Remember well the transcendental level of all reality and the elevated stature of Adam HaRishon [the First Man] before the Fall. [Similar to human and animal life] vegetation itself as well as the act of eating was of a different nature altogether. All of these matters are completely beyond our present level of conceptualization. This is especially true regarding the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Even in the present Soul World [also known as the "Lower Garden of Eden"] there is absolutely no physical eating at all. This is true to an even greater degree regarding the exalted and elevated stature of Adam HaRishon and the level of reality that existed at that time.
Now, although these matters recorded in the Torah are written in exact accord with their literal meaning, it is totally beyond our ability to grasp their true nature. This is due to the fact that the level of reality that existed at that time utterly and absolutely transcends our present consciousness to a degree that is inexpressibly awesome. Yet, from that time of the Fall until now, a devolutionary collapse has taken place in which an exact ratio has been retained. It has proceeded in a completely isomorphic fashion from each subtle plane of existence to its corresponding grosser plane, which then devolved into its corresponding grosser mirror image, almost ad infinitum.
It has gone from soul to body, from body to garment, and from inner garment to outer garment, like a stamp that leaves its imprint on another stamp, which then leaves its imprint on another stamp, and so forth. Since each level must conform to the particular stage of reality to which it belongs, it is a lower manifestation of the level that precedes it. Nevertheless, it is an exact duplicate of the level that precedes it. It is in this way that the final and most exterior manifestation of these matters [as they are written in the Torah] are literally true. And this is sufficient. (Leshem Shvo Ve'achlamah, Sefer HaDe'ah 2:4:3, p. 79 (40b))
It is known to all Jews of complete faith that the entire sacred Torah is divided into layered aspects [that would correspond to a person's] soul, body and external clothing. The highest aspect of the Torah is known as the "soul of the soul" (Zohar 3:152a). All of these levels are holy and all are true. The body, the sheath and the inner casing all constitute the corpus of the Torah, and all of them are the Life of Existence. Still, as the heavens are supremely higher than the earth, so also are the esoterica and the mysteries of the Torah supremely higher than its revealed teachings and external appearance. (Leshem, Sefer HaDe'ah, p. 1)
The work that [Adam] was to perform was similar to that of the ten emanations of Divinity [the Sefirot of Atzilut] as they exist now. Their service is to unite themselves in an awesome unity into the Source of Emanation, the Infinite Oneness, may His Name be praised, and to nullify themselves to Him to the utmost possible degree, constantly and uninterruptedly. Their entire service involves taking the awesome unifications of the Torah and the commandments [that rise up from below] and elevating them higher and higher into the Infinite Unity. In this way they themselves are drawn ever closer, eternally uniting into the Unity of the Infinite Emanator to the utmost degree of unity, enraptured in the bliss of His Radiance. According to the exalted level that he was given at that time, Adam's service was supposed to mirror that of the Sefirot of Atzilut. (Leshem, Sefer HaDe'ah 2:4:20:5, p. 167 (84a, top))
[As a consequence of Adam's eating from the Tree of Knowledge] the External Forces now have control over the emanations of the Light of Knowledge that descend below. This is the exile of the Torah. As a result, the Torah has become clothed in foreign garments and klipot (shells) that are not befitting or comely to her as, for example, the section at the end of Vayishlach, "These are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom..." (Genesis 36:31-39). [This section contains the foundations for the Zohar's Sifra DeTzeniuta upon which the GRA wrote his extensive commentary; it is the basis for most of Lurianic Kabbalah as well.] This is also true with regard to the section in the book of Deuteronomy, "And the Avvim dwelt in Chatzerim..." (Deuteronomy 2:23) [and other similar passages discussed in Chullin 60b where entire sentences appear to be superfluous]. In the same manner there are numerous Aggadot of the sages which are difficult to believe, and one's sensibilities are astounded at them. Yet, the secrets of the Torah are hidden within them. This is all due to the emanations of the Light of Knowledge becoming clothed in the Klipot-Shells of the External Forces, God save us. Thus, the exile of the Shechinah, the exile of the People of Israel, and the exile of the Torah are all due to Adam's eating from the Tree of Knowledge. (Sefer HaDe'ah, Drush Etz HaDa'at, p. 305 (177b))
In the Future, God will purify the entire earth and nullify evil along with all of its manifestations. At that time all corporeality and physicality will be distilled and transformed into supernal luminescence. The entirety of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil will literally be reconstructed into the Tree of Life. The skin of the Leviathan, as well, will be reconverted from "garments of skin" (Kotnot Or with an Ayin) to "garments of light" (Kotnot Or with an Aleph). That which is now the skin of the Orlah [both anatomically and conceptually] will become part of the crown [of the Brit Kodesh] itself. Its skin will become [absorbed into] the flesh, "totally consecrated (kodesh) unto God." The three utterly evil layers of true Orlah... will be completely nullified, while the fourth layer, the Nogah, the essence of the skin which is essentially good, will remain and revert to the original holiness of the flesh. (Leshem Sh'vo VeAchlamah, De'ah 2:4:10:3, p. 100 (50d).
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[The Talmud (Bava Batra 75a) states: In the World to Come the Holy One will make a banquet for the tzadikim from the flesh of the Leviathan... and He will make a Succah (canopy) from its skin... The rest [of the skin] will be spread out by the Holy One upon the walls of Jerusalem, and its radiance will shine from one end of the world to the other, as it is said: "Nations will walk in your light, and kings in the radiance of your dawn" (Isaiah 60:3).
A pervading theme of Leviathan is Da'at-Knowledge. This is not ordinary knowledge; rather it is a synthesis of all possible modes of knowing. In fact, the Hebrew root of the word Leviathan is Lavah, meaning "attachment" or "union." It represents the pure state of God-consciousness that mankind will attain when all Chochmah-Wisdom (the "right side" or intuitive mode of knowing truth) and Binah-Understanding (the "left side" or analytical mode of knowing truth) will be synthesized together in Da'at-Knowledge (the ultimate union of the intuitive and analytical modes). (Note 1) Leviathan is thus the Supernal or Cosmic level of Da'at-Knowledge. It is the, union of 6000 years of subjective experience and objective analysis, the fusion of religion and science. It is the confluence between the Oriental search for truth and the occidental quest for knowledge when, "I [God] will transform the nations to a purified language, that they may all call in the name of God and serve Him with one consent" (Zephania 3:9). It is the next stage of human evolution when, "In the World to Come the tzadikim will recline with their crowns in their heads and delight in the radiance of God's presence" (Note 2). It is the primordial light of creation with which Adam HaRishon "saw from one end of the universe to the other" and which will be revealed again in the Ultimate Future (Note 3). The Leviathan is all this and more.
The Talmud makes a distinction between the "flesh" of the Leviathan and its "skin." Whereas the Tzadikim will eat the flesh, part of the skin will be used to make a Succah and the remainder will be spread on the walls of Jerusalem. According to the GRA, the flesh of Leviathan alludes to internal knowledge and its consumption to the process of universal permeation. He thus states, "The feast of Leviathan refers to the spread of Divine Knowledge (Da'at) throughout the world and the unsurpassable joy [that this will effect]." (Note 4)]