Authentic Kabbalah – All Questions Answered

This is full translation of the article that was written by students of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag based on multiple questions that rose as many organizations claim to teach the authentic path of Baal HaSulam and Kabbalah.

To the honorable Rabbi Gotlieb, greetings.

Is it true that the study of wisdom of Kabbalah isn’t connected to the observance of Torah and Mitzvoth?

Did Rabbi Ashlag ZT”L ever said or wrote that Torah and Mitzvoth aren’t connected to the study of wisdom of Kabbalah?

My question comes due to the fact that there are many groups that are dealing in Kabbalah leveraging the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag, and they firmly claim that this is the case (i.e. that Torah and Mitzvoth are not connected to the study of Kabbalah).

I am asking the honorable Rav to respond to this matter.

With Regards,

Anonymous.

Answer:

First of all I would like to say that I have neither any idea nor any connection to those groups and therefore I do not want to address them specifically at all.  Generally I have no desire to discuss and to judge groups and certain individuals as I do not have such jurisdiction; however there is definitely a place to demonstrate the original way of the school of Rabbis Ashlag, to testify on everything that our eyes have seen and our ears have heard to identify erroneous ways and ideologies.  And since questions that are similar to yours are piling up increasingly both in writing and via telephone I therefore decided to make my opinion public which I also reviewed with the wisest scholar of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag (may his memory shine upon us) – Rabbi Yisrael Miller that merited to be the right hand of the Rebbe continuously over thirty-five years and was without any doubt the closest person to the Rebbe.  Therefore this article is a common work of mine and his and its goal is to bring to light the knowledge of the school of Ashlag as we heard it from them and as we were instructed by them – as to which path to follow and which to avoid

I merited to be with Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag (let his blessed memory shine upon us) for the duration of fourteen years and during this time I was very close with him (like a son in his house) and during this whole time I have never heard from him that there is no connection between study of Kabbalah to the observance of Mitzvoth G-d forbid, and I have never heard from him anything that would indicate that Mitzvoth are optional rather than obligatory from the Torah G-d forbid.  On the contrary, he was stringent on every minor detail and he was very meticulous in all Mitzvothh and all halachot to the tiniest of details. And not this alone but he was specifically instructing us, his closest students, that it is our obligation to be precise with the performance of Halacha much more than other people that study only Nigleh (revealed parts of the Torah).  And he specifically emphasized that the key to our success in coming closer to the Creator depends on combining the two things together – keeping the Torah and Mitzvoth in a practical manner in every element as this equals to a body, and study of wisdom of Kabbalah as it equals to soul (neshamah) and it is clear that the soul without a body is like air that lacks substance – drifting on the air without meaning in the daily reality exactly like a body without a soul sits in the dark without light.

I was personally present to see the stringency of RABASH when it came to observance of Mitzvoth among his students as well: there was once a case that it became clear to us that in his lesson there was a Jewish baal teshuva (newly observant person) that was not wearing Tzitzit. Once we found out, the Rebbe asked someone to tell this person to leave the class immediately.  In addition the Rebbe RABASH explicitly told us, as these are his words: “whoever states that there is no need in performance of Torah and Mitzvoth or whoever is lax in some portions of Torah and Mitzvoth is very dangerous and one must distance oneself from him”.

People of the real faith live the life of body and soul balanced with each other because this is how the Creator created the person in a manner that he is made from two opposites in order that those opposites complement each other.  And therefore it is mandatory to invest in simple performance of physical Mitzvoth such as putting on Tefillin, praying, making Kiddush on Shabbos, Netilat Yadaim, being involved in acts of kindness and charity between a person and his family and between a person and his friends, and blessings after food, and all blessings in general, and keeping the Shabbos, and purity of the family, etc…  In addition one also should invest into the building of the internal soul that is part of the intellectual and emotional being of the person so he will come to a state that the fire is burning within him, fire of love and fear towards the Creator and the Creation as the whole.  The performance of external Mitzvoth help internal, and internal in turn helps external; one complements and enhances the other.

And here lately I had an opportunity to talk to one of the few people that is still alive that studied in the school of the Rebbe Baal HaSulam (passed away in 1955), HaRav Ezrel Chaim Lomberger, who was a student of Baal Hasulam himself, and he was shocked to hear such things – that there are people that claim that there is no need in keeping the Torah and Mitzvoth or that project them as an option or as cultural symbols G-d forbid, and he told me that our Rebbe Baal HaSulam was extremely careful on keeping the Torah and Mitzvoth and when it came to the matters of Halacha he was exceedingly stringent, much more than other people.  Even when there were things that most of the Orthodox community accepted, the Rebbe Baal HaSulam acted with extra stringency and went extra mile when they had halachic disputes. He always chose to follow the most stringent way in performing a Mitzvah.

And therefore we should pay attention to this, especially when such a person on a level of the Rebbe Baal HaSulam that of course came to the completion of his private correction behaves in such manner. Here, we have a live testimony of a person that was like a son in his house and he is still alive, and he states explicitly that Baal Hasulam was extra stringent and was always taking the extra steps from the standard norm of the Ultra-Orthodox community.  And this is of course not unusual as he was like a “ladder that is standing on earth with its top reaching heaven”, as this is the intended perfection where a person holds the perfection of G-dliness from one side and from the other side of the ladder he is performing up to the smallest detail every physical leaf, i.e. the Torah and the Mitzvoth in a practical, simple and fundamental manner.

And those things they are very straightforward even in our corporeal world.  For example would it even be possible that in an army a person who did not even act as a private would become a general?  Of course not!  Is it possible that a person will receive a master’s degree in a college if he never attended a high school?  Of course not!  Therefore based on what logic do people hold that they can deal with the wisdom of Kabbalah, be successful to come to spiritual levels if they can not even perform the simplest and the most basic thing of Judaism?  It is clear to everyone that the performance of Mitzvoth is a simple and non-complex thing, accessible to all.  And how can one skip it to immediately approach the level of intentions and emotions while he does not hold in his hands even the simplest level of this physical world?

To say that it is possible to come to the spiritual levels of holiness without performing physical Mitzvoth is an outrageous lie.  And if a person would say “but I came to feelings of spirituality without the keeping of Torah and Mitzvoth.”  My answer is that those “higher” feelings do not point to Truth.  As our sages already stated the Creator shone various Divine lights into the systems of Sitra Achra (the Other Side) and the Klippot (shells) and all this was done in order to give a person free will.  And therefore, of course the feelings and the pleasures that one experiences have their sources in Klippot and in the Sitra Achra, which is what provides the person these pleasant feelings.  But this lie does not have legs and therefore it cannot sustain itself for a long time, thus a person has cyclical feelings of misery followed by feelings of joy, but at this point it is be very hard to free oneself from the control of Klippot.

And here is what is written in our holy Torah (Devarim 13):

1) The entire word that I command you that shall you observe to do you shall not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.

2) If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder

3) and the sign or the wonder comes about of which he spoke to you saying ‘let us follow gods of others that you do not know, and we shall worship them!” –

4) do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream for HaShem, you G-d, is testing you to know whether you love HaShem, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul.

5) HaShem, your G-d, shall you follow, and him shall you fear; his commandments shall you observe and his voice shall you hearken; him shall you serve and to him shall you cleave.

6) And that prophet and that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death for he has spoken perversion against HaShem, you G-d, Who takes you out of the land of Egypt, and Who redeems you from the house of slavery – to make you stray from the path on which HaShem, your G-d, has commanded you to go; and you shall destroy the evil from your midst.

And this is what Rambam, blessed be his memory, wrote in his book “Hayad Hahazakah”

A) It is clearly explained in the Torah that it is the commandment that stands for eternity, it does not change, it does not shrink, and it does not extend, as it is said: “everything that I am telling you today you shall do, do not add onto it and do not subtract from it.”  And it is said: “And it has been let know to us and our children until eternity to perform everything that is written in this Torah.”  From this we learn that all the commandments of the Torah command us to perform them until eternity.  And he also says: “this is the set of laws for all your generations.”  And it is said: “It is not in Heaven.”  Which comes to teach us that there is no (nor will be) a prophet who is allowed to renew anything in it.  Therefore if comes a man, whether from another nation or from Israel and will perform a miracle and he will say that G-d sent him to add a commandment or to subtract a commandment or to change a commandment in a way we have never heard of, or he will say that those commandments that Israel was commanded by are not for eternity and for all the generations, but rather these are commandments bound to a past time, it is obvious that this is a false prophet that comes to deny the prophecy of Moshe.  And he will be put to death, for he spoke on behalf of HaShem who has not commanded him to do so as he commanded to Moshe that these commandments are for us and for our children until eternity.

B) Why is it also stated in Torah: “I will establish a prophet for you from the midst of your brothers”?  He will not come to establish a new religion but to enforce the Torah and to warn the people that they should not violate it as said the last of the prophets: “Remember the Torah of Moshe.”  And if he commands us within the permissible boundaries, such as “go to a certain place,” or “don’t go there,” “make a war today,” or “don’t make a war today,” “build a wall today,” or “don’t build a wall,” it is a commandment to listen to him, and one who transgresses his words is liable to death by heaven; as it is said: “there was a man who did not listen to the words of the prophet that spoke in My Name, I will demand from him.”

D) And also if he tries to change things that we already know, and claims that HaShem commanded him to do this, and he changes Halacha, this is a false prophet and is liable to death even if he can show a sign or a miracle.  Behold, this prophet comes to deny the Torah in which it is said: “It is not in Heaven.”

We therefore learn from these words that if there comes a person who wants to cancel even one the commandment from all of the commandments, this is unacceptable even though he can be a big person with power to perform signs and miracles.  In the time of the Sanhedrin this person would be put to death, but today we do not practice the death sentence since we do not have the Sanhedrin.  And for those people who are advancing on the path of Pinimiut of Torah (inner portion of Torah), of course they can neither correct nor punish, G-d forbid, their fellow Jews, but rather they focus on their own correction, as their own correction influences the whole world.  And therefore we are not engaging in physical or verbal confrontation with any person or organization.  And from the citations that were brought above we can understand how awful deviation from Judaism is in the eyes of HaShem, and how much we have to be careful to stay away from all of those, as our sages said: “move away from falsehood and from anything that is similar to it.”  And every deviation and every reform and every attempt to touch the holy of holies of Torah and commandments of Israel is obviously falsehood, which is unbearable and unforgiveable.  And therefore each of us will make his own soul-calculations, “because on whichever path a person chooses to be lead he will be lead.” And he will save himself with contact with everything that may push him away from the original path of Israel.  And it is already written in the Zohar, “Do not listen to a good thing from a wicked person.” Because even though he is saying a good thing, the spirit of Tumah (impurity) intervenes in his words and the listener becomes Tammeh (impure) and falls from the original Jewish path, and from the path of our Rabbis.

And to compliment this discussion we would like to add here an additional article from the Rebbe (blessed be his memory), that should clarify these things.

What is Truth and Falsehood in Spiritual Work

Fist of all we have to understand how both truth and falsehood can be in the service of the Creator, specifically, how the service of HaShem can exist in falsehood, how can such a thing be said?

And here Zohar HaKadosh (in the Introduction to the Book of Zohar) says Baal HaSulam: “it is part of the Holy one to give joy to the impoverished as he is able to because in those days, in Holidays, the Holy One comes to see those broken kelim (vessels) that belong to him.  And he comes to them and he sees that they have nothing to be happy with.  He cries about them and then He ascends to the top to extend the world.”

Baal HaSulam (blessed be his memory) explains this article as following:  “We need to understand, first of all, the midrash (legend) of our sages that when the world was created, and it was told to angels ‘we shall make a man in our image,’ behold, Kindness advised to create the world.  The Truth said ‘do not create, because all of it will be falsehood,’ Righteousness said ‘The world needs to be created as it will create righteousness,’ and Peace said ‘the world should not be created, as it will constantly be in conflict.’  What did the Creator do?  He took Truth and threw it into the ground as it is written “And the Truth was thrown down to earth”. Explanation: as our sages explained that one should be busy with Torah and Mitzvoth even lo-lishma, as from the level of lo-lishma he comes to lishma. As due to the nothingness of the person, he cannot deal with Torah and Mitzvoth li-shma right away in order to fulfill the simple will of his Master. Because ‘desolated city a person will be born’ and it is impossible for him due to his nature to make any movement if it doesn’t benefit him. But via performing physical Mitzvoth he attracts Divine Light which eventually brings him to li-shma, which means to serve his Creator  with only one desire – to please Him.  And this is what the Truth had said about the creation of the man that it’s all deception – how can such a person be created from the beginning, when he performs Torah and Mitzvoth in deception and lie, i.e. lo-lishma? But Grace stated that the man should be created as it comes from bestowal and by doing good deeds the man will eventually come to the situation where he can also perform Mitzvoth with lishma, and therefore the man should be created. And therefore when Piece complained that man is deception, but the Justice said that man should be created because from his charity acts to poor the man slowly comes close to the bestowal and thus eventually will be able to fulfill commandments lishma as well. Once Creator heard everyone He agreed with the angels of Grace and Justice and threw the truth into the ground, which means He allowed men to perform Mitzvoth lo-lishma to begin with even though they can be considered as deception and lie, as eventually by performing them man will come to lishma and then the Truth will rise from the earth”.

***

Rambam said: “therefore, when we teach young children and women and the general population, we do not teach but to serve HaShem from fear and for the sake of receiving reward until their mind expands and they become wiser.  We also reveal to them this approach very carefully.

From the words of Rambam we see that we have to start serving HaShem in the manner of lo lishma (not for the sake of HaShem) and it is even forbidden to reveal to them that there is a thing as lishma (for the sake of HaShem).  And therefore they have to know that they are performing Torah and Mitzvoth to receive reward.  This is the actual perfection and there is nothing to add to it but quantity, i.e. to give more time and more effort in order to perform Torah and Mitzvoth.  And they have to be happy that they are performing Torah and Mitzvoth believing that they will receive reward for it.

We therefore find that in order to serve HaShem wholly it is forbidden for them to know that there is such a thing that is called lishma (for the sake of HaShem) for the reason that they are still not capable to enter the service of HaShem lishma.  Therefore if someone tells them that the key of service of HaShem is lishma, they will reply “but how can we perform Torah and Mitzvoth lo- lishma if this is not considered a real word?” They are yet incapable to work lishma, therefore they will remain neither here nor there, which means that lo-lishma will not be important to them, but in the same time they will also see that they cannot attain lishma.  Therefore it is forbidden to reveal to them that there is a thing that people need to perform for the sake of giving (lehaspia).  Therefore while they do not know this concept they can think that they serve HaShem fully and that they are righteous, and from that they have energy to work, as they are happy to be the servants of HaShem and they look at other people who do not perform Torah and Mitzvoth as animals, since they do not have higher intellects than animals and other living creatures.   And therefore it is written in Etz Chaim: “and behold, the creator did not give Torah but to remove barriers from silver that dresses the soul, and via the intention of the person in Torah and Mitzvoth he performs spiritual work on his Neshamah (soul), and via the Torah thins the Nogah of the world Yetzirah, which dresses Ruach and by performing physical Mitzvoth this thins the Nogah of the world Asiya and becomes a garment of the soul.

 

Therefore one should not say that performance of Torah and Mitzvoth without intention is not true (G-d forbid), but as we learn from the writings of ARIZAL  that from all actions that a person does he removes the Nitzutzim (sparks of holiness) from the Klipot that descended to our world during the Breaking of Vessels.  We therefore have to divide between commandments without intentions and Torah without intention versus Torah and Commandments with intentions, as it is said: “performance of Mitzvoth thins the Nogah of the world Asiya and becomes a garment of the soul.”

 

And as for the falsehood, we have to explain that since the goal of the creation is to satisfy the creations so that a man can achieve it in reality, i.e. that he will reveal the good and the bounty in the world that cannot be seen by the creations because they do not have the real Kelim which they can leverage to see the good and the bounty which is in the world.  Therefore the creations still see that people suffer, and thus they can deduce from it that while they perform Torah and Mitzvoth without intention lehashpia (to bestow), they still cannot see the truth that exists in the goal of creation that is to bestow to the creations.  And we find that those who keep the Torah and Mitzvoth and still have not merited to have the right intention, do perform corrections in keddusha by performing Torah and Mitzvoth even though they do not have intention, which means that Keddusha expands based on their actions.  However since they are not capable to see the outcome of their actions in spirituality, they cannot attain the spiritual changes that resulted from their work even though this work was performed lo-lishma.

 

We therefore find that when they say that lo-lishma is called “falsehood,” it relates towards the creations, i.e. the creations cannot yet see the truth and the outcome of their performance of Torah and Mitzvoth without intention, but in reality the corrections did take place in spirituality as was written by ARIZAL that from each action and action in Torah and Mitzvoth, spiritual corrections are made. As we can see from Halacha that if a person can act to influence his neighbor not to desecrate Shabbat – for example his neighbor needs a favor from him and for this he will keep Shabbat – than the person is obligated to act to ensure that his neighbor does not desecrate Shabbat.  And so we can ask: here there is no intention to keep Shabbat, as his neighbor will keep Shabbat only as a requirement that his friend forces on him, and if so, what benefit can come out from such work?  But as we already learned that each action and action that we perform even without kavanah (intention) achieves its objective; that by it we release the sparks of holiness, yet we are incapable of seeing those corrections because those corrections can hurt us since we still exist under the control of the desire to receive.  Therefore since the person does not see the corrections that are being preformed by him he cannot receive yet from the bounty that opens up as a result of his actions.  And therefore, since he does not see this bounty, he cannot hurt himself since he does not see that there is something that he can receive.  But the person must believe that each action and action of Torah and service is a very important thing, and once he merits to attain the second nature which is called “desire to bestow,” then he will be capable of seeing the truth; that the goal of the Creation is to bestow the creations.  We therefore can now understand that when it is said that lo-lishma is called “falsehood,” this only relates to the vision of the person, since the person is yet incapable of seeing the actual goal of creation.

 

And from this we can also understand why lishma is called “emet” (truth), since when a person merits to the level of lishma a person comes to the level of Love of HaShem, and then the person sees the truth; that the goal of creation is only to bestow Good to creations.  And in addition the person has to merit and to see how the upper supervision treats all creations in the manner of complete and total goodness, and this is a very high level where a person sees how the Creator treats him personally in a manner of total goodness.  Yet the person still needs to see that the Creator acts in the same way towards all of the creations, i.e. in a manner of total goodness, and for this reason lishma is called “truth,” because by performing the service in the mode of lishma the person merits and sees the truth that the Creator treats all of his creations with complete goodness.

 

And as written in the Introduction to the Talmud of Eser HaSefirot: “And therefore our sages warned us about the condition that obligates in performance of Torah lishma specifically so thus he will merit by it to earn life, as Torah is the source of life.  And one should invest all his might to find the glow from the face of the King of Life, which means to attain revealed supervision, which is called the glow from the face.  Therefore the whole time that a person did not merit to come to the level of lishma he exists in Hester Panim (concealment of the face), which means that he still does not see how the Creator leads the world in the manner of total goodness.  We also find that he exists in the mode of falseness, as he says, “Whoever said that the goal of creation is to bestow good for creations is a liar, as we see the opposite.”  And on the other hand, one who learns the Torah lishma merits and sees the truth because he himself merits to see all the good that he receives from the Creator, and moreover he has come to the level of perfection and to see how the Creator deals with the whole world with the goal of bestowing the creations, and therefore we find that the matter of truth and falsehood is always directly related to what the person attains.

 

And from the set above we can see that one who studies Torah lo-lishma, which is equal to falsehood, it is only because the person is yet incapable of seeing the truth of how the Creator leads the whole world with total goodness, and as ARIZAL wrote from each action a person performs in holiness, corrections are made, but the person is yet incapable of seeing the results of his performance of Mitzvoth that creations are doing even lo-lishma even for his own sake.  It is therefore that Rambam said that we have to start the work with children and women in a manner that orients them to believe in reward as every act of Mitzvoth in itself triggers spiritual changes regardless of one’s intention.

 

And our sages said (Avot PeiGimel/18) “Beloved Israel which is called sons to the Place (Makom/Place is another name of HaShem). Extra love is given to them as they’re called Sons of the Place, as it is said: Sons are you to your G-d”. And the Rebe Ashlag explained that the fact that they were called “sons to the Place” it’s called in generic form, however extra love is given to them privately. And he said: What is this extra love? The extra love is that it is known to them, which means that they know and feel that they are called “sons of the Place”. And in the same manner we can derive that even here – in physical actions that lack proper intention in order to bestow (lehashpia, i.e. lo-lishma) – also the nation is called “sons to the Place” since they invest in Torah and Mitzvoth in a practical manner, which cause major spiritual corrections as explains ARIZAL, but it’s not apparent to them since they aren’t capable of seeing the corrections that are being made due to their actions. That all said, once the person attains the level of lishma, then he can see what he had done before and is doing now in the spiritual realms.

 

And we also should clarify what our sages said (Avot Pei-Alef/17) “Not the story is the key, but the action”, as there are two cases in front of us: actions and intentions. From one side we realize that they key is intention, which means that during the time that a person performs an action good or bad, we have to consider with the intention and not with the action. Let’s take an example: two people fought with each other, one took knife and stabbed his opponent – of course it’s a bad action. However, here is what the person with the knife claims: This person that I stabbed was in a hospital and doctor sliced things and threw them away from his body, and the patient paid a lot of money for this. And I’m obligated to pay him for a tiny scratch that I did to him, in opposite to the situation with the doctor? Said the judge: the answer is simple, since we’re going based on intention and since you stabbed him because of your personal joy, you have to pay for the pleasure you’ve received.  However the surgeon that sliced him with knife was performing it because he wanted the patient to enjoy, and therefore the patient pays him. From this example we see that the key is the intention and not the action and if that’s the case why then did our sages state that “Not the story is the key, but the action”?

 

This is because in spiritual when it comes to Torah and Mitzvoth the key is the action, as writes ARIZAL that via the practical actions of Mitzvoth we release the sparks of holiness from Klipot. And even though the person isn’t capable of seeing this impact yet, it is done because the person already has Kelim de-hashpaa, and if he would see the changes that he is causing by performing Mitzvoth, this outcome would go into his Kelim de-kabala, and as the result the sparks of holiness that he just released will go back to the Klipa. We therefore find that the key is the action, but of course if one could add intention of lishma on top of the action, then he elevates his spiritual work to much higher level by placing intention on top of his action and “by person’s intention in Torah and Mitzvoth he completes the garment of Neshama, and via the Toarh he decreases (thins out) Nogah of Yetzira – garment of Ruach,  and via the practical Mitzvoth he decreases (thins out) Nogah of Assiya and creates  the garment to Nefesh”. Therefore the key is the action and on the action we should also strive to add intention.

 

And we must believe that from the stand point of Roots and Branches, every physical body that we observe in our world is derived from upper (spiritual) root, without which the body cannot exist. Similarly, when it comes to soul, without performance of Torah & Mizvot, there is no nourishment to the soul with which it can be sustained. Ad this is as described in the book Beit Shaar HaKavanot: “And you should know that in the Adam HaRishon were collected all sparks of holiness which included all souls, all worlds and all animals. Only the vegetative (tzomeach) and inanimate (domem) didn’t complete the process – therefore they were eating them (to release sparks of holiness). As result of Adam’s sin, all souls and animals returned to the depths of Klipot. And the sparks of holiness can be released only from pure (kosher) animals, vegetative and inanimate via their consumption

 

And from what we read we can understand that only via our consumption of domem, tzomeach and chai we can release the sparks of holiness, we only need to add intent, however without the actual action the intent by itself doesn’t help! Therefore, one should not say – why should I put tefilin, as the key is the intention, and by simply having intention I’ll fulfill the commandment of tefilin. But the reality is that the key is the action, and intention is an addition to it! Therefore like in corporeal world if one will simply have intent to eat and to drink but essentially won’t consume food and water he will eventually die; similarly to this the soul that doesn’t receive nourishment from Torah and Mitvot won’t have sustenance.  And this is the meaning of “Not the story is the key, but the action”, i.e. actual action executed in reality. And [only] after that we also need intention on actions that we perform. And this is level of Domem De-Kdusha, and from this level we can come to the level of Tzomeach then to Chai and then to Medaber [see Note*].

 

And from this we can understand (from the statement that talks about the Creator that comes to see those broken kelim) because in the conclusion they will come to lishma and then the truth will become apparent. And it is also there said “Behold, this is also the secret of shvirat ha-kelim (breaking of vessels) which happened before the creation of the world. As the result of this breakage of the kelim of kedusha and their fall to Beria, Yetzira, Asiya, sparks of holiness fell together with them to Klipot and from them were stemmed various desires and wishes that ended-up in the domain of Klipa, and they are the cause of human sins. However together with this we were given Torah and Mitzvoth that even when one starts to deal in them from lo-lishma, i.e. he only does it for self-fulfillment and benefit (social, etc) his conclusion is to come via this actions to lishma and to fulfill the goal of Creation, which is to receive everything that Creator has created for him and to receive for the sake of pleasing his Master”.

 

And we have to remember the rule in spiritual work that states that a person shouldn’t perform review on himself to see whether he is doing well or not – which means that one might think that when a person sees that he isn’t doing well then it’s time for him to pray to HaShem to help him become well. But this is not the case, as this is specifically in the time when one feels that he has at least some closeness to HaShem – only then it is allowed to perform checks on oneself. Therefore when one feels that he is distant from the spiritual work it is forbidden for him to review himself and to pray – instead he should say to himself: how fortunate I am that I have at least something to work with and I’m happy with what I have and I give thanks to HaShem for it. But not to pray to HaShem to bring him closer in such state, because the point of prayer that asks HaShem to bring one closer to Him has to happen specifically in the time when one feels slight ascent in the work.

 

And as it is written in Zohar (VaEra/Sulam) “Come and see – during the day he dealt with Torah to complete judgments and at night he dealt with Praises and Songs until come of the day”. The whole day he dealt to complete judgments which signifies the level of Left [line], and at night he dealt with Praises and Songs which are Chasadim. Explanation: specifically when it’s a day, i.e. during the time of spiritual ascent he [King David] was dealing with the left [Line] to complete the judgments, however at night, at the time when there was no light, he was busy with Praises (Tehilim) – [see Note**]

 

[Note*] Explanation: Action without intention is on the level called Domem De-Kedusha (Holy inanimate) and by leveraging this level one can go up to attain the next levels – Tzomeach, Chai and Medaber. But without the first level of Domem De-Kedusha, i.e. without action it is impossible to advance in spiritual ladder

 

[Note**] Here our Rebe brings in the beginning of the article the words of holy Zohar in the Introduction to Zohar without many explanations, but his point was to bring also from there evidence to this point that HaShem didn’t consider the truthfulness (of person’s work) as it was said that the person in a whole is deception as he serves his Creator lo-lishma for his own benefit, as HaShem did consider one’s deeds of charity and mercy as these deeds that one performs come from the side of hashpaa, and they will cause the person little-by-little to adjust and change his intention in the process. Therefore from here we see the importance of actions themselves even without proper intention. And at the end of the article the Rebbe brings additional quote from there that describes that when Kelim broke, sparks of holiness fell into the authority of Klipot. But there is no bad without good, as by this action we were given the opportunity to start spiritual work with lo-lishma, and without the starting point of lo-lishma, one wouldn’t be able to start spiritual ascend at all. Hence also from there we see the same idea that the action itself even though lo-lishma is important. And at the end of the article the Rebbe mentions that one shouldn’t exercise self-control unless he currently in the mode of spiritual ascend. When one reads the article question arises to the connection between the end of the article and the article itself in general. The reason for such style is the fact that such opinions (that intention is the key and action without intention doesn’t count to anything) comes from the situation when person goes by Left Line with incorrect balance, which means that he completely focused on self judgment and this incorrect judgment brings him to false conclusions that overall actions without intention don’t count and therefore there is no need to put on Tefilin, etc (G-d forbid). And against such opinions the Rebbe wrote this article.

 

The Rebbe (blessed be his memory) wrote many times in his articles about this Klipa that exists in a person that from one side brings him closer to the idea of lishma and from the other side shows him that all observance of Torah and Mitzvoth is only to receive (lekabel), and deceives him into believing that therefore there is no need to perform Torah and Mitzvoth in such fashion. And we find that he is left empty from both sides as he didn’t attain the level of lehashpia and also lost the simple performance of Torah and Mitzvoth and then what really remains for him, for such “wise” one? Only animalistic desires…  Hence when person realizes that performance of Torah and Mitzvoth is important with the intention of lehashpia (to please his Creator), specifically then he should lower himself before the opinion of rabbis and to trust their words that simple performance of Torah and Mitzvoth without any intention is even more important. And then we find that while he performs the Torah and Mitzvoth in their simplicity – then he actually mashpia, but if he cannot lower himself and perform Torah and Mitzvoth we find that he exists in the authority of Klipat Amalek, which laughs at the belief of performance of Torah and Mitzvoth, and he therefore exists under the control of desire to receive.

 

***

 

In the history of the Wisdom of Kabbalah we find many deviations from Judaism.  Many sects that claimed to deal only with Kabbalah and canceled out either all physical commandments or some of its portion based on the idea of intentions, spirituality, and feelings of love towards each other with disconnect from Torah and Mitzvoth – unfortunately we already saw the results of such mutual love.  And thus in our generation there are many movements that try to stick their hands into the holiness of Israel. The reason for such phenomenon is when people cleave un-proportionally in exclusive development of mind and senses, which distances the person from the ground of reality and from the original Judaism and brings the person to faulty conclusions – that there is no point in performing physical commandments as they were created only to unknowledgeable and undeveloped and limited people that do not understand the necessity of development of proper thoughts, intentions and feelings and thus they’re left with only empty commandments as their default existence. The source of this error is in klipa that sticks to everyone that deals with the wisdom of Kabbalah, and therefore if one doesn’t have solid base then this Klipa starts to control him.

The roots of this klipa are:

  1. In the quality of Amalek that tries to deceive the “faith above reason”. And therefore when one desires to correct his desire to receive it is very hard for him to believe that  the performance of “external” commandments are much more important from what he considers his inner work on intentions. And thus the outcome of his ignorance towards the performance of physical commandments if the climax of the desire to receive and the Sitrah Achra (the other side – impurity), as he doesn’t accept the yoke of Divine Kingship above his logical reasoning to believe that physical commandments as they are without any intent are more important than any pleasures of this world.
  2. In snobbism that draws to the person imaginary picture that he is above simple people that are immersed in performance of Torah and Mitzvoth and it’s not up to his high standards to perform such “mechanical primitive actions”, i.e. the actual commandments and it only belongs to simple people that are incapable of raising above their nature towards higher state of mind, intentions and feelings
  3. In desire to attract as much as possible people. And to find grace in the eyes of non-religious public, which doesn’t want to perform commandments.

May HaShem save a person from such non-sense and false words and from deviation from single letter of His Torah, and of course one has to distance himself as far as possible from such people.

For the summary I would like to recommend to anyone who wants to get closer to HaShem is to study both sides of Judaism – the Nigle (open) and the Nistar (hidden) as our Rebbe Baal HaSulam recommends in the Introduction to Talmud Eser HaSefirot. Of course when we’re talking about baalei-tshuva (people who are new to observance), majority of whom also are working people and don’t have much of free time, at any rate the minimum (in addition to Kabbalah) one should study Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in fundamental manner and implement it step by step in simple and practical manner. Then to review Mishna Brura that goes over the portion of Daily Life.  There are also books that explain in simple and short language the halacha and if one has no ability to learn Mishna Brura, I recommend such books as “Keeping Shabbat Properly”, that goes over all halachot of Shabbat in a very easy and simple language. There are also similar books around Halachot (laws) of blessings, halachot kosher food, halachot purity of family and so forth. One simply needs to enter a store that sells such books and ask. And there is nothing that stands between true desire. My recommendation for beginners is to dedicate at least one hour a day to study (practical) halacha and start implementing it in practice.

In addition, of course it’s also important to learn TANACH, mishna, gemorah as needed but all these are only function of time. And if there is no time then one needs to strongly embrace the two bases – Halacha and Inner Torah (Kabbalah).

Respectfuly,

Your friend,

Rabbi Mordechai Avracham Gotlieb

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8 Responses to Authentic Kabbalah – All Questions Answered

  1. I think that it is the most detailed and clear explanation to everybody who wants to study Kabbalah, it leaves a person without any doubts about his status, and connection to the discussed theme, and I think this letter should be the first to apear when somebody open the site, for people to get a clear idea that it is a site which a certain position, and then they will decide if it is intersting to them to get know it or not, because with all my honour to Kabbalaistic Music, it isn’t the write topic to be on the front page of the site, it may be better to be the second, that after a person has read Rav Gottliebs letter, he may listen to Kabbalaistic music and think over the information which he managed to get from the letter, and then again go back to the letter and so on, till finaly he decides which category he is or want to be.

    And may be it is posible to get some very interesting Rav Gotlieb’s examples from the lessons and discussed material to be presented on the front page for the people to see the level of learning Kabbalah by a real Talnid Hakkam and a student of Rabbash from the age of 14, and then to be able to come to the conclusion of how different may be the Hassagot of the students of one and the same Kabbalaist.

  2. yehudith says:

    ב”ה

    פתיחה לחכמת הקבלה

    Peticha LeChochmat HaKabbalah
    Opening to the Wisdom of the Kabbalah

    By Rabbi Yehudah Leib HaLevi Ashlag
    Commentary by Rabbi Avraham Mordechi Gottleib
    Translated from Hebrew
    Chapters 1 & 2

    “Open for me an opening the size of the eye of a needle, and I will open for you the supernal gates.” (Zohar)

    Translator’s Introduction
    The Peticha LeChochmat HaKabbalah (Opening to the Wisdom of the Kabbalah) is among the most sacred and holy writings that exist in the world. In a few short pages, Rav Yehudah Leib HaLevi Ashlag, The Ba’al HaSulam (The Master of the Ladder), describes for us a brief summary of the spiritual structure at the root of all reality. The Peticha LeChochmat HaKabbalah is a condensed summary of what is described in great detail in the Ba’al HaSulam’s monumental work,Talmud Eser Sefirot, which itself is an extensive commentary on the Arizal’s Etz HaChayim (The Tree of Life). The Etz HaChayim is one of the most significant spiritual works in existence, describing intricate details of the spiritual structure of reality. Although the world has been blessed with the most holy words of the Etz HaChayim for over 400 years, they were written in such a complex and coded language that their inner meaning has only been comprehendible to the spiritual masters of every generation. The Talmud Eser Sefirot decodes the spiritual language of the Etz HaChayim to such an extent that these spiritual understandings have now become accessible to anyone in our generation who is awakened to this learning. Consisting of over 2000 pages, the Talmud Eser Sefirot contains material for a lifetime of study and spiritual work. The Peticha LeChochmat HaKabbalah is an extremely condensed summary of the basic spiritual structure outlined in the Talmud Eser Sefirot, compacted into a few short pages of 188 numbered paragraphs. The Ba’al HaSulam merited to reach the highest levels of spiritual purity and enlightenment. He attained the soul level of Teshuvah Me’Ahava (the spiritual state of complete unconditional love) where a person merits to clearly experience our spiritual reality and the infinite goodness at the root of our every moment. If we can even begin to realize the spiritual significance of these most holy words, and their importance in the spiritual development of humanity, then there is great apprehension in the thought of attempting to translate them. The sacredness and exacting language of these words calls out to be learned in its original Hebrew. On the other hand, as long as these holy words remain untranslated, then this most profound and powerful spiritual information remains concealed for most of the world. Every translation involves interpretation, and there are most certainly more appropriate words that could have been chosen throughout this translation. This translation is not a scholarly or academic translation, but is intended to help provide a glimpse into these most precious and spiritually enlightened holy teachings. Also translated here is a clarification of the text by our holy teacher and Rebi, Rav Avraham Mordechi Gottleib, the main student of the son of the Ba’al HaSulam, Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag. Rav Gottleib’s commentary brings these spiritual understandings to an unprecedented level of clarity. These are not words to be simply read as a book, but are rather teachings that are intended to be learned slowly and carefully ideally together with a study partner or spiritual study group. The Ba’al HaSulam teaches us that the purpose of learning this wisdom is not as an intellectual pursuit, but rather to help us in realizing our spiritual potential and working towards the transformation of our inner desire towards union with our Divine source in the state of unconditional love and coming to truly care for one another.

    The translation of the Petica is printed in bold.
    Hebrew words that are transliterated are printed in italic.
    The clarifications of Rav Gottleib are printed in the regular typeface.

    פתיחה לחכמת הקבלה

    א) רבי חנניא בן עקשיא אומר: “רצה הקב”ה לזכות את ישראל לפיכך הרבה להם תורה ומצוות, שנאמר ה’ חפץ למען צדקו יגדיל תורה ויאדיר” (מכות כ”ג ע”ב). ונודע שזְכות היא מלשון הזדככות, והוא ע”ד שאמרו ז”ל: “לא נתנו מצוות אלא לצרף בהן את ישראל” (ב”ר רפמ”ד). ויש להבין ענין הזָכּוּת הזו שאנו משיגין ע”י תורה ומצוות, וכן מהי העביות שבנו, שאנו צריכים לזכותה ע”י התורה ומצוות. וכבר דברנו מזה בספרי, פנים מסבירות, ותלמוד עשר הספירות. ונחזור כאן בקיצור: כי מחשבת הבריאה היתה כדי להַנות לנבראים, כפי מתנת ידו הרחבה יתברך ויתעלה, ומכאן הוטבע בהנשמות רצון וחשק גדול לקבל את שפעו ית’, כי הרצון לקבל הוא הכלי על מדת התענוג שבהשפע, כי לפי מדת גדלו ותוקפו של הרצון לקבל את השפע, כן הוא מדת התענוג והחמדה שבהשפע, לא פחות ולא יותר. והם מקושרים זה בזה, עד שאין לחלק ביניהם זולת בהיחס – שהתענוג מיוחס להשפע, והרצון הגדול לקבל את השפע מיוחס להנברא המקבל. ובהכרח ב’ אלה נמשכים מהבורא ית’, ובאו בהכרח במחשבת הבריאה, אלא שיש לחלק בהם על דרך הנזכר, אשר השפע הוא מעצמותו ית’, כלומר שהוא נמשך יש מיש, והרצון לקבל הכלול שם הוא השורש של הנבראים, כלומר, הוא השורש של חידוש, שפירושו יציאת יש מאין, כי בעצמותו ית’ ודאי שאין שם בחינת הרצון לקבל ח”ו. וע”כ נבחן שהרצון לקבל האמור, הוא כל החומר של הבריאה מראשה עד סופה, עד שכל מיני הבריות המרובות ומקריהן שאין להן שיעור, ודרכי הנהגתן שכבר נתגלו והעתידים להתגלות, אינם רק שיעורים ושינוי ערכים של הרצון לקבל. וכל מה שיש בהן באותן הבריות, דהיינו כל מה שמקובל בהרצון לקבל המוטבע בהן, כל זה הוא נמשך מעצמותו ית’ יש מיש, ואינו כלום מבחינת הבריאה המחודשת יש מאין, כי אינו מחודש כלל, והוא נמשך מנצחיותו ית’ יש מיש.

    Peticha LeChochmat HaKabbalah – Opening to the Wisdom of the Kabbalah
    Chapter 1
    1. Rabbi Chananya ben Akashiya says: “The Holy Blessed One wanted to give merit to Israel and therefore gave them a lot of Torah (spiritual learning) and Mitzvot (spiritual practice), as it is written ‘G-d desires for the sake of righteousness to magnify the Torah and make it glorious.'” (Makot 23b). It is known that ‘to merit’ (zechut) is grammatically related to the word ‘to purify’ (hizdachachut). This is in accordance with what is written, the Mitzvot were given only in order to purify Israel (Beresheet Raba 44). We need to understand this purification that we achieve though Torah and Mitzvot, and to understand what it is in ourselves that we need to refine and purify through Torah and Mitzvot. We have already discussed this in my books, Panim Masbirot andTalmud Eser Sefirot. To repeat briefly here: The thought of creation was to give pleasure to the created beings, with this gift being in accordance with the Creator’s supernal generosity. Because of this, it was imprinted in the souls a will and great desire to receive this shefa (abundant goodness). This is because the desire to receive is the vessel for the measure of pleasure experienced in the shefa. According to the measure of the desire to receive the shefa, so is the corresponding measure of pleasure in the experience of the shefa – no more and no less. They are so intimately connected one to the other, that we do not differentiate between them except for in terms of their relationship – the pleasure is associated with the shefa, and the desire to receive the shefa is associated with the created being who receives the shefa. These both spread out from the Creator and are necessarily rooted in the thought of creation. We differentiate between them in that the shefa comes from the essence of the Creator, spreading out something from something, from that which already is, while the desire to receive included there is the source of the created beings, the source of something newly created, brought out something from nothing. This is because in the essence of G-d there is of course no aspect whatsoever of a desire to receive. We can therefore say that this desire to receive that we are speaking about is the entire material of creation from beginning to end. This is to the extent that all the countless types of created beings, and all of their happenings beyond measure, and all their behaviors in the past and that which will be in the future, are nothing other then different measures and values of the desire to receive. And everything that there is in the created beings, meaning everything that is received in the desire to receive imprinted in their nature, all spreads out from G-d’s essence something from something. It is not at all an aspect of something newly created something from nothing, because it is not something new at all. It spreads out from the eternity of G-d something from something.

    1. Rabbi Chananya ben Akashiya says: “The Holy Blessed One wanted to give merit to Israel and therefore gave them a lot of Torah (spiritual learning) and Mitzvot (spiritual practice), as it is written ‘G-d desires for the sake of righteousness to magnify the Torah and make it glorious.'” (Makot 23b). It is known that ‘to merit’ (zechut) is grammatically related to the word ‘to purify’ (hizdachachut). We find that Rabbi Chananya ben Akashiya is saying that, “The Holy Blessed One wanted to purify Israel”. The meaning is to purify and refine, as for example “refined olive oil” which is called in Hebrew “shemen zayit zach”, which means clean olive oil. This refinement is acquired by Torah and the spiritual work of the Mitzvot. We find that the only purpose of Torah and Mitzvot is to purify and refine ourselves. This is in accordance with what is written, the Mitzvot were given only in order to purify Israel (Beresheet Raba 44). Tziruf (the Hebrew word in this verse meaning ‘to purify’), also has this same meaning of cleansing. This is also the same root as the Hebrew word for ‘goldsmith’. The craft of a goldsmith is to clean the gold from all of its types of impurities. Tziruf also means to combine. The goldsmith separates the waste matter from the gold and combines the clean parts of the gold one to another. And so needs to be the actions of a person – to send out all the impure aspects from within the soul and to combine together all the parts which are good, in order to become a vehicle of G-dliness. Likewise when all Israel throws away the impurity of our aspect of individual self concern which divides us, we will become unified as one entity. When gold comes out from the earth it is full of impurities and does not look like precious gold. The gold needs to undergo the process of refinement. Through this process the impurities that are within the gold slowly slowly fall away. The gold undergoes this process over and over, until there remains pure gold without its dross and impurities. Likewise a person needs to clean themselves time after time, going up and down. Sometimes the impurity takes control of the person and sometime the purity takes control of the person, until slowly slowly the strength of the purity and cleanliness becomes greater then the impurity of the person’s desire to receive.

    We need to understand this purification that we achieve though Torah and Mitzvot, and to understand what it is in ourselves that we need to refine and purify through Torah and Mitzvot. The opposite of refinement is coarseness. The intention, however, is not necessarily a physical coarseness, meaning a desire to receive physical pleasures, but is also referring to spiritual coarseness, meaning a desire to receive spiritual pleasures. A person who is concerned only with themselves and their desires is called an unrefined and coarse person, and this is true even of a person whose desire is for spirituality. Therefore the question is – what is the coarseness within ourselves that we need to refine by Torah and Mitzvot?

    It is so extremely important to delineate the definition of coarseness. In the holy books dealing with our inner spiritual work it discusses the concept of removing from our possession leavened bread during the festival of Passover, with the bread being a metaphor for our negative inclinations (yetzer hara). What these negative inclinations actually are, however, is a notion that is very obscure. As it is discussed in the holy books, this concept of negative inclinations is divided into many parts – pride, craving, jealousy etc. Sometimes a person doesn’t even know where to begin with all these various parts. As it is the nature of the Divine light to delineate everything in clarity and simplicity, as the light itself is simple – so here our Rebi (spiritual teacher), the Ba’al HaSulam, delineates here in the most clear possible terms – what is the point that separates us from G-d, and that on this point we need to work?

    To repeat briefly here: The thought of creation was to give pleasure to the created beings, with this gift being in accordance with the Creator’s supernal generosity. Question: Is the desire of the Creator, which is the desire to give goodness to the creation, a desire that has a connotation of lack? Is the Creator lacking to give goodness to the creation? The answer is no. But we are not capable of understanding this, because all of our desires are an expression of lack. This is not so in the Divine reality where the desire to give goodness is not in the realm of lack. And this we are not able to understand. This concept is described in the verse “You created this Leviatan to play with him”. Leviatan (Leviathan) is grammatically related to the Hebrew words levi and lelavot meaning connection and attachment, as in the verse “This time my husband will become (yilave) attached to me” (Genesis 29:34). This hints to the subject of connection and attachment to G-d. Explanation: The connection and attachment that the created beings have to the Creator, along with the whole system of the fixing of creation, through which can be merited the purpose of creation, which is the revelation of G-d in the world – all this is called “Leviatan”. “You created this Leviatan to play with him”. Explanation: From the perspective of G-d it is like playing, in that it does not come out of a necessity or essential lack.

    Because of this, it was imprinted in the souls a will and great desire to receive this shefa (abundant goodness). This is because the desire to receive is the vessel for the measure of pleasure experienced in the shefa. According to the measure of the desire to receive the shefa, so is the corresponding measure of pleasure in the experience of the shefa – no more and no less. Explanation: The desire to give goodness to the creation necessitated there being created in the souls a desire to receive the goodness. This is because the feeling of the goodness depends on the size of the desire and the need to receive the goodness. Like we see in our physical world – two people are eating a meal with one enjoying a lot and the other not enjoying so much. What differentiates between them is the appetite. The one who has a big appetite has a great feeling of enjoyment from the meal. But the one who does not have an appetite, even if they are given a meal like the feast of King Shlomo, they do not have a vessel or place to receive the pleasure that is in the meal. We therefore find that the desire to receive is the vessel to recognize and feel the goodness that is given. And the size of the desire to receive determines the amount of pleasure and goodness that is felt in the shefa.

    They are so intimately connected one to the other, that we do not differentiate between them except for in terms of their relationship – the pleasure is associated with the shefa, and the desire to receive the shefa is associated with the created being who receives the shefa. Explanation: Here we are talking about the thought of creation, as it says further on, that it is the thought of the Creator to create reality. And in this thought of G-d, the desire to receive and the shefa come together, attached one to the other. The Creator is not like a person that is in need of a tool to work, but rather the thought of G-d is action itself. Therefore, there instantly appears in G-d’s thought, the desire to receive filled with the shefa and the Divine pleasure that G-d desires to bestow. The desire to receive is the vessel of the created being, and the shefa is the light of the revelation of G-d. The enjoyment results from the connection between the shefa and the desire to receive. And this is saying that even though in the thought of creation the shefa fills the vessel, and consequently the vessel is filled with pleasure so that there is nothing separating between them – in any event there is a relationship that differentiates between them. The pleasure corresponds to the shefa, and the shefa comes out from G-d’s essence. But the desire to receive does not exist in the essence of G-d, but is rather the entire essence of the created being.

    These both the shefa and the desire to receive spread out from the Creator and are necessarily rooted in the thought of creation. We differentiate between them in that the shefa comes from the essence of the Creator, spreading out something from something, from that which already is, Explanation: The essence of the shefa spreads out from the essence of the Creator. But the created beings have no comprehension of the essence of the Creator Itself, but can comprehend only the light that spreads out from the essence – meaning only what the Creator wants the created beings to comprehend of Itself. According to the spiritual axiom that “we have no comprehension of the essence of the Creator”, we need to say that what the Creator wants the created beings to comprehend of Itself, is not the essence of G-d, but is rather already an aspect associated with the connection to the created beings. There is therefore a differentiation of 3 aspects:
    1) Ein Sof Baruch Hu (Endless Blessed One) which is that which the Creator wants the created beings to comprehend of Itself.
    2) The light of the Ein Sof which is the comprehension itself.
    3) The desire to receive that is in Ein Sof which is that which is comprehending the light.

    We find that the concept thought of creation is already a concept of relationship between the Creator and the created beings. It is not the Creator Itself. This is a concept that the Creator newly created for the created beings. We find that the most primal state that has within it the source of all of the created beings, is delineated as the thought of the Creator. But even this thought is created for the created beings. Therefore it is no wonder that there is desire to receive there, because this desire to receive is within the thought – and this thought is not the essence of G-d, but rather something especially created for the created beings, as we said above. The thought of the Creator is called in the language of the Kabbalah and also in the books of Chasidut (spiritual teachings rooted in the Kabbalah) by the name Ein Sof Baruch Hu (Endless Blessed One), meaning that it does not have any end or limitation. The reason: Because in this state, the desire to receive does not cause there to be any point of disconnection from the Creator. The Divine light is enclothed 100% in this vessel. But after this primal situation called by the name “the thought of the Creator”, or by the name Ein Sof Baruch Hu, there begins to be formed a disconnection and separation called tzimtzum, that we will learn about afterwards.

    While the desire to receive included there in the thought of creation is the source of the created beings, the source of something newly created, brought out something from nothing. This is because in the essence of G-d there is of course no aspect whatsoever of a desire to receive. We find that even though the desire to receive spreads out from the Creator, it is described as “something from nothing”, because in the Creator there is no reality at all like that of the desire to receive. And this is a wonder, because in physical reality a person is not able to give what they do not have – but the Creator created a reality that it not within Itself. In the Divine reality there is no desire to receive at all, as desire to receive means lack, and in the Creator there are no lacks. The Creator is complete to the end point of perfection – desire, longing, and lack are not relevant in the reality of G-d, not even to the measure of a hairsbreadth.

    We can therefore say that this desire to receive that we are speaking about is the entire material of creation from beginning to end. Explanation: There are only 2 things in the creation: 1) the Creator. 2) the creation. The nature of the desire to receive which is within the created being is what brings it out from the totality of the Creator. We find, therefore, that the desire to receive is the material of the creation from its beginning to its end.

    The desire to receive is divided into 4 parts hinted to in the 4 letters י-ה-ו-ה:

    1) The 1st aspect of the desire to receive is as it appears in minerals. In minerals, the desire to receive is defined as the gravity within the atom, the center around which the parts are moving. We find that there is to differentiate there 1) the movement of the parts around the atom. 2) the force of the atom pulling the parts to rotate around it. Since the desire to receive in the mineral is very rudimentary and undeveloped, there is not recognized any movement in the minerals.

    2) The 2nd aspect of the desire to receive is in plants. In plants, the desire to receive pleasure and enjoyment is more developed, and therefore in plants there is the recognition of movement. This movement is not its own individual independent movement, but rather a movement common to the nature of each species of plants.

    What differentiates between the mineral and the plant is the measure of desire to receive – the desire to receive that is in the mineral is in a minimal measure and completely undeveloped. This is not so in the plant, where there is already a more developed desire to receive. What it is that determines the developmental level of the desire to receive is movement, as mentioned above. In the mineral, movement is not recognized expect for a general movement, like the movement of the earth and the moon which is a general movement. But in the parts of the mineral, movement is not recognized. This is not so in the plant, where there is already also recognized a movement of parts. Therefore, the desire to receive that there is in a plant is certainly more developed then that in a mineral, and this is what differentiates the plant from the mineral. If we look within a mineral with a microscope, we see that also the mineral is not dormant, but that in every particle there is a great amount of movement. This movement actually attests to energy of a particular aspect of desire to receive, which is the central core of every particle. In any event, since this movement is not recognized from outside, where only the general movement is recognized, this attests to the desire to receive in a mineral being less developed then the desire to receive of a plant.

    3) The 3rd aspect of the desire to receive is in animals. In animals, there is the recognition of individual movement in every animal. This points to a larger measure of development of the desire to receive. In animals there is already motives of honor, and power, and other desires beyond the realms of eating and drinking which are also found in plants.

    We find that in animals there is already a much more developed desire to to receive, since every animal has a feeling of individuality. This is not so in plants where we do not recognize feelings and movement that are different from one to the other. We find that the plant is developed in relation to the mineral, because the mineral movement is general, as we said above, and every plant grows in an individual manner. But in a plant there is no recognition of feeling or growth or independent movement of any particular plant beyond that of another plant. There is rather a movement and feeling and growth, that is common to all of them. This is not so in animals where there is already independent feeling and movement to each individual animal. There is certainly more desire to receive in an animal then there is in a plant.

    4) The 4th aspect of the desire to receive is in humans. In a human there can already be recognized psychological movement that is not found so much in animals. Animals are not able to comprehend outside of their individual time and place. This is not the case with humans, which are able to comprehend outside of their individual time and place. Explanation: A human has the ability to be cognitive of the past and the future (by books and by imagination), which is not the case with animals that are only able to be cognitive of the present. Likewise, humans have the ability to be cognitive of other places in the world (by the various means of communication), which is not the case with animals that are only able to be cognitive of their place. Also the human is able to be happy in the joys of others and to feel sadness in the sorrows of others. And for all of these reasons, the desire to receive of humans is developed beyond measure from that of animals. What’s more, is that a human’s intellect is more developed to the measure that it is able to serve its desire to receive in the maximum way.

    This is to the extent that all the countless types of created beings, and all of their happenings beyond measure, and all their behaviors in the past and that which will be in the future, are nothing other then different measures and values of the desire to receive. Explanation: The general intention of “all the countless types of created beings” is the 4 aspects we specified. But there is also this division within a person themselves:

    1) The desire to receive that which is necessary. An example is the most minimal aspects of a person’s need to eat, drink and sleep. This is the mineral aspect within a person.
    2) The desire to receive animal cravings more then the minimum. This is the plant aspect within a person.
    3) The desire to receive honor and power. This is the animal aspect within a person.
    4) The desire to receive intelligence. This is the human aspect within a person.
    5) The desire to receive pleasure and enjoyment from the revelation of the Creator. This is an aspect above the human aspect, and is the aspect of G-dliness within a person.

    These 5 types of desire to receive are all found collectively within humanity, and they are what differentiates people from one another. Also the same type of desire to receive, that is found in different measures among people, also differentiates people from each other. This is such that everything that differentiates people, one from the other, is only the subject that the desire to receive wants to receive and the measure of the strength of the desire to receive. There is nothing more then this that differentiates people one from the other. The desire to receive is even that which differentiates between the events that the created beings are going through. The desire to receive is also what differentiates between behavior and particular ways that people act. Even within a person themselves, the thing that differentiates between the particular inner states that a person experiences – is the subject of the desire to receive. And this is what it says: to the extent that all the countless types of created beings, and all of their happenings beyond measure, and all their behaviors in the past and that which will be in the future, are nothing other then different measures and values of the desire to receive.

    And everything that there is in the created beings, meaning everything that is received in the desire to receive imprinted in their nature, meaning that which fills the desire to receive, which is all the types of pleasure and enjoyment, all spreads out from G-d’s essence something from something. It is not at all an aspect of something newly created something from nothing, because it is not something new at all. It spreads out from the eternity of G-d something from something. Explanation: All the types of pleasure, from the lowest pleasures to the highest pleasures, all spread out from G-dliness, something from something – meaning that they are not something new, but were included in the essence of G-d. That which gives a low or high character to the pleasure, is the vessel of a person and the person’s comprehension – but at the source everything is simple unity from the aspect of G-dliness.

    Summary of #1: In #1 the Ba’al HaSulam is discussing the thought of creation, meaning the thought of the Creator to give goodness to the created beings. This is the highest state called “Ein Sof Baruch Hu”. This state includes absolutely all of the light that is desired to give to the created beings, and also absolutely all of the desire to receive, which is the vessel of the created beings. The light is enclothed in the desire to receive in complete attachment.

    ב) וכפי האמור, כלול הרצון לקבל בהכרח תכף במחשבת הבריאה, בכל ריבוי ערכים שבו, ביחד עם השפע הגדול שחשב להנותם ולהעניקם. ותדע, שז”ס אור וכלי שאנו מבחינים בעולמות עליונים, כי הם באים בהכרח כרוכים יחד, ומשתלשלים יחד ממדרגה למדרגה. ובשיעור שהמדרגות יורדות מאת אור פניו ומתרחקות ממנו ית’, כן הוא שיעור ההתגשמות של הרצון לקבל הכלול בהשפע. וכן אפשר לומר להיפך – אשר כפי שיעור ההתגשמות של הרצון לקבל בהשפע, כן הולך ויורד ממדרגה למדרגה, כמ”ש להלן. עד המקום הנמוך מכולם, דהיינו שהרצון לקבל מתגשם שם בכל שיעורו הראוי, נבחן המקום ההוא בשם עולם העשיה, והרצון לקבל נבחן לבחינת גופו של אדם, והשפע שמקבל נבחן למדת תוכנם של החיים שבגוף ההוא. ועד”ז גם בשאר בריות שבעוה”ז. באופן, שכל ההבחן שבין העולמות העליונים לעוה”ז הוא – כי כל עוד שהרצון לקבל הכלול בשפעו ית’ לא נתגשם בצורתו הסופית, נבחן שעודו נמצא בעולמות הרוחניים, העליונים מעוה”ז, ואחר שהרצון לקבל נתגשם בצורתו הסופית, הוא נבחן שכבר הוא מצוי בעוה”ז.

    2. In accordance with what we have said, there is necessarily and instantly included in the thought of creation, the desire to receive with all of its myriad measures together with the great shefa that was thought to bestow and give pleasure. And know that this is the secret of light and vessel that we discern in the upper spiritual worlds. They come necessarily attached together, and progressively descend together from level to level. According to the measure that the level descends from the revelation of the Divine light, and becomes distant from G-d, so too is the corresponding measure of materialization of the desire to receive that is included in the shefa. It is also possible to say the opposite – that according to the degree of materialization of the desire to receive that is within the shefa, there is a corresponding descent from level to level, as will be explained. The levels descend until the place of the lowest level where the desire to receive becomes materialized in all its appropriate measure. This place is called the world of Asiya. The desire to receive is considered the aspect of the body of a person, and the shefa that is received is considered the measure of the life that is contained in this body. It is likewise with all the created beings that are in this world, in that all the differentiation that there is between the upper spiritual worlds and this world is – that as long as the desire to receive that is included in the divine shefa is not materialized in its final form, it is considered to be within the spiritual worlds above this world, and after the desire to receive becomes materialized in its final form it is considered to be in this world.

    2. In accordance with what we have said, there is necessarily and instantly included in the thought of creation, the desire to receive with all of its myriad measures together with the great shefa that was thought to bestow and give pleasure. Explanation: The term “necessarily” indicates 2 ideas:

    1) The desire to receive is necessarily included in the thought of creation, because if not we would be speaking about the essence of G-d. The essence of G-d is the only entity that does not have the desire to receive, and of the essence of G-d “there is no thought which can grasp it in any way at all”. None of the Kabbalists speak about this essence. The Kabbalists speak only about the relationship between the Creator and the creation. This relationship is called “the thought of creation”. The relationship between Creator and creation means – the relationship between the Creator and the desire to receive which is called creation. Therefore the desire to receive is necessarily included in the thought of creation.

    Rav Ashlag writes in the Talmud Eser Sefirot: “In what way is the Ein Sof (Ein Sof is a Divine name literally meaning Endless) differentiated from the Creator to be called by the name Ein Sof? It is differentiated because of the desire to receive that is included in it.” Explanation: Ein Sof is the thought of the Creator to give goodness to the creation. So why do we call this Ein Sof and not the Creator? The reason is because Ein Sof already includes within it the creation. The concept of “desiring to give goodness to the creation” attests to the relationship and connection to the creation which as we have said is the desire to receive.

    2) The term “necessarily” is because the desire to receive is included in the thought of creation together with the great shefa that the Creator wants to give. Unlike ourselves, the Creator has no need for anything in order to carry out an action. In regards to the Creator there is no past, present, and future. The future serves the Creator as the present. We find that since the Creator’s desire is to give goodness to the creation, that the creation was immediately created with all of the goodness that the Creator desired to bestow.

    with all of its myriad measures the intention is that when there was thought “to give goodness to the creation”, there was immediately created the desire to receive with all of its attributes that will be delineated throughout all the spiritual worlds, and afterwards revealed in the souls through the end of all the generations. This desire to receive was included in the thought of creation together with the great shefa that was thought to bestow and give pleasure meaning that the light that is shinning in the created beings, that is included in the thought of creation, includes all the lights that will ever be revealed in the spiritual worlds and the souls until the end of all the generations. We find that the thought of creation includes all of reality – the light and the vessel, down to every last little detail.

    And know that this is the secret of light and vessel that we discern in the upper spiritual worlds. They come necessarily attached together, and progressively descend together from level to level. Explanation: The light is the shefa that was thought to give to the souls. The essence of this light is the revelation of G-d to the creation. The vessel is the desire to receive in the souls that desires to merit to this light because it contains endless pleasure.

    world The definition of a world is a spiritual level. The spiritual levels are called worlds (olamot) because each one hides (olam has also the meaning of hiding) the Divine light from the created beings and only reveals to them according to the level of their spiritual refinement. We need to understand what it mean upper (as in upper spiritual worlds), since there is no physical space in spiritual reality. It is not as simple people think that the upper spiritual worlds are found in the heavens above us or that G-d is found in the heavens. The Creator does not take up any space and there is no space devoid of G-d. The meaning of upper is upper in importance. In other words there are worlds (spiritual levels) where the Creator is more revealed, and are therefore more important then our reality here in this world. These worlds are more important because the purpose of creation is more revealed there, and they are therefore called upper. We also need to understand that when we are speaking about the reality of olam hazeh (this world), the intention is not to any physical aspect, but only meaning the soul aspect of the desire to receive of a person. Also the reality of the upper worlds is discussing a spiritual state of consciousness that most certainly is able to be revealed to a person living on the physical earth. We find that whether a person is found in this world or the upper spiritual worlds, is not related to aspects of space and time, but rather depends on the person’s spiritual state of consciousness.

    They the light and the vessel come necessarily attached together, and progressively descend together from level to level. Explanation: The light and the vessel come necessarily together:
    1) Because there is no understanding of the light unto itself, but only to the extent to which it is clothed (experienced) in a vessel.
    2) The vessel in its source, meaning in the thought of creation, is attached to the upper light. Therefore, when it progressively descends from level to level, it progressively descends with its light. The concept of progressively descending from level to level means – the order of gradual progression through which the vessel become coarse, and the light within it therefore becomes diminished. This will be discussed in great detail.

    According to the measure that the level descends from the revelation of the Divine light, and becomes distant from G-d, so too is the corresponding measure of materialization of the desire to receive that is included in the shefa. Explanation: In spiritual reality there is no space. Therefore, the concept of descent means a differentiation in form from the Creator, and the concept of ascent means a similarity of form to the Creator. The absolute characteristic of the Creator is THE GOOD AND THE GIVER OF GOOD. The created beings are considered to have ascended to the extent to which they progress in this direction and want only to give to others. The created beings are considered to have descended to the extent to which they progress in the opposite direction and increase in their desire to receive for themselves. We find that the meaning of a level descending from the revelation of the Divine light means that in this level there is an increase in the desire to receive the shefa and a diminishing of the desire to give. The concept of the materialization of the desire to receive means the expansion of the desire to receive for one’s own self benefit. It is not speaking here about physical material states.

    It is also possible to say the opposite – that according to the degree of materialization of the desire to receive that is within the shefa, there is a corresponding descent from level to level, as will be explained. Both of these sentences are really one, except that the first sentence is from the perspective of the level going down, and the second sentence is from the perspective of the materialization of the desire to receive. We can ask: What is the difference between the levels we are speaking about and the desire to receive found in the levels? A level is defined as a particular measure of Divine revelation. The souls descend from their inclusive form in the thought of the Creator, descending from level to level, meaning that the souls descend through different states where in each level the experience of the Divine is progressively diminished. We need to remember that soul means light and vessel – shefa and the desire to receive the shefa. We find that the meaning of going down from level to level is that the light that is felt by the vessel in the soul is diminished. The first sentence is from the perspective of the descent of the levels. The Creator formed a ladder of particular levels that the soul needs to pass through and therefore the soul goes down from level to level. Descending from level to level is attesting to the materialization of the desire to receive within the soul. This means that the desire to receive becomes more coarse, focused on its own self benefit, and the desire to give becomes diminished. The second sentence is from the perspective of the soul. This means that as the measure of the desire to receive in the soul increases, it necessitates its descent from level to level. This is because it is unable to experience the Divine revelation in the way that it could be experienced before the increased measure of the desire to receive. In actuality these two sentences are bringing the same idea from different directions.

    until the place of the lowest level where the desire to receive becomes materialized in all its appropriate measure. meaning that the desire to receive arrives at its maximal state where it is entirely desiring to receive for its own self benefit and has no connection at all to the desire to give.

    This place is called the world of Asiya. This world is called the world of Asiya (literally: doing or action) because only in this world is the doing of the Torah and the Mitzvot. Also Emuna (Faith) is called Asiya for the reason that acting in Emuna is not intellectual understanding but only “doing the action”. Also, this world is called the world of Asiya because in this world the existence of G-d is hidden and we need to work from the place of Emuna.

    The desire to receive is considered the aspect of the body of a person, We can ask: Our physical body is only flesh and bones and does not have a desire to receive, so what is the relationship between these flesh and bones and our personal desire to receive? We are, of course, speaking about the soul of a person. In the soul of a person there is to differentiate between the part that is spiritual and the part which is the body. The light is the spiritual part, and the desire to receive is the part called the body. It is called body in relationship to the light. The intention is not our physical material body.

    the shefa that is received is considered the measure of the life that is contained in this body. Explanation: The level of the life that is experienced in the desire to receive is according to the measure of the desire to receive. In other words, if a person wants to receive physical animalistic pleasures, then the substance of the life in this body is animalistic. We find that the shefa that is received in this body is a shefa of pleasure dressed in the animalistic desires and nothing more. This is the substance of the life of this body. If the desire to receive of the person desires intellectual pleasures, then the pleasures of the intellect are considered the substance of the life of this body. If we ask: Why is there in one person animalistic desires and in another person intellectual desires? The answer is that the tendencies of a person are inherited. (This is discussed in Rav Ashlag’s book “The Giving of the Torah” in the chapter “Freedom”). Our tendencies are affected by our society, social events, our friends, and the community of people we associate with. Our inherited spiritual tendencies are strengthened by holy books and holy people. We need to understand that if a person connects themselves with holy books and holy people then they can little by little habituate themselves to make the substance of their life spiritual rather than material. If a person learns from the holy books of people who have attained spiritual union with G-d, it is able to ignite a particular inner burning to be drawn in this direction. The notion of holy books and holy people is so important in Judaism because they are able to actually transform a person.

    It is likewise with all the created beings that are in this world. Explanation: The other created beings in this world which are the various types of minerals, plants, and animals, are also drawn forth from the thought of creation called Ein Sof Baruch Hu. There is no aspect of reality that is not included in this thought of creation. We therefore find that the soul of an animal is also made of light and vessel, in other words shefa and a particular measure of desire to receive. They are also drawn forth from the thought of creation and progressively descend thorough the all the spiritual worlds until arriving at the reality of this material world. This is to say that at its source also the soul of an animal is found in holiness and attached to a high source. But we need to understand that the value of animals is not intrinsic, but is rather in accordance with humanity. That is to say that if people in this world go down, then also the animals go down. If people rise in holiness, then also the souls of animals rise up together with us in holiness. An example is the donkey of Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair. The soul of this donkey was elevated for the soul of a donkey, but this was only because of the high spiritual level of Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair. Or, for example, what is written concerning the end of days: “The wolf will live with the lamb and the leopard and the goat will lay together”, meaning that they won’t hunt one another. This is for the reason that people will arrive to a reality of peace between themselves and will reach the aspect of “love your neighbor as yourself”.

    all the differentiation that there is between the upper spiritual worlds and this world is – that as long as the desire to receive that is included in the divine shefa is not materialized in its final form, meaning that the desire to receive becomes coarse in its maximum measure, where it wants to swallow everything for its own benefit, and has no idea what it is the desire to give, it is considered to be within the spiritual worlds above this world, and after the desire to receive becomes materialized in its final form it is considered to be in this world. We find that it is not speaking here about the material physical world of planet earth, but rather this world (olam hazeh) is a spiritual concept. When the soul reaches its lowest state, meaning that the desire to receive reaches its most coarse state, then it is considered to be found in the soul state called “this world” (olam hazeh). According to this, we can also say the opposite: there is a reality where a person is living physicaly in this world, but from the aspect of the person’s state of consciousness they are considered to be within the upper spiritual worlds. We have already heard of some of the righteous students of the Ba’al Shem Tov who were given to be able to choose their state of consciousness. If they wanted their soul to leave their body completely, meaning to leave the physical dimension and enter the spiritual dimension, then their body would remain without their soul with only a minimal life force to keep it alive. When they wanted, their soul would return to the physical dimension and become dressed once again in their body.

    Summary of #2: The desire to receive and the shefa, called light and the vessel, progressively descend from the thought of creation by way of the spiritual worlds until arriving at this world (olam hazeh). The term “this world” (olam hazeh) means the lowest aspect where the desire to receive becomes coarse in its maximal measure, and the light is reduced to a minimum.

    ג) וסדר ההשתלשלות האמור עד להביא את הרצון לקבל על צורתו הסופית שבעוה”ז, הוא על סדר ד’ בחינות שיש בד’ אותיות של השם בן ד’. כי ד’ אותיות הוי”ה שבשמו ית’ כוללות את כל המציאות כולה, מבלי יוצא ממנה אף משהו מן המשהו. ומבחינת הכלל הן מתבארות בהע”ס: חכמה, בינה, ת”ת, מלכות, ושרשן. והן עשר ספירות, כי ספירת התפארת כוללת בעצמה שש ספירות הנקראות חג”ת נה”י, והשורש נקרא כתר. אמנם בעיקרן הן נקראות חו”ב תו”מ, וזכור זה. והן ד’ עולמות הנקראים: אצילות, בריאה, יצירה, עשיה. ועולם העשיה כולל בתוכו גם את העוה”ז. באופן, שאין לך בריה בעוה”ז שלא תהיה מחודשת מא”ס ב”ה, דהיינו במחשבת הבריאה, שהיא בכדי להַנות לנבראיו, כנ”ל. והיא בהכרח כלולה תיכף מאור וכלי, כלומר מאיזה שיעור של שפע, עם בחינת רצון לקבל את השפע ההוא. אשר שיעור השפע הוא נמשך מעצמותו ית’ יש מיש, והרצון לקבל את השפע הוא מחודש יש מאין, כנ”ל. ובכדי שהרצון לקבל ההוא יבא על תכונתו הסופית, הוא מחויב להשתלשל עם השפע שבו דרך ד’ העולמות: אצילות, בריאה, יצירה, עשיה. ואז נגמרת הבריה באור וכלי, הנקראים גוף ואור החיים שבו.

    3. The order of the descending progression of the desire to receive until it reaches its final form in olam hazeh (this world) is in the order of the 4 aspects that are in the 4 letters of the 4 letter name. The 4 letters of the Divine name י-ה-ו-ה completely include all of reality with no aspect of reality being left out at all. These 4 aspects are generally described in the 10 sefirot: Chochmah, Bina, Tiferet, Malchut, and their source. They are 10 sefirot, because the sefira of Tiferet includes in herself 6 sefirot called: Chesed, Gevura, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and the source is called Keter. But in their essential aspect they are called Chochma and Bina, Tiferet and Malchut. Remember this. And they are the 4 spiritual worlds called: Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, Asiya. And the world of Asiya includes within it olam hazeh. This is in the manner that you do not have a creature in this world that was not made new from Ein Sof Baruch Hu, meaning the thought of creation, that is to give pleasure to the created beings, as we said before. Every created being has necessarily and immediately included in her light and vessel, that is to say a measure of shefa with the desire to receive that shefa. The measure of the shefa draws forth from the essence of G-d – something from something. The desire to receive the shefa is new – something from nothing, as we said before. In order that this desire to receive will come to its final form, it is necessary for it to progressively descend with the shefa by way of the 4 spiritual worlds: Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, Asiya. Then the created being is finished in light and vessel, called body and the light of life within it.

    3. The order of the descending progression of the desire to receive until it reaches its final form in olam hazeh (this world) is in the order of the 4 aspects that are in the 4 letters of the 4 letter name. The name י-ה-ו-ה (Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey). The 4 letters of the Divine name י-ה-ו-ה completely include all of reality with no aspect of reality being left out at all. The 4 letters of י-ה-ו-ה allude to the 4 all-inclusive aspects of the desire to receive that there are in existence, that we detailed above in the aspects of mineral, plant, animal, and human. There is also a 5th aspect alluded to by the tip of the letter י (Yud), which is an aspect of the desire to receive higher then the desire to receive of the human level.

    These 4 aspects are generally described in the 10 sefirot: Chochmah, Bina, Tiferet, Malchut, and their source. Question: How do we have here 10 sefirot, isn’t this only 5? Answer: They are 10 sefirot, because the sefira of Tiferet includes in herself 6 sefirot called: Chesed, Gevura, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and the source is called Keter. But in their essential aspect they are called Chochma and Bina, Tiferet and Malchut. This is to say that the 4 essential aspects are Chochma, Bina, Tiferet and Malchut. The 6 sefirot that are within Tiferet are aspects that are details of one sefira (and our counting of these details is not because of the high level of Tiferet, but rather due to the lowering of the level within her, as will be explained later on). Also the sefira of Keter, which is the highest level, is not included in the essential aspects of the sefirot, because even though she is in actuality the source of the giving of the light below, she can only be grasped relatively and not absolutely, and therefore she does not have a letter in the Divine name י-ה-ו-ה.

    And they are the 4 spiritual worlds called: Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, Asiya. Explanation: There is a differentiation between the inclusive aspects and their details. The worlds are spiritual levels and the sefirot are spiritual levels – so what is the difference? It is like we see in this world that there is a world that contains many details – skies, seas, dry land, and within the dry land there are many details etc., all this draws forth from spiritual reality. In spirituality the inclusive levels are called worlds, and within them are details of levels called sefirot. A level means a level of Divine revelation, as everything we are speaking about in this wisdom is about the revelation of G-d. Therefore there are generally speaking 4 levels that are called the 4 worlds. Why are they called worlds? Because the light of the revelation of G-d is progressively hidden in them (in Hebrew world is olam and also has a literal meaning of being hidden). The light shines in Atzilut in a manner that is very great. In Briya the revelation of the light is already less, and in Yetzira even less, and in Asiya the light is at its minimum. Within every world there are 4 sefirot. In Atzilut there are these 4 sefirot that are the specific levels of Atzilut. In Briya there are these 4 sefirot that are the specific levels of Briya, etc.

    We need to understand that although there are 4 sefirot in Atzilut, that each of the 4 sefirot of Atzilut has the characteristic of the sefira of Chochma, and they are associated with the Yud of the Shem Havaya (4 letter Divine name Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey). In the world of Briya even though there are 4 sefirot – Chochma, Bina, Tiferet, and Malchut, the characteristic that is dominant in the world of Briya is the sefira of Bina, the 1st Hey of the Shem Havaya. The world of Yetzira is the Vav of the Shem Havaya and contains the 4 sefirot Chochma, Bina, Tiferet, and Malchut – but the dominant characteristic is Tiferet. In the world of Asiya there are these 4 sefirot, but the dominant characteristic is the characteristic of the last sefira, the characteristic of Malchut, and it is the last letter Hey of the Shem Havaya.

    And the world of Asiya includes within it olam hazeh. Explanation: In actuality the world of Asiya is a spiritual world of holiness, so what does it mean that it includes olam hazeh, because olam hazeh is associated with receiving in order to receive, and is therefore outside the definition of holiness!? Because the world of Asiya is the lowest level of holiness, it therefore in its lowest aspect touches olam hazeh. This is because the lowest level of an upper spiritual world becomes the highest level of the spiritual world beneath it.

    This is in the manner that you do not have a creature in this world that was not made new from Ein Sof Baruch Hu, meaning the thought of creation, that is to give pleasure to the created beings. Explanation: All the created beings of this world were first given birth to in the thought of creation called “the desire to give goodness to the created beings.”

    Further clarification of these matters: The thought of creation is the thought of G-d. |n the example of a person who wants to build a house, so first of all the person sees the house completed in their imagination, and then afterwards begins to plan and build. From the physical reality below we can learn about our upper spiritual reality, as it is likewise in regards to the descending progression of the spiritual created beings. G-d wanted to create a creation and create beings because G-d wanted to give pleasure to them. What kind of good and pleasure? The good and pleasure that is felt by the created beings when they experience the revelation of G-d. The Creator’s intention is to give this pleasure. For the created beings to progressively descend and arrive to be created beings that are completely disconnected from the Creator, there needs to be an ordered process of detachment. Why? Two opposite things do not come from one another in a direct way, but only in a progressive manner. At first there is a small change, then afterwards a bigger change, until eventually there is a reality of opposites. The created beings are in actuality the opposite of the Creator. The Creator wants to give goodness to the created beings, and there is no aspect of self-love and no aspect of a desire to receive at all. This is not so in regards to the created beings, whose essence is one of lack and desire to receive (desire and lack are the same concept). A person in each and every stage of their life wants to receive pleasure and enjoyment. What this pleasure that we want to receive is, changes from time to time. A person, from their own self, does not have love for others, but only love of the self. Therefore the Creator and the creation are opposites. In order for these 2 opposite things to come out from one another, meaning for the creation to come out of the Creator, there necessarily needs to be a descending progression of stages. Therefore, in the first stage there is the stage of the thought of creation, like the example of a person who sees in their mind the finished building. The Creator’s desire to create the created beings, enacted all the souls as they are found in their completed state of absolute perfection and attachment. This level is called by the name Ein Sof Baruch Hu (Endless Blessed One). Why is it called by the name Ein Sof Baruch Hu? Because this place is in absolute perfection and there is not yet any aspect of limitation. This is in contrast to afterwards where aspects of limitation come into effect.

    We need to understand: Why the created beings in Ein Sof are not separated from their source? The answer given by our Rebi, the Master of the Ladder, is that this is of the wonders that G-d is able to do anything. This desire to receive was created, which is the essence of the created being, but in any event we say that in Ein Sof there is no separation and there is a reception of all the light of the Divine revelation.

    After Ein Sof, the created being descends progressively by way of the spiritual worlds until arriving at olam hazeh (this world). The explanation is that in the beginning the desire to receive is not detached from the desire to give. That is to say that there is still within the desire to receive an aspect of desiring to give (desiring to give pleasure to the Creator). The meaning of this descending progression is that little by little the desire to give is diminished and the desire to receive is increased. This causes the created being to be distanced from the Creator. At the end of this process there is no desire to give at all and there is only a desire to receive. This is called olam hazeh, and human beings are born from this aspect.

    The question remains: We say that reality necessitates this order of descending progression. In the understanding that G-d can do anything, is G-d not able to make the creation come out from the Creator directly, without needing this descending order of progression? The answer is that of course G-d is able, but that these levels are for our good and for our benefit. That is to say that G-d intentionally made this order of descending levels of progression. This order is similar to the rungs of a ladder. This ladder is arranged for the souls, in order that they will be able to ascend the rungs from below to above. The more rungs that there are, the easier it is for the the souls to ascend. If there were only a few rungs then it would be very hard to pass from stage to stage.

    has necessarily and immediately included in her light and vessel, that is to say a measure of shefa with the desire to receive that shefa. we need to remember that shefa means the experience of G-dliness.

    Then the created being is finished in light and vessel, called body and the light of life within it. This happens necessarily in olam hazeh, where there are no sparks of wanting to give, and the created being is completely desiring to receive from the head to the heal of the foot. Then it is a true creation, completely distant from the Creator. It is then necessary to do actions in order to come close to the Creator, meaning actions in the aspects of heart and mind, that are are hashpa’ah (giving) and emunah (faith).

    SUMMARY OF #3:

    1. The order of the descending progression of the light and the vessel is by the way of the 4 letters of Shem Havayah (י-ה-ו-ה). The shefa and the vessel progressively descend from the thought of creation, and they pass by way of the 4 worlds Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya, that are hinted to in the 4 letters of י-ה-ו-ה, until arriving at olam hazeh where the desire to receive is most manifest.

    2. The 4 letters of Shem Havaya include the 10 sefirot: The tip of the Yud hints to Keter, Yud – Chochma, Hey – Bina, Vav – Tiferet (includes 6 sefirot), Hey – Malchut.

    ד) והצורך להשתלשלות הרצון לקבל על ד’ בחינות האמורות שבאבי”ע, הוא מפני שיש כלל גדול בענין הכלים – אשר התפשטות האור והסתלקותו היא עושה את הכלי רצוי לתפקידו. פירוש: כי כל עוד שהכלי לא נפרד פעם מהאור שלו, הרי הוא נכלל עם האור ובטל אליו כנר בפני האבוקה. וענין הביטול הזה הוא – מפני שיש הפכיות ביניהם הרחוקה מקצה אל הקצה, כי האור הוא שפע הנמשך מעצמותו ית’ יש מיש, ומבחינת מחשבת הבריאה שבא”ס ית’, הוא כולו להשפיע ואין בו מבחינת רצון לקבל אף משהו, והפכי אליו הוא הכלי, שהוא הרצון הגדול לקבל את השפע ההוא, שהוא כל שורשו של הנברא המחודש, הנה אין בו ענין של השפעה כלום. ולפיכך בהיותם כרוכים זה בזה יחד, מתבטלא הרצון לקבל בהאור שבו. ואינו יכול לקבוע את צורתו אלא אחר הסתלקות האור ממנו פעם אחת, כי אחר הסתלקות האור ממנו הוא מתחיל להשתוקק מאד אחריו, וההשתוקקות הזאת קובעת ומחליטה את צורת הרצון לקבל כראוי, ואח”ז כשהאור חוזר ומתלבש בו הם נבחנים מעתה לב’ ענינים נבדלים – כלי ואור, או גוף וחיים. ושים כאן עיניך כי הוא עמוק מכל עמוק.

    4. The need

  3. ד) והצורך להשתלשלות הרצון לקבל על ד’ בחינות האמורות שבאבי”ע, הוא מפני שיש כלל גדול בענין הכלים – אשר התפשטות האור והסתלקותו היא עושה את הכלי רצוי לתפקידו. פירוש: כי כל עוד שהכלי לא נפרד פעם מהאור שלו, הרי הוא נכלל עם האור ובטל אליו כנר בפני האבוקה. וענין הביטול הזה הוא – מפני שיש הפכיות ביניהם הרחוקה מקצה אל הקצה, כי האור הוא שפע הנמשך מעצמותו ית’ יש מיש, ומבחינת מחשבת הבריאה שבא”ס ית’, הוא כולו להשפיע ואין בו מבחינת רצון לקבל אף משהו, והפכי אליו הוא הכלי, שהוא הרצון הגדול לקבל את השפע ההוא, שהוא כל שורשו של הנברא המחודש, הנה אין בו ענין של השפעה כלום. ולפיכך בהיותם כרוכים זה בזה יחד, מתבטלא הרצון לקבל בהאור שבו. ואינו יכול לקבוע את צורתו אלא אחר הסתלקות האור ממנו פעם אחת, כי אחר הסתלקות האור ממנו הוא מתחיל להשתוקק מאד אחריו, וההשתוקקות הזאת קובעת ומחליטה את צורת הרצון לקבל כראוי, ואח”ז כשהאור חוזר ומתלבש בו הם נבחנים מעתה לב’ ענינים נבדלים – כלי ואור, או גוף וחיים. ושים כאן עיניך כי הוא עמוק מכל עמוק.

    4. The need for the desire to receive to progressively descend by way of the 4 aspects of ABY”A (Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya), is for the reason that there is a great general principle in the concept of the vessels – that the spreading out of the light and its departure is what makes the vessel fitting for its role. Explanation: As long as the vessel has not been at one time separated from its light, it is included with the light and nullifies to it like a candle before a torch. And the idea of this nullification is that they are complete opposites from one another from one extreme to the other. This is because the light is the shefa that spreads out from the essence of G-d something from something, and from the thought of creation that is in Ein Sof, that is completely to give and does not have any aspect whatsoever of desiring to receive. And opposite to this is the vessel, which is the great desire to receive this shefa, which is the entire source of the newly created being that contains no aspect at all of giving. And therefore, while they are bound together to one another, the desire to receive is nullified by the light within itself, and it is unable to be set in its form until the light has departed from it one time. After the light has departed from it, there begins to be a great longing for the light. This longing sets and delineates the form of the desire to receive as is fitting. Afterwards, when the light returns and is enclothed in the desire to receive, they are now considered 2 separate aspects – vessel and light, or body and life. And look into this as it is the deepest of all the deep.

    4. The need for the desire to receive to progressively descend by way of the 4 aspects of ABY”A (Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya), Here the Ba’al HaSulam wants to explain why in order for the complete desire to receive to come out there needs to be a progression of the 4 aspects hinted to in the name Havaya, is for the reason that there is a great general principle in the concept of the vessels – that the spreading out of the light and its departure is what makes the vessel fitting for its role. The role of the vessel is to be a receptor for the light. The concept of a receptor in the aspect of our soul is – the maximal lacking and longing to receive the light.

    Explanation: As long as the vessel has not been at one time separated from its light, it is included with the light and nullifies to it like a candle before a torch. For example: A person in the presence of the Rebi for many years becomes used to all the events, the learning, the holy meals, the prayers etc.. Throughout all the years he does not feel anything with regards to the importance of the Rebi since he does not feel any lacking or distress. Then comes the day when the Rebi needs to travel for some years away from Israel, and the the person begins to feel a lack, and begins to contemplate and feel how beautiful the prayers were in the presence of the Rebi, how deep the learning was etc.. The lack grows bigger and stronger, and with it the suffering and the longing for what was. We see that it is only when the Rebi travels that there begins to be felt a lack, and there begins to be a true appreciation for the Rebi and for what the Rebi has given to him. According to this, when the Rebi returns, he will already know how to appreciate him as is fitting, and he can enjoy much more from the Rebi relative to what he enjoyed before the Rebi traveled.

    And the idea of this nullification is that they are complete opposites from one another from one extreme to the other. This is because the light is the shefa that spreads out from the essence of G-d something from something, and from the thought of creation that is in Ein Sof, that is completely to give and does not have any aspect whatsoever of desiring to receive. And opposite to this is the vessel, which is the great desire to receive this shefa, which is the entire source of the newly created being that contains no aspect at all of giving. We find that in the upper light there is no lacking to receive, and in the vessel there is no aspect of giving as it is completely receiving. Question: If the Creator has no lack, what is the meaning of what is written “G-d desires the prayers of the righteous”? It sounds like G-d is waiting for our prayers and looking forward to them. Answer: There is no light without a vessel, and there is no filling without a lack. G-d is waiting for the prayers of the righteous because the prayers of the righteous means lack – that they are asking G-d to bring them close and to give them the ability to give to others, exactly as G-d wants to give goodness to the creation, in the aspect of “As G-d is compassionate so are you to be compassionate”. Therefore, G-d desiring the prayers of the righteous means that there cannot be revealed the upper lights if the lower ones do not give vessels, meaning the desire and need for these lights.

    Our holy Rebi writes in “Mavo LeSefer HaZohar”, that this is similar to a father and his children. The father is very exalted above the children and is not on the level of the child. In order to help the development of the child, the father needs to show the child a happy face when the child does good deeds, and a sad or angry face when the child does bad deeds. In actuality these faces are not connected to the father’s inner self at all. The father shows the child these different faces because he wants to develop and educate the child, but the father is not effected at all from the child. The idea of the metaphor is: When we say that the Creator is effected by us, this is only in terms of helping us to develop. Therefore we say that the Creator desires our prayers, is waiting for our Torah and Mitzvot (spiritual learning and good deeds), and if we do not go in the true way, then it is as if the Creator becomes angry and shows us the appearance of an angry face. But all this is only for us to understand what we need to do or not to do. On this the Ba’al HaSulam says: It is written “You created this Leviatan to play with him”. Leviatan is from the Hebrew root levi meaning connection and attachment. “This Leviatan” – meaning all of the creation that G-d created in order to be connected and attached to G-d – only “to play with him”. From the aspect of G-d it is all playing. Do not think that there is anything lacking from G-d if we do not go in G-d’s ways, but everything is from the desire to give goodness to us.

    And the idea of this nullification is that they are complete opposites from one another from one extreme to the other. This is because the light is the shefa that spreads out from the essence of G-d something from something, and from the thought of creation that is in Ein Sof, that is completely to give and does not have any aspect whatsoever of desiring to receive. And opposite to this is the vessel, which is the great desire to receive this shefa, which is the entire source of the newly created being that contains no aspect at all of giving. And therefore, while they are bound together to one another, the desire to receive is nullified by the light within itself, Question: This seems to be very perplexing, as it is saying that the reason for the nullification of the vessel to the light is because they are 2 opposites, the light completely giving and the vessel completely receiving. It would seem, however, to be the opposite – that if they are 2 opposites the vessel would not be nullified to the light, and only if they were similar would the vessel necessarily be nullified to the light!? and it is unable to be set in its form until the light has departed from it one time. After the light has departed from it, there begins to be a great longing for the light. This longing sets and delineates the form of the desire to receive as is fitting. Afterwards, when the light returns and is enclothed in the desire to receive, they are now considered 2 separate aspects – vessel and light, or body and life. And look into this as it is the deepest of all the deep. From this it sounds like before the departing of the light there is not yet any longing, and since there is no longing then the vessel is nullified to the light. After the light is separated from the vessel, then there is created a great longing in the vessel for the light, and then when the light returns to the vessel they are considered as 2 separate matters. It sounds like – since the vessel is completely longing to receive, it is no longer able the nullify to the light because in the light there is no aspect at all of desire to receive, and in the vessel the desire to receive is determined by longing. It sounds like that before the light departs from the vessel, the reason that the vessel is nullified to the light is because there has not yet been revealed in it any longing, and the desire to receive has not been determined as is fitting – and not for this reason of them being opposites!?

    We need to understand that the meaning of this idea of 2 opposites is like this: The light is completely desire to give and the vessel is completely desire to receive. This is a great match. The light performs its function and shines and fills the desire to receive. The desire to receive nullifies to the light, meaning it receives the desire of the light to fill it, since this is the purpose of the vessel. During this time, when the light is filling the vessel, there is not able to be a revelation of the essence of the vessel, which is lack, for the reason that lack is revealed only when the fullness departs. Therefore it is only after the light departs and there develops in the vessel longing, that the desire to receive is delineated. Then, even if the light returns to the vessel, there is already considered 2 separate aspects. This is not so before the light departs from the vessel, as the light fills the vessel for the reason that they are 2 opposites, meaning the light wants to give and the vessel want to receive. The vessel is nullified to the desire of the light and therefore there is not able to be revealed the essence of the vessel which is lack. We learn that this is what is considered the nullification of the vessel – that the light shines in the vessel and does not give the lack of the vessel to become revealed. An example is a person who eats and then their appetite is nullified. In the same way the light nullifies the essence of the vessel. We find that there are 2 aspects in the nullification of the vessel:
    1) It receives the desire of the light to fill it.
    2) There is no possibility for the essence of the vessel, which is lack, to become revealed.

    If there is no lacking in a vessel, then it is not able to feel its receiving properly. It is only after the development of the lack and longing in the vessel, that it can feel what it is receiving. We find that we are able to delineate the 2 aspects in the nullification of the vessel as 2 subjects of our discussion:
    1) The aspect of the role that each one fulfills – the roll of the light is to give and the roll of the vessel is to receive.
    2) The aspect of the lack that sets the desire to receive in the vessel, where afterwards even if the light fills its original purpose, the vessel is considered an entity onto itself.

    Also we need to understand that this first stage that is being discussed here in this 4th section of the Peticah, is the sefira of Chochma. (The sefirot will be clarified in the 5th section). Even though Chochma has a desire to receive, in any event this desire to receive does not have any longing as long as it has not separated from the light. We see that we need to differentiate between desire to receive and longing. We want to be sitting down at this moment since if we didn’t want to be sitting we wouldn’t be sitting. But we do not have a longing for being seated, for the reason that we are sitting and a person does not long for something that they have. This is an example of desiring something without longing. We find that in this first state, called the sefira of Chochma, there is a desire to receive enjoyment and pleasure, but the light that is clothed in this desire nullifies it, meaning that it does not allow the desire to develop longing. Afterwards, when the light is completely separated from the desire to receive in the sefira of Bina, then the vessel begins to develop the longing. Afterwards, when the light returns and is clothed in the desire to receive in the sefira of Malchut, they are already considered 2 separate aspects because the desire to receive has already become set by the longing.

    We can also ask on this: In the time that the light is shining in the vessel, it fills the vessel and the longing seemingly once again disappears. So what does it matter that there was a previous longing if afterwards the light comes and once again fills the vessel? We need to understand that in physical reality, even when a person has a large appetite, when the person eats, the appetite is immediately nullified. This is also so in spirituality – when the light fills the vessel the lack is filled with satisfaction and enjoyment. From this aspect it is possible to say that the light nullifies the lack. But here there is an additional matter: Since at first there was a maximum longing in the vessel and it was in a state of complete lack, the delineation and feeling of being a created being is not nullified even after the light returns. This is to say, that after the great longing to her maximum measure, it becomes set in the vessel that it is a creation disconnected from the Creator. Afterwards, even if the light returns and shines in the vessel, they are already considered 2 separate aspects. In other words, the creation is not able to think that it is the Creator. This is similar to a person who receives from G-d a spiritual elevation and feels the presence of G-d. The person feels within themselves supernal strength, feeling that they have reached transcendence of physical reality and feeling that they have come to complete attachment with the Creator. The person does not feel anything separating themselves from the Creator. This is the aspect of Chochma. Afterwards, the person receives from above a spiritual descent, and falls to all the most lowly physical desires, going from one extreme to the other. When the person contemplates their situation and sees what low level it was possible for them to come to, then they clearly see the lowliness of the creation that is within themselves. This is the aspect of Bina. There is no light in her anymore, and she feels how coarse she is. She tries to repair herself by making effort in the nature of the light, the nature of giving. Afterwards, she once again receives a spiritual elevation and the light shines in her. Since she remembers her previous lowly situation, she now knows that she is a humble creation that received a present from G-d and that it is in G-d’s ability to raise up and bring down. We find that there is no longer longing because the light fills the vessel, but on the other hand, the aspect of creation is no longer nullified.

    The Ohr Baruch (commentary of Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag on the Peticah) explains: “The aspect of the desire to receive is that it wants to enjoy from the shefa. But the shefa does not allow for the desire to receive to come out. Therefore, it does not feel all of the pleasure, because the desire to receive pleasure is small since the shefa nullifies its force. It is like someone who has a great feast and a small appetite and therefore cannot enjoy from the real taste of the meal. But this is not so when the shefa departs, as then there is a place for hunger and appetite to begin to increase. Then the desire to receive is considered to have reached its true measure, meaning it is able to feel the pleasure that it needs to receive from the meal.”

    The Ohr Baruch explains that this is similar to a person who eats a meal and the pleasure of the meal nullifies their appetite. We find that the light nullifies the vessel. The meaning of the metaphor is: When the vessel is born, it is born with the light. Because of this there is no possibility for the lack of the vessel to develop properly – since it is born with the light. But if the light is completely distanced from the vessel, then there develops in it a lacking in such a way that even if the light later returns and is clothed in it, it is not nullified but is rather considered 2 separate aspects, light and vessel. On this there are 3 questions to ask:

    1) What is the connection between this explanation and what our Rebi, the Ba’al HaSulam, writes in the beginning of this section – that it is because they are 2 opposites that one nullifies the other?

    2) How is it possible that after the light departs from the vessel, and lack is set in the vessel, that afterwards when the light returns to the vessel – the lack is not nullified? How could this be? The light completely fills the vessel, so how can there still remain in it a lack? (This is the question we asked above – we are now asking it again on the words of the Ohr Baruch)

    3) In Bina of Ein Sof the vessel is separated from the light, and then the light returns to shine in Malchut of Ein Sof. But here the vessel is once again nullified to the light as the light and vessel in Ein Sof are considered the aspect of “G-d and G-d’s name are one”. How can this be since after the light has been separated from the vessel, there needs to be already 2 aspects (In Ein Sof, which is the Purpose of Creation, there is also the development of the sefirot until the complete creation is born in Malchut. This Malchut [of Ein Sof ] received all the light that the Creator wanted to give to the creation – and the vessel is once again nullified by the light) !?

    Answers:

    1) What the Ba’al HaSulam writes about 2 opposite aspects, his intention is that – The light is completely giving, meaning in a state of fulfillment and having no lack. The vessel is in an opposite state, completely lacking, without an element of giving at all, because it has no fulfillment in its essence which is only lack and a place to receive. We find that since the vessel is born with the light, it does not have the possibility of feeling the existence of the light as is necessary. This is because the light does not allow the lack of the vessel to develop as in the example of the meal.

    2) The matter is similar to a person who had fallen to the lowest depths, and afterwards was brought up. If the person is wise, then they need to always remind themselves of their previous lowly state in order to always appreciate the value of the salvation that was given to them by G-d. The idea of the metaphor is: After the lack is set in the vessel, the vessel is always able to remember the lack. By this it is able to feel the enjoyment of being filled, while also having a vessel and lack to continue to receive the fulfillment. (Before we answered: that even though the lack is nullified, the aspect of creation is not nullified. Now we are giving a different reason: that the vessel is able to continuously remember its state of lack).

    3) The Malchut of Ein Sof received all the light. We need to say that from the perspective of the light filling the vessel, that the vessel is not aware of itself. On the other hand, it is not possible to say that the light nullifies the vessel. This is because the light understands that the principle thing is the desire to give, but the vessel, however, once it has been separated from the light, and the vessel precedes the light, has set in it the importance of receiving which is the purpose of creation.

    We can make more of a differentiation and say that we have here 2 separate subjects:
    1) The aspect of the feeling of the desire to receive, that comes from the suffering of the vessel when it is not filled with the light. Afterwards when it receives the light it enjoys from the light.
    2) The aspect of the similarity of form of the vessel with the light.
    When we say that the light and the vessel are 2 separate aspects, this is from the perspective that since the vessel already experienced suffering, because it was not receiving, then the pleasure is not nullified anymore by continuing to remember the lack. This is as we previously discussed. The verse “G-d and G-d’s name are one” is from the perspective that the 2 opposite forms of the light and the vessel in Ein Sof do not cause a separation. The vessel and the light are in absolute attachment as if they were in similarity of form, and this is of the wonders that G-d can do anything.

    In my limited understanding, it is possible to give a completely different explanation about this idea of nullification: We have here 2 forces: the force of the desire to give of the light, and the force of the desire to receive of the vessel. Here there is a battle – who is more important – the desire to give or the desire to receive. The light is stronger then the vessel, meaning that the importance of the desire to give is in control. The vessel does not give importance to the desire to receive, because the desire to give that comes from the light, is more dominant then the force of the desire to receive. (Therefore in the vessel of Chochma its end stage completely nullifies the aspect of receiving and chooses the state of giving). But after having been at one time separate from the light, it is set in the vessel the form of the desire to receive, and the importance of receiving is no longer nullified. This is because when it was separate from the light, the desire of the light is not controlling it, and therefore the desire to receive continues to develop until it understands absolutely that the purpose of creation is for it to receive. The vessel completely realizes that the aspect of giving is relevant to the above and receiving is relevant to that which is below. Therefore, afterwards when the light returns to the vessel, it can no longer nullify the desire of the vessel. This is because it has become clear to the vessel that the side of the desire to receive is the side that is especially his and that it is important from the side of the purpose of creation. They are therefore considered 2 separate aspects, meaning that the form of the light is giving, and the form of the vessel is receiving. At best, the vessel receives in order to give, but there is no nullification of the importance of receiving from now on.

    According to this, there is no place for all the above questions we asked by the way of the Ohr Baruch, about what connection this explanation has to the 2 opposite aspects. We also asked about when the person returns to eat after a long time of not eating, in any event at some time the fulfillment nullifies the lack. To answer this we needed to stretch to find the explanation that it is necessary for the vessel to arouse in itself the lack it felt in the past. According to our explanation here, however, these are no longer questions. Likewise, there is no place for the 3rd question. It is correct that there is no awareness of the vessel in the Malchut of Ein Sof , for the reason that light fills all of her reality. From the perspective of the explanation of the Ohr Baruch there is once again a nullification of the vessel. But from the perspective of our explanation, no. When the light again fills the vessel, the vessel does not return and say that the desire to give is what is important. What causes afterwards the tzimtzum [where the vessel does not want to receive in order to receive], is not in order to come to the state of pure giving, but rather to reach the state of receiving in order to give. This is because the importance of the receiving is no longer nullified.

    We have found 3 explanations concerning the nullification of the vessel to the light:
    1) Since the function of the light is to fill the vessel, the vessel becomes filled. We find that the function of the light nullifies the vessel.
    2) When the pleasure is felt in the vessel, the lack is nullified.
    3) The vessel understands that the character trait of the light, which is the desire to give, is the most important.

  4. ה) ולפיכך, צריכים לד’ בחינות שבשם הוי”ה, הנקראות חכמה בינה ת”ת מלכות:

    כי בחי”א הנקראת חכמה היא באמת כל כללותו של הנאצל אור וכלי, כי בה הרצון לקבל הגדול, עם כל כללות האור שבו הנק’ אור החכמה, או אור החיה, כי הוא כל אור החיים שבהנאצל המלובש בהכלי שלו. אמנם בחינה הא’ הזו נבחנת לכולה אור, והכלי שבה כמעט שאינו ניכר, כי הוא מעורב עם האור ובטל בו כנר בפני האבוקה.

    ואחריה באה בחי”ב, והוא כי כלי החכמהב בסופו הוא מתגבר בהשואת הצורה לאור העליון שבו, דהיינו שמתעורר בו רצון להשפיע אל המאציל, כטבע האור שבתוכו שהוא כולו להשפיע. ואז ע”י הרצון הזה שנתעורר בו, נמשך אליו מהמאציל אור חדש הנקרא אור חסדים, ומשום זה כמעט שנפרש לגמרי מאור החכמה שהשפיע בו המאציל, כי אין אור החכמה מקובל רק בהכלי שלו, שהוא הרצון לקבל הגדול בכל שיעורו, כנ”ל. באופן שהאור והכלי שבבחי”ב משונים לגמרי מבחי”א, כי הכלי שבה הוא הרצון להשפיע, והאור שבה נבחן לאור החסדים, שפירושו – אור הנמשך מכח הדבקות של הנאצל בהמאציל, כי הרצון להשפיע גורם לו השואת הצורה למאציל, והשואת הצורה ברוחניות היא דבקות, כמ”ש להלן.

    ואחריה באה בחינה ג’, והוא – כי אחר שנתמעט האור שבהנאצל לבחינת אור חסדים בלי חכמה כלל, ונודע, שאור החכמה הוא עיקר חיותו של הנאצל, ע”כ הבחי”ב בסופה התעוררה והמשיכה בקרבה שיעור מאור החכמה, להאיר תוך אור החסדים שבה. והנה התעוררות הזו המשיכה מחדש שיעור מסוים מהרצון לקבל, שהוא צורת כלי חדשה הנק’ בחינה ג’ או תפארת (ת”ת), ובחי’ האור שבה נק’ אור חסדים בהארת חכמה, כי עיקר האור הזה הוא אור חסדים, ומיעוטו הוא אור חכמה.

    ואחריה באה בחינה ד’, והוא – כי גם הכלי דבחי”ג בסופו התעורר להמשיך אור חכמה במילואו, כמו שהיה בבחי”א, ונמצא התעוררות הזו היא בחינת השתוקקות בשיעור הרצון לקבל שבבחי”א, ונוסף עליו, כי עתה כבר נפרד מאור ההוא, כי עתה אין אור החכמה מלובש בו אלא שמשתוקק אחריו, ע”כ נקבעה צורת הרצון לקבל על כל שלימותה. כי אחר התפשטות האור והסתלקותו משם, נקבע הכלי כנ”ל, וכשיחזור אח”כ ויקבל בחזרה את האור, נמצא הכלי מוקדם להאור. וע”כ נבחנת בחינה ד’ הזאת לגמר כלי, והיא נקראת מלכות.

    5. Therefore we need the 4 aspects that are in the name Havaya (י-ה-ו-ה), that are called Chochma, Bina, Tiferet, Malchut:

    The 1st aspect called Chochma really includes all of the creation, light and vessel. This is because the great desire to receive is in her with all the light, called the light of Chochma or the light of Chaya. This light is all the light of life that is in the creation enclothed in its vessel. This 1st aspect, however, is considered completely light, and the vessel in her is almost without recognition. This is because it is mixed up with the light and nullified to it like a candle before a torch.

    Afterwards comes the 2nd aspect. This is because the vessel of Chochma in its end stage overcomes to be in similarity of form with the upper light that is within himself. This means that there is aroused in himself a desire to give to the Creator, as the nature of the light that is within him is completely in the state of giving. Then, by way of this desire that is aroused in himself, there spreads out to him from the Creator a new light called the light of Chasadim. Because of this, there is almost a complete separation from the light of Chochma given to him from the Creator. This is because the light of Chochma is only received in its vessel which is the great desire to receive in all of its measure, as discussed above. In this manner, the light and the vessel in the 2nd aspect are completely different from the 1st aspect. This is because the vessel in this 2nd aspect is the desire to give and the light in this 2nd aspect is termed light of Chasadim. Light of Chasadim means light drawn forth from the power of the attachment of the creation to the Creator. This is because the desire to give causes there to be a similarity of form to the Creator, and similarity of form in spirituality is attachment, as will be explained later on.

    Afterwards comes the 3rd aspect. This is because after the diminishing of the light within the creation to the aspect of light of Chasadim without any Chochma at all, and it is known that the light of Chochma is the principle life force of the creation, therefore the 2nd aspect in its end stage is aroused and draws forth within herself a measure of the light of Chochma, to shine within the light of Chasadim that is within herself. This arousal draws forth once again a particular measure from the desire to receive. This is the form of a new vessel called the 3rd aspect or Tiferet. The aspect of the light that is in her is called light of Chasadim with an illumination of Chochma. This is because the main aspect of this light is light of Chasadim, and in a small measure there is light of Chochma.

    Afterwards comes the 4th aspect. This is because also the vessel of the 3rd aspect in its end stage is aroused to draw forth light of Chochma in its complete measure, as there was in the 1st stage. We find that this arousal is the aspect of longing, in the measure of the desire to receive that was in the 1st aspect. There is an additional aspect, since now it has already been separated from the light, because now the light of Chochma is not enclothed in him and he is longing for it. Therefore, the form of the desire to receive has been set in all of its fullness. This is because after the spreading out of the light and its departure from there, the vessel is set, as discussed above. When it returns afterwards and receives again the light, we find that the vessel precedes the light. Therefore this 4th aspect is considered the finishing of the vessel, and she is called Malchut.

    5. Therefore since it has been made clear that we need to arrive at a situation where the light departs from the vessel and afterwards returns to it, because the spreading out of the light and its departure is what makes the vessel fitting for its function, therefore we need the 4 aspects that are in the name Havaya (י-ה-ו-ה), that are called Chochma, Bina, Tiferet, Malchut:

    The 1st aspect that is in the name Havaya (י-ה-ו-ה) is called Keter. She does not have a letter in the name Havaya, but is hinted to in the tip of the yud (י). The reason is: The sefira of Keter is the aspect of the desire of the Creator to give goodness to the created beings. This desire is the source and cause of the entirety of all the creation, but since we do not have any comprehension of the Creator itself, there is not a corresponding letter, but only the tip of the yud.

    This sefira is called Keter because:

    1) Similar to the crown (a literal translation of keter = crown) on the head of a king, that is not part of the body of the king himself, so too the desire to give goodness to the created beings is not part of the creation itself, but is rather the source of the creation.

    2) Related to the Hebrew word “kitor”, meaning surround, as for example the concept of “the army surrounding the city”. The idea of kitor is the focusing of a force from outside on an inner purpose until its realization. To clarify: The desire to give goodness to the creation is the inner force of all creation. The desire to give goodness to the creation is considered to surround the creation in that it sets the creation on a foundational system of particular laws that are necessary to bring the creation to the most exalted of levels where it becomes fitting to receive the Divine goodness. This is expressed in the language of the Mishna: “He would say: . . .a net is spread on all the living, the store is open. . .”, meaning that it seems to a person that the world is similar to an open store, in that it is possible to take from her whatever a person wants and as much as a person wants. But the Mishna warns: “. . .the storekeeper extend credit, the account-book is open and the hand writes. . .” meaning the store owner writes down [keeps a record]. There needs to be an understanding of what this writing of the store owner is, since the Creator does not have a body and there is no comprehension of the Creator in bodily terms. So what is this concept of writing in relationship to the Creator? The meaning of this writing is that the Creator formed the system in such a way that every movement in it is recorded in the subconscious. Whether we are speaking about an individual person or if we are speaking about the society collectively, every movement, whether good or bad, is recorded in the collective consciousness, and this recording causes changes in the future.

    3) It is also possible to say that this desire surrounds all of reality, and that it is the essence of all reality. This desire gave birth to the nature of reception of the created beings, as the desire is to bestow goodness to the created beings, and for this reason made within them a desire to receive pleasure and enjoyment. This desire to give goodness to the creation obligates the effort and spiritual work of the created beings in Torah and Mitzvot (spiritual learning and spiritual practice), and this desire is also the essence of the reward. We find that it is the inner essence of all creation completely. It is, therefore, called Keter, as it mekater (encompasses) everything and is in control of everything. Everything begins from it and everything ends in it.

    The 1st aspect called Chochma really includes all of the creation, light and vessel. Explanation: The Creator’s desire to give goodness to the created beings, called Keter, created the created being together with all the light that the Creator desires to bestow. The essence of the created being is the desire to receive pleasure and enjoyment, and is called in the language of the Kabbalah vessel. The desire of a person is the vessel and place of receiving that which is desired. This state where the desire to receive is born together with all the light is called by the name of the sefira of Chochma. In actual fact, in this sefira there is all the light that the Creator desires to give to the created beings and likewise all the desire to receive this light. This means that in the sefira of Chochma there is 100% of the light and 100% desire to receive, and there does not exist in reality any more light or any more desire to receive. And this is what is written: The 1st aspect called Chochma really includes all of the creation, light and vessel. This is because the great desire to receive is in her with all the light, called the light of Chochma

    This light is called Chochma because the wisdom (chochma = wisdom) of the Torah and also all the external wisdoms spread out from it (Talmud Eser Sefirot Section 2). The essence of all the wisdoms is the matter of the revelation of G-d. Explanation: In actuality, this light of Chochma is the light of G-d being revealed. Therefore all the wisdom of the Torah comes to give us one thing – the revelation of G-d. It therefore says that all the wisdom of the Torah spreads out from this light, and also all the external wisdoms are all built according to the structure that there is in the system of the spiritual worlds of holiness. This is not by chance, as all the external wisdoms are built on laws of nature,and these laws draw forth from the upper sefirot, since all the worlds are directly imprinted one from the other. Therefore, also the laws that we know of here in this world, draw forth from the upper spiritual worlds.

    or the light of Chaya. This light is all the light of life that is in the creation enclothed in its vessel. This light is also called “Chaya” (chai = life), because it is the life light of the created being. This is to say that for those who are going in the way of holiness – for them it is the light of life in a conscious way. In other words, life for them is the matter of revealing G-dliness. In many places it is written that what is intended by the concept “light” is the revelation of G-d. For those that are going in the way of holiness, the revelation of G-d is life. For someone who is not going in the way of holiness, it is also life – except that the person is not aware of this. The person only knows that their life is not satisfying and that they do not have the feeling of being alive, but they do not know why. Therefore this light is called the light of “Chaya”, because as long as the created being is not living at least to some measure in the Divine presence, then they are without life. It is not possible to draw life from jealousy, physical desires, or honor, as the Holy Zohar calls all of these pleasures a micro-illumination, an extremely small amount of light, that is given in order to give life to a person, even though the person is without faith. This measure of light, however, is not enough to satisfy the life of a person.

    This 1st aspect, however, is considered completely light, and the vessel in her is almost without recognition. This is because it is mixed up with the light and nullified to it like a candle before a torch. The idea of this nullification has already been clarified at length above in #4. To summarize: and nullified to it like a candle before a torch. Explanation: There is no opportunity for the development of the lack of the vessel, as long as the light is filling the vessel. In addition: When the desire to receive is nullified to the light, the resulting pleasure is very small. A metaphor for this: Students are attached to their Rebi (spiritual teacher) and are nullified before him like a candle before a torch. They do not feel this, however, during his lifetime. Only after the Rebi has passed on, then the students suddenly realize what they had in the lifetime of the Rebi and that their thoughts and desires etc. all came to them from the Rebi. The meaning of the nullification is not that the students are without thoughts and desires, but the meaning is that all the thoughts and desires are coming from the Rebi. After his passing on, they need to stand on their own feet. These are the aspects of consciousness called birthing and nursing. Afterwards they need to again draw forth the consciousness they had during the lifetime of the Rebi, but now from their own spiritual work, and not from the workings of that which is above them.

    Afterwards comes the 2nd aspect. Here we are speaking about the 2nd sefira called Bina. When does the sefira of Chochma end and the sefira of Bina begin? In actuality one draws from the other, as the light of Chochma gives to the vessel the feelings that are described before us here – that the vessel becomes tired of receiving and wants to give. If so, then when is it considered the sefira of Bina? Answer: From the moment there is made even a slight change in the vessel, the vessel is already differentiated and a 2nd sefira is made. In other words, in the moment that the vessel feels a difference in form between itself and the Creator, this is already considered the primal material of the sefira of Bina. This is so even though there is not yet an arousal to actually repel the light of Chochma and to be in a state of giving.

    This is because the vessel of Chochma in its end stage overcomes to be in similarity of form with the upper light that is within himself. Explanation: The concept of overcoming is defined by any time that the created being goes against its nature. Here the nature of the vessel is to receive, but in any event overcomes to be in a similarity of form with the upper light, meaning to be giving like the light which is giving. The Ohr Shalom (commentary of Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag) gives an example: “A person gives to his friend a gift and the friend receives it. After he receives it he begins to think: He is giving! And i am receiving? It is not worthwhile for me to receive! Therefore he returns the gift.” In this example given by the Ohr Shalom we see that there are 2 stages: 1) The person receives the gift. 2) The person begins to think and become aware of this – that he is receiving and the other is giving. The 2nd stage is considered Chochma at its end stage. Then the vessel overcomes its nature of receiving that is within itself and wants to give. This is what is written: This means that there is aroused in himself a desire to give to the Creator, as the nature of the light that is within him is completely in the state of giving. The meaning is not that the desire to receive of the vessel becomes nullified. The desire to receive is the nature that was created by the Creator, and the creation of the Creator is not nullified. Rather the vessel does not want to use this nature. Then, by way of this desire that is aroused in himself, there spreads out to him from the Creator a new light called the light of Chasadim. Called by this name (chasadim = loving kindness) in accordance with the action of the vessel that wants to do loving kindness, meaning wanting to give to its maker.

    IN SUMMARY: It would be a mistake to think that since the characteristic of Bina is the desire to give, that she therefore does not have a desire to receive. This is a mistake because the place where there is no desire to receive at all, is called the Creator, and of the Creator there is no comprehension. There is a desire to receive in all the levels we speak about including Bina. Only that Bina does not want to use the desire to receive that is within herself. It is not that she does not want to receive, but rather that she does not want to make use of the desire to receive. This is like a person on Yom Kippur telling their body not to want to eat since it is forbidden to eat on this day. The body wants to eat, but the person does not make use of this desire. Likewise in Bina there is a desire to receive, but she does not want to make use of it – she wants only to give.

    The question remains: We learned that in Chochma there was included all the light, and suddenly it becomes clear to us that there is here a new light that was not in Chochma !? Answer:

    1) When it says that Chochma includes all the light, the intended meaning is that it includes all the light that comes from the desire to bestow goodness to the creation. That is to say, all the light that the Creator wants to give to the created beings in order to cause them pleasure and enjoyment. All this is in Chochma. This is called the light of the purpose of creation, and a person needs to come to experience this light. But there is also another light called the light of the fixing of creation. This light fixes in the created beings the aspect of loving others, and is called the light of Chasadim. This light is not the purpose, but rather makes a fixing. The Creator did not create the creation in order for people to do good to one another, but created the creation in order that the created beings receive the good and the pleasure. The created being needs to prepare itself in reaching a similarity of form with the Creator, otherwise it will not be able to receive the light of the revelation of G-d. Therefore the created being needs to acquire a second nature of loving that which is outside of itself. This is the fixing that is the preparation for the purpose. This light is therefore called the light of Chasadim, because the concept of loving kindness (chasadim) shows the love between a person and their friend. When a person makes effort to do things for their friend, these acts show that the person has love, or causes them to come to love.

    2) The desire to receive is aroused in the vessel as the nature of the light that is within him is completely in the state of giving. We find that also the light of Chasadim is included in Chochma even though it is not revealed. This is because the light is one, and becomes revealed according to the actions of the vessel. In Chochma the vessel acts to receive, and therefore there is revealed only the light of Chochma. The light of Chochma itself influences the vessel to give, and there is consequently revealed in it a new type of light called the light of Chasadim. We find, according to this, that it is possible to say that also the light of Chasadim is included in the light of Chochma, as it is Chochma that influences the vessel to go in the way of giving.

    Because of this, there is almost a complete separation from the light of Chochma given to him from the Creator. This is because the light of Chochma is only received in its vessel which is the great desire to receive in all of its measure, as discussed above. The whole subject of the 4 aspects of direct light, is the ordered process of the coming out of the true vessel. We have a general principle: The spreading out of the light and its departure is what makes the vessel fitting for its function. The spreading out of the light was in Chochma, and the departure of the light was in Bina. This provided the opportunity for the formation of lack in the vessel. We find that Bina does not send away the light so that there will be a lack created in her. She sends away the light because she wants to give and not receive. In her end state there consequently begins to be created in her a lack for the light of Chochma.

    Why does it say that there is almost a complete separation from the light of Chochma? Why is there not really a complete separation? Is it not the case that the vessel wants to give and not receive. It therefore does not have within itself a vessel to feel the light of Chochma since the vessel for Chochma is the desire to receive. From the words “almost a complete separation” it seems that there still is some aspect of Chochma within itself !? To clarify:

    1) Since the light of Chochma is that which is causing the vessel to desire a similarity of form, it therefore needs to remain in some measure in the vessel. Not so that the vessel will receive it, but in order for the vessel to have the strength to be a giver. All the power of giving comes from the nature of the light that is within. This is the meaning of: “The Essence of Bina is Chochma”. In other words, the essence of Bina is the light of Chochma. But we need to understand: If the light of Chochma is always found in Bina, how do we say that in the end of Bina there is aroused a lacking for Chochma? Answer: The lacking that is aroused in the end of Bina is wanting to receive the light of Chochma, whereas the light of Chochma that is in Bina does not shine in the vessels of receiving, but rather the opposite – it is what is influencing her to give.

    The light of Chochma is what is influencing the vessel to be a giver, because otherwise how would it be possible for the vessel to give up on the most wonderful pleasure of the revelation of G-d ? We find that it is because of the light of Chochma that the vessel stops receiving. On this there is the question: If the vessel stops receiving the light of Chochma, from where is there the power to continue to deflect the Chochma, since it is what gave him the power of deflection?

    Answer: We need to differentiate between 2 functions that the light of Chochma performs:

    1. the revelation of G-d in the created being that gives immense pleasure to the created being’s vessels of receiving.
    2. influences the created being to be a giver and not a receiver.

    Bina deflects the 1st aspect that is in the light of Chochma, but the 2nd aspect of the light of Chochma always remains with her. It therefore says that there is almost a complete separation, because there still remains in her the 2nd aspect that is within the light of Chochma. The lacking to receive that is at the end of Bina is for the illumination of the 1st aspect of Chochma.

    2) It says above that the light of Chochma is the essence and life force of the created being. Therefore it is not possible that there will be a created being without Chochma. Even if the created being is engaged in giving, there is necessarily within it a particular measure of Chochma, which is the revelation of G-d. This is necessarily so, because it is the life force and essence of the created being. Therefore we can understand that Bina deflecting Chochma, is only to the measure that is beyond its essence and life force. A minimal life force necessarily remains.

    3) In actuality the light of Chochma and the light of Chasadim are one thing, as the light is one. All the differentiation between them is due to that which is receiving the light. We find that there is almost a separation from the light of Chochma, because the receiver is now interested to engage particularly in giving, but in any event is not able to completely separate itself since the light is one light.

    4) In spirituality there is a general principle – the Holy Arizal says: “In every place that the lights come, they leave an impression when they depart”. There is an aspect of impression that is a memory. Bina at its source had the light of Chochma, and we need to say that there remains in her a memory of this. It therefore says that there is almost a complete separation from the light of Chochma. That is to say that there is still within her a memory of what she had.

    5) Bina acts from its own choosing, and it is not yet considered forbidden to receive. Since she is also able to choose to continue to receive, she is therefore not considered to be completely separated from the light of Chochma. This is because she still has the possibility to receive the light of Chochma if she wants to. (In the language of the halacha (spiritual law) this is considered as if she has “bread in the basket”, and she is therefore not considered to be lacking.)

    there spreads out to him from the Creator a new light called light of Chasadim. What is the difference between the light of Chochma and the light of Chasadim? Rebi Baruch Shalom zt”l says on this a metaphor: The light of Chasadim is when that which is below is aware of the exaltedness of the King, and wants to serve the King without limitation, at all times and in all ways. This is called the desire to give, and this is the concept of the light of Chasadim, which is the light of the fixing of creation. The light of Chochma is the revelation of the King itself. It is not a light that gives to that which is below a love of the King and a readiness to serve the King unconditionally. It is rather the revelation of the King itself. When the King is revealed within that which is below, there is then revealed the beauty of the creation. This is as the verse says: “Our eyes witness the King’s beauty”. The whole concept of beauty that there is in the creation is the concept of the revelation of G-d. Then it is revealed to that which is below, the character traits and sublime exaltedness of the King. This is called the light of Chochma. But in that which is below, the light of Chochma is not able to be revealed without the light of Chasadim. That is to say that first the created being needs to merit to the light of Chasadim, that is the aspect of the fixing of the person, and the person will be prepared to serve the King unconditionally. Afterwards the King is actually revealed. It is not possible for there to be first the light of Chochma and then the light of Chasadim. Only here in the progression from above to below is it like this, but from the perspective of a person’s spiritual work, that progresses from below to above, then first the created being needs to fix and prepare itself by the light of Chasadim, and afterwards comes the revelation. According to the measure that the created being fixes itself, it likewise merits to the revelation of G-d. The truth of the matter is that the revelation of the King also causes a person to go in the way of the path of giving. This is considered that the Chochma causes the person to go in the path of giving, and the new nature that is given to the person afterwards is called the light of Chasadim. And then afterwards the person merits to the revelation of the King in essence.

    In this manner, the light and the vessel in the 2nd aspect are completely different from the 1st aspect. because the vessel in Chochma is the desire to receive, and the light that is drawn to him is the light of Chochma or the light of Chaya. This is not so in the 2nd aspect – the vessel in this 2nd aspect is the desire to give and the light in this 2nd aspect is termed light of Chasadim. Light of Chasadim means light drawn forth from the power of the attachment of the creation to the Creator. 2 types of vessels in the creation:
    1) that wants to receive pleasure and enjoyment by receiving.
    2) that wants to receive pleasure and enjoyment in its giving.
    The 1st vessel is the vessel of Chochma. The 2nd vessel is the vessel of Bina, and this vessel draws forth the light of Chasadim, which is a great pleasure in giving to that which is outside of itself. The light of Chasadim sets the new nature of the desire to give in the vessel. This is because the desire to give causes there to be a similarity of form to the Creator, and similarity of form in spirituality is attachment, and when the created being is in a state of attachment then there is an illumination of the light of Chasadim, which is a great pleasure in giving to the Creator. In other words, at first the created being needs to make an effort to give, and then afterwards there is merited the light of Chasadim, which builds in the created being a new nature of giving.

    The meaning of the name Bina:

    1) Bina has the same root as the Hebrew word hitbonenut meaning to contemplate. Chochma is defined as seeing the result. The Sages, of blessed memory, have said: “The wise one sees the result”. In the material world the meaning is that one who is wise is able to see what will be the result or outcome of any matter. In spirituality the intention is that the wise one is able to see how the outcome of every situation will result in the revelation of G-d. But in order to see the result, contemplation is necessary. That is to say that contemplation is the vessel, and seeing the result is the light. In the progression from above to below, the light always precedes the vessel, because the light creates the vessel. But in the progression of a person’s spiritual work, the vessel always precedes the light – in other words, first the contemplation and then afterwards seeing the outcome. For example, in the order of a person’s spiritual work, first there needs to be an attaining of the Chasadim, and only afterwards an attaining of the Chochma.

    2) Bina (bina = understanding) is the aspect of “understanding a matter from a matter”, meaning that from the vessel realizing that the Creator is giving, it also wants to be a giver, as it understands that it also needs to be in a state of giving.

    Afterwards comes the 3rd aspect. This is because after the diminishing of the light within the creation to the aspect of light of Chasadim without any Chochma at all, and it is known that the light of Chochma is the principle life force of the creation, because the principle life force of the created being is the revelation of G-d, and not the subject of giving. (In order for there to become revealed to a person the light of Chochma, the person first needs to be complete in the aspect of giving. But of course the purpose is the revelation of G-d, and not the aspect of the giving. The Chasadim (giving) is only a fixing that is a preparation for the purpose which is the revelation of the Chochma). Question: Don’t we see that there are a lot of people who are living without the revelation of G-d, so how is it said that the light of Chochma is the principle life force of the creation? The Sages, of blessed memory, say: “The evil ones in their lifetime are considered dead”. The meaning is that what the evil ones consider to be life, is actually called death. We find that it is not correct that people are “alive” without the light of Chochma, because then they are not considered to be “alive”. Real life is specifically the connection to G-d and the realization of G-dliness.

    Bina deflects the Chochma and desires Chasadim. There is to understand that the Chasadim is also light and pleasure, and therefore gives her a measure of life force and satisfaction. But afterwards the reality determines that the real life force is particularly from the light of Chochma. Therefore at the end of Bina, there is aroused a lacking for Chochma.

    We can ask here, on the side, a question: From where does the Malchut of the spiritual world of Igulim get its life force? This is from the impressions that are left in her. And from this it can perhaps be said that also Bina has a type of impression left in her from the light of Chochma. In other words, that she feels the light of Chochma that influenced the vessel to change its form. Since she always has this feeling, she therefore always has life force. That is why it says above “almost a complete separation from the light of Chochma”, since an impression from the light of Chochma still exists. The intention here is not the known spiritual concept of impression (reshima), but since Bina is not at this time dealing with Chochma, therefore the light of Chochma that spreads out to Bina is like her having an impression of the power of the light of Chochma. But this is not enough, as it says later on.

    therefore the 2nd aspect in its end stage is aroused, there is aroused in her a lacking after the Chochma, and draws forth within herself a measure of the light of Chochma, to shine within the light of Chasadim that is within herself. This arousal draws forth once again a particular measure from the desire to receive. Explanation: The desire to receive exists in Bina, except that Bina does not want to make use of it. But since there is aroused in her a lacking for Chochma, so a particular measure of the desire to receive is aroused in her. this is the form of a new vessel called the 3rd aspect or Tiferet

    This aspect is called Tiferet for 2 reasons:

    1) This aspect unites within her the 2 types of light, and the opposites of Chochma and Chasadim. The beauty of the sefira is that these 2 lights are shining in her together in unity. Chochma intensifies the being (entity) of the person, and Chasadim lessens the being (entity) of the person. When these 2 aspects are harmonized together, the appearance is beautiful. The sefira is therefore called Tiferet as tiferet it is grammatically related to the word yofi (yofi means beautiful). The main aspect of this idea will be clarified latter on in the spiritual world of Atzilut when there is made a central column, that balances between the Chochma and the Chasadim, and is thereby the aspect of Tiferet.

    2) From the language of the verse “like the tiferet (beauty) of a person to dwell in the house” (Yeshayahu 44:13). The supernal person that is Zer Anpin, is beautified in that it is successful in giving birth to the complete creation which is the 4th aspect called Malchut (this will be clarified later on). Tiferet is called “Zer Anpin”, meaning “Small Face”. The term face is taken from the verse “the chochma (wisdom) of a person illuminates their face”. Face hints to the illumination of Chochma. Since in Zer Anpin there is only a small illumination in the measure that is enough keep it alive, it is therefore called “Zer Anpin”.

    The aspect of the light that is in her is called light of Chasadim with an illumination of Chochma. This is because the main aspect of this light is light of Chasadim, and in a small measure there is light of Chochma. Explanation: Since Bina gives birth to Tiferet, and the subject of Bina is that of giving, so then the character of Zer Anpin (Tiferet) cannot be far from that of Bina. Therefore the main aspect of Zer Anpin is Chasadim, meaning that its main aspect is giving like Bina. The difference between Zer Anpin and Bina is in the matter of the lack of Chochma that is in Zer Anpin. This lack, however, is negligible in comparison to the Chasadim. That is to say that all the lack flows from the reason that it is impossible for the created being to live without Chochma. Therefore all the arousal of this lack is only for the quality that will fulfill the point mentioned above, that it is impossible for the created being to live without Chochma. This means that the lack for Chochma is very small, since it is coming only in response to what is necessary. Therefore the main aspect of Zer Anpin is Chasadim, like in Bina, and its lesser aspect is an illumination of Chochma. We need to be exacting and say that there is drawn forth only an illumination of Chochma, and not the essence of Chochma, because the illumination is enough to enliven Zer Anpin.

    Afterwards comes the 4th aspect. that is the final ה (hey) of the Shem Havaya (י-ה-ו-ה), This is because also the vessel of the 3rd aspect in its end stage is aroused to draw forth light of Chochma in its complete measure, as there was in the 1st stage. (The term “also” means – Bina in her end state arouses to draw forth Chochma, and also Zer Anpin in his end state is aroused to draw forth Chochma). Explanation: The vessel of Zer Anpin that includes within himself an illumination of Chochma, is aroused in his end state to draw forth the maximum light that G-d wants to give to the creation. This light that it is aroused to draw forth is the light that is revealed in the sefira of Chochma of direct light. The reason is:
    1) because it receives an illumination of Chochma, and the pleasure that is in the illumination of Chochma causes him to desire to draw forth all the light of Chochma.
    2) because it presently knows that the purpose of creation will never be realized if it receives only an illumination of Chochma – as the purpose of creation is for all of the light of Chochma to be received.

    There is an additional aspect, since now it has already been separated from the light, because Bina deflected all the light of Chochma, because now the light of Chochma is not enclothed in him and he is longing for it. Therefore, the form of the desire to receive has been set in all of its fullness. Explanation: Since the vessel is separated from the light, there develops in the vessel a great longing for light, meaning a lacking for the light. Because of this, when the light comes and is enclothed in the vessel, the vessel is no longer nullified to the light as it was in Chochma. They are rather 2 different realities, since the desire to receive is set in him. This is because after the spreading out of the light and its departure from there, the vessel is set, as discussed above. When it returns afterwards and receives again the light, we find that the vessel precedes the light. Therefore this 4th aspect is considered the finishing of the vessel, and she is called Malchut. We find that the entire structure of this downward progression was made in order to give birth to the creation. The creation is the great desire to receive that is revealed in Malchut. It is the entire point of newness that the Creator created from the desire to give goodness to the creation. The desire to receive pleasure and enjoyment does not exist in the Creator itself, but it is the entire essence and newness of the creation. Therefore only the Malchut is considered to be a vessel and the aspect of creation. This is because in Malchut there is revealed the maximum desire to receive. There is no aspect of giving in her and she has only the desire to receive. This is not so before the Malchut, where relative to this, there is not yet considered to be a vessel and creation.

    We find from this that the departure of the light is always for the benefit of the creation. This is because by the light departing, there is formed in the creation the lacks and vessels that are fitting for the receiving of the light. There is to understand that when we say that the light departs, that this is not in its simple meaning. There is no departing in terms of light, as “the upper light is in a state of absolute rest”. Rather the intention is that the vessel does not see the light anymore. Since everything discussed here is in terms of the feelings of the vessel, therefore it is considered as if the light departed, but in actuality the light neither departs nor spreads out. These terms are differentiations in the perceptions of the vessels.

    The meaning of the name “Malchut”:

    1) Malchut is from the language of the expression “fear of the malchut (kingdom)”, that points to control. The idea of control:
    1. Malchut controls all the created beings to want to receive pleasure and enjoyment, as that is her foundational characteristic.
    2. Malchut controls all of the created beings, as they are not able to make contact with the Creator, except in accordance with their detaching themselves from receiving, and in accordance with the expansion of the measure of giving within themselves. This is because it is set in the spiritual worlds that only to the extent of detachment from receiving and increasing of the desire to give, is it possible to receive the upper light. The detachment from reception is termed in the language of Kabbalah masach (screen). The development of the desire to give is termed ohr chozer (returning light). In general they are the aspect of going away from evil and doing good, meaning not to be a receiver and to be a giver. This is the concept of fear of G-d and love of G-d.

    2) The concept of Malchut points to self control. Without self control it is not possible to come to union with the upper light.

    3) In the sefira of Malchut there is revealed G-d’s malchut (kingship). Malchut is the vessel for the upper light, that in its appearance is revealed the ruling of G-d, that is the ruling of the light, that is the ruling of “the desire to give goodness to the creation”.

    4) The concept “Malchut” points to malchut shamayim (taking upon oneself the ruling of above), because this sefira is the source of all the restrictions that the created being applies to itself. This points to malchut shamayim being taken upon itself, and not doing what it desires.

  5. ו) ואלו ד’ ההבחנות הנ”ל ה”ס עשר ספירות הנבחנות בכל נאצל וכל נברא, הן בכלל כולו שהן ד’ העולמות, והן בפרט קטן ביותר שבהמציאות. ובחי”א נקראת חכמה או עולם האצילות. ובחי”ב נקראת בינה או עולם הבריאה, ובחי”ג נקראת תפארת או עולם היצירה, ובחי”ד נקראת מלכות או עולם העשיה. ונבאר את ד’ הבחינות הנוהגות בכל נשמה:

    כי כשהנשמה נמשכת מא”ס ב”ה ובאה לעולם האצילות היא בחי”א של הנשמה. ושם עוד אינה נבחנת בשם הזה, כי השם נשמה יורה שיש בה איזה הפרש מהמאציל ב”ה, שע”י ההפרש הזה יצאה מבחינת א”ס ובאה לאיזה גילוי לרשות בפני עצמה, וכל עוד שאין בה צורת כלי, אין מה שיפריד אותה מעצמותו ית’, עד שתהיה ראויה להקרא בשם בפני עצמה. וכבר ידעת שבחי”א של הכלי אינה ניכרת כלל לכלי וכולה בטלה להאור, וז”ס הנאמר בעולם אצילות שכולו אלקיות גמור, בסוד “איהו וחיוהי וגרמוהי חד בהון”. ואפילו נשמות שאר בעלי החיים בהיותם עוברים את עולם האצילות נחשבים כעודם דבוקים בעצמותו ית’.

    6. And these 4 aspects mentioned above are the secret of 10 sefirot differentiated in every created being and all creation. They are all encompassing as they are the 4 spiritual worlds, and they are in the smallest details that exist in reality. The 1st aspect is called Chochma or the spiritual world of Atzilut. The 2nd aspect is called Bina or the spiritual world of Briya. The 3rd aspect is called Tiferet or the spiritual world of Yetzira. The 4th aspect is called Malchut or the spiritual world of Asiya. A clarification of the 4 aspects that function in every soul:

    When the neshama (soul) is extended from Ein Sof Baruch Hu and comes to the spiritual world of Atzilut, she is the 1st aspect of the neshama. There [in Ein Sof ] it is not yet called by this name, because the name neshama points to there being some separation from the Creator, that from this separation there is a going out from the aspect of Ein Sof and a coming to a type of revelation of its own existence. As long as there is not in her a form of vessel, there is nothing to separate her from the essence of G-d, to the point that she is fitting to be called a name of her own. And you already know that the 1st aspect of the vessel is not generally known as a vessel and she is completely nullified to the light. And this is the secret of what is said that the spiritual world of Atzilut is complete G-dliness, in the secret of “the essence, the light, and the vessel are one”. Even the souls of other forms of life when they pass through the spiritual world of Atzilut are considered to still be in union with G-d’s essence.

    6. And these 4 aspects mentioned above are the secret of 10 sefirot differentiated in every created being and all creation. They are all encompassing as they are the 4 spiritual worlds, and they are in the smallest details that exist in reality. We find that even the smallest details that are in existence are built from the 4 root aspects. For example: 1) The body of a person is made up of 10 sefirot: The head is called Keter. 3 aspects of consciousness that are within are called Chochma, Bina, Daat. The hands are Chesed and Gevura. The body is Tiferet. The 2 legs are Netzach and Hod. The brit (sexual organ) is Yesod. The toes are Malchut. As is known, these 10 sefirot are in essence 4 aspects. 2) mineral, plant, animal, human 3) 4 computations of arithmetic 4) 4 seasons of the year 5) 4 categories of guarding another’s property 6) 4 categories of damages 7) 4 new years 8) 4 categories of enjoyment from the smell of idolatry 9) 4 children (in the hagadah) 10) 4 elements 11) 4 clothes of the kohen 12) 4 types of those who go to the beit midrash (place of spiritual learning) etc.

    The 1st aspect is called Chochma or the spiritual world of Atzilut. Explanation: We learned that spiritual world refers to the whole and sefira refers to the specific part. In other words, every world contains 10 sefirot. The meaning is that although there are 10 sefirot in every world, in any event there is one sefira whose characteristic is controlling it and giving it its character. In the world of Atzilut the controlling characteristic is the characteristic of Chochma. In the world of Briya the characteristic of Bina, etc. And this is what is says: The 2nd aspect is called Bina or the spiritual world of Briya. The 3rd aspect is called Tiferet or the spiritual world of Yetzira. The 4th aspect is called Malchut or the spiritual world of Asiya.

    A clarification of the 4 aspects that function in every soul: as the soul of every one of us downwardly progressed in this progression.

    When the neshama (soul) is extended from Ein Sof Baruch Hu and comes to the spiritual world of Atzilut, (The spiritual world of Adam Kadmon is omitted because it is the most refined aspect, that is not able to be considered as a source of that which is below. Also the spiritual world of Nekudim is omitted because of the breaking of the vessels that occurred there and the vessels were not able to withstand.) she is the 1st aspect of the neshama. meaning that she downwardly progresses, coming out from the desire to give goodness to the creation, that is called Ein Sof and the aspect of Keter, and comes to the spiritual state of the sefira of Chochma. This means that the vessel of the soul is born with the light, filled with the light, and nullified to the light, as mentioned above in the sefira of Chochma. When the soul was included in Ein Sof it was only in the realm of thought – as she was included in the thought of the giving of the goodness. This is not so in the sefira of Chochma where the desire to receive that is in the soul is actually born and is no longer just in the realm of thought. But the light nullifies the vessel, as mentioned above in #4.

    There [in Ein Sof ] it is not yet called by this name neshama, because the name neshama points to there being some separation from the Creator, because the name neshama means neshima (breath), as the physical breath is what causes the created being to be an independent creature, that from this separation there is a going out from the aspect of Ein Sof and a coming to a type of revelation of its own existence. Explanation: In spirituality the created being needs to make some independent action. This action is called by the name neshima, meaning that there is the appearance of an independent existence and the existence of the Creator. In the sefira of Chochma the soul is born, but the vessel is full of light, and nullified to the light. As a result of the light, there is not yet here any action from the side of the vessel, and no development of any independent feeling. As long as there is not in her a form of vessel, there is nothing to separate her from the essence of G-d, to the point that she is fitting to be called a name of her own. And you already know that the 1st aspect of the vessel is not generally known as a vessel and she is completely nullified to the light. The vessel of the 1st stage is born with the light. As we learned above in #4, the vessel is not developed at all, since the lacking to receive in it is not developed. This results in the vessel being nullified to the light. When the soul is born with the light, she is considered to have come to the sefira of Chochma or the 1st aspect of coarseness. She is consequently not able to be called by the name neshama, because there has not yet been revealed in her a lack for herself to receive, and she has not yet made any independent action. She is nullified to the light.

    And this is the secret of what is said that the spiritual world of Atzilut is complete G-dliness, in the secret of “the essence the Keter of Atzilut, the light the light of Chaya of Atzilut, and the vessel the vessels of Atzilut, are one” they are all in one likeness, meaning that the vessels are so refined that they are similar to the light and to the aspect of the Keter.

    The Holy Zohar says that the spiritual world of Atzilut is considered the aspect of “evil not dwelling in you”, meaning that there is not considered to be anything bad or negative in Atzilut. From the perspective of spiritual work, the spiritual world of Atzilut is the highest level that it is possible to attain, and it is considered teshuvah meahava (returning in love). Here a person merits to an eternal love of G-d, and intentional sins become merits for the person. Then the person merits to see the Divine providence in the aspect of “the good and the giver of good” in a complete manner, not only in themselves, but also in all of the creation. This is the realm of the spiritual world of Atzilut. And with this it is understood that the spiritual world of Atzilut is complete G-dliness, because the meaning of this spiritual world is that the person has arrived to complete union with the Creator, and the person’s being is absolutely nullified to the Divine reality. The spiritual world of Atzilut is also the level of the land of Israel, in the aspect of “the land that G-d’s eyes are on her from the beginning of the year until the end of the year”. This means that the providence of the good and the giver of good is revealed in all the situations including all that has happened from the beginning until the end. It is therefore the aspect of “intentional sins become merits for the person” as mentioned above, meaning that G-d’s providence is revealed even in the aspect of the intentional sins of the person – that they were all orchestrated from above for the sake of the person’s spiritual progression. We find that the spiritual world of Atzilut, from the perspective of the progression of the direct light, which is the progression from above to below, is the highest aspect, and the most distant from the real desire to receive. And from the perspective of the returning light, which is the spiritual progression of the person, that revolves from below to above, it is the last and final level, the aspect of the eternal love of G-d, as mentioned above. But here we are speaking about the progression from above to below, and it therefore says that when the soul comes to this state it is nullified to the light and does not yet merit to the name neshama.

    Even the souls of other forms of life when they pass through the spiritual world of Atzilut are considered to still be in union with G-d’s essence. meaning that the animal soul that enlivens the animals, also comes out from the desire to give goodness to the creation, the source of all the lights, that does not change. All the changes are in regards to that which is below.

    A general clarification: In general, neshama (soul) points to the life force of the person. But in truth, there is no light without vessel, so the life force of a person is a consequence of their desire to receive. The measure and quality of a person’s life force is proportional to their desire to receive. This is what is written: “And G-d breathed into his nose a soul (nishmat) of life.” Our Rebi, the Master of the Ladder, explains: “neshama” is from the language of “shuma” (assessment), meaning that the Creator sets in a person the desire to receive that differentiates them from the rest of the created beings in the world. This is the unique neshama of the person. We find that the concept “neshama” points to the light that is illuminating a person by the assessment and values of their desire to receive. And when we are speaking about a soul from the side of holiness, then the understanding is according to what it says in the Holy Zohar: “The one who comes to purify themselves is helped. With what are they helped? With a holy soul”. We find that the light is the revelation of G-d, and this light is enclothed in a vessel called the desire to give. As long as a person has not attained this vessel, they are consequently not able to enjoy from the light that is proportioned to them. And this is the idea of the extra soul that a person has on Shabbat. On Shabbat larger vessels of giving are attained, and as a result it is possible to experience the Divine light in a more tangible way. The Sages, of blessed memory, say: “The son of David will not come until all the souls in the body are completed”. The meaning is: When the vessels of all the spiritual words are completely fixed in the aspect of giving, then there can be a revelation of the son of David, that is the secret of the light of Yechida, meaning the light of the complete rectification.

    Summary: It is said that Atzilut is the 1st aspect:

    1) Because in Atzilut the Malchut has the ability to have the intention of giving even in its vessels of receiving. There is, therefore, a high refinement of the vessels. This aspect is similar to the 1st aspect in that the vessel of the 1st aspect is together with the light and nullified to it. Also in the spiritual world of Atzilut, the vessels are nullified to the light due to their high level of refinement. It is possible to say from the other direction: Since the vessels are so refined in relation to the spiritual worlds of Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya, they are able to fix even the vessels of receiving.

    2) From the perspective that the 1st aspect includes all the light of Chochma, and the spiritual world of Atzilut is considered the spiritual world of Chochma. This is because the light of Chochma is shining there without any barriers, due to its great strength of being able to have the intention of giving. This is not so from the spiritual world of Briya and below, where there is an essential deficiency in that the Malchut no longer has the ability to have the intention of giving in its vessels of receiving. Therefore there is no longer the light of Chochma from Briya and below, and the intention of giving is only able to be in the vessels of giving.

    3) Atzilut is the aspect of “evil not dwelling in you”, meaning that there is no connection to evil, and there is no concealment of G-d’s light. In this place, G-d’s providence of absolute goodness is clarified, and the intentional sins of a person are made into complete merits. This is similar to the vessel of Chochma that is completely attached with the light, and nullified to it, and even considered to be light itself. This is not so in the spiritual worlds of Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya which are under the parsa (spiritual separation), where G-d’s providence has not yet been clarified to the point of complete goodness, and the intentional sins of a person have not yet become merits.

  6. ז) ובעולם הבריאה כבר שולטת בחינה הב’ הנ”ל, דהיינו בחינת הכלי של הרצון להשפיע, וע”כ כשהנשמה משתלשלת ובאה לעולם הבריאה, ומשגת בחינת הכלי ההוא אשר שם, אז נבחנת בשם נשמה, דהיינו שכבר יצאה ונתפרדה מבחינת עצמותו ית’, והיא עולה בשם בפני עצמה להקרא נשמה. אמנם כלי זה זך מאוד, להיותו בהשואת הצורה להמאציל, וע”כ נחשבת לרוחניות גמורה.

    7. And in the spiritual world of Briya there is now ruling the 2nd aspect mentioned above, meaning the aspect of the vessel of the desire to give. And therefore when the soul downwardly progresses and comes to the spiritual world of Briya, and attains the aspect of the vessel which is there, then it is differentiated with the name neshama. This is to say that it already has come out and become separate from the aspect of G-d’s essence, and ascends to a name of its own to be called neshama. But this vessel is very refined, as it is in similarity of form to the Creator, and is therefore considered completely spiritual.

    7. And in the spiritual world of Briya there is now ruling the 2nd aspect mentioned above, meaning the aspect of the vessel of the desire to give. And therefore when the soul downwardly progresses and comes to the spiritual world of Briya, Explanation: When the soul wants to be in similarity of form to the light of Chochma that is shining in her, meaning not to be a receiver at all, but rather to be a giver, this fact itself is her coming to the spiritual world of Briya, and attains the aspect of the vessel which is there, then it is differentiated with the name neshama. This is to say that it already has come out and become separate from the aspect of G-d’s essence, and ascends to a name of its own to be called neshama. Question: Haven’t we learned in many places that the desire to give attaches the created being to the Creator, and here it seems to say that it separates the created being from the Creator -this is perplexing !? Answer:
    1) In Chochma there was not at all an awareness of receiving. In contrast, Bina feels the receiving in its full severity, and this is what separates her from the Creator. The entire concept of her choosing to be in the state of giving, is due to feeling the weight of the reception.
    2) Bina initiates the first action from the side of the creation in that she defects the light. She is, by this action, separated from the Creator. This is not the case in Chochma, where there is no action or awareness from the side of the creation.

    We find that on account of these 2 points, there is formed a separation between the soul and the essence of G-d. Therefore, there is called the name “neshama”, that points to the vessel becoming an independent aspect. But on the other hand, this vessel is very refined, as it is in similarity of form to the Creator, and is therefore considered completely spiritual. Explanation: Since all of its concern is only with giving, she therefore has a similarity of form to the Creator. We find that there are 2 concepts here:
    1) The delineation of the name “neshama”, which is a spiritual matter separate from the Creator. This means that the vessel in her is no longer nullified to the light, as in Chochma. We find that the vessel is birthed into becoming an existence of its own.
    2) The delineation of the state of the soul, after she has been born and made into an existence of its own. This is saying that since she is concerned with giving, she therefore has connection to the Creator. A metaphor from our physical world: When a baby is in its mother’s womb, it is not yet considered a separate existence, but rather a “limb of the mother”. This is the sefira of Chochma, where there the vessel is found with the light and nullified to the light. When the baby is born he is considered a separate existence, but is connected to the mother and needs to receive all of its food from her. This is the sefira of Bina. This is to say that in Bina the vessel is already an existence of its own for the 2 reasons we said above, and is not nullified to the light – on the other hand there is a connection with the Creator because there is an occupation with giving. Only in the sefirot of Zer Anpin and Malchut, due to the solidification of the desire to receive, does the vessel change in its definition to be separated from the Creator. For example: When a child begins to acquire more and more independence and tendencies of its own, then according to its development it becomes separate from its mother.

    considered completely spiritual meaning that it is completely connected to the Creator. Ahead in #11 is delineated the difference between spirituality and physicality.

    ח) ובעולם היצירה כבר שולטת בחינה הג’ הנ”ל, שהיא כלולה מעט מצורת הרצון לקבל, וע”כ כשהנשמה משתלשלת ובאה לעולם היצירה ומשגת הכלי ההוא, יצאה מבחינת הרוחניות של הנשמה, ונקראת בשם רוח, כי כאן הכלי שלו כבר מעורב בעביות מועטת, דהיינו מעט הרצון לקבל שיש בו. אמנם עדיין נבחנת לרוחניות, כי אין שיעור עביות זאת מספיק להבדילה לגמרי מן עצמותו ית’ להקרא בשם גוף עומד ברשות עצמו.

    8. In the spiritual world of Yetzira there is now ruling the 3rd aspect mentioned above, that includes a small amount of the form of the desire to receive. Therefore when the soul downwardly progresses and arrives to the spiritual world of Yetzira and attains that vessel, it goes out from the spiritual aspect of the neshama, and is called by the name ruach. Here the vessel is already mixed with a small amount of coarseness, meaning the small amount of desire to receive that is inside of him. But this is still considered to be spiritual, because this measure of coarseness is not enough to completely separate itself from G-d’s essence to be called by the name of a body that stands independently.

    8. In the spiritual world of Yetzira there is now ruling the 3rd aspect mentioned above, that includes a small amount of the form of the desire to receive. because in the 3rd aspect, which is Zer Anpin, there begins to be a lacking after Chochma, but the lack is small and has not yet arrived to its exaggerated measure. Therefore when the soul downwardly progresses and arrives to the spiritual world of Yetzira and attains that vessel, of Zer Anpin, it goes out from the spiritual aspect of the neshama, Explanation: Since there is already formed in her a small coarseness of receiving, there is already a separation from the purity of the neshama, meaning from the characteristic of pure giving of the neshama, and is therefore called by the name ruach, which is a reduced aspect. Here the vessel is already mixed with a small amount of coarseness, meaning the small amount of desire to receive that is inside of him. But this is still considered to be spiritual, since the principle characteristic of this aspect is Chasadim, we find that from this standpoint she has a similarity of form with the Creator. Therefore, the neshama goes out from the spirituality of the neshama which is completely giving – but she still has the delineation of spirituality of the level of ruach. Even though there begins to occur in her a lacking to receive, in any event her principle characteristic is still Chasadim.

    From the standpoint that there begins to occur in her a lacking to receive it says – this measure of coarseness is not enough to completely separate itself from G-d’s essence to be called by the name of a body that stands independently. Question: Wasn’t it already said in Bina that she is separated from the essence of G-d !? We can clarify that there are 2 completely different subjects being discussed. In Bina it is discussing the vessel being an existence of its own and no longer being nullified to above. This means that the vessel of Bina is similar to a baby that is born and is no longer a “limb of the mother” as was the case in Chochma. And here it is discussing when after the vessel becomes aware of its own existence, and is already born, if he is still connected to G-d’s essence or not. For example, the child, even though it is already born, is still connected to its mother. As an independent existence and separation from the mother is acquired in stages, so too is the case here with Bina who has been born, but is still connected to the Creator. As the desire to receive in him matures, there is a distancing from the Creator, until he becomes an independent body – meaning its own domain which is not connected with the G-dly domain. We find that when the neshama arrives to the world of Yetzira, even though there begins to occur in her a lacking after the Chochma, in any event this lack is not enough to completely detach her from the Creator to call her by the name “created being”, whose characteristic is opposite from that of the Creator and therefore completely separated from the Creator. And the reason for this: Because the lack to receive is small, and is actuality only a lacking for what is necessary and nothing more. And therefore the principle characteristic of the neshama is to be concerned with giving and Chasadim.

    ט) ובעולם העשיה כבר שולטת בחינה הד’, שהיא גמר הכלי של הרצון לקבל הגדול, כנ”ל. וע”כ משגת בחינת גוף נפרד ונבדל לגמרי מעצמותו ית’, העומד ברשות עצמו. והאור שבו נקרא נפש, המורה על אור בלי תנועה מעצמו.ה ותדע שאין לך פרט קטן בהמציאות שלא יהיה כלול מכל האבי”ע.

    9. And in the spiritual world of Asiya there is now ruling the 4th aspect, that is the completion of the vessel of the great desire to receive, mentioned above. And therefore there is attained a separate body completely differentiated from G-d’s essence, that stands independently. The light in it is called nefesh, pointing to light without independent motion. And know that there is no small detail of reality that does not contain all of the ABY”A (Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, Asiya).

    9. And in the spiritual world of Asiya there is now ruling the 4th aspect, that is the completion of the vessel of the great desire to receive, because in Malchut the desire to receive is expanded to the maximum. The expansion of the desire to receive is at the expense of the desire to give. This is because two kings are not able to make use of one crown, meaning that it is impossible for a person to go two opposite directions at the same time. In Zer Anpin, where the desire to receive is still small, wanting to receive only what is necessary and nothing more, as “the light of Chochma is the essence and life force of the created being”, there is taken a measure of this illumination that will appease and satisfy the lack for what is necessary. Therefore Zer Anpin still has a place for Chasadim. But in Malchut, where the desire to receive is expanded to the maximum, there is no longer any place for Chasadim. And therefore there is attained by the soul that arrives to this state called the spiritual world of Asiya a separate body completely differentiated from G-d’s essence, that stands independently. Question: How is it said that the soul in this state is a body separated from the Creator? If the soul is a spiritual essence, then how can the concept of body be applied to it? Answer: This is like when we say that a particular division changed to become an independent body from the organization. The intention is not that it became a physical body of flesh and blood, but rather the intention is that the division changed to become a domain of its own. The intention of the word body is domain. The meaning is that when the soul achieves the desire to receive in order to receive, it changes to become a domain of its own, meaning without connection to the Creator. As long as there is an aspect of giving in the soul, it is still connected to the Creator. But in the situation called Asiya, there is no longer any giving in her, but only receiving – and this is what separates from the Creator and changes to become a domain of its own, meaning an independent body. And what it says: stands independently, means that it feels – “If I am not for myself, who will be for me”, because the existence of G-d is not felt at all.

    The light in it is called nefesh, pointing to light without independent motion. Explanation:

    1) Nefesh is from the language of nefisha (repose), pointing to rest and lack of action. Question: The upper light is in a state of absolute rest, and there is no light with movement – so what is noteworthy here!? Answer: Here the desire is to describe the state of the vessel – that the vessel has no movement of holiness in the state of Asiya. All the lights are also in a state of non-movement, because movement attests to lack, and lack is not relevant to light, rather only relevant to a vessel. But here there is a desire to explain that there is no movement even in the vessel, in contrast to other levels where the vessel has movement. The meaning of the movement is that he has a lacking for holiness, and due to this lacking he has the strength to fix within himself the power of overcoming and giving. But here the lacking is to receive and not to give, so we find that in this aspect the vessel has no movement. This means that the vessel has no lacking to be a giver, and therefore there is not within himself any action of overcoming to give. And the reason all this is designated in the name of the light, is because the revelation of the light is a result of the vessel. Since the vessel is without movement, as mentioned above, so too the light is considered to shine without movement.

    2) Later on in the progression of the spiritual worlds, we call the aspect that does not have the ability to overcome, by the name: “the feminine that receives and does not give”. This level, due to its lack of ability to overcome, is not able to continue any light to itself. This is what it means that light has no movement of its own, and that it is necessary for the upper level to continue the light and give to her. And she is the aspect of “she has nothing of her own except for what is given to her from her husband”.

    3) During the time when that which is below has no movement and feeling of G-dliness, then it is necessary to work spiritually with self-coercion, self-nullification and great submission to except this situation and to serve the Creator even in this mineral level that is without movement.

    4) The Malchut wants only to receive, and does not contain any spark of giving. When a person wants just to receive, then when the person receives, the process is completed. But when a person wants to give, there is always a continuation, because there is no end to giving.

    And know that there is no small detail of reality that does not contain all of the ABY”A (Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, Asiya). because the smallest detail is built from the whole entirety, and therefore the smallest detail is built in the progression of the 4 aspects.

    SUMMARY: In numbers 6-9 there is shown the ordered progression of the soul’s descent through the spiritual worlds. There is shown the relationship of the spiritual worlds one to the other from the perspective of their characteristics, and from this viewpoint it says that Atzilut is the 1st aspect and Briya the 2nd aspect etc.. In actuality, in every spiritual world there is only to speak about the Malchut in that particular world. Already in Ein Sof we learn that there is the 4th aspect, so how much more so is the case in the lower spiritual worlds. But what is arranged before us is the order of appearance – how the fixings that are in the power of the Malchut to do, proceed and develop, and how the ruling of the desire to receive progresses and gets stronger. And from this aspect, at the end of the spiritual worlds, the desire to receive comes out completely soiled in that it has no aspect of giving.

    י) והנך מוצא איך שהנפש הזאת שהיא אור החיים המלובש בהגוף, נמשכת יש מיש מעצמותו ית’ ממש, ובעברה דרך ד’ עולמות אבי”ע, כן היא הולכת ומתרחקת מאור פניו ית’, עד שבאה בכלי המיוחד לה הנקרא גוף, ואז נבחן הכלי לגמר צורתו הרצוי. ואם אמנם גם האור שבה נתמעט מאד, עד שאין ניכר בו עוד שורש מוצאו, עכ”ז ע”י העסק בתורה ומצוות ע”מ להשפיע נחת רוח ליוצרו, הוא הולך ומזכך את הכלי שלו הנקרא גוף, עד שנעשה ראוי לקבל את השפע הגדול, בכל השיעור הכלול במחשבת הבריאה בעת שבראה. וזה שאמר רבי חנניא בן עקשיא: רצה הקב”ה לזכות את ישראל, לפיכך הרבה להם תורה ומצוות.

    10. Here we find how this soul, which is the light of life enclothed in the body, really draws forth something from something from G-d’s essence. And in passing by way of the 4 spiritual worlds Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya, she proceeds and becomes distant from the light of G-d’s face, until she comes in her particular vessel called body. Then the vessel is considered to be finished in its desired form. Even though the light in her is very diminished, to the point that there is no longer an awareness of its source of origin, in any event, by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot in order to give pleasure to their maker, a person proceeds and refines their vessel called body, until it is made fitting to receive the great shefa, in all the measure included in the thought of creation at the time that it was created. And this is what Rabbi Chananya ben Akashiya says: “The Holy Blessed One wanted to give merit to Israel and therefore gave them a lot of Torah and Mitzvot”.

    10. Here we find how this soul, which is the light of life enclothed in the body, meaning the simple minimal illumination that enlivens the desire to receive of the person, really draws forth something from something from G-d’s essence, as G-d is the source of all the lights, and in passing by way of the 4 spiritual worlds Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya, meaning that the soul downwardly progresses and passes from state to state, acquiring each time a larger desire to receive and a lessening of the power to give that is in her. she proceeds and becomes distant from the light of G-d’s face, the concept of distance means that she acquires a change in characteristic from that of the Creator. The characteristic of the Creator is absolute giving, and the soul loses the affinity to giving, and acquires more and more the attribute of receiving. until she comes in her particular vessel called body. that is the desire to receive in its most manifest form. Then the vessel is considered to be finished in its desired form, meaning that the person is completely desiring to receive for themselves, and does not have within themselves any connection to giving. Even though the light in her is very diminished, to the point that there is no longer an awareness of its source of origin, meaning that the person is not able to feel that the origin and source of the light is the essence of G-d. in any event, by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot with the goal being to arrive to the state where all the person’s desires will be in order to give pleasure to their maker, a person proceeds and refines meaning cleans their vessel called body, this is to say that the person arrives to the situation where they are disgusted by the desire to receive, and completely desire to give, and thereby acquires the similarity of form to the characteristic of the Creator, which is completely giving, until it is made fitting to receive the great shefa, in all the measure included in the thought of creation at the time that it was created. meaning that it receives the upper light, and then it feels the source of origin of the light. And this is what Rabbi Chananya ben Akashiya says: “The Holy Blessed One wanted to give merit to meaning to clean Israel and therefore gave them a lot of Torah and Mitzvot”. That as a result of the light of the Torah there will be a despising of the desire to receive, and a yearning for the desire to give.

    In actuality, the essence of G-d is enclothed in a person. This is what is called the upper light. In light there is no changing, but due to the coarseness of the vessel there is an inability to feel the existence of G-d that is enclothed within. Through the Torah and Mitzvot a person refines the coarseness, and then is able to feel the sparks of G-d within themselves more and more.

  7. יא) ועם זה תבין גדר האמיתי להבחין בין רוחניות לגשמיות: כי כל שיש בו רצון לקבל מושלם בכל בחינותיו, שהוא בחי”ד, הוא נקרא גשמי, והוא נמצא בפרטי כל המציאות הערוכה לעינינו בעוה”ז. וכל שהוא למעלה משיעור הגדול הזה של הרצון לקבל נבחן בשם רוחניות, שהם העולמות אבי”ע הגבוהים מעוה”ז, וכל המציאות שבהם. ובזה תבין שכל ענין עליות וירידות האמורות בעולמות העליונים, אינן בבחינת מקום מדומה ח”ו, רק בענין ד’ הבחינות שברצון לקבל, כי כל הרחוק ביותר מבחי”ד נבחן למקום יותר גבוה, וכל המתקרב אל בחינה ד’ נבחן למקום יותר תחתון.

    11. And with this, understand the true framework to differentiate between spirituality and physicality: When there is a desire to receive complete in all of its aspects, which is the 4th aspect, it is called physical. It is found in the details of all the reality that we see set before our eyes in this world. As long as it is above the measure of this great desire to receive, it is called by the name spirituality, which are the spiritual worlds Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya which are above this world and all of the reality within them. And with this understand that the entire concept of ascending and descending spoken about in the upper spiritual worlds, is not in the aspect of imaginary space, G-d forbid, but is rather the subject of the 4 aspects that are within the desire to receive. Because that which is most distant from the 4th aspect is considered to be a higher place, and a coming close to the 4th aspect is considered to be a lower place.

    11. And with this, understand the true framework to differentiate between spirituality and physicality The general understanding of the world is that physical means everything that it is possible to see, that is tangible and experienced through the 5 senses. And that everything that it is impossible to see, is spiritual. But this understanding is not at all correct. When there is a desire to receive complete in all of its aspects, which is the 4th aspect, it is called physical. It is found in the details of all the reality that we see set before our eyes in this world. We find that it is possible for a person to be engaged in intellectual activity, and in song, and in learning Torah, and sitting all day long wrapped in Talit (prayer shawl) and Tefillin (prayer boxes), all of these things being thought of in the eyes of the world as spirituality, but according to the definition of our Rabbi, The Master of the Ladder – if the person is doing all of this in order to receive enjoyment and pleasure for their own self benefit, then this is the pinnacle of physicality. As long as it is above the measure of this great desire to receive, it is called by the name spirituality, which are the spiritual worlds Atzilut, Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya which are above this world and all of the reality within them. We find that it is possible for a person to engage in physical activities, for example eating and drinking, but if the intention is to give pleasure to the Creator, and not at all for the person’s own self benefit, then these activities are considered spiritual activities. And with this understand that the entire concept of ascending and descending spoken about in the upper spiritual worlds, is not in the aspect of imaginary space, G-d forbid, because there is no space in spirituality, but is rather the subject of the 4 aspects that are within the desire to receive. Because that which is most distant from the 4th aspect, meaning that there is more desire to give and less desire to receive, is considered to be a higher place, meaning a higher place in its importance, due to the similarity of form that there is between it and the Creator, and a coming close to the 4th aspect meaning that it has in it more desire to receive, is considered to be a lower place in its importance, because it is more distant from the Creator.

    According to this we need to understand that everything that is spoken about in regards to the elevation of the souls of the righteous to particular heavenly palaces – that it is all speaking about spiritual soul states. Everything is happening within the soul of the person, and it is not speaking about any sort of physical elevation. This is also the case in regards to heaven and hell, which are spiritual states of the soul enclothed within a person. It also needs to be known that the main aspect of the Torah and Mitzvot is also spiritual states of the soul. And therefore our holy Rabbi writes that each person needs to pass through all the spiritual states that are in the entire Torah, beginning from the creation of the world, and Noah entering the ark from the waters of the flood, and everything our ancestors went through, and the descent to Egypt, and the travels in the desert etc. etc.. They are all spiritual states that every person needs to go through. We find that the Torah is not, G-d forbid, a history book, but rather describes the ladder of levels that a person needs to go through in each and every generation.

    Chapter 2

    יב) אמנם יש להבין: כיון שכל עיקרו של הנברא ושל כל הבריאה בכללה, הוא רק הרצון לקבל בלבד, ומה שיותר מזה אינו לגמרי בכלל בריאה, אלא נמשך יש מיש מעצמותו ית’, א”כ למה אנו מבחינים את הרצון לקבל הזה לעביות ועכירות, ואנו מצווים לזכות אותו על ידי תורה ומצוות, עד שזולת זה לא נגיע אל המטרה הנעלה של מחשבת הבריאה?

    12. The central point of the created being and of the entirety of creation is nothing other then the desire to receive. What is beyond this is not at all in the category of creation, but rather spreads out from the essence of the Creator something from something. We therefore need to understand why we consider this desire to receive to be course and opaque, and why we are commanded to purify it by Torah and Mitzvot, to the extent that without this refinement we will not arrive to the exalted purpose of the thought of creation?

    12. The central point of the created being and of the entirety of creation is nothing other then the desire to receive. The desire to receive is the propelling force of the creation. The aspiration to receive pleasure and enjoyment is what motivates a person to create, invent, and develop. It is also what motivates all the actions of devastation and destruction. All the types of benefit that we have in our lives are the result of the desire to receive. All the different types of inventions, mechanical innovations, electrical innovations, computers, transportation by air, land and sea, the different types of facilities in the world, the development of art and culture – these all result from the desire to receive. In the framework of Torah, the Sages of blessed memory have said: “The envy of scribes increases wisdom.” When a person is jealous of another person’s Torah understandings, or jealous of the honor the person is receiving from others, then their desire to receive gains strength to also acquire these understandings. We find that the desire to receive is the propelling force of all of the creation. When the desire to receive is not regulated, then it is also able to destroy the world.

    We will bring here, concerning this, the words of our Rebi the Ba’al HaSulam from his work Hakdama LeSefer Panim Meirote VeMasbirote (paragraph 3). Here the Ba’al Hasulam analyses the 4 aspects of the development of the desire to receive that are within all of the creation. They are called mineral, plant, animal, and human, and they parallel Chochma, Bina, Zer Anpin, and Malchut. These are also 4 stages of development of the desire to receive differentiated within a person:

    “We differentiate 4 categories of levels within the human species. They are the masses, the wealthy, the powerful, and the wise. They correspond to the 4 levels within general reality called – mineral, plant, animal, and human. The mineral is capable of bringing out 3 qualities – plant, animal, and human. We differentiate these 3 levels based on their ability to differentiate between that which is helpful and that which is harmful:

    The least powerful of these is the plant. Even though plants draw close to what is beneficial for them and repel that which is harmful for them, similar to the human species, nevertheless, they do not have an independent feeling for this. There is a general force that is common to all the types of plants in the world, that causes them to act this way.

    Beyond this, there is the animal species. Here every single creature has an independent feeling to come close to that which is beneficial and to distance themselves from that which is harmful. We find from this, that one individual animal is equal in value to all the species of plants that are in existence. This is because the ability to feel the differentiation between benefit and harm, that is within the entirety of all the species of plants, is found in the individual domain of an individual animal within the animal species. This emotional sensitivity within the animal species is very limited in time and space. This sensitivity does not extend, even one hair’s breadth, beyond the scope of of the animal’s body. Likewise, an animal does not have this sensitivity in relation to the past or future, but rather only in its present moment. Beyond this is the human species which contains a combination of the power of emotional sensitivity and the power of intellect. Therefore, the ability of a human to come close to that which is beneficial and to distance themselves from that which is harmful, is not as limited in time and space as the animal species. This is due to a human’s comprehension, which is a spiritual matter, that is not limited by time and space. A person is able to contemplate all the created beings in existence, as well as the past histories of the generations, and is able to contemplate what will be in the future generations. We find by this that one individual person of the human species, has within itself a power equal to the collective power that is within all the plant and animal species that exist at this time, as well as those that have existed in all the past generations. This power of an individual person encompasses the other species, as a person contains all of the powers of the other species collectively within themselves.

    This rule also applies to the 4 categories of levels within the human species, which are the masses, the wealthy, the powerful, and the wise. They all come out from the masses, which is the 1st level, in the way that everything comes from the dust. Of course, the virtue and merit of existence of the dust is the value of the three qualities of plant, animal, and human, which come out from the dust. Likewise, the virtue of the masses are the qualities that are brought out from within them. These qualities join together in the form of a person. With regards to this, G-d embedded in the nature of the masses three tendencies called envy, physical desire, and honor, though which the masses evolve level by level to bring out a complete person.

    The wealthy come out from the tendency for physical desire. The elite of the wealthy have a strong desire that allows for them to be successful in acquiring wealth. This is the first level of development of the masses. It is similar to the the plant level of the general reality, where an outside force is governing them. This is because physical desire is something foreign to the human species, as it is borrowed from the animal species.

    The powerful come out from the tendency for honor. These are the famous people. They are the ones who govern in the synagogue, in the city, etc. They are successful in acquiring power due to the strong desire within themselves as well as their tendency to desire honor. This is the second level of development of the masses. It is similar to the animal species of the general reality, in that the force which moves them is found within their own essence. This is because the tendency to desire honor exists particularly within the human species, and it brings with it the desire to govern. This is as it is written: “You placed everything under the feet of people.” (Psalms 8:7)

    The wise come out from the tendency of envy. This is as our Sages of blessed memory have said: “The envy of scribes increases wisdom.” The wise are successful in acquiring wisdom and knowledge by a strong desire and the tendency of envy within themselves. This is similar to the human level of the general reality, as the force which moves them is not limited by time and space, but is rather collective and encompasses all the details of the world throughout all periods of time, as mentioned above. This is like the nature of burning envy which encompasses all of reality and is not limited by time. The law of jealousy is that if a person did not see that their friend had this thing, then they would not at all be aroused to desire it. We find that this feeling of lack is not based on what the person is lacking, but is rather based upon what their friend has. A person’s jealousy can extend to all the children of Adam and Eve, throughout all the generations, and therefore the power of this force is unlimited. It is therefore capable of performing its exalted and sublime function.

    The people which remain without any quality, it is because they do not have a strong desire. All three of the above mentioned tendencies are mixed up together in them. Sometimes they have physical desire, sometimes they are envious, and sometimes they desire honor. Their desire is broken in pieces, and they are like children who want everything that they see. They are not able to acquire anything, and their value is like the straw and bran that remains after the flour.”

    יג) והענין הוא, כי כמו שהגשמיים נפרדים זה מזה ע”י ריחוק מקום, כן נפרדים הרוחנים זה מזה ע”י שינוי הצורה שבהם. ותמצא זה גם בעוה”ז, למשל ב’ בני אדם הקרובים בדעתם זה לזה, הם אוהבים זה את זה, ואין ריחוק מקום פועל עליהם שיתרחקו זה מזה. ובהפך – כשהם רחוקים זה מזה בדעותיהם, הרי הם שונאים זה את זה, וקרבת המקום לא תקרב אותם במאומה. הרי ששינוי הצורה שבדעתם מרחקם זה מזה, וקרבת הצורה שבדעתם מקרבם זה אל זה. ואם למשל טבעו של האחד הוא הפוך בכל בחינותיו כנגד טבעו של השני, הרי הם רחוקים זה מזה כרחוק המזרח ממערב. ועד”ז תשכיל ברוחניות, שכל הענינים של התרחקות והתקרבות וזווג ויחוד הנבחנים בהם, הם משקלים של שינוי צורה בלבד, שלפי מדת שינוי הצורה הם מתפרדים זמ”ז, ולפי מדת השואת הצורה הם מתדבקים זה בזה. ועם זה תבין שהגם שהרצון לקבל הוא חוק מחויב בהנברא, כי הוא כל בחינת נברא שבו, והוא הכלי הראוי לקבל המטרה שבמחשבת הבריאה, עכ”ז הוא נעשה עי”ז נפרד לגמרי מהמאציל, כי יש שינוי צורה עד למדת הפכיות בינו לבין המאציל, כי המאציל הוא כולו להשפיע ואין בו מנצוצי קבלה אפילו משהו ח”ו, והוא, כולו לקבל ואין בו מנצוצי השפעה אף משהו. הרי אין לך הפכיות הצורה רחוקה יותר מזה, ונמצא ע”כ בהכרח, כי הפכיות הצורה הזו מפרידה אותו מהמאציל.

    13. The reason is that, in the way that physical things are separated one from the other by their physical distance, spiritual matters are separated one from the other by their difference of form. This is found also in this world. For example: Two people whose opinions are close to one another, love each other, and physical distance does not have effect on them when they are distant from one another. And the opposite – When two people are distant from one another in their opinions, they hate each other, and physical closeness will not bring them closer whatsoever. The difference in form of their opinions distances them one from the other, and the closeness of form of their opinions brings them close to one another. And if, for example, the nature of one of them is in all aspects the opposite of the nature of the other one, then they are as distant from one another as the east from the west. And in this way comprehend that in spirituality, all the matters of distance and closeness, coupling, and unification that is discerned in them – are nothing other then measures of difference of form. According to the measure of difference of form, they are separated from one another, and according to the measure of similarity of form they are attached to one another. And with this understand, that even though the desire to receive is an intrinsic principle within the created being, as it is the entire aspect of the creation within the created being, and it is the vessel that is fit to receive the purpose that is in the thought of creation – nevertheless, this causes the created being to become completely separated from the Creator. There is a difference in form between the created being and the Creator to the degree of being opposites, because the Creator is completely giving and does not have any spark of receiving whatsoever, and the created being is completely receiving and does not have within it any spark of giving whatsoever. There is no opposition of form more distant then this. We find by this that this opposition of form necessarily separates the created being from the Creator.

    13. Two people whose opinions are close to one another, love each other, and physical distance does not have effect on them when they are distant from one another. We have seen this among the great spiritual people of Israel, where their connection and attachment and love for one another, connects them to one another even through physical distance. For example, it is told of Rebi David of Lelov, who traveled to spend the high holy days with his Rebi “The Seer of Lublin”. Rebi David did not succeed in reaching Lublin for Rosh Hashana, and he stayed in a village that was far from there. On the night of Rosh Hashana, he sat and said “LeChayim!” to the Seer of Lublin. In answer to his student he said: “My table is long and reaches Lublin”. Likewise, it is told of Rebi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, who was dying, and his close student the Rebi of Kotzk was by his side. It became time for the wedding of the son of the Rebi of Kotzk, and he did not leave his dying Rebi to go to the wedding of his son. Rebi Simcha Bunim commanded him to go to the wedding, and he needed to obey the command of his Rebi. The day after the Rebi of Kotzk travelled, Rebi Simcha Bunim passed on to the life of the world to come. The Rebi’s students buried him with great honor. When the Rebi of Kotzk came a few days later, after the wedding, he requested the key to the room of Rebi Simcha Bunim. He closed himself in the room for three hours. Afterwards, he came out and said: “Of all the people, it is only myself who was at the funeral of the Rebi”. There are many more stories along these lines, all showing how physical distance does not matter for people who are connected to one another. They are connected by their similar qualities and understandings, and love shines between them.

    And the opposite – When two people are distant from one another in their opinions, they hate each other, and physical closeness will not bring them closer whatsoever. For example, Yakov and Esav, who were in the womb of their mother Rivka. In terms of physical distance, they were certainly close to one another, but in terms of their values, there was a tremendous distance between them. The Midrash says: “When Rivka passed by a house of idol worship, then Esav wanted to come out. When she passed by the place of spiritual learning of Shem, then Yakov wanted to come out. Likewise, a difference in opinions causes a detachment and distance between all people, even if they are next to each other physically.

    יד) ובכדי להציל את הנבראים מגודל הפירוד הרחוק הזה נעשה סוד הצמצום הא’, שענינו הוא – שהפריד הבחי”ד הנ”ל מן כל פרצופי הקדושה, באופן שמדת גדלות הקבלה ההיא נשארה בבחינת חלל פנוי וריקן מכל אור. כי כל פרצופי הקדושה יצאו בבחינת מסך מתוקן בכלי מלכות שלהם, שלא יקבלו אור בבחי”ד הזו. ואז בעת שהאור העליון נמשך ונתפשט אל הנאצל, והמסך הזה דוחה אותו לאחוריו, הנה זה נבחן כמו הכאה בין אור העליון ובין המסך, המעלה אור חוזר ממטה למעלה, ומלביש הע”ס דאור העליון. כי אותו חלק האור הנדחה לאחוריו נק’ אור חוזר, ובהלבשתו לאור העליון, נעשה אח”כ כלי קבלה על אור העליון במקום הבחי”ד. כי אח”ז התרחבה כלי המלכות באותו שיעור האו”ח, שהוא אור הנדחה שעלה והלביש לאור העליון ממטה למעלה. והתפשטה גם ממעלה למטה, שבזה נתלבשו האורות בהכלים, דהיינו בתוך אור חוזר ההוא. וה”ס ראש וגוף שבכל מדרגה, כי הזווג דהכאה מאור העליון בהמסך, מעלה אור חוזר ממטה למעלה, ומלביש הע”ס דאור העליון בבחינת ע”ס דראש, שפירושו שרשי כלים, כי שם עוד לא יכולה להיות הלבשה ממש. ואח”ז כשהמלכות מתפשטת עם האו”ח ההוא ממעלה למטה, אז נגמר האור חוזר ונעשה לבחינת כלים על אור העליון, ואז נעשית התלבשות האורות בכלים, ונקרא גוף של מדרגה ההיא, שפירושו כלים גמורים.

    14. In order to save the created beings from this vast separation, there was made the secret of the Tzimtzum Alef (First Constriction). The idea is that, the 4th aspect that we spoke about above is separated from all the spiritual levels (partzufim) of holiness, in such a way that the greatest measure of receiving remains in the aspect of vacated space, empty of all light. This is because every level (partzuf) of holiness comes out from the aspect of a masach (screen) fixed in their vessel of Malchut, so that it will not receive light in this 4th aspect. When the upper light continues and spreads out to the creation, the masach deflects the light. This is considered as if there is an impact between the upper light and the masach, that elevates returning light from below to above, enclothing the 10 sefirot of the upper light. The portion of the light that is deflected is called returning light (ohr chozer), and in its enclothing of the upper light, it consequently becomes the vessel for receiving the upper light, in place of the 4th aspect. This is because, subsequently, the vessel of Malchut expands to the same measure as the returning light, which is the deflected light that ascends and enclothes the upper light from below to above. The light also spreads out from above to below, whereby the lights are enclothed in the vessels, meaning within this returning light. This is the inner meaning of ‘head’ and ‘body’ that are within every spiritual level. The union of opposition (zivug dehaka’ah) from the upper light impacting the barrier, causes an ascent of returning light from below to above. The returning light enclothes the 10 sefirot of the upper light in the aspect of 10 sefirot of the head, which means the beginning of vessels, since the vessels do not yet have the ability to actually enclothe the light. After this, when the Malchut expands with the returning light from above to below, then the returning light finishes and becomes a vessel for the upper light. The lights are then enclothed in the vessels, and this is called the body of the spiritual level, meaning complete vessels.

    14. In order to save the created beings from this vast separation, that is between them and the Creator, as they are only receiving for their own benefit, and the Creator is only giving, in order to benefit the creation, there was made the secret of the Tzimtzum Alef (First Constriction). The idea is that, the 4th aspect called receiving in order to receive that we spoke about above is separated by the Creator from all the spiritual levels (partzufim) of holiness. A partzuf is a spiritual system consisting of a head and a body. “Head” is a state of planning and calculation, and “body” is a state of performing the action. It can also be said that partzuf (literally meaning face) in physical terms points to a person’s face. The term “face” hints to revelation. When a person sees their friend’s face, then they are certain that it is them. If a person sees their friend from the back, then it is not certain that this is them. We see that “face” hints to revelation. This is like the verse from the Torah: “You will see my back, but not my face”. G-d has a back and a face? Rather, the meaning is that G-d is saying to our teacher Moshe: You are not able to come into contact with the level of revelation of my actual self, but only with the level of the back, which is called hidden in relation to the real revelation. It is also written: “The upright will see G-d’s face”. (Psalms 11:7) We find that face is associated with seeing, meaning revelation and comprehension. From this it follows that the concept “partzuf” alludes to a particular measure of the revelation of G-d.

    There are two stages to be learned about in the concept of separation:

    1) The person separating themselves at the time of receiving. This is because G-d does not receive.

    2) The light that is reveled in a person, meaning the revelation of G-d that is revealed to a person, is also separated from the essence of G-d to the extent that it enters the dirty vessel of the desire to receive. This is similar to good food served in a dirty vessel. It is known that the Rebi from Kotzk ordered special tefilin (prayer boxes) from the scribe Rebi Moshe from Pesharsk. It was necessary to wait a long time for these tefilin, as besides the wonderful writing, Rebi Moshe would also immerse in a mikva (natural spring) before writing each holy name. He would give extra care to make them with utmost holiness and purity. When the work of making the tefilin was finished, the Rebi of Kotzk sent a special messenger to bring them. The messenger told the Rebi that he had transgressed the commandment “not to covet”, in that he desired these glorious tefilin so much that he got to the point where he could not help himself, and he put them on. The Rebi said to him: “You can take them for yourself, because tefilin which have entered the vessel of “not to covet”, I no longer want to wear.”

    the 4th aspect that we spoke about above is separated from all the spiritual levels (partzufim) of holiness. The idea of this separation is: From the tzimtzum that was made in the Malchut of Ein Sof and onwards, in all the levels, from the beginning of the downward progression until end and the bottom of the spiritual world of Asiya, it is impossible to make use of the 4th aspect. This is because it is not within the definition of holiness, and it is therefore impossible to receive light in this aspect. We find that the tzimtzum placed this 4th aspect outside of the partzufim of holiness. This is because the tzimtzum that was made on the 4th aspect, defined holiness as an aspect that contains no receiving for itself and is only giving. Consequently, as a result of this definition, the 4th aspect is sent outside of the levels of holiness. We find that the Creator arranged a system that separates the 4th aspect from receiving.

    in such a way that the greatest measure of receiving remains in the aspect of vacated space, empty of all light. This is because every level (partzuf) of holiness comes out from they are set in the aspect of a masach (screen) fixed in their vessel of Malchut, so that it will not receive light in this 4th aspect. This masach is the power of obstruction that the created being fixes within itself, not to receive the light that is desirable to them. There is to remember that the upper light is only revealed to a person whose whole life is yearning to be close to G-d, and has already done all the actions that are necessary to merit to this. Then when the upper light is revealed to the person, in spite of the person’s great yearning for the upper light, the person needs to decline the reception of the light. |f the person was to receive the light without the necessary spiritual transformations, then the person would certainly receive it in order to receive, meaning for their own self benefit, which is a great blemish in the King’s glory [ a blemish in the person’s experience of G-d’s glory ].

    Question: If tzimtzum means a deflection of the light from entering the 4th aspect, and masach means a deflection of the light from entering the 4th aspect, then why do we need to use 2 different terms?

    Answer:

    1) Tzimtzum is a term that defines the deflection of the light that was done by free choice, in a way of “adornment”. Masach is a term that defines the power of deflecting something forbidden that needs to be deflected. At its source, the tzimtzum was an act of free choice by the created being, but afterwards this choice becomes an absolute law in the created being.

    2) The tzimtzum is an absolute deflection of the light. The masach is a deflection that allows a particular and partial measure of the light to enter the vessel.

    When the upper light continues and spreads out to the creation, this is so to speak, since there is no movement in the light. When the vessel perceives the light, then it states that the light continues and spreads out to it. the light spreads out to the creation in the order of 10 sefirot, until arriving to the Malchut. the masach that is set in the vessel of Malchut deflects the light. meaning that the Malchut’s power of obstruction, stops the light from entering the vessel of Malchut. In other words: The Malchut forgoes receiving the light, even though she desires it very much. This is considered as if there is an impact between the upper light and the masach, impact means that there is a conflict between two different understandings. In Malchut there are two different understandings: One understanding is that since the Creator created the creation in order to give goodness to the creation, that it is therefore necessary to receive all the goodness, meaning all of the upper light. A second understanding is that the created being needs to be concerned with the matter of reaching a similarity of form, and not to receive in the vessel called the desire to receive in order to receive. This dilemma results in the Malchut deflecting the upper light, meaning that she does not want to receive it. This entails an immense spiritual work, as the upper light is very delightful and desirable. Even though the vessel has a great yearning for the light, in any event, it is prepared to forgo receiving it.

    that elevates returning light from below to above, enclothing the 10 sefirot of the upper light. In the introduction to the book Panim Meirote, the Ba’al Hasulam writes that the masach is the source of the spiritual work, and the returning light is the source of the reward. The masach being the source of the work can be seen in the example of a worker who wants to rest, but does not allow themselves to rest, because if so they will not have bread to eat afterwards. The worker, therefore, goes against their desire and works. We find that when the created being goes in opposition to its desire, then this is defined as work. The desire of the created being is to receive pleasure and enjoyment. The activity of the masach is the opposite – to deflect the upper light and not receive. This is called work. It is not that there is not a desire to receive, but rather there is a stopping of oneself from making use of it. This is an enormous work. The created being does this work in order to receive a reward. And what is this reward? The created being forgoes on this immense light of the revelation of G-d, and does not want to receive it, even though it contains endless goodness and pleasure. This is because the created being wants to be in a similarity of form with the Creator, meaning not to be receiving for its own self benefit. After forgoing this light, there is separated a small illumination from the totality of the light that the created being deflected, which returns to shine within the created being, building within it the desire to give. This is to say that attaining the equation of form contains two parts. The negative part is that because there is no receiving in the Creator, I also do not want to receive. The positive part that is that in the way that the Creator wants to give and do good for others, likewise I also want to give and do good for others. The positive part is not in the hands of the created being, because it does not have the desire to give. The negative part, however, is seemingly in the hands of the created being, as it has the ability to choose to not make use of its desire to receive. The meaning of the masach is that the created being does not make use of the desire to receive, and makes this effort with all of its strength. The created being makes all of this effort in order to receive a reward – the reward being that the Creator will give them a new nature of desiring to give. This is the reward. Therefore it says that the returning light is the source of the reward. The created being had light before the tzimtzum, so we see that the tzimtzum was not made in order to receive light, but rather in order to receive the desire to give.

    that elevates returning light from below to above, enclothing the 10 sefirot of the upper light. There is to understand that there are two types of returning light here (Talmud Eser Sefirot section 4 H”P part 2):

    1) returning light that is reflected: This is all the light that arrives to the Malchut, and is reflected backwards because she does not want to be receiving in order to receive.

    2) returning light that enclothes: As a result of the immense effort of the created being, that reflects the upper light even though it desires it so much, a small illumination is separated from the totality of the light, which returns to shine within the Malchut. This light endows the Malchut with a great pleasure in giving, and thereby builds within the Malchut a second nature of desiring to give. As she desires to give pleasure to the Creator, and the desire of the Creator is to give goodness to the creation, meaning that the created being receives, she therefore begins to estimate what portion of the upper light she is able to enclothe. Able to enclothe means being able to receive in order to give pleasure to the Creator. For this reason, this returning light is called the returning light that enclothes. Here, in the Peticha, our Rebi is saying: The portion of the light that is deflected is called returning light (ohr chozer), and in its enclothing of the upper light, it consequently becomes the vessel for receiving. We find that the Ba’al HaSulam is not differentiating between these two types of returning light, but rather combines them in his words. We sometimes find in his words the terminology of the returning light enclothing the 10 sefirot of direct light, and sometimes we find the language of light being deflected. The Ba’al HaSulam uses the term “returning light” interchangeably for these two aspects many times. We need to know, that in almost every place where “returning light” is written throughout this wisdom, the intention is the second type of returning light, which is the returning light that enclothes. The entire function of the tzimtzum was to birth within the created being the desire to give, which is called the returning light that enclothes. Then there can be made an accounting of how much is able to be received in order to give, and how much is not able to be received in order to give.

    We find that after the Malchut receives the power of the returning light, and there is built inside of her the desire to give, she begins to think about the way in which she is able to give pleasure to the Creator, and what it is that the Creator lacks? She arrives at the conclusion – that since the “Creator’s desire is to give goodness to the creation”, it will therefore give pleasure to the Creator if the created being receives the upper light. If there is, however, a receiving of the light without any assessment and restrictions, then it will certainly fall to the realm of receiving in order to receive. This is because the root nature of the created being is the desire to receive in order to receive. The vessels of giving, that are the aspect of returning light, are a second nature. The created being, therefore, always needs to check itself, because even if its intentions are good and seem to be for the sake of giving, in any event, the root nature is always capable of awakening. Therefore the Malchut needs to measure its strength, and take an accounting of what portion of the light she is able to receive because she wants to give pleasure to the King, and in what portion of the light the pleasure is too great, in that if she receives it, it will be for her own self benefit. This is the concept of the returning light ascending from below to above, enclothing the 10 sefirot of the upper light. The lower is called below in importance, and the upper is called above in importance. When the strength of the giving of the lower ascends from below to above, then it enclothes the 10 sefirot of the upper light. Explanation: The desire to give ascends from sefira to sefira, and measures its strength in relationship to the light that is in each sefira. This means that it measures what it is able to receive (enclothe) in order to give, and what it is not able to receive in order to give, as mentioned above.

    Concerning the spiritual concept of “enclothing”, we heard from our spiritual teacher Rebi Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag ztz”l, that when we are speaking about conceptual matters then we use the term “enclothe”. This is like how we say in Hebrew: “My mind enclothes (malbeesh) the idea”. The intended meaning is essentially to receive and comprehend. We find that when we are speaking about coarse matters then we use the term “receive”. When we are speaking about spiritual matters then we use the term “enclothe”, which is essentially reception.

    SUMMARY: The lower, which is below in importance, is called “below”. The upper, which is above in importance, is called “above”. When the lower is not occupied with receiving, but rather wants to give pleasure to above, then this is called “from below to above”. The concept of “enclothing” means attaining, meaning that it enclothes the portion of the light that it estimates that it is able to receive in order to give. Generally speaking, we can say that by the functioning of the masach, there is an ascension of returning light, that is called a going up in importance. This means that the formation of a desire to give pleasure to the Creator in the created being, is called the going up in importance of the created being. This is because the created being now attains the true similarity of form with the Creator, and there is no situation superior to this.

    We find that we have here 4 aspects that are functioning together:

    1) the coarseness: This is the amount of the desire to receive. If we are speaking about physical matters, then this is defined as the amount of desire to receive. If we are speaking on a spiritual soul level, then this is defined as the amount of yearning a person has for G-d. This is as the poet says: “My remembering G-d does not let me sleep”.

    2) the masach: This is the power of resistance not to make use of the coarseness, and not to receive the subject that the vessel desires. There is to remember that the essential element of this power of resistance is Yirat Hashem. [ Yirat Hashem can be translated as either fear or awe of G-d. In lower levels of consciousness it is fear of the consequences. In higher levels of consciousness it is a state of awe where one does not want to act in a way that is not fitting to G-d’s glory. The details of this are discussed in the Zohar and the writings of the Ba’al HaSulam. – translator ]

    3) the returning light: This is the desire to give. It is the love of G-d (Ahavat Hashem).

    4) the enclothing of the upper light: The size of the coarseness determines the corresponding amount of resistance and size of the masach which is necessary. The amount of resistance determines the amount of returning light and the desire to give that is formed in the created being. The amount of desire to give determines the amount of upper light that is enclothed in the vessels of the created being.

    in its enclothing of the upper light, it consequently becomes the vessel for receiving the upper light, in place of the 4th aspect. Question: How can light be a vessel? Answer: The first stage is when Malchut says “I want to receive the light”. This is termed that Malchut continues or draws forth (mamshica) the light. In the second stage she deflects the light with the help of the power of resistance that is within her. This power of resistance is called masach. We explained that the action of Malchut deflecting the upper light, is the source of the spiritual work that we see in this world. This work is working in opposition to the desire of the person, because the created being really wants to receive the light, as it contains immense pleasure, but nevertheless stops themselves and does not receive it. And we explained that as a result of this spiritual work, the Malchut merits to a reward. As a consequence of the spiritual work of the Malchut, there is separated a small illumination from the totality of the deflected light, which returns and shines in the vessel of the Malchut. This illumination builds within the vessel of Malchut a second nature of loving the other and desiring to give. This desire to give that is formed in her is called returning light. The returning light enclothes the direct light, as we previously discussed, meaning that it becomes a vessel for receiving the direct light. We find that it is specifically through the action of deflecting the light, that there is formed the returning light which is the desire to give within the vessel. It is specifically then that the created being is able to receive. And this is what is written: The portion of the light that is deflected is called returning light (ohr chozer), and in its enclothing of the upper light, it consequently becomes the vessel for receiving the upper light.

    SUMMARY: The law of tzimtzum means that it is forbidden to make use of the vessel that receives for its own self benefit. Once the law of the tzimtzum has been put into effect, then the light is no longer able to shine in this vessel. We find that it is specifically with the returning light, which is the nature of giving, that the created being is able to receive the light. We find that the returning light becomes a vessel of receiving in place of the 4th aspect. And this is what is written: it consequently becomes the vessel for receiving the upper light, in place of the 4th aspect. What is the meaning of “in place of”? The 4th aspect is called the desire to receive in order to receive. Before the tzimtzum the 4th aspect was the vessel for the upper light. But after the tzimtzum and the rectification made by the masach and the returning light, then the returning light becomes the vessel of receiving. This means that the desire to give becomes the vessel of receiving. Then reception is possible, for the reason that it is not receiving for ones own self benefit, but rather for the reason of wanting to give satisfaction to the King. And when there is no returning light, which is the desire to give, then there is no receiving.

    The ascension of the returning light from below to above is called the head of the spiritual level. In this state there is no actual reception. There is only planning – what is permissible to receive and what is forbidden to receive. Therefore, this state is known as “the beginning of the vessels” (“shorshei kaylim”). But afterwards, when the calculation has been completed, the Malchut spreads out to the state of the body, meaning that it actually receives what was determined in the head that it will be able to receive in order to give. This is what is written: subsequently, the vessel of Malchut expands meaning that after the masach deflects the light, then the Malchut becomes opened to receive to the same measure as the returning light, which is the deflected light that ascends and enclothes the upper light from below to above. The light also spreads out from above to below Explanation: The Creator is considered above in importance, and the created being is considered below in importance. The light spreads out from the Creator to the receiving vessels of the created being. This means that the created being is actually receiving the light that it decided that it is permissible for it to receive. whereby the lights are enclothed in the vessels, meaning within this returning light in actuality, meaning that the Malchut now receives the upper light within her desires of giving. This means that it is not for her own self benefit at all, but rather in order to give satisfaction to the King.

    This is the inner meaning of ‘head’ and ‘body’ that are within every spiritual level. The union of opposition (zivug dehaka’ah) from the upper light impacting the barrier, meaning a conflict of opinions between the upper light and the power of deflection of the created being, as mentioned above, causes an ascent of returning light from below to above, this is as we explained, that as a result of the deflection, there is formed a vessel of giving in the created being. This vessel is called returning light. It is called returning light because it is formed in the created being by the light that returns to shine in him. It is called returning light also for the reason that it is formed in the created being by the created being returning and deflecting the light. After there is this second nature of giving, then the desire ascends from below to above, in the direction of giving to the King, and then The returning light enclothes the 10 sefirot of the upper light in the aspect of 10 sefirot of the head, which means the beginning of vessels, since the vessels do not yet have the ability to actually enclothe the light, because this is the stage of preparation and calculating what is able to be received in order to give, meaning received for love of the King, and what is not able to be received in order to give, meaning that it would not be received for love of the King, but would be received for love of oneself. After this, when the Malchut expands with the returning light from above to below, meaning that the light spreads out from that which is above, called “above”, to the receiving vessel of that which is below, called “below”, then the returning light finishes meaning that it finishes its function, and becomes a vessel for the upper light. The lights are then enclothed in the vessels, and this is called the body of the spiritual level, meaning complete vessels.

  8. טו) הרי שנעשו בחינת כלים חדשים בפרצופין דקדושה במקום בחי”ד אחר הצמצום א’, שהם נעשו מאור חוזר של זווג דהכאה בהמסך. ויש אמנם להבין את אור חוזר הזה – איך הוא נעשה לבחינת כלי קבלה, אחר שהוא מתחילתו רק אור נדחה מקבלה, ונמצא שמשמש תפקיד הפוך מענינו עצמו!? ואסביר לך במשל מהויות דהאי עלמא: כי מטבע האדם לחבב ולהוקיר מדת ההשפעה, ומאוסה ושפלה בעיניו מדת הקבלה מחברו. ולפיכך הבא לבית חברו והוא מבקשו שיאכל אצלו, הרי אפילו בעת שהוא רעב ביותר יסרב לאכול, כי נבזה ושפל בעיניו להיות מקבל מתנה מחברו. אכן בעת שחברו מרבה להפציר בו בשיעור מספיק, דהיינו עד שיהיה גלוי לו לעינים, שיעשה לחברו טובה גדולה עם אכילתו זו, הנה אז מתרצה ואוכל אצלו. כי כבר אינו מרגיש את עצמו למקבל מתנה, ואת חברו להמשפיע, אלא להיפך, כי הוא המשפיע ועושה טובה לחברו ע”י קבלתו ממנו את הטובה הזאת. והנך מוצא, שהגם שהרעב והתאבון הוא כלי קבלה המיוחד לאכילה, והאדם ההוא היה לו רעבון ותאבון במדה מספקת לקבל סעודת חברו, עכ”ז לא היה יכול לטעום אצלו אף משהו מחמת הבושה. אלא כשחברו מתחיל להפציר בו, והוא הולך ודוחה אותו, הרי אז מתחילים להתרקם בו כלי קבלה חדשים על האכילה, כי כחות ההפצרה של חברו וכחות הדחיה שלו בעת שהולכים ומתרבים, סופם להצטרף לשיעור מספיק המהפכים לו מדת הקבלה למדת השפעה, עד שיוכל לצייר בעיניו שיעשה טובה ונחת רוח גדול לחברו עם אכילתו, אשר אז נולדו לו כלי קבלה על סעודת חבירו. ונבחן עתה, שכח הדחיה שלו נעשה לעיקר כלי קבלה על הסעודה, ולא הרעב והתאבון, אע”פ שהם באמת כלי קבלה הרגילים.

    15. After Tzimtzum Alef, new vessels are made in the partzufim (spiritual levels) of holiness, in place of the 4th aspect. The new vessels are made from the returning light of the union of opposition in the masach. How can we understand this returning light that becomes a vessel of receiving, since from its beginning it is only light defected from reception – we find that it is functioning in a role that is opposite to itself !? I will explain to you with an example that can be experienced in the world: It is in the nature of a person to like and give value to the attribute of giving, and to see the attribute of receiving from another as lowly and repulsive. Therefore, when a person comes to the house of their friend and is asked to eat, then even when the person is extremely hungry, they refuse to eat. This is because the person feels that it is despicable and lowly to take a present from their friend. When the friend urges them, to the extent that it is clear that they will be doing their friend a big favor by eating this meal, then the person agrees to eat. This is because the person no longer feels that they are receiving a gift and that their friend is the one who is giving, but now they feel the opposite – that they are the one who is giving, and that they are doing their friend a favor by receiving their friend’s favor. We see from this, that even though hunger and appetite are the specific vessel for eating, and the person has enough hunger and appetite to receive the meal of their friend, nevertheless, they are not able to taste anything at all of their friend’s due to the shame. But when their friend begins to urge them, and the person continues to resist, then there begins to be formed within the person a new vessel for eating. The power of the friend’s urging and the power of the person’s resistance, when they continue and increase, join together to result in a measure that is enough to transform the person’s receiving into giving. This brings the person to understand that they are doing a favor and causing their friend great enjoyment by eating. The person consequently attains a vessel to receive the meal of their friend. We now see that the power of the resistance has become the main vessel for receiving the meal, and not the hunger and appetite. This is the case, even though the hunger and appetite are really the normal vessel for the reception.

    15. After Tzimtzum Alef, new vessels are made in the partzufim (spiritual levels) of holiness. There are two clarifications on the subject of the new receiving vessels:

    1) Until now, everything that gave enjoyment to the person and gave them happiness in their life, was receiving. And from now on, giving without concern for oneself, is what gives the person happiness and enjoyment in their life.

    2) The pleasure and enjoyment that there is in the giving is not a condition for the giving. When the created being merits to the returning light, then the created being surely feels pleasure and enjoyment in their giving – but the pleasure and enjoyment is not a condition for the giving. This pleasure and enjoyment builds within the created being a love for others, but in such a way that it becomes the created being’s nature to give unconditionally. This is to say, that the person will agree to give to their friend even if the person does not feel pleasure in this giving. The person will also agree to do this act of giving even if this act of giving causes themselves suffering. But in order for the personality of a person to be changed in this way, and in order for a person to have built within themselves a nature that is completely different from their previous nature, it is necessary for the person to receive pleasure and enjoyment in their giving to others. Then, after the nature is built within the person, then the pleasure and enjoyment are no longer the conditions, as mentioned above.

    But there is to contemplate what our Holy Rebi, the Ba’al HaSulam, says in the book Matan Torah (chapter Mamar Lesium HaZohar) :

    “And we have clarified the answer given by the Sages of blessed memory, on the question of how it is possible to become attached to G-d. They said that it means “to become attached to G-d’s attributes”. This is correct for 2 reasons: 1) Because spiritual attachment is not a nearness of physical space, but rather the similarity of form. 2) The soul was not separated from the essence of G-d except by way of the desire to receive that the Creator implanted in its nature. Therefore, when a person separates the desire to receive from their soul, there is a return to the original attachment with the essence of G-d. But all of this is in theory, because the explanation of “to become attached to G-d’s attributes” does not explain anything in regards to how to do this in practice. It does not explain how to separate the desire to receive that is implanted in the nature of G-d’s creation, and come to the desire to give, which is the opposite of this nature. We explained that one who is drowning in a river needs to hold the rope firmly. And we explained that before a person is engaged in Torah and Mitzvot with pure intention (lishma) in a way that they will never again return to their foolishness, then they are not considered to be holding the rope firmly. But the question remains – from where can a person find motivation to make effort with all of their heart and strength just to give satisfaction to their Maker. A person is not able to make a movement without some benefit for themselves. Similar to a machine that cannot work without fuel, if there only a giving of satisfaction to one’s Maker, without any self benefit, then there is no motivation to work !?

    The answer is: For anyone who attains a proper comprehension of G-d’s exaltedness, giving to G-d becomes an act of reception. This is as it says in the Talmud Masechet Kiddushin (page 7), that in the case of an important person, when the bride gives him money, this is considered an act of reception on her part and she is sanctified. This is the same with regards to G-d. When a person achieves a comprehension of G-d’s exaltedness, then there is no reception more important to the person then giving satisfaction to their Creator. Giving satisfaction to G-d is enough motivation for a person to make effort and work with all of their heart and soul and strength. But it is clear that if a person has not yet attained a proper comprehension of G-d’s exaltedness, then giving satisfaction to G-d is not considered an act of reception to the extent that they would give all of their heart and soul and strength to G-d. And therefore, any time that a person truly intends to do something to give satisfaction to the Creator, without any benefit for themselves, then the person immediately loses all of their strength to perform this service. The person is like a machine without fuel, because a person is not able to move a muscle without the movement providing some benefit for themselves. And this is even more so with regards to making an effort of such great a measure as to give one’s soul and strength, as the Torah requires. There is no doubt that this is not able to be done without a person receiving some pleasure for themselves.”

    We see from the Ba’al HaSulam’s wonderful words, that a person needs to receive pleasure and enjoyment. Otherwise a person is not able to move themselves. Before the tikun (state of spiritual rectification) a person receives pleasure and enjoyment from receiving. And after a person attains a second nature of giving, then the person receives pleasure and enjoyment from others having goodness. This is achieved by realizing the exaltedness of G-d and the exaltedness of others. Because when that which is small gives to that which is big, then there is great pleasure in this giving. We find that this is a necessary condition in giving, and that otherwise a person is not able to be a giver. And the opposite: If a person does not have happiness and enjoyment in their giving, then we find that G-d is not important enough for them. And this attests to a deficiency in their spiritual work. Therefore a person needs to make effort to increase the importance of their friend to the point of depicting to themselves that their friend is the most important person in the generation. Likewise a person needs to make effort to increase their realization of G-d’s importance. And this is all for the reason that there needs to be a feeling of happiness and enjoyment at the time of giving. Without this, a person is not able to give. It is true that pleasure and enjoyment are the necessary condition in order to be able to give, but a person does not need to be focused on attaining this happiness and enjoyment. Rather the person can be focused on the happiness and enjoyment of the other.

    To further clarify the concept of “giving” (“hashpa’ah”): If a person gives to another, and the one who is giving does not lack from this, then this is not considered giving. Rather it is specifically when a person gives to another, and this causes the person who is giving to be lacking something, then this is considered giving. This is the case with regards to both heart and mind. In the aspect of the heart: When a person gives to another, the person needs to take what is precious to them, and give it to the other. For example, the commandment of G-d to Avraham our ancestor: “Please take your son, your only son, that you love, Yitzchak, and raise him up for an offering”. A person most certainly experiences great suffering when they need to take what is precious to them and give it to someone else. And likewise in the aspect of mind: When a person needs to act in opposition to their comprehension and understanding, then they most certainly experience great suffering. We find that the concept of “giving” is bound up with suffering, as otherwise a person is not considered to be giving. It is only by realizing the greatness of G-d and the greatness of others, that the sufferings of the desire to receive are beloved to a person. This is because it is particularly through them that a person can give to G-d and to others, and the person has enjoyment from giving to them.

    It is in the nature of a person to like and give value to the attribute of giving, and to see the attribute of receiving from another as lowly and repulsive. Explanation: A person prefers receiving over giving. Society, however, glorifies the person who makes effort to give, and is repulsed by the person who only receives and does not care about others.

    טז) ומדמיון הנ”ל בין אדם לחברו, אפשר להבין ענין הזווג דהכאה הנ”ל, ואת האו”ח העולה על ידו, שהוא נעשה כלי קבלה חדשים על אור העליון במקום בחי”ד. כי ענין ההכאה של אור העליון המכה בהמסך ורוצה להתפשט אל בחי”ד, יש לדמותו לענין ההפצרה לאכול אצלו, כי כמו, שהוא רוצה מאד שחברו יקבל את סעודתו. כן אור העליון רוצה להתפשט להמקבל. וענין המסך המכה בהאור ומחזירו לאחוריו, יש לדמותו לדבר הדחיה והסירוב של חברו לקבל את סעודתו, כי דוחה את טובתו לאחור. וכמו שתמצא כאן, אשר דוקא הסירוב והדחיה נתהפכו ונעשו לכלי קבלה נכונים לקבל את סעודת חברו, כן תוכל לדמות לך, כי האו”ח העולה ע”י הכאת המסך ודחיתו את אור העליון, הוא שנעשה לכלי קבלה חדשים על אור העליון, במקום הבחי”ד ששמשה לכלי קבלה מטרם הצמצום א’. אמנם זה נתקן רק בפרצופי קדושה דאבי”ע, אבל לא בפרצופי הקליפות ובעוה”ז, שבהם משמשת הבחי”ד עצמה לכלי קבלה. וע”כ הם נפרדים מאור העליון, כי השינוי צורה של הבחי”ד מפריד אותם, וע”כ נבחנות הקליפות וכן הרשעים למתים, כי הם נפרדים מחיי החיים ע”י הרצון לקבל שבהם. כנ”ל באות י”ג עש”ה, ודו”ק בזה, כי אי אפשר להסביר יותר.

    16. From this analogy between the person and their friend, it is possible to understand the concept of the “union of opposition” mentioned above, and the returning light that ascends from it to become a new vessel for the upper light, in place of the 4th aspect. The concept of the upper light impacting the masach and desiring to spread out to the 4th aspect, can be compared to the friend urging the person to eat. In the same way that the friend wants very much for the person to receive their meal, the upper light, likewise, wants to spread out to the receiver. The concept of the masach deflecting the light, can be compared to the person resisting and refusing to receive the meal, as the person pushes the friend’s goodness away. We find here, that it is precisely the refusal and rejection that are transformed to become the proper vessels to receive the friend’s meal. This can be compared to the returning light that ascends by the masach impacting and deflecting the upper light. This returning light becomes the new vessel for receiving the upper light, taking the place of the 4th aspect that functioned as the vessel for receiving before Tzimtzum Alef. However, this is only fixed in the partzufim (spiritual levels) of holiness of ABY”A, and not in the partzufim of klipot (shells) and olam hazeh, as these make use of the 4th aspect itself as a vessel for receiving. They are therefore separated from the upper light, since the difference in form of the 4th aspect separates them. For this reason, the klipot and the evil ones are considered dead, because the desire to receive within them separates them from the life of life. This is as mentioned above in #13 (see there). Contemplate this deeply, as it is impossible to explain more.

    This returning light becomes the new vessel for receiving the upper light, Explanation: The returning light is the desire to give. When a person receives from G-d the desire to give, and yearns to give to G-d, then the person arrives to the conclusion that the only way that they are able to give to G-d, is by receiving G-d’s goodness and enjoying it, because this is all that G-d desires. Therefore the person receives the upper light, not for themselves, but in order to give satisfaction to the Creator. We find that a person then needs to make use of their vessel of receiving. This is because if the person wants to give satisfaction to the Creator, and the Creator wants the person to enjoy, and there is no enjoyment for a person except for when they are receiving, then this consequently necessitates that the person makes use of their vessel of receiving. We find that it is particularly through the returning light, that is called the desire to give, that the desire to receive comes to be used. Therefore the returning light is considered a new vessel of reception. The old vessel of reception, without returning light, is not capable of receiving, and is therefore no longer delineated as a “receiving vessel”.

    In the same way that the friend wants very much for the person to receive their meal, the upper light, likewise, wants to spread out to the receiver, for the reason that the Creator’s desire is to give goodness to the created beings.

    We find here, that it is precisely the refusal and rejection that are transformed to become the proper vessels to receive the friend’s meal, because by the refusal and rejection the person transforms to become a giver to their friend. This can be compared to the returning light that ascends by the masach impacting and deflecting the upper light. This returning light becomes the new vessel for receiving the upper light, the concepts of returning light that is reflected and returning light that enclothes, which were discussed previously in the commentary on #14, are combined here taking the place of the 4th aspect that functioned as the vessel for receiving before Tzimtzum Alef. Before the tzimtzum, the 4th aspect, which is the desire to receive, functioned as the receiving vessel. After the tzimtzum, the returning light, meaning the desire to give, becomes the receiving vessel. This is because it is only after the desire to give is formed in a person, that they are capable of receiving the upper light. Then, the person is not receiving for their own self benefit, which causes them to feel shame. Rather, the person is receiving because they want to give satisfaction Above, which causes the person to feel joy and happiness.

    WITH THANKS TO HASHEM, THE COMPLETION OF CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO

    Table of Contents of the Peticha LeChochmat HaKabbalah

    Chapter 1 4 Aspects in the Formation of the Complete Vessel
    Chapter 2 The New Vessels Need for Returning Light
    Chapter 3 5 Aspects of the Masach
    Chapter 4 5 Partzufim of Adam Kadmon
    Chapter 5 The Refinement of the Masach to Bring out a Partzuf
    Chapter 6 Ta’amim, Nekudot, Tagin, and Otiot (Cantillation Notes, Vowel Points, Crowns, and Letters)
    Chapter 7 The Aspect of Head, Body, and End of Every Partzuf, and the Arrangement of the Partzufim Encompassing One Another
    Chapter 8 Tzimtzum Bet that is called Tzimtzum NH”Y of A”K
    Chapter 9 The Place of the 4 Spiritual Worlds of ABY”A, and the Matter of the Parsa Between Atzilut and BY”A
    Chapter 10 The Constriction and Expansion of Consciousness that is New in the Spiritual World of the Nikudim
    Chapter 11 The Raising Up of M”N and the Expansion of Consciousness of Nikudim
    Chapter 12 Clarification of the 3 Vowels Cholam, Shurook, Chirik
    Chapter 13 The Raising Up of M”N of the 7 Lower Sefirot of Nekudim to Abba and Emma, and Clarifying the Sefira of Da’at
    Chapter 14 The Breaking of the Vessels, and Their Falling to BY”A
    Chapter 15 The Spiritual World of Rectification, and the New MAH That Comes Out of the Forehead of A”K
    Chapter 16 The 5 Partzufim of Atzilut, and the MAH and BAN of every Partzuf
    Chapter 17 A Great General Principle Concerning the Fixed and Ascending Consciousness in the Partzufim and the Spiritual Worlds During the 6000 Years
    Chapter 18 Clarification of the 3 Spiritual Worlds Briya, Yetzira, and Asiya
    Chapter 19 Clarification of the Ascension of the Spiritual Worlds
    Chapter 20 The Division of Every Partzuf to Keter and ABY”A

    “And from here it is clear what G-d wants from us. . . for us to change our character traits, which are primarily the desire to receive, and to take on the character trait of the Creator, which is only to give. That all of our actions will be only in order to give to others and to help them as much as we can. . . ”

    (Rav Yehudah Leib HaLevi Ashlag)

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