We continue the discussion of the opening passage of the Torah translated in the previous two installments [click here]. The analysis centers at this point on the verse, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". (Gen. 1:26)

Both the "image" and the "likeness" come from the feminine [aspect of the intellect], Imma, who clothes the offspring [she produces]. This [clothing] is the "image". Thus, the numerical value of the word for "image" [in Hebrew, "tzelem" = 160, plus the kolel] is the same as that of the name Eh-yeh when spelled out with the letter yud, which denotes the feminine principle.

The name Eh-yeh is chiefly associated with bina and therefore has a feminine nature.

"Tzelem" is spelled: tzadik-lamed-mem = 90 + 30 + 40 = 160.

"Eh-yeh" is spelled: alef-hei-yud-hei, and when spelled out with the letter yud becomes:



1 + 30 + 80




5 + 10




10 + 6 + 4




5 + 10


total =


The difference is that the "image" is what Imma gives to the male [offspring, Zeir Anpin] and the "likeness" - which has more of a form - is what Imma gives to the female [offspring, Nukva].

The lower level always possesses the power of everything above it….

Because His intention was to [ultimately create the world of] Asiya - and the lower level always possesses the power of everything above it, while the higher level does not possess what the lower one does - He therefore said, "in our image, after our likeness," all referring to Asiya.

The verse "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (ibid.) refers to the "man" of Asiya, while the following verse, "And G‑d created man in His image", refers to the "man" of Beriya. Thus, the "man" of Asiya contains both the image and the likeness, while the "man" of Beriya contains only the image.

Even though it is stated in the Zohar that "the 'image' exists in the male", this refers to the "image" in Zeir Anpin of Asiya, and "the 'likeness' exists in the female" of Asiya.

The terms "male" and "female" usually refer to Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Atzilut, but in this case they refer to Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Asiya.

Nonetheless, all this occurred through Imma of Beriya [clothing the partzufim of] Asiya, and all of this is the feminine.

Thus, the question was solely regarding the "man" of Asiya.

As stated in previous articles, the statement: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" was a question posed by Imma of Beriya to Abba of Beriya ("Shall we make man…?"). The question was whether to make "man" of Asiya, since his earthly counterpart, mortal man, was destined to sin.

The Torah then states, "And G‑d created man in His image." (Gen. 1:27) This refers to the "man" of Beriya, which is why the verb is "he created".

So, after having posed the question as to whether or not to make the "man" of Asiya, we are told only that the "man" of Beriya was created. Does this mean that the "man" of Asiya was not, in fact, made?

Regarding the "man" of Asiya, it was not necessary to mention that he was in fact made, for this is obvious. Once he was mentioned in the question, it was enough [for G‑d] to talk about this act [in the Torah] to make him. This is the meaning of the verse: "By the word of G‑d were the heavens made" (Psalms 33:6), referring to the "man" of Asiya. No explicit act of "making" was required; rather, the raising of [the issue of his making in] the question and the [subsequent] talking about it was enough.

The discussion now returns to the verse describing the creation of the "man" of Beriya, "And G‑d created man in His image."

This verse continues, "…in the image of G‑d He created him." This refers to the intellect that enters [the "man" of Beriya] clothed in netzach-hod-yesod of Imma, which is called the "image", as is known.

In the world of Beriya…knowledge of evil in that context is entirely abstract….

The partzuf of Zeir Anpin of Beriya (the "man" of Beriya) receives its intellect from Imma of Beriya. The chochma-bina-daat of Imma are clothed in the netzach-hod-yesod of Imma, and in this "package" they enter the chochma-bina-daat of Zeir Anpin. This "package" is the "image" of Imma (referred to by the name Elo-him used in this verse) in which the "man" of Beriya is created.

There was no commandment given to this man of Beriya not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. For since this world [of Beriya] is pure of evil, there was no apprehension [that anything bad would happen by his eating of it] at all.

The problem with eating of the Tree of Knowledge was that by doing so, the person eating it internalizes, that is, subjectifies, his perception of good and evil. In the context of the world of Asiya, where evil is present, this means that the person can be confused whether something is good or evil. In the world of Beriya, where evil has no dominion, this possibility does not exist. Knowledge of evil in that context is entirely abstract, or "academic".

Therefore, [in the context of this "man",] it is said, "[Behold, I have given you all the plants that bear seeds that are upon all the earth,] and all trees in which there is tree fruit that bears seeds, they shall be yours for eating." (Gen. 1:29) Meaning, even the Tree of Knowledge in the garden, for with this man there was no apprehension [that anything negative would happen by his eating of it].

The Arizal now addresses the following question: We saw previously that the account of the first seven days of Creation refers to the seven midot of the world of Atzilut. Why, then, does the Torah discuss the creation of the "man" of Beriya in its discussion of the sixth day of Creation, which refers to yesod of Atzilut, not Beriya?

The creation of this "man", of Beriya, is described in [the Torah's account of] the Sixth Day, while his creation should have occurred after the Seventh Day, which expressed the Nukva of Zeir Anpin of Atzilut.

The only thing lacking is for Zeir Anpin and Nukva to turn face to face in order to couple….

But [it is] because the Seventh Day, which is always the feminine, and the Sixth, which embodies yesod, are never separated, for yesod and malchut are never separated. Since this is so, the Sixth Day includes the feminine principle as well [as the masculine principle].

Thus, in a sense, the entire array of Atzilut has already been dealt with by the Sixth Day, so while still discussing the Sixth Day, the Torah can go on to discuss what happened in the world of Beriya.

Furthermore, the main aspect of the male [partzuf] is yesod, for the feminine [partzuf] is essentially just a receptacle for the [seminal] drop that yesod posits in it. She is "an non-shining speculum".

Since the feminine partzuf is essentially a receptacle for the seminal seed of Zeir Anpin, the main aspect of Zeir Anpin is, in this context, yesod, the sefira that actual posits the seminal drop in Nukva.

The term "non-shining speculum" is used to refer to malchut, the sefira "that has nothing of its own" and only reflects or channels what it receives from the sefirot above it. Thus, the idiomatic translation of "non-shining speculum" is "mirror", while that of "shining speculum" is simply "transparent glass".

Also, the Sixth Day is prefaced by the definite article, in contrast to the other days.

In the Creation account, the first five days are mentioned without a definite article ("one day", "a second day", "a third day", etc.). Only the sixth day is referred to as "the sixth day" (Gen. 1:31).

This indicates that the feminine principle is already rectified [on this day].

Since the definite article is the letter hei, which in the context of the name Havayah refers to the feminine sefirot (bina and malchut), malchut in particular.

If so, in what way does the seventh day refer to malchut?

And the only thing lacking is for [Zeir Anpin and Nukva] to turn face to face in order to couple.

Adam and Eve…were initially created as one being, attached back to back….

Adam and Eve - and therefore, their spiritual antecedents, Zeir Anpin and Nukva - were initially created as one being, attached back to back. In order to couple, G‑d "sawed" them apart so they could turn to face each other. This coupling is what occurred (and occurs) on the seventh day, the Shabbat.

This is what is alluded to here. [The Zohar uses the expression,] "When the Shabbat enters…." This [allegorically] refers to how the Shabbat enters the act of coupling, like a bride enters the canopy.

The Arizal now returns to the discussion of the creation of the "man" of Beriya and the "man" of Asiya.

The Torah continues, [after the account of the first Shabbat,] "These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created, [on the day that G‑d made earth and heaven]." (Gen. 2:4) It here informs us that when the "man" of Beriya was created the "man" of Asiya was also made.

This is because both verbs, "created" and "made", are used in this verse.

This occurred because the [world of] Beriya is alluded to by the letter hei [of the name Havayah], and the letter hei is always double, spelled as two hei's. The first hei refers to Beriya and the second to Asiya.

The four letters of the name Havayah refer to the four worlds; the first hei refers to Beriya and the second hei to Asiya.

Just as the crown is higher than the king who wears it, the woman of valor is higher than her husband….

There are actually three ways of spelling out the letter hei (i.e. with an alef, a hei, or a yud), as we have seen. But the most "natural" way of spelling it out is evidently with another hei.

The world of Yetzira [alluded to by the vav of the name Havayah] had not yet been revealed, for that indeed was the original intention, i.e. that "the woman of valor [be] the crown of her husband" (Proverbs 12:4 Proverbs 12:4).

Just as the crown is higher than the king who wears it, the woman of valor is higher than (i.e. precedes) her husband. In this context, the woman of valor is the final hei, Asiya, and the husband is the vav, Yetzira. (Recall that the vav and final hei of the name Havayah also refer to the archetypal husband and wife, Zeir Anpin and Nukva.)

This is the permutation of the name Havayah that reads yud-hei-hei-vav, the [second] hei preceding the vav. The two hei's represent Imma and her daughter, the latter being the doubled hei.

Afterwards, however, because of the primordial sin, the latter hei descended below [the vav], and [the name Havayah] became yud-hei-vav-hei.

This is the meaning of the verse, "These are the generations of heaven and earth…" i.e. of Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Beriya. "…when they were created" clearly refers to the world of Beriya.

The word for "when they were created" [in Hebrew, "behibaram"] is written with a small hei because these [partzufim] were created by malchut of Atzilut, which is indicated by the small hei.

"Behibaram" is spelled: beit-hei-beit-reish-alef-mem.

The hei, as we said, indicates malchut. The fact that the hei is small indicates that it refers to a form of malchut that is selfless relative the rest of the context of this verse, i.e. malchut of Atzilut.

This occurred "on the day that G‑d made earth and heaven". Note that in the account of creation it says, "the heaven and the earth," while in the account of the making it just says, "earth and heaven," without the definite article [hei] because in the creation the first hei is paramount, while the second [hei, referring to] the making, the doubled hei, which is not pronounced, is hidden.

A hei at the end of a word is not pronounced. (The exception to this is when it has a dot [known as a mapik] in it). This is true of the name Havayah as much as it is true of any other word.

The Torah opens, "In the beginning of G‑d's creation of the heaven and the earth." The definite article, the hei, is present here, because what is being described is the creation, i.e. the creation of the world of Beriya, which is indicated by the first hei of the name Havayah.

In the verse describing the making of the world of Asiya, the definite article is omitted, alluding to the fact that this world is indicated by the second, unpronounced hei of the name Havayah.

This unpronounced hei is also the hei implicit in the spelling of the letter hei, as mentioned above regarding the definite article of "the sixth day".

In the account of Creation [of the world of Beriya], the heavens are mentioned first, while in the account of the making [of the world of Asiya, the earth was mentioned first]. This is because the Creation occurred by means of Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Atzilut as they were clothed. [Atzilut] is a masculine world, so therefore the heavens, the vav of the name Havayah, were created first.

Atzilut is indicated by the yud of the name Havayah and corresponds to chochma (Abba), male principles.

Asiya is a feminine world, in which the female rules over the male, so therefore the earth was created before the heavens.

This is another reason why Asiya was made together with Beriya, before Yetzira. [Beriya] is a feminine world, indicated by the letter hei, which is formed of a dalet above a vav. The dalet, which indicates Asiya, was revealed there [in the world of Beriya], while the world of Yetzira was not yet [revealed].

The letter hei carries within it, so to speak, a dalet and a vav. The dalet, which, as a word, is often seen as a contraction of the word for "which has no" (in Aramaic, "de-leit") from the phrase "which has nothing of its own", which as we have seen refers to malchut, or its corresponding world, Asiya. The vav refers explicitly to the world of Yetzira, of course.

Thus, the hei of Beriya can be seen as pregnant with its two offspring, Yetzira and Asiya. But the vav, the world of Yetzira is "within" the dalet of Asiya, indicating that Asiya will be revealed first, and only then, out of it, will the world of Yetzira emerge.

This is why the schools of Shamai and Hillel differed as to whether heaven or earth were created first. (Chagiga 12a; Bereishit Rabbah 1:15)

They each referred to a different verse, the school of Shamai to, "In the beginning of G‑d's creation of the heavens and the earth" and the school of Hillel to "…on the day G‑d made earth and heaven." In the same passage of the Midrash, the Sages resolve the issue by saying, "When He created them, He created the heavens first, but when He finished them, He finished the earth first."

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, "I do not understand how they differed." He meant that they certainly did not differ about this, but that in the creation the heavens came first, for the reason we stated, namely, because [Beriya was created by Asiya], a masculine world. "When He finished them", referring to the world of Asiya, which was the end and conclusion of everything - there the "earth" preceded.

Thus, one Sage made one statement, and another made another statement, and they did not actually differ.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah, parashat Bereishit; 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.