By Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet
When did suffering begin? What caused evil to come in to the world? To answer these questions we must travel back to the beginning of history. Hashem had just formed Adam breathed within him a neshama , a part of the Divine, and Adam became a living being. Being the apex of creation,(Orchos Tadikim-Introduction) Adam was so holy that the light emanating from his neshama shone through pores of his body like the rays of the sun. The heavenly angels mistook him for Hashem himself.
Attached to Adam’s body was the form of another image. The Al-lmighty separtated this image and formed Chava. He then placed both of them in Gan Eden and gave them the permission to eat and enjoy all the fruits there, with one exception; they were not permitted to eat from the Etz Hadaas Tov V’rah. If they would have refrained, as commanded, they would have perfected themselves and the world together with them. The Meshiach would have ushered in the final geulah. (Derech Hashem-Purpose of Man) Then they would have been invited to eat from the tree on Shabbos Kodesh and would have been zoche to eternal life. Adam was completely connected to the Shechina and was not even aware of the physical covering encompassing his neshama. (Rav Moshe Beuer-Course-Tipul Yehudi)
We know that circumstances occurred otherwise. The nachash, representing the yetzer harah, enticed Chava and she ate a fruit from the forbidden tree and gave her husband also to eat. The yetzer harah entered Adam, he then became connected to the physical world instead of Hashem.
When Adam sinned he tried to hide, so to speak, from his Creator. The Al-lmighty called out, “Ayeka” meaning literally “Where are you”? However the Kadmonim learn this was really a call to teshuva. Hashem was asking “Where are you holding now? Have you fallen from your high madrega? (Malbim- Bereishis) Are you aware of what you did?”. What was Adam’s response? This woman that You created gave me the fruit to eat. It was her fault. What did Chava answer Hashem ? We know the answer. “It was the nachash’s fault”! (Paraphrasing Bereishis, 3: 9, 12,13).
As mentioned, Adam Harishone, being the choicest of creation was charged to elevate himself to higher and higher levels of perfection along with the briya. For “passing the buck” and not accepting the onus and responsibility for his actions, a major transformation occurred within him, the environment and throughout history . Adam and his descendents would now have a constant struggle with the yetzer harah, now within, and the yetzer tov. The Ari Hakodesh explains that the Divine Ohr that permeated every aspect of the universe was, to speak, constricted and evil and yesurim became manifest in the world. The spiritual deterioration of Adam and the briya triggered the historical challenge for future generations to bring the world back to the original madrega of Adam Harishone before the chet. Today, it is incumbent upon us instead to bring the world to its final tikun.
To be continued.