© 2014 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Noah’s Tree Of Life
These are Noah’s words to his children after the Flood…
As he spoke, I thought again about Naama and Cain’s descendants who worshipped ELoHiM. I wonder even more why anyone would worship a harsh and strict JUDGE like ELoHiM, who operates without MERCY.
“Would you tell me more about ELoHiM, grandpa?”
Still holding Adam’s Branch of the Tree of Life, my grandfather explained to me the following points about ELoHiM’s ways:
(Characteristics of ELoHiM’s judgment)
ELoHiM is Wise. He created the world with His Wisdom and Science that still moves Nature. The more you learn about Nature, the more you comprehend the depth of His Wisdom and Science.
ELoHiM Judges harshly, with no MERCY. (The Infinite, Nameless CREATOR has reveled His Attribute of MERCY only later in the story of CREATION.)
ELoHiM is the Ultimate PROVIDER. He is KIND. He not only created the World, but has provided every creature with the tools and talents needed for its survival. Thus He provided fins to the fish, wings to the birds, power and speed to the lions and sharp teeth to the crocodiles. He also provided Mankind with a wise mind necessary for our survival.
ELoHiM SUSTAINS Nature. Adam mentions ELoHiM’s Name 32 times in the story of CREATION. The number 32, written as ‘Lb’ (L stands for30, b for 2,) which means “heart.’ Hence ELoHiM ‘resides’ at the ‘heart’ of Nature. He sustains Nature as the heart sustains the body. He fills Nature as blood fills living tissues.
ELoHiM seeks the ABSOLUTE TRUTH about a case. He pays attention to no moral argument other than the sheer truth. His nickname is ‘emeth,‘ TRUTH, meaning the Truthful JUDGE.
ELoHiM seeks only the ABSOLUTE JUSTICE by paying back ‘MEASURE FOR MEASURE’ in exact fashion. Under His rule, creatures may eat other creatures, only because they too would be eaten by other creatures in return, in full Justice. Thus the wolf preys on the lamb, only because the wolf too would be killed by a fallen tree and its flesh eaten by other creatures. Under His rule of ‘Measure for Measure,’ creatures inflict pain on other creatures, only because they too would suffer pain in return.
ELoHiM judges us by the BALANCE OF OUR DEEDS on His scale. He pays no attention to our character or intentions. He deems us according to our deeds. His Angels weight our merits against our sins. When our scale tilts towards our merits, we are deemed ‘righteous’ in His eyes. When our scale tilts towards our sins, we are sinners in His eyes. He does not refer to anyone as ‘evil.’
ELoHiM’s judgment penetrates everything and seen everywhere, like water that penetrates everything. This is why Adam says that “The spirit (ruaach, wind) of ELoHiM hovers over the WATERS,” (Genesis 1: 2.) His Judgment, like the water’s surface, is even and equal to all.
ELoHiM’s spirit (ruaach, Wind) or Throne, hovers over the water. He uses Water and Wind to execute His Verdict. If you ever see the ocean rising and ferocious storms hitting dry land, know that ELoHiM is about to execute His harsh, merciless Verdict.
We all deserve death under ELoHiM’s Judgment
As my grandpa returned Adam’s Branch of the Tree of Life into the golden chest, I asked, “Grandpa, why did ELoHiM take the life of my mother while she was so young?”
“When Adam and Eve found themselves the first time on Earth,” he said, “they were shocked. Unlike Eden, the new place was full of sorrow, diseases, natural calamities – earthquakes, volcano eruption – and death. The CREATOR then said, ‘have I not told you that the day you eat from the ‘Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil’ you shall die? So here you are, on Earth, where you will know what to die means and what evil is.’ Henceforth, unlike in Eden, their bodies would be subjected to all the Laws of Nature. Their bodies would suffer pains and diseases and would perish in natural calamities no different than all other creatures in Nature. Only our souls would return to Him.
“You mother, Noah, passed away under ELoHiM’s verdict, like all other people. This does not mean she was a sinner. We all die because our bodies are part of Nature and by His Verdict. What is important is the way we have lived. And your mother, I know, was a very righteous person who abided by ELoHiM’s Commandments. Her soul dwells now by ELoHiM’s Throne of Justice, forever and ever.”
Editor: The Jewish custom is to say by the grave of a deceased one: “Blessed is He, the Truthful Judge,” referring to ELoHiM.
We are therefore never alone
As we paced towards the study’s exit Enosh said, “One good thing about ELoHiM is that because He judges us, He watches us day and night. His Angels record every action we take, every word we say, and inscribe them in the Book of Life for our trial. It means that we are never alone… It is time to let your mother rest in peace. You should not mourn after her too much anymore. Had she been alive, she wouldn’t be happy to see you saddened and crying so much after her.”
MERCY appeared later in the story of CREATION
“But grandpa,” I said, “is that the whole story of CREATION? You have told me about ELoHiM and His harsh ways. But what about MERCY? Aren’t we, the Seth family, follow MERCY?”
You should have seen, my sons, how his face lightened up by my question. He kissed my head. “Noah,” he said, “I am glad you’re sensitive enough to ask that question. Yes, MERCY did enter CREATION, but much later. At the Beginning, it was ELoHiM who created the world. Later, close to the end of the Sixth Day, the Merciful Attribute entered our world too. We’ll read about that shortly in Adam’s Tree of Life.”
Seeing my puzzled expression he said, “Our World is like as a Court room, where ELoHiM sits as the JUDGE. First He seeks the absolute truth about the case, and nothing else but the truth. He then issues a truthful verdict expressing the Absolute Justice and nothing else. Yes, it may be a harsh one, measure for measure, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but it would reflect Truthful Justice. Only then the JUDGE may or may not exercise MERCY and apply it to his verdict. Hence MERCY does always follow the Truthful Judgment. This is why Adam began the story of the Six Days CREATION by telling us about the harsh JUDGE, and then at the end of the Six Days he speaks about MERCY.”
The secret of Enosh’s study room
There is one more thing I need to tell you, my children. As Enosh and I exited his wondrous study, the attendant was still waiting for us. “That was quick,” he said, and locked the door after us.
I startled. “Quick? How long did we stay there?”
“A couple of minutes,” he said.
How could this be? I thought that we had been there more than a couple of minutes. Months later, Enosh told me the secret of his study. “The Tree of Life creates its own universe,” he said, “its own time and space. This is why my study seems larger inside than from the outside, and why the time we spend inside seems longer to us than to people outside. It means, Noah that the time you spend studying the Tree of Life, is not counted outside at all. The Heavenly Court would not deduct that time from whatever time they have allocated for your life on Earth.”
Editor: Moses’ Holy Ark, tradition says, did not occupy real dimensions in space and time. When they measured the distances between it and the surrounding walls, it seemed that it occupied no space. Anything placed inside the Ark, like the Mana and the Ten Commandments, stood unharmed by the teeth of time. Time spent by studying the Torah, which was originally placed inside the Ark, is not counted against the time allocated for our life on Earth.
The Demon Naama
Enosh’s teaching about ELoHiM appeased my mind. I felt alone no more. Moreover, I mourned my mother no more. I accepted ELoHiM’s truthful Judgment in full submission and I walked in His Commandments (Genesis 5: 9) as my mother had done. Strangely, as I let my mother’s memory fade away, the image of Naama’s face increased more starkly in my mind, as if she was replacing my mother. I hated this. On the other hand, my curiosity about her and her family increased too. Why did they worship ELoHiM, rather than MERCY like us the Seth?
I asked people in our household where Cain’s family lived. At first they denied any knowledge of them, as if it was a secret. But after I insisted they told me that Cain’s family lived in the woods, apart from the rest of humanity. “Don’t you ever visit them,” they warned me, “for you may be devoured by a beast or slain by one of Cain’s wondering arrows. Beside, their compound is plagued by demons that fly fast in the air. A noted one is the Demon Naama that flies so fast, that it occupies different sites in space at the same time! It consumes the hearts of young males! This Demon appears as a pretty girl who attracts young males. They leave their families to be with her and then commit suicide because of her. Once the demon attracts you, it won’t let you escape…”
Hearing these words my heart sank. If the Tree of Life creates its own space, could a Demon do the same, being seen in two places at once?
“What about Naama’s brother, Tubal Cain?” I asked.
“He is a murderer, a leader of ferocious gangues that rape, mug and kill shamelessly under the watching sun. Never cross his path!” They spat on the ground mentioning his name.
This was the ugly truth about Cain. But on the other hand, why did Enosh say that Cain’s family worshipped ELoHiM? How could a demon and a murderer worship the JUDGE? In fact, those stories only increased my apatite to unravel Cain’s mysteries.
Read also: Genesis Vs. Science, Can they Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwards.com