SAID Rabbi Abba: "'Nephesh hahaya' (living soul) truly denote the souls of Israel. They are the children of the Holy One and holy in his sight, but the souls of the heathen and idolatrous nations whence come they?" Said Rabbi Eleazar: "They emanate from the left side of the sephirotic tree of life, which is the side of impurity, and therefore they defile all that come into contact with them. It is written, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, and creeping thing and beast of the earth after his kind' (Gen. 1-24). Wherefore does the word 'lemina' (after his kind) occur twice? It is to confirm what has just been stated, that the souls of Israel are pure and holy, but the souls of the heathen being impure and unholy are symbolized by the creeping thing and beast of the earth, and therefore, like the foreskin in circumcision, are cut off. It is written also, 'Let us make man in47a our image and after our likeness,' indicating that in man exist forces and powers coming in all directions from on high, which by 'hochma' (wisdom) will finally attain their culmination within him. The words 'Let us make man' include and contain the mystery of the male and female principles, of which every act and function is effected by supreme wisdom. 'In our image and after our likeness,' denote the dignity of man, as he alone amongst the animal creation is a complete unit in himself and is thus able to rule over all creatures below him. 'And God saw everything that he had made and it was very good.' Here scripture supplies, what was not said of the second day, the term 'good' not being affirmed of it, because on the second day death was created. If it be asked, was it necessary that God should
see everything he made before pronouncing it to be good? The47a answer is that God being omniscient knows all things and to him the past and the future are as the present; the past with its countless generations of men and the future enfolding everything that shall be in the course of ages to come, and this is the meaning involved in the above words, for everything created and made by God cannot but be good. The scripture adds, 'And it was evening and it was morning the sixth day.' Why is it that the definite article is joined to this day and not to the others? Because when the creation of the world was completed and finished, the union of male and female principles was established, through the letter H and therefore it is said, 'The heaven and the earth were finished' (Gen. 2-1), having become harmonious to each other."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "It is written, 'How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee' (Ps. 31-19). Remark, that the Holy One created and placed man in the world, so that by an upright life and service he might attain to and enjoy the heavenly light that has been laid up for righteous souls, of which it is said from the beginning of the world, 'men have not heard, nor heard by the ear, neither hath the eye seen Oh God! what thou hast prepared for them that trust in Thee' (Is. 64-3). How can we attain unto this heavenly light of the higher life? Only by the study and the knowledge of the secret doctrine, for he only who meditates therein, conforming and fashioning his life to its teachings, attains unto it and becomes regarded as though he had created a world or a new life, as it was by the secret doctrine creation originated and by it still subsists, as it is written, 'The Lord by wisdom (hochma) hath founded the earth and established the heavens by understanding (hinah) (Prov. Ill-19); and further it is said, 'I was with him as one brought up with him and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him' (Prow. 8-30). These words signify that whoever makes the study of the secret doctrine his delight contributes to the welfare and subsistence of the world, for the spirit by which the Holy One created and still sustains the universe is the same that operates in the hearts and minds of all true students of the higher life, as also of young learners. 'How great is Thy goodness' refers to the special good or blessing the Holy One has reserved for them that fear Him, and scripture adds, 'Which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before
children of men.' What is the meaning of the words 'Which Thou hast wrought?' They refer to the work of creation."
Said Rabbi Abba: "They refer also to the Garden of Eden, the Holy One planted on earth after the pattern of the celestial paradise, for the just to dwell therein, and therefore it is written, 'Which Thou hast wrought for them.' There are, therefore, two paradises, one heavenly, the other earthly."
Said Rabbi Simeon: "The scripture certainly speaks of a celestial paradise, and with reference to the words 'before the children or sons of men,' they mean that those who delighted in the worship and service of their Lord will dwell therein., The words, 'The heavens and the earth' denote the written and unwritten or traditional law. 'And all their host' refer to the expositions and commentaries on them, amounting in number to seventy. The words, 'were finished' designate the union of these, the one being complementary to the other. Whilst, 'with all their hosts or constellations' refer to the divers interpretations of these laws, as also to things lawful and non-permissible. 'And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made,' these words signify the traditional law, which is the foundation of the world. 'The work which he has made'; it is not said, 'all his work,' because the written law which emanated through hochma (wisdom) was not included in it. Therefore is the term 'seventh day' repeated three times, (1) 'And on the seventh day God finished,' (2) 'and God rested on the seventh day,' (3) 'and God blessed the seventh day.' The first has reference to the traditional law, containing the mysteries of creation, the second, the foundation of the world. In the book of Rah Yeba, the aged and venerable, this also refers to the Jubilee and is therefore followed by the words 'from all his works,' for from the second day everything was produced and brought forth. The third expression relates to the high priest who blesses all the world and has the preeminence in all things, as we learn from tradition that in all offerings the high priest receives the principal part."47a-47b
Said Rabbi Jose, the aged: "The two words, 'seventh day,' denotes the basis of the world and the middle column of the sephirotic tree of life, whilst the words, 'and sanctified' show the place of the temple; as it is written, 'and shew me it and his habitation' (2 Sam. 15-25). Therein reside and abide all the saints above, and thence comes the sweet delicious bread which is
the delight of the congregation of Israel, as it is written, 'Out of Asher, his bread shall be fat and be the delight of kings' (Gen, 49-20), signifying that from Asher47b shall come forth the covenant of peace and the bread of the poor shall become 'lechem panneg' what kings (viz., the congregation of Israel) delight in as a dainty. It is from this abode on high come all joys and delights and everything regarded as Holy and sacred in the world, there 'He hallowed it' (vayikadesh otho), oth here meaning the covenant; 'because in it He rested, 'therefore, on the seventh day, every creature above and below rests also, 'from all his work Asher bra Alhim lausoth, which Alhim created and made.' We know that the injunction 'remember ye' leads to obedience, that the creative work may become perfected, and the meaning of these words is that God created the good law that through study of and obedience to it, man might attain to perfection."
Said Rabbi Simeon: "It is written, 'Who keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations' (Deuter 7-9). Deut. 5:10 The words, 'who keepeth' refer to the congregation of Israel, while 'covenant' designated the foundation of the world, but 'mercy' here means Abraham. Thus all the works of God were wrought to be a benefit and blessing to every one of his creatures, above and below, to all souls, together with elementals and demons. If it be said these latter are no blessing to the world, our answer is that every created thing or creature hath its proper use, and this is so with elementals and demons, for they act as the executors of karmic law on criminals and wrong doers and transgressors.