© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-16/Evil in YHVH eyes
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: Evil as an idol
In our quest of studying IDOLATRY we’ve covered all sorts of idols, some transient, as the ancient wood and stone statues, some more sophisticated like natural forces and celestial bodies, and some entrenched in our souls, like Passions and Wisdom.
But there is one idol that supersedes all others in its charm and danger, and that is EVIL.
Has Man ever worshipped it? You may ask.
“Are you kidding?” – Would be my answer, “we’ve recently seen entire civilized nation falling prey to its charm. Their leaders preached in public that evil is good, that war is a blessing, that the Bible has poisoned the Arian natural soul. We’ve also seen the results of this teaching: millions of innocent victims dead.
And we are seeing the worshipping of Evil in a subtler way. We see it being played out on our silver screens, in our computer games, in our books and music. We see it serving as a motive for thousands joining ISIS, attracted by videos glorifying rape and beheadings. Yes, Evil is being worshipped in our lands. And it is growing.
There is a debate going on among scholars whether Evil is objective or subjective. Most other religions believe in an objective, evil entity like Satan who is depicted as an independent, anti-God power. Judaism rejects this idea wholeheartedly. There is no other power besides the One G-d. The Book of Revelation was written by a Hellenistic Jew who had nothing in common with Judaism.
So what is Evil?
Looking at nature we tend to believe that evil permeates it. We see it when earthquake destroys whole communities. We see it when volcano erupt and burry with ashes forests, animals and whole towns. We see it when diseases inflict and damage our bodies and minds, when accidents occur and when catastrophes hit planet Earth. We see it in animals preying on each other, tearing each other’s flesh. We see it when we face death.
Indeed, the ancients believed that a ‘bad god’ took over Earth, after killing the ‘good god.’ Every spring time, they believed, the ‘good god’ is resurrected and takes over, till next winter. At the time of St. Paul, people of his town paraded at spring time to celebrate the resurrection of the good god and to spread the good news of the forthcoming of hid kingdom. In fact, Paul’s town Tarsus in Asia Minor, was a Mecca for these joyful parades, people flocking from all over the Roman Empire to attend them.
But Judaism rejects the notion of duality. In every morning prayer, we quote Isaiah saying: “Blessed are you, YHVH (HaSheM) our ELKM, the King of the Universe, who forms Light and creates Darkness, makes Peace and creates Evil.”
Yes, there is evil in the world, but it is not an independent force. It was created by the same CREATOR who created all of us.
And there is Evil between Man and Man. In his Psalms, King David complains about evil people who stab their friends from behind, who betray their friends, who spread malicious lies, who take advantage of the weak and poor. He calls them evil.
But the evil of ‘man to man’ can erupt into monstrous level. At the holocaust, we saw ‘normal’ people turning into satanic demons. Efficient Death camps, where every step was calculated cool headed, crematoriums, making combs from the victim’s hairs, toothbrushes from their bones, coats from their skins.
So what does the Torah say about Evil? Who created it, and when? Where is evil shown in the story of Genesis? And most importantly: when will evil die?
2. Evil is in YHVH eyes
The term “Evil” is used in the Torah only as in YHVH’s perspective, never in ELoKiM’s eyes. Evil is YHVH’s ‘emotional’ reaction to something She exceedingly hates IN US.
Evil is therefore the opposite of what YHVH loves. A person is ‘Evil in YHVH eyes’ if he is merciless, uncompassionate and unforgiving. He is evil when he chases away Her Holiness. A person is ‘Evil in YHVH eyes’ if he is indifferent to the suffering of others, or if he exhibits cruelty.
The Bible says about certain kings of Judea that they were “evil in YHVH eyes.” Besides worshipping idols, these kings took advantages of the weak and poor, the widows and the orphans.
Defining sinner Vs evildoers
While YHVH assesses our hearts and our characters,
ELoKiM judges us by our abiding by His Laws.
We are A sinner in ELKM’s eyes, when we transgress His Law.
We are evil in YHVH eyes when She hates us for our cruelty, indifference and our lacking compassion.
Adding a dimension to sin
The advent of YHVH in the Heavenly Court adds a dimension to our sins.
Idolatry is not just a transgression of the Law. It is a betrayal of the Love that YHVH fills for us.
Adultery is not just an act of violating the Law. It is an act that violates YHVH holiness, as well learn.
Killing is not only forbidden by the Law. It is sheer cruelty.
Stealing is more than violating the law. It is cruelty against those whose livelihood is stolen.
Injustice is more than transgressing the law. It is a cruel act against the weak, the widow and the orphans.
Thus a sinner in ELKM’s eyes, is also somehow ‘evil’ in YHVH’s eyes. YHVH is greater than ELKM, encompasses a larger moral ground. No wonder YHVH is called The Power Which Surrounds All Worlds.
But a person can be ‘righteous’ in ELKM’s eyes, yet ‘evil’ in YHVH eyes.
For instance: a person may abide by ELKM’s Laws. He may have never worshipped idols, committed adultery, killed, stolen anything or has committed injustice. He is clean in ELKM’s trial. But if this very person is indifferent to the suffering of others, if he is merciless and uncompassionate, or if he is cruel, this person is evil in YHVH eyes.
Noah is a good example for one who is judged differently, IN THE TEXT, by ELKM and YHVH The verse says:
“Noah found face in YHVH eyes,” (Genesis 6: 8)
“Noah was a righteous man, with ELKM Noah walked (Genesis 6:9)
Noah was ‘righteous’ in ELKM’s eyes, since he walked in His Laws.
And he found face in YHVH’s eyes, because he was so merciful and compassionate that he would take care of the animals and the peoples in His Ark,
You see here how ELKM judged Noah for abiding by His Laws,
While YHVH reacted to Noah emotionally: he found face in Her eyes.
Another example: The Sodomites
On the people of Sodom, it is said that they were “exceedingly evil and sinners to YHVH.” They transgressed the Laws, but also saddened YHVH by their evildoings.
Does YHVH see Evil in Nature?
When YHVH entered ELoKiM’s world the first time, as shown in Genesis Chapter One,
She OBSERVED it.
She saw in it much pains, sufferings, diseases, calamities and death, things She would not have in Her Domain, the Eternal Sabbath.
since all these pains and sufferings are a part of ELKM’s cycle of Absolute Justice, paying ‘measure for measure’, eat and be eaten, She would NOT deem it Evil. ELKM can’t be seen as evil in YHVH eyes. They are two attributes of One and Only CREATOR.
YHVH’s world would have been different
Yes, YHVH would have built our Universe differently. Had She built it, this world would have had in it no trials and no tribulation, no sorrow and no death, no sins and no punishments but also no rewards. It would have had no animal preying on each other. Her world would have had only joy, happiness, warmth and holiness. We actually can’t imagine Her Universe for real, since we live in ELKM’s Universe.
Inside Noah’s Ark
There was only one opportunity in history to see YHVH ruling taking place in the open, and that was inside Noah’s Ark. During the Flood, the wolf did not prey on the lamb, and a child could play safely on a snake’s pit. YHVH took over the inside of the Ark, while ELKM executed the Flood outside the Ark. These events of the past, have inspired Israel’s prophets about the future.
Our World is not evil in YHVH eyes
Though YHVH would have built our Universe differently, this does not mean that in Her eyes our Universe is Evil. She knows that the world behaves according to ELKM’s endless cycle of give and take, sin and retribution. It is a world bereaved of MERCY, yet full of the Absolute Justice; eat and be eaten. As along the creatures do what they are supposed to do by ELKM’s decree, and as long they have no Free Will, and as long they are completely unaware of YHVH and Her virtues, the creatures of Nature cannot be deemed Evil in YHVH eyes.
Only Adam, equipped with Free Will and awareness of YHVH, who CAN be seen Evil in YHVH eyes. Adam has a choice: he can be evil, or follow YHVH ways. He can be Very Bad, or Very Good.
The world needs “tikun”
So, we see Nature through the prism of YHVH presence in our heart. Harboring Her perception, we can FEEL what She feels: that this world needs correction, Tikun. But we ought to remember that the world outside us behaves according to ELKM’s guidance, and we humans can’t correct it. All we can correct is ourselves and find face in YHVH eyes by implement Her virtues in our personal life and our society. Only then we’ll become Very Good in the Bride’s eyes, as well as in the Groom’s eyes.
No evil during the six Days
Thus, during the Six Days, when ELoKiM ruled awesomely alone, no Evil existed. Since no creature had any perception of YHVH, no one could do Evil or be Evil. All the creatures could do was to abide by ELKM Commands, and nothing else.
But on the Sixth Day, before Adam was made, YHVH entered ELKM’s world and introduced a new aspect of ‘moral assessment.’ Since Adam is the only creature capable of perceiving Her, it is only Adam who may become evil in Her eyes.
But that’s only a part of the story of Evil. The main point is: how did Evil become a potential idol?
3: ELoKiM consulted Evil and made Adam
The story goes like this: When Evil heard that ELKM was creating Adam, it ran forwards and prostrated before His throne. “My King,” Evil complained, “what about me? I have no place in your world!”
Indeed, evil does not exist in this world outside our heart. The Crocodile which tears flesh apart, is not evil since it is unaware of YHVH (and does not have a Free Will.) The Volcano that erupts, the snake that bites, the lion that preys, are not evil. Hence, Evil was right to complain. So far it had no room in ELKM’s Universe!
Hearing Evil, ELKM said: “Well, I shall carve out a room for you inside Adam’s heart, side by side with the room for YHVH. You may enter it, conquer it and make is large as you can.”
ELKM then said to Evil:
ELKM then ‘consulted’ Evil the way a builder consults his master plan, and carved out a room for Evil in Adam heart. Ever since then, Evil is capable of entering Adam heart, growing side by side with the presence of YHVH.
The more Adam allows YHVH in, the more his attraction to do her opposite, evil, grows too.
Although Evil is only a perspective of YHVH’s eyes,
ELKM planted in Adam the option to do Evil, that would grow along with Adam perception of the Merciful YHVH.
In Fact, it works also the other way around; the more we perceive Evil, the more we would perceive its opposite: YHVH.
Later we’ll learn that Adam and Eve, after eating the “forbidden fruit of knowing good and evil”, perceived YHVH’s Holiness together with their perception of evil.
Do not ask why ELKM planted a room in Adam’s heart to perceive and do evil. Whatever ELKM does is, by definition, for our trial.
Remember the bottom line:
The more we identify and cling to YHVH
The more we would be attracted to Her opposite: to Evil.
And vise Versa.
4: Evil in the text
Where does it all show up in the text?
When YHVH answered ELKM ‘invitation’ and entered our World the first time, what did She see from Her perspective?
Let’s read it in the verses:
And EloKiM made the animals…cattle…and everything creeping
And EloKiM saw that is was good…
And ELoKim said let us make Adam in our form and our image…
And ELoKiM blessed them saying be fruitful and multiply…
And EloKiM said behold, I have given you all the grass…
And ELoHiM saw everything that He had done and behold, it was
And it was evening, and it was morning,
Y om, (Day)
H aShishi, (Sixth) (Genesis 1:31)
VaYechulu (and they ended)
HaShamyim (the Heaves)
And the Earth, VeHaaretz, and all their hosts,
And ELoHiM finished all the work he had done,
And 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…” (Genesis 2: 1-2)
The above is a quotation from the transition of the Sixth Day into the Sabbath.
The Sixth Day is shown under the rule of ELoKiM (in red)
The Sabbath is shown under the rule of YHVH (in blue)
The dotted line marks the transition from the Sixth Day to the Sabbath
You can clearly see here the Acronym Y-H-V-H entering our Sixth Day from the Sabbath,
The ‘Y-H’ dwells in our Day, (the Shechina)
The ‘V-H’ still dwells in the Sabbath.
Observing our World, YHVH ‘sees’ the verdict ‘Very Good.’
Only a Verdict of Very Good FROM HER SIDE, would allow Adam and the entire Six Days to procced onwards into the next Day, the Sabbath.
But as it turns out, the Hebrew word for ‘Very Good,’ tov meod,
can easily be read as ‘tov maved,’ death, suffering, evil (Talmud.)
Thus Observing our World, YHVH sees two outcomes:
Either Very Good
Or Very Bad, Evil.
Only Adam can become ‘Very Good,’ since he appears right before the “Very Good” verdict.
Indeed, Adam is the only habitant in ELKM’s world who can draw the Merciful YHVH into the Sixth Day.
How much damage can Evil inflict?
The text indicates that if YHVH sees Evil,
YHVH would be saddened as She was before Noah’s Flood (Genesis 6: 6),
Or YHVH would be enraged as before overturning Sodom, or
Or YHVH might fly away from us with disgust, leaving us at the hands of ELKM, as She did before the destruction of the Holy Temple
If Evil gets even bigger, it can hold our world from proceeding towards the Sabbath
I Evil gets exceedingly big, it can ‘break’ YHVH’S Name into two halves: the YH and the VH. This did happen when the evil nation Amalek attacked, for no reason, the Children of Israel, just after the exodus. Moses says: “For it is a vow on the chair of YH to wage war against Amalek.” (Exodus 17: 16). Here Amalek is depicted as a evil power that broke YHVH Name into YH and VH.
We follow that verse and pray (100 times a day) that the Name of YHVH would be ‘completed again’ (the Kadish prayer.)
5: Evil as an Idol
As a rule of thumb, everything that ELKM has consulted with to make Adam, has become enormously attractive in our eyes: a FLASE BRIDE.
This principle holds true also in regards to evil.
It is as if the very consultation that ELKM conducted with it, speaking in plural voice, has rendered it an enormous charm in Adam’s mind and heart. Adam would be attracted to evil, to watch it, to do it, and even to worship it. Evil is indeed a False Bride.
And since our awareness of YHVH, is bound to increase in history,
So would be the danger of us worshipping Evil.
If we are not careful, the crimes of the Nazis would pale, in comparison of the evilness that Man CAN do.
When will evil end?
King David addresses this in his Psalm:
“A song for the Sabbath Day
(which the Levites Choir chanted every Sabbath)
A brutish man cannot know, a fool cannot comprehend this,
When the wicked men thrive like grass,
and the evildoers flourish,
It is in order that they may be destroyed forever,
But you, YHVH, is exalted forever.
Indeed, your enemies YHVH, your enemies shall perish,
all evildoers shall be scattered.
A righteous man shall bloom like a palm tree,
Like a Cedar of Lebanon shall he be exalted…” (Psalm 92)
As the Sabbath approaches, King David says, evildoers will flourish like dry grass, so that they will be easily burn. YHVH will come out and burn them.
Then, King David says, a ‘righteous man’ shall flourish like a Palm Tree.
“Who is this righteous Man?” the rabbis asked,
and they said: “It is Noah!”
Hence when humanity recognizes YHVH, and the evildoers burn,
It will be a day that Noah will bloom like a Palm Tree and dwell in YHVH courtyards.
Note that once we recite this Psalm, at the end of Friday, August 11, 2017 the Sabbath officialy start.
6: So why is there is so much pains and sorrow in Nature?
So why do Tsunamis sweep and kill?
Why do volcanoes erupt and burry?
Why do the trees produce poison,
the sun burn,
the fish swallow other fish,
the bird dive to attack the fish,
the crocodile snaps the birds,
the cattle consume the vegetation,
the beast preys on the cattle,
the snakes bit
and the cats torture mice, and attack the snake?
Why do parasites take advantage of their hosts?
Why do bacteria and viruses infect and cause diseases?
Why do accidents occur?
The best answer: ELKM made all that ‘evil’ in Nature, so that it would end up in our heart, through Evolution, FOR OUR TRIAL. So,
Novas Explode so that we could explode and destroy
Water Sweep away, so that we would be able to wash away our fellowmen
Volcanoes Erupt so that we could erupt and destroy and burry
Trees can Poison so that we could do the same to our fellowmen
The Sun Burns so that we could stir fire and burn
The Fish Swallow others fish, so that we could do the same to our fellowmen.
Birds Dive to kill fish, so that Man could kill.
Crocodiles tear flesh so that we could do the same to our fellowmen.
Cattle Consume so that we could do the same.
Beasts Prey in cruelty so that we could do the same.
Cats torture the miceso that we could torture our fellowmen
Snakes Bite so that we could bite
Only that when the creature inflict these pains and destruction, they comply with ELKM Will. They are not ‘Evil’ in YHVH eyes, since they have no perception of Her.
But when we, Adam, who are equipped with Free Will and awareness of YHVH, do these cruel deeds, we are deemed Evil in YHVH eyes.
The only Evil or Demon that the Torah recognizes, is Man showing cruelty.
So don’t ask why there is so much pains in Nature.
Ask rather, what can I do to eradicate the evil from my heart.
A true story: years ago, a Biology Professor in one of our ivy league institutions, made himself a name among the students: Whenever he taught about parasites and diseases, he raised his hands to the ceilings and shouted for all to hear: “Where are you, Good God?” Implying: There is no morality in Nature! There is no G-d!”
The students loved him. If there is no G-d, what would stop them from doing anything they wish?
Had I attended his class, I would have told him:
The parasites are in nature, so that they would end up in your soul through evolution, for your trial!
The animals are harsh to each other, so that you can do the same to your fellowmen, and stand for that on a trial.
I doubt whether the famous professor would have understood my points. His Bible training had none of that.
The time has arrived to change, and teach the Bible as it is.
Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com