Monday, November 9, 2015

"For This is All of a Man": The Mystical Reason Why Man Needs Torah




It is written that the Torah is "perfect" which in Hebrew means that it is complete--meaning that the Torah explains everything.

So what does the Torah say about man?

First, let's look at the Hebrew words for man and woman:


  • Man= ish (which has the letters aleph, yod, shin)
  • Woman= ishah (which has the letters aleph, shin, hey)


NOTE:  The Divine Name is spelled with yod - hey- vav- hey but also shows up in abbreviated form as simply yod - hey (e.g. Exodus 15:2).

So we see that man is a fire (ish) who contains a single letter of the Divine name--he contains a yod.  And the woman is also a fire (ish) who contains another letter of the Divine name--she contains a hey.  So when man and woman become one flesh they manifest the Divine name:  yod + hey.

And this is because man and woman were created as a pair:
"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created," Genesis 5:2
Next, let's look at the Hebrew word for man:  Adam.

Adam is spelled:  aleph, dalet, mem (the numerical value of which happens to be 45 which is the exact same numerical value of the Divine Name in which each letter is spelled out fully).  We know that the first occurrence of aleph in the Torah where aleph forms the root of a word occurs in the name of G-d "Elohim."  And so this shows us that the meaning of the letter aleph is connected to the Divine.

So then the aleph in the name Adam represents the Divine Image.  The remaining letters of Adam are dalet and mem which spells dam--the Hebrew word for blood.  And so we see that the flesh of man is clothing for the Divine Spark:
"You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and covered me with bones and tendons," Job 10:11
NOTE:  this verse implies that the real you is something more than skin and flesh
And the letters dalet and mem spell out the word damah which means "to be like or resemble".  So man's purpose is to resemble the aleph--to resemble G-d, to not just be an animal created from the dirt but to be worthy vessel for the Divine Image.

And what is the Divine Image?

It is written that the Word (which is G-d) became flesh.  And it is written of this Word that a body was prepared for Him.  This means that the human body was designed to carry the Word of G-d:
"The end of the matter, when all is said and done:  fear God and guard His commandments, for this is all of a man [ki zeh kal haadam]," Ecclesiastes 12:13
And:
"And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind (Torat ha-Adam), O Lord GOD!" 2 Sam 7:19
Commenting on the former verse, Horowitz says:
" 'The end of the matter, when all is said and done:  fear God and guard His commandments, for this is all of a person.'  'The end of the matter' is Adam, who was created last.  And the first in thought is the last in deed.  He was created at the end so that he could include everything in his image and likeness.  He was created with 613--248 limbs and 365 sinews, corresponding to the positive and negative commandments.  'Fear God' refers to the negative commandments 'and guard His commandments' refers to the positive commandments.  Thus it is written, 'for this is all of a person.'  For a person is constructed from limbs and sinews," Isaiah Horowitz, The Generations of Adam, pg. 216
Here we see Horowitz referring to the tradition in the Mishnah, the Targum, and most explicitly in the Gemara that says that even the number of limbs and tendons in a man correspond to the mitzvot.  Now, we shouldn't get hung up on the numbers here.  But the point is that the Jewish People have always understood that the very purpose of man--the "all of a man"--is to reconnect with the Divine Spark by returning to the Torah--which is the light which emanates from the fire of G-d.

For this reason, the Torah is referred to as bread and water.  Just as the physical man needs both bread and water to survive, the spiritual man needs the bread and water of Torah to survive.

Shalom and Blessings to the True Brothers and Sisters,

Peter

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