When God created the first humans, Adam and Eve (Chavah), He created them as one.

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (Gen. 1:27)

Actually, as Midrash Rabbah (Gen. VIII:1) explains, Adam and Eve were created as one being as Siamese twins—attached by their side.  When the story of the creation of Adam is repeated in the next chapter, it seems as a very different story:

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Gen. 2:22)

However, the Hebrew word for “rib”—tzela—can also mean “side”. What the verses tell us here is not the new and different story of creation, but a story of the separation of the Siamese twins—Adam and Eve—along their common side, tzelem, where they had been attached. All this happened on the first Rosh Hashanah, when Adam and Eve were created.

Just as two particles separated at birth (through, for example, particle decay) remain entangled, Adam and Eve, although physically separated, remained entangled spiritually. As the Kabbalah teaches, all ten sephirot of their souls remained entangled. Hence it took ten days—one day for each sephirah—to disentangle them. This process is called in Kabbalah nesira (cutting). This process repeats itself spiritually every year during Aseret Yemay Teshuvah—ten days of repentance (see Shaar Hakavanot, Drush Rosh HaShanah).

God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gan Eiden) and commanded them not to eat from the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge (Etz Hadaat). At that time, evil, which had been created to afford human beings free will, existed externally as embodied in the primordial snake (Nachash Hakdmoni). By eating a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve mixed up good and evil, which heretofore existed separately. As the Talmud says, today, there is no good without evil and there is no evil without good.  In a manner of speech, the primordial sin caused cosmic entanglement of good and evil. Moreover, by virtue of the first sin, Adam and Eve internalized evil. From then on, all humans were born with the evil inclination enticing them to sin.

The process of nisira—the disentanglement of the ten sephirot—culminates on Yom Kippur, the tenth of the ten days of repentance—Aseret Yimay Teshuvah.

On Yom Kippur, the High Priest (Kohen Gadol) had to bring two goats to the Holy Temple (Bet HaMikdash) in Jerusalem. These goats had to be nearly identical—of the same color and height. These goats were entangled. If one of them died or became disqualified for sacrificial purposes, the other goat also had to be replaced and a new pair of identical goats had to be brought in. The entanglement of the two goats represented the entanglement of good and evil caused by the primordial sin.

One of these goats was destined as a sacrifice for God, and the other, designated as the scapegoat for Azazel, was destined to be thrown off the cliff (lit. “Azazel”). Initially, both goats were in the state of superposition of being for God and for Azazel. As I discussed at length in my earlier blogs TALE OF ENTANGLED GOATS and SAVED BY RANDOMNESS, the High Priest collapsed the wavefunction by randomly choosing a lot for each of the goats. Designating (by means of a lot) one goat for God and the other for Azazel, the High Priest would disentangle good and evil. The centrality of this theme to Yom Kippur can be observed from the very name of this Holiday—Yom HaKippurim—the day of the lots (two lots for two goats).

The High Priest also confessed all sins of the Children of Israel while pressing his hands at the head of the scapegoat, thereby disentangling Israelites from their sins and entangling them with the scapegoat to be sent to Azazel.

The goat designated for God, which now represented pure goodness and holiness disentangled from evil, was brought as a sacrifice to God, thereby elevating all goodness to its source in the Creator. The scapegoat, representing pure evil disentangled from goodness was sent to Azazel, which on a spiritual level represents Satan, i.e., the source of evil. Thus the goodness was elevated to its source and evil was separated and returned to its source, restoring the primordial order that existed before the First Sin.

From this vantage point, the process of repentance (teshuvah) can be viewed as the process of disentanglement. On the one hand, it is the process of disentangling oneself from sins and, on the other, disentangling good from evil. This process is called in Hebrew, biur—lit. “separation” or, indeed, disentanglement. Biur is the primary mechanism of Tikun Olam.

The Messianic redemption is the state of the world after the disentanglement of good and evil is completed and the primordial order (before the first sin) is restored forever. Therefore, the teshuva-repentance on Yom Kippur accomplishes not only personal atonement, but also a universal atonement hasting the messianic redemption.

!גמר חתימה טובה

 

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