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November 14, 2019

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What Are You Made Of? – According to the Midrash

What Are You Made Of? - According to the Midrash

The Creator wished to make the body of Adam. This is how He worked: To fashion the hands and legs of Adam, the Creator gathered earth from all the corners of the world. For his torso, He took the earth of Babylon. To fashion Adam’s head, the most important part of the human body, He took the earth of Eretz Ysrael (The Land of Israel). The Creator put all the gathered earth atop MountMoriah, where the sacrificial altar shall be in the Temple. He mixed it with water taken from all the oceans of the world, and from the resulting clay He fashioned the body of man.

 

A Mixture of Receiving and Bestowing Forces

The Midrash isn’t speaking of how the biological human body was made, or about mixing clay and earth with water. Rather, it describes how man includes within him all of the world’s forces. Here is what is written, “To fashion the hands and legs of Adam, the Creator gathered earth from all the corners of the world.” This means that man contains the desires of the whole world. If he corrects them, he will thus correct the whole world.

“He mixed it with water taken from all the oceans of the world, and from the resulting clay he fashioned the body of man.” The “water” in man represents the force of bestowal, the quality of altruism, which animates everything, which is also collected from the whole world.

Thus, both the desire to enjoy and the desire to bestow exist in abundance in man. They are mixed and connected together in man’s every desire. We need only identify the force of bestowal and use it to correct the force of reception, so that bestowal will dominate reception. Then all our desires to enjoy, gathered within us from all the “nations” of the world, will be activated only by the quality of bestowal.

“To fashion the head of Adam, the most important part of the human body, He took the earth of Eretz Ysrael.”

The Creator made man’s “head” out of the “earth” of Israel, out of desires aimed at the Creator. Thus, all of man’s aspirations must be aimed at acquiring the Creator’s qualities. Israel comes from the words Yashar El, which translates as “straight” and to the Creator.

The Creator took the “earth” for man’s “torso” from Babylon, the degree that pertains to the quality of bestowal. It is no accident that Babylon was the setting for a great crisis known as “the Tower of Babel.” The Babylonians wanted to attain Godliness with the help of the forces of reception, and this is impossible. After the people dispersed and realized the futility of their aspirations, they reunited and achieved the degree of the Creator with the help of the forces of bestowal.

 

Between the Spiritual and the Material

Where was man created? He was created in a special place where the spiritual origin touches the corporeal one, at the point of contact between the two adjacent degrees.

The reality above “MountMoriah” is called the spiritual reality, whereas all that exists below is called “the material world.” The peak of Mount Moriah is a spiritual summit, the highest possible point in this world. It towers over all the material of this world, and the greatest spiritual forces assemble there. It is precisely where man—the “coordinator” between the material and the spiritual dimensions—was created.

“Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” We mustn’t forget that we’re always talking about what’s happening within. You have undergone the phases of development of the still, vegetative, and animate desires, and now you’re no longer fulfilled by all that pertains to them. Now you want another level—the spiritual one!

 

Seeing the Creator through the Point in the Heart

If you catch yourself thinking this way, it means the point in the heart has awakened within you and is drawing you to the Creator. If you don’t want this incarnation going to waste, follow your point and listen to your inner voice.

You begin to identify with the point in the heart that is drawing you to the Creator. You enjoy being in this state, and you want to acquire spiritual sensations. This is the meaning of “…and man became a living soul.” The human inside you has been born. If you follow this “human,” He will surely lead you into the “land that flows with milk and honey,” and there you will see the Creator.

What does it mean to “see the Creator”? He has many names, but the one that relates to us is Boreh. It consists of two words: Bo (come) and Re’eh (see). In other words, you will see the Creator; no one else can do it for you.

The Secrets of the Eternal Book“What Are You Made Of? – According to the Midrash” is based on the book, The Secrets of the Eternal Book: The Meaning of the Stories of the Pentateuch by Semion Vinokur.

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