SAID Rabbi Isaac: "It is written, 'And God said, let there45b-46a be light.' (Gen. 1-3). This was the primeval light that illuminated the world on all sides and which the Holy One withdrew and hid, that it might not be enjoyed save by the righteous--"
Said Rabbi Simeon: "By the words, 'And God saw the light that it was good' is signified that the divine light in itself is a source of joy and delight; the word 'good' being the same used in connection with Balaam, thus, 'When Balaam saw that it pleased,' in that it was both (good) in the eyes of the Lord to bless Israel' (Num. 24-1); and therefore at the end of the verse, 'And God divided the light from the darkness' in order that the upright might live in the light and the wicked in darkness. Note that it is from this primal celestial light emanates the light which shineth and illumes the world and becomes a source of joy to every living creature. It was with this higher light that the Holy One with his right hand formed and engraved crowns as we have formerly described. It is written, 'How great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee, before the sons of men.' (Ps. 31-19.) 'How great is thy goodness' refers to the primal light the Holy One hid and reserved for them that fear him, even the righteous in life. It is written, 'and the evening and the morning were day, one.' The evening arises out of darkness and the morning from light and from the conjunction the day is formed."
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "Wherefore is it written of each day, 'It was evening and it was morning?' It was to show that there is no day without night, and no night without day and therefore are not to be separated."
Said Rabbi Jose: "'The primal celestial light of the first day is that which lightened the other days of creation,' and therefore the word YOUR day is repeated."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "For the same reason, the scripture uses the word boqer (morning) in connection with all the days of creation, as it designates the primal light."
Said Rabbi Simeon: "The first day of the creation is the synthesis of all the other days, for as there is really no separate fractional moment in time, they only formed part of the whole. It is written, 'God said let there be light' meaning angelic beings who are emanations from the light on high that shineth forth on the world below and were created on the first day and took up their position on the right hand of the Holy One. 'And God saw the light that it was good.' The word ath before good, refers to the luminous and non-luminous mirror, the one 'being the light by which the Beatific Vision is acquired by prophets, the other that which enlightens the mind of man for the perception of truth."46a
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "The word ath indicates that in the light that God called good, are comprehended and included all the angelic hosts that emanated from it and also when perfect harmony prevails amongst all orders of beings, will regain their pristine splendor."
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "It is written, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,' by which is meant the interior man who is receptive of the knowledge of spiritual truths (the waters above), and of earthly things or scientifics (the waters below)."
Said Rabbi Isaac: "On the second day, Gehenna was formed whilst the work of creation was yet incomplete; the term 'good' is not applied and used until the third day, when it is repeated twice, as then all discord and clashing of elements ceased and the lot of the wicked in Gehenna became alleviated through the decreased intensity of its fiery heat. Wherefore the second day is considered an incomplete period until junction with its complement, the third day, took place."
Rabbi Hiya was sitting before Rabbi Simeon and said: "Light coming from the right appeared on the first day, but darkness from the left attended with division of the waters and discord amongst the primary elements, why did not the first day contain and make up what was wanting in the second?"
Said Rabbi Simeon: "Because as there existed no harmony between the first and the second day, the third was necessary to equilibrate them and cause union between them. It is written, 'Let the earth bring forth.' It was by the green herb that
the waters above and below had become blended and made fruitful, representing thus the union of male and female principles, therefore is it true that what is above is as what is below.'"46a-46b
Said Rabbi Jose: "That being so, there must be a God above and a corresponding God below: If you affirm this, I should say that the God on high is called the living God, whilst the God below is Ahhim, designated in scripture by the term toldoth (productions), as it is written, these are the products of the heavens and the earth which are created (Behibaram). Now we learn from the secret doctrine that this peculiar word should be divided and read thus, behi-baram; meaning that God created the heavens and the earth by He. Now He who is above is the universal Father, who created all beings. He made fruitful the earth so that it brought forth toldoth (products), in the same way that the female is made fruitful by the male."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "All the fructifying powers were present in the earth, potentially, at the time of its creation, but only. became manifested in the various productions of the six days; as it is written, 'And God said let the earth bring forth the living creature.' If, however, it be said, the words of the scripture are 'Let the earth bring forth grass,' our reply is that the earth from the third day was then imbued with generative forces that remained dormant and hidden until the appointed time for manifestation. The earth was void and empty, as it is affirmed, of all life, as the targum renders the meaning of the words 'tohu vabohu,' but it became adapted for the reception of those generative forces necessary in the production of grass, herbs and trees, that manifested their existence on the sixth day. This was the same with the light created on the first day of creation, but did not become visible only at the appointed time, viz., on the third day. It is written, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of Heaven.' The word Meoroth (light) is here written defectively, indicating by this that the evil serpent is the author and originator of discord and separation of what should always be united and blended harmoniously together viz., the sun and the moon. This word also denotes the malediction by which, through the serpent, the earth became cursed, as it is written, 'Cursed is the ground because of thee' (Gen. 3-17), and being found in the singular, signifies that the moon, designated by the words, 'Let there be light,' and the sun by the words, 'In the firmament,' were originally created together and formed one, in order to give their united light upon the earth,
but through the serpent they became separated; hence it is written, 'Let them be for lights in the firmament of the Heaven,' to give light upon the earth, instead of 'Let them enlighten the earth,' and therefore we conclude that both in heaven above and on earth below, time is measured by the courses of the moon."
Said Rabbi Simeon: "By the moon's courses, the solstices and days are reckoned and determined."
Rabbi Eleazar objected to this statement and said: "Is not frequent mention made of fractions of time in the world on high?"
Said Rabbi Simeon in reply: "Only in the angelic world is there no need of the lunar courses as elements for calculating time, and when any mention is made of them it is by way of accommodation to the understanding of the dwellers on earth."46b
Again Rabbi Eleazar made objection and said: "It is however written, 'Let them be for signs and seasons,'Gen. 1:14 that is, for the measurement of time, and these words being in the plural, we may infer that they apply to both worlds having the same unit of measure."
Said Rabbi Simeon in reply: "The word othoth (signs) is written defectively to show that divisions of time exist not in the world above as in the world below."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "Why then is it written, 'Let them be for signs and for seasons,' and from which we may gather that the sun and moon together were to be used for this purpose that the moon is only needed."
Said Rabbi Simeon: "The moon is designated by a plural term, as it resembles a casket filled with various jewels that is ofttime spoken of in the plural. Observe that every numerical calculation begins with unity, whatever its value and worth may be or whatever it represents. Now the Divine Unit is that in which everything is included and therefore beyond and above all mathematical calculation. It is the basic unit from which all things in the world take their origin and beginning, and its analogy in the phenomenal material world is the moon, which is the base of all calculations in connection with the solstices, feasts, sabbaths; and therefore it is that Israel, who belongs to the Holy One, begins the division of time from the various phases and aspects of the moon, symbol of the divine point or unit; and therefore it is written, 'Ye are attached or joined unto the Lord your God' (Deuter 4-4). It is written, 'And God said
let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life' (Gen. 1-20)."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "The occult meaning of these words has already been unfolded. They refer to the waters below that signify the lights above, which are both alike fruitful and generative, 'and fowl that may fly above the earth.' Why is it not written, 'who fly?'"
Said Rabbi Simeon: "The esoteric meaning of the word bird refers to the archangel, Michael, as it is written, 'And one of the seraphim flew towards me' (Is. 6-6). The word 'fly' refers occultly to Gabriel, as scripture saith, 'And the man Gabriel which I saw at first in vision, being caused to fly swiftly' (Dan. 9-21). The words 'above the earth' refer to the prophet Elijah who descends from on high, reaches the earth in four flights or steps; of him it is written, 'The spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not' (Kings 18-12). The first step is indicated by the words 'The spirit of the Lord,' the second by 'shall carry,' the third by 'whither,' and the fourth by 'I know not.' Moreover, the scripture adds, 'in the open firmament of heaven,' referring to the angel of death who, as we learn from tradition, is sometimes on earth and sometimes present in heaven, to seduce and tempt men or accuse them of their misdeeds."
Said Rabbi Abba in reply: "The angel of death was created on the second day,46b-47a whilst the words just expounded are written of the fifth day. The fact is that the angel Raphael, who is appointed to heal the earth of its evil and affliction and the maladies of mankind, was created on the second day; the words, 'In the open firmament' denote the angel Uriel, as indicated by the words that follow, 'And God created great whales or fishes.'"
Said Rabbi Eleazar, "The words 'great fishes' refer to the seventy rulers appointed to rule over the seventy nations of the world, but the words 'Every living creature that moveth' signify Israel whose souls (nephesh) proceed from 'hahaya' (the living), and therefore is it that in scripture they are termed, 'The only nation or people.' The words, 'Which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind,' signify those who devote themselves to the study of the secret doctrine. 'And every winged fowl after his kind,' are the righteous in Israel, because they are really 'The living creatures' (living the higher life). Another exposition of these words explains them as referring to the messenger angels sent on earth."