Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner


Jan 2022



Ó copyrights

IDOLATRY-18/Evil: Who Created it?




Observing  Nature,  Man sees in it  so much pains, sorrow and death.

He sees, and experiences, natural disasters and catastrophes

that kill people and animals alike, with no mercy.


Man  feels the earth shaking under his feet, causing destruction and death

he sees tsunamis washing people into the sea,

volcanos erupting and burying towns under ashes


Man sees diseases and pandemics that decimate whole populations,

diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites

that take advantage of the host. And Man asks

Who created all that evil out there?


Watching the cosmos,

Man sees in it exploding nova, and black holes

that swallow entire solar system every minute,

and he asks- why is the Universe built like this?

Isn’t it controlled by a bad god, or by  Satan?


And when Man gets sick, he asks – who is after me?

Why do I deserve so much suffering?

Where is G-d?

Why doesn’t the Good G-d protect me?



And when Man looks at his fellowmen,

at people who commit heinous crimes and atrocities,

people who are cruel and indifferent to other people’s life,

And he asks:

Who made Mankind so evil?

 Aren’t we controlled by Satan?



The Book of Job is dedicated to that old question.

Job’s friends tell him that he must have sinned to deserve his fate.

They also tell him that G-d must have a good plan for him

Making him stronger by the agony,

or that G-d has some other plan for him.



But Job rightly rejects all those explanations.

They might appease his friend’s minds, but not his mind.

Their words do not comfort him, the suffering person.

To Job, nothing in the world can explain his misery.


Then G-d appears to Job and tells him the bitter truth,

that Mankind can never understand G-d.




Rabbi J.B. Soltoveitchik blessed is his memory,

takes this as halachic guidance.

We should never tell a suffering person,

that his misery is caused by some kind of Heavenly Plan,

or as a test for his character.


We should never engage a suffering person

with theology, trying to defend G-d


Instead, we should try hard to elevate his spirit

and convert him from a victim to a pro-active person

whose goal is to alleviate the agony from other people

and eradicate evil from the Earth.   



So, what is evil?  

 What does Moses say about it in Genesis Chapter One?

Who created evil, when, and why?  


Lets’ note that our discussion is a prelude

to the following story of Eden in Chapters 2-3.

You can’t understand the Garden of Eden

The Tree of Knowledge  Good and Evil

without knowing what good and evil are.



So, let’s continue the story of the creation of Adam.

So far, we’ve learned, that ELHM

consulted every entity in chapter One

and used it to make Adam, layer by layer,

as the rabbis said:

ELHM looked at the Torah and made the world,

Including Adam



ELHM consulted the Six Days and made Adam’s body,

He Consulted His Wisdom and Science, and made Adam’s mind

He Consulted His Spirit of Art, and made Adam’s artistic heart,

He Consulted His own Self, and made Adam’s Self


Moreover, ELHM blessed Adam with two Drives –

the Drive to be fruitful and multiply, namely the Sex Drive,  

and the Drive to rule over, to wield Power,


Those two powerful Drives would assure

That Adam would not sit idle, but rather

aspire to achieve goals,

and thrive in our habitat, the Earth.


All these consultations gave Adam precious gifts,

but also opened up the door for IDOLATRY,

since ELHM spoke in plural while creating Adam.

Adam would be tempted to worship these gifts,

worship himself, instead of worshipping G-d



Now, having exhausted

almost all the entities mentioned in chapter One,

ELHM made His last Consultation.


Wishing to plant in Adam even a stronger Drive,

Wishing to ensure that Adam would arrive at the End of the Day,

ELHM consulted the End of the Sixth Day, where it says:


And ELHM saw everything that He had done

And behold, it was Very Good, Tov Meod.

And it was evening, it was morning, the Sixth Day (was over),


 And ELoHim said let us make Adam in our form and our image…
And ELoHiM blessed them saying be fruitful and multiply…
And EloHiM 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 Day ………………………………………

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,
 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

And ELKM blessed the Seventh Day…” (Genesis 2: 1-2)



Here the verse says that at the End of the Sixth Day,

ELHM will judge Adam, along with the entire Six Days,

to see whether Adam has become

Very Good, or Very Bad in ELHM’s’ eyes


If Adam is deemed Very Good, in ELHM’s eyes,

ELHM would allow him, and CREATION,

to enter the next Day, the Sabbath.


But If Adam is deemed Very Bad,

ELHM would terminate him with the entire world,

and return everything to nothingness

as He had done to numerous other Universes before


ELHM then consulted the Very Good option mentioned in the verse

and planted in Adam the Drive to do Very Good things.

This would prompt Adam to walk in the right direction,

To be Very Good in ELHM’s eyes


But to balance Adam’s drives, to make his trial a fair trial,

ELHM also planted in Adam a powerful Drive

to do Very Bad things.


Adam, , blessed with a Free Will, would have to choose

between those two powerful Drives:

The Drive to do Very Good things,

and the Drive to do Very Bad things.


Now you may ask,

where in the text does the verse mention

the option of being Very Bad? The Talmud says

It lies in the Hebrew word for Very Good, Tov Meod

which can be easily read as Tov, Maved, meaning Good and Death.

Thus, ELHM consulted Good, and Consulted Maved, Death

and made Adam’s Drives accordingly



Let’s note that the Hebrew term Drive, Yezer,

refers to Desire, Lust, to be attracted and fascinated

by the magic of Good or the magic of Bad.


Thus, Adam is attracted on one hand

to be Very Good in ELHM’s eyes,

to create, build, do justice,

to comply with ELHM’s Commandments


But on the other hand, Adam is attracted

to do the opposite, to be Very Bad in ELHM’s eyes,

to destroy,  do injustice,

and to violate all ELHM’s Commandments


Now let’s pay attention to the vocabulary.

If Adam is deemed Very Good,

he is called “Righteous in ELHM’s eyes”

whereas if he becomes Very Bad in ELHM’s eyes,

he is called Sinner


But as we know,

Adam is judged not only by ELHM

but, also, by the Attribute of MERCY, YHVH.


You can see that in the Text.

At the End of the Sixth Day, Adam is judged

By ELHM – from one side, from the Six Days

And by YHVH from the other side, the Sabbath


Both Attributes judging Adam whether or not

He has become Very Good or Very Bad.


But there is a difference.

To be Very Good by ELHM’s eyes,

Adam needs to comply by His Laws.


Whereas to be Very Good in YHVH eyes,

Adam needs to be merciful, compassionate and forgiving.


To be Very Bad in ELHM’s eyes

Adam has to violate ELHM’s Commandments


Whereas, to be Very Bad in YHVH’s eyes,

Adam has to be  cruel, merciless,

lacking compassion and forgiveness.


When Adam is deemed Very Bad in YHVH eyes,

He is referred to as “Evil in YHVH eyes.”


And here we’ve arrived at the term Evil in the Torah.

It is always associated with YHVH’s assessment, never with ELHM


For the term evil is an emotional reaction to those

who act against YHVH’s values.

The term evil expresses disgust, repulsiveness and rejection,

referring to the person’s character, declaring that he is evil


In contrast, the terms Righteous or Sinner in ELHM’s eyes,

refer to the balance of a person’s merits and sins on ELHM scale,

rather to the person’s   character


Let’s note that throughout the Torah, and the entire Bible,

the term evil is always associated with YHVH’s assessment


For instance,

A kings of Israel  is called “Evil in YHVH’s eyes”

when he followed the IDOLATRY of the Canaanites

and also took advantage of the poor, the orphans and the widows.



Now, let’s ask,

Does Evil prevail in Nature?

Since Nature is so full of agony and sorrow,

is Nature controlled by Evil?


The answer depends on whom you ask.


Suppose you ask that question

to a smart spider, or a smart serpent, that can talk.


You ask it:

is the world, so full of agony and sorrow, controlled by Evil?


The smart spider would not understand your question.

For having been made by ELHM alone,

the spider or the serpent would have no knowledge of the Merciful YHVH

and would not have a clue that the Universe

could have been created differently,

with no sorrow or pains in it


To the spider’s mind, agony and pains are

manifestations of ELHM’s Justice,

where animals eat and are eaten,

inflict pains an suffer pains

in endless cycle of Absolute Justice


In the Spider’s mind,

the world seems perfect, as it is

with no Evil in it



Now imagine that a beautiful cherub, an Angel of MERCY,

wonders into our world.   You ask the Angel:

Is there evil in the world?


The Angel would answer carefully:

I know, the Angel would say,

that this world could have been created differently,

with no pain or agony or death in it.

After all, I am coming from such a world, from the Eternal Sabbath

where YHVH reigns, and ELHM abstains from ruling


But I also know, the Angel would continue,

that ELHM’s Universe is run by Absolute JUSTICE,

And JUSICE is never Evil in YHVH’s eyes


The animals are not evil, the Angel would add,

Since they abide by ELHM’s orders

and comply with His Natural Laws,

with no sense of discretion or Free Will


But Adam, in contrast, the Angel would say,

Is the only creature in the world

that may be deemed “evil,” by YHVH eyes


For Man is the only creature that is aware

of YHVH ways and Her expectations from us,

and can exercise Free will to choose

between good and evil



No, the Angel would say, the world is definitely

not controlled by Satan,

nor by any independent force of evil.


Since the only evil in this world,

can be performed by Man,

who is aware of the Merciful YHVH

and yet decides to do the opposite of Her wishes


Moreover, the Angel would say,

Don’t ask why in the world did ELHM

made the animals capable of causing pains and agony.


ELHM did it, so it would enter Man, through the Evolution,

So that Man would be able to cause pains and agony.


But whereas the animals are never evil in YHVH’s eyes

When Man acts like an animal, he is Evil in YHVH eyes


The Nova of the First Day explode,

So that Man could blow up his fellowman


The Waters of the Second Day covered Earth

So that Man could drown his fellowmen


The Vegetation of the Third Day can produce poison,

So that Man could poison


The Sun of the Fourth Day can burn

So that Man could burn his fellowmen


The Fish of the Fifth Day can swallow other fish

So that Man could swallow his enemies


The Birds of the Fifth Day can dive and catch fish

So that Man could do the same to his fellowmen


The Crocodiles of the Fifth Day can tear flesh apart

So that Adam could do the same to his fellowmen


The Beast of the Sixth Day can prey on the Cattle

So that Adam could prey on his fellowmen



The Snakes that came to power on the Sixth Day can bite

So that Man could bite


ELHM consulted the Six Days, the Angel would say,

And made Adam accordingly,

So that Adam could perform all the agony in the world

And stay for that on a trial.


But when the animals that perform all that agony and pains

 are good in ELHM’s eyes,

when Man does all that to his fellowmen,

he is Evil in YHVH eyes




Adam is the only creature that carries

both the Spider and the Angel, in his heart,


Adam, with his Free Will,

can choose to behave like the spider

and be Evil in YHVH eyes


Or act like the Angel,

and be YHVH’s beloved one,

As Abraham, Moses and David  did




Adam can behave like an animal

And declare that War is good,

that only the strong prevails, as in the Jungle,

and that G-d is dead, like Nietzsche said

that the Bible is a poison made by the weak

to harm the strong and the healthy race


Adam can raise an army wearing fancy uniform

with a skull-emblem placed on his hat,

and murder millions of innocent people

In a calculated, vicious, cool scientific way

like the Nazis.

Thereby, not only worshipping Satan,

but becoming real Satan on real Earth


But Adam can opt for the opposite.

He can walk, like Noah, in ELHM’s ways

And let the Angel of YHVH enter his heart,

and be righteous in ELHM’s eyes

and beloved in YHVH’s eyes




And since Evil is just  Man’s perception of things

from the perspective of YHVH eyes in his heart,

the more Mankind accepts YHVH in our heart,

the more we would become sensitive to evildoers



So as Mankind progresses in history towards the Sabbath

Evil would be seen more starkly and larger in our eyes.

But this would be an illusion, and we should overcome Evil

As a blowing wind, as an image wiped out by reality



But if the Evil of Mankind would grow for real,

If Man would become “Very Bad” in YHVH eyes,

Our evilness would block the world’s progress to the Sabbath,

leaving us in the Hands of ELHM to execute His harsh verdict


In fact, the Torah says,

that Evil of Man can grow so big

that it would sever the Holy Name YHVH to two parts,

to Y-H and V-H,

like the Amalekites did at the Exodus.


Moses and Joshua fought and won over Amalek,

But the Torah states that this battle is not yet over

And that YHVH would continue fighting against Amalek

Till Her Name has become complete and wholly again



King David says in the “Psalm song for the Sabbath”

that although the evildoers may flourish like grass,

they would also burn like dry strow,

so that a righteous person would bloom like a Palm Tree

in G-d’s courtyards.


The rabbis asked:

Who is this righteous person, that Davis refers to?

And they answer – this man is Noah.