And G‑d spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert, in the Tabernacle, on the first day of the second month, in the second year from the exodus from Egypt. (Num. 1:1)

The following discourse by Rabbi Abba connects this verse with the creation of man and the establishment of the world.

Rabbi Abba opened his discourse with the verse, "So G‑d created man in His own image [in Hebrew, "tzelmo"], in the image ["tzelem"] of G‑d He created them; He created them male and female." (Gen. 1:27) We have already explained this verse elsewhere, but now let us look at it in another light:

Come and see.

Man included all the worlds….

At the time when G‑d created man - who was the pinnacle of Creation, designed to connect the physical and spiritual worlds, He made man in such a way that the likeness of the spiritual worlds was reflected in his soul, as well as the physical world. Thus, Man included all the worlds, and his spiritual light shone from the highest to the lowest worlds, since he was conscious of all levels of Creation. The animals below and the angels above were in awe of him because of his likeness to the image of G‑d.

Note that the word "image" appears twice in the verse quoted, and we need to understand the reason. Certainly, the reason is that man was created both male and female. Thus, the first use of the word "image" is masculine - "tzelmo" - and the second, is connected with the name Elokim, which is connected with judgment, the feminine aspect of divinity.

Man was created with both…the male and female….

Thus, man was created with both of these aspects, the male and female, as is borne out by the end of the verse "He created them male and female." (Gen. 5:2) Man was created with both sexes, and even though his feminine aspect was at one side, he was nevertheless complete in both his masculine and feminine aspects. He was conscious of the wisdom of the spiritual worlds and the physical "natural" world. After he sinned, his stature was diminished, and he shrunk from contact with the higher worlds. This also engendered disunity [for it was man's consciousness that united them], and the highest spiritual wisdom of Atzilut deserted him. Man's consciousness then became focused on his physical needs alone.

After he sinned, he fathered two sons, one spiritually inclined [Abel] and one physically inclined [Cain]. Yet the world was not properly settled - Abel was murdered and Cain's descendants were all drowned in the flood - until his son Seth was born and the world was more firmly established.

"Seth" is the root of the Hebrew word meaning "established", "based" or "settled". Note that the English word "settled" also has the "Seth" root!

Despite this passage of time, the lower, physical world was still not properly connected with its spiritual source; it was still incomplete. It still had not recovered from the damage caused by Adam's sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil [which is a false consciousness because everything in its source is good.]

With the arrival of Abraham in the world, mankind's consciousness of divinity was more firmly established, but was not complete until he grew and entered the covenant of circumcision. Then the world was connected to the sefira of chesed on the Right, like one who supports a person to stand after they have fallen over. After Isaac came into the world and connected the world with the sefira of gevura, the world was more firmly established. Then, when Jacob was born, the world was connected to the center.

Abraham and Isaac represent the two arms of the world….

Abraham and Isaac represent the two arms of the world - chesed and gevura - and Jacob represents the body of the world, the unifying sefira of tiferet, combining both chesed and gevura. With all this, the world was still not connected to its source. Finally, the twelve tribes were born to Jacob, and then the 70 members of his household that accompanied him to exile in Egypt, and [this number increased until it reached] the 600,000 souls that left Egypt to receive the Torah. And yet, the world was still not properly completed until the 600,000 root-souls from Jacob, now the People of Israel, received the Torah at Mount Sinai and erected the Tabernacle.

Then the world was finally established, and all the worlds, the physical and the spiritual, were completed and in harmony again and the intoxicating sweetness of the union was felt by all.

Zohar Page 117a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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