The Nut Garden

Gleanings of Zohar

Tag: Creation

Partners in Creation

handshake“The blessed Holy One rules humanity [2 Samuel 23:3]; who rules the blessed Holy One? As it were, the righteous one [ibid.], for the blessed Holy One decrees and he abolishes” (Zohar 3:15a, cf. BT Mo’ed Qatan 16b).

“Do not read You are עַמִּי, [ammi] My people [Jeremiah 30:3], but rather You are עִמִּי, [immi] with Me, becoming My partner! Just as I made heaven and earth by speaking, as is said: By the word of YHWH, the heavens were made [Psalms 33:6], so do you. Happy are those engaged in Torah!” (Zohar 1:5a).

“Resh Lakish said, ‘Why is it written: There was evening and there was morning, יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי the sixth day [Genesis 1:31]? Why the extra letter הַ [the definite article הַ, the, appears only in this phrase, not in any of the other corresponding phrases describing the other five days of Creation]? This teaches that the blessed Holy One stipulated a condition with the works of Creation, saying to them: ‘If Israel accepts Torah [given at Mount Sinai on the sixth day of the month Sivan], you will endure. If not, I will return you to welter and waste [Genesis 1:2]’” (BT Shabbat 88a, cf. BT Avodah Zarah 2b-3b; Zohar 1:47a; 2:63b).

“[Resh Lakish taught:] Greater is he that lends than he that gives gifts; but he that aids by taking part in a business undertaking is greater than either” (BT Shabbat 63a, cf. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:7-14).

That God had created לַעֲשׂוֹת to make [Genesis 2:3]. What is לַעֲשׂוֹת, to make? That the bodies of demons remained, for the [seventh] day had been sanctified and they had not been made and they remained לַעֲשׂוֹת, to be made – spirits with no body. Here, too: It is time לַעֲשׂוֹת to act, for YHWH [Psalms 119:126] – לַעֲשׂוֹת to actualize. [Because Creation] she is left unadorned and incomplete” (Zohar 2:155b).

He Daily, Continually, Renews the Work of Creation

“[YHWH founded the earth by wisdom;] He establishes the heavens by understanding [Proverbs 3:19]. Why establishes [written in the future-tense and not past-tense like the verb founded]? Because He establishes, every single day ceaselessly. They were not arranged one at a time; rather, every day He arranges them. This corresponds to the mystery that is written: The heavens are not pure in His eyes [Job 15:15]. Now, would you imagine that this indicates a defect in the heavens? Rather, their significance, because of the intense love and desire that the blessed Holy One feels toward them and His fondness for them. For even though He arrays them every single day, in His eyes they do not seem fittingly arrayed, because of His love for them and His desire to shine upon them constantly, ceaselessly; for the world that is coming radiates scintillating lights everyday continually, incessantly, illumining them. So, they are not pure in His eyes. It is not written merely they are not pure, but rather, they are not pure in His eyes. Therefore, He establishes the heavens by understanding” (Zohar 1:207a).

Man’s days are like grass, like the bloom of the field, thus he blooms [Psalms 103:15]. And it is said: A lad I was and now I am old [Psalms 37:25]. And later: [His flesh would become sleeker than in youth,] he’d return to the days of his prime [Job 33:25]. A tree from which the old branches were cut off, but they grew again from its roots, as at the beginning. For they die when old and return to this world as children. And this is the mystery of the blessed Holy One Who ‘daily, continually, renews the work of creation’ [Shaḥarit for Shabbat]. For a thousand die each day and a thousand are renewed each day” (Ra’aya Meheimna Pinḥas).

“The House, in its being built [1 Kings 6:7]. The verse does not read when it was built, but rather in its being built, every single time” (Zohar 1:74b). 

He Created Worlds and Destroyed Them?

url-1“Israel is the kernel of the world; Israel arose in מַחֲשָׁבָה thought. Other nations, who are the קְלִפָּה shell, preceded, as is written: אֵלֶּה these, are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Children of Israel [Genesis 36:31]” (Sifra di-Tsni’uta, Zohar 2:108b).

“אֵלֶּה these, are the generations of the heaven and the earth [Genesis 2:4]. It has been established that wherever it is written: אֵלֶּה these, cancels that which was mentioned before [cf. Bereshit Rabbah 30:3]. So the use of the word אֵלֶּה [conceals] the generations of formlessness hinted at in the verse: And the earth was without form [Genesis 1:2]. In reference to those [generations of formlessness] it is said that the blessed Holy One created worlds and destroyed them [cf. Bereshit Rabbah 3:7]. Thus, it is written: The earth was without form and void [Genesis 1:2]. Why did the blessed Holy One create worlds if He intended to destroy them? It would have been better had he not created them at all! But this is certainly a mystery. What is the meaning of ‘He destroyed them?’ It cannot be that the blessed Holy One destroyed the makings of His own hands. Furthermore, these are the heavens about which it is said, for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke [Isaiah 51:6]. If it is so, then the blessed Holy One first created and then destroyed.

The secret is that the blessed Holy One created the world by the Torah, as it is written: בְּרֵאשִׁית [bereshit] with beginning [Genesis 1:1] about which is written: YHWH created me as the, רֵאשִׁית [reshit] beginning, of His way [Proverbs 8:22]. And by this רֵאשִׁית [reshit] beginning, He created the [supernal] heavens and the earth [i.e. the six sefirot whose creation are hinted at by one permutation of בְּרֵאשִׁית (bereshit), namely בָּרָא שִׁית (bara shit), ‘created six’]. He sustained them with the covenant which is in בְּרִית אֵשׁ] בְּרֵאשִׁית ‘covenant of fire’] as it is written: If My covenant were not day and night, it is as if I have not established the ordinances of heaven and earth [Jeremiah 33:25]. These are: The heavens are the heavens of YHWH [Psalms 115:16]. And the land of the living comprises seven lands, about which King David wrote, I will walk before YHWH in the lands of the living [Psalms 116:9].

After He created the heavens and the earth upon formlessness, without any foundation – which is the covenant – to support them [cf. Job 26:7]. Because of this the blessed Holy One, wanted to give Torah, which is the covenant of circumcision, to the nations of the world but because they did not want to receive it the land remained parched and dry [cf. BT Avodah Zarah 2b; Sifre Deuteronomy 33:2]. Thus: Let the waters under heaven be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear [Genesis 1:9]. Waters – Torah. To one place – Israel because the souls of Israel come from that Place, about which it is written: Blessed be the glory of YHWH from His place [Ezekiel 3:12]… Torah designates the civilized world. The nations of the world who did not accept it have remained wasted and dry. This is [the meaning of] ‘the blessed Holy One created worlds and destroyed them,’ those who did not maintain the precepts of Torah. It does not mean He shattered His own makings as people may presume. Why should He destroy His own children about whom it is written: בְּהִבָּרְאָם, [be-hibbare’am] when they were created [Genesis 2:4]. בְּהִבָּרְאָם [be-hibbare’am] – [read instead:] בְּה‘ בְּרָאָם [be-he bira’am] ‘He created them with [the letter] ה [which is written especially small in Genesis 2:4, cf. Bereshit Rabbah 12:9; Zohar 1:86b].’ Because of those converts from among the nations of the world the small letter ה of אַבְרָהָם Abraham, fell during the fifth millennium. [And the river was wasted and dried up (Isaiah 19:5):] Wasted – the First Temple; dried up – the Second Temple.

Moses wanted to bring the proselytes [the motley throng] under the wings of the Shekhinah and presumed that they too were drawn down from the ה. Thus he caused the fall of the ה of אַבְרָהָם Abraham. This brought upon him descent, as it is written: Go, get you down, for your people… have become corrupt [Exodus 32:7]. They did not receive the small ה with awe of the letter י and with the love of the [first] ה. So he fell from his rung, which is the letter ו” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar).

Beginning of Increase

500px-Fibonacci_spiral_34“When the blessed Holy One wished to fashion the world all the letters were hidden away. For two thousand years before creating the world, the blessed Holy One contemplated them and played with them. As He verged on creating the world, all the letters came before Him, from last to first… The letter ב entered, she said to Him, ‘Master of the world, may it please You to create the world by me, for by me you are בָּרוּך, blessed, above and below.’ The blessed Holy One replied, ‘Indeed, by you I will create the world. You will be the beginning of Creation'” (Zohar 1:3b, cf. Alfa Beita de-Rabbi Aqiva version 2; Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 16a).

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