SAID Rabbi Hiya, after listening to these comments of his fellow students: "These different expositions really amount to one and the same meaning. The generations of Noah signify the present human race in the world, the offspring and work of the Holy One."
Said Rabbi Simeon: "When the Holy One arrays himself, it is in the ornaments from both the celestial and terrestrial worlds,60a-60b from the former with that heavenly light on high that no human being can approach unto; from the latter with the souls of the righteous who the more they approximate themselves to this divine light the more receptive and filled with it do they become, so that through them it expands in all directions and the world like a cistern or ocean is filled with it. It is written, 'Drink water out of thy cistern (meborecha) and running waters out of thy well' (beareche) (Prov. v., 15). Why does scripture use these two terms cistern and well, beginning with bar (cistern) and ending with bear (well or fount). Because the one contains; the other produces or sends forth water, and scripture wishes to teach us that the cistern will eventually become a well. Like a poverty stricken and poor man, the souls of the righteous or just are possessed of nothing in themselves, and are as a cistern into which water is poured. Every worldly minded and unjust man bears on him the mark of the letter D (daleth meaning poor) and is like a cistern without water. But the souls of the just become founts or wells sending forth water in all directions. Who operates and produces this change? It is he, the source and origin of celestial light, who causes it to now into human souls on the earth plane as we have stated before. Another signification of these words is, that they apply to David, whom scripture makes to say, 'Who (mi) will give me
p. 255 60b
to drink water of the cistern in Bethlehem?'2 Sam. 23:15 The term 'running water' also designates Abraham, 'out of' (bethokh) Jacob and 'thy well' Isaac who is called a 'fount of springing or living water' (Gen. xxvi., 9). In this same verse is contained the holy and profound mystery of the patriarchs, amongst whom King David is included. The desire of union between the opposite sexes is only excited when the female becomes receptive and filled with the female spirit or principle which, becoming conjoined with the male principle from on high, causes fertility. So is it with the synod or congregation of Israel (or the pure and initiated in the secret doctrine). It experiences a desire after the Holy One only when it becomes filled with the spirit of righteousness and then is made fruitful in goodness and then union with the Divine is a source of the greatest joy and delight, that has been thus expressed by a writer. 'The Holy One then comes forth and takes delight in the company of the souls of just men made perfect.' Observe that the children of the garden of Eden, or the Edenic race of beings, became human only after Noah, the Just One, had entered the ark, or in other words had become incorporated. Until that happened, they were invisible and unmanifested as humanity which would never have been able to exist as at present on the earth plane unless Noah had entered the ark (of incarnation) and given birth and origin to offspring, subjected to the laws of evolution and development that generate alike both in the celestial and terrestrial worlds by which it was rendered competent to multiply and replenish the earth. Such is the occult meaning of the oracular words 'Drink waters out of thy cistern and running waters or streams out of thy well.'"
"And the earth also was corrupt before God" (Alhim) (Gen. vi., 11). Said Rabbi Jehuda, "Scripture states that the earth was also corrupt and then adds, 'before the Alhim.' Why so? It was in order to show the men of that generation then existent on the earth lived in violation both of natural and moral law,--that their wickedness was flagrant and open before man and God."
Said Rabbi Jose: "I think otherwise. The words signify, that men committed crimes secretly and known only to Alhim and that only by their enormity and heinousness did they manifest to everyone. The words 'these are the generations of Noah' apply equally to mankind who before the advent of Noah lived in open wickedness and to his posterity whose sin was in secret."
Said Rabbi Abba: "From the time of Adam's transgression of the divine commands all his descendents were called
sons or children of Adam, not as a term of honor, but as a characteristic of birth from an ancestor who by his disobedience had broken the divine law. When Noah appeared in the world, men were termed the sons of Noah, an honorable distinction, as being the offspring of him who preserved the human race from extinction and not of Adam whose sin caused it to disappear by bringing death into the world to every soul."
Said Rabbi Jose in objection to this statement: "If this were really true, wherefore is it written 'And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of Adam builded' (Gen. xi., 5), the sons or children of Adam and not of Noah and who were living after the time of the deluge.'"60b-61a
Said Rabbi Abba in reply: "Through his disobedience it would have been better for Adam had he not been created, as all who like him become transgressors of the law are denominated 'sons of Adam,' not because deriving their birth from him but as being transgressors as he was, and such were the builders of the tower of Babel. Now may we gather why scripture uses the word Aleh (these are the generations) to distinguish the difference existing between the Adamic and Noachic races of mankind. The generations of Noah were now no longer termed the sons of Adam, but the sons of Noah who introduced into and brought them forth out of the ark in order to re-people the world. Adam did not bring forth children or sons out of the garden of Eden, for had he done so they would have been immortal or extra human. Then also would not the light of the moon have become diminished and the work of creation would have endured everlastingly. Even the highest angels themselves would not have equalled man in the endowment of celestial light, beauty of form and wisdom as it is written, 'In the image of Alhim created He him' (Gen. 1. 27). But the children of Adam, begotten after his expulsion from the garden of Eden, were both mortal and unworthy."
Said Rabbi Hezekiah: "How was it possible for Adam to beget offspring in the garden of Eden, as it is certain, the tempter would have had no power over him and he would have remained childless in the world, even as Israel if they had not sinned by worshipping the golden calf, would have remained unique as a race and would not have given birth to another generation?" Said Rabbi Abba in reply: "My contention is this. If Adam had not sinned he would not have engendered and begotten offspring under the influence of the tempter (sexual desire), but of the Holy Spirit (the Higher Self). After the fall, his offspring
begotten under the influence of animal sexual propensities, were mortal, not being pure and unalloyed in their origin and constitution but compounded of the animal and spiritual. If however he had not fallen and remained in the garden of Eden, he would have begot offspring entirely spiritual and who in their constitution would have been as pure and immortal as the angels and other celestial beings. The children born after his expulsion from Eden enjoyed only a temporary and ephemeral existence up to the appearance of Noah who, after entering the61a ark (of incarnation) and by his righteous living becoming united with his Higher Self, was then able to produce offspring that eventually spread themselves throughout all parts of the earth, leaving behind a posterity that will survive to the end of the world.
Said Rabbi Hiya: "It is written, 'And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way' (Jonah III. 10). Observe, when men become upright and obey the dictates of the good law, the earth itself changes and acquires a virtue to administer to the enjoyment and happiness of mankind, as then the Schekina or that divine something termed life that operates in all organic and inorganic creatures and by its attractive power binds together the mundane and heavenly sphere, the harmony between which, results in peace and joy. On the contrary, when sin and wrongdoing prevail, this divine life and influence is banished from the earth, which becomes itself infected and desolate and infertile through the evil influence that then pervades it. But if Israel sins, which God forbid, scripture states that then Alhim quits the earth and ascends into heaven (Ps. LXII 6) and also gives the reason thereof, 'because they have prepared a net for my feet. My soul is bowed down through their iniquity; which words are expressive of a degree of wickedness similar to that of the antediluvians. If it be asked, do they apply equally to Jerusalem? Doth the Schekina forsake it when men become corrupted? for we have been taught that it is under the special care and protection of the Holy One who has chosen it for his habitation, so that no other spirit or celestial chief reigns and rules in the land of Israel. Notwithstanding this, we affirm that it comes to pass that an evil spirit or influence visits it and corrupts the dwellers therein. How know we this? From King David of whom it is written, 'And David beheld the angel of the Lord standing between' the earth and the heaven having a drawn sword in his hand stretched over Jerusalem' (I. Chron. XXI. 16), owing to the land of Israel having become corrupted by evil."