Bereishit (1:15a-59b)


וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר וַיְהִי אוֹר. מֵהָכָא אִיהוּ שֵׁירוּתָא לְאַשְׁכָּחָא גְּנִיזִין הֵיךְ אִתְבְּרֵי עָלְמָא בִּפְרָט. דְּעַד הָכָא הֲוָה בִּכְלָל. וּבָתַר אִתְהַדַּר כְּלַל. לְמֶהוֵי כְּלַל וּפְרַט וּכְלָל.

(1)  And Elohim said Let there be light, and there was light (Gen 1:3).
(2) From here is the beginning for finding treasures, how the world was created in particular.
(3) For until now, it was general, and it then returns to speaking in general terms so that it will be general, specific, general.

Genesis 1:1-2 are then taken as general descriptions of Creation, then the seven days of creation (Gen. 1:3-2:3) give specifics, followed by Gen. 2:4 which is general. This alludes to the sixth of Ishmael’s thirteen rules of interpretation, כְּלַל וּפְרַט וּכְלָל (General, Specific and General, that tells us that when such a pattern occurs, other specifics may be inferred, but only if they are within the same category defined in the general rule.

עַד הָכָא הֲוָה כֹּלָּא תַּלְיָיא בַּאֲוִירָא מֵרָזָא דְאֵין סוֹף, כֵּיוָן דְּאִתְפְּשַׁט חֵילָא בְּהֵיכָלָא עִלָּאָה רָזָא דְּאֱלהִים, כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ אֲמִירָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים. דְּהָא לְעֵילָא לָא כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ אֲמִירָה בִּפְרָט. וְאַף עַל גַּב דִּבְרִאשִׁית מַאֲמָר הוּא, אֲבָל לָא כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ וַיֹּאמֶר.

(4) Until now everything was suspended in space by the secret of Ayn Sof.
(5) Once its power spread into the Temple above, the secret of Elohim, it is written, “And Elohim said,” for above utterance is not written in particular, even though “In the beginning” is an utterance, it does not say, “and He said.”

Ayn Sof – Literally “without a border/end”, the Infinite One. Ayn Sof, being beyond definition (definition being another word for border) is beyond human comprehension. Ayn Sof is therefore unknowable. In Judaism the unknowable Ayn Sof is contrasted with the Image of Elohim, which emanates from Ayn Sof and through which we can relate. The Zohar says of Ayn Sof:

Before He gave any shape to the world, before He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without resemblance to anything else. Who then can comprehend how He was before the Creation? Hence it is forbidden to lend Him any form or similitude, or even to call Him by His sacred name, or to indicate Him by a single letter or a single point… But after He created the form of the Heavenly Man, He used him as a chariot wherein to descend, and He wishes to be called after His form, which is the sacred name “YHWH”
(Zohar 2:42b)

Aryeh Kaplan writes concerning this distinction:

“In general none of the names of God refer to … Ayn Sof, which means the Infinite Being, or simply, the Infinite. The names used in scripture and elsewhere merely refer to the various ways through which God manifests Himself in creation. The name Elohim, which is used throughout the first chapter of Genesis, refers to the manifestation of delineation and definition…. This is the significance to the Torah’s statement that God formed man “In the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Note that the word “God” here is Elohim. This is because man parallels the delineating forces that define creation.
(Sefer Yetzirah; p. 7-8)

According to the Mishna (m.Avot 5:1), there were ten utterances of creation. Although there are only nine instances of “and said” (ויאמר) the term “In the beginning” is counted as an utterance.

The Zohar is saying that up until this point the Torah has given only generalities but not specifics as to how the world was created.  In addition there is a double meaning in the actual Aramaic, that up until this point the universe had only a general existence without specific parts.  The text points out that the first statement in the Torah “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth…” although it is not preceded by the words “And Elohim said” is still regarded as a creative utterance.  (The tradition of the Zohar is that the universe was created by ten utterances, each corresponding to the ten sefirot.)

דָּא וַיֹּאמֶר אִיהוּ קַיְּימָא לְמִשְׁאַל וּלְמִנְדַע.

(6) This, “and He said,” raises a question and is to be studied.

The fact that “and He said” (ויאמר) first appears here, raises not only the question “why does ‘and he said’ first appear here, but by transposition of the letters ויאמר (“And he said”) we get the question מי אור (“who is the light”?).

וַיֹּאמֶר חֵילָא דְאִתְרָם וְאֲרָמוּתָא בַּחֲשַׁאי מֵרָזָא דְאֵין סוֹף בְּרָזָא דְּמַחֲשָׁבָה.

(7) “And He said,” a power that was raised and lifted up silently, from the mystery of Ayn Sof, in the mystery of thought.

Here we have a word play in the Aramaic. The root אמר “say” suggests the word אֲרָמוּתָא “rising” and אתרם “lifted up”. “Power” (חילא) has a gematria (numerical value) of 49 (7*7) which is also the gematria for אל חי “the Living El” and לידה “begat, bring forth, nativity” thus prompting the connection with the “begetting” of the light as this passage of Zohar continues.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלהִים הַשְׁתָּא אוֹלִיד הַהוּא הֵיכָלָא מִמַּה דְּאִתְעֲדִיאַת מִזַּרְעָא דְקֹדֶשׁ, וְאוֹלִיד בַּחֲשַׁאי. וְהַהוּא דְּאִתְיְלַד אִשְׁתְּמַע לְבַר. מָאן דְּאוֹלִיד לֵיהּ אוֹלִיד בַּחֲשַׁאי דְּלָא אִשְׁתְּמַע כְּלָל, כֵּיוָן דְּנָפַק מִנֵּיהּ, מָאן דְּנָפַק, אִתְעֲבִיד קוֹל דְּאִשְׁתְּמַע לְבָר.

(8) “And he said,” now the Temple begat, of that which she conceived from the holy seed, and she begat silently, and that which was begotten was heard from without, and the one giving birth gave birth silently and was not heard at all; once that which went forth from it went forth, a voice was made that was heard from without.

begat – This is what Yochanan refers to when he refers to the “light/Word” as “begotten (Yochanan 1:14) and as the “only begotten Son” or “only begotten Elohim” (depending on the manuscript) (Yochanan 1:18).

that which she conceived (דְּאִתְעֲדִיאַת) or that which was made known. The verb “to know” in Hebrew and Aramaic, can also refer to the act of copulation (as in Gen. 4:1). This passage is depicting how the Sefirah of Hochmah (Wisdom) impregnated the Sefirah Binah (Understanding) with a “holy seed” and that this conception is the semi-Sefirah of Da’at (Knowledge). The term ויאמר is teaching us that this “light” existed only in the mind or thoughts of Ayn Sof (the sefirah of Keter) “in silence” before it was brought forth “without” (לבר) and became a “voice” (קול) and was “heard”.

The mystery of the voice is explained in another passage of Zohar which is explaining the Shema (Deut. 6:4):

The [profession of] unity that every day is [a profession of] unity
is to be understood and to be perceived. We have said in many places
that this prayer is a profession of Unity that is proclaimed:

”Hear O Yisrael, YHWH“ first, [then] “Eloheynu” [and] “YHWH” they are all One and thus He is called “One”.

Behold, these are three names, how can they be one? Is it because we call them one? (literally: And also concerning the proclamation that we call them one?). How these are one can only through the vision of the Holy Sprit be known. And these are through the vision of the closed eye (or the hidden eye) To make known that these three are one.
And this is the mystery of the voice that is heard. The voice is one. And is three GAUNIN: fire and air and water. And all these are one in the mystery of the voice.

And also here “YHWH, Eloheynu, YHWH” these are One. Three GAUNIN that are One. And this is the voice of the act of a son of man in [proclaiming] the Unity.
And to which he sees by the Unity of the “All” from Eyn Sof (the Inifinite One) to the end of the “All”. Because of the voice in which it is done, in these are three that are one.

And this is the [profession] of the daily profession of Unity that is revealed in the mystery of the Holy Spirit.

And there are many GAUNIN that are a Unity, and all of them are true, what the one does, that the other does, and what that one does, the other does.
(Zohar 2:43)

This section of the Zohar also recalls a reading from the Sefer Yetzirah:

Three “mothers”: Alef; Mem and Shin
Their foundation is a pan of merit
a pan of liability
and the tongue of decree deciding between them.
(Sefer Yetzirah 3:1)

Three “mothers”, Alef, Mem, Shin
in the universe are air, water, fire…
(Sefer Yetzirah 3:4a)

The Hebrew word for “tongue” (לשון) has the same gematria (386) as “Yeshua” (ישוע)

(Note: The letter SHIN has a gematria (numerical value) of 300 which is the same as the gematria of the phrase ”Ruach Elohim” (the Spirit of Elohim).)

As it we will demonstrate the “tongue of decree deciding between them” is the Middle Pillar of the Godhead which reconciles the two outer pillars of the Godhead.

יְהִי אוֹר. כָּל מַה דְּנָפַק בְּרָזָא דָא נָפַק.

(9) “Let there be light.” Everything that emerged went forth by this mystery.

Or as Yochanan writes:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.
2 The same was in the beginning with Elohim.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(Yochanan 1:1-3)

Like Yochanan, the Zohar tells us that everything (all creation) came into existence through this “light” which was begotten.

יְהִי עַל רָזָא דְאַבָּא וְאִמָא דְּאִיהוּ י ה. וּלְבָתַר אִתְהַדַּר לִנְקוּדָה קַדְמָאָה,

(10)  Yehi (יהי) (let there be) concerns the mystery of the Father and Mother symbolized by the letters Yod (י) and He (ה) became now a starting-point (symbolized by the second Yod) for further extension.
(Zohar 1:16b)

The three letters that make up the Name of YHWH (יהוה) represent (י) Father; (ה) Mother and (ו) Son of Yah. Here the Zohar is saying that the term “let there be” (יהי) teaches us that the Father (י) and Mother (ה) brought forth a point (נקודה) which expanded into the universe. The ancient Hebrews were somehow aware that the universe expanded from a single point.

. . .

וַיַּרְא אֱלהִים אֶת הָאוֹר כִּי טוֹב דָּא עַמּוּדָא דְאֶמְצָעִיתָא כִּי טוֹב אַנְהִיר עֵילָא וְתַתָּא וּלְכָל שְׁאָר סִטְרִין בְּרָזָא ידו”ד שְׁמָא דְּאָחִיד לְכָל סִטְרִין. וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים וְגו’ אַפְרִישׁ מַחְלוֹקֶת לְמֶהֱוֵי כֹּלָּא שְׁלִים

AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT THAT IT WAS GOOD. This is the Middle Pillar: Ki Tov (that it was good) threw light above and below and on all other sides, in virtue of YHWH, the name which embraces all sides.
(Zohar 1:16b)

The Hebrew word for “light” is אור The א representing אבא (Abba, Father). The ר represents רוח (Ruach, Spirit). In the Gospel according to the Hebrews, Yeshua refers to “My Mother the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). The ו represents the Son of Yah (in the Name of יהוה the ו is said to represent the Son of Yah.)

This is further explained elsewhere in Zohar:

Concerning this, too, it is written: “Let there be light, and there was light” (Gen. I, 3). Why, it may be asked, was it necessary to repeat the word “light” in this verse? The answer is that the first “light” refers to the primordial light which is of the Right Hand, and is destined for the “end of days”; while the second “light” refers to the Left Hand, which issues from the Right. The next words, “And God saw the light that it was good” (Gen. 1, 4), refer to the pillar which, standing midway between them, unites both sides, and therefore when the unity of the three, right, left, and middle, was complete, “it was good”, since there could be no completion until the third had appeared to remove the strife between Right and Left, as it is written, “And Elohim separated between the light and between the darkness” (Ibid.).
(Zohar 2:167a)

According to the Zohar the Middle Pillar of the Godhead is the Son of Yah:

שכן קרוב מאח רחוק. דהיינו עמודא דאמצעיתא דאיהו בן יה

Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother far off.
This neighbor is the Middle Pillar in the Godhead,
which is the Son of Yah.
(Zohar 2:115)


He then proceeded: ‘A king had several buildings to be erected, and he had an architect in his service who did nothing save with his consent (Prov. 8:30). The king is the supernal Wisdom above, the Middle Pillar is the king below: Elohim is the architect above, being as such the supernal Mother, and Elohim is also the architect below, being as such the Divine Presence (Shekinah) below. Now a woman may not do anything without the consent of her husband. And all the buildings were created through his Emanation (אצלות), the Father said to the Mother by means of the Word,, “let it be so and so”, and straightway it was so, as it is written, “And he said, Elohim, let there be light, and there was light”: i.e. one said to Elohim, let there be light: the master of the building gave the order, and the architect carried it out immediately; and so with all that was constructed in the way of emanation (אצלות).”
(Zohar 1:22a).