This 2nd installment continues the passage presented in: "The Ins and Outs of the Torah".

The Song of Moses, which constitutes the greater part of the portion of the Torah read this week, begins:

Give ear, O heavens, and I shall speak,
Let the earth hear the talk of my mouth.
Let my teaching drip like rain,
Let my talk flow like dew,
Like droplets on new growth,
Like showers on grass.
When I proclaim the Name of G‑d,
Give greatness to our G‑d.
The Rock, perfect are His deeds,
For all His ways are just.
[He is] a steadfast G‑d, [with] no corruption,
Righteous and upright is He.
[If someone] corrupted, he did not corrupt Him,
Their blemish is His children's,
A stubborn and twisted generation.
Shall you do this to G‑d?
You degenerate and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your creator?
He made you and established you. (Deut. 32:1-6)

At the end of the previous installment, we saw how the Arizal explained the verse "The Rock, perfect are His deeds" (ibid.) to mean that G‑d created man imperfect in order to allow him to perfect himself through his own deeds.

This, then, is the mystical meaning of "The Rock, perfect are His deeds." "His deeds" refers to Adam, whom G‑d formed with His own hands. (Agadat Bereishit 11:19)

The phrase "perfect are His deeds" is actually written in the singular: "perfect is His deed", and thus can be understood to refer to G‑d's most perfect creation, Adam. The Arizal now relates this to the following verse: (Habakkuk 3:2)

G‑d, I heard what I heard from you, and I was afraid. G‑d, sustain Your deed in these years,
In the midst of these years, make it known
That in anger, You remember to be merciful.

Habakkuk…was a reincarnation of Adam…

Thus, [the prophet] Habakkuk, who was a reincarnation of Adam, said, "G‑d…sustain Your deed in these years [of their exile]."

Habakkuk heard that G‑d was going to exile the Jewish people, and was afraid. Since he was a reincarnation of Adam, the "deed" of G‑d, he similarly refers to Israel as G‑d's "deed". But the mystical meaning of this passage is as follows:

When [G‑d] called [Adam] in the Garden of Eden [after he sinned], He said, "Where are you?" [Referring to this, Habakkuk said, "G‑d,] I heard what I heard from you, and I was afraid. G‑d, sustain Your deed" [i.e. Adam] in these years." I.e. even though he will not live a thousand years, at least let him live "In the midst of these years", i.e. most of them.

Adam was intended to live a thousand years. When he sinned, his life was shortened to 930 years.

From this, we see that the word "Your deed" refers to Adam.

Similarly, King David, who was [also] a reincarnation of Adam, said, "A psalm, a song for the Shabbat day." (Psalms 92:1) It is known that Adam composed this psalm. King David said about Adam, "For I rejoiced, O G‑d, in Your deed" (ibid. 92:5), referring to Adam, for [Adam] gave [King David] seventy of the years of his life. Were it not for this, [David] would have had no life at all. Adam…asked G‑d to grant David 70 years of his own life…

When Adam sinned, G‑d banished him from the Garden of Eden. This was on Friday afternoon, but Adam was allowed to stay in the Garden of Eden through Shabbat. He therefore composed the Psalm: "A song for the Shabbat day". When King David re-composed this psalm thousands of years later, he did so as the reincarnation of Adam.

King David was destined to be a miscarriage, but when Adam prophetically saw this, he asked G‑d to grant David 70 years of his own life, and indeed, King David lived for 70 years. This is another reason Adam's life was shortened from 1000 to 930 years. (Zohar I:91b)

David could not be born until [his grandfather] Obed came and rectified Adam's [sin of abrogating G‑d's] command "to work and to guard" [the Garden of Eden.] This is why he was called "Obed".

"Obed", or, in Hebrew, "Oved", means "the one who works". Only after someone had rectified Adam's sin could his prayer be fulfilled.

And parallel to [G‑d's] curse to Adam, "you shall eat bread by the sweat of your brow" (Gen. 3:19), [King David's father] Jesse was called "the Bethelemite" [literally, "of the house of My bread"].

In any case, this is another indication that the word "Your deed" refers to Adam.

We now return to the original subject of this exposition: why G‑d created man "imperfect". G‑d desired to create Adam with an evil inclination, so that he eat the fruit of his own efforts…

And for this reason, G‑d desired to create Adam with an evil inclination, so that he eat [the fruit] of his own efforts, achieved through his own toil, i.e. subdue the evil inclination.

"For all His ways are just", and He does not want man to indulge and enjoy life in the Garden of Eden for free, the way the soul originally "ate off its father's table", receiving charity and unearned gifts, before it came into this world. Rather, G‑d desired that it come to this world and gather [the rewards of fulfilling the] commandments and [doing] good deeds. Only "then will it rejoice over G‑d" (Isaiah 58:14), as a reward for its deeds, and not an unearned fashion.

[Grammatical note: it…its Interpreting the second person form of the verb as the third person.]

Thus, since "all His ways are just", Adam had to possess two inclinations, a good inclination and an evil inclination.

And [as well, G‑d's] Name had to possess both judgment and mercy, i.e. the revealed and the hidden, so that if Adam would sin, he could be punished for his wickedness. [For the same reason] the Torah also had to possess both an exoteric and esoteric dimension. Submitting to G‑d's will…puts us squarely in the driver's seat…

If you ask, how can it be said that "all His ways are just" when we see that there are wicked people who prosper [and righteous people who suffer]? For this reason, [Moses continued in his song,] replying first about the righteous [who suffer]: "[He is] a steadfast G‑d", and may be relied upon to give him his reward, i.e. [his just portion in] the World to Come. This is the same meaning as that of the verse, "…who guards the covenant and the loving-kindness [to repay those who love Him and keep His commandments] for a thousand generations," (Deut. 7:9) referring to the World to Come, which is the world that is all truth.

The World to Come is unlike this world, wherein the righteous can suffer.

It is a thousand generations long. [G‑d therefore] prefers not to repay [the righteous] in this world, in which life is short.

Concerning the wicked [who prosper, Moses] continued: "…[with] no corruption."

Meaning: be assured that He is not miscalculating.

The fact that He bestows goodness upon him is because "He is righteous", and is performing a kindness and charitable act with the wicked person.

Also, "He is upright", and must therefore reward the righteous in the World to Come, in which there is enough time for Him to bestow on him all the honor due him.

If you then ask: since all the fearsomeness was created only to punish the wicked, it would appear that someone who causes a blemish [through sin] blemishes (G‑d forbid) [the One] Above. To this, [Moses] replied that it is not so. Rather, "[If] a person corrupts, he does not corrupt Him", i.e. he does not corrupt [the One] Above at all, only "His children [suffer] their blemish", i.e. the blemish accrues to them, the children, alone.

[The result of sin] is called a blemish since man possesses 248 members and 365 sinews.

Since man's body is composed this way, it follows that the soul, in whose image the body is created, and which "fits" the body perfectly, also possesses 248 spiritual members, or aspects, and 365 spiritual sinews, or connecting channels.

Someone who neglects to perform an active commandment causes the [spiritual] member [of his soul] that corresponds to that commandment to be lacking altogether. But when he transgresses a passive commandment, it is similar to sticking a finger in an eye: he injures what he already possesses.

A "blemish" on the soul is thus caused by transgressing a passive commandment, by doing something one should not do.

This is the meaning of the phrase, "His children [suffer] their blemish".

G‑d, however, may He be blessed, "makes plans so that no one pushed away will be pushed away. [forever]" (Samuel II 14:14) He reincarnates the person two and three times, [in order to give him the opportunity to rectify his wrongdoings in subsequent incarnations]. This is the meaning of the phrase, "A stubborn and twisted generation". He brings the person into the world the first time, and he sins; he then has to be reincarnated a second time in order to rectify [his wrongdoings], but instead he makes things worse. Thus, he is called "stubborn". [G‑d] then reincarnates him a third time, but the individual returns to his folly. This is the meaning of "twisted".

Therefore, he continues, "Shall you do this to G‑d?" He acts for your good, but you anger Him.

The Arizal now returns to verse 3, "When I proclaim the Name of G‑d, give greatness to our G‑d."

An alternative explanation [of this verse]:

Moses said, "When I call upon the Name of G‑d" - he prayed about the exile in the psalm that begins "A prayer of Moses", as it is written [there], "Satiate us in the morning with Your loving-kindness" (Psalms 90:14), referring to the "morning" of the Redemption.

Exile is allegorically referred to as "night" and redemption as the "morning" that follows it.

Moses said: "When I pray about the exile" - this being the meaning of "When I call upon the Name of G‑d" - "then you should 'give greatness to our G‑d.'"

This is similar to the idea that "When Israel gazed upward and submitted their hearts to their Father in heaven, they prevailed" (Rosh Hashanah 3:8)

When the Jews came out of Egypt, they were attacked by the Amalekites. G‑d told Moses to send his disciple, Joshua to lead the Jews in battle against them. In the meantime, Moses ascended to a vantage point where he could observe the battle and lifted his hands in prayer to G‑d for victory. "And it was that when Moses would raise his hand that Israel prevailed, but when he rested his hand, Amalek prevailed." (Ex. 17:11) The sages teach us that it was not Moses' hands that magically enabled the Jews to prevail or kept them from prevailing, but rather, when they saw his hands raised they raised their eyes heavenward and submitted their hearts to G‑d, and G‑d gave them the strength to prevail.

Although the plain meaning of this is that we should realize that our ability to succeed in life is dependent upon our submission to G‑d's will, the flip-side of this idea is that by the same token, G‑d has set things up such that He cannot win His battles unless we "enable" Him to do so - by submitting to His will. Submitting to G‑d's will, on the one hand, is indeed an act of self-abnegation, but on the other hand, it puts us squarely in the driver's seat, since only by doing this can G‑d, so to speak, grant us the power to accomplish His purposes in the world. G‑d…only manifests His greatness and power when the Jewish people perform His will…

Thus, Moses does his part as the leader by praying to G‑d to alleviate the suffering of exile. But at the same time, he asks us to "give greatness to our G‑d", i.e. to grant G‑d the power, so to speak, to grant us victory in fighting His battles.

Therefore he said, "Give [greatness to our G‑d]", which is similar to the thought [implicit in the verse,] "Give strength to G‑d" (Psalms 68:35). He, may He be blessed, only manifests His greatness and power when the Jewish people perform His will. This is also the meaning of [the continuation of] this verse, "…His greatness is [dependent] upon Israel." Even though, [as the verse continues,] "His strength is in the heavens," he nonetheless only manifests His greatness and power when the Jewish people do His will.

Even though strength is the Almighty's to apportion as He sees fit, and He can do whatever He wants, G‑d still refrains from exercising His power until the Jewish people submit to His will, so they can be fit to exercise this power.

From this we learn, as well, that G‑d will only bestow true success and power upon those who have actualized their G‑dly potential enough to be able to properly use them. If a person is not sufficiently refined and subservient to G‑d's will, he will misuse the power.

"Giving Greatness to G‑d" is the next installment of the series.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.