It is not the first time that I am explaining that G – d created Good and Evil in this world. The simple reason for Him creating the two is that His intension was providing humankind with a “Free Will” and thus, the logical conclusion is that men needs to have a choice in life. If the world was only good, we would not have a choice but choosing good. Therefore G – d had to create a negative side in order to give us the free will choosing between right and wrong.
In Judaism, the “evil side” doesn’t consist of a guy with a long tail called “devil”, as in Christianity. There simply is no independent entity besides G – d but only G – d. The “evil side” is defined as our own “Yetzer HaRah” trying to convince us to go against G – d’s will. Before creation, there was only good. In fact, there is a rabbinic discussion whether Adam HaRishon already had the ability of a free choice in life but first didn’t use it. Everything was going smoothly in Gan Eden until Eve (Chava) and Adam discovered their free choice and nothing bad really happened to them until G – d through them out.
It is unclear what kind of sin Adam and Eve had done, as the Torah basically uses the Etz HaDa’at and its apple mainly as a metaphor for something else. Already the Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin teaches us that the two first humans (with a soul) didn’t eat an apple but other types of fruit. A date, for instance.
Until today, our task is to fix the world and return the perfect level from the time before Adam and Eve were thrown out of Gan Eden. There is an opinion that only then Meshiach is going to come.
How do we elevate the world back into its perfection ?
Jews by fulfilling the Torah Mitzvot and Gentiles by following the Seven Noachide Laws, for instance. We have to choose good and not the negative urge inside of us.
Talmud Bava Batra mentions the “Leviathan”. Probably a gigantic fish or whale. It says that when Meshiach comes, G – d is going to slaughter the Leviathan and will feed the Zaddikim (Righteous). However, the Talmud here uses metaphors and what it really means is that the “Leviathan” symbolizes our own “Yetzer HaRah” which will be “slaughtered” by G – d in the times of Meshiach. Meaning, then there won’t be a “Yetzer HaRah” anymore but only good.
The "Aron HaKodesh" inside the Ashkenazi Synagogue of the medieval Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534 - 1572) in Zfat shows us a clear example of the Bava Batra teaching: Look at the very left side of the Aron where a grey snake is making its way up. This is a further metaphor for our own "Yetzer HaRah (the negative side in us which we have to fight).
The below photo shows a Leviathan on the bottom of the design eating the snake (our YETZER). Meaning:G - d is going to eliminate the negative side as soon as Meshiach comes.
Photo: Miriam Woelke