497. "And Elohim said: Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness" (Beresheet 1:26). After each craftsman had completed his work, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them: 'One craft remains for Me to undertake, and all of us shall be partners in it. Let all join together, and let each one do its share, and I shall join in partnership with you, to give it My share.' For this is what is written: "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." And the sages taught that only the people of Yisrael are referred to as man, as it is written: "But you My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men" (Yechezkel 34:31). That is: You are men, but the idolators are not, and therefore it is written: "Let Yisrael rejoice in his Maker" (Tehilim 149:2).
498. Said the Holy Luminary, THAT IS, RABBI SHIMON, This must certainly have been said by that same Tanna who hid in the rock of the Serpent, about whom it is written: "Strong (Heb. eitan) is your dwelling place, and you put your nest in a rock" (Bemidbar 24:21). For the three patriarchs are called 'the strong ones', and the fourth one, THAT IS, MOSES, is "Strong is your dwelling place" for in him the Halachah, WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH, takes shape, as in the expression 'A tradition given to Moses from Sinai'. And he spreads over the six hundred thousand of Yisrael and gives them light with the Torah as the sun which is hidden by night but gives light to all the stars and constellations. SO IT IS WITH MOSES: HAD HE NOT HIDDEN IN THAT ROCK, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO GIVE LIGHT TO YISRAEL. And night always refers to the exile, as in "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" (Yeshayah 21:11). THIS REFERS TO THE EXILE, FOR THEN MOSES HIDES IN THE ROCK and appears by day, AT THE TIME OF THE REDEMPTION, about which it is said: "As soon as the morning was light" (Beresheet 44:3), which is the morning of Abraham, about which is said: "and in the morning, you shall see the glory of Hashem" (Shemot 16:7), and: "As Hashem lives, lie down until the morning" (Rut 3:13).
499. While he was yet speaking, behold, the Faithful Shepherd came out from that rock AND APPEARED TO RABBI SHIMON. He said to him, Holy Luminary, what good did it do me to hide from you, for I have not left a place that I did not enter to hide from you, and I could not HIDE FROM YOU IN IT. That being so, there is no sense in my continuing to hide from you.
500. The Holy Luminary said TO THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD: After it is said: "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness" (Beresheet 1:26), what is the meaning of that which is written later: "So Elohim created man in His own image" (Ibid. 27)? He replied: This is what the sages of the Mishnah taught: HE ASKED THE MINISTERING ANGELS WHETHER TO CREATE MAN OR NOT. Some said: Let him be created, while others urged: Let him not be created. And the Holy One, blessed be He, created him, as it is written: "So Elohim created man in His own image." He said to him: If that is so, then He did not place in him one part FROM THE MINISTERING ANGELS, and he was not made after their form, but after the form of the King, in His image, in His likeness, which is the image of the likeness of His form ALONE. He noted: That is the seeming meaning OF WHAT YOU SAY.
501. THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD Said: Heaven forbid. I HAVE NOT SAID THAT HE IS NOT MADE UP OF ANY OF THE ANGELS AND CREATURES. What I said to you was that he was created from all THE ANGELS AND CREATURES, and was made to rule over all the creatures. Had each one given his share TO MAN, THEN, when he would have been angry with him, each one could have come back and taken his share away from him. "For in what is he to be accounted of" (Yeshayah 2:22).
502. But the Holy One, blessed be He, created him in His image, which is the holy Malchut THAT IS CALLED 'IMAGE', which is the picture of everything, FOR ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLDS OF BRIYAH, YETZIRAH AND ASIYAH ARE INCLUDED IN IT. And the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into it and created the world and all the creatures that He created in the world, and He included in it the upper grades and the lower grades without any separation whatsoever, and He included in it ten Sfirot and all the names and appellatives and Yud Hei Vav Hei's. And the Supreme Cause, who is Master of all, and there is no Elohim beside Him, is not to be found in upper and lower grades less than it, for it is the connection among all of them, the perfection of all of them, to establish in it: "and His kingdom rules over all" (Tehilim 103:19). And there is no Cause of all to be found in even one of the upper and lower grades less than it, IT IS NOT INCLUDED IN HIM. And it is called 'the Faith of Yisrael'. From the point of view of the Supreme Cause, it is said: "For you saw no manner of form" (Devarim 4:15), but from the point of view ACCORDING TO WHICH IT IS INCLUSIVE of the other creatures, it is said: "And the similitude of Hashem does he behold" (Bemidbar 12:8).
503. The Holy Luminary came with the other companions, and they prostrated themselves before him, saying, certainly there is now none that can take from him, FROM MAN, his portion, FOR not EVEN one in the world contributed to him a part, except the Creator of the World, the Supreme Cause ALONE. And on Him depends his punishment or reward and not on an angel nor a Seraph nor any other creature in the world. Thus the sages of the Mishnah taught: Anyone who combines the Name of Heaven and something else is uprooted from the world. Immediately on his hearing what Rabbi Shimon, the Holy Luminary, said, the Faithful Shepherd rejoiced. And all the companions blessed him, THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD, and said: O, Faithful Shepherd, if a man were to have come into the world just to hear this, it would be enough for him.