© 2017 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

 

In our quest to comprehend the IDOLATRY Commandment, we’ve been following the first two of Moses’ Ten Commandments that say:

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)
……………………………MAN…………………………..
The second, negative Commandment, listing the idols
1. Thou shall not make for yourself other ELoKiM’s
2. Over My Face…….

These two Commandments are the two side of the same coin:

The first, ‘positive’ Commandment tells us whom to worship
The Second, negative one tells us about the idols, whom we should worship not

The First Commandment tells us to KNOW the Holly Names as they appear in G-d’s words. This is the way He wishes us to address Him in our prayers and blessings.  Without understanding these Names our prayers would be meaningless. In addition, as we ll see in due course, understanding their meaning is the key for understanding the Bible.

We’ve so far focused on the Attributes in line 2.  We’ve used Genesis Chapter One to define and comprehend the Attribute of Judgment, ELKM  and the Attribute of Mercy, YHVH.  They constitute the Heavenly Court, where ELKM would be our ‘prosecutor’ and YHVH our’ defense.’ If we enrage the Merciful YHVH, She may turn also against us.

The notion of an Heavenly Court implies that the Attributes debate our case.  Sometimes they would agree, and sometimes they might not agree. So  who decides the final Verdict? Who is the Arbiter between them?

For that, let’s focus on line 1: on the I Am. It presents the Heavenly Self, that is above the Attributes.  Kabbala teaches us that the Heavenly Self is the source of everything. In fat it is motivated by a Supreme Will, which is really the Primary Source of CREATION. The process of CREATION began when the I Am felt a Desire to shower Goodness on CREATION.

Examples

The I AM appears in the Bible in numerous occasions as the Final Verdict.

The best example is the description of the Heavenly Court before Noah’s Flood. There the text  brings first the opinion of YHVH, then the opinion of ELKM, each Attribute expressing its view on the evil generation.  Then the I, Myself  appears in the text expressing the bad final decision to bring on the Flood.

Then, after the Flood, the Heavenly Court appears again in the text in full Glory  it expresses the view of YHVH, then of ELKM, then the decision of the Self not to bring the Flood ‘so fast’  anymore,  signed by the Rainbow in the Sky.

Another example is Abraham Circumcision’s Covenant.  First appears YHVH, then ELKM, then the “I Myself” who signs   the Covenant. (Genesis 17: 1-6)

2: The features of the Self

We’ve already alluded to the intervention of the Self in Adm creation.  When ELKM said “Let Us Make Adam…” He introduce the I and You.  He consulted His Self and planted it in Adam’s consciousness.  Adam therefore is an individual, besides being a member of a species.

Our individuality is therefore divine. It is something we need to cherish and cultivate. It drives us to impact  our surrounding, our society and family.  Later we’ll see how King Nimrod used the human self as a motive to leave their families and farms and join his Babylonian Tower. There, on the Tower, each person could engrave his name on a brick or a corridor or on entire wing.

The Self as some typical feature.  It wishes to be exhaled, even worshiped. It wishes to be recognized by others. It is blessed by innermost desires that dictate our life.  It is said that Prof Sigmund Freud  introduced the ID (Self) after listening to a Hassid rabbi speaking in Vienna

The Self therefore wished to rule over.  Indeed, our next topic is YHVH ELKM Kingship.

End of IDOLATRY class 11.