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When Adam sinned, his spiritual posture was reduced, until all that remained within him was a terumah: two from one hundred [5%].

The Good Side of Cain

The Good Side of Cain

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Thirty-Three, Section 1a


Enoch is [became the angel] Matatron, his neshamah being from the zihara ila’a. Cain received the nefesh of the zihara ila’a of Adam.1

Enoch was a unique, primordial tzadik. He reached a level of transcending the worldly limitations until he ascended to angelic parameters.

The angel Matat is a very awesome entity. "His name is like the name of his Master."2 During the week, God sets up a certain theme of tests for His world. He cloaks Providence and does not allow it to be so revealed. The spiritual mechanics behind how this works is that He clothes His control in the angel Matat,3 who in turn operates through a hierarchy of angels throughout the seder hihishtalshilut. This affords him the title 'prince of the world' - i.e., not the King, but viceroy-next in rulership – the one whom the King operates through. (Midrash)

Elsewhere, the Ari'Zl explains that he reached the neshama of Atzilut. This is an extremely high level. The juxtaposition of Enoch/Matat to Cain implies that Enoch drew from the deluxe energy of the Cain root to attain this plateau.4 The same applies to the prophet Elijah, who likewise to Enoch, didn’t die and ascended to become an angel.

As is already known, all the souls were included in Adam, and when he sinned, his spiritual posture was reduced until all that remained within him was a terumah [designated portion] which is two from one hundred [5%] - the challah [choice part] of the world.

Terumah is a small piece that G‑d commanded to give to the kohen from produce. (Num. 18:12) Challah is a similar Divine gift given to the kohen from dough. (Num. 15:17) In the simple understanding, here they are used as borrowed terms to teach that Adam was but a fraction of his former self after his sin.

This however, does not mean that he was not himself. Terumah and challah are the choice portions. No matter what a person does, their intrinsic good point and soul are untouchable.5

However, the comparison to these kohen gifts can be understood more deeply. TRVMH/terumah is ‘TRV-M"H/taru-M"H’ [raising the Divine Name M"H]. M"H (45) is also a word meaning nullification,6 as well as the gematria ADM/Adam (45). The innermost, untouchable place of the soul is always connected to G‑d and included in Him. The work of true Adam/man is to access this point and cause it to spread and take hold of the personality.7

Challah comes from an etymological root of yearning and supplication - "And Moses supplicated with yearning [in Hebrew, 'vayichal']." (Ex. 32:11) At the giving of the Torah, the nation ascended to the plateau of Adam's level before he sinned. (Shabbat 146a) The mistake of the Golden Calf was similar in effect to Adam's eating from the Tree of Knowledge which had caused the spiritual downward plummet of man.

Moses’ prayer started with "vayichal"/challah to fix it. The deepest point of the heart is filled with yearning for its Maker and longs to express and connect to Him through prayer. (Likutei Halachot) Adam is the choice portion of the universe. After he lost this status, the mitzvah of separating challah came to restore his prestige.

"And they shall build for Me a sanctuary - and I shall dwell in their midst." (Ex. 25:1) "‘Take terumah’ [as if it were] Me." (Zohar) Terumah was given for the building of the Mishkan [Sanctuary] which restored Divinity to the world.8

The mitzvahs of terumah and challah are two special priestly privileges. The kohanim bring the offerings in the Temple and activate M"H/nullification and challah/yearning-prayer powers in the souls of the nation and the gifts of terumah and challah are given to them for this purpose. Moreover, just by people giving them these gifts their accompanying motions are awakened in the soul.

From the level of nefesh, which is the level of Asiya, two souls remained with him that are better than the rest. This terumat nefesh [choice soul] was given to Cain, while the rest of the portions of the souls flew away from Adam after he sinned.

We already spoke about how Cain was a combination of good and evil. Thus, he was also able to father souls that were like Abel his brother,9 as is mentioned at the end of the Idra Raba, Naso. From his good comes the souls of tzadikim, whereas from the side of evil comes the souls of the wicked.

See above about zihara ila’a, Intro.
MTTRVN-314/Matat equals ShDY-314 [the Almighty]. Divine power is channeled through him during the week. (Midrash)
See Likutei Moharan (end of chap. 31) to understand what Matat means to us.
Even though here Cain himself is here said to only have the nefesh of Atzilut, if he would have merited, he would have embodied even Abba/chochmah of Atzilut. Even though he lost this level, his soul still has intrinsic linkage to it and the potential to ascend there. Furthermore, this potential can be accessed by those of his root to ascend beyond nefesh.
“Even though [a Jew] sinned - he is [still considered one of] Israel” (Sanhedrin 44a)
This explanation of the word 'Terumah' is in line with the another permutation said by the Rabbis: trai-mimai’ah [lit. '2 out of 100', meaning 2%]. (Me'ila 15b) One gives 2 - the points of chochmah and bina - out of the 100 sefirot, to G‑d and thereby merits inclusion in Him. “They (dinim/selfishness) are all elevated/purified in chochmah.” (Zohar)
See Likutei Moharan 6 on how to do this.
Although this verse refers to the giving of gifts to the Mishkan, it is in the same category as our terumah at hand. Therefore, they bear the same name.
Abel was also mixed. The emphasis here on Cain’s being mixed is because the polarities - a typical Tohu quality - are much more extreme in him.
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzchak, the
G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Elohi [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Yitzchok bar Chaim is the pseudonym of the translator, an American-born Jerusalem scholar who has studied and taught Kabbala for many years. He may be contacted through: He translated the Ari's work, "Shaar HaGilgulim;" his translation into English (but with much less extensive commentary than offered here). Information about his translation in book form may be obtained through
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He was a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.
Rabbi Peretz Auerbach, originally from New York, has been living and learning Torah and kabbala in Jerusalem for 18 years. He teaches at Shvu Ami beit medrash, lectures in Kabbalah and chassidut at the Jerusalem Connection and Heritage House and to private groups. Rabbi Auerbach is also a talented musician. He is currently working on an all new translation of the Zohar into English with extensive commentary as well as a disc entitled "Music, Meditation and Mysticism."
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