© 2020 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: The Heavenly Court
The first Commandment at the top of Moses’ Ten Commandments says
- “I Am (SELF)
- LORD (YHVH) your GOD (EeLoHiM) (Attributes)
- Who took you out of Egypt Land” (Kingship)
Here the Speaker- the CREATOR-presents Himself. Be it a Commandment, or be it an Introduction, it behooves everyone to KNOW Him and ADRESS Him the way He presents Himself.
We need to know that He rules over us as a Heavenly Court comprised of the Attribute of Mercy (YHVH) and Justice (ELHM.) Its verdict is issued by the “Arbiter” Supreme SELF down to the KIGSHIP that runs history.
Moses does not elaborate here in the Ten Commandments on the Heavenly Court , since he assumes that the reader is already aware of it from the story of Genesis where the notion of the Heavenly Court appears the first time.
Let’s see this by our own eyes.
1: Who created the world, and for what purpose?
If I ask you: “Who created the world, and for what purpose?” You would surely answer
“Of course, G-d created the world, who else? Doesn’t it say In the Beginning, G-d created the Heavens and the Earth…” (Genesis 1: 1) ?
“If so,” I would ask, “for what purpose did He create the world?”
“Purpose?” Now you’d be puzzled. “There is no purpose mentioned!”
“But the verse does say about it,” I would insist.
I know. You’d now attempt to give me some answers like
“G-d created the world for the Messiah”
“God create the world for Israel”
“God created the world for good people”.
I would shrug off these answers. They might be interesting and meaningful, yet they are not supported by the text!
2: The All Mighty JUDGE, ELoHIM
The answer to my question is given by the Torah itself. In Genesis 1:1 the verse actually says
“At the Beginning, ELoHiM created the Heavens and the Earth….”
Where ELoHiM means in plain Hebrew “The JUDGE.” (Rashi, Exodus 20😊
Hence, we have an answer: Who created the world and for what purpose? – The JUDGE EeLoHiM created the world to withstand JUDGMENT.
For this is what the JUDGE ELHM does- He creates for JUDGMENT.
What is the difference between “God” and “ELHM”? (I omit the vowels in the Name)
The English word “God” expresses awe and reverence, yet it does not carry the specific message that THE WORLD WAS CREATED BY THE ALL MIGHTY JUDGE TO WITHSTAND JUDGMENT. And that message it so basic that it should never be omitted of forgotten.
Note that the Hebrew term ELoHiM refers to any judge, even a human judge. Like in the verse: “ELoHiM in your midst you should not curse, nor should you curse a prince in your nation…” (Exodus 22: 27.) Here the Torah forbids the cursing of “elohim” who is clearly a human judge, as well as cursing a “prince in your nation” who is a human king
A mere Attribute
Let’s recall that the term ELHM stands for an Attribute not for an Essence. It is not a separate deity but rather a descriptive Attribute of the One CREATOR whose Essence is beyond our conception. The term ELHM describes what the CREATOR does at a specific moment. At the time of CREATION, the CREATOR set on the “Throne of Judgment. On other occasions He would sit on different Thrones.
How many Attributes of the CREATOR there are? The Infinite, nameless CREATOR hasinfinite number of Attributes. He may wear different ‘hats’ on sit on different Thrones in different points of history.
The world on trial?
“In the Beginning, ELHM created the Heavens and Earth” – Hence the world was created for Judgment- we’ve said. How come? Does the world possess a mind and discretion? How can it stand on a trial?
One answer is that each item in Nature must comply with the Natural Laws set up by its CREATOR, ELoHiM. Any deviation from these Laws would incur a harsh retribution. A mere, small change in the size of the atom – for example- would yield a completely different Universe. Our Universe is “elegant and precise” and must abide by ELKM’s Laws. This is one aspect of Nature’s trial by ELHM.
Another answer is given by the story of CREATION itself. Every Day of CREATION, usually at the End of the Day, ELHM passed a JUDGMENT Aon the passing Day and JUDGED it to be good. The term “good” is in the Builder’s eyes. Hence during the Six Days He acted as a BUILDER and a JUDGE. We’ll soon see the implications of this basic mnotion
Is there another Attribute in the story of CREATION?
The entire Six Days were created by the JUDGE ELHM. No other Attribute is mentioned. At the End of the Sixth Day – Genesis Chapter 2- it says
“On the Day that YHVH ELHM created Earth and Heavens
Suddenly the name of another Attribute- YHVH- appears in the text SIDE BY SIDE with ELHM. As we remember- YHVH stands for the Attribute of MERCY.
Thus, we now better understand the first verse. It says “At the Beginning, ELHM created the Heavens and Earth” inferring that only at the Beginning did ELHM create the world alone by Himself. LATER, at the end of the Sixth Day, YHVH Joined Him to “stabilize” and “consolidate” the world – and to create us.
The 13 attributes of Judgment
We can derive it from observing Nature- which He created in Six Days. Here are some points:
1. He judges every Day At the end of each Day of CREATION (besides the 2nd) ELKM said “it was good.” Hence ELKM judged each Day to see whether or not it was good in His eyes. .
2: ELoHiM pursues Absolute Justice and Truth
ELoHiM, follows Absolute Justice. We humans can’t do that because our judgment is always tainted with some relevant or irrelevant interest and issue’ and without Mercy! Only the CREATOR can show such an Absolute, purse Justice with absolute Truth .
He is therefore called a “TRUTHFUL JUDGE.”
His nickname is “TRUTH,” emeth.
His signature is “TRUTH,” emeth.
For instance: when a dear person passes away, we acknowledge the harsh verdict by saying: “Blesses is the Truthful Judge.”
3: ELoHiM pays “Measure for Measure” (Midah against Midah)
ELKM pays back “measure for measure” in Absolute Justice. We can see that in Nature where creatures eat only to be eaten, inflict pains only to suffer pains in return.
Years ago, I watched with my children a National Geographic video. It captured a small green snake that crawled peacefully along a lakeshore looking for breakfast. On its way the snake swallowed numerous poor small frogs. You could watch in ae their bodies moving inside the snake’s belly. Then the unsuspecting snake passed by a huge frog patiently waiting for it. The huge frog did not even blink an eye. As the snake approached it, the huge frog snapped the snake head with unbelievable speed and cut if off. Then it swallowed the snake along with the little frogs still twisting in the snake’s belly. Seeing this, I jumped up and down clapping my hands and shouting: “Yes! ELoHiM is here! Measure for measure…” – to the laughter of my children
Note that being vegetarians won’t remove you from ELHM’s judgment. For who can value the life of a vegetable against the life of an animal? Only the CREATOR would!
4. ELoHiM’s judgment is harsh
ELoHiM rules harshly with iron fist with NO MERCY. The things He deems ‘not good anymore’ are eliminated right then and there.
A good example for ELKM’s harsh law is the rule “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This Law was written by “ELKM’s Fingers” (Exodus 32: 15) It presents the ABSOLUTE JUSTICE. It does not express the final verdict of the court.
In addition to the rule set up by the Finger of ELHM, the Jewish Court would use the input of the Attribute of MERCY that asks for monetary compensation only..
5: ELKM created the Six Days as a Tyrant
During the Six Days of CREATION, ELHM created the world by giving “orders” such as “Let it be grass or “Let the luminaries hang in the sky.” He Commanded, and things happened with no discretion. Hence when ELHM ruled alone, He acted as a tyrant, asking no one’s opinion, consulting no one’s advice. ”
6: ELoHiM acted like a Builder
During the Six Days of CREATION, ELHM acted as a Builder of a Six Floors Building Each Day comprised a Floor. At the end of each Day, of each Floor, the Builder came and checked the Floor He had built to see whether or not it was ‘good’ or solid in His eyes.
If He deemed the Floor as ‘good,’ the Builder would build another Floor on top of it. On the other hands, if He deemed the Floor as “’not good’ in His #Eyes, the Builder would eliminate it with no Mercy and revert it to nothingness .
Note that on the 3rd and 6th Days He checked the Day twice. This “Midday” judgment was unusually crucial. The entire fate of the world stood on a crossroad. We’ll discuss these judgments in detail. .
7. ELoHiM is Wise
ELKM built His Universe by Wisdom. You can see a hint for that in the first verse that says s “In the Beginning, ELKM created the Heavens and the Earth.”
Here the Hebrew word used for “Beginning” – Be-reishit – can be read as “”In the Head of the events.” This classical interpretation implies that “ELKM used His Head” (or the wisdom in His Head) to create Heaven and Earth. The Universe reflects God’s Wisdom. That is why studying Nature can lead you to “believe” in a CREATOR (says Maimonides)
8. ELoHiM is precise
ELoHiM’s JUDGMENT is exact, paying “Measure for Measure.” He created the World with precision. Universe is ‘elegant and precise.’
9. ELoKiM is the Ultimate Provider. He is KIND.
As Merciless and Harsh as He is, yet He is Kind. He is the Ultimate Provider who takes care of His creatures’ needs and provides them with all the necessary talents to thrive in their habitats. Thus,
1.He gave the vegetation born on the Third Day the talent to perform photo synthesis
2. He gave the fish born on the Fifth Day the gills and fins to breath and swim in the water and eyes to see and a digestive system to consume vegetation
3. He gave the birds of the Fifth Day wings to soar up and catch fish
4. He gave the crocodiles of the Fifth Day the talents to lie like a log and catch birds
5. He gave the cattle of the Sixth Day the talent to consume vegetation
6. He gave the beasts of the Sixth Day he talent to prey on the cattle
7. He gave the crawling creatures of the Sixth Day the tools to bite and swallow other creatures
8. He gave Adam of the Sixth Day the tools and talents to thrive in our habitat, Earth. In His Kindness He also gave us the Torah to show us how to win our Judgment.
10. ELoHiM ‘fills’ the ‘heart’ of Nature
ELKM does not dwell above, or below. Since His Name appears 32 times in the Six Days of CREATION, He is at the heart of Nature. (32 is written Lb where L stands for 30 and b for 2. Lb means in Hebrew a Heart.) ELKM sustains Nature as the heart sustains the body. ELHM fills the World. There is no Place without Him
The numerical value of the word eELoHiM is 86, same as for ‘The Nature,’ Ha-teva. Thus ELKM is the creator of Nature (rather than Nature itself)
11. ELoKiM’s judgment is equal to all
It is said: “And the wind (spirit?) of ELoHiM was hovering over the waters…” (Genesis 1:2.) The verse implies that
1. ELHM’s Throne of Judgment is hovering over waters
2. ELHM uses Water as a whip, as in Noah’s Flood
3.ELHM’s Justice penetrates everything, like water.
4. ELHM’s justice, like water surface, is even and equal to all, penetrating everything.
12 ELoHiM weights our merits on His Scale
ELHM judges us by weighting our deeds on His scale:
Our merits are on one side, our sins on the other.
The tilt of the scale would determine tour fate
13: Righteousness and wickedness
When the scale tilts in our favor, we are RIGHTEOUS in His eyes.
When the scale tilts against us, we are SINNERS or WICKED in His eyes.
Hence “righteous” (Tzadik) and “wicked” (Rasha) are terms that reflect our verdict in the Heavenly Court (Maimonides) rather than our charecter
’ELoKiM‘ (ELKM) instead of ELoHiM: Henceforth we will write ELoHiM as ELKM without vowels. The H is replaced by K)
Talking about the story of CREATION – what constitutes “good” in ELKM’s eyes?
Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com
END OF IDOLATRY-3