24th of TevetBiology

Kaf Dalet Tevet 5768 Farbrengen with Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh

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The nigun Keili Ata was sung
Lechayim, lechayim

Shne’ur: two lights

Today is the yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chassidut Chabad. The literal meaning of his first name, Shneur, is “two lights.” The Ba’al Shem Tov himself said that the soul of the Alter Rebbe came down into the world in order to unify the two aspects/lights of Torah, the concealed and the revealed. The simple understanding of this statement is that the concealed light of the Torah refers to Chassidut, the study of which, in the way of Chabad, makes it possible to comprehend the mysteries of the Zohar and the teachings of Kabbalah in a way that can nourish the soul with inner understanding. The Alter Rebbe brought the Kabbalah of the Ba’al Shem Tov to the entire world, especially in his classic text, the Tanya. As for the revealed light of the Torah, the Halachah, the Alter Rebbe was its greatest codifier, from his time to the present, the results of which we have as the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch. In this way, both lights of the Torah were unified in the person of the Alter Rebbe.

Two lights in the Tanya

An additional, more profound understanding of the Alter Rebbe's two lights is found in a discourse from the Rebbe. He notes that in the first printing of the Tanya there were only two parts, the Book of the Intermediaries and the Gate of Faith and Unification. The subject of the first part is how every individual can come to understand and feel that the entire Torah is close his mouth and his heart; the first part thus brings the Almighty close to every individual. The second part deals with the higher and lower unifications. The higher unification is how the world—brought by God into existence every (moment of every) day from nothingness—is null within the essence of His consciousness, above time and space. The lower unification is how the process of continuous recreation reflects, in our consciousness, the presence of the Creator within the context of time and space. The Rebbe explains that the first part of the Tanya is meant to bring Divinity, the light of God, into the heart of man, while the second part is meant to draw Divinity down to earth and reveal the presence of the Creator in all of His creations. He says that we can then view the first two parts of the Tanya as “two lights,” one concealed (in the heart of man) and one revealed (in the world at large). The Rebbe goes on to explain that even in the first part of the Tanya itself there are two lights, the light of the mind that illuminates the emotions of the heart, thereby revealing the innate light of the heart. (The Alter Rebbe’s second name, Zalman [Yiddish for Solomon], in Hebrew permutes to spell lizman, ”to time,” and thus can be seen to correspond to the second part of the Tanya that draws the two lights into the reality of time and space.)

In Sefer Yetizrah (the Book of Formation), reality is described as comprising 3 dimensions: world, time, and soul. Using this as a reference, we can say that the first part of the Tanya focuses on drawing Divinity into the soul dimension (the individual). The second part focuses on drawing the Divine into the world and time dimensions.

Two lights in man

The third verse of the Torah reads: ”And God said: ’Let there be light!’ And there was light.” So the very first time that light is mentioned in the Torah, two lights appear. There are many explanations in Kabbalah as to what the nature of each of these two lights is. The numerical value of the verse ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי אור , “And God said: ’Let there be light!’ And there was light,” the first saying of creation, is exactly the same as the value of ויאמר אלהים נעשה אדם , “And God said: ’Let us make man,’” the saying which brings creation to its culmination on the sixth day. In the words of Sefer Yitzirah, “the end is wedged into the beginning.” The verb “make” (“And God said: ’Let us make man’”) implies rectification and perfection, as we shall see later. Thus there is no greater rectification of man than to connect the two primordial lights of the first day of creation together.1

Between Chanukah and Purim

The month of Tevet is in the middle of the time period between Chanukah and Purim. [Within this time period are the weeks of Shovavim, so named for the initials of the Torah portions read (ShemotVa’eiraBoBeshalachYitro, Mishpatim), which according to the Kabbalists is the time for rectifying our sexual conduct.] Once we understand the significance of this entire time period, we will better understand the significance of the 24th of Tevet.

If we look in the Kedushat Levi, the collection of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev’s teachings, we see that he dwells on the point of Chanukah and he explains in length what the difference between Chanukah and Purim is. By looking at his teachings, we can come to more fully understand the essence of the time period between

Chanukah and Purim.

It is explained in Chassidut that the common theme of these two holidays, established by the sages, is that the miracles that they commemorate happened within a natural guise—the miracle is concealed within nature. This is in contradistinction to the holidays from the Torah which commemorate the supernatural events and revealed miracles that occurred in the exodus from Egypt. The Kedushat Levi though explains that within the category of concealed miracles, like Chanukah and Purim, there are two types. He says that in Chanukah the miracle occurred because we here below acted with tremendous self sacrifice and that our actions joined with God’s help from above. Still, it was our awakening from below that drew down the light of the miracle. But, in Purim, though there was some awakening from below, it was not at all at the same level as the amount of self sacrifice found in the acts of the Hasmoneans. The greatness of Chanukah is therefore the self-sacrifice of human beings. In Purim there was also self sacrifice which came into play when Jews did not convert for an entire year even though it seemed certain that all the Jews would be killed. Nonetheless it was not the same thing at all.

What follows from this? On the one hand we might think that the miracle of Chanukah was greater because we took part and contributed to the miracle happening. But theKedushat Levi says that the miracle of Purim is greater in the sense that it was much clearer that the miracle came from God, from above and that it was a miracle. In other words, the Kedushat Levi’s conclusion is that the miracle of Chanukah is more concealed within nature, more enclothed than the miracle of Purim.

Even though the sages say that the nature of a male is to go out and conquer, but that it is not the nature of a woman to do so, there is an amazing story that is related to Chanukah, that of Judith who killed Holofernes. In Hebrew, “Judith” is pronounced Yehudeet, and is also the feminine form of Yehudee, meaning “Jew.” So, Judith is also the feminine form of “Jewish.” The Arizal writes that Judith was a reincarnation of Ya’el who killed Sisra, the commander of the Canaanite forces in the time of Devorah and Barak.2 Like Ya’el before her, Judith entrapped Holofernes. Yet, there is a crucial difference between the two. In order to entrap Sisra, Ya’el had to commit a sin, about which the sages say that a sin for the sake of Heaven is greater than a good deed that is not for the sake of Heaven.3 But, Judith did not need this; she was able to entrap Holofernes without committing a sin.

Apart from the fact that Judith is the female hero of Chanukah and we are now in the time period between Chanukah and Purim, we are mentioning Judith for another reason. In Hebrew, the gematria of Judith, יהודית is 435, which is also the exact numerical value of today’s date, the Alter Rebbe’s birthday: 24th of Tevet, or כד טבת . In addition, 435 is equal to r29, meaning the sum of all integers from 1 to 29. The initials of כד טבת equal 29! So there is special cause to study about Judith and her Hebrew form, Yehudeet today.

We have already mentioned that Judith is associated with Chanukah, but she is also connected to Purim. The hero of Purim is Moderchai the Jew. Mordechai is the first person who was not from the tribe of Judah called a Jew, Mordechai the Yehudee. The sages explain that from that time and on, a person who completely denies idolatry is called a Jew (not just someone from the tribe of Judah). So this whole period of time between Chanukah and Purim can be described as the time between Judith and Jew, or in Hebrew, between Yehudeet and Yehudee, the feminine and masculine forms of “Jew.” In gematria, the sum of Jew and Judith is 470, which is also the numerical value of “’Let there be light’ and there was light!” יהי אור ויהי אור , the two types of light, the masculine and feminine types of light that we mentioned earlier and also the numerical value of נעשה אדם , something that we will turn to in the second half of today’s talk.4

To tie things together, we have now seen that the miracle of Chanukah is more feminine, because it came as a result of our awakening below, which is called feminine waters in Kabbalah, and was therefore more fully enclothed in nature, which is also feminine. The miracle of Purim was more masculine because it was mostly an awakening from above, called masculine waters in Kabbalah and was also therefore more revealed and contrary to nature.

Judith as the model Jewish female warrior

Let us return to Judith. On Shabbat was the yahrzeit (the day of passing) of Maimonides (20th of Tevet). Once it was thought by mistake that Maimonides’ yahrzeit was on the 24th of Tevet. Even though this was a mistake, it tells us that there is a strong connection between Maimonides and the Alter Rebbe and therefore as we shall see between Maimonides and Judith. In the generation of the Magid, people described the Alter Rebbe as having the mind of Maimonides.

In the Yad, Maimonides’ codification of Jewish law, Hilchot Melachim are laws that are most relevant for us today because they deal with the subject of Jewish monarchy and our task in this generation is to renew the monarchy with the coming of the Mashiach. In these laws, Maimonides writes that there are conflicts, wars between Israel and its enemies, that the Torah commands us to engage in. According to Maimonides the wars of the Hasmoneans were such wars commanded from the Torah, because we have to defend ourselves against our enemies and not allow them to conquer our land and prohibit our Torah observance. Maimonides writes that in such a war even a groom and a bride have to leave their wedding canopy in order to join in battle. The different commentaries throughout the generations tried to understand this bewildering statement, because it is common knowledge that only men participate in war, as the sages say: “It is the manner of a man to conquer, but not the manner of a woman to conquer.” There are some commentaries who propose that Maimonides means to say that the woman’s role is to provide support for the war effort, for instance by bringing food, supplies, etc. to the soldiers. But, today’s Rabbis say that even this the woman should not do. They suggest a reading of the halachah brought by Maimonides: If the groom leaves the wedding to go to war, the bride simply is told to leave her wedding canopy because without the presence of the groom there is no reason for her to be there.

But, there is one Medieval commentary, the Meiri, who says that this statement should indeed be understood literally. Except, that to include a woman in combat is not a good idea, not because it is not modest, but because she is likely to have more fear than a man and that in the face of physical combat and bloodshed she might run away. And so, even a woman who wants to enlist in the army of the Mashiach, should be persuaded not to. So what then is the meaning of this halachah? The Meiri answers that Maimonides is referring to acts like that of Judith. Every woman should think and plan a way to physically help save the Jewish people, as, for instance, by using her power of seduction to kill the head of the enemy’s army. This is what the bride should be thinking of when she is under her wedding canopy, if there is a call to war. It is worthwhile to look in the Meiri himself to see how he explains this.

Judith in the Bible

When we look in the Bible, we find that the name Judith appears only once. It was a made up name that Esau gave to his wife in order to convince his parents that she was a follower of what is called dat Yehudeet, Jewish religion. Other than that, Judith appears 6 more times, and in all of these cases it means “the spoken Hebrew language”5 (this accounting was brought down originally by Rebbe Tzadok of Lublin). In the Bible the modern word that we use to describe the Hebrew language, Ivreet, is not used, rather this word Yehudeet is used.

Esau is likened to a pig that stretches out its hooves to convince people that it is kosher, while hiding the fact that it does not chew its cud, making it not kosher. Similarly, Esau’s wife Judith symbolizes an impure shell or attire that is donned by a person who for various reasons wants to dishonestly pass as a Jew.

Since, Judith is also the name of the spoken Hebrew language in the Bible, there is a question of whether spoken Hebrew, e.g. Modern Hebrew, needs clarification (ברור ). So, historically, we have that first this was the name of a woman, then the name of spoken Hebrew, and then finally, in the Oral Tradition, Judith is the name of another rectified and holy woman.

Jewish custom

We mentioned the notion of dat Yehudeet, which can loosely be translated as “Jewish religion” or “Jewish custom.” The Mishnah in tractate Ketubot6 explains that dat yehudeet consists of those things that if a woman does not keep them she can be divorced without the husband owing her her Ketubah. The Mishnah actually mentions two such bodies of customs or laws, dat Moshe (Mosaic custom or religion) and dat Yehudeet. The word dat, which we have been translating as religion, law, or custom, is found in the verse “…On His right, the fire of dat [law or custom], for them.”7

In passing, we recall that the Ba’al Shem Tov said that he drew down his daughter’s soul and name, Odel (אדל ), from the initials of this phrase: אש דת למו . As is known from the many stories about her, Odel was a prophetess. The Ba’al Shem Tov’s great grandson, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, writes8 that there are three different types of woman: an evil woman, a wise woman, and a prophetess, which correspond to the 70 languages of the nations, Aramaic, the language of translation, and the Holy Tongue, the language of the Bible, respectively. All this of course deepens the connections we have seen.

What is the difference between dat Moshe and dat Yehudeet? When a woman does not keep the first it means that she is directly causing her husband, on purpose, to commit transgressions against the commands of the Torah. For instance if she cooks him non-kosher food and tells him it is kosher, or if she is ritually impure and tells him that she is pure, etc.

The latter, dat Yehudeet, pertains to issues that are connected to modesty, different things that Jewish woman over the generations, took upon themselves to keep. These are the customs of modesty that make up the special mark of a Jewish woman. For instance, even if a woman covers her hair somewhat, but the covering is not connected strongly, and she goes out this way into the street, or if she demands intercourse so loudly that the neighbors can hear, or that she bad-mouths her husband’s father in front of him, all of these are examples of not keeping Jewish custom, the good customs of Jewish woman as pertains to modesty. This is how these two terms are used in a legal context.

Principles of faith

But, if we look in Maimonides’ commentary to the 10th chapter of Sanhedrin, we see that he uses the idiom dat Yehudeet in reference to the belief in the resurrection of the dead. It is from this chapter in the Talmud that Maimonides’ formulated his doctrine of principles of faith. Many of Maimonides’ contemporaries did not agree with his entire approach, while others argued on the correct number and enumeration of the principles. The Sefer Ha’ikarim for instance disputed Maimonides on both points. He argues that it is not true that whoever does not believe in the principles he outlines is a heretic and has in essence been cast out of the Jewish fold. He also in the end states that there are only three principles of faith, not thirteen.9 In any case, as far as the resurrection of the dead goes, there is not much that even the Sefer Ha’ikarim can dispute, because even if it were not for Maimonides we would know that a person who does not believe in it will not merit to be resurrected. This is stated clearly in the first mishnah of the 10th chapter of Sanhedrin:

All of Israel have a part in the World to Come…. And the following do not have a part in the World to Come: He who says that the source of the resurrection of the dead is not to be found in the Torah, and that the Torah is not from Heaven, and an Epicurean.

The belief in the resurrection of the dead is thus truly central. There are those who ask, what if someone follows the Shulchan Aruch a hundred percent. He also believes in the resurrection, but he thinks it is not stated in the Torah but rather a tradition handed down by the sages. Why should such a person not have a part in the World to Come? This is a very important question, and we will give one answer for it later but, this is what the mishnah tells us.

It is well known that Maimonides spends a lot of time in the Guide questioning whether it is necessary for a person to believe that the matter of the physical world was created ex nihilo, meaning out of nothing and did not always exist, as was the belief of Aristotle and most of the Greek philosophers. He comes to the conclusion that if Aristotle would have proven this, then he, Maimonides, would have reinterpreted the Torah according to its homiletic rules so that the Torah would agree with this proof.10 This sounds very far-fetched, but this is what Maimonides says. On this point the author of Sefer Ha’ikarim writes that because Maimonides did not include creation ex nihilo among the thirteen principles of faith, then in his opinion a person who does not believe in it is not to be considered a heretic. But since this is an important article of Jewish belief, nonetheless, the Sefer Ha’ikarim places it into a new category, which he calls: dat yehudeet! It does not appear that he ever mentions that Maimonides himself used this same idiom, datyehudeet, to describe the principle of the resurrection. So now we have a second meaning of dat yehudeet: principles of Jewish faith.

Everything we have just said should serve as food for thought and the reason we are mentioning this today is again because יהודית Judith-Yehudeet is equal to the gematria of today’s date the 24th of Tevet, כד טבת . So today is the day to talk about all those things that have to do with dat yehudeet. Indeed, the connection with the Alter Rebbe is clear, because his goal and task in life was to bring these pillars of faith into the mind and heart of every person.

Faith and modesty

In any event, we now have two definitions for dat yehudeet, which it is very tempting to simply translate as “Jewish religion”: 1) the customs of modesty for women and 2) principles of faith.

Let’s put this in perspective: To believe that the world was created from nothing and all the more so, to believe as the Ba’al Shem Tov explained that the world is recreated again at every moment, this is the Jewish religion. [Maimonides did not hold from this idea of continuous recreation. In fact, he ridiculed and considered foolish anyone who thought this way.]

How do faith and modesty relate to one another? What is the connection between them?

The Rebbe Rashab writes that belief in the continuous recreation of reality corresponds to the lower surrounding aspect of the soul, the level of the “living one” (chayah). The living one hovers over the mind and is described in Kabbalah as “touching and not touching” it. Because of this, a person who rectifies and purifies his heart can almost sense and see the recreation of reality at every moment. There are also principles of faith that correspond to the highest level of the soul, the singular one, the yechidah. The faith in resurrection falls under this category. Based on the verse, “A tzadik lives by his faith,” Chassidut explains that each of the two surrounding aspects of the soul, the chayah and the yechidah holds on to a different pillar of faith.11 In any case, the more a person senses the continuous recreation of the world, the more he or she is entering the essence of dat yehudeet, the Jewish religion. Likewise, modesty is something that a person has to have an inner sense for, an inner instinctual sense that guides her in how to be modest. Why is this? Because as its essence, being modest is emulating God who is modest too (always concealing His Presence within the clothing of nature), which is why we need faith in the first place. If God were to reveal Himself clearly, we would not need faith in the same way that we need it now. It is because of God’s modesty that some of the strongest realizations of God’s Presence and Providence can only be reached through faith. To develop a sense of modesty one has to emulate God’s own modesty.

Indeed, we find that in the Zohar modesty and faith are clearly connected in the part called Sifra Detzni’oota, which means the “Book of Modesty.” The modesty in its title is a reference to the unknowable head of the crown, which in Kabbalah comes from the highest head of the supernal crown, the source of faith in the soul.

Resurrection in the Torah

Let us now focus on the relevance of all of this to us today. Our parshah this week isparshat Va’eira. It begins with these verses:

God spoke to Moses, and He said to him, "I am GOD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob with [the name] Almighty God, but [by] My name Havayah, I did not become known to them. And also, I established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their dwellings in which they dwelt.

How do these verses relate directly to our topic? As we explained, the 10th chapter of Sanhedrin begins with the topic of the resurrection of the dead. The sages say that the source of our belief in the resurrection of the dead is to be found in the written Torah, i.e., the Bible. If you count, you will find that the Talmud brings exactly 22 verses as proof that the resurrection of the dead is from the Torah. As we shall see the opening verses of our parshah, parshat Va’eira contain the first proof (in the order of the Torah) that the concept of the resurrection is from the Torah.

In passing, let us mention that today resurrection of the dead is also connected with the topic of eternal life, a topic that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was fond of tying together with the resurrection. We will explain this in more detail later on.

In any event, these 22 verses divide as follows: 9 from the Five Books of Moses, 5 from the Prophets, and 8 from the Writings. As we saw above, Maimonides uses the mishnahdescribing the requirement to believe in the resurrection of the dead as a source for all of his 13 Principles of Faith. Thus, all 13 Principles of Faith have their source in the belief in the resurrection of the dead. The Komarna Rebbe corresponds the thirteen principles of faith, to the 13 garments (tikunim) of the beard of Arich, one of the central topics in theZohar and the Kabbalah of the Arizal.12,13 Following this correspondence, the 13th principle, faith in the resurrection of the dead, parallels the 13th attribute of God’s mercyונקה (pronounced venakeh).14 Venakeh, in its most literal sense, refers to God cleansing sin from the body, creating an immortal body that does not perish, the state of being in the World to Come following the resurrection of the dead. Venakeh is the last of the 13 principles of mercy. The words following venakeh in the verses enumerating the principle of mercy are לא ינקה , meaning “He will not cleanse” referring therefore to a person who does not believe in the resurrection of the dead and will therefore not experience it! In Kabbalah, vanakeh is also the source of the mother principle (Eema), which itself corresponds to the World to Come.

As mentioned, in the order of the Torah, the first verse that is brought as a proof for the origin of the resurrection of the dead in the Torah is the third verse of parshat Va’eira. God says: “…I established My covenant with them [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] to give them the land of Canaan.” The Talmud15 focuses on the word “[to give] them” because it literally means that God will give, in the future, the Land of Canaan to the patriarchs. But, since they have already passed away, this implies that they will have to be resurrected in order for God to keep His covenant with them. Incidentally, this word “them” is the 29th word of the parshah. Recall that the gematria of כד טבת  (the 24th of Tevet) and יהודית (Judith) is 435, or r29!

So, the first time we hear about resurrection is in the 29th word of the second parshah of the second book of the Torah, Exodus. What this implies is that we can learn the entire book of Genesis and not know anything about the resurrection.

The second verse, following the order of the Torah, brought as a proof for the resurrection being from the Torah is in the fourth parshah of the Book of Exodus,parshat Beshalach.16 The song of the sea begins with the introductory verse: “At that time, Moshe and the Jewish people will sing this song….”17 It does not say “Moshe and the Jewish people sang,” it says “At that time, Moshe… will sing” in future tense, again implying that in the future Moshe Rabbeinu will sing this song with the Jewish people. This verse is the first verse in the Torah following the drowning of the Egyptians in the waters of the Red Sea and thus completing the plagues inflicted by God upon Egypt. Thus, we see that the resurrection of the dead surrounds the Torah’s description of the plagues of Egypt and the exodus from Egypt.

Resurrection and redemption

Returning to parshat Va’eira, from the fact that the parshah begins with the verses teaching us about the resurrection of the dead, we understand that it is the most important message to the generation of the redemption from Egypt. Without knowing about the resurrection it would not have been possible for the Jewish people to be redeemed from their slavery. Since our generation is also the generation of the redemption from this, our final exile, it follows that for us to be redeemed speedily, faith in the resurrection of the dead is key.

To understand this, we first have to explain that the sages say that if there is some calamity that is about to befall a Jew, God first provides the remedy before giving the affliction. Now, here we see something surprising: that even when God is about to afflict non-Jews with a calamity, in this case the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians, first he provides the Jewish people with a remedy, in this case: faith in the resurrection.

Earlier we asked why is it so important to believe that the source for our faith in the resurrection of the dead is the Torah. Perhaps the deepest answer to this question is that the Torah itself is the source of the resurrection of the dead. This is an alternate reading of the phrase stated in the mishnah: תחית המתים מן התורה , meaning literally, “The resurrection of the dead is from the Torah.” The power of resurrection comes from the Torah. Without the Torah there can be no resurrection, because as the sages say: “It is the dew of the Torah that gives life” (טל תורה מחייהו ). At the burning bush God told Moshe Rabbeinu that once they would be freed from Egypt they would come to worship Him at Mt. Sinai. The entire purpose of the exodus from Egypt is the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, and the giving of the Torah was the giving of the resurrection of the dead.

Since we are already talking about the exodus and the plagues, let us mention that contrary to the miracle of Purim and Chanukah that were relatively concealed within natural events, the miracles in Egypt were all greatly revealed and wreaked havoc on nature. The purpose of these miracles was not to be enclothed within natural events, but rather to show that God is above nature and able to defer its laws. In all, we now have four levels of nature and miracles, which together correspond to the four letters of God’s essential Name, Havayah:

letter of Havayah God’s actions holiday


revealed miracles (suspension of nature)18 Pesach (Passover)


partially concealed miracles Purim


concealed miracles Chanukah


nature Rosh Hashanah

So it turns out that the time period between Chanukah and Purim is the period that mediates between on the one hand the creation of the world on Rosh Hashanah based on natural laws, and the revealed miracles of the month of Nisan and the suspension of natural laws on the other. In the letters of Havayah, this is the unification of the vav with the first hei, or in other words, the unifying of the heart with the mind, the emotional with the intellectual, the entire program of the Alter Rebbe’s teachings.

Belief in the resurrection reveals Mashiach

Now, returning to what the moral of all this is for us. In order to come out of the darkness of our exile, what is the main category of faith that we have to strengthen? We might think that the most important principle of faith is the 12th, the belief in the coming of Mashiach. But, here we see from the Talmud that the entire exodus is surrounded by belief in the resurrection of the dead.

The sages say that thanks to their faith, the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt. Faith in what? The sages also say that in the merit of righteous women they were redeemed from Egypt. But these two sayings exactly correspond to the two categories ofdat yehudeet that we saw earlier: faith and women’s modesty. Since Maimonides places belief in the resurrection of the dead in the category of dat yehudeet this implies therefore that even more than faith in the coming of Mashiach, we need to have faith in the resurrection.

Placing this into the framework of the Book of Exodus, we see that first there had to be belief in Moshe Rabbeinu as the redeemer which is what the first parshahparhsatShemot is about. But parshat Shemot ends on something of a sour note—it seems that the redemption is further than ever. But the next parshahparshat Va’eira—which describes the actual beginning of the redemption with the plagues inflicted on Egypt—begins with the necessity of having faith in the resurrection.

Similarly today, to know that the redemption is coming we have to have faith in the coming of the Mashiach, which is the faith that the Lubavitcher Rebbe made a point of instilling in our entire generation. Everybody today feels and realizes that the redemption is very near. But, to get the process moving, to jump start it, we need to focus on increasing and strengthening our faith in the resurrection of the dead, which as we stated is in the Torah.

So, now we will dedicate the second half of this evening to the topic of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life, two very close topics.›  ›  ›

Lechayim, lechayim… to eternal life.

The Alter Rebbe’s nigun Kol Dodi was sung.

In a regular year there are 70 days between Chanukah and Purim. In a leap year, when we add another month to the calendar, like this year, there are 100 days. In a regular year, the 24th of Tevet is the 21st day of this period, and then Purim is 49 days later. Since 70 = 10 · 7 and 21 = 3 · 7 and 49 = 7 · 7, what this means is that the 24th ofTevet is the day that connects the 21 days that correspond to the 3 intellectual sefirot, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge with the 7 seven sefirot of the emotions and habits. The first three and last seven sefirot constitute the two main lights of the soul that shine within the body; so, once again the Alter Rebbe connects two lights, Shnei’or, together.

The study of Kabbalah under the Alter Rebbe

Now, it is well known that the Alter Rebbe’s students were divided into three classes based on their mastery of Torah. Those in the first class knew all of the revealed Torah: the Mishnah, the Talmud, and all the Halachic rulings. Those in the second class also knew all of Kabbalah: Zohar and the writings of the Arizal. And those in the third class also knew all of the philosophical works. The highest of all the philosophical works was (and is) of course Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed. The tradition of dedicating time to study the Guide we know was part of the regiment of study that the Rebbe theTzemach Tzedek had with his son the Rebbe Moharash for a number of years. TheTzemach Tzedek wrote a book called Sefer Hachakirah specifically for this purpose.

The Alter Rebbe instructed those interested in joining the second class to begin the study of Kabbalah with the 7th and final part (called heichal) of Etz Chaim. This part of theEtz Chaim, titled Heichal Abiya, explains many of the most basic principles of studying the Kabbalah of the Arizal.


One of the principles explained in chapter 1 of the first gate of this part is that when considering the different models that contain four levels, e.g. the four Worlds, or the four elements of the Torah (cantillation marks, vowel signs, letter embellishments, and letters) or what we will focus on, the four taxonomical levels of creatures in the world: inanimate, plants, animals, and speaker (i.e., man), whenever we consider these models we should be sensitive to the intermediates that connect every two levels:

In all these examples of four aspects (or levels), there is always an inclusive aspect that is an inclusive exemplar of everything in a particular level, and it itself is an intermediate that connects that level with the level above it. For example, the naturalists have written that between the inanimate and the plants are the coral (called almogim, in Hebrew). Between plants and animals it is the Adonei Hasadeh [lit. the master of the field], which is mentioned in the tractate of Kilayim19 and has the shape of a dog—it grows from the earth and is connected by a cord-like root through which it receives sustenance and if this cord is severed it dies. And, between animals and man there is the monkey.

The final words of the quoted passage immediately awaken in us a preliminary and unrectified association with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Still, there is something to this association which we are going to investigate.

Monkey see, monkey do

We have always taught that the starting point for investigating the relationship between monkey and man is a midrash in which the sages tell as that after murdering his brother Abel, Cain’s offspring, were transformed from men into monkeys. Today we would say that they devolved into monkeys. From here we explicitly see that the sages accept the idea that a human being can become a monkey. If one can devolve from a human into a monkey, we may conjecture that the sages would also agree that it is possible to evolve from a monkey into a human.

Since the sages are not biologists in the limited sense of the term they are not necessarily focusing strictly on the physical mechanism at play. What do they mean when they say that the descendants of Cain became monkeys? To begin to understand what they mean, we need to first see what the monkey symbolizes. The sages say that compared to Sarah’s beauty, all other women are “like a monkey before a human.” The monkey is a copycat: “monkey see, monkey do.” It only mimics human actions. The Hebrew word for “monkey” is kof (קוף ). There are people who argue that the word “copy” itself stems from this Hebrew word, kof! Everybody today is into copying. Technology is being used to produce truly lifelike copies of actual objects. In Kabbalah, the source of all copying is in the part of the crown called Atik, which in Hebrew means to copy. What Atik first and foremost copies is the image of God into our physical reality. A copy of God, as the Arizal continues to explain, is what Adam was before he sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge.

Resurrection from dust

Let us return to the beginning of Sanhedrin and to the discussion of the resurrection of the dead. The Talmud relates a number of stories of non-Jews who asked the sages for proof of the resurrection of the dead. Perhaps the most important proof that they brought was the verse from Isaiah: “Wake up and cheer, you who dwell in the dust.”20 The beginning of this same verse is “Your dead will live, their bodies will rise.” Clearly this is a very strong proof that the resurrection is prophesized by Isaiah.

Still, someone there in Sanhedrin asks: Does this verse really mean that God will take dust and reconstitute it into a full-fledged human being? Aren’t these people dust? How can dust become a human being? The answer is that this is a case of major and minor reasoning.21 The major proposition is that God initially created Adam from the dust of the earth. So if God did it in order to create man, the minor proposition is that of course He can do it again in order to recreate man. Said in the style of another passage in the Talmud: if dust that was not yet alive was used to create a living human-being, then all the more so that dust that has already been alive at one time (in the body of some living human) can be recreated as a human being.

This verse from Isaiah—“Awaken and cheer those who dwell in the dust”—tells us that the resurrection of the dead is specifically related to the aspect of dust and therefore to the second account of creation in Genesis where we find that man was created from dust: “God formed Adam, dust from the earth.” This verse also contains the first use of the verb “to form” in the Torah. In the first account of creation, only the verbs “to create,” and “to make” are found. Let’s take a moment to see what this means. These three verbs, create, form, and make (or, literally “act”) correspond to the three lower Worlds of the basic model in Kabbalah of four Worlds. So what we find is that in the first account of creation there is reference only to the Worlds of Creation and Action, but no reference to the World of Formation.

This has another implication. In Ecclesiastes it is said that everything was made out of dust, even the sun: “Everything comes from dust and everything returns to dust.”22 Here the reference is to the primordial dust, the Greek hyle,23 not the actual physical dust on Earth. In any case, what we learn is that formation has to do with the dust of the Earth. As an aside let us mention that because “formation” is now so strongly linked with dust, we now have a new kavanah (intent) for the blessing that we say after going to the bathroom: “Asher Yatzar.” Since the verb is “formed” it means that when you say this blessing we should experience yourself as low as the dust of the Earth. Apparently, experiencing oneself as having come from dust and destined to return to dust is a key ingredient in health, which is what we say in this blessing: “Blessed are You God, Master of the universe, who formed man with wisdom… Blessed are You God, who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.”

The potter’s wheel and the world of formation

Now, what about the first account? In the first account of creation the verse is: “God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” As Nachmanides explains, the word “to create” in Hebrew means ex nihilo: creation out of nothing. Rashi, who gives the most literal and straightforward interpretation of the Torah, explains that the second account of creation is simply a more detailed account of the first. Since this is the case, are we to understand, according to Rashi, that man was created (first account) out of dust (second account)? So was man created from dust or was he created ex nihilo? We are beginning to touch upon a very important point here.

When we say that man was formed out of dust, we have an image of man being created like a pot is created on the potter’s wheel. It is the way that the midrash describes that God took earth and added water until it could be formed into a form. This is a very different account from man being created ex nihilo—i.e., from nothing at all. Indeed, the second account offers a very different description, one that is far more humbling, because we are formed from the dust of the earth. This is the mindset of the World of Formation. The World of Formation, which we will explain in more length later shows us that there are indeed two possible ways to look at man’s creation, either something from nothing—ex nihilo, as in the World of Creation—or, something from something (close to it, i.e., somewhat resembling it) as in the World of Action. The World of Formation acts as an intermediary between these two extremes. Man being formed from dust is an intermediate origin of man, between the image of man being created ex nihilo in one moment and out of nothingness and between an image of man as evolving from lesser beings such as a monkey. There are many allusions to man’s origin as in formation, for instance “There is no God like our God,” where the word for God in this verse (tzur) is cognate to the word for former, or artisan.

Three origins

What we are getting to is that the Torah wants us to understand that there are three different approaches to understanding the origin of man. The first is creation from nothing, a concept that we are familiar with. As we explained, by the Ba’al Shem Tov this does not mean a one-time event of creation, but a recurring event, at every single moment in time, in which man is created from nothingness.

But, there is also formation. Formation is a process in which something is formed from something that does not at all resemble the final product. An example of forming is exactly what we have been discussing: taking dust and adding water and then somehow turning this into a human being. Clearly a totally new form (both physical and spiritual) has been added.

The third origin of man is revealed through making (Asiyah). It is important to understand the difference between “making” (Asiyah, the consciousness of the World of Action) and “forming” (Yetzirah, the consciousness of the World of Formation). Making simply means taking something that is not yet complete and completing it—because the literal meaning of “to make” in Hebrew is “to complete.” But this finishing process does not mean changing it or reforming it. Formation, on the other hand, means forming something by changing its form. So for instance the wet clay on the potter’s wheel is nothing like the finished, baked, clay pot that is the end product. When “making” something, you can clearly recognize the relationship between the initial state and the finished product. An example of “making” (Asiyah) is the commandment of circumcision. You take an almost complete human being, but not yet quite complete, and with one act you bring him to his completion, to his final state.24 Making can be thought of as enhancement.25 So, as much as you have enhanced there is no new form here. This is clearly the Torah equivalent to evolutionary process. Another example of making is found in the relationship between a husband and wife. The sages note that: “A woman does not make a bond except for to the one who made her into a vessel [meaning: the one who first 'knew' her].” Making her into a vessel does not mean adding a new form. She still is the same woman and does not change her appearance. Rather, it means making her in the simplest sense of bringing her to her final and ultimate capacity to be able to bear children.

These are three very basic and key concepts that we should keep in mind whenever we read Chassidic writings:

  • Creating – something from nothing
  • Forming – something from something (by adding a new form)
  • Acting or Making – something from something (by enhancing w/o adding new form)

The Torah is one and in the two accounts of creation it uses all three of these words to describe the origin of man. Man is described as created, as formed, and as made! How can all three co-exist?

Mind, heart, and habits

As explained in Chassidut, the three Worlds, Creation, Formation, and Action correspond to different faculties of our consciousness. Creation corresponds to our intellect (brain); Formation corresponds to our emotions (heart); and, Action to our habits (feet). Therefore it follows that:

  • The mind and its senses (sight and hearing) understand processes involving creationex nihilo—something from nothing.
  • The heart, which is what the Torah is referring to when it says Adam was formed from dust26 understands processes involving changes of form—formation. In Chassidut the heart is always described as the arena in which new forms are drawn.
  • The habits, which correspond to the World of Action, function through processes of gradated enhancement. All our development in terms of the goodness of our actions is something that evolves slowly over time. Every night, before going to sleep the great Chassidic master, Rebbe Zusha, would say to God: “Oh Almighty! Today Zusha [his behavior] was not good, tomorrow Zusha will be good.” Habits are continually improving, so they are attuned to the consciousness of the World of Action, to something coming from something in the sense of enhancement. To put it bluntly, each of us has to tell him or her self: “Today, I acted like a monkey! Tomorrow, I will act like a human being.” Another example of this is the famous story told by Rav Sa’adya Ga’on that every day I should learn enough new Torah so that I can say that compared to today, yesterday I was like a brute that is not conscious of God at all.

Let’s rephrase this in another way. Since these three types of processes correspond to another triad of Chassidic/Kabbalistic terms: inspiration, enclothement, and evolution,27we can say that the mind is always being inspired; the heart has to be re-formed (or, refitted with an all new wardrobe) all the time; while our habits should improve or evolve from day to day.

So before we apply this directly to science, let us summarize what we have seen. If you start your study of Kabbalah per the Alter Rebbe’s instructions, the first thing that will catch your eye is that between the animal and man there is an intermediate: the monkey. The rule is that between every two levels there is always an intermediate that links the two.

In a sense this is the first lesson that the Torah in general teaches us, because in the first account of creation we find that there is creation as ex nihilo and creation as action (something from something). Creation ex nihilo reflects a higher consciousness of creation, while creation as action (something from something) reflects a lower consciousness. And then we get the second account, which suddenly introduces us to an intermediate level of creation, called formation (something from something by adding form).

This is also the secret of Moshe Rabbeinu himself. Between the Jewish people and God stands Moshe. The Jewish people are human, and God is the Divine, and in between mediates Moshe Rabbeinu who is, as the sages describe: “half man, half Divine.” And, as the Zohar tells us, Moshe himself extends into every generation in the form of the leader of the generation. So the secret of Moshe’s person is the secret of the intermediaries. As Moshe himself states: “And I am the one standing between God and between you.”28

Levels of nullification

Before we end this part of our talk and move on, let us say that it is very difficult to understand why someone would be so appalled to say that they used to be a monkey. The purpose of this statement is to increase my own self-nullification before God. Why is it easier to say that man came from dust? The methodology of the Alter Rebbe was always to translate things into levels of self-nullification. So, in essence, what we have here is that:

  • Nullification of the mind begins with admitting that I came from nothing
  • Nullification of the heart is described with the prayer “may my self [my heart] be like dust before all men,” and
  • Nullification of my habits begins with admitting that I used to be monkey, meaning I did not act properly.

One can even make this into a statement of self-nullification: “I used to be a monkey (World of Action). I used to be dust (World of Formation). I used to be nothing (World of Creation).” Amazingly, the word הייתי , which is the Hebrew word for “I used to be…” has the same gematria as יהודית Yehudeet and כד טבת , “the 24th of Tevet.”

Religion and science

Now, what is the state of science today in respect to everything we have just seen? Science has not yet reached the Jewish religion, the dat yehudeet that we discussed before, or the principles of faith. Still, even science today believes that the world was created at some moment. They do not yet believe in the Ba’al Shem Tov’s recreation at every moment (which in essence is the continual consciousness of souls from the World of Emanation, a spark of which is present in the soul of every Jew) but they do certainly believe that there was a particular moment before which there was no universe and then there was a universe. Then scientists trace a process which in its essence parallels the process described in the first account of creation.

At some point in this process the earth comes into existence including dust. And then life begins to appear. Dust begins to be transformed into life. And, like in the Torah, there is at first simple life, like plant life. Then everything in principle is the same. Animals, and finally, man (and of course, according to the Arizal, the link between animal and man: monkeys). In principle, according to the analysis into three types of creation, there are three main stages:

  • the first day: creation of heavens and earth and all of their hosts (i.e., everything, including man) ex nihilo – something from nothing.
  • the third day: formation of simple life – something from something (from the earth, the dust, alluding to the formation of man from dust in the second account of creation).
  • the sixth day: making of man ("Let us make man") – something from something (in the sense of enhancement), after, and culminating the creation of the animal kingdom.

Now looking at these three stages or types of creation the scientist would say that the difference between them is how much separation there is between cause and effect. If you are willing to admit a large separation you will get what seem to be creation of something from nothing, but the more you zoom in, as it were, into the process, you will see that everything is really created something from something in the sense of direct cause and effect, like evolution. To a degree we agree with this assessment, but only to a degree. Because in essence each of these types of creation is a category to itself. There are leaps (like quantum leaps) between them. It is not so simple that if you allow more and more distance between evolutionary cause and effect you will end up with formation, nor is it true that if you allow enough distance between forms you will end up with creation ex nihilo. Actually, all three of these pictures are true simultaneously, from different perspectives, but only one of them is objectively true, and we will explain what we mean in a moment.


But, first let’s take a look at another theory: Einstein’s theory of special relativity. What Einstein discovered helps us understand why the entire question of the age of the universe is really a non-starter. One of the consequences of Einstein’s discoveries is that if you are traveling at the speed of light then no time at all has passed from the moment of creation until this moment. Light extends in space without passing in time. So from the perspective of a beam of light, the furthest thing from us in creation, (the furthest “cause,” to use scientific consciousness) which in Kabbalah is described as something being created from absolute and total nothingness, is here at this moment. So if you share the light’s consciousness, you too will experience the absolute nothingness here, right now. This is the consciousness of creation ex nihilo, the consciousness that the mind can attain.

If you are a little slower then the speed of light, which means that you are experiencing things through your heart’s faculties, then at this moment God is forming you out of the dust. And this formation is something from something.

And if you are even slower, then perhaps you feel that you are in the habit of calling your great grandfather a monkey. At this level of perception, you see only evolutionary processes of creation something from something through gradated improvements and enhancements.

In any case, the way that you understand creation depends on your speed. In Chassidut it is explained that the mind travels at the speed of light, and therefore from the point of view of the Divine mind, everything comes into existence at this moment, directly out of the very essence of the Infinity of God. The Divine mind is guiding the words of the Torah. They are one and the same in the sense that the Torah sees and describes everything from the perspective of the infinite. At Divine wisdom speed, you cannot see dust or monkeys.

Perceptions of creation

Let us explain this in a bit more depth. If your consciousness of creation focuses on the first day, you have a very strong intuition about the World to Come, in which, as we will see shortly, there is eternal life. But, if your consciousness focuses on the third day, your intuition is more about the present. What this means is that to have a true perception of the present moment you have to feel yourself constantly being formed out of dust. The consequence of this line of reasoning is therefore that if you can only identify with the creation of man as an evolutionary process of something from something like on the sixth day, but cannot at all identify with creation as it was on the third or the first days, then it follows that the highest form of rectification that you can attain is evolutionary. All you can do is try to better your habits. In that sense, your actions remain external and superficial and you end up merely copying the actions of men, just like a monkey.

The less of the past creation you can see, the more chance there is that you do indeed sense that your origin is in a monkey. Nonetheless, God wants even the World of Action, so there is no reason to despair. Indeed, this is what the sages most probably meant when they said that Cain’s descendants devolved into monkeys. His descendants lost the two higher levels of consciousness and became like Darwin, proponents of evolution alone. In that sense, we can say that Darwin and those who follow his lead are the spiritual heirs of Cain.

The image of God

One of the most basic models given to us by the Arizal is that of the tzelem, or “image” in English, referring to the image of God in which man was created. In Hebrew, this word is written with the three letters: צ (tzadik), ל (lamed), and ם (mem). The Arizal explains that the division of the word into three letters alludes to the tripartite division of the soul into: inner aspects, proximal surrounding aspect, and distal surrounding aspect. These three parts of the soul correspond to the more well-known five-part division of the soul, as follows:

  • inner aspects (צ ): psyche (nefesh), spirit (ru’ach), and soul (neshamah)
  • proximal surrounding aspect (ל ): living one (chayah)
  • distal surrounding aspect (ם ): singular one (yechidah)

When we translate these levels of the soul into levels of consciousness we can understand that a person who is exercising his inner aspects (psyche, spirit, and soul) can only attain evolutionary consciousness. Through the proximal surrounding aspect of the living one (chayah), one can attain formation consciousness and continually experience oneself as having come from dust. This is alluded to in the end of the verse describing man as having been formed from the dust: “And man became a living spirit [nefesh chayah].”29 Finally, through the distal surrounding aspect of the soul, the singular one (yechidah), the mind can become conscious of the origin of man in complete and absolute nothingness. We noted above that this last level of consciousness is related to the letter ם , the final mem. Similarly, this final highest level of consciousness is reflected in the final letters mem (ם ) that floated miraculously in the Tablets of the Covenant on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. These letters were in a state similar to suspended animation, which is pretty much how the consciousness of this highest level experiences things.

The Alter Rebbe’s perception

Where do we see an example of anyone attaining the highest level of consciousness where man (and of course everything else) is created from the nothingness? On this very day, the 24th of Tevet, in the year that he passed away, the Alter Rebbe called his grandson, the Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek to his deathbed and told him that he should believe that he, the Alter Rebbe, could no longer see the beam in the roof, but the Infinite light out of which the beam is created (ex nihilo). This is an example of the light-speed perspective of the Divine mind that a true tzadik has. Someone, who like a tzadik sees eye to eye with God, such a person experiences eternal life. So this is the eternal life that we have been talking about.

The ubiquity of evolution

Why is evolutionary thinking so common (maybe even common sense), while the consciousness of man coming from nothingness is very rare? Another way of asking this is why are at least outwardly more evolutionary biologists than tzadikim? The Arizal explains that following Adam’s sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, all of the Worlds (i.e., levels of consciousness) descended 14 levels. Before the sin, the lowest level was the sefirah of beauty of the World of Formation. Since there was nothing lower and we have been explaining that consciousness of man’s origin in monkeys correspond to the World of Action (which is of course lower than the World of Formation), it follows that before the sin it would have been impossible to even imagine that man came from monkeys. But, with the sin came the descent and it is this descent of the Worlds that connected us with Darwin’s theory of evolution.

From resurrection to eternal life

How are eternal life and the resurrection of the dead different? Eternal life is in the mind. According to what we have seen, resurrection of the dead corresponds to the consciousness of the World of Formation, of dust forming into a human. So, eternal life is not necessarily what comes after the resurrection of the dead temporally, but rather the next stage of higher consciousness. To say it another way, once a person has trained his mind to see formation, he is able to comprehend the resurrection of the dead. After that a person is ready to elevate his consciousness to the World of Creation, where he can comprehend and experience eternal life. The sages state that the amount of time needed for us to experience death in order to be resurrected is merely a split second. This indicates that we do not need to experience actual death, but rather that we need to pass through the consciousness of the resurrection of the dead in order to attain the consciousness of eternal life.

Now let us see what happens when we add all three categories of consciousness of man’s origin together. We have the three phrases:

  • האדם נברא מאין – “Man was created out of nothing”
  • האדם נוצר מעפר – “Man was formed from dust”
  • האדם נעשה מקוף – “Man was made from the monkey”

If we add all three phrases together האדם נברא מאיןהאדם נוצר מעפרהאדם נעשה מקוףwe find that their numerical sum is 1891, or r61 (read: the triangle of 61, or the sum of all integers from 1 to 61).30 61 is the gematria of אין , “nothingness.” How can we understand this relationship? Clearly, the meaning is that the purpose of all three modes of consciousness is to bring us back to a recognition of the אין , the nothingness that precedes creation. As the holy Magid of Mezritch taught: the actions of the tzadikim are greater than the acts of God. Because, to create the world God turned the nothingness into something, and by their teachings and moral stature the tzadikim turn the somethingness of creation into nothingness. When a person is able to progress through all three modes of consciousness regarding the origin of man, that is the true return into the nothingness of the Infinity of the Almighty.

Attaining the tzadik’s level

It is well known that the Rebbe’s of Chabad spoke seldom, if at all, about themselves. It was very rare indeed to hear them say a word about where they were, what they were experiencing. So, for the Alter Rebbe to share his state of consciousness and what he perceived to his grandson is quite an event. Indeed, since it happened hours or perhaps even moments before he passed away, in a certain sense, the Alter Rebbe was describing the consummate moment of his journey in consciousness. With these words he completed his mission in the world, and revealed that he was conscious of eternal life and of course of his own eternal life. Like all great realizations, all great shifts in consciousness, the consciousness of eternal life enters through the experience of the tzadik of the generation and then trickles down to all people because the role of the tzadik of the generation is to act as an intermediary link. When does this enter into the consciousness of others? The Alter Rebbe explains in the 27th epistle in the Tanya explains that this begins to happen once the tzadik has passed away, at which time his consciousness and his essence are freed of their bodily limitations and can be experienced by anyone else. Of course, the closer a person is to the tzadik during his lifetime, so the closer he is to sharing the consciousness of the tzadik when he passes away.

We have seen then three levels of spiritual work:

  • The mind strives to reach eternal life, an experience of eternity, like a beam of light.
  • The heart should seek to experience itself as dust from the earth, which needs to be transformed in the image of God.

And finally I have to aim that my habits, like a monkey evolving into a human, improve every day and achieve a higher level every day.

1. Just as the two instances of light in the third verse of the Torah correspond to direct and reflected light, or the masculine and feminine aspects of light, so “man” that was created contains a male and female.
For gematria lovers: This means of course that יהי אור ויהי אור = נעשה אדם .

The gematria of the three verbs in these two phrases, יהי ויהי נעשה = 481, or 13 · 37, which is ¨16 (the 16th inspirational number = 152 ┴ 162).

So now we have two lights and one man. Let us look at the various gematrias of these:אור אור אדם בעל שם טוב , which is also the product of 27 and 17, or זך · טוב = וירא א־להים את האור כי טוב . “A good man,” אדם טוב טוב מאד .
Now, if we write these three words, אור אור אדם , as a square figure, we get:










Note that the right-to-left diagonal spells אום , one of the 72 Names of God, while the left-to-right diagonal spells אור .

The מספר קדמי of אור אור אדם is 1 ┴ 21 ┴ 795 ┴ 1 ┴ 21 ┴ 795 ┴ 1 ┴ 10 ┴ 145 = 1790 = 5 · משיח , or the front and back of משיח : מ מש משי משיח משיח שיח יח ח

The letter filling of אור אור אדם is אלף וו ריש אלף וו ריש אלף דלת מם = 1891, or r61, or  rאין , which as we will see later is also the value of האדם נברא מאין, האדם נוצר מעפר, האדם נעשה מקוף .

The second filling of אור אור אדם equals 3700, or 100 · 37, where 37 = the הבל of creation.

So taking the normative value, the first filling, and the second filling together (these three correspond to the crown, wisdom, and understanding of the words), we get 6050 or 2 · 552, where 55 is the gematria of הכל “everything.” 6050 is thus the double square of 55, alluding to the higher and lower unifications (יחודא עילאה יחודה תתאה ) as it pertains to the creation of the world. If we add to this the value of the מספר קדמי , we get 7840, or 10 · 282, where 28 = יחי .

Using the Albam letter mapping, אור becomes לפט = 119 = 7 · טוב (the word טוב is mentioned 7 times in the account of creation, האור כי טוב , being the first). So אור אור isלפט לפט = 238 = רחל . In Albam, אדם becomes לסב = 92 = הכל הבל . So together, inAlbam  אור אור אדם becomes לפט לפט לסב = 330 = 6 · הכל , the six permutations of הכל.

The three mappings AtbashAlbam, and Achbee, together form a mathematical transformation ring, and in Kabbalah are referred to as the malbush, the garment of a word. אור אור אדם in Atbash becomes תפג תפג תקי = 1476. In Achbee it becomes כונ כונ כחש = 480. So the malbush is אור אור אדם ┴ 2286 = 2745, or the product of אדם and אין!

2. See Judges ch. 4.

3. See our Hebrew volume Teshuvat Hashanah, pp. 253ff.

4. See also the lectures from 6th and 7th of Av, 5766.

5. See 2 Kings 18:26 and 18:28; Isaiah 36:11 and 36:13; 2 Chronicles 32:18; and, Nechemiah 13:24.

6Ketubot 7:6.

7. Deuteronomy 33:2.

8Likutei Moharan 1:19.

9. For more on this, see Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations, ch. 1.

10Guide for the Perplexed 2:25.

11. In Hebrew the words “by his faith,” are one word, באמונתו , which permutes to spell באמונות , meaning “two faiths,” or two different categories of faith, one associated with the living one (chayah) and the other with the singular one (yechidah).

12. See in length in our Hebrew volume Emunah Vemooda’oot (Faith and Consciousness). There we explained that the 13 principles enumerated by Maimonides correspond to the 13 garments of the beard of Arich Anpin and are the universal statements of faith. But, there are also 9 garments of the beard of Ze’er Anpin and these correspond to 9 additional Principles of Faith that were made central by Chassidut and are most central specifically to life in the Land of Israel. Altogether, there are thus 22 Principles of Faith, which can be seen to correspond to the 22 verses pointing to the resurrection of the dead in the Torah.

13. According to his reckoning, the principle of the resurrection of the dead corresponds to the tikun of ונקה .

14. Exodus 34:6-7.

15Sanhedrin 90b.

16Ibid. 91b

17. Exodus 15:1.

18. The numerical value of yud is 10, which also alludes to the 10 plagues that fit into this category.

19. See Kilayim 8:5; Yerushalmi Kilayim 39a.

20. Isaiah 26:19.

21. קל וחומר , kal vachomer, in Hebrew.

22. Ecclesiastes 3:20.

23. היולי , in Hebrew.

24. In fact, we would say that without circumcision, man is forever destined to remain at the consciousness level of evolutionary processes alone. As the sages say: “You [the Jewish people] are called ‘man,’ but the nations of the world are not called ‘man.’” The title “man” here clearly refers to the level of formed man, man that has the form of the image of God in him, thus separating him from monkeys.

25. שכלול , in Hebrew.

26. The sages note that the double yud (י ) in the word “formed” וייצר in Hebrew allude to the dualistic nature of the heart where both the good and evil inclinations reside.

27. See the introduction to What You Need to Know About Kabbalah.

28. Deuteronomy 5:5. See in length in Torat Menachem vol. 3 (5711), p. 105ff. See also our Hebrew volume Lev Lada’at, “Vetzadik Yesod Olam” (The tzadik is the foundation of the world).

29. Genesis 2:7.

30. If we just add the three verbs נברא “created,” נוצר “formed,” and נעשה “made” together we get 322 = 1024, or 210, which is the number of letters in the Shema.

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