© 2018 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
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IDOLATRY-11/The  Heavenly Self, the “I Am”


Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference

1 : The Self in the Ten Commandments

The first two of Moses’s Ten Commandments presents the two sides of the IDOLATRY Commandment:

The First presents the Speaker, G-d, by His Names and Titles.

The Second presents  the list of the idols whom we should worship not.

 The first, positive Commandment
1. I Am (The Essence)
2. YHVH Your ELoKiM (The Attributes)
3. Who Took You Out of Egypt Land” (His Kingship)
The second, negative Commandment, listing the idols
1. Thou shall not make for yourself other ELoKiM’s
2. Over My Face…….

 The First Commandment orders us to KNOW Him by the Holly Names by which He p resents Himself.  The rabbis complied in full by instituting the following frame for almost any blessing, such as in the Blessing for Bread:

“Blessed are You (against line 1)

YHVH, our ELKM (against line 2)

The King Of The Universe (against line 3)

Who brings forth bread from the earth. (His Kingship in this case.)

Disregarding these Namems and Titles and their proper order would be a sort of IDOLATRY.

so far we’ve learned from Genesis Chapter One the meaning of the Attributes – YHVH and ELKM – of  line 2. Togteher, we’ve said, they constitute the new “Heavenly Court” where ELKM would stand for the absolute Justice whereas YHVH for the Absolute MERCY.

Prior to forming the new Heavenly Court of YHVH ELKM,  during the Six Days of CREATION, ELKM ruled by Himself, awesomely alone.  During that long period He consulted no one or asked anyone’s opinion. It was the old Court of ELKM alone.

In the Eternal Sabbath, when ELKM would cease His work, YHVH would reign alone.  Since YHVH does not judge in the Sabbath, for there She showers endless unconditional Love, there is no YHVH’s Court.

But when YHVH entered ELKM’s World from the Sabbath to join Him in rulling this world (and creating Adam) a new Heavenly Court of YHVH ELKM was formed.  We live today under that benevolent Court. When in ‘session,’ ELKM would act as our ‘prosecutor’ seeking Justice, whereas YHVH would defend us in MERCY.

You will see that clearly in the text describing Noah’s Flood

The notion of a Heavenly Court implies that the Attributes debate our case.  Sometimes they would agree, sometimes they would not.   the question is: When they clash, who would decide the final Verdict? Who would act like the  Arbiter?

The way Moses presents the First Commandment suggests that the Arbiter of  YHVH ELKM is the “I AM” in line 1.  It is the Self which stands ‘above’ the Attributes.

Tradition says (Kabbala)  that the “I Am” is the source of everything in this world.  it brought about CREATION, The Self presents the Supreme Will, the “CROWN” above the Attributes. .

 The USA Government acts in that fashion. The Congress debates between two sides (line 2) and the vote forms the Will of the People (Line 1) which is now given down to the President for execution (line 3)

Examples for the decisive Self

Wherever the “I AM”  appears in the Torah, it expresses the Final Verdict of the Heavenly Court. .

Before Noah’s Flood, the Heavenly Court appears in the text in full glory.  YHVH speaks Her Mind, then ELKM, both agreeing to bring the Flood (each speaks out from its own view point.) Then it says “And I. my Self, shall bring forth the Flood.” These final words ended the debate with no recourse. .

A similar appearance of the Court is shown in the text in Abraham’s  Covenant of Circumcision.  YHVH speaks first, then ELKM, and then “I Myself.” (Genesis 17: 1-6)

2: The Features of the Self

|some  religions  deny the existence of any ‘self.’ They see it as a psychological mirage

Moses says otherwise, that our self consciousness is divine.

In fact, when ELKM said “Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our Image” He introduce the I and You.  He ‘consulted’ His ‘Self’ and made our self accordingly.   In contrast to almost all creatures made before him, Adam possesses not only a sense of Communal Self but also a sense of Individual self. .

Our individuality is therefore divine. It is something we should cherish and cultivate. It propels us forwards to change our surrounding, to leave a legacy. Later we’ll learn about King Nimrod who used the human ‘self’ and its motive to make a name for ourselves  in order to build the Babylonian Tower and his empire.

The Self therefore aspires to be recognized, even exhaled by other ‘selves’.  It motivates our life and drives us forwards to achieve things. The Self wishes to be a king, to impact our surrounding, to be adored.

Next we’ll follow Moses’ First Commandment and ask:  what is Kingship?  . .

End of IDOLATRY class 11.