© 2017 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-17/Evil in YHVH eyes
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: Evil as an idol
In our quest of studying IDOLATRY we’ve covered all sorts of idols, some transient in history and some here to stay. Some that are rooted in ignorance and superstition, like the ancient’s idols of wood and stone, other more sophisticated like natural forces or celestial bodies. Some are imaginary and others are engraved in our psyche, like our Ego, our Passions or our Wisdom. They too can serve as IDOLATRY traps for our trial. .
But there is one idol that supersedes all others in its charm and magic, and danger-EVIL.
Has Man ever worshiped it? You may ask.
“Are you kidding?” – Would be my answer, “we’ve recently seen entire civilized nation falling prey to its charm. Their leaders preaching in public that evil is good, that war is a blessing, that the Bible has poisoned the Arian Race’s soul. We’ve also seen the results of this teaching- millions of innocent victims murdered in cold blood.
But we can also see our generation fascinated by Evil, even worshiping it, in a subtler way. We watch it being played out on our silver screens, in our computer games. Evil is a motive for joining ISIS, young people attracted by videos glorifying rape and beheading. Yes, Evil is worshiped in our lands, and is growing.
There is a debate among scholars whether Evil is objective or subjective. Because very often if something is bad for me, it may be good for someone else. Most faiths on Earth believe in an objective evil like Satan which is perceived as independent, anti-God and evil power.
Judaism rejects these ideas wholeheartedly. There is only One power, G-d. The Book of Revelation that peaches otherwise was written by an Hellenistic Jew who had nothing in common with Judaism. Satan in Hebrew is an adversary. It may be an Angel with white wings and baby face, APPOINTED by the Heavenly Court to find out the truth about us and to act as our Prosecutor.
A proof: When the prophet Bilaam wished to curse Israel, he rode on a she-ass that saw something he did not see – the ‘Angel of YHVH’ standing her way with a drawn sward. The verse says that the Angel of YHVH stood as a “Satan against him.” How could the Angel of MERCY be called a Satan? But in Hebrew the words “Satan against him” means that the Angel was an adversary to Bilaam, that it wished to stop Bilaan from pursuing his goal of cursing Israel. Hence it was a good Angel, yet called Satan!
So do mix the European imagination of Satan and Demon with the Hebrew Satan.
Maimonides distinguishes between three types of EVIL:
1. Evil that Man can do to his fellowman– like wars, bloodshed, stealing, committing injustice,adultery that disrupt the family life, in short violating the seven Commandments of Noah
2. Evil that Man does for himself– like eating the wrong foods, living an unhealthy life, falling a prey to our desires
3. Evil that comes from our being made of matter. Any matter is destined to fall apart and end.
The question is, however, why do we feel that this world is full of Evil? Where does this feeling come from? And here we talk not only about bad things that happen to me, an individual, but to the creatures in the world at large? Why is there so much suffering in the world? And why I perceive this suffering as evil?
So what is Evil?
So though there is no an objective power called Evil, we FEEL its existence. We feel it when we observe people suffering, and when we observe nature. We feel it when we see animals preying on each other, when earthquake struck and destroys whole communities, when volcanoes erupt and bury under ashes forests, animals and towns. We feel the existence of Evil when diseases inflict our bodies and damage them, and when we suffer pains. We feel the existence of Evil when accidents and catastrophes hits us and our Planet. We feel it when we face death.
That feeling of Evil brought the ancients to believe in an ‘evil god’ that took a hold on Earth, having killed the ‘good god.’ Such was the Gnostic faith, which was extremely popular in first century Rome. At spring time the Good God is resurrected or recovered and takes over the world again, only to fall again into the hands of the Bad God when winter comes. The city of Tarsus in Asia Minor , where St Paul was born, was known for the parades held each spring announcing the good news of the Good God resurrection. .
The Torah however rejects duality. Both good and evil were created by the same G-d. To make that point, the rabbis in the 4th century BC had already composed a daily prayer declaring that G-d “created everything” including Evil (based on Isiah.)
King David describes in Psalms the ‘evil people’ who stab their friends from behind and take advantage of the weak and poor. This sort of evil between ‘man to man’ can grow into a monstrous level, as we’ve seen recently in the Holocaust.
So what does the Torah say about Evil? Who created Evil and When? Where does Evil show up in the verses of Genesis the first time? When will evil perish and disappear from our world|?
2. Evil is in YHVH eyes
The term “Evil” is used in the Torah only as YHVH’S perspective, never in ELoKiM’S eyes. Evil is YHVH’s ‘emotional’ reaction to something She exceedingly hates IN MAN. Not in nature, but in US.
Evil is the opposite of what the Merciful YHVH loves. A person is ‘evil in YHVH eyes’ if he is merciless, lacking compassion and is unforgiving. A person is evil in YHVH’s eyes when he is indifferent to the suffering of others, or when he is cruel.
For instance, the Bible says about certain kings of Judea that they were “Evil in YHVH eyes.” Besides worshiping idols, these kings took advantages of the weak and the poor, of widows and orphans.
Terminology: sinner Vs evildoers
YHVH assesses our hearts and our characters,
ELoKiM judges us by our abiding by His Laws.
We are sinners in ELKM’s eyes, when we transgress His Law.
We are evil in YHVH eyes, when we are cruel, indifferent and lacking compassion.
Adding a dimension to sin
The advent of YHVH in the Heavenly Court adds a dimension of evil to our sins. Thus,
Idolatry is not just a transgression of the Law. It is a betrayal of YHVH’s Love for us. Idolaters are therefore evil in YHVH eyes.
Adultery is not just violating the Law. It is a shameful deed that taints us in YHVH’s eyes (as seen in the story of Eden), Adulterers are therefore evil in YHVH eyes.
Killing is not only violating the Law. It is a cruel action that YHVH hates. . .
Stealing and committing injustice are more than violating the law. They have a cruelty component that YHVH hates.
When the Attributes clash or concur
A sinner in ELKM’s eyes, may also be ‘evil’ in YHVH’s eyes. The Bride hates what the Groom hates. .
But one may be ‘righteous’ in ELKM’s eyes, yet evil’ in YHVH’s eyes. .
Examples: On Noah it is said: : :
“Noah found face in YHVH eyes,” (Genesis 6: 8)
“Noah was a righteous man, with ELKM Noah walked (Genesis 6:9)
Noah was ‘righteous’ in ELKM’s eyes, because he walked in His Laws.
Noah also found face in YHVH’s eyes, because he was compassionate and merciful enough to care for animals and peoples.
Another example: On the the people of Sodom it is said that they were “exceedingly evil to YHVH.” Rashi says: “They knew YHVH yet rebelled against Him” (Her). They excelled in cruelty..
3: Does YHVH see Evil in Nature?
When YHVH entered ELoKiM’s world, as shown in Genesis Chapter One, She OBSERVED it She saw in it much pains, sufferings, diseases, calamities and death, things She would not have created in Her Domain, the Eternal Sabbath.
Since all those pains and sufferings reflect ELKM’s Absolute Justice, paying ‘measure for measure’, YHVH would NOT deem it Evil. After all, ELKM and YHVH are two attributes of the One CREATOR. And since the animals have no sense of discretion or Free Will, they are not “Evil in YHVH eyes.”
Had YHVH created this Universe by Her standards, it would have been a world with no sorrow or death, no sin and no retribution. Yet the Bride respects the Groom and would not see His World as Evil, since it operates on Absolute Justice. One eats, to be eaten himself. One kills, to be killed himself. One inflicts pains, to suffer pains himself. This is not Evil in YHVH eyes.
YHVH’s world would have been different
But when we, humans, observe Nature with the prism of YHVH in our heart, we feel that the Universe could have been built differently. Had YHVH created it alone, it would have had in it no pains, sorrow or death. Her world would have had in it only joy, happiness, warmth and holiness. To us, the world of ELKM needs improvement, tikun. The more we harbor YHVH in our hearts, the more distorted our world seems. IT IS PAINFUL TO LIVE IN ELKM’S WORLD AND SEE IT FROM THE PERSPECTIVES OF YHVH IN OUR HEARTS. But if we understand that the world as it is reflects ELKM values, we would also not deem it evil.
To taste Her world, YHVH gave us our weekly Sabbath. It is a day we feel Her holiness, joy and happiness.
Inside Noah’s Ark
When the Eternal Sabbath will arrive, we will all know how She looks alike. Meanwhile we have only our weekly Sabbath to taste Her joy. Yet at one point in our human history there was a man who lived under YHVH in this world. I refer. of course, to Noah. While ELKM executed the Food, Noah and his companion lived in his Ark under YHVH’s protection. In the Ark the wolf did not prey on the lamb, and a child could safely play on a snake’s pit. In the Ark there was no access to the Angel of Death. As you see, the reality in Noah’s Ark has inspired the prophets of Israel for the future.
Only Man can be Evil in YHVH eyes
As we’ve said, Nature is not evil in YHVH eyes. In fact the only evil that can be in Her eyes is Man. For unlike Nature and its creatures, we have awareness of YHVH and Her values. We have in us Free Will, and we were given a guidance in the form of the Torah. So if we ignore YHVH and behave like animals, we are deemed evil in Her eyes. Remember: the only creature that can be deemed Evil in YHVH eyes is Man.
No evil during the six Days
During the Six Days, when ELoKiM ruled awesomely alone, no Evil existed. Since no creature had any perception of YHVH, none could do Evil or be Evil. The creatures could abide by ELKM Commands, and nothing else. Hence they were not evil.
It is only Adam, who harbors the perception of YHVH and possesses a Free will, can be Evil in YHVH eyes.
we need to see all that in the verses. But how did Evil become a potential idol? The story goes like this:
3: ELoKiM consulted Evil and made Adam
When Evil heard that ELKM was creating Adam, the story says, it ran forwards and prostrated before His throne. “My King,” Evil complained, “what about me? I have no place in your world!”
Indeed, evil does not exist in this world outside Adam’s heart. The Crocodile which tears flesh apart, is not evil since it is unaware of YHVH (and does not have a Free Will.) The Volcano that erupts, the snake that bites, the lion that kills are not evil. Hence, Evil had a valid claim: it did not have a room in ELKM’s world.
So ELKM said: “I shall carve out a room for you inside Adam’s heart, side by side with the room for YHVH. You may enter it, grow in it, conquer it and make is large as you can.”
ELKM then said to Evil:
“Let Us Make and Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”
ELKM ‘consulted’ Evil the way a builder consults his Master Plan, and carved out a room for Evil in Adam heart. And ever since then, Evil is capable of entering Adam heart, growing inside and chasing out the presence of YHVH.
So as we move on in history towards the Sabbath, and as we feel more the presence of YHVH, we would also feel the desire to do the opposite of Her, to be evil. Until we finally accept YHVH and chase Evil away from our heart forever. . .
4: Where is Evil in the text?
At the end of the miraculous Chapter One, the acronym YHVH enters our Sixth Day. Observing our world, what does She see? :
And EloKiM made the animals…cattle…and everything creeping
And EloKiM saw that is was good…
And ELoKim said let us make Adam in our form and our image…
And ELoKiM blessed them saying be fruitful and multiply…
And EloKiM said behold, I have given you all the grass…
And ELoHiM saw everything that He had done and behold, it was
Very Good (Tov Meod), And it was evening, and it was morning,
Y om (Day)
H a Shishi, (Sixth) (Genesis 1:31)
………………………………………………the Sabbath ………………………….
V aYechulu (and they ended)
H aShamyim (the Heaves)
And the Earth, VeHaaretz, and all their hosts,
And ELoHiM finished all the work he had done,
And ELoHiM finished on the Seventh Day His work which He had done,
And He abstained on the Seventh Day from all His work which He had done…” (Genesis 2: 1-2)
The above is a quotation showing the transition of the Sixth Day into the Sabbath.
The Sixth Day is shown under the rule of ELoKiM (in red)
The Sabbath is shown under the rule of YHVH (in blue)
The dotted line marks the transition from the Sixth Day (our world) to the Sabbath
You can clearly see here the Acronym Y-H-V-H entering our Sixth Day from the Sabbath,
The Y-H Dwells in our Day, (the Dweller, the Shechina)
The V-H still Dwelling in the Sabbath.
We live under the Heavenly Court comprising of Y-H and ELKM. We move in history towards the Day that we will be ruled by YHVH ELKM, (like in Eden) and then by YHVH alone.
Look at the verses. Observing our World, YHVH ‘sees’ the verdict ‘Very Good.’
But in Hebrew, the word for ‘Very Good,’ tov meod can be read as ‘tov maved,’ death, suffering, evil (Talmud.)
Thus, again, observing our World, YHVH sees two outcomes:
Either tov meod, Very Good
Or tov maved, Very Bad, Evil.
Who can be Very Bad, Evil in YHVH eyes? The verse behind Very Good talks about Adam. Hence Adam can be either ‘Very Good’ or “Very Bad,” evil.
How much damage can Evil inflict?
The stories through the Book of Genesis show that YHVH’s reaction to Man’s evil.
YHVH could be saddened by Man’s evilness, as the verses show before Noah’s Flood (Genesis 6: 6),
YHVH could be enraged and become a warrior against Evil. This happened before She overturned Sodom. Imagine how evil a person must be to turn the Merciful YHVH in vengeance against him! ,
YHVH might fly away from Man with disgust, caused by Man’s evilness. This would be the worst, since Her absence would leave Man in the hands of ELKM, our prosecutor. This happened before the destruction of the Holy Temples by Babylon and Rome. They saw a crying Dove coming out of the Temple and flying away to the desert.
Evil can get so big that stops our Universe from proceeding to the Sabbath. In other words, “Very Bad” or tov Maved can hold back the progress of out Universe forwards.
But Evil can be so great that e it severs YHVH name to two halves: the YH and the VH. This happened once by the evil nation Amalek (Exodus 17: 16). They came from nowhere and without any reason, just be sheer hate, they fought Israel. Moses then stood on the Mountain and raised his hands up. When his hands were up, Iarael prayed and they won, When his hands were heavy and down, Israel lost. Finally Joshua smote them. Yet the verse says “For there is a swear by the Throne of YH, that there would be a war waged against Amlek for generations. Here the Name of YHVH is broken to YH (and VH). Then came the prophet Ezekiel and told us that a day will come and Her Name would be ‘completed again’ (the Kadish prayer.)
5: Evil as an Idol
As a rule, everything with whom ELKM consulted to make Adam, has become enormously attractive in our eyes, a FALSE BRIDE. This holds true also in regards to evil.
It is as if the very consultation of ELKM has rendered it an enormous charm in Adam’s mind and heart. Adam would be attracted to evil, to watch it, to perform it, and even to worship it. Evil is our attractive False Bride.
The more we are aware of YHVH, the more we would be tempted to do Her opposite: becoming evil.
If we are not careful, the crimes of the Nazis might pale in comparison of the evilness that Man CAN do today.
When will evil end?
King David addresses this in his Psalm:
“A song for the Sabbath Day
(which the Levites Choir chanted every Sabbath)
A brutish man cannot know, a fool cannot comprehend this,
When the wicked men thrive like grass,
and the evildoers flourish,
It is in order that they may be destroyed forever,
But you, YHVH, is exalted forever.
Indeed, your enemies YHVH, your enemies shall perish,
all evildoers shall be scattered.
A righteous man shall bloom like a palm tree,
Like a Cedar of Lebanon shall he be exalted…” (Psalm 92)
As the Sabbath approaches, King David says, evildoers will flourish like dry grass, so that they will be easily burn. YHVH’s Light will burn them to ashes.
Then, King David says, a ‘righteous man’ shall flourish like a Palm Tree.
“Who is this righteous Man?” the rabbis asked,
and they said: “It is Noah!”
The rue is that once we have recited this Psalm at the end of Friday, the Sabbath officially enters. .
6: So why is there is so much pains and sorrow in Nature?
So why do Tsunamis sweep and kill?
Why do volcanoes erupt and burry?
Why do the trees produce poison,
the sun burn,
the fish swallow other fish,
the bird dive to attack the fish,
the crocodile snaps the birds,
the cattle consume the vegetation,
the beast preys on the cattle,
the snakes bit
and the cats torture mice, and attack the snake?
Why do parasites take advantage of their hosts?
Why do bacteria and viruses infect and cause diseases?
Why do accidents occur?
The best answer: ELKM made all that ‘evil’ in Nature, so that it would end up in our heart, through Evolution, FOR OUR TRIAL. So,
Novas Explode so that we could explode and destroy
Water Sweep away, so that we would be able to wash away our fellowmen
Volcanoes Erupt so that we could erupt and destroy and burry
Trees can Poison so that we could do the same to our fellowmen
The Sun Burns so that we could stir fire and burn
The Fish Swallow others fish, so that we could do the same to our fellowmen.
Birds Dive to kill fish, so that Man could kill.
Crocodiles tear flesh so that we could do the same to our fellowmen.
Cattle Consume so that we could do the same.
Beasts Prey in cruelty so that we could do the same.
Cats torture the miceso that we could torture our fellowmen
Snakes Bite so that we could bite
Only that when the creature inflict these pains and destruction, they comply with ELKM Will. They are not ‘Evil’ in YHVH eyes, since they have no perception of Her.
But when we, Adam, who are equipped with Free Will and awareness of YHVH, do these cruel deeds, we are deemed Evil in YHVH eyes.
The only Evil or Demon that the Torah recognizes, is Man showing cruelty.
So don’t ask why there is so much pains in Nature.
Ask rather, what can I do to eradicate the evil from my heart.
A true story: years ago, a Biology Professor in one of our ivy league institutions, made himself a name among the students: Whenever he taught about parasites and diseases, he raised his hands to the ceilings and shouted for all to hear: “Where are you, Good God?” Implying: There is no morality in Nature! There is no G-d!”
The students loved him. If there is no G-d, what would stop them from doing anything they wish?
Had I attended his class, I would have told him:
The parasites are in nature, so that they would end up in your soul through evolution, for your trial!
The animals are harsh to each other, so that you can do the same to your fellowmen, and stand for that on a trial.
I doubt whether the famous professor would have understood my points. His Bible training had none of that.
The time has arrived to change, and teach the Bible as it is. </font size>
Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com
END OF IDOLATRY CLASS 17