"And the Lord God formed man" (Gen. ii. 7), that is, Israel. Here the word vayitzer (formed) is written with two yods or I's, indicating that the Holy One formed him with two natures, the higher and lower self; the one divine, the other earthly, and impressed upon his form the divine name, I V I, expressed by the two eyes and the nose between them, thus: I. The numerical value of these letters is 26, which is also that of the divine name, Jehovah.25b-26a
It is on this account that scripture saith, "From the top of the rocks I shall see Him" (Num. xxiii. 9). The word zurim (rocks) denotes also forms, so that Balaam who uttered these words, meant that in viewing the form of Israel, he beheld and recognized the divine name.
Another comparison of Israel with this Divine name is in the two tables of stone containing the law and representing two I's, the letter V symbolizing what is written on them. Man also in himself represents the union and blending together of the higher and lower Shekinas, symbolized by the repeating of the Shema, morning and evening.
The union of the two natures in man is also referred to in the words, "Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" (Gen. ii. 23). We also read that God planted man, that is, Israel, in the sacred garden of Eden, as it is written, "And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden" (Gen. ii. 15). Jehovah Alhim, the Lord God; that is, the heavenly father and mother; "garden," the lower Shekina; "in Eden," the heavenly mother;
[paragraph continues] "the man," the middle column of the sephirotic tree; from which was formed his wife, and who being his delight should never be separated from him.
It was then that the Holy One planted Israel, who are the holy branches of the world, or, in other words, a race purer and better than those that had formerly existed; as it is written, "The branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified" (Is. Ix. 21). "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food" (Gen. ii. 9). "The Lord God denoting the celestial father and mother; "every tree that is pleasant to the sight," the Just; and "good for food," the middle column consisting of the sephiroth kether, tiphereth, yesod, etc., and from which proceed those stores of food by which the righteous are sustained and which, when mankind becomes purified and enlightened, will contribute to the life of the world.26a Then will every one take of the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and eat and live for ever more.Gen. 3:22
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolizes those whose intellectual faculties are directed only to phenomenal objects that can be seen and handled, and by whom the presence and operation of the Shekina in nature, in the life of nations and in the soul of man himself, are unrecognized and ignored; and thus it will be until the times of error and darkness pass away; then will they also become proselytes of the divine life of whom it will be said: "The Lord alone is their leader and there is no strange god in their midst" (Deuter. xxxii. 12); and, human nature transformed and enlightened and purified, mankind will become as a tree that, in its stately form and beauty, is pleasant to the sight. The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil occasioned Israel to fall into error which they should have avoided and remembered the divine command admonishing them to "Eat not of the tree" of Good and Evil, on pain and penalty of spiritual death involving loss of union with the Divine, without which there can be no interior enlightenment, no spiritual development. This command with its twice repeated warning, "thou shalt die, thou shalt die," refers also to the children of Israel who endured two great calamities, the destruction of the first and second temples, and the loss of the higher and lower Shekina or manifestation of the Divine presence in their midst, as expressed and typified in the words, "And the river shall be dried up" (Ia. xix. 5),
and which then became resolved in Ain Soph, the Boundless One, whence it emanated at first.
This aridity or state of dryness will not however continue always, for when Israel comes out of captivity then will the river that was dried up and wasted go forth again out of Eden to water the garden, and divine knowledge cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.
This recurrence and reappearance of the Divine Presence amongst mankind is mystically referred to in the words, "Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord" (Is. lviii. 14).26a-26b The word anag (delight or joy) in this passage of scripture is composed of the initial letters of "Eden," Nahar (a river), and Gan (a garden.) Then also shall be accomplished and fulfilled the words of scripture: "Then Moses and the children of Israel shall sing" (not sang, as generally translated--Ex. xv. 1) for error and idolatry symbolized by Pharaoh and his hosts will he destroyed and pass away forever. Furthermore, we read, "the river that went forth out of Eden to water the ground was parted and became into four heads" (Gen. ii. 10). These four heads or channels are symbolized on the sephirotic tree by chesed (mercy) which forms the right arm, teaching that he who desires to become wise should always turn himself to the south, the quarter presided over by Michael and his hosts, along with Judah and two other tribes of Israel, whilst he who prays for wealth should turn towards the north where is stationed Gabriel with his hosts, along with Dan and two other tribes.. The third channel is symbolized by Netzach (triumph or victory), the right limb of the sephirotic tree presided over by Nuriel with his hosts, along with Reuben and two other tribes. The left limb is Hod (splendor). It is to this sephira that, what is said of Jacob, is applied, "And he halted upon his thigh (Gen. xxxii. 31). The fourth head is presided over by Raphael and his hosts, along with Ephraim and two other tribes. The mission and work of this ruler is the healing and assuagement of the afflictions of the captivity.
The words, "and became parted into four heads" refer also to four individuals who gained entrance into the mysterious garden of Eden, or Paradise. The first entered it by the channel Pishon, that is, "Pishoneh halakhoth" (the mouth that teaches the good law). The second, by Gihon (the place where is buried he who creepeth on his belly--Levit. xl. 42). It is under the presidency of Gabriel whose name is composed of the words
[paragraph continues] Gebra, al (divine man), and who is alluded to in the words,26b "the man who walks on a hidden path and whom God has covered as with a veil" (Job. iii. 23), and also in the following passage: "No man knoweth unto this day the place of his sepulchre" (Deuter. xxxiv. 6); the esoteric signification of which is understood only by those initiated in the secret doctrine. The third individual entered by the channel called Hiddekel or Had qal (the adapting word), the third part of the secret doctrine imparted to initiates and known as Darash (exposition). The fourth entered by Phrath, the channels through which flows the principle of fecundity. Ben Zoma and Ben Azai, who penetrated into and attained to the knowledge of the secret doctrine concealed within its esoteric covering, by their wrong use of it found it a curse instead of a blessing, whilst to Rabbi Akiba it became a blessing and a source of joy, tranquillity and power.