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GENESIS — 1:26 image

GEN47 It is proper for man to imitate his Creator, resembling Him in both likeness and image [this verse] according to the secret of the Supernal Form [i.e., of the Supernal Man].  Because the chief Supernal image and likeness is in deeds, [The Kabbalists think of the Sephiroth as mainly attributes, ways in which the divine Providence manifests itself.] a human resemblance merely in bodily appearance and not in deeds debases the Form.  Of the man who resembles the Form in body alone it is said: ‘A handsome form whose deeds are ugly.’  For what value can there be in man’s resemblance to the Supernal Form in bodily limbs if his deeds have no resemblance to those of his Creator? Consequently, it is proper for man to imitate the acts of the Supernal Crown, which are the thirteen highest attributes of mercy hinted at in the verses [Micah 7:18-20]. Hence it is proper that these thirteen attributes … be found in man.  CORDOVERO 46


GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

GEN136 How should man train himself to acquire the quality of Power? Know that all actions which excite the evil inclination actually stir up the strong Powers. Therefore, man should not excite the evil inclination, so as not to awaken the Powers. The reason is that man is created with two inclinations, good and bad: the one belongs to Lovingkindness, the other to Power. However, in the Zohar to the first section of Genesis I. 49a it is stated that the good inclination was created for the sake of man himself, the evil inclination for the sake of his wife. See how sweet are his words. Behold Beauty, and merciful quality [Literally, “the master of mercy”], turns to the Right and all its conduct is with the Right, the good inclination. But the Female is of the Left [The Sephirah of Power. The Sephiroth on the left side are the passive Sephiroth] and all HER conduct is with Power. It is, therefore, proper not to bestir the evil inclination for man’s own sake because this bestirs Powers in Supernal Man and so destroys the world. Hence, every excitement of man towards Power and the evil inclination makes a flaw in Supernal Man.  From which one can observe how ugly is anger and such-like, for it causes the strong Powers to prevail.  In truth the evil inclination should be bounded and tied down so that it is not incited to any bodily act whatsoever, not for the desire of cohabitation, nor the desire of money, nor towards anger, nor towards honor in any way.  However, for his wife’s sake he should gently bestir his evil inclination in the direction of the sweet Powers, to provide her with clothes and with a house, for example.  And he should say: ‘By providing her with clothes I adorn the Shekhinah,’ for the Shekhinah is adorned with Understanding which is Power (for it includes all Powers and these are sweetened in Her abundant mercies).  Therefore, all the needs of the household [Lit. ‘all the Tikkunim,’ ‘all the ways in which the house is set in order.’ By doing this for his wife’s sake man uses the evil inclination to give adornment to the Shekhinah] are the Tikkunim of the Shekhinah, which is sweetened by means of the evil inclination, which was created to do the will of his Creator and for no other purpose. Therefore, a man should not intend to derive any kind of pleasure from the evil inclination but when his wife appears before him in her beauty in a fine house he should have the intention of adorning the Shekhinah, for She is adorned by the good Powers of the Left from whence come wealth and honor [‘In her left hand are riches and honor’ Proverbs iii.16).  For this reason he should bestir his evil inclination to love them [wealth and honor] and he should then have the intention that the Left bestir itself to draw Her near, according to the secret of: ‘His left arm is under my head’ (For She does not at first find Herself except towards the Left). And then: ‘his right arm embraces me,’ [Cant. ii. 6, v. Zohar I, 133a] he should intend to sweeten all those Tikkunim with the good inclination and to really perform the Tikkun for Her, to make her happy in performing the divine command for the sake of the Supernal Union.  Behold in this way he sweetens all the judgments and performs their Tikkun with the Right. This message applies to all desires which derive from the evil inclination. These should be directed chiefly towards the benefit of the wife whom God has chosen to be a help meet for him and afterwards he should turn them all towards the service of God to bind them to the Right. CORDOVERO 102-4


GENESIS — 4:7 right

GEN485 Know that Cain was evil and of the serpent, [R. Eleazar said: ‘When the serpent injected his impurity into Eve, she absorbed it, and so when Adam had intercourse with her she bore two sons—one from the impure side and one from the side of Adam, and Abel bore a resemblance to the higher form and Cain to the lowerHence it was that their ways in life were different. It was natural, too, that Cain, coming from the side of the angel of death, should kill his brother. He also adhered to his own side, and from him originate all the evil habitations and demons and goblins and evil spirits in the world.’ R. Jose said: ‘Cain was the nest (Kina, a play on the word Cain) of the evil habitations which came into the world from the impure side’ Zohar I, 54a, Soncino trans., Vol. I, p. 172) yet it was said to him: ‘If thou doest well [this verse], shall it not be lifted up.” Do not think that there is no hope for you because you belong to the evil side. This is false. Behold, if you do well you can root yourself in the secret of Repentance, removing yourself to that place, according to the secret of the good that is rooted there. For the root of every Supernal bitterness is sweet and he could have entered by way of the root to become good.  Consequently, man turns his evil deeds themselves into good so that his intentional sins become good deeds. [In Rabbinic teaching repentance out of love has the effect of converting even premeditated sins into merits, v. Yoma 86b].  For behold, the sinful deeds which he committed were prosecutors from the Left Side. When he returns in perfect repentance he causes those deeds to enter and be rooted above. Now all those prosecutors are not annihilated but they become better and rooted in the holy just as Cain was told he could be good. Behold, if Cain had repented and rectified his sins then the sin of Adam by which Cain (the unclean nest) was born, would have been accounted to him for merit, according to the secret of ‘the son brings merit to the father.’ However, he did not desire to repent. Therefore, all the Left Side draws its sustenance from there. But all its branches are destined to become sweet and they will be perfect once again. This is for the reason we have given: that man roots himself in the secret of evil and renders it sweet and brings it into the good. Therefore, man purifies the evil inclination and brings it into the good so that it becomes rooted above in the holy. This is the high degree of repentance which he who follows should ponder on each day and repent in some measure each day so that all of his days will be spent in repentance.  CORDOVERO 88-9


GENESIS — 4:13 too

GEN516 This is the meaning of Cain’s plea [this verse]: ‘My sin is too great to bear,’ interpreted by our Rabbis of blessed memory [Genesis Rabbah 22:11, Yalkut, Gen. 38, where the wording is ‘Thou bearest those above and below.” C. ["C." reference unknown - AJL] interprets this as referring to the destroying angel] as: ‘Thou bearest (that is to say, Thou nourisheth and sustaineth) the whole world; is my sin so heavy that thou canst not bear it (that is, sustain it until I repent)?’  This is the greatest quality of tolerance, that He nourishes and sustains the evil creature brought into being by the sinner until the latter repents. From which a man should learn the degree of patience in bearing his neighbor’s yoke and the evils done by his neighbor even when those evils still exists. So that even when his neighbor offends he bears with him until the wrong is righted or until it vanishes of its own accord and so forth.  CORDOVERO 48-50


GENESIS — 9:12 covenant

GEN734 … Foundation is the sign of the covenant of the bow [Both circumcision, (Genesis 17:10) and the rainbow (Gen. 9:12-13) are described as a covenant.  Furthermore, the word ‘bow’ is used in the Rabbinic literature as a synonym for penis] and the Bow of the Upper World is only outstretched in order to shoot arrows into the quality of Sovereignty, which is ‘the target for arrows,’ preserving the drop which shoots as an arrow to bring forth branches and to bear fruit. Now, just as the Supernal Bow is never stretched except it be toward this target, so, too, man should not stretch his bow and allow himself an erection under any circumstances except it be it for the proper purpose, namely, for his wife when she is clean, which is the time of union. And not more than this, for it causes a flaw in this quality, God forfend.  Exceedingly great care must be taken and the main precaution is to guard oneself from sexual imaginings.  CORDOVERO 112


GENESIS — 35:17 labor

GEN1429 … if [a man] wants to acquire the quality of Lovingkindness … the following are the types of benevolence: First, when man is born it is necessary to provide him with all his food. Man should therefore have the following in mind. When Understanding begats Beauty [The Sephirah of Beauty derives ultimately from the Sephirah of Understanding] and it comes to pass that she is in hard labor [this verse] because of the aspect of judgment, God forfend, then Beauty finds its exit towards the Powers [The Sephiroth on the Right are Wisdom and Lovingkindness, those on the Left are Understanding and Power. Beauty emanates from all of them and should ideally be found a little towards the Right. Then there is harmony among the Sephiroth. But if, as a result of men’s sins, strength is given to the Powers on the Left these will draw Beauty towards them and the harmony will be disturbed. The ‘birth’ of the Beauty is then with difficulty. When man performs acts of kindness to the new-born child he should have the intention of performing this tikkun for the ‘child’ in the world of the Sepheroth, namely, Beauty, so that it emerges towards the Right.] and her birth is with difficulty.  It is necessary for man to put things right there as possible so that the birth of Beauty be towards the Right in order that the child be born without blemish. As we say: ‘And bring forth our justice as the light, O Holy God,’ [A New Year Prayer, v. Festival Prayer Book, New Year, ed. Routledge, p. 157] that is, that Beauty ( = Justice) should emerge towards the light, [The Hebrew for ‘as the light’ is la’or and can mean and is so interpreted by C., ‘towards the light.’ The Hebrew for ‘O holy God’ is kadosh and can mean simply holy or separate. One of the symbolic names of Beauty is Justice because it is the Sephirah balanced between Lovingkindness and Power.   Hence C.’s mystical interpretation of the prayer is: ‘And Bring forth (from Understanding = “Mother’) our Justice (= Beauty) towards the light (= the Right and it will then be holy and separated from the Powers.’] which is the Right, and it will then be holy and separate from the Powers. In this is included that he intends, with the deeds he performs, to bind it [Beauty] constantly to Lovingkindness and to bring it forth from Understanding in the direction of Lovingkindness and the child will then be born well formed and of strong vitality. [A Talmudic expression used of the birth of a healthy child. Niddah 31a] Practically every provision of the Torah is included in this [The Rabbis divide the divine precepts into positive and negative commandments. C. here says that practically all the negative commandments have as their aim the prevention of the Powers being stirred up. That is to say, when man commits forbidden acts he causes the power of stern judgment to be removed from its lawful place, just as his acts are unlawful. And this has the effect of preventing the ‘easy birth’ of Beauty. It might here be mentioned that the Kabbalists do not think of the process of the Sephiroth as having taken place in past time but as recurring throughout time.], that the Powers do not stir up the power of stern judgment there so that God forfend, the birth be a difficult one.   CORDOVERO 92


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