61a.

402

   For a detailed explanation of the purpose of the yetzer hara see Pardes, sha'ar 25, chap. 3; Tomer Devorah chap. 6.

403

   Vol. Ill, p. 263a.

404

   Bamidbar Rabbah 22.

405

   See also Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, Sha'ar HaKavanot, drush ‘,Shevi'i shel Pesachap. ”

406

   As will be explained in the following extract. Pardes, sha'ar 25, chap. 3; Tomer Devorah chap. 6.

407

   Bereishit Rabbah 9.

408

   Cf. Yevamot 61a; Bava Metziah 114b. See also Zohar I, 20b; Zohar 11, 25b.

409

   See commentaries to Devarint 33:2.

410

   SttShabbat 146a; Yevamot 103b.

411

   Tanchuma, Nasso 16.

412

   Matok MiDevash citing Or Yakar, Mikdash Me/ech, R. Chaim Vital.

413

   Matok MiDevash.

414

   Su/am.

415

   Matok MiDevash.

416

   See Shabbat 88b.

417

   The commandment “be fertile and produce offspring” is fulfilled when one has a son and a daughter. See Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer 1; Maimonides, Code, Ishut 15:5.

418

IS. Or Yakar; Mat ok MiDevash.

419

   Sulam.

420

   Cf. Yevamot 63b.

421

   Zohar II, 88a.

422

   Cf. “The Temple below is situated in correlation to the Temple above (Midrash Tehillim 30:1).

423

   In fact, the soul is a single indivisible essence concealed within the Ein Sof— the Infinite One (Pardes, sha'ar 4, chap. 7). It emanates from Above via the ten sefirot. Thus the three levels of the soul - nefesh, ruach, neshamah - each derive their character and path in Divine service from the sefirah via which they emanate: Neshamah from binah; ruach from the six sefirot of zeir anpin; and nefesh from male hut (Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 1). See Introduction.

424

   Cf. Beresishit Rabbah 14:9 - “The soul has five names: nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chaya, yechidahR. Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal) explains that the first three levels are connected to the physical body in one way or another., whereas the other two transcend the physical body. Accordingly, there is no disagreement between the Zohar and the Midrash. Here the Zohar discusses those aspects of the soul which are attached to the body. Elsewhere the Zohar also refers to the higher levels of soul - see Zohar II, 158b (Raya Mehemna); vol. I, 267a (Hashmatot). See also Zohar I, 103b; II, 118b, and numerous other places where the Zohar refers to the “soul of the soul.”

425

   Each of the three levels of soul also corresponds to each of the three worlds, Asiyah, Yetzirah, Beriah - Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 2. See Introduction.

426

   See Pardes, sha'ar 31, chap. 2-3 at length.

427

   See Bereishit Rabbah 21:5.

428

   See Introduction.

429

   Regarding the concept of the World to Come, see Introduction.

430

   See R. Chaim Vital's Introductin to Eitz Chaim.

431

   See Damesek Eliezer.

432

   See R. Shneur Zalman, Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar 2a

433

   Compare Avot 2:8 - R. Eliezar ben Horkenus is compared to a well which does not lose a drop, whereas R. Elazar ben Arach is compared to a spring which flows with ever increasing strength. The Mishnah concludes that if all the Sages of Israel including R. Eliezer ben Horkenus were on one side of the scale, and R. Elazar ben Arach were on the other, he would outweigh them all.

434

   See Likkutei Torah op. cit.

435

   Damesek Eliezer

436

   The practical commandments.

437

   See Zohar /, 85b.

438

   See Zohar I, 24a; //, 60a. Explained in Tanya chap. 4.

439

   The inhabitants of the lower worlds are merely reflections and representations of spiritual formations in the upper worlds. See Introduction.

440

   Since this world is a reflection of the world above.

441

   See Bamidbar Rabbah 13:2; Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 16.

442

   Cf. Zohar I, 217a; Sanhedrin 98a.

443

   See Zohar III, 122a ff.; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 6, p. 22a; Tanya, Iggeret HaTeshuvah chap. 9.

444

   This interpretation is based on the context of the previous section which discusses the test which is administered to a sotah - a woman suspected of infidelity to her husband (see Bamidbar The analogy here is obvious - Israel is regarded as the ‘4bride״ of the Holy One, blessed is He. If they display any infidelity by defiling themselves with “strange gods,״ they are required to re-establish their fidelity through the trials and tribulations of exile, as the foregoing section of the Zohar explains.

445

   Damasek Eliezer.

446

   Cf. I Kings 18:21.

447

   One of the four kelipot, or “husks״ which conceal Godliness. Kelipat nogah, unlike the other three kelipot, is an intermediary between holy and unholy, between good and evil. It pertains to those matters which are permissible, but have not been commanded or prohibited. See Introduction.

448

   See Eitz Chayim 49:2 IT.

449

   I.e., the clothing of malchut of Atzilut in kelipal nogah. See Introduction

450

   See Introduction.

451

   Unifications. See Introduction.

452

   I.e., transcending the world of Atzilut.

453

   Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh chap. 26.

454

   Or HaChamah.

455

   Mikdash Me lech.

456

   Ashmoret HaBoker in the name of the Arizal in Sha'ar HaMitzvot.

457

   Ibid.

458

   Zohar III, 73a.

459

   Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh chap. 26. For a brief explanation of ke/ipat nogah, see previous extracts. A more detailed explanation can be found in the Introduction.

460

   Such as Tehillim 122, 124, 127, 131, 133.

461

   See Or HaChamah.

462

   Ibid.

463

   Note in Tanya chap. 35.

464

   Zohar III, 290b (Idra Zuta).

465

   Ibid.

466

   Or HaChamah.

467

   See Introduction.

468

   Berachot 17b; Taanit 24b.

469

   See Bamidbar 2:2 ff.

470

   See Zohar III, 118b.

471

   See Patach Eliyahu - Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction II, as cited in our Introduction.

472

   See also Bava Batra 25b. Interestingly, this is cited as present day practice in Shut chan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 94:2, Ramah.

473

   As the verse states: “Give chesed to Abraham” (Michah 7:20). In numerous places the Zohar explains that Abraham corresponds to the attribute of chesed, e.g. Zohar I, 96a; III, 262b.

474

   Cf. Sotah 10b: Do not read, “Abraham called out in the name of God,” (Bereishit 21:33), but “Abraham made others call out in the name of God.”

475

   Su/am. See our Introduction.

476

   See Sulam.

477

   Sin is the cause of separation and self-alienation, as the verse states, “Only your sins have separated between you and your God” (Yeshayahu 59:2). Through repentance a person returns his soul to its former state of unity. See Zohar III, 122a - Raya Mehemna. The Zohar goes on to say that Teshuvah does not necessarily mean repentance following sin. It also means returning to one's Source, via Torah study based on love and awe of God, whereby the soul returns to its highest level and cleaves to Him who emanated it. See at length, Tanya, Igeret HaTeshuvah chap. 5-10

478

   Tanya chap. 1.

479

   The indwelling Divine Presence, as explained previously.

480

   See Maimonides Code, De'ot chap. 5.

481

   The yetzer hara.

482

This is understood from the context.

483

   The word Rardes is an abbreviation of the words peshat, remez, drush, sod - the interpretation of the Torah according to the plain meaning of the text, allusion to deeper meanings, the homiletical explanation, and the secret explanation respectively. These correspond to the four worlds, Asiyah, Yetzirah, Beriah, Atzilut, which are attained through the various stages of meditation. See Introduction.

484

   Damesek Eliezer.

485

   Rardes, Arachei Hakinuim, s.v. מים. A comprehensive commentary on this selection can be found there.

486

   An alternative version of this passage is found in Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 40 (p. 80b), where these words are part of the text. See also Chagiga 14b.

487

   Literally, “a grandfather of grandfathers.” This refers to a very elevated level of Keter, namely, Atik Yomin - literally, ‘1the Ancient of Days’' (Mikdash Melech). In terms of man's soul this indicates a revelation of the level of soul called yechidah (Sulam). See Introduction.

488

   The souls of the righteous learn Torah in Gan Eden from the Holy One Himself. See Sitrei Torah, Yitro in Zohar Chadash 36b.

489

   Cf. Shabbat 88a: “Who revealed this secret which only the ministering angels know..?” Megillah 3a: “Who revealed these secrets to my son?”; Otzar HaMidrashim 181:10.

490

   Pardes, ad 10c.

491

   In this context the verse is interpreted as referring to the formation of the sefirot, rather than to the formation of man. See Pardes, Arachei Hakinuim s.v. אדם; Eitz Chaim, sha'ar 26, chap. 1; sha'ar 31, drush 1; sha'ar 42, chap. 13; sha'ar 50, chap. 1.

492

   Damesek E/iezer.

493

   Zohar I, 147a; Pardes, sha'ar 5, chap. 4.

494

   Zohar III, 256b. Regarding the above, see also Eitz Chaim, sha'ar Atzilut in the synopsis of chap. 2 (p. 1 lb).

495

   See Pardes, sha'ar 5, chap. 4; Targum Yerushalmi, Bereishit 1:1.

496

   Zohar I, 15 b.

497

   Cf. Zohar I, 15b.

498

   Tikkunei Zohar Chadash p. 115a, 117a; Tikunei Zohar, Tikkun 5, cited in Pardes, Arachei Hakinuim, s.v. כתר.

499

   Sul am.

500

   And for this reason the Chachamim (the Sages) are referred to as “the eyes of the community” (Bamidbar 15:24).

501

   See Zohar II, 12a, Or HaChamah; Sulam.

502

   Cf. Lamentations 1:16; Tehil/im 119:136.

503

   Cf. Avot 6:2: Do not read חרות - engraved, but חירות - freedom.

504

   Sulam.

505

   Arizal in Likkutei Torah, Bereishit, la; Damesek E/iezer.

506

   Damesek E/iezer.

507

   Elsewhere the Zohar (vol. Ill, p. 263a), and the •Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 22) explain that this refers to the yetzer tov and the yetzer hara respectively. See also Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, Sha'ar HaKavanot, drush ״Shevi'i shel Pesachap."

508

   Damesek Eliezer.

509

   Shabbat 104a.

510

   Cf. Sotah 14a; Sifri, Eikev.

511

   See Rabbi Chaim Vital, Sha'arei Kedushah part III; Sha'ar HaGilgulim, Introduction II; Sefer HaGilgulim chap. 5.

512

   See Zohar I, 2b; II, 55a; III, 117a.

513

   Zohar III, 296a.

514

   See Zohar I, 52a.

515

   For a detailed explanation of the purpose of the yetzer hara see Pardes, sha'ar 25, chap. 3; Tomer Devorah chap. 6 - discussed in our commentary to 3:1 below.

516

   See also Berachot 54a.

517

   As is understood from Zohar II, 163a.

518

   See Zohar II, 55a; Bereishit Rabbah 17:4.

519

   See Introduction.

520

   See Tosafot, Chu/lin 66b, ה כל”ד; Midrash Chaser VeYatir; Chizkuni; Radak to Bereishit 2:19.

521

   Commentaries.

522

   See Eruvin 18a.

523

   See also Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15.

524

   Sifra, Introduction.

525

   Throughout Scripture, this term is used as one of the names of the land of Israel in general, and of Jerusalem in particular. See Shabbat 139a; Rosh HaShanah 23a; Sanhedrin 98a; Midrash Tehillim 9:8 Technically, the Zohar explains this term in two ways - it signifies malchut; or it signifies yesod — Pardes, Sha'ar Arachei HaKinuim s.v.ציון.

526

   See Sotah 13b; Zohar I, 37b.

527

   Yeshayahu 14:14. See Rabbi Menachem Azariah DeFano, Asarah Ma'amarot, ma'amar “Eim Kol Choi" part 2, chap. 33; She/ah pp. 3a, 20b.

528

   Damesek Eliezer.

529

   Zohar III, 255b.

530

   Zohar III, 290a.

531

   Zohar I, 2a; Zohar III, 275b.

532

   Zohar III, 65a, 290a.

533

   See Bereishit Rabbah 17:5, 44:17.

534

   Sulam.

535

   Zohar III, 255b.

536

   Zohar III, 290a.

537

   Zohar I, 2a; Zohar III, 275b.

538

   Zohar III, 65a, 290a.

539

   Likkutei Mahariach, Seder Nisuin; Sefer Matamim s.v. חתן וכלה para. 75; Matamim Hechadash para. 48.

540

   Shulchan Aruch,

541

   Pardes Arachei HaKinuim s.v. אספקלריא; Arizal's Sha'ar Ruach HaKodesh 2a, and Sha'ar HaMitzvot 18b. This refers to tiferet.

542

   Mitzvahs done in this world enwrap the soul like a garment, enabling it to enter the Divine Presence. Zohar II, 210a־b, 229a־b, vol. Ill, 169a. See Pardes, sha'ar 31, chaps. 7, 11. The