IDOLATRY-12/The Trial of YHVH ELKM Kingship


© 2018 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Genesis-and-seven-laws-of –


IDOLATRY-12/The Trial of YHVH ELKM Kingship


now your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference

1 : Kingship in the Ten Commandments


In our quest to comprehend the IDOLATRY Commandment, we’ve been following the first two of Moses’ Ten Commandments that say:

The first, positive Commandment
1. I Am (The Essence)
2. YHVH Your ELoKiM (The Attributes)
3. Who Took You Out of Egypt Land” (His Kingship)
The second, negative Commandment, listing the idols
1. Thou shall not make for yourself other ELoKiM’s
2. Over My Face…….

These two Commandments are the two side of the same coin:

The first, ‘positive’ Commandment tells us whom to worship
The Second, negative one tells us about the idols, whom we should worship not

We’ve learned about the Self ,I Am, or the Arbiter of line 1.

We’ve also learned about the Attributes YHVH and ELKM of line 2.

Now we are ready to learn about His Kingship, in line 3.

The notion of G-d’s Kingship means that He intervenes in human history. He is not an aloof Primary Mover that the Greek philosophers and our scientists recognize, but a living KING who is interested in His Kingdom, in the world including us.

Kingship can in fact be expressed by description of any of His deeds,  such as “The One Who Created the Heavens and the Earth.”  In the Ten Commandment, though, while speaking to former Egyptian slaves who had been just redeemed, He prefers to present His Kingship TO THEM as “One Who Took you Out of Egypt Land” (Line 3.)  This way His Kingship is meaningful to them.

 This implies that the acceptance of G-d’s Kingship is an individual task.  it depends on My Self.  I accept His Kingship on me, personally.  For example, I may respect the king of England, but I would not accept him/her on myself (unless I’ve become a citizen of England.)

Accepting His Kingship on us must be personal to be meaningful.

The Kingship is an expression of the Self.  Our ‘self’ aspires to be recognized, honored and be  a king. This idea is expressed in the structure of the First of the Ten Commandments.   As you see, line 1, the I Am, presents the Heavenly Self, who finally expresses Himself to the outside world in  line 3 – His Kingship.  .

 As we’ve said, the rabbis complied with the First Commandment by addressing G-d the way He presents  Himself.   Thus we say in our blessings for the bread  .

1. Blessed are  You (against I AM)
2. YHVH (uttered My Lord, Master, AaDoNai) our ELoKiM
3. The King of the Universe, who brings out bread from the ground.”

We are careful to address Him by the three lines of the First Commandment.  Here we express His Kingship, or Deeds, by the worlds: Who brings out bread from the ground.


 2: Idolatry as a battle of Kingship

It is not incidental that Moses places His Kingship in the First Commandment that teaches the prohibition of IDOLATRY, Moses in fact places Kingship t the bottom of the First Commandment, just before the Second Commandment which lists all the possible idols (as we’ll see in details later in due course.)  .

Thus according to Moses, IDOLATRY is a  battle of kingship. Man stands between the Commandments (see the above quotation)  and faces a choice; either looks up to YHVH ELKM and accept Him as our KING, or look ‘down’  and accept the kingship of the idols.

IDOLATRY is depicted here as an issue of Kingship.  We either surrender our lives to the idols or to the true G-d of Israel,   Since our societies can have modern idols that subject our lives, such  as drugs , alcohol, political parties and even art or science, the subject is very relevant to us aas it was to Moses and his generation. . .

Note that Moses leaves no neutral option of worshiping no one. If we do not worship the true G-d we would fall a prey to the idols.

How Kabbalah views  the Heavenly Self

The above consideration has led the Kabbalah  scholars to view the Heavenly Self in the  following way

Let’s observe again the Commandment

  1. I Am

2. YHVH your ELKM

3. who Took you out of Egypt Land


The Self in line 1, they say, expresses the Supreme Will

which reveals  itself either as (the Attributes) YHVH (Mercy) or ELKM (Judge) of line 2

Which then expresses itself in the real world as a King – line 3.


Thus the Heavenly Self is described by the following diagram




King David says “To you, AaDoNai (YHVH ELKM)  the greatness, the power, the glory and the victory and the majesty ….for yours is the Kingship” (Chronicles 29: 11)

This has lead to the following classical structure of the Heavenly Self






where Glory is the middle outcome of YHVH (Mercy) and ELKM (Justice) Oneness

Since Man is made in the Image and Form of the CREATOR, we too harbor the same structure in our soul.  AND THE TORAH WISHES US TO KNOW THAT FOR OUR BENEFIT.

For instance – since these Attributes operate in balance, knowing them would help to balance our private and social lives.



Three Types of Heavenly Kingship


The Kingship of

ELKM alone

YHVH alone

and YHVH ELKM Oneness 

Looking again at the structure of Moses’ First Commandment we see that it presents the way a decision of the Self  comes out into the real world.

 Line 1 – the self

Hears  the debate between the Attributes – of line 2

And finally issue a verdict to be executed by Kingship – line 3

The USA Government operates similarly

Line 1 the Will of the People, the USA Congress hears the debate in

line 2 between the parties of the Congress, then issuing its decision to  .

 Line 3, the Presidency for the execution in the real world .


Three types of kingship

We can now  decipher 3 types of Kingship as follows:

I Am                                    I Am                          I AM

……..YHVH                                 ELKM                      YHVH  ELKM

 Your King                         Your King                 Your King

 These types of kingship are:

(1)  The Kingship of ELKM who ruled the Six Days awesomely alone”

(2)  The Kingship of YHVH ELKM Who rules our times

(3)  The Kingship of YHVH alone who rules the Eternal Sabbath alone, while ELKM ceases His work .

Let’s elaborate:


Kingship type 1: ELoKiM ruled Awesomely Alone

During the Six Days CREATION, ELoKiM ruled the World  with the iron first using Commands, asking no one’s opinion, consulting no one mind and begging no one. He  created the Six Days “awesomely alone” as a benevolent Dictator  No one was there to object or refuse His Words.  Had anyone dared, it would have been eliminated with no mercy.  Siting on His Throne as a JUDGE, ELKM  run the World paying  “measure for measure” in absolute justice.

His Tyranny is seen Day by Day. Thus,

He said “Let it be light,” and light was there.
He said “Let the earth grow grass,” and grass grew.
He said “Let the luminaries hang in the sky,” and they hung.
He said “Let the waters swarm with fish,” and they were.
He said “Let it be Cattle, and Beasts,” and Cattle and Beasts became reality.

This way ELKM advanced CREATION Day by Day  effectively and efficiently, and He was pleased and He deemed it ‘good.’

But in the Middle of the Sixth Day, ELKM would have terminated His Work to nothingness, khalah, as He had done before to other Universes.  As it is said “And ELKM finished khalah, all His work...”  The Universe, His Kingdom, was not good enough anymore in His eyes.   Henceforth He wished it to excel and become Very Good.   But how?

Teaching us that every tyranny, even a human tyranny, can be efficient and achieve its goals. In tyranny, trains go out on time, workers never strike and the economy stabilizes. Everyone is employed, and people may feel good and secure.

But as Moses says here, tyranny can be good, yet never Very Good. Any tyranny  faces a ceiling above which it can’t rise. It can’t be Very Good, even in its ruler eyes.

Moreover, Moses teaches us here that every tyrant would end up aspiring to destroy his own kingdom, the very one he/she has loved so much before. If ELKM  as a ‘tyrant’ would have terminated His Kingdom, the same one He had deemed good, who wouldn’t?
Example from history? Too many. Take  Mao, Stalin, Hitler. They all ended with a deep desire to destroy their own kingdoms.


Kingship type 2:  YHVH ELKM,  Our King Who Consults in Modesty


ELKM stepped down
Seeing that ruling ‘awesomely alone’  would bring Him to ‘finish’ His world to khalah, nothingness, with wrath, ELKM in His Kindness changed the way He rules.  So before making Adam, ELKM changed His tone and spoke in plural saying “Let Us…”

Instead of issuing another Command such as “Let there be an Adam,” He stepped down from His high pedestal as a Tyrant and said – to whoever was listening:  :

“Let Us make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”

Henceforth  He would be a Dictator no more. Instead, He would create Adam as a King Who Consults, who speaks in plural to other entities before acting.  In short, He would act as a ‘Democratic ruler’ who listens to His subject.

In Hebrew, the word for  ‘consulted,’ nimlach is the same as for “he was ‘enthroned,’ also nimlach.
Hence, in Hebrew: A King, Melech, is a ruler who consults first,  nimlach, and then decrees.

This is to distinguish between a Governor, moshel, who may rule as a dictator.


He consulted the Angels with Modesty
To illustrate that change the rabbis (in the Midrash) told the following story: (see Rashi).

Before making Adam ELKM turned to His Angels and said : “Would you agree that I shall make an Adam?”

Surprised, the Angles said: “Our King, why consulting with us? Are we not your faithful messengers who execute your will with no discretion?”

They were right.  They referred to ELKM as a King, for He had ‘consulted’ them. They noticed the change, that He was a Dictator no more.

They were also right to wonder about His consultation with them,  for the word for an Angel in Hebrew is mallaakh, who is a messenger with no option of discretion.

Hearing them ELKM answered: “I consult you, my Angels, to teach Adam Modesty; that the Superior should consult the Inferior before issuing a decree,” (Rashi.)

He allowed a dialogue with Adam
ELKM  wished to teach Adam to emulate Him and rule his habitat like Him, as a King Who Consults,rather than as a dictator.

Adam would also have a better chance to win his trial under  ELKM as a King Who Consults, who listens to His subject’s petitions and prayers. .  

He opened a dialogue with the Merciful YHVH
Moreover, by stepping down from His High  Pedestal as a sole ruler and becoming a King Who Consults, ELKM opened the door for Himself to consult other opinions, such as the input of the Attribute of MERCY, YHVH.

By stepping down, He opened the door for the Kingship of the new Heavenly Court YHVH ELKM.

 Since the Attribute in the Court consult each other before issuing a verdict, they constitute a KING.  For who is a king, Melech?The ruler who nimlach, consults.

So far we have seen 2 types of kingship:

1. The rule of ELKM ‘awesomely alone’ by the upper hands, as a tyrant.  It can be good at best.  It would not see the Next Day.

2. The current rule of YHVH ELKM, the KING Who Consults  and Listens to His subjects. Only this type of Kingship is Very Good and would see the next Day.

 By a stroke of a pen, the Torah elevates here Democracy to a religious dictum. No other religion or philosophy has done that.

Thus Moses says: “From among your brothers you shall appoint a king over you!” (Deuteronomy 16: 14 ). Thus,
(1) Israel should appoint a king over us, not that the king would enforce himself over us (Midrash)
(2) the king MUST be elected from among his future subjects. He can’t be an alien, or a semi human, or a semi- god.

(3) He must be capable to identify and comprehend his subject’s whims and answer them.

For example: David was first anointed by the prophet Samuel, yet he assumed kingship over Israel only after being elected by the elders of Israel’s tribes.
Moses too  was chosen by G-d, yet he asked and received  Israel’s support before going to Pharaoh. .

Why was Adam made from Nature?
Earlier we saw that ELKM consulted the Six Days and made Adam.
Now we may comprehend why. He made Adam to rule over his habitat. Making Adam as a summary of everything preceded him made Adam a legitimate King, who comes from among his subjects.

Moreover, by consulting the Six Day to make Adam, ELKM made Adam capable to listens and comprehend Nature. Adam can be a King Who Consults. . .Without that talent, Adam would have never be able to make CREATION a Very Good place.

Kingship type 3: The Shy, Modest Kingdom of Y-H-V-H

In Her Domain, the Eternal Sabbath, YHVH reigns in such a Holy Way that we can hardly comprehend.
Even in our world, as the Shekhinah, She is  extremely Modest. She first appears in the text of Chapter One only as a hidden acronym, seen only with learned eyes.  Later She  appears In the text in full Name, YHVH, but still as an Acronym.

YHVH is very sensitive to our approval of Her.  So much, that She’d ‘fly away’ from our heart the moment She senses any rejection of Her.  This would be to our detrimental since without Her Defense we would be left in the hands of the harsh ELKM, with no chance to win our trial .

This  unfortunate event has already happened before Noah’s Flood.  YHVH was saddened so much that She regretted Her participation in making Adam (Genesis 6: 6.) This caused Her to ‘retract’ from the Heavenly Court as it says “And YHVH locked (the door of the ark) from him.”   She then left the world in the Hands of ELKM who executed the Flood (Genesis 5: 13)

They say that before the Holy Temples were destroyed by Babylon and Rome, a ‘Dove’ was seen coming out weeping from the Holy of Holy, flying to  the desert. This is the source of the name “Wailing Wall.”

Earlier we saw how ELKM consulted the Angles to teach Adam modesty; that the superior would consult the inferior.”  He prepared Adam to accept YHVH in his heart, since the  Modest YHVH hates human arrogance. Tradition says that She said: “I and an arrogant person can’t be in the same room.” if She senses arrogance in our heart, She would fly away.

By stepping down from His High Pedestal as a sole ruler, ELKM also prepared Himself to meet His Bride. The Groom knew that the Modest Bride would not join Him unless He has accommodated to Her taste.  This is not a question of power, buut rather an expression of Love. .

YHVH too accommodated to Her Groom.  In Her  Domain, the Eternal Sabbath, YHVH does not judge.  Here, in the  Heavenly Court, She would assess people using Her criteria.  She accommodated Herself to sit in the  Court. So do not ask why the Merciful One is judging us!

YHVH enters our Universe gradually. In our times She is here only to sit side by side with ELKM, forming the Heavenly Court.   A Day will come and She will reign over our world alone, when ELKM would enter the Sabbath. 

The idea of the Kingdom of MERCY coming to Earth has propelled human history like no other idea.

Who wouldn’t love to live under such sweet, loving Kingship where all sins are forgiven, where there is no sin, where there is no sorrow nor sickness nor death?!
Who wouldn’t love to live in  a place where all sinners are dealt with empathy and forgiveness?
Who wouldn’t like to live under unconditional love?
Who wouldn’t be attracted by the warmth and holiness of YHVH?

Who wouldn’t love to live in the Kingdom of Mercy on earth?

For now, however, we still live under YHVH ELKM.  We must therefore comply with both YHVH and ELKM expectations form us, to see the next Day. .

5: Shema Israel! Listen, Oh Israel!

Moses says (Deuteronomy 6: 4)

“Hear O Israel! (Shema, Israel!) er
1. YHVH, our ELoKiM
2. 2 YHVH is ONE” 

In this awesome cry of Judaism, Moses orders Israel to know
That currently we live under YHVH, ELKIM (line 1)
And that in the future we’ll live under the reign of YHVH alone (line 2)

Moreover, in the final analysis, YHVH is the only One.
For it is Mercy to the world to see in it ELKM judging the wicked ones.

To emphasize that the Shema is a cry of  Kingship we add, after chanting it twice a day, that

“Blessed is the Glory of His Kingship forever and ever,”

we say here that currently we live under the Kingship of YHVH ELKM, while in the future we will live under YHVH alone (see Rashi.)

6: Rosh Hashanah, the Annual Anniversary of CREATION

At the End of Days, ELKM will judge the entire CREATION to see whether or not it has become Very Good.

But ELKM does not wait for the end of times.  He Longs to enter the Sabbath, and He expects Man to escort Him towards His Bride. He therefore judges us every year, on the annual anniversary of Adam creation, to see whether or not we’ve moved towards becoming Very Good in His eyes.  He wishes us to get there, so that He would cease, finish His work and enter the Sabbath, along with the entire Universe, into the Sabbath. If Adam would not achieve that goal of becoming Very Good, ELKM would finish His Work with wrath, khalah. ,

This annual anniversary of Adam creation, designated for the annual Judgment, is the Jewish New Year High Holiday, the so-called Rosh Hashanah (the “Head of the year” in Hebrew.)  Since it is the ‘Birthday of Mankind,’ It should be observed and celebrated by all Mankind, whoever cherishes the Bible.

A major theme of the Holiday is G-d’s Coronation. We enthrone ELKM and YHVH. In the Holy Temple, the priests used to blow two Silver trumpets in the honor of ELK ascending on His Throne of Judgment, and a blowing of an horn in the honor of the Merciful YHVH.  For that we recite, even today, the following Psalm saying

“ELKM has ascended by the (silver trumpets) blowing

YHVH (has ascended) by the voice of the horn “

We know that on this day, the Rosh Hashanah, ELKM ascends back in His Throne of JUSTICE as it was at the Beginning. (we therefore also celebrate the day as a birthday of the world).  We know that He judges us whether we have fulfilled the purpose of our creation. It was ELKM-the-JUDGE  who created the Heavens and the earth, and it was the same ELKM who created us, and who will judge us at the end of our Sixth Day.  So we know that on Roosh Hashanah we stand before Him.

But who in his mind would like to stay for long before ELKM in Judgment? Who would hope to win His harsh scrutiny, when He uses the Absolute Justice?

ELKM does not asks us whether or not to ascend on His Throne. Especially when His sits again on His High Pedestal as He set at the Beginning.        But we may ask Him, or remind Him, to sit again in the new Heavenly Court of YHVH ELKM under whom we would have a better chance to win and see the next year, and the next Day.

This is why on Rosh Hashanh we enthrone YHVH ELKM  on us.  The priests were careful to blow the silver trumpets AND the horn  together, at the same time (the two trumpets on the side and  the horn in the middle) to designate YHVH ELKM’s Oneness.

There are many other customs of the day designating God’s Coronation.  For instance it is customary to stand in the afternoon at a large body of waters and to enthrone G-d on us.  It is a remnant from the days of the house of David, when the king was enthroned  over a spring water (such as the Shiloach spring at the foot of Mount Olive.)


Another example: Here is a major ancient prayer composed  for Rosh Hashanah  It is comprises of two parts as follows

Part One

“It is our duty to praise the Master of Everything…

For we bend our knees bow and acknowledge our thanks before the King

Who reigns over kings, the Holy One Blessed He be , He is our G-d, and there is none other ….”


Part Two

“We therefore put our hope in you, YHVH our ELKM

that we may soon  see your mighty splendor

to remove detestable idolatry from the earth

and false gods will be utterly cut off

to establish (consolidate, correct, perfect) your world through the Kingdom of Shadai…”

As you see, part one is the acceptance of YHVH ELKM as our KING, whereas part two  prays  for the end of idolatry in the world.

In other words: Part One is against the  First if Moses Ten Commandment, heralding His Kingship

whereas Part two is against the Second of Moses Ten Commandments which forbids the idols.

We also pray (in the ‘Musaf’ part) that G-d, either in His capacity as a sole ruler or a moderate democratic one would put to end the idolatry in the world (as explained by the Vilna Gaon.)

There is so much more to say and study about the awesome Holiday of Roosh Hashanah, but we’ll leave that for another separate class.