25 August 2015

The Conspiracy of the Mekatregim, Prologue 2

10 Elul 5775

Blogger's note: An online friend wrote me; she had found a even more thorough online version/translation of the material above; thus, this extension of the prologue.

According to the Artscroll Midrash Rabbah publisher's preface, Midrash "delves into the spiritual essence of the revealed Torah, adds detail to the Torah's narrative, and provides the ethical tradition that was passed down orally from generation to generation until it was committed to writing. Midrash Rabbah is one of the primary sources of ethical discourse, Chassidic and Mussar teaching, and homiletic literature."

It is the D in PaRDeS - p'shat, remez, DRASH, sod - the 4 levels of Torah scholarship.

Translation note: mekatregim מקטרגים are opponents, as opposed to sanegorim סנגורים, advocates.


Prologue | Prologue 2 | Part 1 | Part 2


5. R. Simon said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create Adam, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and parties, some of them saying, 'Let him be created/ whilst others urged, 'Let him not be created/ Thus it is written, Love and Truth fought together, Righteousness and Peace combated each other (Ps. lxxxv, n)1: Love said, 'Let him be created, because he will dispense acts of love'; Truth said, 'Let him not be created, because he is compounded of falsehood'; Righteousness said, 'Let him be created, because he will perform righteous deeds'; Peace said, 'Let him not be created, because he is full of strife.'What did the Lord do? He took Truth and cast it to the ground. Said the ministering angels before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Why dost Thou despise Thy seal?2 Let Truth arise from the earth!' Hence it is written, Let truth spring up from the earth (ih. 12).

All our Rabbis say the following in the name of R. Hanina, while R. Phinehas and R. Hilkiah say it in the name of R. Simon: Me'od (E.V. 'very') is identical with Adam3; as it is written, And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was good — me'od (Gen. 1, 31), i.e. and behold Adam was good. R. Huna the Elder of Sepphoris, said : While the ministering angels were arguing with each other and disputing with each other, the Holy One, blessed be He, created him. Said He to them: 'What can ye avail? Man has already been made!' 14

6. R. Huna said in R. Aibu's name: He created him with due deliberation: He first created his food requirements, and only then did He create him. Said the ministering angels to the Lord: 'Sovereign of the Universe! What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that Thou thinkest of him? (Ps. viii, 5). This trouble, for what has it been created?' 'If so/ said He to them, 'Sheep and oxen, all of them (ib. 8), why were they created; why were the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea (ih. 9) created? A tower full of good things and no guests — what pleasure has its owner in having filled it?' Said they to Him: 'Sovereign of the Universe! O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is Thy name in all the earth (ib. 10). Do what pleaseth Thee!'

7. R. Joshua of Siknin said in R. Levi's name: He took counsel with the souls of the righteous, as it is written, These were the makers [E.V. 'potters'], and those. that dwelt among plantations and hedges; there they dwelt with the king in his work (1 Chron. iv, 23). 'These were the makers' 1 they are so termed on account of the verse, Then the Lord formed [made] man, etc. (Gen. 11, 7); 'And those that dwelt among plantations* corresponds to And the Lord God planted a garden eastward (ib. 8); 'And hedges' corresponds to / have placed the sand for the bound of the sea (Jer. v, 22); 'There they dwelt with the king in his work': with the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, sat the souls of the righteous with whom He took counsel before creating the world.

 1 E.V. 'Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.' The Midrash interprets met in the sense of fought, and derives nashaku (kissed) from nesheh, arms, rendering: have taken arms against each other. 
2 Truth is the seal of God.  
3 In the Hebrew the letters are the same, though differently arranged.
* On this interpretation ne'esah (is made) is read instead of na'aseh (we will make).

[Again, emphases are mine. CDG]

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