Revised: October 2019
Genesis 2:9 ויצמח יהוה אלהים מה אדמהן כל עץ גחמד למראה וטוב למאכל ועץ החיים בתוך הגן ועץ הדעת ורע טוב׃
English: “And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” – The Interlinear NIV
“Yahweh God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden.” – The Jerusalem Bible
“And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” – New American Standard Bible
Commentary: Three sources above render three slightly different translations for the single sentence in Genesis 2:9. As for these English versions one might argue, what's the difference...they all translate relatively around the same point. Well, yes, but for a Literal Qabalist seeking and working on his “road of return” that simply will not do. Take the word עץ, etz, 'tree', three times highlighted red in the verse. The first English version translates this as 'trees', plural (as does the Latin Vulgate). There is a plural form for 'trees' in Hebrew, but that is not what was written here. And for a Literal Qabalist what is important is the number, not the word per se. The number behind עץ is 160, and the plural form would change that number. Another word, צלם, tzelem, meaning 'image', sums to 160.
Now the first word in Genesis 2:9 above is ויצמח, way yas mah. It is translated in the three English versions as: 1) “and made..” 2) “caused...” 3) “and caused...” Yet there are other nuances to the Hebrew verb; one being, 'to develop'. Assembling these new ideas supposes something slightly different: “and He developed every kind of image...” It is the intrinsic influence of the Creator’s imagination (the combined works of Chokmah-Jehovah and Binah-Elohim in verse 2:8) on the formation of the patterns and processes that are the direct cause of all physical manifestations, i.e. the universe, galaxies, every planet and down to you and me. We, in turn, did and do likewise with the civilizations we have imagined through millennia. More on this with all the other gematria and temurah here and within Genesis 2:8 when we come to Genesis 2:10.
However, now we come to עץ החיים, etz chaim, the 'Tree of Life'. The Tree of Life is, well, the Qabalistic Tree of life! Ten Luminous Emanations with twenty-two connecting paths, affectionately called the 'Thirty-two Teeth of God' by some ancient sages. This Tree is Jacob's 'ladder,' and Moses' 'burning bush'. These were interior visions. The Tree of Life, עץ החיים, sums to 233 by gematria. One especially poignant idea comes to light by this number, like בכורה, bekurah, also at 233, and translates to 'birthright'. This hint serves adequately, I believe. To be succinct, a detailed, protracted study of the Tree and its Branches unveils our birthright rooted from The One. However, since there is so much literature extant already about the Qabalistic Tree of Life on the Internet I find it impractical to reiterate any of it here.
It might be noted here as a side-bar, however, that throughout the first chapter of Genesis 'God' is written thirty-two times in the form אלהים, Elohim, the God name of Binah in Atziluth. This is opposite the God form יהוה אלהים, Jehovah Elohim, throughout this chapter 2. Summing to 86 אלהים, Elohim, the masculine plural of a feminine singular means 'creative powers,' or 'strengths'. It is the Binah effect which brings the universal undifferentiated Light Substance into physical manifestation by dividing portions of that Light1 and condensing the portions into actual forms. Equaling 86 is the verb נבדל, nivdal, 'to be divided, separated, set apart' in accordance with “every kind of image developed”. These inherent powers of imagining, separating, creating, and manifesting are truly our birthright. These are powers also intrinsic within us. We are all aspects of God Incarnate, albeit immature and ignorant we remain, so long as we insist upon devouring the 'fruit' from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
So misconstrued and mis-quoted is this simple directive. The Hebrew verse above has it written, הדעת, ha-Daath, 'THE knowledge'. All three Bible versions above have translated it correctly as 'the knowledge'. Yet so often do we read and hear: “The Tree of (?) Knowledge,” devoid the direct article in front of the word "knowledge" and completely dismissing the prepositional phrase, "of the Knowledge." From pulpits of religions around the world multitudes have been and continue to be instructed and duped to temper knowledge. We are coerced into believing the idea that worldly knowledge is an abomination to the Lord (witness the historical friction between Science and Religion). When it is 'the knowledge'. The knowledge of what? Of Good and Evil! What does this imply? Simply that if anyone, anywhere at any time actually does knowingly decree some aspect of The One Creator's creation being either 'good' or 'evil' s/he is actually gulping down the 'forbidden fruit' which deliberately keeps one from that Garden of Eden within. Everything is equal. Everything is of one Light Substance. As long as our ignorance and stupidity declares anything good or evil we are hopelessly lost, steeped in delusion. There's not the slightest chance of dodging the 'Cherubim with Flaming Sword' blocking our return to the Tree of Life in “the middle of the Garden of Eden” within us.
The Hebrew word in Genesis 2:9 above, בתוך, b'tokh, is translated as 'in the middle'. This is not incorrect, but neither is it entirely accurate in that other shades of meaning are: 'inside, within, internally, inside oneself'. The root תוך, tokh, 'inside, interior, main idea, central theme,' sums to 426 by gematria, and shares this value with מושיע, moshiya, 'savior, rescuer, deliverer,' a name given to the sixth Sphere Tiphareth on the Qabalistic Tree and the inner level of the Christ Consciousness, Adam Qadmon. The temurah of tokh, after the exchange of letters, renders אפל, aphel, 'darkness, obscurity' (that space within us). This new word totals 111, summoning more ideas with imagery like פלא, pele, 'wonderful', found in Isaiah 9:6 where he refers to the Christ Child prophesy. Again, referring to the Cube of Space is the Hebrew אבן-חן, aben-chen, 'precious stone', and אחד הוא אלהים, achad hua elohim, 'one is He, God'. The Tree of Life is within us. And every other kind of ‘tree’ is there in the Garden; ‘trees’ representing all the various pursuits of creating and manifesting imagery to explore Our Creator’s manifest universe. All are to enjoy.
But if we wish to return to the Kingdom not of this world, then eat of the Tree of Life. To continue eating of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, however, is entrapment, the death/life cycles until we ripen.
Also within us and at the center of the Cube of Space rests the Hebrew letter ת, tav. But this position is also shared with the letter מ, mem, in its final form, ם. The two letters spell תם, tam, which has several meanings. As a noun it translates as 'end, completion,' as a verb, 'to complete, finish, cease,' and as an adjective 'honest, unsophisticated, naïve.' It matters not in this case whether the number behind the word sums to 440, or 1000 with its final form. The point is that the unsophisticated, honest, humble person is by far more intimate with the Center of The Garden than anyone with multiple degrees and letters after his name, and especially judgmental of what is 'good' or 'evil'.
Even the beginner at Literal Qabalah should not have the greatest difficulty putting all these hints and suggestions gathered together from all the above to formulate a definitive premise as to where within all this is leading. But we are instructed further with the next verse.
1 “And God said, 'Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water'”- Genesis 1:6.
The most common term given the Ocean of Limitless Light Substance in alchemical writings is 'water'.