Prof. Dr. Eli Lasch The Creation of Animals and Man II

This was the final email from Eli regarding his insights on the Torah/Bible. I have enjoyed his 25 years of friendship, partnership and collaboration with israelseen. We will all  miss him dearly.

Steve Ornstein

But that’s the meaning of the term Adam (Man) from a kabbalistic-numerological view. If we divide the word into syllables, we’ll discover the following: The first syllable, A, only consists of the letter Aleph, and, as has already been mentioned above, this letter symbolizes God, namely the unsaved God, the spirit tarrying eternally in the potential. The second syllable, Dam, however, is an independent word meaning “blood” in Hebrew, the principle of life. The Torah calls it also Nephesh, because the blood is the Nephesh of the flesh and therefore it is forbidden to eat it.[vi] The numerical value of the syllable dam is 44, the sum of the values is the Hebrew word for father (Av=3) and for mother (em=41).

While thus the first part comes directly from God and is a part of Him, the second one is formed by the parents. For this part apply the strict laws of genetics, or, according to Burr and Sheldrake, the patterns of the morphogenetic fields, which the kabbalah designates as Din – and nature doesn’t tolerate any deviation from these laws.

But there are two other possibilities of interpretation: As we will see, with man the divine creation reached its point of culmination and at the same time its end. After God had created man, HE was satisfied with everything HE did and – to put it in a symbolic form – retired. If we go back to the word Breshit, we see that the male and the female aspect of En Sof had to join in order to launch creation. As already mentioned above, the creator entered the creation in the form of Adam Kadmon (see above). As we have already seen, this fact explains the sentence: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” The male part of God tells HIS female part: “Let us make man …” And again: Like above, so below. That’s the way a couple behaves, when they want to have a child. Here again we got the confirmation that there exists in the godhead a male and a female aspect. But – as we have already seen – in order to create man, Elohim had to divide again into two parts. And this way, HE lost His ability to create – and retired. The ability to create devolved to man.

And the Torah continues with the history of creation and says: “… in our image (form), after our likeness (…) So God created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim created he them.”

These sentences, however, raise another point: What is really meant by with the words “in the form (zelem) of God[vii], in our likeness?” Do the Scriptures mean to say that God has an image , a form? That He is, after all, still the old man with the white beard sitting on His throne somewhere in heaven? Or maybe it is just a figure of speech to bring God the Creator, nearer to the understanding of a primitive people – and thus not relevant any more for modern man? Nearly all the monotheistic religions agree upon that the divine entity: God, is formless and incomprehensible for us human beings. But perhaps we have to approach this question from a completely different point of view.

Let us read again the words of the Torah: “Let us make Adam[viii] in our image, after our likeness.” The Torah repeats the words for image and likeness four times und uses two concepts  to underline the idea that man is not only Godlike, but owns all the attributes of Him. What, then, are these attributes?  In Genesis, we are dealing with one of them, with the aspect of God as Creator. Is, then, the meaning of the Torah that man has the characteristics of the Creator, as well? Yes, it does, and this is exactly the perception of modern quantum mechanics.

Light and by implication, anything else has no properties independent of us! To say that something has no properties is the same as saying that it does not exist. The next step in this logic is inescapable: Without us, light, and by implication anything else does not exist.[ix]

In other words: We create light by our interaction with it; and that implies: By our interaction with the rest of creation, we are creating it, not only once, but constantly, again and again. And I repeat, what my spiritual teachers have shown me: “Man is committed to create the world every day anew.” While the entire existing universe is as much a part of God as we are, it is only man who has those most important divine attributes, self-consciousness and free will. Nature creates the world of being, while man has the choice of both being and doing. Both methods, the one of passive interrelation and the one of active creation, are open to him. He can create by just being present or by doing, and each of the two created universes will be different and unique for him.

Coming back to the perplexing words “in the image of God” we turn again to modern physics for an explanation. To quote a report to the Atomic Energy Commission by Henry Stapp:[x] “The physical world, according to quantum mechanics, is not a structure built out of independently existing unanalyzable entities, but rather a net of relationships between elements whose meaning arises wholly from their relationships to the whole. Nothing exists by itself.

All that exists is an unbroken wholeness that presents itself to us as webs or patterns of relations. Individual entities are idealizations based on coherences created by us. In other words: We are that aspect of God we have chosen to be through our free will. We see this aspect of God which we are in the form we have agreed upon. When we look into the mirror, we truly see the image of God we have chosen to see – our own one. We only have to accept this and stop searching for God outside of us. And therein lies the difference between the Greek and the Jewish way of thinking. While the Greeks portrayed their gods in the image of man, the Torah says that man was created in the image of God – anthropomorphic versus theomorphic. The Greek view seems to be valid in Christianity till today: Jesus is portrayed as a man and worshiped as a God – a man who turned into a God.

The theomorphism of Judaism appears time and again in the Pentateuch. The first time, this view becomes apparent is in the Ten Words, also called Commandments. If we have a look on the Fourth of the Words, we see that the only reason for the sanctification of the Shabbat and for the prohibition of work on this day is the fact that God rested from his work on the seventh day. Therefore, man is to rest on Shabbat, as well. Man is depicted here as being on par with God; and if one objects that even the animals are to rest, we’ll see later that the animals on their part are anthropomorphic, created in the image of man. This is expressed even clearer in Leviticus 19: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord Your God am holy” – there is no further explication.

The last part of the sentence about the creation of man is the following: “And Elohim created man in His image (b’zalmo), in the image of Elohim (b’zelem Elohim) created He him, male and female created He them.” … The Kabbalah claims[xi] that the first man, Adam, was a hermaphrodite, half male – that’s why the Bible says b’zalmo – and half female – that’s the meaning of the expression b’zelem Elohim. Elohim is regarded here to be the female aspect of God, according to the Sephirot Din respectively Malkhut (there are two different versions). So man was created with both sexes; and even if his female aspect was on one, man was nevertheless complete, both in his male and in his female aspect. He was aware of the wisdom of both the spiritual worlds the physical, “natural” ones.

According to the Kabbalah they were joined side by side. Only in the second history of creation man and woman are created separately. But the sentence continues: “… and HE blessed them and said unto them, be fruitful and multiply …” But here the question arises, which way are they to multiply? And why is it written in the paragraph before!”… created He them.?”

These connections have been explained already above, in the chapter about the creation of the universe. It becomes even clearer if we compare this sentence with the second account of the creation. There, everything happened in two steps. First, man was created as a whole, and then the male and the female parts were separated. Unlike in the second version, naming doesn’t occur here. After the separation, there comes the blessing and the commitment: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth!” The Torah uses the same words it used after the creation of the animals of the sea and of the birds. It doesn’t talk about self-consciousness or conscious love. This is only of a concern after Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of the famous tree in the second creation account (see below). There is one more important difference between the first and the second account about the creation of man: In the second creation account, the Torah says:“ And man became a nephesh chaja, a living being”; an “ ensouled animal”- as translated by Mendelssohn. In the first account, this term is only used for the creation of animals and all the other species. Man is from the beginning the image of God and therefore placed over the rest of the living beings.

Turning again to the beginning of the creation of man, we suddenly see that the sentence: “In the zelem Elohim created He him” can also be read as “in the zel m’Elohim created He him.” The name of the artist who created the ohel moed, the tent and the Arc of the Covenant, was also B’zel El, in the Shadow of God! Only after the light of God was brought into contact with the form created by the principle of life and was absorbed by it, man could originate from this fusion: Only where the potential light had realized itself and didn’t exist as such any more, only where there was shadow, man could be created “in the shadow of God” or, as mentioned previously, create himself.

The kabbalists of the Lurian school used to say that God had contracted himself so that the world and especially man could come into being. Or, to paraphrase C. G. Jung, only in the shadow of God man could come into being – in that part of Himself even God wasn’t conscious of. For as the eternal potential He wasn’t able to relate to it: to His realized female aspect. That’s why every new human being can ONLY originate in the woman, the carrier or manifestation of this aspect; and therefore God can only be redeemed by man from HIS loneliness.

The shadow, however, originated from the fusion of both aspects of God: male and female created He them, reflection of God’s wholeness!

And the story of the creation of man continues: “… and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air …”[xii] Again a hint that man was created after God’s likeness, like the One who reigns over all the living beings. In ancient Egypt, the country out of which Moshe led the Children of Israel, the animals were holy. They represented the Gods. When we look at pictures of Egyptian Gods, we see that they were always portrayed as a human body with an animal head – man was mastered by the animal. In this history of the creation of man the order is reversed. Here man reigns over the animals, because he was created in the image of God. After the Flood, the living beings are even given to man for nourishment.[xiii] Holy animals are not approved for consumption. This view, we’ll find again in the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Or does the Torah refer here to something else?

In the Hebrew original, the Torah uses a verb with a double meaning: “to descend” and “to reign”. Accordingly, this sentence could be read the following way: “Let us make man in our form and after our likeness, and they will (…) descend to the fishes and reign over them.” Later, God speaks to man saying: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and reign over it and descend down to the fishes (…) and reign over them.”

The words used in this context don’t mean reigning by dictatorship, but reigning by descending to some-one or something; reigning, but not subduing or oppressing. Man is to reign over the animal world by descending to it and by understanding its necessities.  The Torah says here what we only start understanding now; that man will only survive when he lives in harmony with nature and not by trying to subdue it by force. If we want to become a true master of something, we must learn to understand it; otherwise, nothing will be left to be mastered. Therefore the order: If you want to reign over the world, descend down to it. Don’t subdue, don’t kill, not even for things you consider necessary.

Here, the Torah doesn’t speak yet of the animals’ role to be nourishment for humans. Quite the contrary:

“Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth and every tree, in which are the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”[xiv]

Only eat the fruits of life and don’t destroy the tree that yields them. Though you, humans, are the masters, they have got the same right to live like you. Take only what is given to you voluntarily, the fruits, and don’t take anything by force. It is not necessary and it will preclude you from living in harmony with the rest of the world.

But there is another possibility to read this sentence: The Red Indian Shamans claim that every human being bears an aspect of the animal world – every human being has his (or) her animal. I can only confirm this conception. Shortly after my light experience, I developed the ability of clairvoyance and could see which person was connected with which animal.

To conclude my exegesis of the account of the creation, I would like to point out that the chapter about the creation of man corresponds exactly to the Jewish calendar. According to it, we are living now in the second half of the sixth millennium. If we replace millenniums by days, we are living now, in this century, exactly in the second half of the sixth day of creation – at the birth of man. But it isn’t Elohim any more who creates man, but man himself! Is man still supposed to be born? Are we nothing but a preliminary stage? Asking ourselves if we were entitled to replace days by millenniums, our attention was directed to the only psalm attributed to Moses: psalm no 90, and there it is written: ”For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past …”[xv] According to this conception, the Hebrew calendar is not only a method to measure the time passed by, but a guidepost.

According to kabbalistic tradition, what Christianity calls Judgment Day is not the end of mankind, but the beginning of a new era[xvi], the Messianic Era, where the reign of the animal in man is replaced by the reign of man in man. That was exactly what Jesus meant to say, when He called Himself the son of man. Not the Son of God but the son of man.

Eli Lasch 1929-2009

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