Rabbi D. Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY -3/ELOHIM, The All- Mighty JuUDGE
In our quest of learning the IDOLATRY Commandment
We examined the First of Moses’ Ten Commandments that says
1 I Am (SELF)
2 YHVH (Lord) your EeLoHiM (God) (ATTRIBUTES)
3 Who took you out of Egypt Land (DEEDS, KINGSHIP)
Here , the SPEAKER – G-d – present Himself in a particular way
which is the key to the Torah. And He wishes us to address Him in this way.
So, what is the meaning of YHVH and ELHM?
Moses presents and defines them in Genesis Chapter One.
So, first, who is ELOHM?
Moses’ basic question
Suppose Moses come to life in our time.
Standing at a corner of a busy street, he asks people passing by:
“Excuse me sir, lady, do you know the Bible?”
Many ignore him, taking him for a fool. Some would stop for a fun, saying:
“Of course! We know the Bible!”
“If so,” Moses asks: “Who Created the World, and for what purpose?”
The people would lough.“Of course, G-d created the world!”
“G-d?” Moses says, surprised.
“Of course! Doesn’t it say :In the Beginning, G-d created the Heavens and the Earth
“If so,” Moses says,” for what purpose did He create the World?”
“Purpose?” Now they are puzzled. Some offer answers, such as:
“G-d created the world for good people…”
“G-d created the world for the Messiah…”
“G-d created the world for Israel…”
But Moses shakes his head in denial, asking –
“Can you support your words by the verse?” o
The people now seek support for their answers in the verse, in vain.
“No,” they finally say to Moses,”there is not clue here why did G-d create the world!”
Tears run out of Moses’ eyes.
The most important message of his Five Books has been wiped out from Man’s mind!
How could that happen? He would wonder in pains.
The All-Mighty JUDGE
The issue is not semantic. In Hebrew, the first verse of the Torah (Bible) says
“In the Beginning, EeLoHiM created the Heavens and the Earth!”
(Genesis 1: 1)
Where EeLoHiM stands for The All Mighty JUDGE,
While the term G-d infers reverence and awe,
the Hebrew ELoHiM means, specifically, the All-Mighty JUDG
ELHM, THE ALL MIGHTY JUDGE, CREATED THE WORLD FOR JUDGMENT.
Let’s note that the Hebrew term ELoHiM refers to any judge,
even a human judge, as it says:
“ELoHiM in your midst you should not curse,
nor should you curse a prince in your nation…” (Exodus 22: 27.)
Henceforth, to avoid mentioning the holy Name in vain,
We would use the abbreviation ELHM or ELKM instead of EeLoHiM.
Essence Vs Attribute
Note that the term ELKM, JUDGE, is a descriptive Attribute
Of the Infinite, nameless CREATOR whose ESSENCE is beyond description.
THUS, Moses’ most basic message is, that at CREATION, at the Beginning,
The CREATOR “set on the Throne of JUDGMENT.”
On other occasions, He would “sit” on other Thrones,
Such as the Throne of MERCY, or other attributes.
Now , what does Genesis Chapter One
tell us about ELKM?
The 13 attributes of Judgment
- 1 ELKM, the BUILDE-JUDGE
Chapter One is telling us that
For Six Days, ELHM built the World, Day by Day,
as a Six Floors Building, placing each Floor
on top of the previous Floor.
At the end of each Day, each Floor,
ELKM – as a BUILDER- came and checked the Floor
To see whether it is strong enough to carry another Floor on top.
Chapter One also says that
If the Floor is “good” in the BUILDER’S eye,
if it is strong and viable and capable of supporting another Floor on top,
The BUILDER would allow it to stay.
“There was evening, and there was morning, the Day (was over).”
But the option of being “good” carries the option of being ‘not good.”
What would happen if the JUDGE ELKM finds the passing Day not good?
Tradition says (and there are clues for that) that in that case,
if a Floor can’t support the next one,
ELKM , the BUILDER-JUDGE would eliminate it, or discard it
not unlike a scaffold that is no more needed.
The BUILDER acts also as a JUDGE, assessing His CREATION
And the terms “good” and “not good” carry no moral connotation,
and they are seen from the BUILDER’S eyes.
And the BUILDER seeks “efficiency” rather than moral meaning.
Is our interoperation of ELKM as a JUDGE, valid?
You can see the answer in the way we celebrate
Rosh Hashanah , the New Year, which is also
the Birthday of the World and Adam.
It is a day when G-d, ELKM, ascends on His Throne of JUDGMENT
and JUDGES the entire world. On that awesome day.
all creatures pass before His Throne, as He examines them,
and decides their fate for the next year
Here is a quotation from our prayer book for Rosh Hashanah:
“Today is the birthday of the world,
Today you ascend again on your Throne of Judgment
when all the creatures of the world pass before your Throne
as You examine each and every one of them
and dictates their fate for the next year…”
2: ELKM Pursues the Absolute Justice and Truth
Tradition says that ELKM follows the Absolute Justice and Truth
He sees the fact and acts accordingly. Thus –
He is called “The truthful JUDGE,” (Dayan Emeth)
His nickname is “Truth,
His signature” is “Truth.”
Hence, wherever His Name appears in the text,
We should see this as a stamp of truthfulness.
Since His Name appears 32 times in the Six Days of CREATION,
the story must be true. Indeed, later in our class we’ll see how true the story is.
3: ELKM pays “Measure for Measure”
(Midah for Midah)
ELKM’s retributions are precise,
“measure for measure,” in exact fashion.
Under Him, during the Six Day,
creatures are allowed to eat other creatures
because they too would be eaten.
Creatures are allowed to inflict pains on others,
because they too would suffer pains.
Note that it was the Finger Of ELHM
Who wrote on Moses’ Torah the rule:
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.
(Exodus 32: 15)
4 LoHiM’s Judgment is Harsh
ELKM’s Judgment is precise and harsh,
with NO MERCY
Whenever He, as The BUILDER,
deems a creature or a Day as not good,”
He would eliminate it readily with no regret.
5: ELKM Created the Six Days
As a Dictator, “Awesomely Alone”
During the Six Days of Genesis,
ELHM created the world by Commands
He said “Let there be Light” and Light was.
He said “Let they Earth grow grass” and it did.
He said “Let Luminaries hang in the sky”, and they did,
During these Six Day, He ruled “Awesomely Alone”,
discussing or consulting no one,
and no one dared to object Him.
Before making Adam,ELHM changed His rule
And spoke in plural, as if Consulting othe
He was no longer a Dictator.
6 ELKM Created with Wisdom
Nature reflects ELKM’s Wisdom.
The more we know about the Universe, by our Science,
the more we appreciate that Wisdom.
The Rabbis found a hint for that Wisdom , in the verse saying:: o
“In the Beginning, ELKM created the Heavens and the Earth”
The Hebrew word for “Beginning,”Be-reishit”
can be read as “At the head of the events,”
implying that He used His Head,
or the Wisdom and Science in His Head
to create the world.
How is it, then, that we, humans,
can use that Heavenly Wisdom for our Science?
We’ll address that in due course,
When we learn about making Adam
7: ELHM creates with precision
ELHM’s ways of precision
In building as well in judgment
Is reflected in Nature.
His Natural Laws are precise,
can be expressed by mathematics.
His Universe is” elegant.”
If you change the charge of the electrons just a bit,
You’d get another Universe.
8 ELoKiM is KIND, the ULTIMATE PROVIDER
Merciless and Harsh He is, yet Kind.
He is the Ultimate Provider
who provides every creature
whatever it needs to survive and thrive.
To Him, all eyes are lifted in prayer.
1.He gave the vegetation of the Third Day
the talent to perform photo synthesis
2 He gave the fish born on the Fifth Day
the gills and the fins to swim
3 He gave the birds born onthe Fifth Day
the wings to soar up and eyes to catch fish
4 He gave the crocodiles born onthe FifthDay
the talents to lie like a log to catch birds
5 He gave the cattle born onthe Sixth Day
the talent to digest so much vegetation
6 He gave the beasts born on the Sixth Day
the talent to prey on cattle
7 He gave the crawling creaturesborn on the Sixth Day
the teeth to bite
8 He gave Adam born on the Sixth Day
the mind needed to survive and progress
9 ELoHiM “Sits” at the Heart of Nature
Where is ELHM? Above? Below?
Since His Name appears 32 times in the Six Days,
And Since 32 is written “Lb”, a ‘heart’ in Hebrew,
We can say that ELHM is at the Heart of Nature
sustaining it, as the heart sustains the body.
the numerical value of “EeLoHiM” is 86
the same as for ‘The Nature,’ Ha-teva.
Hence, ELKM created Nature.
10 ELoKiM uses water as a whip
Verse 2 in Genesis says:
And the wind (spirit) of ELKM
was hovering over the waters.”
- ELHM’s Throne of Judgment hovers over waters
- ELHM uses water as a whip, as in Noah’s Flood
- ELKM is enthroned over water, as on Rosh Hashanah,
11: ELKM sees everything
ELHM’s Justice penetrates everything
like water. Nothing escapes His Scrutiny
12: ELHM’s justice is equal for all
ELHM recognizes neither royalty nor privileges.
His judgment is equal and even towards all,
like water surface.
13 ELoHiM weights our merits on His Scale
ELHM weights our deeds on His Scale:
merits on one side, sins on the other.
The tilt of the scale would determine
whether we are either
Righteous, or Wicked.
Note that ELHM does not judge us by character
But rather by our actions.
Now that we’ve delineated some of
The way ELHM acts and judges,
And that He seeks only the TRUTH,
We can ask: is the story of Genesis truthful? o