Elijah's Lesson - Part 2

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By the grace of G-d 
Copyright  2014 Nathaniel Segal 
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Elijah said:  Master of the worlds!

Blessed is the L-rd forever.  Amen, and Amen.

—  Psalm 89:53




Work in progress

Notes and Comments:

Elijah's Lesson - from Tikunei Zohar, Introduction II  (tih koo NAY ZOH har)

Elijah - the prophet, although some say that this is a Rabbi Elijah from the era of the Mishnah.

cause of all causes - the First Cause, the Prime Mover, but not just the Prime Mover.  There is no secondary mover, so all other causes are from You.

the activator of all activators - who continues to animate His creation.  As Prime Mover, He does not leave the world to run on its own.  Activation now is from His ongoing activation.  This is Divine Providence.

Who waters the Tree - the Tree of Life

Who waters the Tree with irrigation from Your full name - the spiritual flow from being the Mover.  This ongoing animation is likened to water.  Although a tree also needs light and air besides water to grow, light and air seem to be ubiquitous.  Rainfall for a tree, on the other hand, is intermittent.  In a similar way, the Divine flow of causing and activating is only because of G-d's will.  If it were His will to cease the flow, the universe would cease to exist.

from Your full name - The Hebrew letters of G-d's name are the letters that convey the idea of "causing creation" and "causing existence."  These letters of G-d's name form the phrases in the Book of Genesis, "Let there be . . ." and "And there was . . ." (or "And it was so").

These same letters are a source for the three Hebrew words of being – 'was', 'is', and 'will be'.

as the soul is to the body - Here, this spiritual flow is likened to the animating soul.  And, just as the soul enlivens the body, the Divine creative flow enlivens the Tree.  The Tree of Life is a description of the human soul.  The human body is precisely shaped to contain the non-material soul in the physical world of materiality.

By derivation, the Tree represents the entire universe since everything was created for humanity's sake.

no similarity - You animate souls but there is nothing that animates You.  Neither is there something that animates something else that animates You, like the soul animates the body.

Also, the gulf between You and the spiritual dimension is no less than the gulf between You and the material world.  Unlike Creation which has inwardness and outside containment, You Yourself are not contained.  And the fact that You contain – delimit – the Universe does not mean that You are shaped as a container in any way.  There is no similarity whatsoever between You and anything that you cause and activate.

A phrase in Part 1 of this lesson is, "You have no specific place."  Creation has "place," but You do not.  Hasidism uses the analogy of the sun's relation to its light to describe Creation.  G-d, having nothing resembling a place, creates a Universe "within Himself" which is like light while it is still within the orb of the sun.  At the same time, this light behaves as though it were outside the sun – as though it has a place of its own.  However, there is nothing outside of G-d.

This analogy only works to describe the gulf between the sun itself and what it produces.  However, since G-d himself has no likeness to a sun or to any source of light, the idea of a "gulf" between Him and Creation is only an analogy for our use to meditate on.

You created the heaven and the Earth - 'Heaven' and 'Earth' and are ways of speaking about 'light elements' and 'heavy elements'.  The heavenly part of Creation is 'weightless', energy following the laws of energy but not mass.  'Earthly' refers to mass and the natural laws of its behavior.

And You brought out from them - From both the 'light elements' and the 'heavenly elements' together.

The Sun - Which is a mass releasing an immense amount of energy – both electromagnetic and gravitational.  The primary energy of the Moon's mass (relative to us on the Earth) is its gravity – a force of energy.  Light from the moon is energy reflected from the Sun, though.  The planets consist of material elements which are the same as on Earth except in different proportions and states.  Their energy – inertia – is a coordination and interaction that forms the solar system.  (Distant gravitational energy fields affect us in subtle ways.)  Note how we call the arrangement of the planets a "system."  If one of the planets were to disappear, the entire arrangement would re-form in a way that would most likely make life on Earth impossible.

The relationship between the Sun and its system is like the relationship between a juggler and what he or she is juggling.  The entertainment by the juggler has a history.  The juggler carefully and skillfully manipulates several elements into what seems to be a stable system.  Then the juggler, finishing the act, dismantles this environment into a configuration that may or may not be ready for his or her next act.

The history of our solar system stems from unknowable conditions during the first several days of creation as recorded in the Biblical Book of Genesis.  The situation of whether or how an end to Creation could come about is also unknowable and unthinkable.  "If I were to know Him and what He wants, I would have to be Him."

Blessed is the L-rd forever.  Amen, and Amen. - Ending a lesson with this verse from the book of Psalms is customary.




Compare with Rabbi Nissen Mangel's English translation of Elijah's Lesson in Siddur Tehillat HaShem: Nusach Ha-Ari Zal

(Brooklyn, New York: Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc., 1978)  pp. 125-6.

Copyright  1978 Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc., All rights reserved.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:  82-81508

BM675.D3Z62313 1982

296.4 -- dc20

ISBN 0-8266-0260-6

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