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Beit Midrash Jewish Laws and Thoughts Foundations of Faith

Chapter 12

12. A History of the Divine

The story of the human race is a history of the evolution of the Divine spark in man. Adam, the Almighty's own direct handiwork, was created flawless, "In the image of God." Yet, not all of Adam's progeny inherited this elevated status.
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The purpose of the Torah's account of the generations from Adam, the first human being, until the era of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not to teach us the history of humankind, but the history of God in the world.
Foundations of Faith (50)
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
11 - 11. Creation and History in the Torah
12 - 12. A History of the Divine
13 - 13. Faith Needs No Rational Proof
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The story of the human race is a history of the evolution of the Divine spark in man. The first human, Adam, the Almighty's own direct handiwork, was created flawless, "In the image of God, He created him." Yet, not all of Adam's progeny inherited this elevated status. Only one of Adam's sons inherited his Divine character; the rest lacked this quality. The Scriptures clearly state that "Adam had a son in his likeness and form. He named him Seth," and then, "he had sons and daughters" (Genesis 5:3). Neither the names of these "sons and daughters," nor the fact that they possessed any likeness to Adam is mentioned in the verse. This evidences that they, as we have said, did not attain the Divine status of their father. Enosh inherited the Divine spark from his father, Seth, while the rest of Seth's sons did not. In this manner the Divine spark was passed down generation after generation until it finally reached Noah and Shem and was passed on to the Patriarch Abraham. From Abraham it continued in Isaac, but not to his other offspring; from Isaac it was passed on to Jacob, but not to Esau. In Jacob, the Divine element reached such forceful perfection that it became the inheritance of all of his offspring for all generations. This unique attribute is called "Segulat Yisrael."

Until the time of Jacob, this "Segula" been the personal possession of a sole individual in each generation; after Jacob it was dispersed among his offspring. Before Jacob, one who merited the Divine spark was like the fruit among humankind - like a buried treasure. The rest of humanity was like the peel of the fruit. They were of a different makeup than their father.

The story of humankind in the Torah, then, is no less than an account of the evolution of the Divine spark in man. What makes the Jewish people unique is the fact that this Divine element attached itself to them. It follows that the Jews are like the heart and head of humanity. Israel illuminates all of the nations of the world with this Divine inner light which they carry. Just as the heart gives life to the entire body and acts as a power station for all of the body's organs, so the Jewish people gives life to the entire world via this Divine light which permeates them. Israel acts as a link between creation and the Creator.
The Khazar king asks: Why did God give Torah to the Jewish people alone? Why not give it to all of humanity? God created everything, and all of the people in the world are His handiwork. This being the case, God should have desired for all of humanity to receive the Torah.

In response to this question, the wise Rabbi explains that God's Divine word was given to the Chosen People alone, for they alone inherited the Divine spark. The Torah is not appropriate for the rest of the nations. Our Sages explain that before giving Torah to the Jews, the Almighty offered it to the rest of the nations as well. Each nation asked what was written in it, and upon hearing what the Torah demanded of them, each nation demurred. Indeed, the Divine law suits the Divine people alone.
Israel is illuminated by the Divine light, and through them the name of God is spread to all of humanity. Israel is the Divine heart of all humanity.

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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