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Kabbalah question: if knowledge and even evil, the characteristics that Western/Christian cultures generally associate with the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, actually have its roots in G-d’s emanations, as many Kabbalists believe, then what does the Serpent represent? What about Sophia, Shekinah?

Reading Gershom Scholem, I was struck by the idea that, he says, some Kabbalists believe even evil has its root in G-d, that everything does basically, that the G-d of the Torah emanates both mercy, justice, and other opposites, and within the sterner side is where even evil is rooted. He even wrote knowledge emanates from G-d, in contrast to both the more Orthodox Judaeo-Christian idea that the Serpent tempted Eve to taste knowledge against G-d’s wishes and the Gnostic idea that G-d kept Man prisoner in ignorance in the Garden and the Serpent gave them knowledge to set them free.

I am interested in the Kabbalist, but non-Gnostic Kabbalist, explanation. For instance, how can knowledge can emanate from G-d if G-d didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil but the Serpent did? Is the Serpent part of G-d then? Where do Sophia, Lilith, and the Shekinah come into play? I understand the concepts somewhat, but where I’m having trouble is understanding them in the context of the story of the Garden of Eden that we all know so well in popular culture. I understand what the Gnostic Kabbalists and occultists believe about the story, but I don’t understand what the Orthodox, if you will, Kabbalists believe about the serpent, and how Sophia can represent knowledge if it was the serpent who gave Adam and Eve knowledge.

Put another way, I am interested in how Luria would answer this question, not Jacob Frank, for example!

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