Created in Unity

So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created the male and female.
— Genesis 1:27

We were created in the image of God, having within ourselves aspects that are male and female, and like God aspects of Yesh (Being) and Ayin (Nothingness) (see Original Blessing).  At this time, we were the perfect image of God.

"Here, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deuteronomy 6:4)!"  God is one in essence.  Yesh and Ayin are one in essence.  The Trinity is one in essence.  In the beginning our nature also was one.  So what happened?

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”
— Genesis 2:15-17

So the story goes that in the garden there were two trees.  One tree was the Tree of Life.  The other tree gave the knowledge of good and evil.  That is important distinction, it did not cause, infect, or inspire good and evil.  It simply gave the knowledge that they were different, and that one thing was good, and another thing evil.

Every child is born in the garden.  They do not know the distinction between this and that, or good and evil.  These are things we learn over time.  Some of us have an awakening earlier than others, but no child is born knowing one from the other.

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And so we read in Genesis 3:1 – 6, the Eve was tempted by the most clever of all animals, and did eat of the tree that gives knowledge of good and evil, and talked her husband into doing the same.  At some point in all of our lives, we do this.  We know that what we want to do is wrong, but we do it anyway.  It could be something as simple as sneaking candy between meals, but we start to learn that there is a good and there is an evil.  Even younger than that we start learning the difference between things.

The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
— Genesis 3:7

This end of innocence comes to us all.  We learn shame, embarrassment, and start making value judgments about everything.  But something more has changed.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
— Genesis 3:8

For the first time in the story, we have distinction made in the day.  This is the cool of the day, in contrast to the heat of the day.  They heard God walking, when before He was just with them.  And most telling, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.

There is nowhere in the universe you can go to escape the presence of God, but they lie to themselves thinking God cannot see us behind these trees.  Many people feel a separation from God, and they do not realize that they are the ones hiding.

And now we come to the infamous curse.  "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it will grow for you; you eat the plants in the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:17 – 19)."

This is not so much God cursing the earth, as it is God explaining to Adam the ramifications of what he has done.  In focusing on the distinction between this and that, he will now griping complain.  The work will feel like work.  If you do not believe me, ask a gardener.  I do not mean a gardener by trade, but someone who loves to garden.  They take joy in their work.  They still sweat and the work is not easy, but they find it fulfilling, enriching. We focus on the negative, all you can see is the negative.

So that kicked them out of the garden, "and the Lord God made garments a skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them (Genesis 3:21)."  And here is where they become flesh and blood people.  They no longer have access to the Tree of Life, which is now guarded by a cherubim with a fiery sword.  Now the human story begins.

So what happened when they eat from the tree whose fruit gives knowledge of good and evil?  They lost the unity wherein they were created.

In human beings Yesh and Ayin appear as two distinct modes of consciousness: Yetzer ha–Rah and Yetzer ha–Tov, the human inclinations for doing evil and for doing good, respectively.

Yetzer ha–Rah is your capacity to perceive uniqueness, differences, otherness. It is your ability to focus on yourself alone, and to separate yourself from everything else.
— Rabbi Shapiro, Minyan, page 40
Yetzer ha–Tov, the inclination for unity… Yetzer ha–Tov is your capacity to perceive the interdependence of things, your inclination to bridge differences, to build community, to affect harmony.
— Rabbi Shapiro, Minyan, page 40

Now, these two inclinations are not operating in unison, or in balance.  To give in to either inclination will bring suffering into the world.  We like the world were created in Original Blessing, and must learn to bring ourselves back into balance.

We were created in unity and union with God, and through her own misapprehension of the world we fall into ignorance in error, hiding ourselves from God, or believing that God is hidden from us.  We followed the inclinations of our nature, giving one primacy over the other, not realizing that we are only bringing further suffering on ourselves and others.