IT IS written, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind" (Gen. i. 20, 24). Said Rabbi Eleazar: "The waters below, like the waters above, brought forth creatures after their kind and similar to themselves."
Said Rabbi Hiya: "The waters above sent forth the living creatures. What is the meaning of these 'living creatures?' It was the soul of the first human being as it is written, 34a 'And man became a living soul.' It is also added, 'and fowl shall fly above the earth,' denoting the angelic messengers who appear to man in dreams, as also those who manifest themselves in various forms and different aspects. Of these latter it is that Scripture refers to, 'And a river went out of Eden, and from thence it was parted and became into four heads' (Gen. ii, 10). 'And God created great whales (fishes), meaning Leviathan and its female.' 'And every living creature that moveth' in all parts of the earth. What is this nephesh hayah (living creature)? It was Lilith, the mother of the elementaries, which the waters brought forth abundantly and ministered to their growth and increase. As when the south wind begins to blow, the frosts disappear, streams become swollen and rivers flow in all directions into the seas, so
was it with these creatures, as it is said: 'There go the ships,34a-34b there is also that Leviathan whom thou hast made to play therein' (Ps. civ. 26). The words, 'And every winged fowl after his kind,' signify those creatures of whom it is written; 'For a bird of the air shall carry thy voice and those that have wings shall tell the matter'" (Eccles. x. 26).
Said Rabbi Jose: "All these beings have six wings, never more nor less, and therefore the words 'After his kind' are applied to winged angelic creatures. In their rapid flight through the world they observe and note the actions of men and report them on high, and thence it is written: 'Even in thought, curse not the King and curse not the rich in thy bed chamber'" (Eccles. x. 20).
Said Rabbi Hezekiah: "Scripture here useth the word haromeseth (moving creature) and not hashoretzeth (creeping creature). Wherefore? Because it refers to Lilith, as has been stated, who is also denoted in the words; 'Thou makest darkness and it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do move' (thirmos). These words also include and denote those angelic beings called hayoth (living creatures) who predominate and exert an influence equalling that of Lilith, and during the three watches of the night chant their hymns of praise until the morning dawns. It is of them that the prophet Isaiah speaks; 'They who remember the Lord and keep not silence'" (Is. lxii. 6).
Here Rabbi Simeon rose up and spake: "After long and protracted meditation on the origin of mankind, I have gathered that when the Holy One wished to create man, all the worlds throughout the universe were greatly affected and disturbed until the sixth day, when the divine will and intention became realized. Then the supernal light of all lights shone forth in its glory and splendor issuing from the gate of the east, spreading and enveloping the whole world with a garment of ineffable brightness, truly magnificent and indescribable.
"Then spake the great Kosmocrator of the east to his fellow rulers over the other quarters of the world: 'Let us make man in our image' that he may he receptive and enjoy the effulgent glory of the light that is streaming forth and enlightening the whole world. Then became conjoined the east with the west, engendering and bringing forth man on that part of the earth whereon the Holy Temple was afterwards founded and built. According to another ancient tradition the meaning of the words, 'Let us make man,' is given thus. The Holy One spake and made
known to the angels the mystery and occult signification of the word Adam (man), the letters of which indicate his relation to both worlds, the seen and unseen, the known and unknown. By the letter M,34b-35a which is written as a final or closed mem, is found thus contrary to rule in the word lemarbeh, occuring in the verse, 'Of the increase of his government' (Is. ix. 7). Man is connected with the higher world, whilst daleth or the letter D, closed on the west side, indicates his relation to the lower and sensible world. The principles of which these letters are the symbols ultimated in their manifestation on the phenomenal plane of existence and the production of a blended and harmonious whole, viz., of man in the form of male and female until the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him (Gen. ii. 21). The Holy One then separated them and having clothed the latter in a form most fair and beautiful brought her to man, as a bride is adorned and led to the bridegroom. Scripture states that He took one of the sides or parts (of the androgynous form) and filled up the place with flesh in its stead. In a very ancient occult book we have found it stated that what God took from the side of Adam was not a rib but Lilith, who had cohabited with him and given birth to offspring. She was however an unsuitable helpmeet for Adam and therefore Scripture states, 'But for Adam there was not found a helpmeet for him' (Gen. ii. 20). After the disappearance of Lilith and Adam's descent into the world plane of existence, then it was, as stated, 'The Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helpmeet for him.'"
On another occasion Rabbi Simeon spake and said: "It is written, 'And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb in the field before it grew, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth' (Gen. ii. 5). By the phrase, 'Every plant of the field' is meant the preexisting ideal forms of great forest trees before their actual appearance in the world. Note that Adam and Eve were at first created androgynous. Wherefore were they not created face to face, or separated individuals? Because, as Scripture states, 'The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth.' The union of man and wife is a type of a great spiritual fact, viz., the union of heaven and earth which could not be accomplished until the rain which united them descended. Then Adam and Eve ceased to be androgynous and gazed into each other's faces, as is the case with heaven and earth, the one reflecting the image of the other. If it be asked:
whence or how do we know that things above are formed and modelled after things below; we say, from the mystical signification of the words; 'And the Tabernacle was reared up' (Ex. xl. 17), meaning the heavenly tabernacle which existed not until the earthly tabernacle had been erected. This is why the scripture states, 'And there was no man,' that is, until the creation of Eve, man was an imperfect being; which fact is indicated occultly by the absence of the letter Samech (denoting aid, help) in every passage relating to the creation of woman. Although members of the celestial college--those that have been initiated and enlightened in the secret doctrine--affirm that the word 'Ezer' (help) denotes that woman was created to be a help to man, she became so only when from androgynes they because separated and thus able to behold each other face to face.35a This is occultly referred to in the words; 'They are brought together forever and are made in truth and uprightness' (Ps. cxi. 8). By the term 'brought together' is meant that the union of male and female whose coming together is for mutual help, will continue even in the supernal worlds forever. 'For the Lord God had not yet caused it to rain upon the earth' signifies that complete and perfect union between man and woman did not then exist because it had not as yet become a fact in the natural world, for it is added; 'And a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground' (Gen. ii. 6), which refers to the sexual desires experienced by the female towards the male. Mists rise at first from the earth, heavenwards and, after forming clouds, heaven causes them to descend and water the earth. This applies also to the offering up of sacrifices, the smoke and fume of which ascending on high are caused to descend in blessings on mankind. If the congregation of Israel had not first offered up sacrifices, blessings would never have been showered upon tine world."
Said Rabbi Abba: "Wherefore is it written, 'And the tree of life in the midst of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evil?' We learn from tradition that the height of the tree of life attained to 1,825,000 miles and from its root flowed forth all the waters of creation in their various directions and courses. The celestial river, after refreshing the garden of Eden with its perfumed and crystalline waters, descends on to the earth below for the sustentation and refreshment of every living creature on the earth, as it is written, 'He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast
of the field, the wild asses quench their thirst' (Ps. civ. 10, 11), 'And the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' Wherefore was it not planted in the midst of the garden and what is the mystical meaning of this tree? Its nature or essence was two-fold, being bitter or sweet, according to the character of those who take and appropriate its fruits. Those who are selfish find that what they thought good, becomes evil to them. Thus many are seduced and go astray from the path of rectitude, and therefore is it called 'the tree of knowledge of good and evil.' When man ceased to be androgynous and became separated as at present male and female, it is said, 'And He closed up the flesh in its stead' (Gen. ii. 21),35a-35b in which words occurs the letter S or Samech (help). The Holy One, like the judicious gardener transplanting trees and flowers, after sundering the two forms, placed them where they could behold each other face to face and thus begin on their course of physical and spiritual development and perfection. Furthermore, how know we that such was the origin of man and woman as at present constituted? Because it is written, 'The branches of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified' (Is. lx. 21). 'The work of my hands' refers to a special formation that should characterize man from other creatures. It is also written, 'In the day thou plantest, thy seed shall only produce wild fruits' (Is. xvii. 11). We are taught that plants, like the fragile wings of locusts or grasshoppers, are void of color. It is only after attaining to full growth that they become distinguished and conspicuous by variety of form, shape and color, such as the cedars of Lebanon. It was the same with the protagonists Adam and Eve, for, as plants before transplantation, so was it with them. They did not become perfect until they were transplanted onto the earth plane. It is also written, 'And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat, for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die' (Gen. ii. 16, 17). From tradition we learn that the word tzav (commanded) denotes idolatry in general, the name Lord or Jehovah refers to blaspheming the holy name, whilst Alhim or God indicates the denial of justice in the world. 'The man' refers to the crime of murder, 'saying' to fornication, 'from every tree in the garden' to theft, 'mayst eat' to the prohibition from cutting flesh from a live animal. In saying, 'From every tree of the garden thou mayst eat' God indicated that even if man should commit all these sins, he was not to despair. Thus
we see that the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and also prophets, have eaten of it and died not at once. He wished to warn man against tasting of the tree of death, as it is written, 'but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil eat thou not of it, for whoever does so dies as if he had taken poison.' 'But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,' God has commanded, 'We should not eat.' 'The fruit of the tree' denotes the woman. Thou shalt not eat thereof, because as scripture states, 'Her feet go down to death and her steps lead into Hades' (Prov. v. 5). There is fruit that is salutary when gathered from one tree and lethal when plucked from another tree. This latter was the fruit Eve referred to, viz., that of the tree of death and is described by the words of scripture just quoted.
"It is written, 'Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made'" (Gen. iii. 1). Said Rabbi Jose: "The tree of which we have been discoursing was nourished by supernal light, by which it became great, fair and beautiful to the light. It is also written, 'And a river went forth out of Eden to water the garden.' The garden here mentioned denotes the female, whom the river made fruitful. Then man and woman became again one, in the sense as it is said, 'Jehovah is one and his name is one.' After disobeying the divine commandment, a deterioration in their heavenly state took place and they became separated from the higher and diviner life as intimated by the words, 'And from thence, it (the river), was parted'" (Gen. ii. 10).
Said Rabbi Isaac: "The serpent of which scripture speaks is The Tempter."
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "It was a real serpent." Going to Rabbi Simeon and making known to him their different views, he replied:
"Your interpretations are really one and the same and are both correct. Samael, when he descended on the earth plane,35b rode on a serpent. When he appeared under the serpentine form, he is called Satan. Whatever his name, he is the being known as the spirit of evil. It is said that when Samael descended from on high as just described, all the other animals fled away frightened and terrified. By his persuasive and guileful words, he deceived the woman and thus caused death to enter into the world (that is, the lower nature then ceased to be amenable to and obey the dictates and supremacy of the higher Self). He succeeded in doing this by means of the Sephira Hochma (wisdom), prostituting and using it for his evil purposes and thus caused the world
to become accurst, and the tree which the Holy One had planted to become destroyed. What man lost Samael gained and enjoyed until the apparition of another sacred tree in the person of Jacob, who, by means of wisdom, acquired paternal blessings which neither Samael on high nor Esau below should be able to enjoy. He was therefore an after type of the first man; and here we see that as Samael deprived man of blessings proceeding from the first tree, so Jacob deprived Samael of blessings above and below proceeding from a tree having a human form. This is the mystic meaning of the words, 'And there wrestled a man with him' (Gen. xxxii. 24). 'The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field.' These words refer to the Tempter, the angel that brought death into the world, and knowing this, we can understand the meaning of scripture, 'And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me' (Gen. vi. 13). The angel of death having destroyed the divine life in man, who now had become wholly physical, governed and controlled by his animal or lower nature, and therefore dead and impervious to the heavenly influence of the Higher Self.
"And he said unto the woman, Yea, (aph) hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?" (Gen. iii. 1). Said Rabbi Jose: "The serpent began his discourse with aph (poison) and thus cast it into the world. What he said was this, 'By this tree the Holy One created the world,35b-36a eat ye therefore of it and become equal to Alhim and able to distinguish between good and evil.'"
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "Not so spake the serpent, for then he would have spoken truly and the tree would have been recognized as the means by which, like a tool in the hands of an artisan, the Holy One had formed the world. What he really meant and did say was this, 'The Holy One himself has eaten of this tree and was thus able to create the world. Do ye therefore eat of it and ye will also have power to do the same as He. Alhim knows this and hence his prohibition.'"
Said Rabbi Isaac: "The words of the serpent were a tissue of falsehoods. At first he said, 'Yea hath Alhim said, ye shall not eat of the tree?' He knew well that God had said, 'From every tree of the garden thou mayest eat.'"
Said Rabbi Jose: "Tradition states that this command of God related to the sin of idolatry, denoted by the word 'commanded,' to blasphemy, by the name Jehovah, the denial of divine justice, by that of 'Alhim,' by the word 'Adam,' the crime of
murder, and fornication, by the words 'said unto him.' In answer to the question that may arise, were there so many men in the world that the Divine Being saw fit to ordain these commands on man, it can be said that in this tree were involved all the negative behests, so that whoever violated them became numbered with transgressors guilty either of idolatry, murder, or fornication; of idolatry through denial of the lord above this tree; of murder, for he cuts short life that proceeds from the Sephira Geburah on the life side of the tree; and under the domination of Samael of fornication, as this tree is the female principle. Now it is known that the law forbids a man to be with any woman except in presence of her husband, so that there may arise no feeling of suspicion whatever. Whoever eats of this tree is culpable of a like offence. God in all these commandments to Adam, forbade him to eat of the tree of good and evil, wishing to preserve him from all the sins and their penalties which it contained."
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "Truly whoever eats of this tree transgresses, as he who is found alone with a woman when her husband is absent. This therefore is what the serpent said to Eve: 'Behold! I myself have touched this tree, and still I live, do ye the same and ye will find you will not die, for Alhim has only forbidden you eating therefrom.' We read that the woman at once saw that the tree was good for food (Gen. ii. 6). How did she see and discover this?"
Said Rabbi Isaac: "The tree was exceedingly fair and beautiful and odoriferous as it is written, 'The smell of my Son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed' (Gen. xxviii. 27), and she was therefore induced to take and eat of its fruit."36a
Said Rabbi Jose: "Eve saw the tree that it was good for food, because it had the power of opening the eyes of all that approached it."
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "Not so, as we learn that only after eating of the fruit thereof their eyes were opened."NdM omits up to 38a