Before his sin, Adam’s soul radiated through his body and all his bodily functions. All his limbs fulfilled their Divine purpose.
“G-d gave the man a commandment, saying, ‘You may definitely eat from every tree of the Garden. But from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, do not eat, for on the day you eat from it, you will definitely die” (Genesis 2:16).
It is beyond the scope of this work to explain kabbalistically why Adam ate the forbidden fruit; however the following observation will be made: Before eating the forbidden fruit evil was external, enclothed within the Tree of Knowledge and the snake. Upon eating the forbidden fruit man internalized the struggle to determine between good and evil. Adam’s sin effectively caused a departure of the Shechinah from the world, and started the age-old war to refine the human condition and resensitize the world to its Creator. He was cast out of the Garden of Eden and it was decreed that his descendents would have to seek G-d through the travails of making a living.
Nonetheless, he mystical tradition programmed into Adam was transmitted to his children. It was in the days of Enosh, the son of Seth and the grandson of Adam, that idolatry began to surface and spread in the world. Though the philosophers of his day agreed that G-d was a Superbeing, they erred when they assumed He must have delegated the various cosmic departments to underlings; such as the constellations, sun, moon, and stars. Eventually they worshipped these underlings until such a point that the generally ignorant populace became so engaged with star-gazing and the worship of the constellations that they forgot G-d. The result of their actions was that the Shechinah, already moved from our world one degree because of the sin of Adam, was repeatedly moved further due to the failings of Mankind. The Midrash, along with the Talmud, which talks of the existence of seven heavens or firmaments, describes this process in the commentary on Song of Songs:
Through the sin of Adam, the Shechinah moved from the earth to the first firmament. Upon the sin of Cain and Abel, the Shechinah moved from the first to the second firmament. Through the sin of Enosh, the Shechinah moved from the second to the third, etc. Eventually, through the sins of successive generations the Shechinah was removed until the seventh firmament. It was Abraham who started the process of return, by bringing the Shechinah from the seventh firmament back to the sixth, and thereafter Isaac from the sixth to the fifth etc., until Moses in the seventh generation returned the Shechinah to this earth where the Shechinah rested in the Tabernacle.
It must be noted that the concept of “removal of the Shechinah” does not suggest that G-d actually removed Himself from the world, for the world is totally dependent on ongoing Divine creative energy for existence, as shall be explained in a later chapter. Rather, the removal of the Shechinah refers to the insensitivity of the world population to G-dliness. The pattern is clear: sin creates insensitivity. However, the righteous resensitize the world to its true reality. In the Kabbalistic lexicon, this is generally referred to as Tikkun Olam, or the “rectification of the world.” The purpose is to return the world to its perfect state as before the primordial sin.
Only a handful of righteous people were aware of the truth in the ten generations between Adam and Noah. Eventually the world was so filled with violence that G-d flooded the world to purify it, rather like the immersion of an impure Vessel in a mikvah. One righteous man, Noah, along with his three sons Shem, Cham, and Yafet saved through the Ark and remained. Noah transmitted the mystical tradition to his son Shem, who subsequently transmitted it to his great-grandson Eber.