Research Query: Source of a Comment on Genesis 6:6

Jacob Adler's picture

In Book 2, Chapter 14 of Nishmat Hayyim, Menasseh ben Israel cites a comment on Genesis 6:6.  The Biblical text is "And God regretted that he had made man on the Earth," and the comment is

 

"When God sent the soul, which is called 'Man,' from its glorious rest down to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, it was joined with the body and sinned and ended up in the dust."

 

Contrary to his usual practice, Menasseh does not cite the source.  Does anyone know where it comes from?

 

Jacob Adler
University of Arkansas
Philosophy Department

For the question of Prof. Jacob Adler in regard to the source of the idea that is expressed in Book 2, Chapter 14 of Nishmat Hayyim: "When God sent the soul, which is called 'Man,' from its glorious rest down to the land of darkness and the shadow of death” etc. -

1. The Derasha that ‘Adam’ is the soul’ (‘HaAdam da Nishmata’) is to be found in the Zohar Pinchas p. 216a. It seems then that this is the source that R. Menashe Ben Israel is relying on here.

2. See in this regard more references in: Yehuda Libes in his PhD 'Perakim beMilon Sefer haZohar', pp. 28-92 (esp. p. 29: 'Adam kinuy laNeshama').

3. However, the same idea that Menashe Ben Israel presents here on the word ‘BaAretz’ is to be found in R. Bahya’s explanation to the verse in Gen. 6:6 (Mosad haRav Kook, Chavel edition, vol. 1, p. 100); and in very clear words you can find it in the explanation of the Radak their as well (Humash Torat Hayyim, vol. 1, p. 92, s.v. ‘baAretz’).

Admiel Kosman
Potsdam University