|SIDEBAR - "Skins of Light and Flesh"
languages contain some words that, although they sound the same, are spelled a little
differently and can mean very different things. The English phrase "there are too
many two's to count" is one such example.
Three different words, each spelled a little differently, and meaning very different
things. And such is the case with the Hebrew language as well. Lets take a
look at one fascinating example.
Before proceeding, however, it would be helpful to download and install a
self-extracting Hebrew font (sefer.exe) so that you
can see the actual Hebrew text for our example. This font is also used in the
Footnotes section of our Derech HaShem study.
There are a number of people who believe that before Adam and Chava (Eve) sinned, they
had bodies of light or bodies clothed with light, and that as a result of their sin, they
lost their body/clothing of light. When examining the Hebrew language, this is not
hard to see.
The Hebrew word for "Light" is "OR" (variant:
'or), spelled "aleph vav resh" - rut
(Remember, Hebrew is written from right to left)
The Hebrew word for "Skin" is also "OR" (variant: 'or),
but is spelled "ayin vav resh" - rug
The concept of man having a body clothed with light is not unfamiliar within Judaism as
we can see in the passages of the Midrash Rabbah and Zohar shown below. The most
pertinent portions are highlighted in bold except in the Midrash passage which is entirely
about this subject.
Two Other Interesting Characteristics about Hebrew
1) Most people are aware that each Hebrew character has a numerical value.
Thus, Aleph (t) = 1, Bet (c)
= 2, etc. up to Tav (,) = 400 (1-9, 10-90,
100-400). Each letter can be combined together with other letters to represent a
larger number (i.e. Mem + Gimel dn together
equal 43, 40 + 3)
2) What is little known about Hebrew is that the ancient form of each letter
represented a pictograph, or word picture. So, for example, Aleph represents an ox
or bull, Bet represents a house, etc. More information about this
can be obtained from two sources: "The Hebrew Letters - Channels of Creative
Consciousness" by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
1 and "Hebrew Word Pictures"
by Frank T. Seekins.
Now, here is where it gets even more interesting. The only difference between the Hebrew
words for light and skin is one letter: Aleph (t) for
light and Ayin (g) for skin. Numerically, Aleph =
1 and Ayin = 70. The difference between them is 69, represented by the Hebrew
letters Samech (x) and Tet (y)
or yx. The pictograph of Samech is a prop,
meaning, to support. The pictograph of Tet is a snake.
Putting the two together, yx means, to support the
snake! In other words, by supporting the snake (supporting or going along with
the snake's arguments/ways) Adam and Chava (Eve) lost their skins of light and had to be
given skins of flesh. And so it is that whenever we support or go along with the
snake's arguments/ways we lose some of God's radiance in our lives and become more
animalistic and debase in our nature.
But wait, there's more! As mentioned earlier, the letter Aleph represents an ox or
bull, and means strength, leader, or first. The letter
Ayin is represented by an eye and means to see, know or experience!
Thus, when Adam and Chava (the first people on Earth) ate the forbidden
fruit their eyes were opened and they began to know and experience
good and evil.
Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XX:12
12. AND THE LORD GOD MADE FOR ADAM AND HIS WIFE GARMENTS OF SKIN (OR), AND CLOTHED
THEM (III, 21). In R. Meir's Torah it was found written, Garments of light (or)
2: this refers to Adam's
garments, which were like a torch [shedding radiance], broad at the bottom and narrow at
the top. Isaac the Elder said: They were as smooth as a finger-nail and as beautiful as a
jewel. R.Johanan said: They were like the fine linen garments which come from Bethshean,3 GARMENTS OF SKIN meaning those that are
nearest to the skin. R. Eleazar said: They were of goats skin. R. Joshua said: Of
hares skin. R. Jose b. R. Hanina said: It was a garment made of skin with its wool.
Resh Lakish said: It was of Circassian wool, and these were used [later] by first-born
children.4 R. Samuel b. Nahman
said: [They were made from] the wool of camels and the wool of hares, GARMENTS OF SKIN
meaning those which are produced from the skin.5
R. Levi said: The Torah teaches you here a rule of worldly wisdom: spend according to your
means on food; less than you can afford on clothing, but more than you can afford on a
dwelling. Spend according to your means on food, as it is written, Of every tree of the
garden thou mayest freely eat (Gen. II, 16). Less than you can afford on clothing: AND THE
LORD GOD MADE... GARMENTS OF SKIN, AND CLOTHED THEM.6
More than you can afford on a dwelling: for lo! they were but two, yet they dwelt in the
light, instead of rug skin.
(3) V. supra, XIX, 1.
(4) When they used to perform the sacrificial service, before the priests were chosen for
it; v. infra, LXIII, 13; Num. R. IV, 8.
(5) Viz. the wool that comes off it.
(6) I.e. only simple, not expensive garments.
(7) Cf. Pes. 114a; Hul. 84b.
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 36b
AND THE EYES OF BOTH OF THEM WERE OPENED. R. Hiya says, their eyes were opened to the evil
of the world, which they had not known hitherto. Then they knew that they were
naked, since they had lost the celestial lustre which had formerly enveloped them, and of
which they were now divested. AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES. They strove to cover
themselves with the (delusive) images from the tree of which they had eaten, the so-called
leaves of the tree. AND THEY MADE THEMSELVES GIRDLES. R. Jose said: When
they obtained knowledge of this world and attached themselves to it, they observed that it
was governed by those leaves of the tree. They therefore sought in them a
stronghold in this world, and so made themselves acquainted with all kinds of magical
arts, in order to gird themselves with weapons of those leaves of the tree, for the
purpose of self-protection. R. Judah said: In this way three came up for
judgement and were found guilty, and the terrestrial world was cursed and dislodged from
its estate on account of the defilement of the serpent, until Israel stood before Mount
Sinai. Afterwards God clothed Adam and Eve in garments soothing to the skin,
as it is written, HE MADE THEM COATS OF SKIN (rug 'or).
At first they had had coats of light (rut 'or), which
procured them the service of the highest of the high, for the celestial angels used to
come to enjoy that light; so it is written, For thou hast made him but little lower
than the angels, and crownest him with glory and honour (Ps. VIII, 6). Now after
their sins they had only coats of skin (rug 'or),
good for the body but not for the soul.
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 229b
Observe that man's soul does not ascend to appear before the Holy King unless she is
first worthy to be attired in the supernal raiment. Likewise, the soul does not descend
into this world until clad in the garments of this world. Similarly, the holy heavenly
angels, of whom it is written, Who makest thy angels into winds and thy ministers
into flaming fire (Ps. CIV, 4), when they have to execute a message in this world do
not come down to it before they clothe themselves in the garments of this world. The
attire thus has always to be in harmony with the place visited; and the soul, as we have
said, can only ascend when clad in ethereal raiment. Adam in the Garden of Eden
was attired in supernal raiment, of celestial radiancy. As soon as he was driven from the
Garden of Eden and had need of forms suited to this world, the Lord God,
Scripture says, made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin (rug 'or), and clothed them (Gen. III, 21). Formerly they
were garments of light (rut 'or), to wit, of the
celestial light in which Adam ministered in the Garden of Eden. For, inasmuch as it is the
resplendency of the celestial light that ministers in the Garden of Eden, when first man
entered into the Garden, the Holy One, blessed be He, clothed him first in the raiment of
that light. Otherwise he could not have entered there. When driven out, however, he had
need of other garments; hence garments of skin. So here also
they made residual garments to minister in the holy place, so as to enable the
wearer to enter the Sanctuary. Now, it has been already taught that a man's good deeds
done in this world draw from the celestial resplendency of light a garment with which he
may be invested when in the next world he comes to appear before the Holy One, blessed be
He. Apparelled in that raiment, he is in a state of bliss and feasts his eyes on the
radiant effulgence. So Scripture says: To behold the graciousness of the Lord, and
to visit early in his temple (Ps. XXVII, 4). Man's soul is thus attired in the
raiments of both worlds, the lower and the upper, thereby achieving perfection. Of this
Scripture says: Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name; to wit,
in this world-The upright shall dwell in thy presence (Ibid. CXL, 14); namely,
in the other world.
- 1. The Hebrew Letters: Channels of
Creative Consciousness - Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
- Insight into the infinite dimensions hidden beneath the surface of the letters of
the Hebrew Aleph-Beit. Order online from http://www.inner-store.org/
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