The Stage is Set
All of the Torah and all the course of history have been dictated by the first act -- the sin of Adam, Eve and the primordial snake. Kabbalah teaches us that these three basic players represent three levels of consciousness -- the seats of the mind, heart and liver, respectively. The mind, represented by Adam, is abstract, purely intellectual consciousness. The heart, represented by Eve, is the seat of emotion. The liver, represented by the snake, is pragmatism -- the consciousness involved with the physical profits and losses of our actions.
The Decision Making Process
The great Talmudic commentator, the Maharshal, explains that there are three motivating forces in our decision making process:
and "profit" (mo'il).
The first three letters of these Hebrew words spell ta'am, which means reason or motivation. In Hebrew, the word ta'am also means "taste." When we make choices, we should be able to "taste" the motivation behind them.
The three levels of consciousness in our decision making process are our own personal Adam, Eve and snake. The source of the choice of good, even when we cannot define that good, is in the wisdom (chochmah) of the mind, represented by Adam.
The source of the choice of pleasure is in the heart. Beauty attracts us as we think that the closer we are to it, the more pleasure we will feel. This feeling of potential pleasure is seated in the emotions -- the understanding (binah) of the heart -- represented by Eve.
The source of the choice of profit is in the liver. The liver is the seat of da'at, the power to connect to reality. The level of consciousness that connects to reality is the immediate sense of profit or loss. The snake represents this pragmatism.
The Rectified Kingdom
In Hebrew, the words for "mind," "heart" and "liver" are moach, lev and kaved, respectively. The first letters of theses words spell melech, which means "king."
When the mind rules over the heart and the heart rules over the liver, the king's empire is rectified.
If the snake had not seduced Eve (who went on to seduce Adam), he would have remained in his natural position, subservient to them. In this position, the snake would have been the greatest servant of mankind. The numerical value of "snake," nachash, is 358, the same as "Mashiach." This alludes to the very high potential of the snake when he is subservient to Eve, the heart.
The Heart of the Drama
The numerical values of Adam, Chavah (Eve) nachash plus moach, lev, kaved is 528. 528 is the triangle of 32 (the sum of all numbers from 1 to 32). 32 is the numerical value of lev, "heart." From this numerical value we learn that the heart, represented by Eve, is the essence of the drama in our souls. It is the axis of the interplay between Adam, Eve and the snake, and the axis around which our lives revolve. The essence of free choice is in the heart. It is the heart that has the ability to distinguish between holy, pure pleasure and impure pleasure. When Eve, the pleasure principle, succumbed to the seduction of the snake, he knew that his venom would also reach the mind, Adam, and contaminate it.
Chassidut explains that the deepest point of the soul is the innermost point of the heart. Although the mind must rule over the heart, and the heart over the liver, the innermost point of the heart must rule over the mind. The innermost point of the heart of the true tzadik is revealed and rules over his mind.
According to Chassidic tradition, the revealed level of the Torah, which presided over world Jewry throughout the centuries until the appearance of the Ba'al Shem Tov, is the rectification of Adam -- the mind. Although there were revelations of the inner dimension of the Torah during this time period, (such as the Zohar and the teachings of the Arizal), they were contingent upon the high spiritual level of the relatively few students of these teachings. The rectification of the mind is a lengthy process. Thus, the time period of the revealed dimension of the Torah spans many centuries.
The revelation of the Ba'al Shem Tov began a new era in the rectification process -- the rectification of the heart. The source of the teachings of the inner dimension of the Torah is very high and very deep. This allows these teachings to reach the farthest extremes of the world. When the inner dimension of the Torah reveals the deepest point of our hearts -- the point that controls the mind -- Eve will be able to overcome the evil force that seduced her. This will usher in the period culminating the era of Chassidut -- the coming of Mashiach. Then the evil dimension of the snake will be eradicated and its inner essence will be elevated and rectified.
The Essential Experience
The Arizal states that God created reality from the middle point. The great Kabbalistic masters question this statement: The beginning of creation is absolute infinity, so how can there be a mid point? The mid point of reality is the origin of the heart. The heart is the seat of choice, the benchmark of creation. It is here, in the heart, that God chooses to reveal His very essence. Eve's name, Chavah, means "experience" and "expression." God desires that His infinite being be experienced and find expression in the innermost point of our hearts.
Our era is the era of the rectification of the heart, opening its innermost point to experience God's infinite being. This experience of the inner dimension of the Torah will bring the Mashiach, who will eradicate the evil snake, and transform its inner essence to become a throne for good.