© 2020 by Rabbi dr. Zvi Aviner


The Heavenly Court of Genesis


In the First of the Ten Commandments, the Speaker- GOD – presents Himself as

I Am 


Who took you out of Egypt Land  

Which means, we’ve said,

I Am 

the Merciful, your Judge

Who took you out of Egypt Land 

Prior to giving the Laws – the Ten Commandments – the Speaker explains how He would judge us for those Commandments.  He would first act as ELKM,  seeking the facts and the truth and nothing else but the truth, i.e. seek the Absolute Justice, and  then would  apply His Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness to arrive at the final verdict.

It is a good news. We wouldn’t like to be judged by the harsh, truthful ELKM alone.   We know that we’d have no chance to win our trial under His scrutiny.  We prefer to live under a Court that uses Mercy as well.

Note that the order of the Attributes is paramount – first ELKM then YHVH. In fact, Mercy alone without preceding ELKM’S  judgment has no meaning.   Mercy is born to overcome Judgment.

Moses does not explain here at the Ten Commandments what ELKM and YHVH are.  He assumes, rightly,  that the reader is already familiar with these Holy Names from Genesis Chapter One.


The Structure of Genesis Chapter One


Genesis Chapter One is designed to present the Heavenly Court the first time. The  Chapter begins –

In the Beginning, EeLoHiM created the Heavens and the Earth  

As you know by now, the Name ELKM stands for the All Mighty JUDGE, or the Attribute of Justice.  It appears 32 times during  the Six Days  of Creation,  the highest concentration in the Torah (Bible.)  Note that ELKM is the only Name appearing during the Six Days..

Then, at the very end of the Six Days  the Attribute YHVH appears the first time in the text – as an acronym

Y om (Day)

H ashishi (Sixth)

V ayechulu  (ended)

H ashamyim (Heavens and Earth)

Hence the structure of  Chapter One in Genesis is as follows

EeLoHiM– Six Days – Y*H*V*H 

or better

EeLoKiM–  Nature and Adam- Y*H*V*H

Here the Heavenly Court judges the Six Days (Nature) including Adam.   ELKM on one side, YHVH on the other.   it means that at first, ELKM executes His Judgment, on Nature including Adam, seeking the truth and the absolute Justice.  Only then Y*H*V*H joins the Court and applies “Her” MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS.

Let’s discuss another question.   When Moses presents the Heavenly Court in the Ten Commandments, he says

1 I Am

2 YHVH your ELKM 

3. Who took you out of Egypt

Let’s focus on the third line.  It presents GOD’s Deeds.  The question is: Why doesn’t GOD present Himself saying in the third line: “who created the world?” (Abrabanel question), instead of “who took you out of Egypt Land”? Isn’t creation more impressive deed?  .

The  answer is that speaking to the former Egyptian slaves who had just been redeemed, there was no more impressive title than “I am the One who took you out of Egypt.”   The Speaker- GOD –  wished after all to speak to the Israelite  hearts.

Now, what are the Names ELKM and YHVH exactly? .

End of IDOLATRY Class 4