Now, I will write about many types of roots that I learned about from my master. Some can be spoken about it in more detail than others, and we will begin with these and finish with those of which there is little to write.

One root is related to Cain, the son of Adam, and even though we expanded upon this in previous chapters, there are still a few scattered details to discuss. I will gather and explain them here, after which I will briefly discuss other roots.

Cain was the result of the zuhama of the snake, and Abel was from the side of man...

Now, even though the Zohar and Tikunim say that Cain was the result of the zuhama [dirt] of the snake, and Abel was from the side of man, they also say – and in the Idrat Naso as well - that Cain and Abel were both one with the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This means that as a result of the sin of Adam, good and evil became combined. After, when Cain and Abel were born, they were a product of good and evil.

However, Cain was from the side of gevurot, which is mostly evil as a result of the zuhama of the snake, and contained only a little good from the human aspect, whereas Abel is mostly good from the human aspect, with only a little evil from the zuhama of the snake. The good within Cain nevertheless served a great purpose, because he was the firstborn, and he received the "bechora" [firstborn right] of the good portion.

This is one of the main qualities of the Cain root - extremes. On the one hand it is mostly bad. On the other hand, its good is outstanding. Coming from gevurot/strengths, the extremes are extra intense. It implants in creation the principle that extra good requires extra work to get to (to get through the bad) - but is worth it. Those from this root undergo much more trials and tribulations - but have much greater potential.

As mentioned, nachash [snake] is gematria Mashiach. The intense negative energy in the snake needs to be elevated and harnessed for good for existence to reach completion. Having the most connection to the snakely force empowers the Cain root with its Mashiach potential. This is a major underlying theme of Sha’ar Gilgulim, which is based around the Ari"Zl explaining to Rabbi Chaim Vital his Cain connection and through it his tremendous potential.

"The critic." The snake is the source of all negative traits, but he is especially identified with slander (Midrash Tanchuma, Metzora, 2) which comes from focusing on the bad in someone. (Shmirat HaLoshon) And so Cain saw demerit in everyone. (Midrash) Mashiach transforms this despicable quality into seeing the good - no matter how small it may be. And so Rabbi Nachman emphasized most of all in his teachings (Likutei Halachot Shabbat) to judge others ‘in the scale of merit’ i.e. favorably. (Likutei Moharan 282) The more one does this, the more they manifest their innate messianic point, which in turn augments manifestation of the messianic energy in the universe.

...when Jacob and Esau were born, they were on the level of Abel and Cain.

After that, Cain began his rectification through Keinan and Mehalelel, as mentioned in the Zohar. (Teruma) Later, when Jacob and Esau were born, they were on the level of Abel and Cain. So it says, "And his hand was holding onto the akev [heel] of Esau" (Gen. 25:26) which means that good portion of the firstborn in Cain that was combined with evil taken by Jacob. As of result of the heel that he took from him he was called Jacob.

As mentioned, it is called heel because it comes out at the end.

In the previous discussion, we explained how the firstborn of good fell into the heel of the kelipot - understand this. When Jacob fathered Issachar, he gave him the good portion of the firstborn of Cain that he had taken from Esau as an inheritance. This is what it says regarding (the birth of) Issachar, "He lay with her that (hu) night". (Gen. 30:18) It does not say, however, "ha-hu," to allude to the fact that Jacob himself is so called because of the heel. He gave it to him through Leah when he lay with her, and from that came Issachar.1

This is the secret of what it says in Midrash Rut of the Zohar: "From Issachar comes Rabbi ‘Akiva’" (Zohar Chadash 81a) because he is the secret of the mentioned ‘eikev [heel].

After that, it reincarnated into Nadab and Abihu, for the two of them are one, as it says in the Zohar in Acharei Mot and Pinchas, "the two of them are one body". (Zohar III 57b; 217a) Then it went into Pinchas in the secret of ibur, who was Elijah the prophet. It remained there until the incident with the daughter of Jephtach, after which time it was removed from him.

Later it reincarnated into Samuel the prophet, only to later return to Elijah the prophet in ibur, as mentioned. (Intro. 32) From there it went to Elisha the prophet, and then to Hezekiah the King of Judah.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]