From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of
13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben
14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben
16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe
Alshech of Tsfat
17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya
18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim
"And G-d blessed the seventh day and He sanctified it"
The truth is that the blessing on the Shabbat day is the fountain of
blessings and constitutes the foundation of the world. "...and He
sanctified it" - that it draw its sanctity from the Sanctuary on
high. If you will understand this comment of mine you will grasp what
the Rabbis have said in Bereshit Rabbah concerning the Shabbat: ["Why
did He bless the Shabbat? It is] because it has no partner," and
that which they have further related [that G-d said to the Shabbat]: "
The congregation of Israel will be thy partner." Then you will comprehend
that on the Shabbat there is truly an extra soul.
.the Tree of Life in the middle of the garden, and the
Tree of Knowledge of good and evil." [2:9]
The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of the celestial regions are
the emanations tiferet and ateret, and man's sin consisted
of both a sinful deed and a sinful design. His sin in deed consisted of
eating from the tree and what it represented. When Adam sinned this was
not a denial of the supremacy of G'd, a heretical act. Even though he
had seen the tree of life next to the tree of knowledge, he did not consider
the tree of life as essential but he considered the tree of knowledge
the key to his existence. Inasmuch as the tree of knowledge provided the
key to all opposites in the universe and enabled those who had consumed
its fruit to perform all kinds of activities both in the terrestrial as
well as in the celestial regions, this is what he considered as essential.
This is why the verses describing the tree of knowledge and its allure
(3.2-6) spoke of its fruit, whereas no mention of fruit is made in connection
with the tree of life. Adam's sin consisted of ktsets bintiyot
"pursued alien philosophies" (the expression applied to the
heresy of Elisha ben Avuyah in Chagigah 14). Literally, the expression
means that Adam "curtailed the beneficial influence of saplings G-d
Himself had planted and which had been imbued with a unique divine potential.
Adam's "cutting" this sapling was the cause that this potential
contained in the sapling "withered and it dried out and perished."
As a result it was appropriate that the sapling in question revenge itself
on Adam. This explains that the fitting punishment for Adam was death,
i.e., that he himself would wither and dry out. Death meant that his soul
and body would become separated, just as he had separated the divine part
of the tree of knowledge from its earthly part.
"And it was completed...." [2:1]
Without a doubt, any physical activity which does not include a spiritual
stimulus will eventually be completely wasted. The best example is man's
body. It disintegrates upon the departure of its spiritual part, the soul.
G'ds work during almost the entire 6 days of creation consisted of creating
a physical universe. It would have disintegrated gradually, had it not
been for the infusion of something spiritual, i.e. kedushah, (sanctity).
This was the contribution of the Shabbat. If not for the Shabbat, the
world simply would not have endured. If is this the Rabbis meant when
they said the world lacked menuchah (rest). The Shabbat did for
the physical world what the soul does for the body. This is the meaning
of shavat vayinafash (rested and became possessed of a soul). This
is why the Torah had to say vayanach, (He rested) to make sure
we understand that this rest was a positive, active contribution to the
physical world, the creation of which had been completed.
"..and fruit trees producing fruit according to its kind in which
its seed is found.." (1:11)
The original purpose of man's creation was to have the body as perfect
as the soul, the body being the "Sanctuary", and the soul the
"the inner Sanctuary". Both body and soul would have enjoyed
a life of intelligence. All other creatures on earth would have dwelled
in a "higher" existence; there would not have been any trees
that failed to produce edible fruit, for instance. When you look closely
at the instruction issued by G-d to the Earth on the third day, you will
find that the trees were meant to be edible themselves, i.e. the trunk,
not just the fruit. (Gen. 1:11) Earth did not comply with G-d's command
completely, since it was aware that G-d would have to hide the Original
Light due to the eventual emergence of wicked people. This prompted Earth
to withhold some of its goodness also.
"It was on the day the Lord G-d put the finishing touches to
earth and heaven." (2:4)
Throughout the whole report of creation in the first chapter of the Torah
the word used for G-d is only [the name we refer to as] Elokim. We encounter
the name [we refer to as] Havayeh only in Genesis 2:4 where the Torah
suddenly writes: "it was on the day the Lord G-d put the finishing
touches to earth and heaven." You note that in this latter case the
Torah mentions the earth first ad the heavens afterwards, in contrast
to Genesis 1:1, where we were told about the creation of heaven and earth
in that order. The other change is that a new attribute of G-d is introduced,
the four'letter name, Havayeh.
As long as the Torah employs G-d's name Elokim exclusively, this
means that only the attribute of Justice was employed in the work of creation
which the Torah reports. All that is reported there took place before
G-d "co-opted" the attribute of Mercy. This attribute was applicable
as far as the creation of the heavens were concerned because the heavens
are not inhabited by anyone requiring the attribute of Mercy. This is
why the Torah does not again refer to the heavens as it does to the earth
In the second report in 2:4, the Torah deals with an earth inhabited
by man, a creature composed also of physical matter who therefore cannot
endure without the presence of the attribute of Mercy. The word heavens
at the end of that verse does not belong to the preceding word earth as
far as the presence of the attribute Havayeh mentioned in the earlier
part of the verse is concerned.
The reason the word for heavens sometimes appears after the word for
earth while other times it appears before, is in order to show that heaven
and earth were created simultaneously.
Adapted from the 13th century classic by the illustrious scholar, philosopher
and defender of the faith, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman-known as 'RAMBAN' or
'Nachmanides', a master kabbalist in his own right and a major link in
the transmission of Jewish mysticism-based on the excellent annotated
English translation, Nachmanides on the Torah, by Rabbi Dr. Charles B.
Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of The
Torah Commentary of Rebbeinu Bachya, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu
Munk. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher [1255-1340] of Saragosa, Spain, was the outstanding
pupil of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the "Rashba"), a main disciple
of Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the "Ramban"). Several books have
been written about the Kabballah-based portions of R. Bachya's commentary.
Adapted from Torat Moshe - the 16th commentary of Rabbi Moshe Alshech,
the "Preacher of Zefat" on the Torah, as translated and condensed
in the English version of Eliyahu Munk)
Shelah - credits
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz was born in Prague around the year 1565. He served
as Rabbi of Cracow and other congregations before he was appointed as
the Rabbi of the community of Frankfurt on Main in the year 1610. In 1916,
Rabbi Horowitz moved to Prague where he became the Chief Rabbi of the
city. He moved to Eretz Yisrael about 1621. He was rabbi in Jerusalem
and in Tiberias, where he died in or about 1630. In addition to his magnus
opus, Shenei Luchot HaBrit, he also compiled an edition of the prayer-book
with a comprehensive commentary. Many of his innovations, including his
formulation of the Kol Nidrei prayer, have become part and parcel of the
Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of Ohr HaChaim:
the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, as translated and annotated
by Eliyahu Munk.
The holy Rabbi Chayim ben Moses Attar was born in Sale, Western Morocco,
on the Atlantic in 1696. His immortal commentary on the Five Books Of
Moses, Or Hachayim, was printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was
on his way to the Holy Land. He acquired a reputation as a miracle worker,
hence his title "the holy," although some apply this title only
to his Torah commentary.