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The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:39 pm
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The Zohar
by translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon
© 1984 by The Soncino Press, Ltd.
London, England





Table of Contents:

• Introduction
• Translators' Preface
• Prologue
• Bereshith
• Noah
• Lech Lecha
• Vayera



Table of Contents:

• Haye Sarah
• Tol'doth
• Vayeze
• Vayishlah
• Vayesheb
• Miquez
• Vayigash
• Vayehi



Table of Contents:

• Publisher's Note
• Shemoth
• Waera
• Bo
• Beshalah
• Jethro
• Mishpatim
• Terumah
• Glossary



Table of Contents:

• Terumah (cont'd)
• Tezawe
• Ki Tisa
• Vayaquel
• P'qude
• Vayikra
• Zav
• Shemini



Table of Contents:

• Leviticus
o Ki Tazria
o Mezora
o Ahare Moth
o Kedoshim
o Emor
o Behar
o Behukothai
• Numbers
o Bemidbar
o Naso
o Beha 'alothekha
o Shelah Lecha
o Korah
o Hukkath
o Balak
o Pinhas
• Deuteronomy
o Vaethhanan
o Vayelech
o Ha'azinu

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:40 pm
by admin

The Zohar, a kabbalistic commentary on the Pentateuch, was first published in the thirteenth century by a scribe and kabbalist named Moses de Leon, who lived in Granada, Spain. He attributed its authorship to Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai, a tannaitic sage of the second century. However, the definitive authorship was a source of some controversy.

The traditional Jewish view is that, prior to its publication, the veiled mystical wisdom contained in the Zohar had simply been transmitted from rabbi to disciple, generation to generation, from the time of Rabbi Simeon through the Talmudic and Geonic eras, to especially learned and worthy students. This notion, that the secrets of the Torah were transmitted only from one distinguished scholar to another, appears in Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed (vol. 1, ch. 71), where he quotes the statement of the Talmudic sages, "We may transmit the secrets of the Torah only to wise and erudite disciples." Geonic literature (which predates the publication of the Zohar by several centuries) includes passages from the Zohar, which points to the existence of either an oral tradition or the possession by the Geonim of some form of Zoharic manuscripts. There is also much evidence of the antiquity of the Zohar from early medieval exegetical writings. According to this traditional viewpoint, therefore, the edition published by Moses de Leon merely represented the first time that the oral mystical tradition from Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai had been collected in print and published.

Despite the controversy over its origins, the Zohar was accepted by the vast majority of Torah scholars as a rabbinic work on the level of the Talmud and the Midrash, and it became the fundamental work of Kabbalah. As evidence of the reverence with which it was regarded, we find it often referred to in rabbinic writings as "the holy Zohar." It was accorded a prominent position throughout rabbinic literature, which referenced both its hidden secrets as well as its revealed halachic rulings. Many rulings in Jewish law are based upon it, and it has influenced our customs and liturgy as well. The Zohar has, in the end, become universally accepted and revered by the traditional Jewish community.


The medieval Jewish sages referred to the Zohar by three different names --

Midrash Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai -- This name is used by Rabbenu Bachya in his commentary on the Torah. In several instances, his quotations from this Midrash match material found in the Zohar or the Ra'ya Mehemna, indicating that this Midrash and the Zohar are one and the same.

Midrash Yehi Ohr (the Midrash of "Let there be light") -- This name appears in Sefer Yuchasin and in Seder Hadoroth.

Emeth (truth) -- Nachmanides and Rabbenu Bachya, in their commentaries on the Torah, and Rabbi Todros HaLevi in his work, Otzar Hakkavod, refer to quotations from the Zohar as emeth (truth), It is possible, however, that emeth is a general expression for kabbalah and not a specific reference to the Zohar. Indeed, we find in many books the expression chochmath ha-emeth (the wisdom of truth) used in reference to kabbalah.


This edition of the Zohar represents a complete translation of what we may refer to as the Zohar proper, which is a commentary on the Pentateuch, Two cxtra-Zoharic works that arc often commonly grouped together with the Zohar -- the Zohar Chadash and the Tikkunei Zohar -- are not part of this edition, The Zohar Chadash is also a commentary on the Pentateuch, which encompasses as well a commentary on the Song of Songs, Midrash Ruth, Midrash Eichah, Zohar Ruth and Tikkunim. The Tikkunei Zohar is a compilation of seventy discourses on the first word of the Torah, "Bereishith," the first discourse being the well-known selection by the prophet Elijah, which begins, "Pathach Eliyahu (Elijah commenced)."


The Zohar proper is composed of thirteen segments:

Mathnithin (Mishnah) -- corresponding, in a sense, to the Mishnah of the Talmud. These sections represent a heavenly voice, heard by Rabbi Simeon's disciples, admonishing them to open their hearts to the secrets of the Torah.

Tosefta (additional Mishnah) -- similar to Mathnithin, above.

Raya Mehemna (the true shepherd) -- secrets revealed to Rabbi Simeon and his companions by Moses himself. Most of this section concerns the rationales of the biblical commandments.

Midrash Ha-ne'lam' (the hidden Midrash) -- covers many passages from the Torah, as well as the Megilloth.

Sithrei Torah (secrets of the Torah) -- commentary on several parashioth of the Torah.

Sifra D'tzniutha (book of concealment) -- composed of five chapters that comment on passages at the end of Parashath Terumah. The material in this section is also mentioned in other places in the Zohar.

Idro Rabba (the large assembly)-describes a gathering of Rabbi Simeon and his companions, where he reveals to them deep secrets that relate to passages in Parashath Nasso.

Idra Zuta (the small assembly) -- secrets that Rabbi Simeon reveals to his son, Rabbi Eleazar, and his disciples, Rabbi Abba, Rabbi Judah, Rabbi Jose, Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Isaac, before his demise.

Savo D'Mishpatim (the discourse of the ancient one on Parashath Mishpatim) -- an account of Rabbi Simeon's encounter with Rabbi Yeiva, an old man disguised as a donkey driver. Rabbi Yeiva was a great kabbalist and gave a discourse on the doctrine of reincarnation, based on an esoteric interpretation of the section of the Torah that deals with the laws of slavery.

Yenuka D'Parashath Balak (the discourse of the young one of Parashath Balak) -- contains the story of Rabbi Isaac and Rabbi Judah, who happened to meet the young son of the elder Rav Hamnuna. The child was able to accurately detect from the smell of their clothes that they had not recited the Shema on that day. Then this wonder child gave a discourse on the esoteric meaning of washing the hands before and after meals, as well as the significance of the Grace after Meals. This section also relates how once, when Rabbi Eleazar, Rabbi Abba and Rabbi Jose were traveling, Rabbi Eleazar recalled the wonder child, whereupon he and his companions decided to travel three parasangs out of their way to see him. They kissed him, and he told them words of Torah. These narratives appear in reference to Parashath Balak. Other wonder children are mentioned in reference to Parashath Noach and Parashath Shelach.

Heichaloth Um'durin (palaces and abodes) -- based on passages in Parashath Bereishith and Parashath Pekudei, these are two descriptions of the seven palaces in Paradise. The second version is much lengthier than the first, as it also expounds on the mysteries of prayer and the angels. At the end of the longer version, there is also a description of the seven palaces of uncleanness, the abodes of Hell.

Raza D'razin (secret of secrets) -- concerning the mystical significance of the parts of the human body: the face, hair, palms and the lines on the forehead, as alluded to in Exodus 18:21. The Raza D'razin is actually an extra-Zoharic piece, a continuation of which can be found in the Zohar Hadash (56-60a). However, in modified form, this discourse is also found in the Zohar proper (2:70a-78a).

Athvan G'lifan (graven letters) -- concerning the secrets of the Hebrew alphabet, the holy names of God, the vowels and the cantillation signs. It also contains the secrets -- revealed to Elijah in the cave -- of God's twelve-letter and seventy-two letter names.


For over seven centuries, the Zohar has been the primary reference text for kabbalistic studies. Its holy pages offer a glimpse of the majesty of the Jewish mystical tradition, a tradition that enjoins students of Torah to peer beneath the surface meaning of the Torah's words. As the Zohar itself proclaims: "Woe unto those who see in the Law nothing but simple narratives and ordinary words ... Every word of the Law contains an elevated sense and a sublime mystery..."

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:40 pm
by admin

The aim of this translation is, on the one hand, to make the Zohar accessible to English readers, on the other hand, to afford assistance to those who struggle with its intricacies in the original. For the sake of the latter a good deal has been included which, as far as the former are concerned, might perhaps have been spared, especially if they have never studied the Hebrew Bible. The greater part, however, will probably be intelligible enough, even to those who have no knowledge of Hebrew.

As has been pointed out above, the printed editions of the Zohar contain intercalations from other, allied, works, which are paged along with the Zohar itself. These are not included in the present translation, which confines itself to what may be called the Zohar proper. Certain individual passages have also been omitted for reasons given where they occur. There are also minor omissions (indicated by the sign ...) of passages containing plays upon Hebrew words and similar matter unsuitable for translation. With these qualifications, the translation may be regarded as complete for the part of the text covered by the first volume, viz. up to the end of Vayera (p. 120b).

Certain parts of the Zohar -- notably the comments on the opening sections of Genesis -- are highly enigmatical, and in the absence of an authentic tradition their true meaning is a matter of conjecture. An attempt has been made to give a faithful translation of these also, accounting for practically every word in the original. The result has perhaps been to reproduce only too faithfully the tenebrosity of the original, for which the reader may not be thankful. But he will know, at any rate, that he is getting the authentic Zohar and not the translators' own ideas.

In printing the Biblical quotations with which the Zohar abounds, a device has been adopted which it is hoped the reader will find useful. The main text-headings, that is to say, the verses from the Pentateuch which the Zohar sets out to expound in regular order, are printed in small capitals. The subsidiary text-headings, that is to say, other verses from the Bible which are made the subject of disquisitions illustrative of the main text, are printed in italics. Repetitions of these texts, or incidental quotations, are printed in ordinary type between quotation marks. This distinction will enable the reader to see at a glance where he is and with what subject the Zohar is dealing at any point.

A further effort has been made to bring order and system into the text by careful paragraphing and by a judicious use of parentheses. (It should be remembered that in the original text not only these aids, but even punctuation marks, including full stops, are inserted very sparingly, and then not infrequently at the wrong place!) The result, it is hoped, will be to show that the Zohar is by no means such a jumble as is usually supposed, that with all its discursiveness it follows a well-defined course, and that there is a reason why most of its reflections are inserted just where they are and not somewhere else.

The Biblical references are in all cases to the Hebrew text (or to the American Jewish translation). The renderings have also been taken where possible from this version or the English Revised Version. In many cases, however, it has been necessary to give the Hebrew guite a different rendering, in order to make it accord with the lesson which the Zohar seeks to derive from it -- often in lordly disregard of the context or even the rules of grammar.

The translation has been made in the main from the Mantuan text of the Zohar, but occasionally a reading has been adopted from the Amsterdam text. The paging of the Mantuan text has also been inserted.

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:41 pm
by admin
Part 1 of 3


Rabbi Hizkiah opened his discourse with the text: As a lily among thorns, etc. (S. S. II, 2). 'What', he said, 'does the lily symbolise? It symbolises the Community of Israel. As the lily among thorns is tinged with red and white, so the Community of Israel is visited now with justice and now with mercy; as the lily possesses thirteen leaves, so the Community of Israel is vouchsafed thirteen categories of mercy which surround it on every side. For this reason, the term Elohim (God) mentioned here (in the first verse of Genesis) is separated by thirteen words from the next mention of Elohim, symbolising the thirteen categories of mercy which surround the Community of Israel to protect it. The second mention of Elohim is separated from the third by five words, representing the five strong leaves that surround the lily, symbolic of the five ways of salvation which are the "five gates". This is alluded to in the verse "I will lift up the cup of salvation" (Ps. CXVI, 13). This is the "cup of benediction" ,which has to be raised by five fingers and no more, after the model of the lily, which rests on five strong leaves in the shape of five fingers. Thus the lily is a symbol of the cup of benediction. Immediately after the third mention of Elohim appears the light which, so soon as created, was treasured up and enclosed in that b'rith (covenant) which entered the lily and fructified it, and this is what is called " tree bearing fruit wherein is the seed thereof": and this seed is preserved in the very sign of the covenant. And as the ideal covenant was formed through forty-two copulations, so the engraven ineffable name is formed of the forty-two letters of the work of creation.'


IN THE BEGINNING. R. Simeon opened his discourse with the text: The blossoms appeared on the earth, etc. (S. S. 11, 12). '"The blossoms", he said, 'refer to the work of creation. "Appeared on the earth": when? On the third day, as it is written, "And the earth brought forth": they thus then appeared on the earth. "The time of pruning is come" alludes to the fourth day in which "the pruning of the overbearing" (Is. xxv, 5) took place. "And the voice of the turtle" alludes to (he fifth day, as it is written, "Let the waters swarm, etc., to produce living creatures". "Is heard" points to the sixth day, as it is written, "Let us make man" (namely him who was destined to say first "we will do" and then "we will hear", for the expression [1b] in our text, na'aseh, "Let us make man", finds its echo in the expression "na'aseh (we will do) and hear" (Exod. XXIV, 7) ); "In our land" implies the day of the Sabbath, which is a copy of the "land of the living" (the world to come, the world of souls, the world of consolations). The following is an alternative exposition: "The blossoms" are the patriarchs who pre-existed in the thought of the Almighty and later entered the world to come, where they were carefully preserved; from thence they issued secretly to become incarnate in the true prophets. Thus when Joseph entered the Holy Land he planted them there, and thus they "appeared on the earth" and revealed themselves there. When do they become visible? When the rainbow betokens that "the time of pruning is come", to wit, the time when the sinners are due to be cut off from the world; and they only escape because "the blossoms appear on the earth": if not for their appearance the sinners would not be left in the world and the world itself would not exist. And who is it that upholds the world and causes the patriarchs to appear? It is the voice of tender children studying the Torah; and for their sakes the world is saved .... '


IN THE BEGINNING. R. Eleazar opened his discourse with the text: Lift up your eyes on high and see: who hath created these? (Is. XL, 26). ' "Lift up your eyes on high": to which place? To that place to which all eyes are turned, to wit, Petah 'Enaim ("eye-opener"). By doing so, you will know that it is the mysterious Ancient One, whose essence can be sought, but not found, that created these: to wit, Mi (Who?), the same who is called "from (Heb. mi) the extremity of heaven on high", because everything is in His power, and because He is ever to be sought, though mysterious and unrevealable, since further we cannot enquire. That extremity of heaven is called Mi, but there is another lower extremity which is called Mah (What?). The difference between the two is this. The first is the real subject of enquiry, but after a man by means of enquiry and reflection has reached the utmost limit of knowledge, he stops at Mah (What?), as if to say, what knowest thou? what have thy searchings achieved? Everything is as baffling as at the beginning. In allusion to this, it is written "I, Mah, testify against thee, etc." (Lam. II, 13)' When the Temple was destroyed a voice went forth and said: "I, Mah, have testified against thee day by day from the days of old," as it is written, "I called heaven and earth to witness against you." (Deut. xxx, 19.) Further, I, Mah, likened myself to thee; I crowned thee with holy crowns, and made thee ruler over the earth, as it is written, "Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty? etc." (Lam. II, 15), and again, "I called thee Jerusalem that is builded as a city compact together". Further, I, Mah, am equal to thee; in the same plight in which thou, Jerusalem, art here, so I am, as it were, above; just as the holy people does not go up to thee any more in sacred array, so, I swear to thee, I will not ascend on high until the day when thy throngs will again stream to thee here below. And this may be thy consolation, inasmuch as to this extent I am thy equal in all things. But now that thou art in thy present state "thy breach is great like the sea" (Ibid. 13). And lest thou sayest there is for thee no abiding and no healing, "Mi will heal thee" (Ibid.). Of a surety the veiled One, the most High, the sum of all existence will heal thee and uphold thee-Mi, the extremity of heaven above, Mah, as far as the extremity of heaven below. And this is the inheritance of Jacob, he being the "bolt that passes from extremity to extremity" (Exod. XXVI, 28), that is, from the higher, identical with Mi, to the lower, identical with Mah, as he occupies a position in the middle. Hence "Mi (Who) created these".'

Said R. Simeon, 'Eleazar, son of mine, cease thy discourse, that there may be revealed the higher mysteries which remain sealed for the people of this world.' R. Eleazar then fell into silence. R. Simeon wept a while and then said: 'Eleazar, what is meant by the term "these"? Surely not the stars and the other heavenly bodies, since they are always visible, and were created through Mah, as we read, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made" (Ps. XXXIII, 6). Nor can it imply the things inaccessible to our gaze, since the vocable "these" obviously points to things that are revealed. This mystery remained sealed until one day, whilst I was on the sea-shore, Elijah came and said to me, "Master, what means 'Mi (Who?) created these ?'" I said to him, "That refers to the heavens and their hosts, the works of the Holy One, blessed be He, works through the contemplation of which man comes to bless Him, as it is written, 'When I behold thy heavens, the work [2a] of thy fingers, etc. O Lord our God, how glorious is thy name in all the earth!'" (Ps. VIII, 4-10). Then he said to me, "Master, the Holy One, blessed be He, had a deep secret which He at length revealed at the celestial Academy. It is this. When the most Mysterious wished to reveal Himself, He first produced a single point which was transmuted into a thought, and in this He executed innumerable designs, and engraved innumerable gravings. He further graved within the sacred and mystic lamp a mystic and most holy design, which was a wondrous edifice issuing from the midst of thought. This is called MI, and was the beginning of the edifice, existent and non-existent, deep-buried, unknowable by name. It was only called MI (Who?). It desired to become manifest and to be called by name. It therefore clothed itself in a refulgent and precious garment and created ELeH (these), and ELeH acquired a name. The letters of the two words intermingled, forming the complete name ELoHIM (God). (When the Israelites sinned in making the golden calf, they alluded to this mystery in saying 'Eleh (these are) thy Gods, ) Israel' (Exod. XXXII, 4).) And once MI became combined with ELeH, the name remained for all time. And upon this secret the world is built." Elijah then flew away and vanished out of my sight. And it is from him that I became possessed of this profound mystery.'

R. Eleazar and all the companions came and prostrated themselves before him, weeping for joy and saying, 'If we had come into the world only to hear this we should have been content.' R. Simeon said further: 'The heavens and their hosts were created through the medium of Mah (What?),as it is written, "When I behold thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, etc.... 0 Lord our God (Adon), Mah, glorious is thy name in all the earth, whose majesty is rehearsed above the heavens." (Ps. VIII, 4, 2). God is "above the heavens" in respect of His name, for He created a light for His light, and one formed a vestment to the other, and so He ascended into the higher name; hence "In the beginning Elohim (God) created", that is, the supernal Elohim. Whereas Mah was not so, nor was it built up until these letters Eleh (from the name Elohim) were drawn from above below, and the Mother lent the Daughter her garments and decked her out gracefully with her own adornments. When did she so adorn her? When all the males (of Israel) appeared before her in accordance with the command "all thy males shall appear before the Lord (Adon) God" (Exod. XXXIV, 23). This term Lord (Adon) is similarly used in the passage "Behold the Ark of the covenant of the Lord (Adon) of all the earth" (Jos. III, II). Then the letter He (of Mah) departed and her place was taken by Yod (making Mi), and then she decked herself in male garments, harmonizing with "every male in Israel". Other letters, too, Israel drew from on high to that place. Thus it says: "These (Eleh) I remember" (Ps. XLII, 5), i.e., I make mention with my mouth and I pour out my tears, and thus "I make them (the letters) flit" from on high "unto the house of Elohim" (Ibid.) to be Elohim (God) after his form. And with what? "With the voice of song and praise and amidst a festive throng" (Ibid.).' Said R. Eleazar, 'My keeping silence was the means of building the sanctuary above and the sanctuary below. Verily "speech is worth a sela, silence two". Speech is worth a sela, namely, my exposition and remarks on the subject; but silence is worth two, since through my silence two worlds were built together.'

R. Simeon said: 'We will go on to expound the conclusion of the verse, viz. He who bringeth forth by number their host (Is. XL, 26). There are two grades which have to be distinguished, one of Mah and one of Mi -- one of the higher and the other of the lower sphere. The higher is singled out here in the words, "He who bringeth forth by number their host".

"He who" expresses something definite and absolute, a being universally recognized and without equal. (Corresponding to this is the expression "He who bringeth forth bread from the earth": here also "He who" implies the universally acknowledged one, though here visualised as the lower grade; the two, however, are one.) "By number": six hundred thousand are they, and they have in turn produced according to their kinds beyond all number. "All of them", whether the six hundred thousand or the rest of the hosts, "He calls by name". This cannot mean by their names, for if it were so, it should have been written "by names". What it means is that as long as this grade did not assume a name, and was still called Mi, it was unproductive, and did not bring into actuality the latent forces within it, each according to its kind. But as soon as it created ELeH (these), and assumed its rightful name and was called ELoHIM (God), then, by force of that name, it produced them in their complete form. This is the meaning of "calls by name", to wit, He proclaimed His own name so as to bring about the emergence of each sort of being in its full form. (Analogous to this we read, "See, I have called by name" (Exod. XXXI, 2), to wit, I have bestowed my name on Bezalel (in the shadow of God) so that his work should emerge in perfection. Further, the words "by the abundance of powers" (Is. XL, 26) refer to the supreme grade whereto all the volitions ascend [2b] by a mysterious path. "And mighty of strength": the word "strength" (KoaH) symbolizes the supernal World which assumed the name Elohim (God), as already said. "No one is missing" of the six hundred thousand which emerged by the power of the Name. And because no one is missing, therefore whenever Israelites died on account of a national sin, the people were afterwards numbered, and it was found that the number of six hundred thousand had not been diminished even by one, so that the likeness to the supernal prototype was still complete; just as no one was missing above, so no one was missing here below.

IN THE BEGINNING. Rab Hamnuna the Venerable said: 'We find here a reversal of the order of the letters of the Alphabet, the first two words bereshith bara -- "in-the-beginning He-created" -- commencing with beth, whereas the two words following, Elohim eth -- "God the" -- commence with aleph. The reason is as follows. When the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to make the world, all the letters of the Alphabet were still embryonic, and for two thousand years the Holy One, blessed be He, had contemplated them and toyed with them. When He came to create the world, all the letters presented themselves before Him in reversed order. The letter Tau advanced in front and pleaded: May it please Thee, O Lord of the world, to place me first in the creation of the world, seeing that I am the concluding letter of EMeTh (Truth) which is engraved upon Thy seal, and seeing that Thou art called by this very name of EMeTh, it is most appropriate for the King to begin with the final letter of EMeTh and to create with me the world. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her: Thou art worthy and deserving, but it is not proper that I begin with thee the creation of the world, since thou art destined to serve as a mark on the foreheads of the faithful ones (vide Ezek. IX, 4) who have kept the Law from Aleph to Tau, and through the absence of this mark the rest will be killed; and, further, thou formest the conclusion of MaWeTh (death). Hence thou art not meet to initiate the creation of the world. The Shin then came to the fore and pleaded: O Lord of the world, may it please Thee to begin with me the world, seeing that I am the initial letter of Thy name ShaDDaI (Almighty), and it is most fitting to create the world through that Holy Name. Said He in reply: Thou art worthy, thou art good, thou art true, but I may not begin through thee the creation of the world, since thou formest part of the group of letters expressing forgery, ShekeR (falsehood), which is not able to exist unless the Koph and Resh draw thee into their company. (Hence it is that a lie, to obtain credence, must always commence with something true. For the shin is a letter of truth, that letter by which the Patriarchs communed with God; but koph and resh are letters belonging to the evil side, which in order to stand firm attach to themselves the shin, thus forming a conspiracy (QeSheR).) Having heard all this, the shin departed. Enters the Zade and says: O Lord of the world, may it please Thee to create with me the world, inasmuch as I am the sign of the righteous (Zadikim) and of Thyself who art called righteous, as it is written, "For the Lord is righteous, he loveth righteousness" (Ps. XI, 7), and hence it is meet to create the world with me. The Lord made answer: O Zade, thou art Zade, and thou signifiest righteousness, but thou must be concealed, thou mayest not come out in the open so much lest thou givest the world cause for offence. For thou consistest of the letter nun surmounted by the letter yod (representing together the male and the female principles). And this is the mystery of the creation of the first man, who was created with two faces (male and female combined). In the same way the nun and the yod in the zade are turned back to back and not face to face, whether the zade is upright or turned downwards. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her further, I will in time divide thee in two, so as to appear face to face, but thou wilt go up in another place. She then departed. The letter Pe presented herself and pleaded thus: May it please Thee, 0 Lord of the world, to create through me the world, seeing that I signify redemption and deliverance (Purkana, Peduth), which Thou art to vouchsafe to the world. It is, hence, meet that through me the world be created. The Lord answered: Thou art worthy, but thou representest transgression (Pesha), and moreover thou art shapen like the serpent, who had his head curled up within his body, symbolic of the guilty man who bends his head and extends his hand. The letter 'Ayin was likewise refused as standing for iniquity ('Awon ), despite her plea that she represents humility ('Anavah). Then the Samekh appeared and said: O Lord [3a] of the world, may it please Thee to create through me the world, inasmuch as I represent upholding (Semikah) of the fallen, as it is written, "The Lord upholdeth all that fall" (Ps. CXLV, 14). The Lord answered her: This is just the reason why thou shouldst remain in thy place, for shouldst thou leave it, what will be the fate of the fallen, seeing that they are upheld by thee? She immediately departed. The Nun entered and pleaded her merits as being the initial letter in " Fearful (Nora) in praises" (Ex. xv, II), as well as in "Comely (Nawa) is praise for the righteous" (Ps. XXXIII, I). The Lord said: 0 Nun, return to thy place, for it is for thy sake (as representing the falling, Nofelim) that the Samekh returned to her place. Remain, therefore, under her support. The Nun immediately returned to her place. The Mim came up and said: O Lord of the world, may it please Thee to create by me the world, inasmuch as I commence the word Melekh (King) which is Thy title. The Lord replied: It is so assuredly, but I cannot employ thee in the creation of the world for the reason that the world requires a King. Return, therefore, to thy place, thou along with the Lamed and the Kaph, since the world cannot exist without a MeLeKh (King). At that moment, the Kaph descended from its throne of glory and quaking and trembling said: 0 Lord of the universe, may it please Thee to begin through me the creation of the world, seeing that I am Thine own Kahod (honour). And when Kaph descended from its throne of glory, two hundred thousand worlds began to shake, the throne trembled, and all the worlds quaked and were about to fall in ruins. Said to her the Holy One, blessed be His Name: Kaph, Kaph, what doest thou here? I will not create the world with thee. Go back to thy place, since thou standest for extermination (Kelayah). Return, then, to thy place and remain there. Immediately she departed and returned to her own place. The letter Yod then presented herself and said: May it please Thee, 0 Lord, to vouchsafe me first place in the creation of the world, since I stand first in the Sacred Name. The Lord said to her: It is sufficient for thee that thou art engraven and marked in Myself and that thou art the channel of My will; thou must not be removed from My Name. The Teth then came up and said: O Lord of the universe, may it please Thee to place me at the head in the creation of the world, since through me Thou art called Good (Tob) and upright. The Lord said to her: I will not create the world through thee, as the goodness which thou representest is hidden and concealed within thyself, as it is written, "0 how abundant is thy goodness which thou hast bid up for them that fear thee" (Ps. XXXI, 20). Since then it is treasured within thyself, it has no part in the world which I am going to create, but only in the world to come. And further, it is because thy goodness is hidden within thee that the gates of the Temple sank into the ground, as it is written, "Sunk (Tabe'u) in the ground are her gates" (Lam. II, 9). And furthermore, the letter Heth is at thy side, and when joined you make sin (HeT). (It is for that reason that these two letters are not to be found in the names of any of the tribes.) She departed immediately. Then the Zayin presented herself and put forth her claim, saying, 0 Lord of the World, may it please Thee to put me at the head of the creation, since I represent the observance of the Sabbath, as it is written, "Remember (Zakhor) the day of the Sabbath to keep it holy" (Ex. XX, 8). The Lord replied: I will not create the world through thee, since thou representest war, being in shape like a sharp-pointed sword, or a lance. The Zayin immediately departed from His presence. The Vau entered and put forth her claim, saying: O Lord of the world, may it please Thee to use me first in the creation of the world, inasmuch as I am one of the letters of Thy name. Said the Lord to her: Thou, Vau, as well as He, suffice it to you that you are of the letters of My name, part of the mystery of My name, engraven and impressed in My name. I will therefore not give you first place in the creation of the world. Then appeared the letter Daleth as well as the letter Gimel and put forth similar claims. The Lord gave them a similar reply, saying: It should suffice you to remain side by side together, since "the poor will not cease from the land" (Deut. xv, 11), who will thus need benevolence. For the Daleth signifies poverty (Dalluth) and the Gimel beneficence (Gemul). Therefore separate not from each other, and let it suffice you that one maintains the other. The Beth then entered and said: o Lord of the world, may it please Thee to put me first in the creation of the world, since I represent the benedictions (Berakhoth) offered to Thee on high and below. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her: Assuredly, with thee I will create the world, and thou shalt form the hegnning in the creation of the world. The letter Aleph remained in her place without presenting herself. Said the Holy One, blessed be His name: Aleph, Aleph, wherefore comest thou not before Me like the rest of the letters? She answered: Because I saw all the other letters leaving Thy presence without any success. What, then, could I achieve there? And further, since [3b] Thou hast already bestowed on the letter Beth this great gift, it is not meet for the Supreme King to take away the gift which He has made to His servant and give it to another. The Lord said to her: Aleph, Aleph, although I will begin the creation of the world with the beth, thou wilt remain the first of the letters. My unity shall not be expressed except through thee, on thee shall be based all calculations and operations of the world, and unity shall not be expressed save by the letter Aleph. Then the Holy One, blessed be His name, made higher-world letters of a large pattern and lower-world letters of a small pattern. It is therefore that we have here two words beginning with beth (Bereshith bara) and then two words beginning with aleph (Elohim eth). They represent the higher-world letters and the lower-world letters, which two operate, above and below, together and as one.'


BERESHITH (In the beginning). Said R. Yudai: 'What is the meaning of Bereshith? It means "with Wisdom", the Wisdom on which the world is based, and through this it introduces us to deep and recondite mysteries. In it, too, is the inscription of six chief supernal directions, out of which there issues the totality of existence. From the same there go forth six sources of rivers which flow into the Great Sea. This is implied in the word BeReSHiTH, which can be analysed into BaRa-SHiTH (He created six). And who created them? The Mysterious Unknown.' R. Hiya and R. Jose were walking along the road. When they reached the open country, R. Hiya said to R. Jose, 'What you said about bereshith signifying bara-shith (created six) is certainly correct, since the Torah speaks of six primordial days and not more. The others are hinted at but not disclosed; nevertheless, from what is told us we can perceive the following. The Holy and Mysterious One graved in a hidden recess one point. In that He enclosed the whole of Creation as one who locks up all his treasures in a palace, under one key, which is therefore as valuable as all that is stored up in that palace; for it is the key which shuts and opens. In that palace there are hidden treasures, one greater than the other. The palace is provided with fifty mystic gates. They are inserted in its four sides to the number of forty-nine. The one remaining gate is on none of its sides and it is unknown whether it is on high or below: it is hence called the mysterious gate. All these gates have one lock, and there is one tiny spot for the insertion of the key, which is only marked by the impress of the key. It is this mystery which is implied in the words "In the beginning created God", "In the beginning" (bereshith): this is the key which encloses the whole and which shuts and opens. Six gates are controlled by this key which opens and shuts. At first it kept the gates closed and impenetrable; this is indicated by the word bereshith, which is composed of a revealing word (shith) with a concealing word (bara). Bara is always a word of mystery, closing and not opening,' Said R. Jose: 'Assuredly it is so, and I have heard the Sacred Lamp say the same, to wit, that bara is a term of mystery, a lock without a key, and as long as the world was locked within the term bara it was not in a state of being or existence. Over the whole there hovered Tohu (chaos), and as long as Tohu dominated, the world was not in being or existence. When did that key open the gates and make the world fruitful? It was when Abraham appeared, as it is written, "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth behibaream" (when they were created) (Gen. II, 4). Now, BeHiBaReAm is an anagram of BeABeRaHaM (through Abraham), implying that what was hitherto sealed up and unproductive in the word bam has by a transposition of letters become serviceable, there has emerged a pillar of fruitfulness: for BaRa has been transformed into AiBeR (organ), which is the sacred foundation on which the world rests. Further, in the same way, as AiBraHaM contains AiBeR, a transformation of BaRA, so it is with the splendour of the name of the Most High and most Concealed One. This is implied in the words MI BaRA AiLeH. Add the other sacred name MaH. Transpose BaRA into AiBeR. We have AiLeH on one side and AiBeR on the other side. Add the He (of MaH) to AiBeR and the Yod (of MI) to AiLeH. When we take now the Mim of both MI and MaH and join each to each we have complete the sacred name AeLoHiM and also the name [4a] ABRaHaM. According to another view, the Holy One, blessed be He, took MI and joined it to AileH, so that there was shaped AeLoHiM; similarly He took MaH and joined it to AiBeR and there was shaped ABRaHaM. And thus He made the world unfold itself, and made the name complete, as it had not been hitherto. This is meant by the verse "These are the generations (i.e. unfoldings) of the heaven and of the earth BeHiBaReaM (when they were created)". That is, the whole creation was in suspense until the name of ABRaHaM was created, and as soon as the name of Abraham was completed the Sacred Name was completed along with it, as it says further, "in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven".'

R. Hiya then prostrated himself on the earth, kissed the dust, and said weeping: 'Dust, Dust, how stiffnecked art thou, how shameless art thou that all the delights of the eye perish within thee! All the beacons of light thou consumest and grindest into nothingness. Fie on thy shamelessness I That Sacred Lamp that illuminated the world, the mighty spiritual force by whose merits the world exists, is consumed by thee. Oh, R. Simeon, thou beacon of light, source of light to the world, how hast thou turned to dust, thou leader of the world whilst alive!' After falling for a moment into a reverie, he continued, 'O dust, dust I pride not thyself, for the pillars of the world will not be delivered into thy power, nor will R. Simeon perish within thee.'

R. Hiya then arose weeping and set out in company with R. Jose. He fasted from that day for forty days, in order that he might see R. Simeon. 'Thou canst not see him' was all the answer to his supplication. He then fasted another forty days, at the end of which he saw in a vision R. Simeon and his son R. Eleazar discussing the very subject which R. Jose had just explained to him, while thousands were looking on and listening. Meanwhile, there appeared a host of huge winged celestial beings upon whose wings R. Simeon and his son R. Eleazar were borne aloft into the heavenly Academy, whilst those beings remained at the threshold, awaiting them. Their splendour was constantly renewed, and they radiated a light exceeding that of the sun. R. Simeon then opened his mouth and said, 'Let R. Hiya enter and behold what the Holy One, blessed be He, has prepared for the rejoicing of the righteous in the world to come. Happy is he who enters here without misgiving, and happy IS he who is established as a strong pillar in the world to come.' On entering he (R. Hiya) noticed that R. Eleazar and the other great scholars that were sitting near him stood up. He drew back in some embarrassment, and sat down at the feet of R. Simeon. A voice thereupon went forth, saying, 'Lower thine eyes, raise not thy head and do not look.' He lowered his eyes and discerned a light shining afar. The voice went forth again, saying 'O, ye unseen celestials, ye open-eyed who sweep to and fro throughout the world, behold and see! O, ye terrestrial beings who are sunk deep in slumber, awake! Who among you laboured to turn darkness into light and bitter into sweet before you entered here? Who among you awaited every day the light that shall break forth what time the King shall visit his beloved gazelle, when He will be glorified and called King by all the kings of the world? He who did not thus wait every day in the world below will have no share here.' Meanwhile he beheld a number of his colleagues gather round, even all the mighty pillars of wisdom, and he saw them ascend to the heavenly Academy, while others in turn descended. At the head of them all he saw the chief of the winged angels, who approached him and solemnly declared that he had heard 'from behind the curtain' that the King visits each day and remembers his gazelle which is trodden in the dust, and that at the moment He does so He strikes the three hundred and ninety heavens so they all quake and tremble [4b] before Him: for her fate He sheds tears hot as burning fire, which fall into the great sea. From these tears arises and is sustained the presiding genius of the sea, who sanctifies the name of the Holy King, and who has pledged himself to swallow up all the waters of the creation and to gather them all within himself on that day when all the nations shall assemble against the holy people, so that they shall be able to pass on dry land. Anon he heard a voice proclaiming, 'Make room, make room, for King Messiah is coming to the Academy of R. Simeon.' For all the righteous there have been heads of Academies on earth, and have become disciples of the heavenly Academy, and the Messiah visits all these Academies and puts his seal on all the expositions that issue from the mouths of the teachers. The Messiah then entered wearing heavenly diadems, with which he had been crowned by the heads of the Academy. All the colleagues stood up, along with R. Simeon, from whom a light shot up to the empyrean. The Messiah said to him, 'Happy art thou, for thy teaching mounts on high in the form of three hundred and seventy illuminations, and each illumination subdivides itself into six hundred and thirteen arguments, which go up and bathe themselves in streams of pure balsam. And the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself places His seal on the teaching of thy Academy and of the Academy of Hezekiah, King of Judah, and of the Academy of Ahijah of Shiloh. I come not to set my seal in thy Academy, since it is the chief of the winged angels who comes here; for I know that he does not visit any but thy Academy.' After that R. Simeon told him what the chief of the winged angels had so solemnly declared. Thereupon the Messiah fell a-quaking, and he cried aloud, and the heavens quivered, and the great sea quaked and the Leviathan trembled, and the world was shaken to its foundations. His eye then fell upon R. Hiya, who was sitting at the feet of R. Simeon. 'Who has brought here this man,' he asked, 'who still wears the raiment of the other world?' R. Simeon answered, 'This is the great R. Hiya, the shining lamp of the Torah.' 'Let him then: said the Messiah, 'be gathered in, together with his sons, and let them become members of the Academy.' R. Simeon said, 'Let a time of grace be granted to him.' A time of grace was then granted to him, and he went forth from thence trembling, with tears running from his eyes, saying as he wept, 'Happy is the portion of the righteous in that world and happy is the portion of the son of Yohai who has merited such glory. It is concerning such as he that it is written, "That I may cause those who love me to inherit a lasting possession; and their treasures will I fill" (Prov. Vlll, 21.)'


IN THE BEGINNING. R. Simeon opened his discourse with the text: And 1 put my words in thy mouth (Is. LI, 16). He said: 'How greatly is it incumbent on a man to study the Torah day and night! For the Holy One, blessed be He, is attentive to the voice of those who occupy themselves with the Torah, and through each fresh discovery made by them in the Torah a new heaven is created. Our teachers have told us that at the moment when a man expounds something new in the Torah, his utterance ascends before the Holy One, blessed be He, and He takes it up and kisses it and crowns it with seventy crowns of graven and inscribed letters. When a new idea is formulated in the field of the esoteric wisdom, it ascends and rests on the head of the "Zaddik, the life of the universe", and then it flies off and traverses seventy thousand worlds until it ascends to the "Ancient of Days". And inasmuch as all the words of the "Ancient of Days" are words of wisdom comprising sublime and hidden mysteries, that hidden word of wisdom that was discovered here when it ascends is joined to the words of the" Ancient of Days", and becomes an integral part of them, and enters into the eighteen mystical worlds, concerning which we read "No eye hath seen beside thee, O God" (Ibid. LXIV, 3). From thence they issue and fly to and fro, until finally arriving, perfected and completed, before the "Ancient of Days". At that moment the "Ancient of Days" savours that word of wisdom, and finds satisfaction therein above all else. He takes that word and crowns it with three hundred and seventy thousand crowns, and it flies up and down until it is made into a sky. And so each word of wisdom is made into a sky which presents itself fully formed before the" Ancient of Days", who calls them "new heavens", that is, heavens created out of the mystic ideas of the sublime wisdom. As for the other new expositions of the Torah, they present themselves before [5a] the Holy One, blessed be He, and ascend and become "earths of the living", then they descend and become absorbed into one earth, whereby a new earth emerges through that new discovery in the Torah. This is implied in the verse, "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I am making, rise up before me, etc." (Ibid. LXVI, 22). It is not written "I have made", but "I am making", signifying continual creation out of the new ideas discovered in the Torah. Further, it is written, "And I have placed my words in thy mouth, and with the shadow of my hand have I covered thee, to plant a heaven and to lay the foundations of an earth" (Ibid. LI, 16). It does not say "the heaven", but "a heaven".' Said R. Eleazar: 'What signifies "with the shadow of my hand have I covered thee" ? ' He replied: 'When the Torah was delivered to Moses, there appeared myriads of heavenly angels ready to consume him with their fiery breath, but the Holy One, blessed be He, sheltered him. Similarly now when the new word ascends and is crowned and presents itself before the Holy One, blessed be He, He covers and protects that word, and also shelters the author of that word, so that the angels should not become aware of him and so be filled with jealousy, until that word is transformed into a new heaven and a new earth. That is the meaning of the passage "and with the shadow of my hand have I covered thee, to plant a heaven and to lay the foundations of an earth". From this we learn that each word of which the purpose is not obvious contains some lesson of special value, as it is written: "And with the shadow of my hand have I covered thee." Why is it covered and hidden from our view? For an ulterior purpose, to wit, "to plant a heaven and to lay the foundation of an earth", as already explained. The verse continues: "And to say to Zion thou art 'Ami, my people" (Ibid.). This means, to say to those gates of study and those words of Zion (distinction) "thou art 'Ami". The word 'Ami (my people) may be read 'Imi (with me), meaning "to be a collaborator with Me"; for just as I made heaven and earth by a word, as it says: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made" (Ps. XXXIII, 6), so dost thou. Happy are those who devote themselves to the study of the Torah! You should not think, however, that all this applies even to one who is no true scholar. Not so. When one who is a stranger to the mysteries of the Torah makes pseudo-discoveries based on an incomplete understanding, that "word" rises, and is met by the perverse One, the Demon of the false tongue, who emerges from the cavern of the great abyss and makes a leap of five hundred parasangs to receive that word. He takes it and returns with it to his cavern, and shapes it into a spurious heaven which is called Tohu (chaos). That Demon then traverses in one swoop the whole of that heaven, a space of six thousand parasangs. As soon as that heaven is formed, the Harlot emerges, and lodges herself in it, and joins forces with it, and issuing from thence she slays thousands and tens of thousands. For as long as she is lodged in that heaven she has authority and power to swoop through the world in the twinkling of an eye. This is implied in the words, "Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity" (Is. v, 18). The word for "iniquity", 'A-von, being of the masculine gender, designates the Demon. In the next part of the verse, "and sin, as it were, with a cart rope", the word for "sin", hattaah, being of the feminine gender, signifies the female, the Harlot who rushes to execute slaughter on the sons of men. Concerning her we also read, "For she hath caused to fall many deadly wounded" (Prov. VII, 26), namely, that hattaah (sin) who slays the sons of men. And the ultimate cause is the unripe scholar who is not qualified to teach and yet does so. May God save us from him !' Said R. Simeon to the colleagues: 'I beseech you not to let fall from your mouth any word of the Torah of which you are not certain and which you have not learnt correctly from a "great tree", so that you may not be the cause of that Harlot slaying multitudes of the sons of men.' They answered in unison, 'God forbid, God forbid !' R. Simeon proceeded: 'See now, it was by means of the Torah that the Holy One created the world. That has already been derived from the verse, "Then I was near him as an artisan, and I was daily all his delight" (Prov. VIII, 30). He looked at the Torah once, twice, thrice, and a fourth time. He uttered the words composing her and then operated through her. That is a lesson for men, how to study the Torah properly. This lesson is indicated by the verse, "Then did he see, and declare it; he established it, yea, and searched it out." (Job. XXVIII, 27). Seeing, declaring, establishing and searching out correspond to these four operations which the Holy One, blessed be He, went through before entering on the work of creation. Hence the account of the creation commences with the four words Bereshith Bara Aelohim Aith ("In-the-beginning created God the"), before mentioning "the heavens", thus signifying the four times which the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah before He performed His work.'

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:41 pm
by admin
Part 2 of 3

R. Eleazar was journeying to visit his father-in-law, R. Jose, son of R. Simeon son of Lakunya [5b]. He was accompanied by R. Abba, and another man was leading their baggage-ass behind them. Said R. Abba, 'Let us open a discourse on the Torah, the time and place being propitious.' R. Eleazar then began thus: 'It is written: Ye shall keep my Sabbaths (Lev. XIX, 30). Consider this: the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world in six days and each day revealed a part of His work, and functioned through the energy imparted to it. But none of the work was actually disclosed nor the energy functioning until the fourth day. The first three days were undisclosed and imperceptible, but when the fourth day came the product and energy of all of them was brought out into the open. Fire, water, and air, as three primordial elements, were still in suspense, their activity not having become visible until the earth disclosed them and so made knowable the workmanship of each one of them. You may object that in the account of the third day it is written, "Let the earth put forth grass", as well as "And the earth put forth". The answer is that, though ascribed to the third day, this actually took place on the fourth day, and it was included in the account of the third day merely to indicate the unbroken continuity of the creation. From the fourth day onwards He disclosed His work and produced an artificer for the function of each one (for the fourth day is the symbol of the fourth leg of the celestial Throne). Furthermore, the activities of all the days, whether of the first or the second triad, were made dependent on the day of the Sabbath, as it is written, "And on the seventh day God finished." This is the Sabbath, and this is the fourth foot of the celestial Throne. What, then, you may ask, is implied in "My Sabbaths ye shall observe", which seems to point to two Sabbaths? The answer is that the plural form indicates the eve of Sabbath and the Sabbath itself, which merge into each other without a break.'

At this point the driver who was following them interposed with the question: 'What is meant by "And ye shall reverence my sanctuary" (Ibid.)?' R. Abba replied: 'This designates the sanctity of the Sabbath.' 'What then,' he said, 'is the sanctity of the Sabbath?' 'It is the sanctity which was conferred upon It from above.' 'If that is so' (argued the stranger) 'thou makest the Sabbath to possess no sanctity of its own but only such as rests on it from above.' 'It is indeed so' (said R. Abba), 'as it is written, "And call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord honourable" (Is. LVIII, 13), where the "Sabbath" and the "holy of the Lord" are mentioned each separately.' 'What, then, is the "holy of the Lord"?' 'It is the holiness which descends from above to rest on it.' 'But' (argued the stranger) 'if the holiness emanating from on high is called "honourable", evidently the Sabbath itself is not so called, and yet it is written, "And thou shalt honour it" (Ibid.).' Said R. Eleazar to R. Abba, 'Cease arguing with that man, for he seems to know some mystery of which we are ignorant.' They then said to him: 'Say what thou hast to say.' He commenced thus: 'It is written: 'eth Shabthothai ("My sabbaths") (Lev. XIX, 30). The particle eth indicates that in the precept of the Sabbath is to be included the limit of the Sabbath walk, which is two thousand cubits in all directions."My Sabbaths" is a reference to the higher Sabbath and the lower Sabbath, which are two joined together as one. There was still one Sabbath left unmentioned. Feeling humiliated, she pleaded before the Creator, saying, "O Lord of the universe, since the time when Thou didst create me, I have been called merely 'day of Sabbath', but surely a day must have for companion a night." Said the Lord to her, "0 my daughter, thou art Sabbath, and Sabbath I will call thee. But I will confer on thee an eyen more glorious crown." He then made proclamation, "And ye shall fear my sanctuary" (Ibid.). This is a reference to the Sabbath of the eye of Sabbath, which inspires fear, and upon which fear rests. And it is the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself w ho identified Himself with her, saying "I am the Lord" (Ibid.). I have further heard' (continued the stranger) 'the following exposition from my father. He stressed the particle eth as signifying the limit of the Sabbath walk. "My Sabbaths," he said, denotes the circle and the square within, [2] and corresponding to these two the sanctification recital consists of two parts, one the verses Genesis 11, 1-3, commencing Vaikhulu (and were completed) and the other the sanctification proper (Kiddush). Vaikhulu contains thirty-five words, and the Kiddush contains thirty-five words, making together seventy, corresponding to the seventy names of the' Holy One, blessed be He, by which the congregation of Israel is crowned. On account of this circle and square, the Sabbaths here referred to come under the injunction of the word "keep" used in the second version of the Ten Commandments (Deut. v, 12) as it is written here, "ye shall keep my Sabbaths". For the other, the highest Sabbath does not come under the injunction of Shamor (keep), but is under that of Zakhor (remember), which is used in the first version of the Ten Commandments (Exod. xx, 8), since the Supreme King is hinted at in the word Zakhor (remember). For this reason He is called "the King with whom Peace dwells", and His peace is Within the injunction of zakhor (remember). And this is why there is no contention in the supernal realm, because of the twofold peace here below, one for Jacob and one for Joseph. as it is written, "Peace, Peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near" (Is. LVII, 19): "to him that is far off" refers to Jacob [6a], "and to him that is near" refers to Joseph. "To him that is far" is parallel to "From afar the Lord appeared unto me" (Jer. XXXI, 3), as well as to "And his sister stood afar off" (Exod. II, 4); "and to him that is near" is parallel to "new gods who came up since a near time" (Deut. XXXII, 17). "From afar" signifies the supernal point which is situated in His palace, and in regard to which it is said "ye shall keep", thus bringing it under the injunction of shamor (keep). "And my sanctuary ye shall fear" refers to the point which is situated in the centre and which is most to be feared, as the penalty of transgression is death, as it is written, "Everyone that profaneth it shall surely be put to death" (Ex. XXXI, 14); i.e. those who penetrate into the space of the circle-square, treading on the spot where the central point is situated and damaging it-these shall surely he put to death. Of this it is written, "Ye shall fear." That point is called Ani (I) (Lev. XIX, 30), and upon it rests the unknown, the Most High, the unrevealed One which is YHWH (the Lord), both being one.' R. Eleazar and R. Abba came up to the stranger and kissed him. They said: 'With all this profound knowledge thou hast displayed, is it meet that thou shouldst journey behind us ? Who art thou ?' they asked him. 'Do not ask,' he said, 'but let us proceed on our way and together let us discourse on the Torah. Let each one say some word of wisdom to illumine our way.' They asked him, 'Who charged thee to make this journey as an assdriver?' He said to them, 'The letter Yod waged war with the letters Kaph and Samekh, to make them join me. The Kaph refused to leave its place, since it could not exist for a moment elsewhere. The Samekh refused to move from its place lest it should cease to support those that fall. The Yod then came to me all alone and kissed and embraced me. He wept with me and said, "My son, what shall I do for thee? I will go and load myself with a plenitude of good things and of precious, sublime and mystic symbols, and then I will come to thee and help thee and put thee in possession of two celestial letters superior to those that have departed, to wit the word Yesh (plentifulness), consisting of a celestial Yod and a celestial Shin, so that thou wilt become possessed of stores of riches of all kinds. Go then, my son, and load thy ass." This is why I am travelling in this manner.' R. Eleazar and R. Abba rejoiced; they also wept and said to him, 'Go, ride in front and we will follow thee on the ass.' He said to them, 'Have I not told you that it is the command of the King that I should continue thus until he who will ride on an ass shall appear?' They said to him, 'Thou hast not told us thy name, nor thy habitation.' He answered, 'My habitation is a good one and an exalted one for me -- a mighty and imposing tower suspended in the air. In that tower there reside the Holy One, blessed be He, and a certain poor man: and that is my place of habitation. But I have left it and am become an ass-driver.' R. Abba and R. Eleazar gazed at him, and he discoursed to them words as sweet as manna and honey. They said to him, 'If thou wouldst tell us the name of thy father we would kiss the dust of thy feet.' He said to them, 'Why so? It is not my habit to pride myself on a knowledge of the Torah, but my father inhabited the great sea, he was a huge fish who embraced the great sea from one end to the other; he was mighty and noble and ancient of days so that he would swallow up all the other fishes in the sea and then release them again alive and filled with all the good things of the world. Like a mighty swimmer he could traverse the whole sea in one second. He shot me out like an arrow in the hand of a bowman and hid me in the place I told you of, and he himself returned to his place and is hid in that sea.' R. Eleazar pondered a little and said, 'Thou art the son of the sacred lamp, thou art the son of the venerable Rab Hamnuna, thou art the son of the light of the Torah, and yet thou drivest behind us !' They both wept together and they kissed him and went forward on their way. They further said to him, 'May our master be pleased to let us know his name.' He thereupon began to discourse on the verse: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, etc. (II Sam. XXIII, 20). 'This verse', he said, 'has been well explained -- in addition to its literal meaning -- to signify high mysteries of the Torah. "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada" (i.e. son of God, son of knowing-God) contains an allusion to wisdom, and is a symbolic appellation which influences its bearer. "The son of a living man" indicates the "Zaddik, the life of the universe". "Mighty of deeds" signifies the Master of all actions and of all celestial hosts, since all proceed from him; He is the "Lord of hosts", the insignia of all His hosts, yet distinguished and exalted above all. He is "mighty of deeds, from Kabzeel", as if to say: "that great and most mighty tree, from what place comes it, from what grade does it issue? From Kabzeel" (lit. gathering of God), from the highest and hidden grade [6b] where "no eye hath ever seen, etc." (Is. LXIV, 3), a grade which contains the whole and which is the focus of the supernal light, and from which everything issues. That light is the sacred and hidden temple (Hekal) wherein is concentrated that divine essence from which all the worlds draw sustenance, and all divine hosts are nourished and so subsist. "He smote the strong lion of Moab" is a reference to the two Temples that existed for His sake and drew their strength from Him, namely, the first Temple and the second Temple. But as soon as He departed, the flow of blessing from above ceased; "He", as it were, "smote" them, destroyed them, made an end of them, and the sacred Throne was overturned, as it is written, "as I was among the captives" (Ezek. r, I), implying that that divine essence called "I" was in captivity. "On the river Khebar" (Ibid.) (Khebar = long ago) means the stream that was once flowing, but the waters and sources of which were cut off so that it flows no more as formerly. The same is implied in the verse "and the river faileth and drieth up" (Job. XIV, II): "faileth", referring to the first Temple, and "drieth up" to the second Temple. And so "He smote the two strong lions of Moab" (Moab = Meab, of the father), namely the Temples of the Father in heaven, by whom they were now destroyed, so that all lights which illuminated Israel were now darkened. Further, "He went down and smote the lion": formerly when that stream flowed down to here below, Israel was free from care, offering peace-offerings and sin-offerings to atone for his soul; and from on high descended the image of a lion visible to all, crouching on his prey, consuming the offerings like a mighty giant. All the dogs kept themselves out of sight, fearing to venture abroad. But when sin prevailed He descended to the regions here below and slew that lion, not desiring any more to provide his portion as formerly. He, as it were, slew him: "He smote the lion", most assuredly, "into the pit", that is to say, in the sight of the "evil monster". The same evil monster, seeing this, sent a dog to consume the offerings. The name of the lion is Ariel, as his face is that of a lion; and the name of the dog is Baladon (not-man), for it is a dog and has the face of a dog. "In a day of snow", that is, in the day when on account of Israel's sins sentence was pronounced by the Court on high. (The same is implied in the verse "She is not afraid of the snow for her household" (Prov. XXXI, 21), that is to say, of the judgement on high; why so? "for all her household are clothed with scarlet", and hence can endure the strongest fire.) Such is the mystical meaning of this verse. The next verse reads: "And he smote an Egyptian, a man of good appearance, etc." The mystical meaning of this verse is that every time Israel sins, God leaves them and withholds from them all the blessings and all the lights which illumined them. "He smote an Egyptian": this signifies the light of Israel's great luminary, to wit, Moses, who is called an Egyptian, as it is written, "And they said, an Egyptian delivered us, etc." (Exod. II, 19), for there he was born, there he was brought up and there he was vouchsafed the higher light. "A man of good appearance" (mar'eh) also signifies Moses, of whom it is written "ou-mar'eh (by clear appearance) and not in dark speeches" (Num. XII, 8); so too "man" (ish), as he is called "man of God" (Deut. XXXIII, I), the husband, as it were, of the Divine glory, leading it whereso he would upon the earth, a privilege no other man had ever enjoyed. "And the Egyptian had a spear in his hand," to wit, the divine rod that was delivered into his hand, as we read: "With the rod of God in my hand" (Exod. XVII, 9), which is the same rod that was created in the twilight of the eve of Sabbath, and on which there was engraven the Divine Name in sacred letters. With the same rod Moses sinned by smiting the rock, as we read: "And he smote the rock with his rod twice" (Num. XX, II). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him "I have not given the rod for that purpose; by thy life, from henceforward it will not be in thy hand any more." Immediately "He went down to him with a rod", i.e. He judged him rigidly, "and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand," for from that moment he lost it and never more regained it. "And slew him with his spear," i.e. through the sin of smiting the rock with that rod he died without entering the Holy Land, and thereby that illumination was withheld from Israel. "He was more honourable than the thirty" (II Sam. XXIII, 23) alludes to the thirty celestial years from which he was taken to be sent down below. "But he attained not to the first three", that is, they (the patriarchs) came to him and gave him whatever he craved, but he did not come to them; and although he did not enter into their number, yet "David put him into his service", that is, David never detached him from his heart, [7a] nor will there ever be any separation between the two. David turned his heart towards him, but he did not turn his towards David, in the same manner as the moon addresses her praises and hymns towards the sun, drawing him to herself to set up, as it were, his abode with her. This is implied in the words "And David put him into his service".'

R. Eleazar and R. Abba prostrated themselves before the stranger. Of a sudden they saw him not. They arose and looked on every side, hut they saw him not. They sat down and wept and were unable to exchange a word. After a while R. Abba said: 'It is assuredly true as we have been taught, that whenever the righteous on their journey busy themselves with expositions of the Torah, they are favoured by visits from the other world; for it is clear that it was the venerable Rab Hamnuna who appeared to us from the other world to reveal to us all these things, and now before we could recognize him, he has vanished.' They arose and tried to drive the asses, but could not make them go, and again tried, but could not. They became frightened and left the animals behind. That spot is called until this day 'Asses' place.

R. Eleazar commenced to discourse thus: O how great is the abundance of thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, etc. (Ps. XXXI, 20). 'How great is the heavenly bounty which the Holy One, blessed be He, hath reserved for those who excel in righteousness, who shun sin and devote themselves to the study of the Torah, when they ascend to the world to come. It is not written simply "thy goodness", but "abundance of thy goodness", the same expression as in the verse "They utter the fame of the abundance of thy goodness" (Ps. CXLV, 7), to wit, the delight which the righteous enjoy in the world to come in the presence of the Everlasting who is "abundant in goodness towards the house of Israel" (Is. LXIII, 7). We may also find enshrined in this passage a mystery of wisdom, in which all other mysteries are enclosed. We translate: "O Mah, great is thy goodness, etc." Mah ("How" or "What") has already been explained. Rah ("abundant" or "great") alludes to the strong and mighty tree: there is another and a smaller tree, but this one is tall, reaching into the highest heaven. "Thy goodness" alludes to the light that was created on the first day. "Which thou hast laid up for those who fear thee", since He has treasured it up for the righteous in the world to come: "which thou hast wrought" alludes to the higher Gan-Eden (Garden-of-Eden, Paradise), as it is written, "The place, O Lord, which thou hast wrought for thy dwelling" (Exod. xv, 17), to wit, "Thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee". "In the sight of the sons of men" alludes to the lower Gan-Eden where all the righteous abide, as spirits clad in a resplendent vesture resembling their corporeal figure in this world; this is meant by "in the sight of man", i.e. presenting the likeness of the people of this world. They stay there for a time, then rise in the air and ascend to the celestial Academy, which is the Gan- Eden above; then they rise again and bathe in the dewy rivers of pure balsam, and then descend and remain below, and sometimes they appear to men to perform for them miracles in the manner of angels, as we have just seen the light of the "Sacred Lamp", without, however, being vouchsafed an insight into the mysteries of Wisdom, so far as we could have wished.' R. Abba said: 'It is written, "And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God" (Judg. XIII, 22). Although Manoah was ignorant of the object of the apparition, he nevertheless argued, "Since it is written' for man shall not see me and live' (Exod. XXXIII, 20), and as we certainly saw Him, we shall therefore die." And we were privileged to see that light which accompanied us, and we are still alive, because the Holy One, blessed be He, sent it to us in order to reveal to us the mysteries of Wisdom. Happy is our portion!'

They continued their journey and reached a certain hill at sunset. The branches of the trees on the hill began to shake and rustle and broke forth into hymns. Whilst walking, they heard a resounding voice proclaim: 'Holy sons of God, who are interspersed among the living of yonder world, ye who are the lamps of the Academy, reassemble into your places to regale yourselves, under the guidance of your Master, in the study of the Torah.' In fear and trembling they stopped and sat down. Meanwhile, a voice went forth again and proclaimed: 'O, ye mighty rocks, exalted hammers, behold the Lord, lo, Him whose appearance is as a broidered pattern of many colours, mounted on His throne: enter then into your place of assembly.' At that moment they heard a loud and mighty sound issuing from between the branches of the trees, and they uttered the verse: 'The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars' (Ps. XXIX, 5). R. Eleazar and R. Abba fell upon their faces and a great fear came over them. They then arose in haste and went on their way, and heard nothing more. They left the hill, and when they reached the house of R. Simeon the son of Lakunya they saw there R. Simeon the son of Yohai, and they rejoiced [7b] exceedingly. R. Simeon said to them, 'Assuredly ye traversed a path of heavenly miracles and wonders, for as I was sleeping just now I had a vision of you and of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, who was sending you two crowns by the hand of a certain elder to crown you withal. Assuredly the Holy One, blessed be He, was on that path. Further, I saw your faces as if transfigured.' R. Jose remarked: 'Well have ye said that "the sage is superior to the prophet".' R. Eleazar then approached and put his head between the knees of his father and told him all that had happened to them. R. Simeon trembled and wept. '"O Lord, I have the report of thee, and I am afraid" , (Habak. III, 2), he said. 'This verse did Habakkuk exclaim at the time when he reflected on his own death and his resurrection through Elisha. Why was he named HaBaKkuK? Because it is written, "At this season when the time cometh round, thou shalt be embracing (HoBeKeth) a son" (II Kings IV, 16), and he-Habakkuk-was the son of the Shunammite. He received indeed two embracings, one from his mother and one from Elisha, as it is written, "and he put his mouth upon his mouth" (Ibid. 34)' In the Book of King Solomon I have found the following: He (Elisha) traced on him the mystic appellation, consisting of seventy-two names. For the alphabetical letters that his father had at first engraved on him had flown off when the child died; but when Elisha embraced him he engraved on him anew all those letters of the seventy-two names. Now the number of those letters amounts to two hundred and sixteen, and they were all engraved by the breath of Elisha on the child so as to put again into him the breath of life through the power of the letters of the seventy-two names. And Elisha named him Habakkuk, a name of double significance, alluding in its sound to the twofold embracing, as already explained, and in its numerical value (H.B.K.V.K. = to two hundred and sixteen, the number of the letters of the Sacred Name. By the words his spirit was restored to him and by the letters his bodily parts were reconstituted. Therefore the child was named Habakkuk, and it was he who said: "O Lord, I have heard the report of thee, and I am afraid" (Habak. III, 2). that is to say, I have heard what happened to me, that I tasted of the other world, and am afraid. He then commenced to supplicate for himself, saying, "O Lord, Thy work" which Thou hast accomplished for me, "in the midst of the years", I pray, "let its life be". For he who is bound up with the cycles of past years has life bound up with him. "In the midst of the years make it known", to wit, that stage in which there is no life.' R. Simeon then wept and said: 'I also from what I have heard am seized with fear of the Holy One, blessed be He.' He then raised his hands above his head and said, 'What a privilege it was for you to see face to face the venerable Rab Hamnuna, the light of the Torah -- a privilege I have not been granted.' He then fell on his face and saw him uprooting mountains, and kindling the lights in the temple of the Messiah. R. Hamnuna, addressing him, said, 'Master, in this other world thou wilt be the neighbour of the teachers of the Law in the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He.' From that time onward R. Simeon named R. Eleazar his son and R. Abba Peniel (face of God), in allusion to the verse, "For I have seen God face to face" (Gen. XXXII, 31).


IN THE BEGINNING. R. Hiya opened his discourse thus: The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord; A good understanding have all they that do hereafter. His praise endureth for ever (Ps. CXI, 10). He said: 'Instead of "the beginning of wisdom" it would be more appropriate to say "the end of wisdom is the fear of the Lord", since the fear of the Lore is the final object of wisdom. The Psalmist, however, speak! of the highest order of wisdom, which can only be reached through the gate of the fear of God. This is implied in the verse "Open to me the gates of righteousness .... This is the gate of the Lord ... " (Ps. CXVIII, 19-20). Assuredly, without entering through that gate one will never gain access to the most high King. Imagine a king greatly exalted who screens himself from the common view behind gate upon gate, and at the end, one special gate, locked and barred. Saith the king: He who wishes to enter into my presence must first of all pass through that gate. So here the first gate to super-Wisdom is the fear of God; and this is what is meant by reshith (beginning). The letter Beth (=2) indicates two things joined together, namely two points, one shrouded in mystery and one capable of being revealed; and as they are inseparable they therefore are both joined in the single term reshith (beginning), i.e. they are one and not two, and he who takes away the one takes away the other as well. For He and His name are one, as it is written "That they may know that thou and thy name of Lord art alone" (Ps. LXXXIII, 19). Why is this first gate called "the fear of the Lord" ? Because it is the tree of good and evil. If a man deserves well it is good, and if he deserves ill it is evil. [8a] Hence in that place abides fear, which is the gateway to all that is good. "Good" and "understanding" are two gates which are as one.' R. Jose said: 'The term "A good understanding" alludes to the tree of life which is the knowledge of good without evil. "To all that do hereafter": these are "the sure mercies of David" (Is. LV, 3), viz. they who support the study of the Torah. For they who support the study of the Torah are, we may say, doing something, whereas those who are merely occupied in its study are for the time being not doing. Through this activity "his praise endureth for ever", and the Throne abides on its base securely.'

R. Simeon was sitting and studying the Torah during the night when the bride was to be joined to her husband. [3] For we have been taught that all the members of the bridal palace, during the night preceding her espousals, are in duty bound to keep her company and to rejoice with her in her final preparations for the great day: to study all branches of the Torah, proceeding from the Law to the Prophets, from the Prophets to the Holy Writings, and then to the deeper interpretations of Scripture and to the mysteries of Wisdom, as all these represent her preparations and her adornments. The bride, indeed, with her bridesmaids, comes up and remains with them, adorning herself at their hands and rejoicing with them all that night. And on the following day she does not enter under the canopy except in their company, they being called the canopy attendants. And when she steps under the canopy the Holy One, blessed be He, enquires after them and blesses them and crowns them with the bridal crown: happy is their portion!

Hence R. Simeon and all the companions were chanting the Scripture with exultation, each one of them making new discoveries in the Torah. Said R. Simeon to them, 'I my sons, happy is your portion, for on the morrow the bride will not enter the bridal canopy except in your company; for all those who help to prepare her adornments to-night will be recorded in the book of remembrance, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will bless them with seventy blessings and crown them with crowns of the celestial world.' R. Simeon opened his discourse thus: The heavens declare the glory of God, etc. (Ps. XIX, 2). He said: 'The inner meaning of this verse is as follows. When the bride awakes on the mom of her wedding day, she begins to prepare her ornaments and decorations with the aid of the companions who have rejoiced with her all that night, as she with them. On that day there assemble in her honour hosts upon hosts, awaiting each one of those who have helped in her adornment on the previous night. As soon as the bride beholds her spouse, "the heavens declare the glory of God". "The heavens" are the bridegroom, who enters under the bridal canopy. "Declare" (meSaPeRim) signifies that they radiate a brilliance like that of a sapphire, sparkling and scintillating from one end of the world to the other. "The glory of El" (God) signifies the glory of the bride which is called El (God), as it is written "and El (God) hath indignation every day" (Ps. VII, 12); all the days of the year it is called El (God), but now when she enters under the bridal canopy it is called Glory. It is also at the same time still called HI (God), signifying glory on glory, splendour on splendour, and dominion on dominion. Thus, at that time when heaven enters into the canopy and irradiates her, all those companions who joined in her adornment have their names recorded there above, as it is written, "and the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Ibid. XIX, 2), the words "his handiwork" being an allusion to those who have entered into a covenant with the bride. The confederates of the covenant are called " the works of his hands", as we read" the work of our hands establish thou it" (Ps. XC, 17) This is an allusion to the covenant that is en graven on man's body.'

Rab Hamnuna discoursed thus: Suffer not thy mouth to bring thy flesh into guilt (Eccl. v, 5). 'This is a warning to man not to utter with his mouth words that might suggest evil thoughts and so cause to sin the sacred body on which is stamped the holy covenant. For he who does this is dragged into Gehinnom. The angel presiding over Gehinnom is called Duma, and there are tens of thousands of angels of destruction under him. He stands at its door, but those who have carefully guarded the sign of the holy covenant he has no power to touch. David, after his affair with Uriah, was in great fear. Duma entered into the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, and said: [8b] "0 Lord of the universe, it is written in the Torah: 'And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, etc.' (Lev. xx, 10), and it is also written 'And with thy neighbour's wife, etc.' (Ibid. XVIII, 20). Now, David has misused the sign of the holy covenant; what shall be done to him ?" Said the Holy One, blessed be His name: "David is pure, and the holy covenant remains untouched inasmuch as at the creation of the world it was revealed before Me that Bath-Sheha was assigned to him."

'"If before Thee it was revealed, yet it was not revealed to him."

'"And further, what was done was done lawfully, since every one who goes out to war first gives a bill of divorcement to his wife."

'"Even so, he ought to have waited three months, which he did not. "

'"That rule only applies where there is a risk that she may be pregnant. In this case, however, it is known to Me that Uriah never came in unto her, in witness whereof My name is sealed in his, as he is sometimes called URiYaH and sometimes URiYaHU, to show that he never had intercourse with her."

'"O Lord of the universe, I must repeat my plea. If to Thee it was manifest that Uriah never came in unto her, was it manifest unto David ? He ought then to have waited three months. Further, if David was aware that he never came near her, why then did he send an order to him to go home and visit his wife, as it is written, 'Go down to thy house and wash thy feet' (II Sam. XI, 8)?"

'"He certainly was not aware of it, and indeed he waited even more· than three months, namely, four months, as we have been taught: The twenty-fifth day of Nisan David called the people to arms, and the people assembled under Joab on the seventh of Sivan, when they went and smote the Ammonites. They remained there the months of Sivan, Tamuz, Ab, and Elul, and on the twenty-fourth of Elul happened the incident of Bath-Sheba. And on the day of Kippur (Atonement) the Holy One, blessed be He, forgave him that sin. According to another account, on the seventh day of Adar David called the people to arms, and they assembled on the fifteenth of Iyar, and on the fifteenth of Elul happened the incident of Bath-Sheba, and the day of Kippur he was vouchsafed the message: 'The Lord also hath put away thy sin: thou shalt not die' (Ibid. XII, 13), to wit, thou shalt not die at the hand of Duma."

'"O Lord of the universe, I have still one argument, that he himself pronounced his doom, saying: 'As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this deserveth to die' (Ibid. 5). He thereby condemned himself, and my charge against him stands."

'"Thou hast no power over him since he made confession to Me and said 'I have sinned against the Lord', although he was not guilty. As for his sin in the matter of Uriah, I prescribed a penalty for him which he suffered immediately."

'Duma returned then crestfallen to his place. It is in regard to this that David said: "Unless the Lord had been my help, but a little would have been wanting that my soul had dwelt in duma" (silence) (Ps. XCIV, 17). That is, if the Lord had not been my advocate, "it wanted but little, etc." Only by the hairbreadth which is between me and the "Sinister Power" did my soul escape from the clutches of Duma. A man should therefore be on his guard not to let slip an incautious word like David, since he will not be able to plead with Duma "that it was an error" (Eccl. v, 5), like David, who was vindicated by the Holy One, blessed be His Name; "wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thy hands ?" (Ibid.), i.e. the flesh of the holy covenant which the man has defiled and which, as a punishment, is stretched in Gehinnom at the hand of Duma.'

[R. Simeon resumed:] 'The words "And the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Ps. XIX, 2) are an allusion to the companions who kept the bride company and are the custodians of her covenant. Every one of them He telleth and inscribeth. The "firmament" here mentioned is that one wherein are the sun, the moon, the stars, and constellations, and which constitutes the Recording Book. He telleth and inscribeth everyone of them as denizens of the heavenly Palace, whose desires shall always be accomplished. "Day unto day uttereth speech" (Ibid. 3); each sacred day of the heavenly days utters the praises of the companions and repeats each word of exposition which was exchanged between them: day unto day expresses that word and extols it. "And night unto night revealeth knowledge" (Ibid.): that is, all the forces ruling in the night extol to one another the deep knowledge of the companions, and become their devoted friends. "There is no speech, there are no words, neither is their voice heard" (Ibid. 4): this refers to worldly conversation, which is not heard by the holy King, nor does He desire to hear it. But as for those words of wisdom, "their line is gone out through all the earth" (Ibid. 5), they trace [9a] the measure and the plan of all celestial and all terrestrial habitations: it is indeed through those words that the heavens were made, and it is through the praises sung in those words that the earth was made. Nor think that they rest only in one spot: we are told "and their words to the end of the earth" (Ibid.). Who, then, inhabits the heavens made by them ? "In them hath he set a tent for the sun" (Ibid.): the sacred sun has made his habitation in them and is crowned in them. Thus we read "And he is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber" (Ibid. 6), gaily coursing through those heavens. When he emerges from them and hastens to another tower in another place, "his going forth is from the end of the heavens" (Ibid. 7), he issues from the supernal world, which is as the "extremity of heaven" above. "His circuit" (Ibid.) is the extremity of heaven" below, viz. the circuit of the year, which goes completely round and extends from the heaven to our firmament. "And there is nothing hid from his heat" (Ibid.), i.e. from the heat of this circuit, and from the circuit of the sun, which embraces every side; from this "nothing is hid", i.e. no one of all the upper grades is hid from him, since all come round to him, and not one is hidden "from his heat" when he returns to them in full strength. All this praise and laudation is on account of the Torah (Law), as we read, "The Law of the Lord is perfect, etc." (Ibid. 8-10). We find in this passage six times the mention of the Lord (tetragrammaton) as well as six verses from "The heavens declare" up to "The Law of the Lord is perfect". Likewise the first word of the Torah, bereshith (in the beginning) consists of six letters, and the rest of the first verse, "created God the heaven and-the earth", also consists of six words. The six verses of our text correspond to the six letters, and the six mentions of the Name correspond to the six words.'

Whilst they were sitting there entered his son, R. Eleazar, and R. Abba. He said to them: 'Of a certainty the face of the Shekinah has arrived, and it is for this reason that I named you Peniel, because you have seen the Shekinah face to face. And now that you have learnt the secret of the verse concerning Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, an exposition indeed emanating from the Ancient and Holy One, as well as of the verse following, I am going to expound to you another even more mysterious verse in another passage.' He then opened his discourse thus: 'It is written, And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high (I Chr. XI, 23). There is here the same hidden meaning as in the verses just mentioned. By "the Egyptian" is meant that well-known figure who ,\'as "very great in the land of Egypt in the eyes of the servants, etc." (Exod. XI, 3). He was great and honoured, as Rab Hamnuna explained. In the heavenly Academy, however, the words ish middah (man of dimension) were explained as "one whose dimensions extended from one end of the world to the other", which were the dimensions of the first man, Adam. Those "five cubits", then, must have been such as to extend from one end of the world to the other. To return, however: "And in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam" (I Chr. XI, 23). This alludes to the divine rod which was in Moses' hand, and on which there was engraved the divine ineffable Name radiating in various combinations of letters. These same letters were in possession of Bezalel, who was called "weaver", and his school, as it is written: "Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart ... of the craftsman and the skilled workman, and the weaver, etc." (Exod. xxxv, 35). So that rod had engraved on it the ineffable Name on every side, in forty-two various combinations, which were illumined in different colours. The rest of the verse is as he already explained. Happy is his portion! Come, dear friends, come and let us renew the preparations of the bride in this night. For everyone who keeps vigil with her in this night will be guarded above and below and will complete the year in peace. It is of them that it is written: "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them: O consider and see that the Lord is good." (Ps. XXXIV, 8-9)).'

R. Simeon opened his discourse thus: 'It is written, In the beginning God created. This verse must be well laid to heart, for he who affirms that there is another god will be destroyed from the world. It is written: Thus shall ye say unto them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens. (Jer. X, II). Why has this verse [9b] been written in Aramaic, with the exception of the last word? It cannot be because the holy angels do not pay attention to Aramaic and do not understand it, for then all the more was it appropriate for this verse to be written in Hebrew, so that the angels should acknowledge its doctrine. The true reason certainly is that the angels, since they do not understand Aramaic, shall not come to be jealous of man and do him evil. For in this verse the holy angels are comprised, as they are called Elohim (gods, powers), and yet they have not made heaven or earth. Instead of wearka (and the earth) there should have been written the proper Aramaic word wear'a. Arka, however, is one of the seven nether earths, the place inhabited by the descendants of Cain. When Cain was banished from the face of the earth, he descended into that land and there propagated his kind. That earth consists of two sections, one enveloped in light, the other in darkness, and there are two chiefs, one ruling over the light, the other over the darkness. These two chiefs were at perpetual war with each other, until the time of Cain's arrival, when they joined together and made peace; and therefore they are now one body with two heads. These two chiefs were named 'Afrira and Kastimon. They, moreover, bear the likeness of holy angels, having six wings. One of them had the face of an ox and the other that of an eagle. But when they became united they assumed the image of a man. In time of darkness they change into the form of a two-headed serpent, and crawl like a serpent, and swoop into the abyss, and bathe in the great sea. When they reach the abode of 'Uzza and 'Azael they stir them up and rouse them. These then leap into the "dark mountains", thinking that their day of judgement has come before the Holy One, blessed be His Name. The two chiefs then swim about in the great sea, and when night comes they fly off to Na'amah, the mother of the demons (shedim), by whom the first saints were seduced ; but when they think to approach her she leaps away six thousand parasangs, and assumes all shapes and forms in the midst of the sons of men, so that the sons of men may be led astray after her. These two chiefs then fly about through the world, and return to their abode, where they arouse sensual desires in the descendants of Cain to bear children. The heaven above that earth is not like ours, nor are the seasons of seed and harvest the same as ours, but they only return after cycles of many years. "These Elohim", then, "who have not made heaven and earth [may] perish from" the upper earth of the universe, so that they should have no dominion there, should not traverse it and should not cause men to pollute themselves "through anything that chanceth by night"; and for that "they will perish from the earth and from underneath the heaven" which were made in the name of Eleh, as has been explained above. It is for that reason that this verse has been written in Aramaic, so that the angels should not think that they are alluded to and so bring accusations against us. This, too, is the secret of the last word, to wit, Eleh, which being a sacred name, could not be altered into Aramaic.'

R. Eleazar said to his father: 'Regarding what is written in the same passage, Who will not fear thee, O King of the Gentiles? For it befitteth thee (Jer. x, 7), is this such a high eulogy?' His father said to him: 'Eleazar, my son, this passage has been variously explained, but for its full meaning we must go to its continuation, which reads: For among all the wise men of the Gentiles, and in all their royalty, there is none like unto thee. (Ibid.) The purpose of this verse is to express the view of the sinners, who fancy that God does not know their thoughts, and to answer them according to their folly. Once,' he continued, 'a Gentile philosopher came to visit me and argued with me thus: You say that your God rules in all the heights of heaven, and that all the heavenly hosts .and legions cannot approach Him and do not know His place. If so, then this verse, saying "For among all the wise men of the Gentiles, and in all their royalty there is none like unto thee", does not extol Him very highly, for what special glory is there for Him not to find among perishable men His like? [10a] And further, you infer from the passage which says "'And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses" (Deut. XXXIV, 10), that only in Israel hath there not arisen, but among the other nations of the world there did .arise one like him; and on this analogy I am justified in inferring that only among the wise of the Gentiles there is none like Him, but among the wise of Israel there is. If that is so, such a God, the like unto whom is to be found among the wise men of Israel, cannot be all-powerful. Look closely into the verse and you will find that it bears out my inference. I replied to him: Indeed, what you say is actually true. Who raises the dead to life? Only the Holy One alone, blessed be He; yet Elijah and Elisha came and raised the dead to life. Who causes rain to fall? Only the Holy One alone, blessed be He; yet Elijah came and kept back the rain and then made it descend again, through his prayer. Who made heaven and earth ? The Holy One alone, blessed be He; yet Abraham came and they were firmly established for his sake. Who regulates the course of the sun? None but the Holy One, blessed be He; yet Joshua came and ordered it to stand still in its place and it stood still, as it is written, "And the sun stood and the moon stayed" (Jos. X, 13). The Holy One, blessed be He, issues decrees, but similarly Moses issued decrees, and they were fulfilled. Further, the Holy One, blessed be He, pronounces judgements and the righteous of Israel annul them, as it is written, "The righteous ruleth the fear of God" (II Sam. XXIII, 3). And further, He commanded them to follow literally in His ways, and to be like Him in every way. That philosopher then went to K'far Shekalim and became a proselyte, and was given the name of Jose Katina (humble), and he studied the Torah diligently until he became one of the most learned and pious men of that place.'

'Now,' continued R. Simeon, 'we must look more closely into this verse. We remark at once that another passage says: "All the nations are as nothing before him" (Is. XL, 17). What special glorification is then here expressed? Is He only the King of the Gentiles and not the King of Israel? the explanation is this. We find in every place in the Scriptures that the Holy One, blessed be He, has desired to be glorified only by Israel and has attached His name to Israel only; so it is written: "The God of Israel", "the God of the Hebrews" (Exod. v, 1,3), and further: "Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel" (Is. XLIV, 6). The nations of the world therefore said: We have another Patron in heaven, since your King has dominion only over you alone and not over us. Hence the verse comes and says: "Who would not fear thee, O King of the Gentiles? Forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations", alluding thereby to the great chiefs in heaven appointed over the Gentiles. The expression "and in all their royalty there is none like unto thee" alludes to the celestial government, inasmuch as there are four rulers on high who, by the will of God, rule over all the other nations; and for all that, not one of these has the power to do the smallest thing except as He commands them, as it is written: "And he doth according to his will in the host of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth" (Dan. IV, 32). "The wise ones of the Gentiles" are, then, the heavenly superintendents from whom they draw their wisdom; and the phrase "and in all their royalty" implies the heavenly over-lords of the nations, as has just been explained. This is the plain meaning of the passage. But in ancient books I have found it expounded as follows. Although these heavenly hosts and legions (who are "the wise of the nations and their royalty") have the control of the affairs of this world and have each their mission allotted to them, who of them can accomplish the least thing "like unto thee" ? For Thou excellest in Thy work on high and below above all of them. "There is not like unto thee, O Lord", that is, What Holy Unknown is there who acts and is like Thee above and below, and is on an equality with Thee in all respects? The work of the Holy King is heaven and earth, but "they are vanity, and their costly idols cannot profit" (Is. XLIV, 9), Of the Holy One, blessed be He, it is written, "In the beginning God created etc.", but of the lower royalty it is written "And the earth was chaos and confusion".'

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:41 pm
by admin
Part 3 of 3

Said R. Simeon to the companions: 'Come all you that participate in this bridal festivity, let each one of you prepare a decoration for the bride.' To R. Eleazar his son he said: 'Eleazar, offer a present to the heavenly bride so that on the morrow thou mayest be deemed worthy to behold her when she enters under the bridal canopy amidst the songs and hymns of the heavenly retinue.' R. Eleazar then opened his discourse thus: Who is this that cometh up ('Olah) out of the wilderness? (S. S. III, 6). The words Mi (Who?) and zoth (this) denote the separate holinesses of the two worlds joined in firm bond and union; and this union is said to be 'olah (a burnt-offering), and so holy of holies. For Mi is holy of holies, and zoth through its union with this becomes a burnt-offering ('olah), which is holy of holies. "Out of the wilderness": because she had to come forth from there in order to become the heavenly bride and to enter under the nuptial canopy. Further, the term midbar (wilderness) signifies speech, as we read, "and thy speech (oumidbarekh) is comely" (Ibid. IV, 3): by that midbar which is the utterance [10b] of the lips she goes up. Further, we have been taught as follows: It is written "these mighty gods; these are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness" (bamidbar) (I Sam. IV, 8). What does this verse mean? Was it only in the wilderness that the Lord showed them all His great deeds, and not in inhabited country? Not so, only the term bamidbar means "by means of the word", analogous to the expression "and thy speech (oumidbarekh) is comely" (S. S. IV, 3), or to the expression "and from the word (oumimidbar) did the mountains arise" (Ps. LXX, 7). Similarly here, "she rises up out of the word", that is, by means of uttered words she mounts up and nestles between the wings of the Mother, and then by the same means she descends and rests on the heads of the holy people. Her ascent is effected thus. At the beginning of the day, when a man rises in the morning, it is his duty to bless his Master as soon as he opens his eyes. The pious men of old used to have by them a cup of water, and when they awoke in the night they washed their hands and rose and occupied themselves in the study of the Torah, having first pronounced the appropriate blessing. When the cock crows it is precisely midnight, and at that moment the Holy One, blessed be He, is to be found in company with the righteous in the Garden of Eden (Gan-Eden). It is therefore proper then to pronounce the benediction and study the Torah; but one may not pronounce the benediction with unclean hands. So, too, at any time that one rises up from his sleep. For whilst a man is asleep his soul departs from him and an impure spirit comes forth and settles on his hands and defiles them: hence one may not pronounce a blessing without first washing them. Why then, one may ask, is it forbidden, after one has been in a privy, to pronounce a blessing or to read even one word of the Torah, even in the daytime, without washing the hands, although one has not been asleep, so that one's soul did not depart, and one's hands have not been defiled by an evil spirit? Why is it forbidden even if one's hands are quite clean? The answer is: woe to those who pay no heed to the majesty of their Master, and do not realise on what this world is founded. There is in every privy a spirit which feasts on filth and excrement, and settles forthwith on the fingers of a man's hands.'

R. Simeon further discoursed as follows: 'He who rejoices on the festivals but does not give to the Holy One, blessed be He, His due share, is selfish, the Satan tries to injure him and accuses him before heaven, compasses his downfall, and causes him endless trouble. To give the portion of the Holy One, blessed be He, means to make glad the poor, according to one's ability. For on these days the Holy One, blessed be He, goes to look at those broken vessels of His: He comes to them, and, seeing that they have nothing with which to rejoice on the festival, He weeps over them and reascends on high with intent to destroy the world. The members of the heavenly Academy then present themselves before Him and plead: "0 Lord of the universe, Thou art called gracious and merciful, let Thy compassion be moved upon Thy children." The Lord makes answer: "Verily 1 have made the world only on the foundation of mercy, as it is written: 'I have said, the world is built on mercy' (Ps. LXXXIX, 3), and the world is established on it." Then the heavenly angels proceed: "O Master of the universe, behold so-and-so, who eats and drinks and is in a position to give charity but neglects to do so." Then the Accuser comes and, having claimed and obtained permission, sets out in pursuit of that man. Whom have we in the world greater than Abraham, whose benevolence extended to all creatures? Once, we are told, he prepared a feast, as it is written: "And the child grew, and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned" (Gen XXI, 8). To that feast Abraham invited all the great men of the age. Now we have been taught that whenever a banquet is given, the Accuser comes to spy out whether the owner has first dispensed charity and invited poor people to his house. If he finds that it is so, he departs without entering the house. But if not, he goes in and surveys the merry-making, and having taken note that no charity had been sent to the poor nor had any been invited to the feast, he ascends. above and brings accusations against the owner. Thus, when Abraham invited to his feast the great men of the age, the Accuser came and appeared at the door in the guise of a poor man, but no one took notice of him. Abraham was attending on the kings and magnates; Sarah was giving suck to all their babes; for people did not believe that she had born a child, and said that it was only a foundling from the street, and so all the guests brought their infants with them, and Sarah suckled them in the presence of all, as it is written, "Who would have said [11a] unto Abraham that Sarah should give children suck ?" (Ibid. 7) (note the plural "children"). The Accusing Angel was still standing at the door when Sarah said: "God hath made laughter for me" (Ibid. 6). The Accusing Angel then presented himself before the Holy One, blessed be He, and said to Him: "O Master of the world, Thou hast said 'Abraham is my friend'; behold, he has made a feast and has not given anything to Thee nor to the poor, nor hath he offered up to Thee so much as one pigeon; and further, Sarah said that Thou hast made mock of her." The Lord made answer: "Who in this world can be compared to Abraham ?" Nevertheless the Accusing Angel did not stir from thence until he had spoilt all the festivity; and the Lord after that commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac as an offering, and it was decreed that Sarah should die from anguish on account of her son's danger -- all this because Abraham did not give anything to the poor.'

R. Simeon further discoursed thus: 'It is written, Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord. (Is. XXXVIII, 2.) Observe how powerful is the might of the Torah, and how it surpasses any other force. For whoso occupies himself in the study of the Torah has no fear of the powers above or below, nor of any evil haps of the world. For such a man cleaves to the tree of life, and derives knowledge from it day by day, since it is the Torah that teaches man to walk in the true path, and gives him counsel how to repent and return to his Master so that He may annul the evil decreed against him; nay, even if it has been further decreed that it shall not be annulled, yet it is annulled and no longer threatens that man in this world. Hence it is incumbent upon a man to occupy himself in the study of the Torah day and night without cessation, in accordance with the text, "and thou shalt meditate therein day and night" (Jos. 1,8); and if he abandons such study, it is as though he abandoned the tree of life. Here, then, is a wise counsel for man. When a man goes to bed of a night, he should acknowledge wholeheartedly the kingship of heaven, and should entrust his soul to the keeping of heaven: he will then immediately be guarded against all diseases and evil spirits, and they will have no power over him. In the morning, when he rises from his bed, he should bless his Master, proceed to His house, bow down before His sanctuary with awe, and then offer up his prayer. For this, he must take counsel of the holy patriarchs, as it is written: "But as for me, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness will I come into thy house: I will bow down towards thy holy temple in the fear of thee" (Ps. v, 8). This verse has been interpreted to imply that a man should not enter the Synagogue without first taking counsel of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for the reason that it is they who instituted prayer to the Holy One, blessed be He. Thus, in the verse just mentioned, the words "but as for me, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness will I come into thy house" are an allusion to Abraham; "I will bow down towards thy temple", to Isaac; "in the fear of thee", to Jacob. It is fitting, then, to invoke their names first and then enter the synagogue to offer up one's prayer. Of such a one it is written: "And he said unto me, Thou art my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified" (Is. XLIV, 3).

R. Phineas was a frequent visitor at the house of R. Rehumai, who lived on the shore of the lake of Gennesareth. He was a man of note, well advanced in years, and had lost his sight. Said he one day to R. Phineas: 'Verily I have heard that our colleague Yohai possesses a precious jewel. [4] I did look at that jewel, and it flashed like the radiance of the sun when he emerges from his sheath, and flooded the world with a light which radiated from heaven to earth and spread to the whole world, until the Ancient of Days was duly enthroned. That light is wholly contained in thy household, and from that light there emanates a tiny and tenuous ray which is shed abroad and illumines the whole world. Happy is thy portion! Go forth, my son, go forth and try to find that gem which illumines the world, for the hour is propitious.' R. Phineas took his leave and embarked in a boat in the company of two other men. He noticed two birds which were flying to and fro over the sea, and cried to them: 'Birds, birds, ye that fly about over the sea, have ye seen anywhere the restingplace of the son of Yohai?' He paused a while and then said: 'Birds, birds, go your way and bring me answer.' They flew away and disappeared in the distance, but before R. Phineas left the boat they returned, and one of them was holding in its mouth a written note stating that the son of Yohai had left the cave together with his son Eleazar. R. Phineas then went to visit him, and found him sadly changed, with his body full of sores. He wept [11b] and said: 'Woe unto me that I see thee thus!' He replied: 'Happy is my portion that thou seest me thus, for otherwise I would not be what I am.' R. Simeon then opened his discourse on the precepts of the Torah. He said: 'The precepts of the Torah which the Holy One has given to Israel are all laid down in the first chapter of Genesis in summary.


In the Beginning God created. [5] This contains the first precept of all, to wit, the fear of the Lord, as it is written: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. CXI, 10), as well as: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. I, 7). It is the beginning and the gateway of faith, and on this precept the whole world is established. There are three types of fear: two have no proper root, while the third is the real fear. There is the man who fears the Holy One, blessed be He, in order that his children may live and not die, or lest he be punished in his body or his possessions; and so he is in constant fear. Evidently this is not the genuine fear of God. Another man fears the Holy One, blessed be He, because he is afraid of punishment in the other world and the tortures of Gehinnom. This is a second type which is not genuine fear. The genuine type is that which makes a man fear his Master because He is the mighty ruler, the rock and foundation of all worlds, before whom all existing things are as nought, as it has been said: "and all the inhabitants of the earth are as nought" (Dan. IV, 32), and place his goal in that spot which is called yir'ah (fear).' R. Simeon here wept and said: 'Woe to me if I tell and woe to me if I do not tell! If I tell, then the wicked will know how to worship their Master; and if I do not tell, then the companions will be left in ignorance of this discovery. Corresponding to the "holy fear" there is an "evil fear" below which scourges and accuses, and which is a lash for punishing the wicked. Now he whose fear is of punishment and accusation is not endowed with that fear of God which leads to life. The fear which rests upon him is that evil fear of the lash, but not the fear of the Lord. For this reason the spot which is called "the fear of the Lord" is also called "the beginning of knowledge". Hence this precept is laid down here, as it is the principle and root of all the other precepts of the Torah. He who cherishes fear observes the whole Torah, and he who does not cherish fear does not observe the other precepts of the Torah, since it is the gate of all. Therefore it is written: Bereshith, through a beginning, that is, fear, God created heaven and earth. For he who transgresses this transgresses all the precepts of the Torah j and his punishment is to be scourged by the evil lash. This is implied in the words: "And the earth was chaos and confusion (tohu wabohu), and darkness was upon the face of the abyss." This is an allusion to the four kinds of punishment which are meted out to the wicked: tohu (chaos) alludes to strangulation, as it is written: "a line of (tohu) chaos" (Is. XXXIV, 11), meaning a measuring cord. Bohu (confusion) alludes to stoning ("stones of confusion", ibid.) by the stones which are sunk in the great abyss for the punishment of the wicked; "Darkness" is burning. as it is written: "And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness. while the mountain did bum with fire" (Deut. v, 20). also: "and the mountain burned with fire into the heart of heaven and darkness, etc.'· (Ibid. IV, II): this is the fire that rests on the heads of the wicked to consume them. The "wind" alludes to beheading by the sword, which whirls round the wicked like a tempest. as it is said: "and the flaming sword which is turned every way" (Gen. III, 24). These punishments are meted out to those who transgress the precepts of the Torah, and the words which allude to them follow immediately after the word "beginning". which symbolises the fear of God, which is the summary of all the precepts. Then follow all the other precepts of the Torah.

'The second precept is the one which is indissolubly bound up with the precept off ear. namely. love; that a man should love his Master with a perfect love. that which is called "great love". This is implied in the command: "walk before me, and be thou wholehearted" (Gen. XVII. I), to wit, in love. This is implied also in the verse: And God said, Let there be light. which alludes to the perfect love, called great love. Herein, then. is the precept for man to love his Master truly.' Said R. Eleazar, 'Father. I have heard a definition of perfect love.' His father said to him 'Expound it, my son. whilst R. Phineas is present, for he truly practises it.' R. Eleazar then explained thus: ' "Great love" is the love which is complete through the union of two phases, without which it is not [12a] genuine love; and this is signified by the dictum that the love of the Holy One. blessed be He. has two aspects. There is, for instance, the man who loves Him because he has riches, length of life, children. power over his enemies. success in all his undertakings -- all these form the motive of his love. Should the Holy One. blessed be He, turn the wheel of fortune against him and bring suffering upon him, he will change and his love will be no more. This kind of love has no root. Perfect love is the kind which remains steadfast in both phases, whether of affliction or prosperity. The right way of loving one's Master is expressed in the traditional teaching which says: "even if he deprive thee of thy life". This is, then, perfect love, embracing two phases. It was for this reason that the light of creation which first emerged was afterwards withdrawn. When it was withdrawn suffering emerged, in order that there might be this perfect love.' R. Simeon embraced his son and kissed him; R. Phineas also came and kissed him and blessed him, saying: 'Of a surety, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent me hither, and this is the meaning of the "tiny light" which I was told was somewhere in my household and would illumine the whole world.' Said R. Eleazar: 'Assuredly, fear must not be forgotten in any of the precepts, least of all in this precept of love, which requires the association of fear. How is this to be achieved? In this way. Love, as has been said, may in one phase be inspired by favours, such as riches, length of life, children, plenty, and affluence. In such cases a man should be ever haunted by the fear lest sin may cause a reversal. Of such a one it is written: "Happy is the man that feareth alway" (Prov. XXVIII, 14), since he combines fear and love. The "adverse influence" (sitra ahra) which brings suffering and chastisement is therefore necessary in the world, since it rouses in man fear: for through chastisement a man becomes filled with the true fear of God, and does not harden his heart; for if he does, then "he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into evil" (Ibid.), to wit, into the hands of that "adverse influence" which is called "evil". Thus we have a love which is complete in both phases, and from this results a true and perfect love.

'The third precept is to acknowledge that there is a God, all-powerful and ruler of the universe, and to make due proclamation of his unity every day, as extending in the six supernal directions, and to unify them all through the six words contained in the Shema Israel, and in reciting these to devote oneself wholly to God. The word Ehad therefore must be dwelt on to the length of six words. This is implied in the passage, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place : that is, let the grades beneath the heaven be unified in it so as to form one whole, perfect in all the six directions. With God's unity one must further associate fear, for which reason one must dwell on the daleth, the last letter of Ehad, the daleth being for that reason written larger than the other letters. And this is implied in the words "and let the dry land be seen", that is, let the daleth, which is a "dry land", be associated with that unity. After forming this union on high it is necessary to repeat the process for the lower world through all its multiplicity in the six lower directions. This is expressed in the verse we recite after the Shema, viz. "Blessed-be-the-name-of the-glory-of His-Kingdom for-ever and-ever", which contains another six words expressive of the unity. In this way, what was dry land becomes fertile soil to produce fruits and flowers and trees. This is implied in the passage: "And God called the dry land earth", that is, by the manifestation of God's unity here below the earth was duly perfected. It is for this reason that in the account of the third day the expression "that it was good" appears twice, once for the manifestation of the unity above and once for the manifestation of the unity below. As soon as that unity was made manifest at both ends, the text says "Let the earth put forth grass", that is, the earth was then fitted to produce fruits and flowers according to its capacity.

'The fourth precept is to acknowledge that the Lord is God, as we read: "Know this day, and lay it to thy heart that the Lord, he is God" (Deut. IV, 39); namely, to combine the name Elohim (God) with the name Jehovah (Lord) in the consciousness that they form an indivisible unity. And this is the inner meaning of the text: Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven. The omission of the vau from the word emoroth (lights) points to complete unity, to the black light and the white light being only two manifestations of one indivisible light. [l2b] The same is symbolised by the "white cloud by day" and the "cloud of fire by night" (Exod. XIII, 21); the two phases of day and night are complementary to each other, both forming one whole, in order -- as we read -- "to give light upon earth". Herein consisted the sin of the primeval serpent who united below but divided above, and so caused the mischief we still lament. The right way, on the contrary, is to recognise diversity below but unity above, so that the black light becomes wholly merged above and afterwards unified in respect of its diverse elements, and so is kept away from the evil power. It is therefore necessary for man to acknowledge that "God" and "the Lord" are one and the same without any cleavage whatever: "The Lord he is God" (1 Kings XVIII, 39); and when mankind will universally acknowledge this absolute unity, the evil power (sitra ahra) itself will be removed from the world, and exercise no more influence on earth. This is hinted in the word meoroth, which is made up of or (light), surrounded by moth (death), just as the brain, symbolic of light, is enveloped in a membrane symbolic of the baneful power (sitra ahra) which is death. Should the light (or) be removed, the letters on either side would coalesce and form death (moth) ....

'The fifth precept. It is written: And God said, Let the waters swarm with the movement of living creatures. This verse contains three precepts -- to labour in the study of the Torah, to beget children, and to circumcise a male child on the eighth day by removing the foreskin. It behoves a man to labour in the study of the Torah, to strive to make progress in it daily, so as thereby to fortify his soul and his spirit: for when a man occupies himself in the study of the Torah, he becomes endowed with an additional and holy soul, as it is written: "the movement of living creatures", that is, a soul (nefesh) derived from the holy centre called "living" (hayah). Not so is it with the man who does not occupy himself with the study of the Torah: such a man has no holy soul, and the heavenly holiness does not rest upon him. But when a man earnestly studies the Torah, then the motion of his lips wins for him that "living soul" and he becomes as one of the holy angels, as it is written: "Bless the Lord, ye angels of his" (Ps. CIII, 20), to wit, those who occupy themselves in the study of the Torah, and who are therefore called His angels on earth. The same are alluded to in the words: "and let birds fly on the earth". So much for his reward in this world. As regards the other world, we have been taught that the Holy One, blessed be He, will provide them with wings as of eagles, enabling them to fly across the whole universe, as it is written: "But they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, then shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Is. XLIV, 31). This, then, is the interpretation of that which is written: "Let the waters swarm with the movement of living creatures": the Torah, which is symbolised by water, possesses the virtue of implanting in her devotees a mobile soul derived from the place called "living" (hayah), as has already been said. David alluded to this when he said: "Create in me a clean heart, O God", so that I may be devoted to the Torah, and thus "renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps. LI, 12).

'The sixth precept is to be fruitful and multiply. For he who performs this precept causes the stream (of existence) to be perennially flowing so that its waters never fail, and the sea is full on every side, and new souls are created and emerge from the "tree" (of life) and the celestial hosts are increased in company with those souls. This is implied in the words: Let the waters swarm with the movement of living souls. This is an allusion to the holy and imperishable covenant, to the perennially rushing stream, the waters of which continually swell and produce new swarms of souls for that "living" (hayah). Along with the souls as they arise there appear many winged beings who fly about all over the world, and whenever a soul descends into this world the winged being that issued together with it from that tree accompanies it. Two accompany each soul, one on its right hand, and one on its left. If the man is worthy they constitute themselves his guardians, as it is written: "For he will give his angels charge over thee" (Ps. XCI, II), but if not, they act as his accusers.' Said R. Phineas: 'Three [13a] is the number of angels who keep guard over a man who is worthy, as it is written: "If there be for him an angel, an intercessor, one among a thousand, to vouch for man's uprightness" (Job. XXXIII, 23). "If there be for him an angel" signifies one; "an intercessor" signifies another one; "one among a thousand to vouch for man's uprightness" is a third one.' R. Simeon said: 'Five angels, since it is written further: "And He is gracious unto him, and saith". "And he is gracious unto him" implies one, "and saith" implies another one.' R. Phineas replied: 'It is not so, as the expression "And he is gracious unto him" refers only to the Holy One, blessed be lIe, no one else having the power to dispense grace.' Said R. Simeon: 'You are right. Now' (he continued) 'he who refrains from propagating his kind derogates, if one might say so, from the general form in which all individual forms are comprehended, and causes that river to cease its flow and impairs the holy covenant on all sides. Of such a one it is written, "And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have rebelled against me" (Is. LXVI, 24) -- "against me" assuredly. This is the punishment for the body, and as for his soul, she will not enter at all "within the curtain", and will be banished from the next world.

'The seventh precept is to circumcise the male child on the eighth day after birth and thereby to remove the defilement of the foreskin. The "living" (hayah) of which we have spoken forms the eighth grade in the scale, and hence the soul which has flown away from it must appear before it on the eighth day. And in this way it is made clear that this is really a "living soul", emanating from that holy "living" and not from the "unholy region". And this is alluded to in the words: Let the waters swarm, which in the Book of Enoch are explained thus: Let the water of the holy seed be stamped with the stamp of the "soul of the living", which is the form of the letter yod impressed on the holy flesh in preference to all other marks. The words, "and let winged beings fly on the earth" are a reference to Elijah, who traverses the universe in four swoops in order to he present at the initiation of the child into the holy covenant. It is proper to prepare for him a seat and to proclaim, "This is the throne of Elijah"; otherwise he will not be present. The words "And the Lord created the two great fishes" refer to the two operations, circumcision and uncovering, which represent the male and female principles; "and every living soul that moves" refers to the stamping of the sign of the holy covenant, which is a holy living soul, as has been explained. "Wherewith the waters swarmed": to wit, the supernal waters which were drawn towards that distinguishing mark. And it is for that reason that the Israelites were stamped with that sign of holiness and purity; for just as the supernal holy beings are marked in such a way as to distinguish between the "holy region" and the impure "unholy region", so the Israelites are marked in order to distinguish between the holy people and the idolatrous nations who are derived from the impure "unholy region", as has been already explained. And in the same way as the Israelites themselves are marked; so are the clean animals and birds permitted to them for food marked off from the other animals and birds eaten by the Gentiles. Happy the portion of Israel!

'The eighth precept is to love the proselyte who comes to be circumcised and to be brought under the wings of the "Divine Presence" (Shekinah), which takes under its wings those who separate themselves from the impure "unholy region" and come near unto her, as it is written: Let the earth bring forth a living soul according to its kind. Think not that the same "living soul" which is found in Israel is assigned to all mankind. The expression "after its kind" denotes that there are many compartments and enclosures one within the other in that region which is called "living", beneath its wings. The right wing has two compartments, which branch out from it for two other nations who approach Israel in monotheistic belief, [6] and therefore have entrance into these compartments. Underneath the left wing there are two other compartments which are divided between two other nations, namely Ammon and Moab. All these are included in the term "soul of the living". There are besides under each wing other concealed enclosures and divisions from whence there emanate souls which are assigned to all the proselytes who enter the fold-these are indeed termed "living soul", but "according to its kind": they all enter under the wings of the Shekinah, and no farther. The soul of Israel, on the other hand, emanates from the very body of that tree and from thence flies off into the very bowels of that earth. This is hinted in the words: "For ye shall be a delightsome land" (Mal. III, 12). It is for that reason that Israel is called a "darling son", for whom the bowels, as it were, of the Shekinah yearn, and that the children of Israel are called" those who are born from the womb", and not merely from the outer wings. Furthermore, [13b] the proselytes have no portion in the celestial tree, much less in the body of it; their portion is only in the wings and no more. The righteous proselytes, therefore, rest underneath the wings of the Shekinah and are united to it there, but penetrate no further, as has already been explained. Therefore we read: Let the earth bring forth a living soul according to its kind, namely, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind, that is to say, all derive their soul from that source called "living", but each according to its kind, from the grade appropriate to itself.

'The ninth precept is to show kindness to the poor and to provide them with their needs, as it is written: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; that is, "let us make man", as a compound being, including the male and female, "in our image", to wit, the rich; "after our likeness", to wit, the poor. For the rich are from the male side and the poor from the female. For as the male and the female act in cooperation, showing compassion to each other and mutually exchanging benefits and kindnesses, so must man here below act rich and poor in co-operation, bestowing gifts upon each other and showing kindness to each other. We have seen the following mystical observation in the Book of King Solomon. He who of his own impulse shows pity to the poor will retain for ever unchanged the original form of the first man, and by that impress of the likeness of Adam he will exercise dominion over all creatures of the world. This is implied in the words: "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, etc." (Gen. IX, 2), that is, all and every one will be in fear and in dread of that image which characterises man. For this is a noble precept, by means of which man can rise in the image of Adam above all other creatures. This we know from Nebuchadnezzar who, in spite of the dream that he had seen, as long as he showed mercy to the poor suffered no evil effects; but as soon as he selfishly neglected the poor, what do we read about him? "While the word was in the King's mouth. etc." (Dan. IV. 28). his image changed and he was driven from men ....

'The tenth precept is to put on tephillin (phylacteries). and thereby to attain in oneself the perfection of the divine image. according to that which is written: And the Lord created man in His own image: R. Simeon discoursed in this connection on the text "Thy head upon thee is like Carmel" (S. S. VII. 6). 'This verse,' he said. 'has already been explained in a way. but its true meaning is as follows: "Thy head upon thee is like Carmel" alludes to the phylactery worn on the head above. containing four sections of the Torah which represent each one of the four letters of the Divine Name (Tetragrammaton) of the most high King. Our teachers have told us that the verse: "that the name of the Lord is called upon thee, and they shall be afraid of thee" (Deut. XXVIII, 10) alludes to the phylactery worn on the head which represents the Divine Name in order of its letters. Thus. the first section. "Sanctify unto me all the first-born. etc." (Exod. XIII, 2) represents the Yod. which is the first of all the supernal sanctities; "whatsoever openeth the womb" (Ibid.) is an allusion to the slender stroke underneath the yod which opens the womb to bring forth fitting fruit. The second section. "And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee, etc." (Ibid. 5) represents the He, significant of the palace the womb of which was opened by the Yod. It is through fifty mysterious gates and forecourts and enclosures that the Yod makes an opening and enters that palace. causing the sound to issue from the great Shofar. For the Shofar was closed on all sides and the Yad came and opened it to cause the emission of its sound; and as soon 8'1 he opened it he emitted a blast as a signal for the freeing of the slaves. It was at the blowing of that Shofar that the Israelites went forth from Egypt. And the same will be repeated at the end of days. Indeed. every deliverance is preceded by the blowing of that Shofar. Hence the deliverance from Egypt is included in this section. since it resulted from that Shofar when under the pressure of the Yod it opened its womb and produced its sound as a signal for the deliverance of the slaves. So much as regards the He, the second letter of the Divine Name. The third section contains the mystery of the unity in the proclamation: "Hear, O Israel, etc." (Deut. VI, 4), and is represented by the Vau, which is the summary of all, expressive of absolute unity, combining and absorbing all. The fourth section "And it shall come to pass if ye shall hearken, etc." (Ibid. XI, 13-21) presents the two influences [14a] to which the Congregation of Israel -- the manifestation of God's power below -- is subjected. This, then, is represented by the second He, which takes up the previous letters and contains them. The phylacteries are thus literally the counterpart of the letters of the Divine Name. Hence "Thy head upon thee is like Carmel" is an allusion to the phylactery worn on the head; and the "hair (dallath, lit. poverty) of the head" signifies the phylactery worn on the hand, which is poor in comparison to that worn on the head above, but which nevertheless has its own perfection like that which it symbolises above. "The King is held captive in the tresses thereof", that is, the heavenly King is duly enshrined in these compartments of the Tephillin through the Divine Name therein contained in manner due. Thus he who equips himself with them is a man made in the image of God, for just as the letters of Holy Name are united to express the divine essence, so in a degree they are united by him (through the phylacteries). "Male and female he created them" is a reference to the phylactery of the head and the phylactery of the hand, which together make one whole.

'The eleventh precept is to give the tithe of the produce of the land. This includes two precepts, one the tithing of the land and the other the giving of the first fruits of the trees; for it is written: Behold I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth. The expression "I have given" is applied to tithe in the passage: "And unto the children of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel" (Num. XVIII, 21), and it is written besides: "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's" (Lev. XXVII, 30).

'The twelfth precept is to bring as an offering the fruits of the tree, which is alluded to in the words: and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, that is, although whatever is consecrated to God may not be eaten by man, yet God permitted them (the Levites) to enjoy all His tithe and the first fruit of the tree. I have given to you; that is, to you and not to the generations in the future.

'The thirteenth precept is to redeem the first-born son so as to attach him firmly to life. For every man is attended by two angels, one of life and one of death, and by redeeming his first-born son the father ransoms him from the angel of death, who therefore has no power over him. This is hinted in the words: And God saw everything that he had made, to wit, creation as a whole, and, behold it was good; this alludes to the angel of death. Through the act of redemption, then, the life-angel is strengthened, whilst the death-angel is weakened. By means of this redemption the child obtains life, as has already been stated; the evil power leaves him and has no more hold on him.

'The fourteenth precept is to observe the Sabbath day, which was the day of rest from all the works of Creation. This precept comprises two parts, one to rest on the Sabbath, and one to invest it with holiness. We have to observe that day as a day of rest, as has already been said, for the reason that it was a day of rest from the beginning, the whole work of Creation having been completed before this day was sanctified. After the day was sanctified there was left a residue of spirits for which no bodies had been created. Why, it may be asked, could not God have waited to sanctify the day until He had created bodies for those spirits? The reason is that from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there went forth the "evil power" to seize control of the world, and so a number of diverse spirits set out to acquire for themselves bodies by force. As soon as the Holy One, blessed be He, saw this, He raised out of the tree of life a wind that blew and lashed against the other tree so that the "beneficent power" arose and the day was sanctified. For the creation of bodies and the stirring of spirits on that night comes about under the influence of the "beneficent power" and not of the "evil power". Had the "evil power" forestalled on that night the "beneficent power", the world could not exist, on account of the evil spirits, for an instant. But the Holy One, blessed be He, provided the cure in advance; He hastened the sanctification of the day before the evil power prevailed, and so the world was established, and instead of the evil power becoming master of the world as it thought to be, on that night it was the "beneficent power" which obtained the victory, and therefore sacred bodies and spirits are being built up on that night under the influence of the "beneficent power". It is for that reason that the marital intercourse of the wise and learned men who know this [14b] is weekly, from Sabbath to Sabbath. It is, moreover, the night on which the "evil power", being supplanted by the "beneficent power", roams about the world, accompanied by his many hosts and legions, and pries into all places where people perform their conjugal intercourse immodestly and by the light of a candle, with the result that the children born of such intercourse are epileptics, being possessed by spirits of that "evil power", which are the nude spirits of the wicked, called demons (shedim); these are pursued and killed by the demon Lilith. As soon as the day is sanctified the evil power becomes weakened and withdraws into hiding all the night and day of the Sabbath, with the exception of Assimon and his band, who roam about to spy out indecent intercourses and then go and hide themselves in the cave of the great abyss. As soon as Sabbath ends, innumerable hosts and companies of them commence to fly and roam to and fro through the world, and it is to ward them off that the recitation of the Hymn against Calamities (Ps. XCI) has been instituted, so as to destroy their power over the holy people. When, after issuing precipitately to obtain dominion over the holy people, they see them engaged in prayer and hymns, reciting the "Separation" (Habdalah) in the course of the prayer and afterwards over the cup, they flee and wander about until they reach the wilderness. May the Merciful One deliver us from them and from the evil power! Our teachers, of blessed memory, said: There are three persons who bring evil upon themselves. One is the man who utters a curse against himself; a second, he who throws on the floor pieces of bread of the size of an olive; the third, he who lights his candle at the close of the Sabbath before the congregation has reached the recital of the "Sanctification" at the close of the service, for thereby he causes the fire of Gehinnom to be kindled by that light before its time. There is a place in Gehinnom assigned for those who profane the Sabbath, and those who undergo there their punishment curse the man who has lighted a candle before the time and pronounce against him the verse: "Behold the Lord will hurl thee up and down with a man's throw, yea, he will wind thee round and round" (Is. XXII, 17). For it is not lawful to kindle a light at the close of the Sabbath before Israel has pronounced the "Separation Blessing" in the prayer and the "Separation Blessing" over the cup, as until that time it is still Sabbath, and the sanctity of the Sabbath still rests on us. At the moment, however, when we recite the "Separation Blessing" over the cup, all the armies and camps which have charge over the weekdays return each to its place and to its appointed service. For with the entrance of the Sabbath and at the moment when it is sanctified, holiness awakens and spreads its dominion over the world, and worldliness is divested of its rule, and until the close of the Sabbath they do not return to their place; and even when the Sabbath closes they do not return to their places until the Israelites pronounce the words, "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who separatest the holy from the profane." Then holiness withdraws and the armies appointed over the weekdays rouse themselves and return each to its place and office. But yet they do not assume control until they become illumined through the light of the candle, for which reason they are called "fiery lights", because they spring from the fiery element, which gives them the power to rule over the terrestrial world. All this is only when a man lights a candle before the congregation has finished the recital of the "Sanctification" at the close of prayer. But when he waits until the close of that recital, the wicked in Gehinnom acknowledge the justice of the Holy One, blessed be He, and confirm for that man the blessings which the congregation recite in the words "So God give thee of the dew of heaven, etc." (Gen. XXVII, 28), as well as: "Blessed shalt thou be in the field, etc." (Deut. XXVIII, 3).

'"Happy is he that considereth the poor, the Lord will deliver him in the day of evil" (Ps. XLI, 2). We should have expected "in the evil day"; but the expression "the day of evil" alludes to the day when the "evil power" obtains permission to seize man's soul. Hence, "Happy is he that considereth the poor", to wit, the man sick of soul, so as to heal him of his sins before the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He. According to an alternative interpretation, "the day of evil" alludes to the last day of judgement of the world from which such a one will be delivered, as it says: "in the day of evil the Lord will deliver him", to wit, the day when the world is placed in the power of that evil one to chastise it.' [7]



1. This chapter, a preliminary exposition of Gen. I, serves to introduce the reader to the circle of R. Simeon and his colleagues, and to give him an idea of the scope and nature of their discussions. It is somewhat more discursive and fanciful than the main body of the Zohar.

2. The circle, square, and point were used by the Cabbalists to symbolise the three highest Sefiroth.

3. i.e, the eve of Pentecost

4. His son, R. Simeon.

5. The remainder of this chapter is more in the style of the Ra'yah Mehemnah than of the Zohar.

6. Al. "are most closely related to Israel."

7. The text breaks off here abruptly.

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:43 pm
by admin
Part 1 of 6


Gen. I, I-VI, 8

At the outset the decision of the King made a tracing in the supernal effulgence, a lamp of scintillation, [1] and there issued within the impenetrable recesses of the mysterious limitless a shapeless nucleus [2] enclosed in a ring, neither white nor black nor red nor green nor of any colour at all. When he took measurements, he fashioned colours to show within, and within the lamp there issued a certain effluence from which colours were imprinted below. The most mysterious Power enshrouded in the limitless clave, as it were, without cleaving its void, remaining wholly unknowable until from the force of the strokes there shone forth a supernal and mysterious point. Beyond that point there is no knowable, and therefore it is called Reshith (beginning), the creative utterance which is the starting-point of all.

It is written: And the intelligent shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever (Dan. XII, 3). There was indeed a "brightness" (Zohar). The Most Mysterious struck its void, and caused this point to shine. This "beginning" then extended, and made for itself a palace for its honour and glory. There it sowed a sacred seed which was to generate for the benefit of the universe, and to which may be applied the Scriptural words "the holy seed is the stock thereof" (Is. VI, 13). Again there was Zohar, in that it sowed a seed for its glory, just as the silkworm encloses itself, as it were, in a palace of its own production which is both useful and beautiful. Thus by means of this "beginning" the Mysterious Unknown made this palace. This palace is called Elohim, and this doctrine is contained in the words, "By means of a beginning (it) created Elohim." The Zohar is that from which were created all the creative utterances through the extension of the point of this mysterious brightness. Nor need we be surprised at the use of the word "created" in this connection, seeing that we read further on, "And God created man in his image" (Gen. I, 27). A further esoteric interpretation of the word hereshith is as follows. The name of the starting-point of all is Ehyeh (I shall be). The holy name when inscribed at its side is Elohim, but when inscribed by circumscription [3] is Asher, the hidden and recondite temple, the source of that which is mystically called Reshith. The word Asher (i.e. the letters, Aleph, Shin, Resh from the word bereshith) is anagrammatically Rosh (head), the beginning which issues from Reshith. So when [15b] the point and the temple were firmly established together, then bereshith combined the supernal Beginning with Wisdom. Afterwards the character of that temple was changed, and it was called "house" (bayith). The combination of this with the supernal point which is called rosh gives bereshith, which is the name used so long as the house was uninhabited. When, however, it was sown with seed to make it habitable, it was called Elohim, hidden and mysterious. The Zohar was hidden and withdrawn so long as the building was within and yet to bring forth, and the house was extended only so far as to find room for the holy seed. Before it had conceived and had extended sufficiently to be habitable, it was not called Elohim, but all was still included in the term Bereshith. After it had acquired the name of Elohim, it brought forth offspring from the seed that had been implanted in it.

What is this seed? It consists of the graven letters, the secret source of the Torah, which issued from the first point. That point sowed in the palace certain three vowel-points, holem, shureq, and hireq, which combined with one another and formed one entity, to wit, the Voice which issued through their union. When this Voice issued, there issued with it its mate which comprises all the letters; hence it is written Eth hashammaim (the heavens), to wit, the Voice and its mate. This Voice, indicated by the word "heaven", is the second Ehyeh of the sacred name, the Zohar which includes all letters and colours, in this manner. Up to this point the words "The Lord our God the Lord" (Yhvh Elohenu Yhvh) represent three grades corresponding to this deep mystery of bereshith bara Elohim. Bereshith represents the primordial mystery. Bara represents the mysterious source from which the wholeexpanded. Elohim represents the force which sustains all below. The words eth hashammaim indicate that the two latter are on no account to be separated, and are male and female together. The word eth consists of the letters aleph and tau, which include between them all the letters, as being the first and last of the alphabet. Afterwards he was added, so that all the letters should be attached to he, and this gave the name attah (Thou); hence we read "and Thou (ve-attah) keepest all of them alive" (Neh. IX, 6). Eth again alludes to Adonai (Lord), who is so called. Hashammaim is Yhvh in its higher signification. The next word, ve-eth, indicates the firm union of male and female; it also alludes to the appellation ve-Yhvh (and the Lord), both explanations coming to the same thing. Ha-aretz (the earth) designates an Elohim corresponding to the higher form, to bring forth fruit and produce. This name is here found in three applications, and thence the same name branches out to various sides.

Up to this point only extend the allusions to the Most Mysterious who carves out and builds and vivifies in mysterious ways, through the esoteric explanation of one verse. From this point onwards bara shith, "he created six", from the end of heaven to the end thereof, six sides which extend from the supernal mystic essence, through the expansion of creative force from a primal point. Here has been inscribed the mystery of the name of forty-two letters.

And the intelligent shall shine (Dan. XII, 3). This "shining" corresponds to the movement given by the accents and notes to the letters and vowel-points which pay obeisance to them and march after them like troops behind their kings. The letters being the body and the vowel-points the animating spirit, together they keep step with the notes and come to a halt with them. When the chanting of the notes marches forward, the letters with their vowel-points march behind them, and when it stops they also stop. So here: "the intelligent" correspond to the letters and the vowel-points; "the brightness" to the notes; "the firmament" to the flow of the chant through the succession of notes; while "they that turn to righteousness" correspond to the pausal notes, which stop the march of the words and bring out clearly the sense. These "cause to shine" letters and vowels, so that they all flow together in their own mystical manner through secret paths. From this impetus the whole was extended. Again, the words "and the intelligent shall shine as the brightness of the firmament" may be referred to the pillars and sockets of the "celestial palanquin" (apiryon). [4] The "wise and intelligent" as the supernal pillars and sockets, since they ponder with understanding all things needful for the upholding of the palace. This use of the term "intelligent" (maskilim) has its parallel in the passage: "Blessed is he that considereth (maskil) the poor" (Ps. XLI, 2). "They will shine", for if they do not shine and give light, they cannot well consider and ponder the needs of the palace. "As the brightness of the firmament", [I6a] namely, of that firmament which rests upon those "intelligent" we have mentioned, and of which it is written, "And over the head of the Hayyah there was the likeness of a firmament, like the colour of the terrible ice" (Ezek. I, 22). "The brightness" is that which illumines the Torah, and which illumines also the heads of the Hayyah, those heads being the "intelligent", who shine continually and ever contemplate the "firmament" and the light which issues therefrom, to wit, the light of the Torah which radiates perpetually without cease.


Now THE EARTH HAD BEEN VOID AND WITHOUT FORM. The word hoithah (was), being a pluperfect, implies that the earth had been previously. There was snow in the midst of water, from the action of which was produced a slime. Then a mighty fire beat upon it and produced in it a refuse. So it was transformed and became Tohu (chaos), the abode of slime, the nest of refuse, and also Bohu (formlessness), the finer part which was sifted from the Tohu and rested on it. The word "darkness" in the text alludes to this mighty fire. This darkness covered the Tohu, namely the refuse, and was buoyed up by it. The "spirit of God" is a holy spirit that proceeded from Elohim Hayyim (living God), and this "was hovering over the face of the waters". When this wind blew, a certain film detached itself from the refuse, like the film which remains on the top of boiling broth when the froth has been skimmed off two or three times. When Tohu had thus been sifted and purified, there issued from it "a great and strong wind rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks", like that which Elijah saw (I Kings XIX, II, 12). Similarly Bohu was sifted and purified, and there issued from it earthquake, as with Elijah. Then what we call "darkness" was sifted, and there was contained in it fire, just as to Elijah there appeared "after the earthquake fire". When what we call "spirit" was sifted, there was contained in it a still, small voice, Tohu is a place which has no colour and no form, and the esoteric principle of "form" does not apply to it. It seems for a moment to have a form, but when looked at again it has no form. Everything has a "vestment" except this. Bohu, on the other hand, has shape and form, namely, stones immersed in the chasm of Tohu, but sometimes emerging from the chasm in which they are sunk, and drawing therefrom sustenance for the world. Through the form of their vestment they draw sustenance from above to below, and ascend from below above, and therefore they are hollow and strong. These are suspended in the expanse; that is to say, sometimes they are suspended in the expanse when they rise out of the chasm, and sometimes they are hidden, to wit, on the "day of cloud", when they draw waters from the abyss to supply therewith Tohu, for then there is joy that Tohu was spread in the universe. "Darkness" is a black fire, strong in colour. There is a red fire, strong in visibility; a yellow fire, strong in shape; and a white fire, the colour which includes all. "Darkness" is the strongest of all fires, and this it was which took hold of Tohu. "Darkness" is fire, but fire is not darkness, save when it takes hold of Tohu. The symbol for this is, "his eyes were dim so that he could not see, and he called Esau, etc." (Gen. XXVII, I). Here, too, "the countenance of the evil one was darkened" because it countenanced the evil one. Hence this fire is called "darkness" because it rested upon Tohu and took hold of it; this is the inner meaning of the words "and darkness on the face of the abyss". "Spirit" is the voice which rests on Bohu, and grasps it and guides it as required. This is symbolised in the words "The voice of the Lord is on the waters" (Ps. XXIX, 3); and so, too, "the spirit of the Lord was hovering over the face of the waters". By "face of the waters" is meant stones sunk in the abyss, so called because waters issue from them. Thus each was provided as befitted. Tohu is under the aegis of the name Shaddai; Bohu, under that of Zebaoth; Darkness, under that of Elohim; Spirit, under that of Yhvh. We now understand what happened to Elijah: "there was a strong wind breaking the mountains, but the Lord was not in the wind", because this name was not in it, since Shaddai presides over it through the mystic nature of Tohu. "After the wind there was a quaking, but the Lord was not in the quaking", since over it presides the name of Zebaoth, through the mystic nature of Bohu (which is called "quaking" (ra'ash), because it quakes continually. "After the quaking there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire", because over it presides the name Elohim from the side of darkness. "And after the fire there was a small still voice"; and here at last was found the name Yhvh. There are in this verse four clauses corresponding to the four so-called "sections of the body" and "limbs" which, being four, are resolvable into twelve. Here, too, is the graven name of twelve letters which was transmitted to Elijah in the cave. [16b]


AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHT; AND THERE WAS LIGHT. From this point we can begin to discover hidden things relating to the creation of the world in detail. For up to this point the Creation has been described in general, and lower down the general description is repeated, so that we have a combination of general-particular-general. [5] Up to this point the whole was suspended in the void in direct dependence on the limitless. When, however, energy had been extended through the supernal palace alluded to in the name Elohim, the term "saying" is used in connection with it, in the words "And God said". For to that which is beyond no detailed "saying" is ascribed; for although the word bereshith is a creative utterance (maamar), the actual words "and said" are not used in connection with it. This expression "and said" (vayomer) opens the door to inquiry and understanding. We define this "saying" as an energy that was culled, as it were, in silence from the mystic limitless through the mystic power of thought. Hence "and God said" means that now the above-mentioned palace generated from the holy seed with which it was pregnant. While it brought forth in silence, that which it bore was heard without. That which bore, bore in silence without making a sound, but when that issued from it which did issue, it became a voice which was heard without, to wit, "Let there be light." Whatever issued came forth under this category. The word Yehi (let there be) indicates that the union of the Father and Mother symboliaed by the letters Yod He became now a starting-point (symbolised by the second Yod) for further extension.


LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT. These words imply that there had already been light. This word, awr (light), contains in itself a hidden significance. The expansive force proceeding from the hidden recesses of the secret supernal ether opened a path and produced from itself a mysterious point (or, rather, the En Sof (Limitless) clave its own ether and disclosed this point), Yod. When this expanded, that which was left of the mysterious AWIR (ether) was found to be AWR (light). When the first point had developed from it, it showed itself upon it, touching and yet not touching it. When it expanded, it emerged into being, and thus was light (awr) left from ether (awir); and this is what we mean by saying that it "had been" previously; and so it remained. It went up and was stored away, and there was left of it one dot, which continually approaches by invisible paths the other point, touching and yet not touching, illuminating it in the manner of the first point from which it issued. Therefore the whole is linked together, and it illumines both one and the other. When it ascends, all ascend and are attached to it, and it reaches the place of En Sof, where it is stored away, and all becomes one. This dot of the word Awr is Light. It extended, and there shone forth in it seven letters of the alphabet, which did not solidify and remained fluid. Afterwards Darkness issued, and there issued in it seven other letters of the alphabet, and they too were not solidified and remained fluid. There then issued the Firmament, which prevented discord between the two sides. In it there issued eight other letters, making twenty-two in all. Seven letters jumped from one side and seven from the other, and all were graven in this Firmament, where they remained for a time fluid. When the firmament solidified, the letters were also solidified, and took material shape. Thus there was graven there the Torah to shine abroad. "Let there be light": to wit, El Gadol (great God), that which emerged from the primal ether. "And there was": this signifies Darkness, which is called Elohim. "Light": signifying that the Left was included in the Right, and so from that which we call El was produced Elohim. Right was included in Left and Left in Right.

AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT THAT IT WAS GOOD. This is the Central Column: Ki Tob (that it was good) threw light above and below and on all other sides, in virtue of Yhvh, the name which embraces all sides. AND GOD DIVIDED: He put away strife, so that the whole was in perfect order. AND GOD CALLED. The word "called" here means "called to" or "invited". God summoned to issue forth from this complete Light which was in the centre a certain radiance which is the foundation of the world, and on which worlds are established. From that complete Light, the Central Pillar, extended the foundation, the Life of worlds, which is day from the side of the Right. AND THE DARKNESS HE CALLED NIGHT. He summoned to issue from the side of Darkness a kind of female moon which rules over the night and is called night, and is associated with Adonai, the Lord of all the earth. The Right entered into the complete Pillar of the centre united with the Left, and the primal point thereupon ascended on high and there seized [17a] the energy of three dots, the holem, the shureq. and the hireq, the seed of holiness (for no seed has been sown save from this source). The whole was then united in the Central Pillar, and it produced the foundation of the world, which therefore is called Kol (all), because it embraces the whole in the radiation of desire. Meanwhile the Left flamed forth with its full power, producing at all points a kind of reflection, and from this fiery flame came forth the female moonlike essence. This flaming was dark because it was from Darkness. These two sides produced these two grades, one male and one female. Unity was retained in the Central Pillar from that surplus of light which was in it. For since that Central Pillar was complete in itself and made peace on all sides, additional light was lent to it from above and from all sides through the universal joy in it. From that additional joy came forth the foundation of worlds, which was also called Musaf (additional). From this issue all the lower powers and spirits and holy souls, alluded to in the expressions, "Lord of hosts" (Yhvh Zebaoth) and "God the God of spirits" (Num. XVI, 22). "Night" is "the Lord of all the earth" from the side of the left, from Darkness. It was because the desire of Darkness was to merge itself in the Right, and it was not strong enough, that night spread from it. When night began to spread, and before it was complete, Darkness went and merged itself in the right, and the night was left defective. Just as it is the desire of Darkness to merge itself in Light, so it is the desire of night to merge itself in day. Darkness abated its light, and therefore it produces a grade which was defective and not radiant. Darkness does not radiate save when it is merged in Light. So night which issued from it is not light save when it is merged in day. The deficiency of night is only compensated by the Musaf. What is added in one place is subtracted from the other. The Musaf contained a symbolism of the supernal point and of the Central Pillar, and therefore two letters were added in respect of it which were lacking in respect of the night, viz. the vau yod of vayikra (and he called). Herein is an allusion to the name of seventy-two letters, the tracing of the supernal crown.


AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE A FIRMAMENT IN THE MIDST OF THE WATERS. Here in the particular (day) there is an allusion to the separation of the upper from the lower waters through that which is called "the Left". Here, too, discord was created through that which is called "the Left". For up to this point the text has alluded to the right, but now it alludes to the left; and therefore there was an increase of discord between this and the right. It is the nature of the right to harmonize the whole, and therefore the whole is written with the right, since it is the source of harmony. When the Left awoke there awoke discord, and through that discord the wrathful fire was reinforced and there emerged from it the Gehinnom, which thus originated from the left and continues there.

Moses in his wisdom pondered over this and drew a lesson from the work of creation. In the work of creation there was an antagonism of the left against the right, and the division between them allowed the Gehinnom to emerge and to fasten itself to the left. Then the Central Column, which is the third day, intervened and allayed the discord between the two sides, so that the Gehinnom descended below, and the Left became absorbed in the Right and there was peace over all. Similarly the quarrel of Korah with Aaron was an antagonism of the left against the right. Moses, reflecting on what had happened during the Creation, said: 'It seems proper to me to compose the difference between the right and the left.' He therefore endeavoured to effect an accord between the two. The left, however, was not willing, and Korah proved obdurate. Moses thereupon said: 'Assuredly the Gehinnom is embittering this quarrel. The left ought to strive upwards and absorb itself in the right. Korah has no wish to attach himself to the higher influences and to merge himself in the right. Let him, then, descend below in the impetus of his wrath.' The reason why Korah refused to allow the quarrel to be composed by the intervention of Moses was that he had not entered upon it for a truly religious motive, and that he had scant regard for the glory of God, and refused to acknowledge His creative power. When Moses perceived that he had thus placed himself outside the pale, he "was very wroth" (Num. XVII, 15). He was "wroth" because he was not able to compose the quarrel: he was "very wroth" because they denied the creative power of God. Korah denied [17b] this power wholly, both in the higher and the lower sphere, as implied in the phrase: "when they strove against the Lord" (Num. XXVI, 9). Hence Korah clave to that which was meet for him. A dispute that was composed on the pattern of the supernal dispute, that became more and not less worthy as it proceeded, and that perpetuated itself rightfully, was that between Shammai and Hillel. The Holy One, blessed be He, approved of their dispute, for the reason that its motive was lofty and that it therefore resembled that which took place at the Creation. Hence, like the latter, the dispute between Shammai and Hillel has survived to this day. Korah, on the other hand, denied the Creation, fought against heaven itself and sought to confute the words of the Torah. He certainly was of the following of the Gehinnom, and therefore remained attached to it. All this is brought out in the Book of Adam. It says there that when Darkness asserted itself, it did so with fury, and created the Gehinnom, which attached itself to it in that quarrel we have mentioned. But as soon as the wrath and the fury abated there arose a quarrel of another kind, to wit, a quarrel of love. Thus the dispute fell into two distinct parts. It is the way of the righteous to enter on a dispute stiffly and end it amicably. Korah continued the dispute as he began it, in wrath and passion; and therefore clung to Gehinnom. Shammai conducted his dispute in that spirit of calm which should follow on the first burst of passion; it therefore became a quarrel of love and obtained the approval of Heaven. This is indicated by our text. It says first: "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide, etc." This refers to the beginning of quarrel, the outburst of passion and violence. There was a desire for reconciliation, but meanwhile the Gehinnom arose before the wrath and passion cooled down. Then "God made the firmament, etc."; that is, there emerged a quarrel of love and affection which made for the permanence of the world. And in this category is the dispute between Shammai and Hillel, the result of which was that the Oral Law approached in a loving mood the Written Law, so that they mutually supported each other.

As regards separation, it always proceeds from the left. Here it is written, "and let it separate", as well as, "and he separated"; and in connection with Korah it is written, "Is it a small thing unto you that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, etc."; and it is also written, "At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi" (Deut. X, 8). In all these texts we find separation associated with the second (day or tribe), which is the place of the left. It may be objected that Levi was the third and not the second tribe; separation, then, should have been associated, not with Levi, but with Simeon, he being the second. The answer is that in the eyes of Jacob (who, on the first night of his nuptials, was unaware that Leah was substituted for Rachel) Levi was the second (from Leah). Hence the separation of the tribe of Levi was perfectly correct. There is a "separation" on every outgoing of the Sabbath, between the powers that have sway on week-days and on the Sabbath respectively. As soon as the Sabbath ends, there ascends from the Gehinnom, from the grade called Sheol, a party of evil spirits who strive to mingle among the seed of Israel and to obtain power over them. But when the children of Israel perform the ceremonies of the myrtle and the cup of blessing, and recite the separation prayer (Habdalah), that evil spirit departs to his place in Sheol, the region where Korah and his accomplices abide, as it is written: "And they and all that appertained to them went down alive into the Sheol" (pit) (Num. XVI, 33). These, too, did not descend to the Sheol before the Israelites had performed a separation (Habdalah), as it is said: "Separate yourselves from among this congregation" (Ibid. 21). "Separation" is thus associated with the second, which is symbolic of the left, at its first impetus, when it first enters on a quarrel in wrath and violence, giving birth to Gehinnom before the fury subsides. It was on the second that, before the discord was allayed, the Gehinnom was created. Then also were created all the angels who revolted against their Master, and whom the fire of the Gehinnom consumed and destroyed; likewise all those others who vanish away and do not endure and are consumed by fire.


LET THERE BE A FIRMAMENT: i.e. let there be a gradual extension. Thereupon El (God), the "right cluster", [6] El Gadol (Great God), spread forth from the midst of the waters to complete this name El and to combine with this extension, and so El was extended into Elohim (=El+H, Y, M). These H, Y, M, extended and became reversed so as to form lower waters, Y, M, H. This extension which took place on the second day is the upper waters. The he, yod, mim, form hayam (the sea), which is the upper waters. The reversal of these letters, yamah (seaward), is the lower waters. When they were firmly established, all became one whole, and this name was extended to a number of places. The upper waters are male and the lower waters female. At first they were commingled, but afterwards they were differentiated into upper and lowers waters. This is the meaning of "Elohim upper waters", and this is the meaning of "Adonai lower waters"; and this is the meaning of upper He and lower He. It is further written: AND GOD MADE THE FIRMAMENT. That is to say, this extension took this name. Elohim is the upper waters, and the lower waters [18a] are Adonai; nevertheless, since the upper waters were completed by the lower, this name spread to the whole.

Even after the separation between the waters, the discord did not cease till the third day, when peace was restored and everything was settled in its place. It is on account of this strife, necessary as it was for the existence of the world, that the phrase "that it was good" is not applied to the work of the second day, because it was not completed. So long as the upper and lower waters were commingled, there was no production in the world: this could only be when they were separated and made distinct. They then produced, and in this way, although on the second day there was separation and discord, the third day brought complete harmony. This is the name which is graven with the lettering of Yhvh, to reconcile the upper with the lower waters, the upper with the lower He; the insertion of the Vau between them harmonises the two sides. Symbolic of this is the crossing by the Israelites of the Jordan (Josh. III, 16): "the waters (of the Jordan)" corresponds to the upper waters; "rose up in one heap" corresponds to the lower waters, which descended into the sea, whilst the Israelites passed between the two.

Five "firmaments" are mentioned in this section, and the Life of the World passes among them and leads them, and they are all interwoven. But for this discord, however, which was composed by the mediator, they would not have been intertwined or harmonised. They correspond to the five hundred years to which the Tree of Life clings in order to become a source of growth and fruitfulness to the world. All the waters of creation which issue from the original source branch out from its foot. King David similarly takes the whole and subsequently distributes it, as we read: "And he distributed among all the people, even among the whole multitude, etc." (II Sam. VI, 19); likewise we read: "That thou givest them they gather" (Ps. CIV, 28); also: "She rises also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to the household" (Prov. XXXI, 15).

At the time when discord was stirred by the violence of the left, the Avenging Spirit was reinforced. There issued from it (two) demons which immediately became solidified without any moisture, one male and one female. From them were propagated legions of demons, and to this is due the inveteracy of the unclean spirit in all those demons. It is they who are symbolised by the foreskin (orlah); the one is called Ef'eh (adder) and the other is called Nahash (serpent), the two, however, being but one. The Ef'eh bears offspring from the Nahash after a period of seven years' gestation. Herein is the mystery of the seven names borne by the Gehinnom as well as by the "evil tempter" (yetser-hara); and from this source impurity has been propagated in many grades through the universe. All this proceeds from the mystic power of the left, which dispenses good and evil, thereby rendering the world habitable. Here we have the engraven Name of eighteen letters, which presides over the gentle and beneficent rains for the well-being of the world.


AND GOD SAID, LET THE WATERS FLOW: The word flow (yikavvu) implies that they were to go in a line (kav) so as to take a straight path. For from the first mystic point the Whole issues in secret, until it reaches and is gathered in to the supernal Palace, and from there it issues in a straight line to the other grades, until it comes to that place which collects the whole in a union of male and female; this is the "Life of worlds". THE WATERS: to wit, those that issue from on high, from under the upper He. FROM UNDER THE HEAVEN: this is the lesser Vau (hence the word yikavvu is spelt with two vau's, one for "the heaven" and one for "under the heaven"). In consequence: LET THE DRY LAND APPEAR. This is the lower Hi. This is disclosed and all the rest is undisclosed; from this last we conclude by inference to that which is undisclosed. TO ONE PLACE: so called because it is here that the whole of the upper World is linked into one.

It is written: The Lord (Yhvh) is one and his name is One (Zech. XIV, 9). Two unifications are here indicated, one of the upper World in its grades, and one of the lower World in its grades. The unification of the upper World is consummated at this point. The Life of Worlds was there firmly based, and through its unity the upper World was bound together, and therefore it is called "one place". All grades and all members were gathered there and became in it one without any separation; nor is there any grade in which they are embraced in one unification save this. In it, too, they all mysteriously conceal themselves in one desire. In this grade the disclosed World is linked with the undisclosed. The disclosed World is similarly unified below, and the disclosed World is, in fact, a lower world. Hence such expressions as: "I saw the Lord" (Is. VI, I), "And they saw the God of Israel" (Ex. XXIV, 10), "And the glory of the Lord appeared" (Num. XIV, 10: XVII, 7), "So was the appearance of the brightness round about; this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (Ezek. I, 28). This, too, is the inner meaning of the words here, "and let the dry land appear". The same is referred to in the words, "My bow I have set in the cloud" (Gen. IX, 13): to wit, from the day on which the world was created. On the day [I8N] of cloud, when the bow, "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" appeared, the Left arose in might. Then "Rachel went forth and had pain in childbirth". With her appeared Michael on one side, Raphael on another, and Gabriel on a third, these being the colours which appeared in the "likeness". Hence "the appearance of the brightness round about", to wit, the radiance which is hidden in the pupil of the eye, becomes "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord", to wit, corresponding colours, so that the lower unity is formed in correspondence with the upper unity. This is signified by the formula, "The Lord our God the Lord" (Deut. VI, 4). The mysterious and undisclosed colours which are linked "in one place" form one higher unity; the colours of the bow below in which are united white, red, and yellow, corresponding to those other mysterious colours, form another unity, signified by the formula "and his name is One". Further, the form "Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever" signifies the lower unity, while the upper unity is signified by the form "Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is one." These forms correspond, each having six words. [7] ...


LET THE EARTH PUT FORTH GRASS, HERB, ETC. At this behest the "earth" put forth a host through those waters which were gathered together in one place and flowed mysteriously through it, so that there issued in it hidden celestial beings and sacred existences which are upheld and sustained and constantly renewed by the faithful among mankind through the worship they offer to their Master. This mystery is indicated by the verse: "Who causest the grass to spring up for the B'hema" (cattle), etc. (Ps. CIV, 14), This refers to Behemoth that crouches on a thousand mountains and for whom these mountains produce each day what is here called "grass", by which is meant those angelic beings whose existence is ephemeral, and who were created on the second day as destined food for that Behemoth, which is "fire consuming fire". The Psalmist continues, "and herb for the service of man", indicating by "herb" the angelic orders named Ofanim (wheels), Hayyoth (animal-shaped), and Chnuhim, all of whom are upheld, sustained, and confirmed whenever mortal beings come to worship their Master with sacrifices and prayers, in which consists the "service of man". and as they are reinforced by virtue of that service of man, there springs up food and sustenance for the world, as it is written: "to bring forth bread out of the earth" (Ibid.). The same is implied here by the words HERB YIELDING SEED. For "grass" does not yield seed, but is only destined for food for the sacred fire, whereas "herb" helps to maintain the world. All this has for its purpose "to bring forth bread from the earth", i.e. to provide, by virtue of the service offered to their Master by human beings, food and sustenance out of the earth for this world, so that the heavenly blessings should descend on mankind. FRUIT TREE BEARING FRUIT. One degree above another, these combining male and female. Just as " fruit tree" produced the host of "trees bearing fruit", so the latter in turn produced "Cherubim and Pillars". "Pillars" are those that go up in the smoke of the sacrifices and derive their strength therefrom, and hence are called "pillars of smoke", and all of them exist permanently for the "service of man", whereas the "grass" has no permanence, being destined to be consumed as food, as it is written: "Behold now Behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox" (Job XL, 15). The words "fruit tree bearing fruit" indicate the form of male and female in combination. Their faces are "like the face of a man" (Ezek. I, 10), but they are not like the Cherubim, having large faces covered with beards, whereas the Cherubim have little faces like those of tender children.

All forms are comprised in these, because they are "large faces". On them are traced forms like the tracings of the Divine Name on the four cardinal points, East, West, North, and South. Michael is imprinted on the South, and all faces are turned towards him, viz. "the face of a man ... the face of a lion ... the face of an ox ... the face of an eagle" (Ibid.). "Man" implies the union of male and female, without which the name "man" (Adam) is not applied. By him are formed the figures of the chariot of God, as it is written: "(On) the chariot of God are myriads of thousands of Shin'an (angels)" (Ps. LXVIII, 15): the word SHiN' AN expresses by means of its initials all the figures, the Shin standing for Shor (ox), the Nun for Nesher (eagle), and the Aleph for Aryeh (lion), and the final Nun representing by its shape man, [19a] who walks erect, and who mystically combines male and female. All those thousands and myriads of angels issue from those symbolised by the name Shin' an, and from these types they diverge in their several groups, each to its appropriate side. These four are all interlaced and intertwined in one another, to wit, ox, eagle, lion, man. Their activity is directed by four graven names, which they ascend to contemplate. "Ox" ascends to seek guidance and gaze in the face of "Man". There ascends with him a certain name crowned and engraved in two mystic forms, which represent the name El (God). Then it turns back and the throne engraves and traces it and it is imprinted thereon to be under the guidance of this mystic name. "Eagle" ascends to seek guidance and gaze in the face of "Man". There ascends with it another name, which is crowned and engraved in two mystic forms, to shine forth and to mount and be crowned on high; this represents the attribute "Great". Then it turns back and the throne engraves it and it is imprinted thereon to be under the guidance of this mystic name. "Lion" ascends to seek guidance and to gaze in the face of "Man". Another name ascends with it and is crowned and engraved in two mystic forms to be endowed with strength and power, representing the attribute of "Mighty". It turns back and the throne engraves it and it is imprinted thereon to be under the guidance of this mystic name. "Man" contemplates all of them, and all ascend and contemplate him. Thus they all become engraved in this form in the one mystic name known as "Tremendous" (Nora). Thus it is written concerning them, "And the likeness of their faces is as the face of man" (Ezek. I, 10). They are all embraced in that likeness, and that likeness embraces them all. In virtue of all this the Holy One, blessed be He, is called the Great, Mighty, and Tremendous God, since these names are engraved above on the supernal chariot which is comprised in the four letters of the Tetragrammaton, which is the name that comprises all. These likenesses are engraved on the throne, and the throne is decorated with them, one to the right, one to the left, one in front, and one behind, corresponding to the four quarters of the world. The throne when it ascends is stamped with these four likenesses. These four supernal names bear along the throne, and the throne is comprised in them, and collects a harvest of longing desires. When it has collected these desires, it descends with its burden like a tree laden with branches on all sides and full of fruit. As soon as it descends, these four likenesses come forth in their several shapes emitting bright flashes which scatter seed over the world. Hence it is written, "herb yielding seed", because these scatter seed over the world. But of the issuing forth of the likeness of man which comprises all the other likenesses it is written, "fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, the seed of which is in it on the earth". It produces no seed save for propagation. The term "in it" should be noticed. It teaches us that man may not emit his seed idly. This is hinted in the word "verdure", which does not "yield seed", and hence has no permanency like the others, not having any likeness which can be shaped or engraved in any manner at all. Such things show themselves but to vanish: they have not acquired form and likeness, and have no permanency; they exist only for a moment and then are consumed in that fire which devours fire, and are continually renewed and devoured.

Man here below possesses an ideal form and likeness, but he is not so permanent as those supernal beings. These are formed in their proper shape without any outer covering to modify it. Hence they are changeless; whereas man below assumes form through the medium of an outer covering. Hence he endures for a while, and every night the spirit is divested of that garment and ascends and is consumed by that consuming fire, and then reverts to its former state and takes the same outer shape again. Hence they have not the same permanency as those supernal forms, and in allusion to this it is written, "new every morning" (Lam. III, 23), i.e. human beings who are renewed every day. [19b] The reason is that "great is thy faithfulness" (Ibid. -- great and not little. "Great is thy faithfulness": assuredly great, since it can support all the creatures of the world and comprise them all in itself, upper and lower alike. It is of infinite expanse, it absorbs all and becomes no fuller. This is alluded to in the verse, "All the rivers run into the sea, yet is the sea not full, etc." (Eccl. I, 7). They run into the sea, and the sea receives and swallows them and is not filled, and then it restores them to their former state. Hence "great is thy faithfulness". In the account of this (third) day it is written twice "that it was good", the reason being that this day became intermediary between two opposing sides, and removed discord. It said to this side "good", and to the other side "good", and reconciled the two. Hence we find twice written in the account of it, "and he said". Connected with this day is the secret of the name of four letters engraved and inscribed, which can be made into twelve (by permutations), corresponding to the four images on the four sides inscribed on the holy throne.


Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:44 pm
by admin
Part 2 of 6

AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHTS, ETC. The word for "lights" (meoroth) is written defectively, as if me'eroth (curses), for the reason that the children's disease, croup, was through them created. For after the primordial light was withdrawn there was created a "membrane for the marrow", a k'lifah, and this k'lifah expanded and produced another. As soon as this second one came forth she went up and down till she reached the "little faces". [8] She desired to cleave to them and to be shaped as one of them, and was loth to depart from them. But the Holy One, blessed be He, removed her from them and made her go below. When He created Adam and gave him a partner, as soon as she saw Eve clinging to his side and was reminded by his form of the supernal beauty, she flew up from thence and tried as before to attach herself to the "little faces". The supernal guardians of the gates, however, did not permit her. The Holy One, blessed be He, chid her and cast her into the depths of the sea, where she abode until the time that Adam and his wife sinned. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, brought her out from the depth of the sea and gave her power over all those children, the "little faces" of the sons of men, who are liable to punishment for the sins of their fathers. She then wandered up and down the world. She approached the gates of the terrestrial paradise, where she saw the Cherubim, the guardians of the gates of Paradise, and sat down near the flashing sword, to which she was akin in origin. When she saw the flashing sword revolving, she fled and wandered about the world and, finding children liable to punishment, she maltreated and killed them. All this is on account of the action of the moon in diminishing her (original) light. When Cain was born this k'lifah tried for a time without success to attach herself to him, but at length she had intercourse with him and bore spirits and demons. Adam for a hundred and thirty years had intercourse with female spirits until Naamah was born. She by her beauty led astray the "sons of God", Uzza and Azael, and she bore them children, and so from her went forth evil spirits and demons into the world. She wanders about at night time, vexing the sons of men and causing them to defile themselves. Wherever these spirits find people sleeping alone in a house, they hover over them, lay hold of them and cleave to them, inspire desire in them and beget from them. They further inflict diseases on them without their being aware-all this through the diminution of the moon. When the moon was restored, the letters of meoroth (lights) were reversed to form imrath (word), as it is written, "the word (imrath) of the Lord is tried, he is a shield to those that trust in him" (Ps. XVIII, 31). i.e. He is a shield against all those evil spirits and demons that wander about the world at the waning of the moon, unto those that hold fast to their faith in the Holy One, blessed be He. King Solomon, when he "penetrated into the depths of the nut garden" (as it is written, "I descended into the nut garden", S. S. VI, II), took a nut-shell (klifah) and drew an analogy from its layers to these spirits which inspire sensual desires in human beings, as it is written, "and the delights of the sons. of men (are from) male and female demons" (Eccl. II, 8). This verse also indicates that the pleasures in which men indulge in the time of sleep give birth to multitudes of demons. The Holy One, blessed be He, found it necessary to create all these things in the world to ensure its permanence, so that there should be, as it were, a brain with many membranes encircling it. The whole world is constructed on this principle, upper and lower, from the first mystic point up to the furthest removed of all the stages. They are all [20a] coverings one to another, brain within brain and spirit within spirit, so that one is a shell to another. The primal point is the innermost light of a translucency, tenuity, and purity passing comprehension. The extension of that point becomes a "palace" (Hekal), which forms a vestment for that point with a radiance which is still unknowable on account of its translucency. The "palace" which is the vestment for that unknowable point is also a radiance which cannot be comprehended, yet withal less subtle and translucent than the primal mystic point. This "palace" extends into the primal Light, which is a vestment for it. From this point there is extension after extension, each one forming a vestment to the other, being in the relation of membrane and brain to one another. Although at first a vestment, each stage becomes a brain to the next stage. The same process takes place below, so that on this model man in this world combines brain and shell, spirit and body, all for the better ordering of the world. When the moon was in connection with the sun, she was luminous, but as soon as she separated from the sun and was assigned the charge of her own hosts, she reduced her status and her light, and shells upon shells were created for covering the brain, and all for the benefit of the brain. Hence meoroth is written defectively. All this was for the benefit of the world, and hence it is written, "to give light upon the earth".


AND GOD MADE THE TWO GREAT LIGHTS. The word "made" signifies the due expansion and establishment of the whole. The words "the two great lights" show that at first they were associated as equals, symbolising the full name Jehovah Elohim (although the latter part is not revealed, but is known inferentially). The word "great" shows that at their creation they were dignified with the same name, so that through them the name of the Whole was called Mazpaz Mazpaz, [9] the two highest names of the thirteen categories of mercy. [10] These were invested with greater dignity, and they are placed at the head because they derive from on high and ascend for the benefit of the world and for the preservation of worlds. Similarly the two lights ascended together with the same dignity. The moon, however, was not at ease with the sun, and in fact each felt mortified by the other. The moon said "Where dost thou pasture ?" (S. S. I, 7). The sun said "Where dost thou make thy flock to rest at noon ? (Ibid.) How can a little candle shine at midday?" God thereupon said to her, "Go and diminish thyself." She felt humiliated and said "Why should I be as one that veileth herself?" (Ibid.). God then said "Go thy way forth in the footsteps of the flock." Thereupon she diminished herself so as to be head of the lower ranks. From that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun. At first they were on an equality, but afterwards she diminished herself among all those grades of hers, although she is still head of them; for a woman enjoys no honour save in conjunction with her husband. The "great light" corresponds to Yhvh, and the "lesser light" to Elohim, which is the last of the degrees and the close of the Thought. At first it was inscribed above among the letters of the sacred Name, in the fourth letter thereof, but afterwards it took a lower rank with the name Elohim; nevertheless, it still ascends in all directions above in the letter He in the union of the letters of the sacred Name. Afterwards degrees extended on this side and on that. The degrees that extended upwards were called "the dominion of the day", and the degrees that extended downwards were called "the dominion of the night". "The stars" are the remainder of the forces and the hosts which, countless in number, are all suspended in that "firmament of the heaven" which is the "life of the universe", as it is written, "and God placed them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth .... " This is the lower earth, which derives light from them as they from above. On this (the fourth) day the kingdom of David was established, the fourth leg and support of the (divine) throne, and the letters (of the divine Name) were firmly fixed in their places. Yet withal until the sixth day, when the likeness of man was fully formed, the throne was not firmly fixed in its place; but then at last both the upper and the lower thrones were established, and all the worlds were settled in their places, and all the letters were fixed [20b] in their spheres by the extension of the primordial vapour. The fourth day was "rejected of the builders", because on it this luminary degraded itself and abated its radiance, and the outer shells were reinforced. All those radiating lights are suspended in that firmament of the heaven, that by them the throne of David may be established.

Those lights are formative agents in the lower world to perfect the shape of all those who are included in the term "man". This is the name given to every interior shape; and thus every shape which is comprised in this extension is called "man", which properly indicates man's spirit emanating from the realm of holiness, to which his body is a vestment, as we read, "Thou clothest me in skin and flesh" (Job X, 11). Hence we often meet the expression "flesh of man", implying that the real man is within and the flesh which is his body is only a vestment. The lower beings which have been compounded with this spirit assume shapes which are clothed in another vestment, such as the forms of clean animals, ox, sheep, goat, deer, etc. They would fain partake of the vestment of man, corresponding to their inner nature, but their forms are covered by the name applied to their bodies; so we find "flesh of ox", "ox" being the inner element of that body, while the "flesh" is the vestment; and so with all. Similarly with the "other side": the spirit which is found in the idolatrous nations issues from the realm of uncleanliness and is not, properly speaking, "man"; therefore it is not covered by this name and has no portion (in the future world). Its body, which is the vestment of that unclean thing, is unclean flesh, and the spirit is unclean within the flesh that clothes it. Therefore as long as that spirit is within that body it is called "unclean". When the spirit emerges from that covering it is not called "unclean", and the vestment does not bear the name of man. The lower beings compounded with this spirit assume shapes which clothe themselves in another vestment, such as the forms of unclean animals, of which the Law says "this shall be unclean to you", such as the pig and unclean birds, and beasts of that side. The spirit is covered by the name of the body in which it is clothed, and the body is called "flesh of pig" -- pig within the flesh which clothes it. Consequently these two groups are sharply separated, one side being embraced under the category "man" and the other under the category "unclean", and the individuals flock each to its kind and return to their kind. Thus the supernal lights radiate in that "firmament of the heaven" to fashion in the lower world the requisite shapes, as it is written, "and God set them in the firmament of the heaven . . . and to rule by day and by night".

It is fit and proper that two lights should rule, the greater light by day and the lesser light by night. The lesson we derive is that the male rules by day to regulate his household and to bring food and sustenance into it. When night arrives, the female takes command, and she rules the house, as it is written, "she rises while it is still night and giveth food to her house" (Prov. XXXI, 15) -- she and not he. Thus the dominion of the day belongs to the male and the dominion of the night to the female. Further it is written, AND THE STARS. As soon as the wife has given her orders and retired with her husband, the direction of the house is left to the maidens, who remain in the house to look after all its requirements. Then when day comes the man again duly takes command.

"And God made the two lights." There are two kinds of luminaries. Those which ascend above are called "luminaries of light", and those which descend below are called "luminaries of fire". These latter belong to the lower sphere and rule over the weekdays. It is for this reason that at the expiry of Sabbath a blessing is said over the lamp, because rule is then restored to these luminaries. Man's fingers symbolise the mystic grades of the upper world, which are divided into front and back. The latter are outside, and are symbolised by the finger-nails, and therefore it is [21a] permissible to look at the finger-nails at the expiry of Sabbath by the light of the candle. But it is not permissible to look at the fingers from the inside by the light of the candle. This is hinted in the verse, "Thou shalt see me from the back, thou shalt not see my face" (Ex. XXXIII, 23). Therefore a man should not look at his fingers from the inside when he recites the blessing "Creator of the light of the fire". On the Sabbath day God rules alone by means of those inner grades upon His throne of glory, and all of them are comprised in Him and He assumes dominion. Therefore on this day He accorded rest to all worlds. As part of the legacy of this day the holy and unique people has inherited the "luminaries of light" from the side of the Right, which is the primal light that was on the first day. For on the Sabbath day those luminaries of light shine alone and have dominion, and from them everything is illumined below. When Sabbath expires the luminaries of light are withdrawn and the luminaries of fire assume sway each in its place. They rule from the expiry of one Sabbath till the commencement of the next. For this reason it is proper to use the light of the lamp at the expiry of Sabbath.

It is said of the Hayyoth that "they run to and fro" (Ezek. I, 14), and so no eye can follow them. The Hayyoth which disclose themselves are those in the midst of which there is an Ofan (wheel), which is Metatron, who is more exalted than all the other hosts. The Hayyoth which are never disclosed are those which are under the two undisclosed letters Yod, He, which rule over Vau, He, these being the pedestal of the former. The most mysterious and incomprehensible essence rules over all and is mounted upon all. The Hayyoth which disclose themselves are below those which remain undisclosed and derive light from them and follow them. The celestial Hayyoth are all comprised in the "firmament of the heaven", and are referred to in the words "let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven", "and they shall be for lights in the firmament of the heaven". They are all suspended in that firmament. But there is also a firmament above the heavens of which it is written, "and a likeness upon the heads of the Hayyah, a firmament like the ice, etc." (Ezek. I, 22). This is the first He beyond which it is impossible for the human mind to penetrate, because what is further is enveloped in the thought of God, which is elevated above the comprehension of man. If that which is within the Thought cannot be comprehended, how much less the Thought itself! What is within the Thought no one can conceive, much less can one know the En Sof, of which no trace can be found and to which thought cannot reach by any means. But from the midst of the impenetrable mystery, from the first descent of the En Sof there glimmers a faint undiscernible light like the point of a needle, the hidden recess of thought, which even yet is not knowable until there extends from it a light in a place where there is some imprint of letters, and from which they all issue. First of all is Aleph, the beginning and end of all grades, that on which all the grades are imprinted and which yet is always called "one", to show that although the Godhead contains many forms, it is still only one. This is the letter on which depend both the lower and the upper entities. The top point of the Aleph symbolises the hidden supernal thought, in which is contained potentially the extension of the supernal firmament. When Aleph issues from that firmament in a form symbolising the commencement of Thought, there issue in its middle bar six grades, corresponding to the hidden supernal Hayyoth which are suspended from the Thought. One is the light which shone and was withdrawn. This is the "heat of the day" which Abraham felt when he was sitting at "the door of his tent", the door which opens the way from below to above, and on which shone "the heat of the day". A second light is that which fades away at eventide, to restore which was the object of Isaac's prayer, as it is written, "Isaac went forth into the field to meditate at eventide" (Gen. XXIV, 63). A third light is that which combines these other two, [21b] and shines for healing, and it is hinted at in the verse which says of Jacob that "the sun rose upon him, etc." (Gen. XXXII, 32). Of a surety it was after he had attained the degree of "eventide". From this point he was "halting on his thigh". i.e. he attained imperfectly to the conception of the "strength (Nezah) of Israel". It is written "on his thigh" and not "on his thighs"; this is the fourth degree, by which no prophet was inspired till Samuel came, of whom it is written, "and also the strength (Nezah) of Israel, etc." (I Sam. XV, 29). Thus he restored to its pristine strength that which was weak from the time that Jacob was injured by the guardian angel of Esau. "He touched the hollow of his thigh." When he came to Jacob, he derived strength from that "eventide" which is associated with the attribute of stern justice. Jacob, however, being embraced in that grade, was proof against him. "He saw that he could not prevail against him and he touched the hollow of his thigh." He found a weak spot in the thigh, because that is outside of the trunk, which is the symbolical name of Jacob, whose body was therefore under the protection of two degrees symbolised by the name "man". So when the angel found a point of attack outside the trunk, straightway "the hollow of Jacob's thigh sank", and no man received prophetic inspiration from that source till Samuel came. Joshua derived prophetic inspiration from the majesty of Moses, as it is written, "thou shalt confer of thy majesty upon him" (Num. XXVII, 20); this, then, is the fifth grade. Nezah is the left thigh, the grade of Jacob, and therefore David came and united it with the right, as it is written, "bliss in thy right hand is Nezah". The reason why Jacob's thigh was weak was because the side of impurity touched it and deprived it of its strength; and it remained weak till the time of Samuel. Hence Samuel spoke of the Nezah of Israel; and hence, too, he spoke always with severity. Later, however, God brought him under the eegis of Hod, after he had anointed kings. On this account he is ranked with Moses and Aaron, since he combined two lower grades, as they combined two upper grades, though all the grades are linked with one another. [11] [22a]

All those supernal lights exist in their image below-some of them in their image below upon the earth; but in themselves they are all suspended in the "firmament of the heaven". Here is the secret of two names combined which are completed by a third and become one again.


AND GOD SAID, LET US MAKE MAN. [12] It is written, "The secret of the Lord is to them that fear him" (Ps. xxv, 14). That most reverend Elder opened an exposition of this verse by saying 'Simeon Simeon, who is it that said: "Let us make man?" Who is this Elohim?' With these words the most reverend Elder vanished before anyone saw him. R. Simeon, hearing that he had called him plain "Simeon", and not "Rabbi Simeon", said to his colleagues: 'Of a surety this is the Holy One, blessed be He, of whom it is written: "And the Ancient of days was seated" (Dan. VII, 9). Truly now is the time to expound this mystery, because certainly there is here a mystery which hitherto it was not permitted to divulge, but now we perceive that permission is given.' He then proceeded: 'We must picture a king who wanted several buildings to be erected, and who had an architect in his service who did nothing save with his consent. The king is the supernal Wisdom above, the Central Column being the king below: Elohim is the architect above, being as such the supernal Mother, and Elohim is also the architect below, being as such the Divine Presence (Shekinah) of the lower world. Now a woman may not do anything without the consent of her husband. When he desired anything built in the way of emanation (aziluth), the Father said to the Mother by means of the Word (amirah), "let it be so and so", and straightway it was so, as it is written, "And he said, Elohim, let there be light, and there was light": i.e. one said to Elohim, let there be light: the master of the building gave the order, and the architect carried it out immediately; and so with all that was constructed in the way of emanation. When he came to the "world of separation", which is the sphere of individual beings, the architect said to the master of the building: "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness." Said the master of the building: "Truly, it is well that he should be made, but he will one day sin before thee, because he is foolish: so it is written, 'A wise son rejoiceth his father, and a foolish son is a heaviness to his mother' (Prov. X, I)." She replied: "Since his guilt is referred to the mother and not the father, I desire to create him in my likeness." Hence it is written, "And Elohim created man in his image", the Father not being willing to share in his creation. Thus in reference to his sin it is written, [22b] "and through your transgression your Mother is dismissed" (Is. L, I). Said the king to the mother, "Did I not tell thee that he was destined to sin?" At that time he drove him out and drove out his mother with him; and so it is written, "A wise son rejoiceth his father and a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother." The wise son is Man formed by emanation, and the foolish son is man formed by creation (beriah).'

The colleagues here interrupted and said, 'Rabbi, Rabbi, is there such a division between Father and Mother that from the side of the Father Man has been formed in the way of emanation, and from the side of the Mother in the way of creation ?' He replied, 'My friends, it is not so, since the Man of emanation was both male and female, from the side of both Father and Mother, and that is why it says, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light": "let there be light" from the side of the Father, "and there was light" from the side of the Mother; and this is the man "of two faces". This "man" has no "image and likeness". Only the supernal Mother had a name combining light and darkness -- light, which was the supernal vestment and which God created on the first day and then stored away for the righteous, and darkness, which was created on the first day for the wicked. On account of the darkness, which was destined to sin against the light, the Father was not willing to share in man's creation, and therefore the Mother said: "let us make man in our image after our likeness". "In our image" corresponds to light, "after our likeness", to darkness, which is a vestment to light in the same way that the body is a vestment to the soul, as it is written, "Thou didst clothe me with skin and flesh."' He then paused, and all the colleagues rejoiced and said: "Happy is our lot that we have been privileged to hear things which were never disclosed till now.'

R. Simeon then proceeded, taking as his text: See now that I, I am he, and Elohim is not with me, etc. (Deut. XXXII, 39). He said: 'Friends, here are some profound mysteries which I desire to reveal to you now that permission has been given to utter them. Who is it that says, "See now that I, I am he"? This is the Cause which is above all those on high, that which is called the Cause of causes. It is above those other causes, since none of those causes does anything till it obtains permission from that which is above it, as we pointed out above in respect to the expression, "Let us make man". "Us" certainly refers to two, of which one said to the other above it, "let us make", nor did it do anything save with the permission and direction of the one above it, while the one above did nothing without consulting its colleague. But that which is called "the Cause above all causes", which has no superior or even equal, as it is written, "To whom shall ye liken me, that I should be equal?" (Is. XL, 25), said, "See now that I, I am he, and Elohim is not with me", from whom he should take counsel, like that of which it is written, "and God said, Let us make man".' The colleagues here interrupted him and said, 'Rabbi, allow us to make a remark. Did you not state above that the Cause of causes said to the Sefirah Kether, "Let us make man"?' He answered, 'You do not listen to what you are saying. There is something that is called "Cause of causes", but that is not the "Cause above all causes" which I mentioned, which has no colleague of which it should take counsel, for it is unique, prior to all, and has no partner. Therefore it says: "See now that I, I am he, and Elohim is not with me", of which it should take counsel, since it has no colleague and no partner, nor even number, for there is a "one" which connotes combination, such as male and female, of whom it is written, "for I have called him one" (Is. LI, 2); but this is one without number and without combination, and therefore it is said: "and Elohim is not with me".' They all rose and prostrated themselves before him, saying, 'happy the man whose Master agrees with him in the exposition of hidden mysteries which have not been revealed to the holy angels.'

He proceeded: 'Friends, we must expound the rest of the verse, since it contains many hidden mysteries. The next words are: I kill and make alive, etc. That is to say, through the Sefiroth on the right side I make alive, and through the Sefiroth on the left side I kill; but if the Central Column does not concur, sentence cannot be passed, since they form a court of three. Sometimes, [23a) even when they all three agree to condemn, there comes the right hand which is outstretched to receive those that repent; this is the Tetragrammaton, and it is also the Shekinah, which is called "right hand", from the side of Hesed (kindness). When a man repents, this hand saves him from punishment. But when the Cause which is above all causes condemns, then "there is none that delivers from my hand".' Withal the colleagues explained the word Elohim in this verse as referring to other gods, and the words "I kill and make alive" as meaning "I kill with my Shekinah him who is guilty, and preserve by it him who is innocent." What, however, has been said above concerning the Supreme Cause is a secret which has been transmitted only to wise men and prophets. See now how many hidden causes there are enveloped in the Sefiroth and, as it were, mounted on the Sefiroth, hidden from the comprehension of human beings: of them it is said, "for one higher than another watcheth" (Eccl, V, 7). There are lights upon lights, one more clear than another, e3ch one dark by comparison with the one above it from which it receives its light. As for the Supreme Cause, all lights are dark in its presence.

Another explanation of the verse" Let us make man in our image after our likeness" was given by the colleagues, who put these words into the mouth of the ministering angels. Said R. Simeon to them, 'Since they know what has been and what will be, they must have known that he was destined to sin. Why, then, did they make this proposal? Nay more, Uzza and Azael actually opposed it. for when the Shekinah said to God "Let us make man", they said, "What is man that thou shouldst know him? Why desirest thou to create man, who, as thou knowest, will sin before thee through his wife, who is the darkness to his light, light being male and darkness female?" The Shekinah answered them: "You yourselves shall commit the very crime of which you accuse him"; and so it is written, "and the sons of God saw the daughters of man that they were comely", and they went astray after them and were degraded by the Shekinah from their holy estate.' Said the colleagues: 'Rabbi, after all, Uzza and Azael were not wrong, because man was really destined to sin through woman.' He replied, 'What the Shekinah said was this : "You have spoken worse of man than all the rest of the heavenly host. If you were more virtuous than man, you would have a right to accuse him. But whereas he will sin with one woman, you will sin with many women, as it is written, 'and the sons of God saw the daughters of man' -- not a daughter, but daughters; and further, if man sinned, he was ready to repent and to return to his Master and repair his wrong."' Said the colleagues, 'If so, why was he after all created?' He replied: 'If God had not created man in this way, with good and evil inclination, which correspond to light and darkness, created man would have been capable neither of virtue, nor of sin; but now that he has been created with both, it is written, "see, I have set before thee this day life and death"' (Deut. xxx, 19). They said to him: 'Still, why all this? Would it not have been better that he should not have been created and so not have sinned, thereby causing so much mischief above, and that he should have had neither punishment nor reward?' He replied: 'It was just and right that he should be created in this way, because for his sake the Torah was created in which are inscribed punishments for the wicked and rewards for the righteous, and these are only for the sake of created man.' They said: 'Of a truth we have heard now what we never knew before. Certainly God created nothing which was not required.' What is more, the created Torah [23b] is a vestment to the Shekinah, and if man had not been created, the Shekinah would have been without a vestment like a beggar. Hence when a man sins it is as though he strips the Shekinah of her vestments, and that is why he is punished; and when he carries out the precepts of the Law, it is as though he clothes the Shekinah in her vestments. Hence we say that the fringes (tsitith) worn by the Israelites are to the Shekinah in captivity like the poor man's garments, of which it is said, "for that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin, wherein shall he sleep?" (Ex. XXII, 26).

Prayer which is not whole-hearted is pursued by numbers of destructive angels, according to the Scriptural expression: "all her pursuers have overtaken her, etc." (Lam. I, 3).Therefore it is well to preface one's prayer with the verse, "but he is merciful and forgiveth iniquity, etc." (Ps. Lxxvm, 38). The word "iniquity" signifies Samael, who is the serpent; "he will not destroy" signifies the destroyer; "he turneth his anger away" refers to the demon Af (anger); "and doth not stir up all his wrath" refers to the demon Hemah (wrath). To these powers are attached many destructive angels, which are under seven chiefs with seventy under-chiefs, dispersed in every firmament, and under them are myriads of others. When an Israelite wearing fringes and phylacteries prays with devotion, then the words of the Scripture are fulfilled: "All the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the Lord is called upon thee and they shall fear thee" (Deut. XXVIII, 10). We have agreed that "the name of the Lord" refers to the phylactery of the head; and when the destructive angels see the name of Jehovah on the head of him who is praying, they at once take to flight, as it is written, "a thousand shall fall at thy side" (Ps. XCI, 7).

Jacob foresaw the oppression of the last captivity in the end of days, and therefore "he prayed in that place and tarried there because the sun had set" (Gen. XXVIII, 11), i.e. the night of captivity had come. David, referring to the captivity, said "hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness". He saw the Shekinah parched and withered and dried, and was in deep sorrow on its behalf. When he saw Israel returning in joy, he composed ten kinds of chants, and at the end of all he exclaimed: "A prayer for the poor man when he fainteth" (Ps. CII, 1). This is the prayer which comes before God before all the others. Which is the "prayer of the poor man" ? This is the evening prayer, which is single, without a husband; and because she is without a husband she is poor and dry. Like her is the just man, poor and parched; this is the seed of Jacob, which is in subjection to all nations and resembles the evening prayer, which typifies the night of captivity. The Sabbath prayer is a kindness to this poor man. Therefore a man when reciting the Amidah prayer during the weekdays should stand like a poor man at the king's gate on account of the Shekinah, and he should clothe it with the vestment of the fringes. and he should stand in his phylacteries like a beggar at the gate when he begins with the word Adonai (Lord). When he opens his mouth to utter the evening prayer an eagle comes down on the weekdays to take up on its wings the evening prayer. This is the angel called Nuriel when coming from the side of Hesed (Kindness). and Uriel when coming from the side of Geburah (Force), because it is a burning fire. For the morning prayer also a lion comes down to receive it in his winged arms: this is Michael. For the afternoon prayer an ox comes down to take it with his arms and horns: this is Gabriel. On Sabbath God himself comes down with the three patriarchs to welcome his only daughter. At that moment the celestial beings who are called by the name of the Lord exclaim "Lift up your heads, O ye gates. and be exalted. ye everlasting doors", and straightway the doors of seven palaces fly open. The first palace is the palace of love; the second, of fear; the third, of mercy; the fourth, of prophecy through the clear mirror [24a]; the fifth, of prophecy through the hazy mirror; the sixth, of righteousness; the seventh, of justice. [13] [24b]


THESE ARE THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. We have laid down that the expression "these are" denotes that those mentioned before are henceforth of no account. In this case what is referred to is the products of tohu (emptiness) hinted at in the second verse of the first chapter, "and the earth was tohu and bohu". These it is of which we have learnt that "God created worlds and destroyed them". On account of this the earth was "dazed" (tohah) and "bewildered" (bohah), as if to say, "How could God create worlds to destroy them? It were better not to create them." Similarly it is said of the heavens, "the heavens have vanished like smoke" (Is. LI, 6). But in fact we have here an indication of what is meant by the expression "destroyed them", showing that God does not really destroy the works of His hands. The explanation is this. God created the world by means of the Torah, that is to say, in so far as it is called Reshith. By this Reshith He created the heavens and the earth, and He supports them by it, because the word bereshith contains the word brith (covenant); this covenant is referred to in the verse: "Were it not for my covenant with the day and night, I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth" (Jer. XXXIII, 25). This heaven is that of which it is said "the heavens are the heavens of the Lord" (Ps. CXV, 16), and this earth is the "land of the living" comprising seven lands of which David said: "I will walk before the Lord in the lands of the living" (Ibid. CXVI, 9). Afterwards He created a heaven and an earth [2ra] resting on Tohu (emptiness), and having no foundation, i.e. "covenant", to support them. For this reason God sought to give to the nations of the world the Law containing the covenant of the circumcision, but they were not willing to accept it, and consequently the earth remained parched and desolate. Hence we read: "Let the waters be gathered to one place, and let the dry land appear." By "the waters" we understand in this connection the Torah; by "one place" we understand Israel, whose souls are attached to that place of which it is written, "blessed is the glory of the Lord from his place". The glory of the Lord is the lower Shekinah; "his place" is the upper Shekinah; and since their souls are from that quarter, the name of the Lord rests upon them, and it is said of them, "for the portion of the Lord is his people". In this way "the waters were gathered to one place". The Torah is the salvation of the world, and the Gentiles who did not accept it were left dry and parched. It is in this way that God created worlds and destroyed them, viz. those who do not keep the precepts of the Law; not that He destroys His own works, as some fancy. For why indeed should He destroy His sons, of whom it is written: behibar'am (when they were created) in this passage, which may be analysed into behe beraam, "He created them by means of He" (symbolising the attribute of mercy)? This refers to those of the Gentiles who embrace Judaism. Moses, before leaving Egypt, sought to enrol proselytes, thinking that they were of those who had been thus created through the letter He, out they were not sincere, and therefore they caused him to be degraded, as it is written, "Go, get thee down, for the people (i.e. thy proselytes) have dealt corruptly" (Ex. XXXII, 7). There are five sections among the "mixed multitude", Nefilim, Gibborim, Anahim, Refaim, and Amalekites. The Amalekites are those who are left from the time of the Flood, from those of whom it is written, "and he blotted out all living substance"; those who have been left from this class in this fourth captivity make themselves leaders by main force, and are scourges to Israel; of them it is written, "for the earth was full of violence because of them". These are the Amalekites. Of the Nefilim (lit. fallen ones) it is said: "and the sons of God saw the daughters of man that they were fair" (Ibid.). These form a second category of the Nefilim, already mentioned above, in this way When God thought of making man, He said: "Let us make man in our image, etc." i.e. He intended to make him head over the celestial beings, who were to be his deputies, like Joseph over the governors of Egypt (Gen. XLI, 41). The angels thereupon began to malign him and say, "What is man that Thou shouldst remember him, seeing that he will assuredly sin before Thee." Said God to them, "If ye were on earth like him, ye would sin worse." And so it was, for "when the sons of God saw the daughters of man", they fell in love with them. and God cast them down from heaven. These were [25b] Uzza and Azael; from them the "mixed multitude" derive their souls, and therefore they also are called nefilim, because they fall into fornication with fair women. For this, God casts them out from the future world, in which they have no portion, and gives them their reward in this world, as it is written, "He repays his enemies to their faces" (Deut. VII, 10). The Gibborim (mighty ones) are those of whom it is written: "they are the mighty ones ... men of name" (Gen. VI, 4). They come from the side of those who said "Come, let us build a city and make to us a name" (Gen. XI, 4). These men erect synagogues and colleges, and place in them scrolls of the law with rich ornaments, but they do it not for the sake of God, but only to make themselves a name, and in .consequence the powers of evil prevail over Israel (who should be humble like the dust of the earth), according to the verse: "and the waters prevailed very much upon the earth" (Gen. VII, 19). The Refaim (lit. weak ones), the fourth section of the "mixed multitude", are those who, if they see Israel in trouble, abandon them, even though they are in a position to help them, and they also neglect the Torah and those who study it in order to ingratiate themselves with the non-Jews. Of them it is said, "They are Refaim (shades), they shall not arise" (Is. XXVI, 14); when redemption shall come to Israel, "all their memory shall perish" (Ibid.). The last section, the Anakim (lit. giants), are those who treat with contumely those of whom it is written, "they shall be as necklaces (anakim) to thy neck". Of them it is said, "the Refaim are likewise counted as Anakim", i.e. they are on a par with one another. All these tend to bring the world back to the state of "tohu and bohu", and they caused the destruction of the Temple. But as "tohu and bohu" gave place to light, so when God reveals Himself they will be wiped off the earth. But withal redemption will not be complete until Amalek will be exterminated, for against Amalek the oath was taken that "the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation" (Ex. XVII, 16).

The following is another explanation of the words: "These are the generations of heaven and earth." The expression "these are" here corresponds to the same expression in the text: "these are thy gods, O Israel" (Ex. XXXII, 4). When these shall be exterminated, it will be as if God had made heaven and earth on that day; hence it is written, "on the day that God makes heaven and earth". At that time God will reveal Himself with the Shekinah and the world will be renewed, as it is written, "for as the new earth and the new heaven, etc." (Is. LXVI, 22). At that time "the Lord shall cause to spring from the ground every pleasant tree, etc.", but before these are exterminated the rain of the Torah will not descend, and Israel, who are compared to herbs and trees, cannot shoot up, as is hinted in the words: "no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field, etc." (Gen. II, 5), because "there was no man", i.e. Israel were not in the Temple, "to till the ground" with sacrifices. According to another explanation, the words "no shrub of the field was yet in the earth" refer to the first Messiah, and the words "no herb of the field had yet sprung up" refer to the second Messiah. Why had they not shot forth? Because Moses was not there to serve the Shekinah -- Moses, of whom it is written, "and there was no man to till the ground". This is also hinted at in the verse "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor the ruler's staff from between his feet", "the sceptre" referring to the Messiah of the house of Judah, and "the staff" to the Messiah of the house of Joseph. "Until Shiloh cometh": this is Moses, the numerical value of the two names Shiloh and Moses being the same. It is also possible to refer the "herbs of the field" to the righteous or to the students of the Torah .... [26a]


AND THE LORD GOD FORMED MAN. "Man" here refers to Israel, whom God shaped at that time both for this world and for the future world. Further, the word vayizer (and he formed) implies that God brought them under the aegis of His own name by shaping the two eyes like the letter Yod and the nose between like the letter Vau .... Forthwith at that time He planted Israel in the holy Garden of Eden, as it is said: "and the Lord God planted" (Gen. II, 8). The two names here refer to the Father and the Mother; the "Garden" is the Shekinah on earth, and "Eden" is the supernal Mother; "the man" is the Central Column; the Shekinah was to be his plantation, his spouse who was never to depart from him and was to be his perpetual delight. Thus God at that time planted Israel as a holy shoot, as it is written, "the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, in which I glory".


AND THE LORD GOD CAUSED TO GROW. The two names may be referred to the Father and the Mother; "every pleasant tree" refers to the Zaddik; "good to eat" refers to the Central Column, through which He provided food for all, and from which alone the Zaddik is nourished, as the Shekinah from him. These have no need of the lower world, but, on the contrary, all below are nourished from him. For in this period of captivity the Shekinah and "the Life of the universe" are only nourished by the eighteen blessings of Israel's prayer, but at the time he will be food for all. AND THE TREE OF LIFE. This means that at that time the Tree of Life will be planted in the Garden, so that "he shall take also of the Tree of Life and eat and live for ever" (Gen. III, 22). The Shekinah will no longer be in the power of the "evil influence", i.e. the mixed multitude who are "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil", and shall no longer receive into itself anyone unclean, to fulfil what is written, "the Lord alone shall lead him and there shall be no strange god with him" (Deut. XXXII, 12). For this reason proselytes will no longer be admitted in the days of the Messiah. The Shekinah will be like a vine on which there cannot be grafted any shoot from another species, and Israel shall be "every tree pleasant to see", and their former beauty shall be restored to them, of which we are told: "He cast from heaven to earth the beauty of Israel" (Lam. II, I). "The tree of the knowledge of good and evil" shall be thrust from them and shall not cleave to them or mingle with them, for of Israel it is said: "and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat". This tree is the "mixed multitude", and God pointed out to them that through mixing with them they suffered two losses, of the first and of the second Temple, as it is said: "and on the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die". They caused the Zaddik to be left parched and desolate by the loss of the first Temple, which is the Shekinah in heaven, and by the loss of the second Temple, which is the Shekinah on earth. Hence it is written, "and the river shall be drained dry"; i.e. the river vau shall dry in the lower he, so as to deprive it of the flow of yod issuing from En-Sof. But as soon as Israel shall go forth from captivity, that is, the holy people alone, then that river which was dried up shall become "the river that goes forth from Eden to water the garden". This river is the Central Column; "goes forth from Eden" is the supernal Mother; "to water the garden" is the Shekinah on earth. In reference to that time it is said of Moses and Israel, "Then thou shalt delight in the Lord", and the words shall be fulfilled, "then Moses shall ,sing" (Ex. xv, I). [26b] ... Further, the river "shall part from thence and become four heads" (Gen. II, 10). The first of these is Hesed (Kindness), which is the right arm. From this shall drink the camp of Michael, and with it the tribe of Judah and his two accompanying tribes. The second is Geburah (Force), and from it shall drink the camp of Gabriel, and with it the tribe of Dan and his two accompanying tribes. The third is Nezah (Victory), the right leg, and from it shall drink the camp of Nuriel, and with it the tribe of Reuben and his two accompanying tribes. The fourth is Hod (Majesty), the "left leg" (referred to in what was said of Jacob, that "he halted on his left thigh"), and from it shall drink the camp of Raphael, whose mission is to heal the ills of the captivity, and with it the tribe of Ephraim and his two accompanying tribes. [14] [27a]


AND THE LORD GOD TOOK THE MAN AND PUT HIM IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, ETC. From whence did he take him? He took him from the four elements which are hinted at in the verse "and from there it parted and became four heads". God detached him from these and placed him in the Garden of Eden. So does God do now to any man created from the four elements when he repents of his sins and occupies himself with the Torah; God takes him from his original elements, as it is said, "and from there he parts", i.e. he separates himself from the desires which they inspire, and God places him in his garden, which is the Shekinah, "to dress it", by means of positive precepts, "and to keep it", by means of negative precepts. If he keeps the law, he makes himself master of the four elements, and becomes a river from which they are watered, and they obey him and he is their ruler. But if he transgresses the law, they are watered from the bitterness of the tree of evil, which is the evil inclination, and all his limbs are full of bitterness; but when the members of the body are kept holy from the side of good, it may be said of them that "they came to Marah and were not able to drink waters from Marah, for they were bitter" (Ex. XV, 23), Similarly, the study of the Talmud is bitter compared with that of the esoteric wisdom, of which it is said, "And God showed him a tree" (Ibid.); this is a tree of life, and through it "the waters were sweetened". Similarly of Moses it is written, "And the staff of God was in his hand." This rod is Metatron, from one side of whom comes life and from the other death. When the rod remains a rod, it is a help from the side of good, and when it is turned into a serpent it is hostile, so that "Moses fled from it", and God delivered it into his hand. This rod typifies the Oral Law which prescribes what is permitted and what is forbidden. When Moses struck the rock God took it back from him, and '''he went down to him with a rod" (II Sam. XXXIII, 21), to smite him with it, the "rod" being the evil inclination, which is a serpent, the cause of the captivity. A further lesson can be derived from the words "and from there it parted" : happy is the man who devotes himself to the Torah, for when God takes him from this body, from the four elements, he is detached from them and ascends to become the head [27b] of the four Hayyoth, as it is written, "and they shall bear thee on their hands" (Ps. XCI, 12).

Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:44 pm
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Part 3 of 6

AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED THE MAN, SAYING. It is agreed that the term "command" in the Scripture always has reference to the prohibition of idolatry. This sin has its root in the liver, which is the seat of anger, and it has been laid down that "to fall into a passion is like worshipping idols". The expression "the man" designates bloodshed, on the analogy of the verse: "by man shall his blood be shed" (Gen. IX, 6). This sin has its root in the gall, the sword of the angel of death, after the verse: "her latter end is bitter like gall, piercing like a two-edged sword" (Prov. v, 4). The expression "saying" refers to incest, which has its root in the spleen, as it is written, "Such is the way of the adulterous woman, she eats and wipes her mouth" (Ibid. XXX, 20). Although the spleen has no mouth or suckers, yet it absorbs the black turbid blood of the liver; so the adulterous woman wipes her mouth and leaves no trace. The murderer is incited by the bile and sucks from the blood of the heart. All who see bile recoil from it, but unchastity is covered in darkness, in the black blood of the spleen. Whoever sins by murder, idolatry, and incest bans his soul through the liver, the gall, and the spleen, and is punished in Gehinnom in these three members, through three chief demons, Mashith (destroyer), Af (anger), and Hemah (wrath) .... Before Israel went intocaptivity, and while the Shekinah was still with them, God commanded Israel: "thou shalt not uncover thy mother's nakedness" (Lev. XVIII, 7), and this captivity is the uncovering of the nakedness of the Shekinah, as it is written, "On account of your sins your mother has been put away" (Is. L, I), i.e. for the sin of unchastity Israel has been sent into captivity and the Shekinah also, and this is the uncovering of the Shekinah. This unchastity is Lilith, the mother of the "mixed multitude". It is they who separate the two Hi's of the sacred name, and prevent the Vau from entering between them; so it is written, "the nakedness of a woman and her daughter thou shalt not uncover", referring to the upper and lower Shekinah. When the "mixed multitude" are between the one He and the other, the Holy One, blessed be He, cannot link them together, and consequently "the river becomes dry and parched" -- dry in the upper He and parched in the lower He, in order that the "mixed multitude" may not be nourished by the Vau, which is the Tree of Life. Therefore the Vau does not link together the two He's when the mixed multitude is between them, and the letter Yod is not able to draw near to the second He; thus the precept "thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law" is transgressed. Further, they separate the Yod from the upper He, and so break the command "thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's wife", the Yod being the father, the first He the mother, Vau the son and the second He the daughter. Therefore it is ordained with regard to the upper He, "thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's wife"; "the nakedness of thy sister the daughter of thy father" refers to the lower He; "her son's daughter and her daughter's daughter" refers to the He and He which are the children of He; "the nakedness of the father's brother" refers to the Yod, which is the product of the letter Yod, a brother to Vau. In a word, when the "mixed multitude" are mingled with Israel, the letters of the name YHVH cannot be joined and linked together; but as soon as they are removed from the world, then it is said of the letters of God's name that "On that day the Lord shall be one and his name one" (Zech. XIV, 9). This is why Adam, who is Israel, is closely linked with the Torah, of which it is said, "It is a tree of life to those who take hold on it"; this tree is the Matron, the Sefirah Malkhuth (Kingship), through their connection with which Israel are called "sons of kings". On this account God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Gen. II, 18). This help is the Mishnah (the oral Law), the handmaid of the Shekinah. If Israel deserve well, it is a help to them in the captivity from the side of the permitted, the clean, and the proper; if they do not deserve well, it is a hindrance to them from the side of the unclean, the unfit, and the forbidden, the clean, the permitted, and the fit signifying the good inclination, and the unfit, the unclean, and the forbidden signifying the evil inclination. Thus the Mishnah resembles the woman, who has both pure and impure blood of menstruation. But the Mishnah is not the spouse of his real union, for real union is denied to him until the "mixed multitude" shall be removed from the earth. On account of this Moses was buried outside of the Holy Land .... [28a]


AND THE LORD GOD FORMED FROM THE GROUND ALL THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD AND ALL THE FOWL OF THE HEAVEN. Said R. Simeon, 'Alas for the stupidity and the blindness of men who do not perceive the mysteries of the Torah, and do not know that by "the beasts of the field and the fowl of the heaven" are designated the unlearned. Even those of them who are "a living soul" are of no service in the Captivity to the Shekinah or to Moses who is with her, for all the time that she is in exile he does not quit her.' Said R. Eleazar, 'Are we justified in applying what is said of Adam to Moses and Israel?' R. Simeon answered: 'My son, is it you who speak thus? Have you forgotten the text, "He announceth the end from the beginning" (Is. XLVI,10) ?' He replied : 'You are certainly right; and that is why we are told that Moses did not die, and that he was called Adam; and in reference to him in the last captivity it is written, "and for Adam he found no help", but all was "against him". So, too, of the Central Column it is written, "and for the man he .found no help", viz. to bring the Shekinah out of captivity; therefore it is written, "And he turned this way and that and saw that there was no man" (Ex. II, 12), Moses being after the pattern of the Central Column. At that time "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man" (Gen.II, 21). "Lord God" designates the Father and the Mother; the "deep sleep" is the "captivity", as it is said, "and a deep sleep fell upon Abraham" (Ibid. XV, 12). "And he took one of his sides." Whose sides? What is referred to is the maidens of the Matron. The Father and the Mother took one of these, a white side, fair as the moon, "and closed up the place with flesh"; this is the flesh of which it is written, "seeing that he also is flesh" (Gen. VI, 3), which refers to Moses.


AND THE LORD GOD BUILT THE SIDE. Here is an allusion to the law of the deceased husband's brother, in regard to whom the Sages said, "If he refuses to build once, he shall not build any more", as it is written, "thus shall be done to the man who shall not build his brother's house" (Deut. xxv, 9). But of God it is written, "And the Lord God built", i.e. the Father and the Mother built the son, as it is written, "God buildeth Jerusalem", i.e. Vau, which is the son, is built by Yod He, which are the Father and Mother. Hence it says, "And the Lord God built the side which he had taken from the man", viz. the Central Column, "and brought it to the man", i.e. he brought to the side which he had taken from He its maiden, and of her it is said, "And I shall be to her, saith the Lord, a wall of fire round about" (Zech. II, 9). It is because the future Temple will be built on this rock by the hands of the Holy One, blessed be He, that it will endure for all generations. Of this Temple it is written, "greater shall be the glory of this latter house than of the former", for the former was built by the hands of man, but this one shall be built by the hands of the Holy One, blessed be He.... The words "and the Lord God built the side" can also be applied to Moses, in so far as he is from the side of Hesed (Kindness). "And he closed the place of it with flesh": flesh being red, symbolises Geburah (Force), and so in Moses both were combined. THIS TIME BONE OF MY BONE AND FLESH OF MY FLESH. This is said of the Shekinah, the betrothed maiden, by the Central Column, as though to say, "I know that this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; so this of a surety shall be called woman, from the supernal realm, which is Mother, for she was taken from the realm of the Father, which is Yod." And as with the Central Column, so with Moses below. At that time every Israelite will find his twin-soul, as it is written, "I shall give to you a new heart, and a new spirit I shall place within you" (Ezek. XXXVI, 26), and again, "And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Joel III, I); these are [28b] the new souls with which the Israelites are to be endowed, according to the dictum, "the son of David will not come until all the souls to be enclosed in bodies have been exhausted", and then the new ones shall come. At that time the mixed multitude shall pass away from the world, and it will be possible to say of Moses and of Israel, each in reference to his twin-soul, "and the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed", because unchastity shall pass away from the world, namely those who caused the captivity, the mixed multitude. Of them it is further said, AND THE SERPENT WAS MORE SUBTLE THAN ANY BEAST OF THE FIELD WHICH THE LORD GOD HAD MADE; i.e. they are more subtle for evil than all the Gentiles, and they are the offspring of the original serpent that beguiled Eve. The mixed multitude are the impurity which the serpent injected into Eve. From this impurity came forth Cain, who killed Abel.... From Cain was descended Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, as it is written, "And the sons of the Kenite the father-in-law of Moses" (Jud. I, 16), and according to tradition he was called Kenite because he originated from Cain. Moses, in order to screen the reproach of his father-in-law, sought to convert the "mixed multitude" (the descendants of Cain), although God warned him, saying, "They are of an evil stock; beware of them." Through them Moses was banished from his proper place and was not privileged to enter the land of Israel, for through them he sinned in striking the rock when he was told to speak to it (Num. XX, 8); it was they who brought him to this. And withal God takes account of a good motive, and since Moses' motive in converting them was good, as has been said, therefore God said to him, "I shall make thee a nation greater and mightier than he" (Ibid. XIV, 12). In regard to them it is written, "Whoso hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book" (Ex. XXXII, 33), for they are of the seed of Amalek, of whom it is said, "thou shalt blot out the memory of Amalek" (Deut. XXV, 19): it was they who caused the two tablets of the Law to be broken, whereupon, AND THE EYES OF BOTH OF THEM WERE OPENED AND THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED, i.e. Israel became aware that they were sunk in the mire of Egypt, being without Torah, so that it could be said of them "and thou wast naked and bare" .... Next it says, AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES, that is to say, they sought to cover themselves with various husks from the "mixed multitude"; but their real covering is the fringes of the Tzitzith and the straps of the phylacteries, of which it is said, AND THE LORD GOD MADE FOR THE MAN AND HIS WIFE COATS OF SKIN AND COVERED THEM; this refers more properly to the phylacteries, while the fringes are designed in the words AND THEY MADE FOR THEMSELVES GIRDLES.


AND THEY HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD GOD, ETC. This alludes to the time when Israel came to Mount Sinai as it is written, "Hath a people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, etc." The mixed multitude then perished, those who said to Moses, "Let not God speak with us lest we die" (Ex. XX,16). These are the prototypes of the unlearned (Am haaretz), of whom it is said, "cursed is he that lieth with any manner of beast" (Deut. XXVII,21), because they are from the side of the serpent, of which it is said, "cursed art thou from among all the beasts" (Gen. III, 14-). Various impurities are mingled in the composition of Israel, like animals among men. One kind is from the side of the serpent; another from the side of the Gentiles, who are compared to the beasts of the field; another from the side of mazikin (goblins), for the souls [29a] of the wicked are literally the mazikin (goblins) of the world; and there is an impurity from the side of the demons and evil spirits; and there is none so cursed among them as Amalek, who is the evil serpent, the "strange god". He is the cause of all unchastity and murder, and his twin-soul is the poison of idolatry, the two together being called Samael (lit. poison-god). There is more than one Samael, and they are not all equal, but this side of the serpent is accursed above all of them.


AND THE LORD GOD CALLED TO THE MAN AND SAID, WHERE ART THOU? The word aiekah (where art thou) has the same letters as the word aikah (how), which commences the book of Lamentations, and thus foreshadows the destruction of the Temple and the lamentation over it. But in the days to come God will sweep away all evil growths from the world, as it is written, "He hath swallowed up death for ever" (Is. XXV, 8), and everything shall be restored to its rightful place, as it is written, "On that day the Lord shall be one and his name one" (Zech. XIV, 9).


IN THE BEGINNING. We have been taught that wherever the name Solomon occurs in the Song of Songs, it refers to "the King to whom peace belongs", while the term "king", simply, refers to the Female. The lower is contained in the upper, and the mnemonic is that the lower is heir to the upper, so that both are as one, together constituting beth (= bayith, house), as it is written, "With wisdom a house (bayith) is builded" (Prov. XXIV,3). Now it is written: The king Solomon made him a palanquin of the trees of Lebanon (S. S. III, 9). The "palanquin" is the maintenance of the lower world through the agency of the upper world. Before God created the world, His name was enclosed within Him, and therefore He and His name enclosed within Him were not one. Nor could this unity be effected until He created the world. Having, therefore, decided to do so, He traced and built, but the aim was not attained until He enfolded Himself in a covering of a supernal radiance of thought and created therefrom a world. He produced from the light of that supernal radiance mighty cedars of the upper world, and placed His chariot on twenty-two graven letters which were carved into ten utterances and infixed there. Hence it is written, "from the trees of Lebanon", and it is also written, "the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted" (Ps. CIV, 16). It says in our text, "King Solomon made for himself." The words "for himself" indicate that He made it for His own behoof, for His own advantage, to display His glory, to show that He is one and His name one, as it is written, "and they shall know that it is thou alone whose name is the Lord" (Ps. LVIII, 19). Through the blows of His light various realms were made intelligible. He glanced at this side above, He glanced to the right, He turned to the left and descended below, and so to all four cardinal points. Thus His kingdom spread above and below and in all four directions, since a certain supernal stream flowed downwards and formed a great sea, as it says, "all the rivers flow into the sea and the sea is not full" (Eccl. I, 7), for it gathers the Whole and draws it into its midst, as it is written, "I am the rose of Sharon" (S. S. II, I), Sharon being the basin of the great sea which draws to itself all the waters of the World and absorbs them. Thus the one discharges and the other collects, and one shines through the other in a specified manner. Of this relationship it is written, "By wisdom is the house built"; hence the beth (=2) of bereshith, implying that the upper house is built in wisdom and the lower one also. The upper house, which is the greater, makes the world habitable, and is called Elohim; the lower one is called simply "king". It is written, "The king shall rejoice in Elohim" (Ps. LXIII, 12): to wit, when the supernal Geburah (Force) bestirs itself to embrace him and draw him to himself, so that all should be one. Again, the words may be taken to refer to the gladness of the stream which issues in one hidden and secret path and enters as two which are one, thus rendering the world complete and whole. Or again, "The king shall rejoice in Elohim", i.e. the lower world rejoices in the upper recondite world which sent forth life to all, which was called the life of the king. This is the foundation [29b] of the house. This house built the house of the world, and built a world. This is what is meant by "in the beginning God created": "in the beginning", to wit, in Wisdom.

When it collected the whole into itself, it became the great sea, a sea of which the waters were congealed, those waters which had flowed in from the upper source, as we indicate by the verse, "From the womb of Whom (Mi) came forth the ice" (Job. XXXVIII, 29), its waters congealing in it in order to draw in others. This ice was a frozen sea the waters of which did not flow until the force of the South reached it and drew it to itself. Then the waters which were congealed in the side of the North were relaxed and commenced to flow; for it was on the side of the North that the waters were frozen, and on the side of the South that they thawed and began to flow, in order to water all the "beasts of the field", as it is written, "they give water to all the beasts of the field" (Ps. CIV, II). These are called hare bather (mountains of separation), and all are watered when the side of the South begins to approach and to make the water flow. Through the streaming of this supernal energy all were in gladness. When it so pleased the thought of the Most Mysterious, a river flowed forth therefrom, and when one joined the other by a path which cannot be traced either above or below, herein was the beginning of all, and Beth (= second), which is plain "king", was completed from this beginning, and one was like the other. With this energy God created the heavens, a hidden point the waters of which flow forth without, and produced therefrom a voice which is called the voice of the Shofar. Hence it says, "God created the heavens", to wit, the voice of the Shofar. The heavens control the life of the supernal King upon the earth (as indicated by the catchword, "the son of Jesse is alive upon the earth", since life depends upon the son of Jesse). It is through Vau that life flows to it, and it controls all and the earth is fed therefrom; hence it is written, "and (v-) the earth", the vau being added to control the sustenance of the earth. The word eth refers to something in the upper world, to wit, the power of the totality of the twenty-two letters, which Elohim produced and gave to the heavens (as it says, "with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his espousals"); hence, "the (eth) heavens", to associate and combine one with the other, so as to be established together by the "life of the king", that the heavens should be fed therefrom. The words "and (ve-eth) the earth" indicate the union of male and female, which were traced with individual letters, and the "life of the king" which flowed from the heavens, the heavens pouring them forth to maintain the earth and all its denizens.

In this way the so-called supernal Elohim made a heaven and earth for permanency, and produced them together by the supernal energy, the starting-point of all. The supernal essence then descended to a lower grade, and this latter made a heaven and earth below. The whole process is symbolised by the letter beth. There are two Worlds and they created worlds, one an upper world and one a lower world, one corresponding to the other; one created heaven and earth and the other created heaven and earth. In this way the letter beth signifies two further worlds; one produced two worlds and the other produced two worlds; and all through the energy of the supernal reshith. When the upper descended into the lower, it was filled from the channel of a certain grade which rested on it, corresponding to that hidden, secret and recondite path above, the difference being that one is a narrow path and the other away. The one below is a way, like "the way of the righteous which is as a shining light" (Prov. IV, 18), whereas the one above is a narrow path, like "the track which the vulture knoweth not" (Job XXVIII, 7). The mnemonic for the whole is the verse, "who maketh a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters" (Is. XLIII, 16); and similarly it is written, "Thy way is in the sea and thy path is in great waters".

When the upper world was filled and became pregnant, it brought forth two children together, a male and a female,. these being heaven and earth after the supernal pattern. The earth is fed from the waters of the heaven which are poured into it. These upper waters, however, are male, whereas the lower are female, and the lower are fed from the male and the lower waters call to the upper, like a female that receives the male, and pour out water to meet the water of the male to produce seed. Thus the female is fed from the male, as it is written, "and the earth", with the addition of vau, as we have explained.

Letters were imprinted [30a] on the fabric of the Whole, on the upper and on the lower fabric. Afterwards the letters were distinguished and inscribed in the Scripture -- beth in bereshith bara, and aleph in Elohim eth. Beth is female, aleph male. As beth created, so aleph produced letters. "The heavens" are the totality of twenty-two letters. The letter he produced the heavens to give them life and to water them and the earth. The letter vau produced the earth to give it food and to provide for it its requirements. The word ve-eth (and) signifies that vau took eth, which embraces the twenty two letters, and the earth absorbed them, as it is written, "all the rivers go to the sea", and was thus fed. Thus the heavens and the earth are united and the earth is fed. When the flaming fire goes forth and the Left is awakened, smoke also goes up, as it says, "Now mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire" (Ex. XIX, 18); because when fire descends, smoke and fire are intermingled, and so the whole is on the side of the left. This is the inner meaning of the verse, "Yea, my hand hath laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand hath spread out the heavens" (Is. XLVIII, 13), i.e. by the power of the Right .above; for the heavens are male and the male comes from the side of the right, and the female from the side of the left.

It says: Lift up your eyes on high and see, Who hath created these (Is. XL, 26). This is the limit of inquiry. For Wisdom was completed from ayin (nothing), which is no subject of inquiry, since it is too deeply hidden and recondite to be comprehended. From the point at which its light begins to extend it is the subject of inquiry, although it is still more recondite than anything beneath, and it is called the interrogative pronoun, "Who?" Hence, "Who (Mi) created these", and also, "From the womb of Whom (Mi) came forth the ice"; as much as to say, that about which we can inquire but find no answer.

We have analysed the word bereshith into the letter beth and the word reshith. Is reshith a creative utterance, or are we to say that bereshith is the creative utterance ? The truth is that so long as its energy had not emerged and spread and everything was still latent in it, it was bereshith, and that was a creative utterance. But when being emerged and spread from it, it was called reshith, and that became a creative utterance. Similarly, the interrogative Mi created eleh (these); but subsequently when it extended and completed itself, it became Yam (sea), and created a lower world after the pattern of the upper, the two being represented by the letter beth (=2). It is written: While the king sat at his table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance (S. S. I, 12). This describes how the King delights himself in the company of the lower king, in their affectionate companionship in the celestial Eden, in that hidden and concealed path which is filled from him and issues in certain specified streams. "My spikenard gave its fragrance": this is the lower king, who created a lower world after the pattern of the upper. So there goes up a goodly fragrance to direct and to perform, and it acquires power and shines with supernal light.

The world was created in two fashions, with the right and with the left, in six supernal days. Six days were created to illumine, as it says, "for into six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth", and they trod out paths and made sixty openings into the great abyss, to conduct the waters of the streams into the abyss. Hence the Rabbinic dictum that "the openings (under the altar) were from the six days of creation", and they brought peace to the world.


AND THE EARTH WAS VOID AND WITHOUT FORM. This describes the original state -- as it were, the dregs of ink clinging to the point of the pen -- in which there was no subsistence, until the world was graven with forty-two letters, all of which are the ornamentation of the Holy Name. When they are joined, letters ascend [30b] and descend, and form crowns for themselves in all four quarters of the world, so that the world is established through them and they through it. A mould was formed for them like the seal of a ring; when they went in and issued, and the world was created, and when they were joined together in the seal, the world was established. They struck against the great serpent, and penetrated under the chasms of the dust fifteen hundred cubits. Mterwards the great deep arose in darkness, and darkness covered all, until light emerged and cleft the darkness and came forth and shone, as it is written, "He uncovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death" (Job XII, 22). The waters were weighed in a balance. Fifteen hundred times three fingers flowed into the balance, half for preservation and half to go below. At first one side of the balance rose and the other fell. When, however, the lower side was raised by the hand, the balance was even and did not incline to left or right; hence it is written, "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand ?" (Is. XL, 12). At first all the powers of the earth were latent and not productive, and the waters were frozen in it and did not flow. They only spread abroad when a light from above was shed upon the earth, for when this struck it with its rays its powers were released. So it says, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." This is the supernal primordial light which was already existing; from this came forth all powers and forces, and through this the earth was firmly established and subsequently brought forth its products. When this light shone on what was below, its radiance spread from one end of the world to the other; but when it observed the sinners of the world, it hid itself away, and issued only by secret paths which cannot be discovered.


AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT THAT IT WAS GOOD. We have learnt that every dream which contains the term tob (good) presages peace above and below, provided the letters are seen in their proper order .... [15] These three letters were afterwards combined to signify "the Righteous one (Zaddik) of the world", as it is written, "Say of the righteous one that he is good", because the supernal radiance is contained therein.


IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED. The word reshith (beginning) refers to the supernal Wisdom; the letter beth (i.e. bayith, house) designates the world, which is watered from that stream which enters it, and which is alluded to in the verse, "A stream went forth from Eden to water the garden." This stream gathers all the waters from a supernal hidden source, and flows perenially to water the Garden. (This hidden source is the First Temple.) In reshith all the letters were enclosed by a secret path hidden within it. From this source went forth two entities, as it is written, "the heavens and the earth". The earth was at first included in the heavens, and they emerged together, clinging to one another. When the first illumination came, the heavens took the earth and put it in its place. Thereupon the earth, being separated [31a] from the side of the heavens, was amazed and dumbfounded, desiring to cleave to the heavens as before, because she saw the heavens bathed in light while she was enveloped in darkness. At length, however, the celestial light descended upon her, and from her place she looked at the heavens face to face; and so the earth was firmly established. Light came forth on the right side and darkness on the left, and God afterwards separated them in order again to unite them, as it is written, "And God divided the light from the darkness." This does not mean that there was an absolute separation, but that day came from the side of light, which is the right, and night from the side of darkness, which is the left, and that, having emerged together, they were separated in such a way as to be no longer side by side but face to face, in which guise they clung to one another and formed one, the light being called day and the darkness night, as it says, "And God called the light day and the darkness he called night." This is the darkness that is attached to night, which has no light of its own, although it comes from the side of the primordial fire which is also called "darkness". It remains dark until it is illumined from the side of day. Day illumines night, and night will not be light of itself until the time of which it is written, "the night shineth as the day, the darkness is even as the light" (Ps. CXXXIX, 12).

[16] R. Eleazar came forward first and expounded the verse: The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth, even the Lord upon many waters (Ps. XXIX, 3). He said, '"The voice of the Lord" is the supernal voice presiding over the waters, which flow from grade to grade until they are all collected in one place and form one gathering. It is this voice which sends them forth each in its course, like a gardener who conducts water through various channels to the requisite spots. "The God of glory thundereth": this is the side that issues from Geburah (Force), as it is written, "Who can understand the thunder of his mighty deeds (geburotov)?" (Job. XXVI, 14). "The Lord upon many waters": this is the supernal Wisdom, which is called Yod, and which is "upon the many waters", the secret source that issues therefrom.'

R. Simeon explained the difference, and said: 'It is written, "Close by the border shall the rings be, for places for the staves" (Ex. XXV, 27). The "border" is a secret place accessible only by one narrow path known to a few. It is, therefore, filled with gates and lit with lamps. This is the future world, which, being hidden and stored away, is called misgereth (border, lit. closed). The "rings" are the supernal chain of water, air, and fire, which are linked with one another and emerge from one another like so many rings of a chain. They all turn to the "border", with which is connected that supernal stream which waters them, and with which they are thus connected. Further, these supernal rings are "places for the staves", to wit, the lower chariots, of which some are from the side of fire, some of water, and some of air, so that they should be a chariot to the ark. Hence anyone who approaches should proceed only as far as the staves, but should not penetrate further, save those who are qualified to minister within, and to whom permission has been given to enter for that purpose.'

R. Jose propounded the question: 'What are the "six days of bereshith" of which the Rabbis speak so often?' R. Simeon answered: 'These are, in truth, "the cedars of Lebanon which he has planted". As the cedars spring from Lebanon, so these six days spring from bereshith. These are the six supernal days which are specified in the verse: "Thine, O Lord, are the Greatness( Gedulah), the Might (Geburah), the Beauty (Tifereth), the Victory (Nezah), and the Majesty (Hod)" (I Chron. XXIX, II). The words "For all" refer to the Zaddik (righteous one), who is Yesod (foundation of the world).... [31b] The word bereshith we interpret to mean "the second, i.e. Hokmah (Wisdom) is the starting-point", because the supernal Kether (Crown), which is really first, is too recondite and therefore is not counted; hence the second is the starting-point. Again, the word be-reshith indicates that there are two reshith's, because as the upper Wisdom is a reshith (starting-point), so the lower Wisdom is a reshith. Further, we reckon bereshith as a maamar (creative utterance), and six days issued from it and are comprised in it, and bear the names of those others. The next words, Created Elohim, are analogous to the verse "and a river went forth from Eden to water the garden", i.e. to water it and keep it and attend to all its needs. Thus this Elohim is Elohim Hayyim (the living God), and we render "Bereshith created Elohim" by means of that stream, as the agent for producing the world and vivifying it. Further, the two words eth hashamaim (the heavens) signify the fitting union of male and female. After this a lower world was created through the agency of the heavens, and through it Elohim gave being to all. More precisely, the heavens produced eth, which is the Whole. When the Whole was settled in its place, this last link in the chain became in turn a starting-point (reshith), through which Elohim released the stream, and the waters began to flow to the lower world, so that we can now render "by means of reshith God created", viz. the lower world; by its means He produced radiances and gave being to all.' R. Judah said: 'In allusion to this it is written, "should the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?" (Is. x, 15). Surely it is the craftsman who is entitled to boast. So here, seeing that by means of this reshith the supernal Elohim created the heavens, it is God to whom the glory belongs. . . .'


AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT. This is the original light which God created. This is the light of the eye. It is the light which God showed to Adam, and through which he was able to see from one end of the world to the other. It was the light which God showed to David, who on seeing it burst forth into praise, saying, "Oh, how abundant is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee" (Ps. XXXI, 20). It is the light through which God showed to Moses the Land of Israel from Gilead to Dan. When God foresaw that three sinful generations would arise, namely the generation of Enosh, the generation of the Flood, and the generation of the Tower of Babel, He put it away so that they should not enjoy it, and gave it to Moses for the first three months after he was born when his mother hid him. When he was brought before Pharaoh God withdrew it from him, and only restored it to him when he stood upon the mountain of Sinai to receive the Torah. From that time he had the use of it for the rest of his life, so that the Israelites could not approach him till he put a veil over his face (Ex. XXXIV, 30).


LET THERE BE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT. Anything to which the term vayehi (and there was) is applied is found in this world and the next world. R. Isaac said: 'The radiance which God produced at the time of the Creation illumined the world from one end to the other, but was withdrawn, in order that the sinners of the world might not enjoy it, and it is treasured up for the righteous, i.e. for the Zaddik, [32a] as it is written, "light is sown for the Zaddik" (Ps. XCVII, II); then worlds will be firmly established and all will form a single whole, but until the time when the future world shall emerge this light is hidden and stored up. This light issued from the darkness which was carved out by the strokes of the Most Recondite; and similarly from that light which was stored away there was carved out through some hidden process the lower-world darkness in which light resides. This lower darkness is what is called "night" in the verse, "and the darkness he called night" (Gen. 1,5). Hence the Rabbinical exposition of the text: "He uncovereth deep things out of darkness" (Job. XII, 22)', on which R. Jose said: 'This cannot be the original darkness, since all the supernal crowns contained therein are still undisclosed, and we call them "deep things". The term "uncovereth" can be applied to those supernal mysteries only in so far as they are contained in that darkness which is in the category of night. For all those deep and hidden things which issue from (God's) thought and are taken up by the Voice are not disclosed till the Word reveals them. This Word is Speech, and this Speech is called Sabbath, because this Speech seeks to dominate and not to let any other do so. It is this Speech which comes from the side of darkness that discloses hidden things from that darkness.' Said R. Isaac: 'If so, what is the meaning of the text, "And God divided the light from the darkness"?' He replied: 'Light produced day and darkness produced night. Afterwards He joined them together and they were one, as it is written, "And there was evening and there was morning one day", i.e. night and day were called one. As for the words, "And God divided the light from the darkness", this means that He prevented dissension between them.' Said R. Isaac: 'Up to this point the male principle was represented by light and the female by darkness; subsequently they were joined together and made one. The difference by means of which light is distinguished from darkness is one of degree only; both are one in kind, as there is no light without darkness and no darkness without light; but though one, they are different in colour.' R. Simeon said: 'The world is created and established on the basis of a covenant, as it is written, "If not for my covenant with the day and night, I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth" (Jer. XXXIII 2S).This covenant is the Zaddik (righteous one), the foundation of the world, and therefore the world is established on the covenant of day and night together, as stated in our text. the "ordinances of heaven" being those which flow and issue forth from the celestial Eden.' R. Simeon discoursed here on the text: From the (place of) the voice of those who mediate between the water drawers, there they shall rehearse the kindnesses of the Lord, etc. (Judges v, II). 'This voice', he said, 'is the voice of Jacob, which rests between those who draw waters from on high, and takes hold of both sides and unites them in itself. "There they shall rehearse the kindnesses of the Lord" : i.e. there is the place for faith to cleave fast; there the kindnesses of the Lord draw sustenance. The verse proceeds: "The kindnesses of him who is generous to Israel." This is the "Righteous One of the world", who is everlasting and holy, and who draws in to Himself the stream of the Whole and disperses the supernal waters into the great sea. "In Israel": because Israel inherited this covenant, and God gave it to them for an everlasting inheritance. When Israel deserted it through performing the ceremony of circumcision without drawing back the flesh, there was applied to them the verse, "then the people of the Lord went down to the gates" (Ibid.): these are the gates of righteousness in which they sat without entering further. Of that time [32b] it is written, "and the children of Israel forsook the Lord" (Judges II, 12), until Deborah came and restored the proper performance of the ceremony. Hence Deborah speaks of herself as a "mother in Israel", to indicate that she brought down the supernal waters from above to establish both worlds through Israel, thus showing that the world rests only on this covenant. We see from all this how three issue from one and one is established on three; one enters between two, two give suck to one, and one feeds many sides, and so all are one. Hence it is written, "and there was evening and there was morning one day", i.e. a day that embraces both evening and morning, thus indicating the covenant of day and night and rendering the whole a unity.'


AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE A FIRMAMENT IN THE MIDST OF THE WATERS, AND LET IT DIVIDE WATERS FROM WATERS. R. Judah said: 'There are seven firmaments above, all in the realm of supernal holiness, and the Holy Name is completed through them. The firmament mentioned here is in the midst of the waters; it rests upon other Hayyoth, separating the upper from the lower waters. The lower waters call to the upper and drink them in through the medium of this firmament, because all the upper waters are collected in it, and it then transmits them to these Hayyoth, and so they draw from there. It is written: "A garden shut up is my sister, my bride, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed" (S. S. iv, 12). This firmament is called a "garden shut up", because the whole is enclosed and embraced in it. It is called a "spring shut up", because the supernal stream as it courses enters it but cannot issue, the waters being congealed. For the north wind blows on them, and so they become congealed and cannot issue, being made into ice; nor would they ever issue were it not for a wind from the South which breaks up the ice. The appearance of this highest firmament is like that of the ice which collects all the waters. Similarly it collects waters and separates the upper from the lower waters. When we said above that it was in the middle, this refers to that firmament which was produced from this one, but this one is above and rests on the heads of the Hayyoth.' Said R. Isaac: 'There is a membrane in the inside of the human body which separates the upper from the lower part of the trunk, and which imbibes from the upper part and distributes to the lower part; so is this firmament between the waters. . . .' R. Abba illustrated from the text: 'Who lays the beams of his upper chambers in the waters, etc." (Ps. CIV, 3), the "waters" mentioned here being the supernal waters through which the "house" was built up, as it is written, "through wisdom a house is builded and through understanding it is established" (Prov. XXIV, 3). In the following clause, "Who makes the clouds his chariot", R. Yesa divided the word abim (clouds) into ab (cloud), and yam (sea), interpreting it to mean "the cloud", viz. darkness from the Left, "resting on this sea". "Who walketh upon the wings of the wind": this is the spirit of the supernal sanctuary .... R. Jose said: 'It is written, "and he meteth out waters by measure" (middah), implying that God literally measured them out, so that they were for the well-being of the world when they came from the side of Geburah (Force).' R. Abba said: 'When the scholars of old came to this place, they used to say: "The lips of the wise move but they say nothing lest they bring down punishment on themselves".' R. Eleazar said: 'The first of the letters was flitting over the face of the ethereal expanse, and was crowned above and below, and went up [33a] and down, and the waters were graven into their shapes and were settled in their places, and enfolded in one another; and so all the letters were combined with one another and crowned with one another until a firm building was erected on them. When they were all built and crowned, the upper waters and the lower waters, which were still mingled together, produced the habitation of the world. And the waters continued going up and down until this firmament came into being and separated them. The division took place on the second (day), on which was created Gehinnom, which is a blazing fire, and which is destined to rest upon the heads of sinners.' Said R. Judah: 'From this we learn -that every division (of opinion) in which both sides act for the glory of heaven endures, since here we have a division which was for the sake of heaven. Through the firmament the heavens were established, as it is written, "and God called the firmament heaven", since this divides the more from the less holy, like the curtain in the Tabernacle.'


LET THE WATERS UNDER THE HEAVEN BE GATHERED: i.e. those "under the heaven" only. TO ONE PLACE: i.e. to the place which is called "one", namely, the lower sea, which completes the formation of One, and without which God would not be called One. R. Yesa said: " 'One place" is the place of which it is written, "my covenant of peace shall not be removed" (Is. LIV, 10), for this takes the Whole and casts it into the sea, whereby the earth is established, as it is written, AND LET THE DRY LAND APPEAR, which is the earth, as it is written, AND GOD CALLED THE DRY LAND EARTH. The earth is called "dry" because it is "bread of the poor one" (Yesod), and it remains dry until this place fills it, and then the waters commence to flow from their sources.'


AND THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF THE WATERS CALLED HE SEAS. This is the upper reservoir of the waters where they are all collected and from which they all flow and issue forth. R. Hiya said: 'The gathering place of the waters is the Zaddik (righteous one), because it is written in connection with it, AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD, and it is written elsewhere, "say ye of the righteous that he is good" (Is. III, 10).' R. Jose said: 'This Zaddik is also referred to in the words, "he called seas", because he takes all the streams and sources and rivers and he is the source of all; hence he is called "waters". Hence it says: AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. And since the Zaddik is designated with the words "that it is good", there is a gap between the first and the third days, and on the day between it is not written, "that it was good", since on the third day the earth brought forth produce from the impulse of that Zaddik, as it is written, AND GOD SAID, LET THE EARTH PUT FORTH GRASS, HERB YIELDING SEED, AND FRUIT TREE BEARING FRUIT AFTER ITS KIND. By "fruit tree" is meant the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which put forth blossoms and fruit. "Bearing fruit" is the Zaddik, the basis of the world. "After its kind" means that all human beings who have in them the spirit of holiness which is the blossom of that tree are stamped as being of its kind. This stamp is the covenant of holiness, the covenant of peace, and the faithful enter into that kind and do not part from it. The Zaddik generates, and that tree conceives and brings forth fruit after his kind, i.e. after the kind of the producer, so as to be like him. Blessed he that resembles these his mother and his father. The holy seal is therefore set upon him on the eighth day that he may resemble his "mother" (who is the eighth grade), and the flesh is turned back to show the holy seal in order that he may resemble the "father". So by "fruit tree"we understand the mother, by "producing" the father, by "fruit" the holy covenant, and by "to its kind", the resemblance to the father. WHOSE SEED IS IN IT UPON THE EARTH. Instead of zar'o (whose seed), we may read zera'vau (the seed of Vau), which has literally been cast upon the earth. Blessed is the lot of Israel, who are holy and resemble the holy angels, wherefore it is written, "and thy people are all righteous" (Is. LX,21), truly righteous, for from such they issue and such they resemble. Happy they in this world and in the world to come.' [33b] R. Hiya said: 'It is written, "God maketh the earth by his strength" (Jer. X, 12). He who "maketh the earth" is the Holy One, blessed be He, above; "by his strength" means by the Zaddik; "he establishes the universe", this is the earth beneath; "by his wisdom", refers to Zedek (justice). Also it is written, "makes the earth", and not "made", because God constantly regulates the earth and its activities through the agency of His "strength", as just explained....' R. Isaac said: 'It is written, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made and by the breath of his mouth all their hosts." The "heavens" mentioned here are the lower heavens, which were made by the word of the upper heavens, through the spirit which sent forth a voice until it reached that stream which issues and flows perennially. By "all their hosts" is meant the lower world, which exists through that "breath", which is male. A similar lesson is derived from the verse, "Who watereth the mountains from his upper chambers, the earth is full of the fruit of thy works" (Ps. CIV, 13). The "upper chambers" we have already explained, and the term can be further illustrated by the verse, "Who lays the beams of his upper chambers in the waters." The expression "the fruit of thy works" alludes to that stream which ever flows and issues forth; hence it is written, "Yielding fruit whose seed is in it," as explained.'


LET THERE BE LIGHTS IN THE FIRMAMENT OF THE HEAVEN TO GIVE LIGHT UPON THE EARTH. The word meoroth (lights) is written defectively. R. Hizkiah says that this indicates that this firmament is the home of the rigour of justice. R. Jose says that the defective spelling indicates the lowest, namely the moon, which is the cause of croup in children. It is also the cause of other misfortunes, because it is the smallest of all the luminaries, and sometimes It is obscured and receives no light at all. IN THE FIRMAMENT OF HEAVEN. This is the firmament which includes all the others, since it receives all lights and it illumines the one which has no light of its own. R. Isaac said: 'Even that firmament which has no light of its own is called by us "the kingdom of heaven" and "the land of Israel" and "the land of the living". It is the heaven which illumines this firmament. Hence the word meoroth is written defectively, to show that without Vau there would be death to the world. Everything is included in it, and through it Lilith also finds a place in the world. (We derive this from the recurrence of the word "there" in the sentences: "the small and the great are there" (Job. III, 19). "The Lord shall be with us there in majesty" (Is. XXXIII, 21), and "Lilith reposeth there" (Is. XXXIV, 14).') R. Eleazar said: 'The word meoroth (lights). being written defectively, indicates a shining body which has no light of its own. but only reflects the light of other more luminous bodies. It is written: "Behold, the ark of the covenant, the Lord of all the earth" (Josh. III, II). The ark here is the "unclear mirror"; the covenant is the "clear mirror". The ark is the receptacle for the Written Torah. whereas the covenant is the sun that illumines it. The covenant is the "lord of all the earth"; and on its account the ark is also called [3¥] Adon (lord). which is the same as Adonai (the Lord). Observe that stars and planets exist through a covenant which is the firmament of the heaven, in which they are inscribed and engraved.' R. Yesa the Elder used to explain thus: 'The words "let there be lights" refer to the moon, which is suspended in the firmament of the heaven. The words "and let them be for lights" indicate the sun. "They shall be for seasons", because seasons, holydays, new-moons and Sabbaths are determined by them. There are seven planets corresponding to seven firmaments. and by all the world is regulated. The supernal world is above them. There are two worlds. an upper world and a lower world, the lower being on the pattern of the upper. There is a higher king and a lower king. It is written: "The Lord reigneth, the Lord hath reigned, the Lord will reign for evermore", i.e. "the Lord reigneth" above. "the Lord hath reigned" in the middle, "the Lord will reign" below.' R. Aha said: ' "The Lord" refers to the supernal Wisdom; "reigneth", to the supernal world which is the world to come. "The Lord hath reigned" refers to the "beauty of Israel"; "the Lord will reign" signifies the ark of the covenant. At another time David reversed the order and said, "The Lord is king for ever and ever" (Ps. X, 16), i.e. "the Lord is king", below, "for ever", in the middle, "and ever", above, for there is the reunion and the perfection of all. God "is king" above, and "will reign" below.'

R. Abba said: 'All those lights are collected in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth. What is this firmament that gives light upon the earth? It is, of course, that stream which flows and issues forth from Eden, as it is written, "And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden." For when the moon is dominant and is illumined by that stream which flows and issues forth, all the lower heavens and their hosts receive increased light, and the stars which have charge of the earth all function and cause plants and trees to grow, and enrich the earth, and even the waters and the fishes of the sea are more productive. Many emissaries of divine justice also traverse the world, because all are in good spirits and full of energy when there is gladness in the king's palace, and even the beings which hover on the outskirts are glad and fly about the world; and therefore it is necessary to take special care of young children.'


AND GOD SET THEM IN THE FIRMAMENT OF THE HEAVEN. R. Aha said: 'When all of them were there they rejoiced in one another. Then the moon diminished its light in presence of the sun; all the light which it receives from the sun is to shine upon the earth, as it is written, "to give light upon the earth".' R. Isaac said: 'It is written, "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun as the light of the seven days" (Is. XXX, 26). These seven days are the seven days of the Creation.' R. Judah said: 'They are the seven days of the consecration of the Tabernacle, when the world was restored to its original completeness, and the moon was not impaired by the evil serpent. This will again be at the time when "God shall swallow up death for ever" (Is. xxv, 8), and then "the Lord will be one and his name one".'


Re: The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simo

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:45 pm
by admin
Part 4 of 6

LET THE WATERS SWARM WITH SWARMS OF LIVING CREATURES. R. Eleazar said: 'These are the lower waters, which brought forth species corresponding to those above, so that there was a lower order and a higher order.' R. Hiya said: 'It was the upper waters which brought forth a "living soul", to wit, the soul of the first man, as it is written, "and the man became a living soul" (Gen. 11,7).' AND FOWL TO FLY ABOVE THE EARTH. These are the emissaries from the upper world which appear to men in visible shape. For there are others of whose existence man knows only by conjecture. These latter are referred to in the next verse in the words. "every winged fowl after its kind". The words "after its kind" are used in connection with the latter and not with the former, because the latter never take the forms of another species, whereas the former do. Nevertheless, they do differ one from another. AND GOD CREATED THE GREAT SEA MONSTERS. These are the Leviathan and its female. AND EVERY LIVING CREATURE THAT CREEPETH. This is the soul of the creature which creeps to the four quarters of the globe, to wit, Lilith. WHEREWITH THE WATERS SWARMED, AFTER ITS KIND. It is the waters which nourish them. For when the wind blows from the South, the waters are released and flow to all sides, and ships pass to and fro, as it is written, "there go the ships, there is Leviathan whom thou hast formed to sport therein" (Ps. CIV, 26). EVERY WINGED FOWL AFTER ITS KIND: this refers, as already said, to the angels, as in the verse, "for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter" (Eccl. x, 20),' R. Jose said: 'They all have six wings, and never change their shape; hence it is written of them, "to their kind". i.e. that they are always angels. It is these who sweep through the world with six beats of their wings, who observe the actions of men and record them above; hence the Scripture says, "even in thy thought curse not the king, etc." (Ibid.).' R. Hizkiah said: 'Just as it is written here, "living creature that creepeth", so elsewhere (Ps. CIV, 20) it is written, "wherein creep all the beasts (haytho) of the field." Just as here we interpret the word hayah of Lilith, so there we interpret the word haytho of the Hayyoth. For they all have sway when she has sway; they commence to chant at each of the three watches of the night and go on without cessation, and of them it is written, "Ye that are the Lord's remembrancers, take ye no rest" (Is. LXII, 6).'

R. Simeon arose and spoke thus: 'My meditation disclosed to me that when God came to create man, all creatures trembled above and below. The sixth day was proceeding on its course when at length the divine decision was formed. Then the source of all lights shone forth and opened the gate of the East, for thence light issues. The South displayed in full power the light which it had inherited from the commencement, and joined hands with the East. The East took hold of the North, and the North awoke and spread forth and called aloud to the West to come and join him. Then the West went up into the North and united with it, and afterwards the South took hold of the West, and the South and the North, which are the fences of the Garden, surrounded it. Then the East approached the West, and the West was rejoiced and said to the others, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness", embracing like us the four quarters and the higher and the lower. Then the East united with the West and produced him. Hence our Sages have said that man emerged from the site of the Temple. Further, the words "let us make man" may be taken to signify that God imparted to the lower beings who came from the side of the upper world the secret of forming the divine name "Adam", which embraces the upper and the lower in virtue of its three letters, aleph, daleth, and mim final. When these three letters descended below, together in their complete form, the name Adam was found to comprise male and female. The female was attached to the side of the male until God cast him into a deep slumber, during which he lay on the site of the Temple. God then sawed her off from him and adorned her like a bride and brought her to him, as it is written, "And he took one of his sides and closed up the place with flesh." (Gen. II, 21). I have found it stated in an old book that the word "one" here means "one woman", to wit, the original Lilith, who was with him and who conceived from him. Up to that time, however, she was not a help to him, as it is written, "but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." Observe that Adam came last of all, it being fitting that he should find the world complete on his appearance. '


AND NO PLANT OF THE FIELD WAS YET IN THE EARTH ETC. R. Simeon said further: 'These are [35a] the great trees which were planted out later, but as yet were tiny. We have stated that Adam and Eve were created side by side. Why were they not created face to face ? Because "the Lord God had not yet caused it to rain upon the earth" (Gen. II, 5), and the union of heaven and earth was not yet firmly established. When the lower union was perfected and Adam and Eve were turned face to face, then the upper union was consummated. We know this from the case of the Tabernacle, of which we have learnt that another tabernacle was erected with it, and that the upper one was not raised till the lower one was raised; and similarly here. Further, since all was not yet in order above, Adam and Eve were not created face to face. The order of verses in the Scripture proves this: for first we read, "For the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth", and then "there was not a man to till the ground", the meaning being that man was still defective, and only when Eve was perfected was he also perfected. This is further indicated by the fact that in the word vayisgor (and he closed) the letter samekh, which means "support", occurs for the first time in this section, as if to say that they now supported one another, as male and female. Similarly the lower and the upper world mutually support one another. For until the lower world was completed, that other world of which we have spoken was not completed. When this lower world was turned face to face to the upper, it became a support to the upper, for previously the work had been defective, because "the Lord God had not caused rain to fall upon the earth". Next, A MIST WENT UP FROM THE GROUND, to repair the deficiency below, by "watering the whole face of the ground". The rising of the mist signifies the yearning of the female for the male. According to another explanation, we supply the word "not" from the previous clause after "mist", the meaning being that God did not send rain because a mist had not gone up, etc., it being necessary for the impulse from below to set in motion the power above. So vapour first ascends from the earth to form the cloud. Similarly, the smoke of the sacrifice rises and creates harmony above, so that all unite, and in this way there is completion in the supernal realm. The impulse commences from below, and from this all is perfected. If the Community of Israel did not give the first impulse, the One above would not move to meet her, for by the yearning from below completion is effected above.'


THE TREE OF LIFE ALSO IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN, AND THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. The Tree of Life, according to a tradition, extends over five hundred years' journey, and all the waters of Creation issue from its foot. This tree was in the middle of the Garden, and it collected all the waters of Creation, which afterwards flowed from it in different directions. For the perennially flowing stream rests upon this Garden and enters it, and the waters issuing from it divide into numbers of streams below which water the "beasts of the field", just as the waters originally issued from the supernal world and watered the celestial "mountains of pure balsam". THE TREE OF GOOD AND EVIL. This tree was not in the middle. It is called by this name because it draws sustenance from two opposite sides, which it distinguishes as clearly as one distinguishes sweet and bitter, and therefore it is called "good and evil". All those other plants rest upon it. Other supernal plants are also attached to it, which are called "cedars of Lebanon"; these are the six supernal days, the six days of the Creation which we have mentioned, which were indeed saplings which God first planted and then transferred to another place, [35b] where they were firmly established. R. Abba here remarked: 'How do we know that Adam and Eve were also planted out? From the verse, "the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, wherein I glory" (Is. LX, 21). They are called "the work of God's hands" because no other creatures were concerned in their formation. We have been taught that the plants at first were like the antenna: of grasshoppers, and their light was feeble, until they were planted and firmly established, when their light was augmented and they were called " cedars of Lebanon". Adam and Eve also when they were first planted were not swathed in light nor did they emit a sweet odour; of a surety they were uprooted and replanted and duly established.'


AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED. According to our teachers, the word "commanded" here contains a prohibition of idolatry; "the Lord", of blasphemy; "God", of the perversion of justice; "the man", of murder; "saying", of adultery and incest; "from all the trees of the garden", of robbery; "thou mayest freely eat", of eating flesh from a living animal; and so we agree. OF ALL THE TREES OF THE GARDEN THOU SHALT SURELY EAT. This means that he was permitted to eat them all together, for, as we see, Abraham ate, Isaac and Jacob ate, and all the prophets ate and remained alive. This tree, however, was a tree of death, in so far that he who ate it by itself was bound to die, since he took poison. Hence it says, IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE, because thereby he would be separating the shoots. R. Judah asked R. Simeon: 'What is the meaning of the dictum of the teachers, that Adam drew his foreskin? ' He said: 'It means that he removed the holy covenant from its place; he abandoned the holy covenant and clung to the orlah and allowed himself to be seduced by the serpent.' The words OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREE (Gen. III, 3) signify the woman, of whom it is written, "Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of the nether world" (Prov. v, 5). On this tree there was fruit, but not on a certain other. R. Jose said: 'That tree which we mentioned was nurtured and fostered from above, and rejoiced thereat, as it says: "A river went forth from Eden to water the garden." The "garden" designates woman; this river entered it and watered it, and up to this point there was complete unity, for it is from this point onward that there is separation, as it is written, "and from there it parted".'


AND THE SERPENT. R. Isaac said: 'This is the evil tempter.' R. Judah said that it means literally a serpent. They consulted R. Simeon, and he said to them: 'Both are correct. It was Samael, and he appeared on a serpent, for the ideal form of the serpent is the Satan. We have learnt that at that moment Samael came down from heaven riding on this serpent, and all creatures saw his form and fled before him. They then entered into conversation with the woman, and the two brought death into the world. Of a surety Samael brought curses on the world through Wisdom and destroyed the first tree that God had created in the world. This responsibility rested on Samael until another holy tree came, namely Jacob, who wrested the blessings from him, in order that Samael might not be blessed above and Esau below. For Jacob was the reproduction of Adam, and he had the same beauty as Adam. Therefore as Samael withheld blessings from the first tree, so Jacob, who was such another tree as Adam, withheld blessings, both upper and lower, from Samael; and in doing so Jacob but took back his own. It is written: AND THE SERPENT WAS SUBTLE. This serpent is the evil tempter and the angel of death. It is because the serpent is the angel of death that it brought death to the world.' AND HE SAID TO THE WOMAN, YEA (af). R. Jose said: 'He commenced with af, and he brought af (wrath) upon the world. He said [36a] to the woman: "With this tree God created the world; eat therefore of it, and ye shall be like God, knowing good and evil, for through this knowledge he is called God."' Said R. Judah: 'This was not the way he spoke, for had he said that God created the world through this tree, he would have spoken correctly, for the tree was really "like the axe in the hand of him that hews with it". What he said, however, was that God ate of the tree and so built the world. "Therefore," he went on, "eat you of it and you shall create worlds. It is because God knows this that He has commanded you not to eat of it, for every artisan hates his fellow of the same craft." , R. Isaac said: 'The speech of the serpent was one tissue of falsehoods. His first remark, "Surely God hath said that ye shall not eat of all the trees of the garden" was a lie, because God had said, "of all the trees of the garden thou shalt surely eat", and all was permitted to him.' R. Jose said: 'With reference to the dictum quoted above, that God prohibited to Adam idolatry, injustice, murder, incest, and so forth, why should all this have been necessary, seeing that Adam was still alone in the world? The answer is that all these prohibitions had reference to the tree alone, and were applicable to it. For whoever takes of it causes separation and associates himself with the lower hordes which are attached to it. He renders himself guilty of idolatry, murder, and adultery. Of idolatry, because he acknowledges the superior chieftains; of bloodshed, because that is inspired by this tree, which is of the side of Geburah (Force), under the charge of Samael; and of adultery, because the tree is of the female principle and is called "woman", and it is forbidden to' make an appointment with a woman without her husband, for fear of suspicion of adultery. Hence all the prohibitions had reference to this tree, and when he ate of it he transgressed them all.' R. Judah said: 'The way in which the serpent seduced Eve was as follows. He said to' her: "See, I have touched the tree and yet am not dead; you also put your hand on it and you will not die" (for it was he who added on his own account the words "neither shall ye touch it").' AND THE WOMAN SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. R. Isaac said that "saw" here means "perceived", to' wit, through the pleasant odour that the tree emitted, which inspired in her a desire to eat of it. R. Jose said that she really "saw". Said R. Judah to him, 'How can this be, seeing that it says later that "their eyes were opened"?' He answered: 'This "seeing" means really that she made a mental picture of the tree, seeing it and yet not seeing. THAT IT WAS GOOD. She saw that it was good, but this was not enough for her, so SHE TOOK OF ITS FRUIT, but not of the tree itself; she thus attached herself to the place of death, and brought death upon the world, and separated life from death. This sin, too, is the cause of the menstruation which keeps a woman apart from her husband.' (The Voice should never be separated from the Utterance, and he who separates them becomes dumb, and, being bereft of speech, returns to' dust. R. Simeon said: 'It is written: "I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, having no good things to say, and my sorrow was stirred" (Ps. XXXIX, 3). This is the exclamation of the Community of Israel in exile; for then Voice is separated from Utterance, and no word is heard, and therefore Israel is "dumb with silence, etc." And Israel further say: "To thee praise is silent" (Ps. LXV, 2), i.e. the psalm of David is silent in exile and without voice.) According to a tradition, Eve pressed grapes and gave to Adam, and in this way brought death into the world. For death is attached to this tree. Its sway is by night, [36b] and during that time all creatures taste of death save those faithful ones who first entrust their souls to God, so that they are in due course restored to their place; hence it is written, "And thy faithfulness is at night" (Ps. XCII, 3).'


AND THE EYES OF BOTH OF THEM WERE OPENED. R. Hiya says, their eyes were opened to the evil of the world, which they had not known hitherto. Then they knew that they were naked, since they had lost the celestial lustre which had formerly enveloped them, and of which they were now divested. AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES. They strove to cover themselves with the (delusive) images from the tree of which they had eaten, the so-called "leaves of the tree". AND THEY MADE THEMSELVES GIRDLES. R. Jose said: 'When they obtained knowledge of this world and attached themselves to it, they observed that it was governed by those "leaves of the tree". They therefore sought in them a stronghold in this world, and so made themselves acquainted with all kinds of magical arts, in order to gird themselves with weapons of those leaves of the tree, for the purpose of self-protection.' R. Judah said: 'In this way three came up for judgement and were found guilty, and the terrestrial world was cursed and dislodged from its estate on account of the defilement of the serpent, until Israel stood before Mount Sinai.' Afterwards God clothed Adam and Eve in garments soothing to the skin, as it is written, HE MADE THEM COATS OF SKIN ('or). At first they had had coats of light ('or), which procured them the service of the highest of the high, for the celestial angels used to come to enjoy that light; so it is written, "For thou hast made him but little lower than the angels, and crownest him with glory and honour" (Ps. VIII, 6). Now after their sins they had only coats of skin ('or), good for the body but not for the soul.

When they begat children, the first-born was the son of the (serpent's) slime. For two beings had intercourse with Eve, and she conceived from both and bore two children. Each followed one of the male parents, and their spirits parted. one to this side and one to the other, and similarly their characters. On the side of Cain are all the haunts of the evil species. from which come evil spirits and demons and necromancers. From the side of Abel comes a more merciful class. yet not wholly beneficial -- good wine mixed with bad. The right kind was not produced until Seth came, who is the first ancestor of all the generations of the righteous, and from whom the world was propagated.

From Cain come the shameless and wicked sinners of the world. R. Eleazar said: 'When Cain sinned. he was in great terror because he saw before him figures like armed warriors corning to kill him. When he repented. he said : BEHOLD THOU HAST DRIVEN ME OUT THIS DAY FROM THE FACE OF THE GROUND. AND FROM THY FACE SHALL I BE HID. By these words he meant: "I shall be kept away from my proper building." R. Abba said: 'The word "face" here has the same meaning as in the verse. "and he hid not his face from him" (Ps. XXII. 25). i.e. providential care. Consequently he said. WHOSOEVER FINDETH ME SHALL SLAY ME. Therefore THE LORD APPOINTED A SIGN FOR CAIN. This sign was one of the twenty-two letters of the Torah. and God set it upon him to protect him.'

R. Judah said: 'Cain rose up against Abel and killed him because he inherited his nature from the side of Samael, who brought death into the world. He was jealous of Abel on account of his female. as indicated by the words. "and it came to pass when they were in the field", the word "field" signifying woman.' On R. Hiya objecting that, according to the text. Cain was wroth because his offering was not accepted. R. Judah answered that this was a further reason. R. Judah further expounded the words. "If thou doest well. shall there not be an uplifting?" 'The word "uplifting",' he said, 'means the dignity which is due to a first-born. provided his actions warrant it. In the next clause. "If thou doest not well. sin coucheth at the door". this door [37a] is the door on high from which issue the chastisements for evil deeds in this world. The "sin" which couches at that door is the angel of death, who is ready to punish thee. The word "door" (petah, lit. opening) further contains an allusion to the New Year, the day of judgement, on which Adam was born.' "Unto thee is his desire", i.e. he will not be content until thou art destroyed. "And thou shalt rule over him": the word "thou" contains a mystic allusion to the Almighty, who is also called "Thou". There is a dictum that God is supreme only when the wicked are destroyed, but our text indicates that when the angel of death destroys them, God "rules over him" to prevent him from ruining the world. R. Judah, however, explained the words "thou shalt rule over him" to mean "through repentance".

R. Jose said: 'When the descendants of Cain spread through the world, they used to cut up the soil, and they had traits in common both with the upper and the lower beings.' R. Isaac said: 'When Uzza and Azael fell from the abode of their sanctity above, they saw the daughters of mankind and sinned with them and begat children. These were the Nefilim (giants), of whom it is said, THE NEFILIM WERE IN THE EARTH (Gen. VI, 4).' R. Hiya said: 'The descendants of Cain were "the sons of God" (Ibid. 2). For Cain was born from Samael and his aspect was not like that of other human beings, and all who came from his stock were called "sons of God".' R. Judah said that the Nefilim were also called so. THE SAME WERE THE MIGHTY MEN. There were sixty on the earth, corresponding to the number above, as it is written, "Threescore mighty men are about it" (S.S. III, 7). WHICH WERE OF OLD, THE MEN OF NAME. R. Jose saw in the word "name" an indication that they were from the upper world, while R. Hiya saw in the word me'olam ("of old" or "from the world") an indication that they were from the terrestrial world, and that from there God moved them.

R. Yesa asked the meaning of the words THIS IS THE BOOK OF THE GENERATIONS OF ADAM (Gen. V, I). Said R. Abba to him: 'There is here a very recondite allusion. According to the Rabbinical dictum, "three books are opened on New Year, one of the wholly righteous, [37b] etc." One is the supernal book from which issued the Whole, and from which issues also writing. The middle book unites the higher and the lower; it embraces all sides and is called the Written Torah of the first man. The third book is called that of the generations of man, and this is the book of the completely righteous.' IN THE DAY THAT GOD CREATED MAN IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD: for thereby indeed the whole was completed above and below, and both were established after one pattern. MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM: the one included in the other. R. Abba said: 'God did indeed send down a book to Adam, from which he became acquainted with the supernal wisdom. It came later into the hands of the "sons of God", the wise of their generation, and whoever was privileged to peruse it could learn from it supernal wisdom. This book was brought down to Adam by the "master of mysteries", preceded by three messengers. When Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden, he tried to keep hold of this book, but it flew out of his hands. He thereupon supplicated God with tears for its return, and it was given back to him, in order that wisdom might not be forgotten of men, and that they might strive to obtain knowledge of their Master. Tradition further tells us that Enoch also had a book, which came from the same place as the book of the generations of Adam.... [17] This is the source of the book known as "the book of Enoch". When God took him, He showed him all supernal mysteries, and the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden and its leaves and branches, all of which can be found in his book. Happy are those of exalted piety to whom the supernal wisdom has been revealed, and from whom it will not be forgotten for ever, as it says, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and his secret to make them know it."'


AND THE LORD SAID, MY SPIRIT SHALL NOT STRIVE WITH MAN FOR EVER, FOR THAT HE ALSO IS FLESH. R. Aha said: 'At that time the stream which perennially flows used to draw forth the celestial spirit from the tree of life and pour it into the tree which harbours death, and so the spirit was continued in the body of men for great length of days, until they turned out bad and inclined to sin. Then the celestial spirit departed from that tree at the moment of the soul's entry into the sons of men.' R. Eleazar said that the word beshagam (for that he) signifies Moses, who caused the moon to shine, and this enabled men to abide in the world for great length of days. AND HIS DAYS SHALL BE A HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS. This is an allusion to Moses, through whose agency the Law was given and who thus bestowed life on men from the tree of life. And in truth had Israel not sinned, they would have been proof against death, since the tree of life had been brought down to them. All this was through Moses, who is called beshagam, and hence we have learnt: "Moses did not die, but he was gathered in [38a] from the world, and caused the moon to shine", being in this respect like the sun, which also after setting does not expire, but gives light to the moon. According to another explanation we translate, "for that it, to wit, the spirit, is also flesh", i.e. it is long converted into flesh, in the sense of following the body and seeking the pleasures of this world.

R. Isaac said: 'The generations which followed in the steps of Seth were all pious and righteous. Subsequently, as mankind spread and multiplied, they learnt the arts of war, which they practised until Noah came and taught them the arts of peace and agriculture; for at first they used not to sow or reap, but afterwards they found this necessary, as it is written, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, etc. (Gen. VIII, 22).'

R. Eleazar said: 'God will one day re-establish the world and strengthen the spirit of the sons of men so that they may prolong their days for ever, as it is written, "For as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, etc." (Is. LXV, 22), and also, "He hath swallowed up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people shall he take away from off all the earth, for the Lord hath spoken it" (Ibid. XXV, 8).' [18] [39b]


IN THE BEGINNING. [19] R. Judah said: 'There were two houses, the first house and the second house, one higher and one lower. There are two he's, one higher and one lower; all, however, form only one. The higher beth opens the gates to every side, and when combined with reshith forms the "beginning" in the list of the component parts of the building.' R. Isaac said in the name of R. Eleazar: 'This bereshith is the comprehensive form in which all forms are embraced. This is the inner meaning of the words, "this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (Ezek. I, 28); to wit, the appearance in which the six others are discernible. Hence we analyse the word bereshith into bara shith (created six). When the six colours enter into this appearance, it makes itself ready to reflect them, and through them to keep the world going. Yet the credit for this must be ascribed not to this grade alone, but to all the six.' R. Jose quoted here the verse, The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land (S. S. II, 12). '"The flowers",' he said, 'allude to the six grades. The words "they appear on the earth" mean that they-are forms which are reflected by the grade so called. It is then that "the time of singing is come", to wit, of praise and laudation.' R. Abba said: 'The uppermost world is shrouded in mystery, and all its attributes likewise, because it forms a day separate from all other days. When it created and produced, it produced those other six. On account of its incomprehensibility, the Scripture opens with the word bereshith, "it created six", without saying what created. But when it came to the lower creation, it gave a name to the creator, who was now discoverable, and said: "Elohim created the heavens and the earth." Thus the first, which is the higher, remains shrouded in mystery, while the lower is disclosed, so that the work of the Holy One, blessed be He, should be ever both hidden and disclosed. Similarly, the holy name is also, in the esoteric doctrine, both hidden and disclosed.'


THE (eth) HEAVENS: the particle eth indicates that the lower heavens were also created for the lower world. Similarly, the word ve-eth in AND THE EARTH points to the lower earth and all its products after the supernal pattern.


Now THE EARTH WAS FORMLESS AND VOID, as we have explained. "The earth" here is the upper earth, which has no light of its own. It "was" at first in its proper state, but now "void and without form", having diminished itself and its light. Tohu (formlessness), bohu (void), "darkness", and "spirit" were the four elements of the world which were comprised in it. Hence, "the earth was formless and void and darkness and spirit". [45b]


AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHT, R. Isaac said: 'We learn from these words that God uprooted those shoots of which we have spoken [20] and replanted them; hence the expression "and there was light", implying that light had already existed.' R. Judah confirmed this idea from the verse "light is sown for the Zaddik" (Ps. XCVII, II), this being the one mentioned in the verse "Who aroused Righteousness (zedek) from the East, etc." (Is. XLI, 2).


AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT AND DIVIDED. Said R. Isaac: 'This implies, as we have explained, that he foresaw the works of the wicked and stored the light away.' R. Abba said: 'He saw its radiance flashing from one end of the world to the other, and concluded that it was better [46a] to store it away in order that sinners might not have the benefit of it.' R. Simeon said: 'The expression "God saw the light that it was good" means really "God decided that the light should be only good", that is, that it should never be an instrument of wrath (cf. "that it was good in the eyes of the Lord to bless Israel", Num. XXIV, I); and this is proved by the end of the verse, "And God divided the light from the darkness." For although He afterwards united light and darkness, yet this light continued to emanate from the supernal radiance, and through that radiance to bring gladness to all. This also is the Right Hand through which the most deeply graven letters [21] are crowned, as has been explained. The treasuring up of this primal light is referred to in the verse, "How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee" (Ps. XXXI, 20).'


AND THERE WAS EVENING AND THERE WAS MORNING, ONE DAY: evening from the side of darkness and morning from the side of light; and because they are joined together, the Scripture speaks of "one day". R. Judah said: 'The reason why it is written "and there was evening and there was morning" for each day is to show that there is no day without night and no night without day, and the two cannot be separated.' R. Jose said: 'The day in which the primal light emerged extended into all the other days; hence the word "day" is repeated with all of them.' R. Eleazar said: 'We learn this from the fact that the term "morning" is used in connection with all of them, and "morning" proceeds only from the side of the primal light.' R. Simeon said: 'The first day accompanies all the others, and all are embraced in it, to show that there is no break between them and they all merge into one another.' Another explanation of the words "let there be light" is: "let there be an extending of this light downwards, to form the angels, who were created on the first day, and who have permanent existence on the right side." Further, the word eth in the fourth verse may be taken to indicate that the "unclear mirror" was created along with the "clear mirror". R. Eleazar says that it points to the creation of all the angels, who proceed from the side of light and who all continue to shine as brightly as at first.


LET THERE BE A FIRMAMENT IN THE MIDST OF THE WATERS. R. Judah said: 'By this the "upper waters" were separated from the "lower waters", the firmament being an extending of the waters, as has been explained. Similarly, "let it divide", to wit, the "upper waters" from the "lower waters".'


AND GOD MADE THE FIRMAMENT: the word "made" indicates that God exercised upon it particular care, and invested it with great power. R. Isaac said: 'On the second day was created Gehinnom for sinners; on the second day, too, was created conflict. On the second day the work begun was not finished. and therefore the words "and it was good" are not used in connection with it. Not till the third day was the work of the second finished; hence in the account of that day we find twice the expression "that it was good", once in reference to its own proper work, and once in reference to that of the second day. On the third day the deficiency of the second day was made good: discord was removed on it, and mercy was extended to the sinners in Gehinnom, the flames of which were moderated. Hence the second day is embraced in and completed by the third.' While studying one day with R. Simeon. R. Hiya said to him: .'You say that light was on the first day and darkness on the second, and the waters separated and discord arose on it -- why was not the whole work finished on the first day, when the Right still comprised the Left ?' He answered: 'That is the very reason why there was discord, and hence it was necessary for the third day to intervene and to restore their amity.'


LET THE EARTH PUT FORTH GRASS: this indicates the union of the upper with the lower waters so as to bear fruit. The upper waters generate, and the lower call to them as the female to the male, because the upper waters are male and the lower female. R. Simeon said: 'All this takes place both above and below.' Said R. Jose, 'If so, seeing that we have posited Elohim hayyim (Jiving God) above, are we to posit plain Elohim below? Not so, but the truth is that generation is only below [46b] (according to our explanation of the words "these are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created (behibaream)", or, as we explain, "which were created with hi"), while the one above is the father of all; the other is a creation, and therefore it is the earth which brought forth products (toledoth), being made pregnant like a female by a male.' R. Eleazar said: 'All forces were latent in the earth from the first, but it did not bring forth its products till the sixth day, as it is written, "let the earth bring forth living soul". True, it is written that on the third day "the earth brought forth grass", but this only means that it brought its forces into a state of preparedness, and all its products remained latent in it till the due time. First it was "void and without form", then it was duly prepared and furnished with seeds and with grass, plants, and trees, and finally it put them forth. Similarly the luminaries did not emit their light till the due time.'


LET THERE BE LIGHTS IN THE FIRMAMENT OF THE HEAVEN. The omission of the vau from the word meoroth (so that it can be read meeroth (curses)) indicates the inclusion of the evil serpent which befouled the moon and separated it from the sun, thus causing the earth to be cursed (Gen. III, 17). The word yehi, being in the singular, shows that the word 'lights' refers to the moon, while 'the firmament of the heaven' refers to the sun. Thus the whole expression indicates that both were meant to be coupled together so as to illumine worlds both above and below, as shown by the expression 'above' ('al) the earth. All calculation (of time) is by the moon. R. Simeon said: 'Measurements and the determination of seasons and intercalary days are all made by the moon, and not by the higher spheres.' Said R. Eleazar to him: ' Is that so ? Do not our colleagues make all kinds of calculations and measurements (by the higher spheres)?' He answered, 'No. Calculation is made by the moon, and this is a basis for proceeding further.' R. Eleazar further objected that it is written 'and they shall be for signs'. R. Simeon answered that the word for signs (othath) is written defectively (showing that only one is meant), while the expression 'they shall be' alludes to the many phases of the moon, which make it as it were a storehouse full of various objects, though it is always the one moon which is the basis of reckoning. Consider this. There is a certain point which is the beginning of number, and which cannot be further analysed. There is one point above, unrevealed and unknowable, which is the starting-point for numbering all entities hidden and recondite. Corresponding to it there is a point below which is knowable and which is the starting-point for all calculation and numbering; here, consequently, is the place for all measurements and determinations of seasons and intercalary days and festivals and holy-days and Sabbaths. Israel who cleave to God reckon by the moon, and so they ascend above, as it is written, 'and ye who clave unto the Lord your God, etc.' (Deut. IV, 4).


LET THE WATERS TEEM WITH SWARM OF LIVING CREATURES. R. Eleazar said: 'We have already explained that these (lower) waters teemed and produced, like those above; and so it is agreed.' AND BIRDS TO FLY ABOVE THE EARTH. The form yeofef (to fly) is peculiar. R. Simeon said: 'There is here a mystic allusion. "Birds" refers to the angel Michael, of whom it is written, "And one of the Seraphim flew to me" (Is. VI, 6). "To fly" refers to Gabriel, of whom it is written, "The man Gabriel whom I had seen at first in a vision being caused to fly quickly." (Dan. IX, 21).' UPON THE EARTH: R. Abba says, 'This is Raphael (lit. healer of God), who is charged to heal the earth, and through whom the earth is healed so as to furnish an abode for man, whom also he heals of his maladies.' ON THE FACE OF THE FIRMAMENT OF THE HEAVEN: this is Uriel. (All these names can be found in the text.) Hence the text proceeds: AND GOD CREATED THE GREAT SEA-MONSTERS. Said R. Eleazar: 'These are the seventy great chieftains appointed for the seventy nations, and for this they were created, to be in control of the earth.' AND EVERY LIVING CREATURE THAT MOVETH: these designate Israel, whose [47a] souls actually are derived from the 'living' (hayah) of which we have spoken, and who are called 'one nation on the earth'. WHICH THE WATERS BROUGHT FORTH ABUNDANTLY AFTER THEIR KINDS. This designates those who study the Torah. AND EVERY WINGED FOWL AFTER ITS KIND: these are the righteous among them, in virtue of whom they are 'living soul'. According to another explanation, these are the angels sent as God's messengers into the world, of whom we have already spoken. R. Abba said that 'living soul' designates Israel because they are children to the Almighty, and their souls, which are holy, come from Him. From whence, then, come the souls of other peoples? R. Eleazar said: 'They obtain souls from those sides of the left which convey impurity, and therefore they are all impure and defile those who have contact with them.'


AND THE LORD SAID, LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH LIVING SOUL, ETC. This includes all the other animals (except man), each after its kind. R. Eleazar said: 'The repetition of the words "after its kind" confirms what we have said before, that "living soul" refers to Israel, who have holy living souls from above, and " cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth" to the other peoples who are not "living soul", but who are as we have said.'


LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS, i.e. partaking of six directions, compounded of all, after the supernal pattern, with limbs arranged so as to suggest the esoteric Wisdom, altogether an exceptional creature. 'Let us make man': the word adam (man) implies male and female, created wholly through the supernal and holy Wisdom. 'In our image, after our likeness': the two being combined, so that man should be unique in the world and ruler over all.


AND GOD SAW ALL (eth kol) THAT HE HAD MADE, AND BEHOLD, IT WAS VERY GOOD. Here the word 'very' makes good. the omission of the words 'that it was good' in the account of the second day. On the second day death was created, and, according to our colleagues, the expression 'very good' refers to death, 'And God saw, etc.' Assuredly He had seen all before, but the Scripture here indicates by the accusative particle' eth that God now saw also all the generations which were to be, and everything which was to happen in the world in each generation before it came into existence. 'Which he had made': these words indicate all the works of the creative period (recounted in the section Bereshith), in which was created the foundation and basis of all that was to be and come to pass in the world subsequently. God foresaw all, and placed all potentially in the work of the creation. The word ha-shishi (the sixth) here contains the definite article, which was not used in numbering the other days. This is to indicate that when the world was finished the male and female were united so as to form a single whole -- he with 'sixth', which is the foundation. 'Were finished': this indicates that they were completed in every detail; they were completed from every side, and fully equipped with everything.

R. Eleazar discoursed on the text: How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, thou hast wrought for them that put their trust in thee, before the sons of men (Ps. XXXI, 20). He said: 'God created man in the world and gave him the faculty to perfect himself in His service and to direct his ways so as to merit the enjoyment of that celestial light which God has hidden and reserved for the righteous, as it is written, "Eye has not seen, O Lord, besides thee what thou wilt do for him that waits for thee" (Is. LXIV, 3). It is through the Torah that man can make himself worthy of that light. For whoever studies the Torah every day is earning a share in the future world, and is even accounted a builder of worlds, because through the Torah the world has been built and completed; so the Scripture says, "The Lord founded the earth with Wisdom (i.e. the Torah), he established the heavens with Understanding" (Prov. III, 19), and again, "And I (the Torah) was a craftsman with him, and I was his delight every day" (Ibid. VIII, 30). Thus whoever studies the Torah completes the world and preserves it. Further, God made the world through a breath, and through a breath it is preserved-the breath of those who assiduously study the Torah, and still more the breath of school-children, when reciting their lesson. By "great goodness" in this verse is meant the stored-up blessing, and by "those that fear Thee", those that fear sin. "Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee": the implied object of "wrought" is the work of creation.' R. Abba says, it is the Garden of Eden, which God has cunningly wrought upon the earth after the supernal pattern for the righteous to seize and hold [47b]; hence it is written "before the sons of men", since this one is in the presence of men, while the other is in the presence of the holy angels. R. Simeon said: 'The Garden of Eden above is said to be "before the sons of men" because in it are gathered the righteous who perform the will of their Master'.