Adam: from God and like God. From the teaching of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

Becoming Adam

by yedidah on March 27, 2016


Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, in his teachings on the Parshat Shavua, Vayikra, wrote as follows:

The Scripture says, “And God called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘Adam, when he offers from you a sacrifice to God; you shall offer your sacrifice from the domestic animals, from the cattle, or from the sheep.” (Leviticus 1:2)

Rabbi Ashlag places his attention on the word “Adam” and on the words ” from you”as follows: The name “Adam”, refers to one who bears the name of God, one who is like God. This is  from the inner meaning of the Scripture  אדמה לעליון,  “I will resemble the Most High.” So  the name Adam implies one who wants to be like God, that is to say, in affinity of form with the Creator. He wants to come it love and give unconditionally just as God gives to us unconditionally. Such a person, Adam, should bring the sacrifice to God,  from you, that is to say, from yourselves.

The Sages of the Talmud commented:

“You are called ‘Adam’, and one who worships idols is not called ‘Adam’.” (Masechet Yevamot 61 a)

We see that the Sages of the Talmud bring in two opposing elements: 1)The aspect of Adam who wants to be like the Creator  and 2)  the aspect of the idol worshipper, being one who gives governance to his or her selfish egoism. These  elements  are actually two opposite aspects within ourselves.

Both the aspect of Adam, who is in affinity of form with the Creator, and the aspect of the idol worshipper, which is the self-serving part of ourselves, are within us.  It is our soul that is in affinity of form with the Creator, from whom it comes through the framework of holiness, whereas our ego, which expresses itself through the will to receive for ourselves alone, is the representative of the idol worshipper within us. Which one will I adopt? To whom will I liken myself?

This Torah learning is dedicated to the ilui neshama of  Reb Moshe Ben Ese-Esther,  a direct descendant of Rabbi Akiva Eiger ztz’l  the grandfather of  my chevruta, Shmuel Iger Kinyan, who despite the dangers of being Jewish in communist Russia first taught Shmuel that he was Jewish.

Teachings taken from the Perush HaSulam on the first volume of the Zohar Pikudah Kadma’ah and also from Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag’s Al HaTorah, Parshat Vayikra.

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