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When choosing good, man creates light; when choosing bad, he creates darkness.

Lighten Up, Partner!

Lighten Up, Partner!

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Lighten Up, Partner!
When choosing good, man creates light; when choosing bad, he creates darkness.

"G‑d saw that man's wickedness on earth was increasing. Every impulse of his innermost thought was only for evil, all day long." (Gen. 6:5, "Living Torah" translation)

In the translation below, Rebbe Shimon addresses the question as to why G‑d created the evil inclination in a person. If a person didn't have an urge to sin, there wouldn't be sinful acts committed that require rectification through repentance and corrective action.

Rebbe Shimon said that if it is the case [that G‑d knew that mankind would be led to sin by their evil inclination] why all this?

Why did He create the world?

Rebbe Shimon said to his friends that if G‑d had not created the good and bad inclinations in a person [that are like light and darkness in the universe] a person wouldn't have been created with the ability to receive reward and punishment. Man was instead created with both inclinations, and it is because of that [it is written], "see I have set before you this day, life and good, and death and evil" (Deut. 30:15). [These "options" reflect a person's ability to make a free choice.]

They said to him that this explanation is fine, but would it not have been better had [the evil inclination] not been created at all? Then a person wouldn't sin and the [negative] effects caused in the spiritual worlds would not occur. Then, too, there would be no reward and no punishment. The Torah of the created world is the clothing of the Shechina...

He replied to them that it is proper according to the rules of judgment that man be created in this manner [with freedom of choice, reward and punishment]. The Torah was created for mankind and has written in it punishment for the wicked and reward for the righteous. There would be no need for reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked other than for created man. It was not chaos that was created, rather [an ordered state] with control of the inclination [to do good or bad].

Thus man becomes a partner with G‑d who created light and darkness. In choosing good man creates light; in choosing bad he creates darkness. This also explains why the first light was created on first day of Creation, before the sun and stars. That light is called "good" and here is equated with the light generated by acts of kindness.

They said to him that here we have heard something that we certainly have not heard up till now. Certainly G‑d would not have created something there was no need for.

Not only that, but the Torah of the created world is the clothing of the Shechina.

This is because the person who chooses light (by learning Torah and doing good deeds) is dressing and adorning the Divine Presence in the lowest world with beautiful garments, bringing her into a state fitting for union with her divine source.

And if man were not created in the future [after the Torah], the Shechina would have been without clothes, like a pauper [in rags]. Because of this, one who sins is, as it were, disrobing the Shechina, and this is the reason why a person is punished.

Furthermore, all who perform the commandments of the Torah dress, as it were, the Shechina in her robes. This is as we have explained [about the commandment] to wear the garments of tzitzit and tefillin. [As it is written] "It is her only covering [alluding to the talit]. It is a garment for his skin [which alludes to tefillin that are made of leather]. In what will he sleep at night?" (Ex. 22:26) ["In what will he sleep at night?" hints at] the exile of the Shechina, as we have explained. [See Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 69]


from the Zohar, p. 23a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
Shmuel-Simcha Treister is a lawyer from New Zealand who made aliya to Safed with his family in 1993 to study Zohar. He continues doing so to this day. He also works in the Ascent multi-media center.
The Zohar is a basic work of Kabbalah authored by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students (2nd century CE). English translation of annotated selections by Rabbi Moshe Miller (Morristown, N.J.: Fiftieth Gate Publications, 2000) includes a detailed introduction covering the history and basic concepts of Kabbalah. Volume 1 (36 pp.) covers the first half of the first of the original’s three volumes. It is available online from our store, KabbalaOnline Shop.
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