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Rabbi Hizkiyah opened (began): “It is said, as a rose among thorns” (Shir HaShirim, 2:2). He asks, “What does a rose represent?” He answers, “It is the Assembly of Israel, meaning Malchut. For there is a rose, and there is a rose. Just as a rose among thorns is tinged with red and white, so does the Assembly of Israel (Malchut) consist of judgment and mercy. Just as a rose has thirteen petals, so the Assembly of Israel consists of thirteen properties of mercy, surrounding it on all sides. After all, Elokim (the name of the Creator that alludes to His attitude towards the lower ones by the force of judgment), as it is said: “In the beginning, Elokim created” (the first sentence in the Torah), In the beginning (initially) when He thought it, He created thirteen words to surround the Assembly of Israel and to protect it, and here they are: THE, HEAVEN, AND-THE, EARTH, AND-THE EARTH, WAS, EMPTY, AND-CHAOTIC, AND-THE DARKNESS, OVER, THE FACE, OF THE ABYSS, AND-THE SPIRIT, up to the word Elokim (In Hebrew, “and” is written in conjunction with the word following it. Hence, it is considered as one word).
As its object of study, Kabbalah takes the only creation, the only thing that exists besides the Creator—man’s self, or “I,” and researches it. This science breaks down the self into parts, explains the structure and properties of each part, and the purpose of its creation. Kabbalah explains how every part of man’s self, called “the soul,” can be changed so that one would reach the goal of creation, the state desired by both the Creator and man himself, provided he realizes it.
There is not a science in the world that can describe, either graphically or analytically, through use of formulas, our sensations and desires, and how diverse and multifaceted they are. That is how fickle, unpredictable, and absolutely distinct they are in everyone. This is because our desires surface in our mind and sensations in a gradual order, in a certain sequence, so we may acknowledge and correct them.
Our self is our essence, the only thing that characterizes an individual. However, it is ever-changing, and what remains is merely an external, animate shell. This is why it is said that every moment man is born anew. Yet, if this is so, how should we regard one another, and how should we perceive ourselves? How can we possibly “stabilize” anything within and outside of us if we are constantly changing, and all that we perceive is a function of our inner state?
The Creator is the source of Light (pleasure). Those who draw near Him sense Him as such. Such people, who draw near the Creator and thereby sense Him, are called Kabbalists (from the word Lekabel—to receive the Creator’s Light). One can draw near the Creator only through equivalence of desires. The Creator is incorporeal, and can only be sensed with our heart. Naturally, what is meant by “heart” is not the pump that mobilizes blood through our veins, but the center of man’s every sensation.
However, one cannot sense the Creator with just his heart, but only with a small point in it. And to feel this point, man must develop it himself. When one develops and expands this point, the sensation of the Creator, His Light, can enter it.
Our heart is the sum of our egoistic desires, and the small point within it is part of the spiritual, altruistic desire implanted from Above by the Creator Himself. It is our task to nurture this embryo of a spiritual desire to such an extent that it (and not our egoistic nature) will determine all of our aspirations. At the same time, the egoistic desire of the heart will surrender, contract, wither, and diminish.
After being born in our world, one is obliged to change his heart from egoistic to altruistic, while living in this world. This is the purpose of his life, the reason behind his appearance in this world, and it is the goal of all creation. A complete replacement of egoistic desires with altruistic ones is called “the End of Correction.” Every individual and all of humanity must attain it in this world together. Until one achieves this, he will continue to be born into this world. The Torah and all the prophets speak exclusively of this. The method of correction is called “Kabbalah.”
One can change his desires only if one wishes to change them. Man is created an absolute egoist; he can neither adopt different desires from other people or from the surrounding world—as his surroundings are just like him—nor does he have any link to the spiritual worlds, since such a link is possible only through mutual properties. The spiritual can only be perceived in altruistic desires.
Hence, an individual in our world has no chance of transcending the boundaries of this world on his own. That is why we were given the Torah and its most effective part, Kabbalah—to help man acquire the desires of the spiritual worlds.
In order to create man in remoteness to Himself, so that man would realize his insignificance and would come independently to the desire to ascend, the Creator created all creation as degrees descending from Him. The Creator's Light descended along these degrees, and at the lowest degree, created our world and man in it. Having realized his insignificance and wishing to ascend to the Creator, man (to the extent that he wishes to approach the Creator) ascends along the same degrees by which his initial descent took place.
In all, there are ten degrees, called “ten ^ ”: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. Like ten screens or curtains, these ten Sefirot conceal the Creator’s Light from us or the Creator Himself (which is the same thing). These ten screens constitute the ten degrees of our remoteness from the Creator.
Therefore, in order to draw near the Creator by one degree, the lowest one above our own properties, we must acquire the properties of that (lowest) degree. This means that our properties become similar to the properties of that degree, rather than remaining inferior to it. To acquire similar properties means to have the same desires. As soon as our desires coincide with the desires of that degree, its concealment fades, and we seemingly exist on it, and only nine degrees separate us from the Creator.
However, the last, lowest degree differs from all the others: as soon as one ascends out of our world and onto the first degree, he already begins to see (sense) the Creator. And all the subsequent degrees are degrees of drawing closer to the Creator. Only the very last degree, at which we presently exist, conceals the Creator completely, whereas all of the Higher Degrees only distance Him.
Although we count ten degrees, there are in fact only five of them. This is because six degrees: Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod combine into one Sefira, called Zeir Anpin (ZA). ZA itself is sometimes referred to as Tifferet, for this Sefira reflects the common attributes of all of its six Sefirot.
So, there are five degrees of concealment from the Creator down to our world: Keter, Hochma, Bina, ZA, and Malchut. Every degree is alternatively called Olam (world), from the word Haalamah (concealment). Every degree has its sub-degrees, called Partzufim (plural for Partzuf), and every sub-degree has its own sub-degrees, called Sefirot (plural for Sefira). Thus, in all, 5 x 5 x 5 = 125 degrees-Sefirot exist between us and the Creator.
Below is a table of the degrees from the Creator down to our world:
The Creator: an absolutely altruistic desire to create a soul (man) in order to fill it with delight.
The World of Infinity: the existence of souls in the ultimate, perfect state.
Need Baruch's picture instead of this table
Our world: the five egoistic desires felt in the heart.
(*) – Consists of five Sefirot— Keter, Hochma, Bina, ZA, and Malchut.
In all, there are 125 degrees from the Creator to our world.
Since there is no notion of time in the spiritual, we already exist in our ultimate, perfect state in the World of Infinity (Ein Sof). Because desire in the spiritual designates action, desire itself acts, without a body. Therefore, when the desire to create souls (the will to enjoy) appeared in the Creator, when He wished to fill them with the most perfect delight—to sense Him and to delight in His perfection—to make creatures just as He is, His desire was immediately realized. Thus appeared the World of Ein Sof, in which we already exist in our final state.
However, we still need to attain this state in our sensations. This is reminiscent of a sleeping person: even though he is sleeping somewhere, he does not understand where he is until he wakes up. However, in order to achieve this perfect state, we must go through a gradual process of transformation of our inner properties (desires), which corresponds to the spiritual ascension from our world through all the worlds, to the World of Ein Sof.
To lead us to the final state, the Creator governs us from Above through all the worlds. Thus, there is nothing in our world that does not originate in the World of Ein Sof, where the final state of every soul determines the path that it is destined to travel in general and the changes that it has to undergo in particular at every moment (state) of its spiritual advancement towards the World of Infinity.
There is no way back: everything that happens is dictated by the necessity to bring every soul to its final state. Only this goal determines the state of our world at every second, what happens to it in general and to each of us in particular. The Creator created nothing for naught. Rather, everything serves His purpose.
However, the will that stems from Above does not exclude our active participation in our own advancement. Instead of being slaves that move under the compulsion of a beating stick called suffering, we can turn our path of suffering into the path of Torah—to actively and quickly travel this path from below upwards on our own by realizing that the Creator’s purpose is indeed desirable.
This is possible via a request for spiritual elevation—raising MAN, a prayer. In response, we will receive spiritual strength from Above that will help us improve our qualities, i.e., to ascend. The entire Torah speaks only of this, and Kabbalah goes further still and provides a detailed explanation of the path itself. As if on a map, it depicts what we go through and where (in what state and at which degree) we are now.
Kabbalah studies the structure of the spiritual worlds. The purpose of these worlds is to weaken the Creator’s signals (desires) so that we could understand them with our egoism and realize them with our mind. In Hebrew, the word for “world” is Olam (from the word Haalamah—meaning concealment), for these worlds conceal and weaken the Creator’s Light to such an extent that we can feel it.
Depending on everyone’s spiritual qualities, on the degree of one’s attainment (complete egoism = our world, partial altruism = spiritual worlds), we perceive the Creator or His Light differently at each of the 125 degrees. These 125 degrees amount to just ten, called “the ten Sefirot between the Creator and us,” where every lower Sefira transmits less of the Creator’s Light, as perceived by those at that degree. The lower the Sefira, the less of the Creator’s Light it lets through to those that are below it.
These are the names of the Sefirot: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. However, six of them are combined into one Sefira, called Zeir Anpin, so in all there are five Sefirot: Keter, Hochma, Bina, ZA, and Malchut. Also, ZA himself (ZA is usually considered a male Sefira) is sometimes called Tifferet, since Tifferet is his main Sefira, absorbing within itself the properties of all six Sefirot of ZA. Thus, the Creator created only five Sefirot:
Keter—the Creator’s desire to bestow delight upon us, Malchut;
Hochma—the pleasure itself, which the Creator wishes to bestow upon us;
Bina—passes the pleasure from Hochma to ZA;
ZA—accepts the pleasure from Bina and passes it to Malchut;
Malchut—receives the pleasure.
Bina consists of two parts: her upper part, called GAR or AVI, is unwilling to receive the Light from Hochma. However, since the Creator wishes to impart this Light to the lower ones, the lower part of Bina, called ZAT or YESHSUT, receives the Light from Hochma and passes it to ZA. ZA does not want to receive the Light, but Malchut (to the extent of her correction) evokes ZA to receive the Light from Bina and pass it on to her. Hence, we sometimes speak of the general reception of the Light by ZA and Malchut, which are together called ZON (ZA and Nukva).
The process is such that Malchut—to the extent that her desires are corrected from egoism to altruism—asks ZA to receive the Light “for the Creator’s sake.” To this extent, ZA requests the Light from Bina. Subsequently, Bina turns to and receives the requested amount of Light from Hochma, then passes it to ZA. Malchut (to the extent of her corrected properties) merges with ZA via equivalence of form (desires), and receives this Light.
Keter, Hochma, and GAR of Bina do not want to receive the Light, but starting with ZAT of Bina (YESHSUT), the desire to receive the Light so as to pass it to the lower ones appears in the Sefirot.
Malchut herself is the creature—the egoistic will to receive pleasure, to enjoy the Creator’s Light. This desire is to enjoy the Creator’s Light or the Creator (which is the same thing) is the essence of ^ . We are parts of Malchut. However, if we have only egoistic desires, we feel the Creator’s Light as pleasures in our world. This is a micro dose of His Light. By correcting our desires (properties), we can ascend the spiritual degrees of the Upper Worlds, and there experience the Creator’s true delight.
According to the Thought of Creation, ^ must receive the Light from the four previous Sefirot, and delight in it. Hence, Malchut herself consists of five parts: she receives the Light from the preceding Sefirot in four parts, and senses it in the fifth.
All the Sefirot that precede Malchut (excluding Malchut) are similar to our sensory organs, and Malchut is like the heart that receives from all organs: brain, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The heart is Malchut, and the sensory organs are the first nine Sefirot that precede Malchut. All of these parts of Malchut are egoistic—they wish to receive the Light (pleasure) so as to enjoy it. With such properties, Malchut cannot receive more than a micro dose of the Light of our world, sensing the Creator in a manner called “this world.”
However, if Malchut, i.e., every one of us, were to receive desires (aspirations) from Above to bestow delight upon the Creator to the same extent that we feel the Creator bestowing upon us, with this property (desire), man would ascend spiritually to a degree above our world. He would sense the Creator as spiritual Light, altruistic pleasure and great knowledge, attainment of supernal thoughts and the essence of existence.
^ (man) can receive the Light only in anti-egoistic desires. If such desires appear in Malchut as a result of the realization that egoism is her enemy (with the help of Kabbalah), to the extent of her hatred for it, Malchut can repel the egoistic pleasures for the sake of spiritual perfection, i.e., similarity to the Creator in her desire to please Him and act for His sake.
This ability to repel selfish reception of pleasure is called “a screen,” and the repelled pleasure is called “Returning Light,” and the pleasure that comes to Malchut is called “Direct Light.” It is precisely in the repelled pleasure, meaning in the desire to bestow whole-heartedly, selflessly, that man can sense the Creator’s Light and Supreme Knowledge.
Since Malchut (man’s egoism) has to repel pleasure from the five parts of her egoism, the reflecting screen must also consist of five parts. Hence, it creates five parts of the Returning Light. The five parts in Malchut are called by the names of the Sefirot from which they receive. The five kinds of Direct Light are called NRNHY: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya and Yechida. The Light that emanates from the Creator descends in the following order:
After Malchut reflects the Light (pleasure), she decides to receive it in order to delight the Creator, because He wants Malchut to receive pleasure and feel Him. The reflection of all the incoming pleasure is called Rosh (head). The partial reception of the Light to the extent of one’s anti-egoistic powers is called Toch (interior). The unfulfilled desires (due to the absence of a screen on them) are called Sof (end) (See diagram on page ADD PAGE NUMBER WHEN PRE-PRINT IS READY).
This is the structure of the soul (^ , vessel, corrected altruistic desire, Partzuf or spiritual body). We call the parts of the spiritual structure by the names of our physiological body: head, body, and limbs. There are five parts in the Rosh (head): skull—Galgalta, eyes—Eynaim, ears—Awznaim, nose—Hotem, and mouth—Peh. There are five parts in the Guf (body) from the mouth—Peh to the navel—Tabur. In the limbs, there are five parts from the navel to the toes (see below diagram).
The more strength Malchut has to oppose egoism, the greater the Light that enters her. However, although one works on the correction of the vessel’s coarser part, he receives the Light from his efforts in his subtler desires. In other words, there is an inverse proportion between the vessel and the Light: the coarser the desire (Kli) that is corrected, the greater the Light that enters Malchut (vessel); however, it enters her Upper Kli (desire).
Since Malchut (i.e., all that exists apart from the Creator) is absolutely egoistic, she can only be corrected by imparting onto herself the properties of Bina, the Creator—bestowal without reception. This is the property of absolute altruism, of selfless bestowal. To receive such a property (desire) is tantamount to ascending from the level of Malchut to the level of Bina.
Malchut herself is the will to receive pleasure. The ban imposed on the reception of pleasure for oneself is called the First Restriction (Tzimtzum Aleph). Restriction is a ban on the reception of pleasure; however, if the receiver aspires to please the Creator and not himself, he is allowed to receive the pleasure. Whether Malchut wants it or not, if she (soul, man) has egoistic desires, the Light will not enter her (be felt within her). Hence, we are utterly unable to feel the spiritual (the Creator).
Yet, Malchut is not the only Sefira that cannot receive the Light: from the world of Atzilut and below, Sefirot Bina and ZA cannot receive the Light either. This ban is called the Second Restriction (Tzimtzum Bet). In this restriction, Malchut seemingly ascends in her desires to Sefira Bina. Her desires of “reception” dominate three Sefirot: Bina, ZA, and Malchut, as Sefirot Bina and ZA also fall under the rule (desire) of the elevated Malchut.
If a Partzuf has no strength to oppose its egoistic desires of reception in Sefirot Bina, ZA and Malchut (AHP), its lower part is not entitled to receive the Creator’s Light, as it will receive it selfishly, thereby causing great harm to itself. To avoid this, the upper part of the Partzuf—Sefirot Keter and Hochma (GE)—separates from the lower part by Parsa (partition), through which the Light cannot pass downwards. Therefore, as a result of Malchut’s ascent to Bina, each degree was divided into two parts:
Malchut restricted the spreading of Light inside the Partzuf, and two parts were formed in her: GE receives the Light, i.e., Sefirot Keter and Hochma receive the Lights Nefesh and Ruach, while the other part of the Partzuf (Sefirot Bina, ZA, and Malchut) is below the Parsa, and therefore does not receive the Light. Their corresponding Lights—Neshama, Haya and Yechida—also remain outside of the Partzuf.
This degree (^ ) is deprived of the Light Neshama-Haya-Yechida and is left with just the Light Nefesh-Ruach, called “air.” This is designated by the entry of the letter Yod into the word Light (Ohr = Aleph-Vav-Reish). Thus, the word Light (Ohr) turns into air (Avir = Aleph-Vav-Yod-Reish). This state of the vessel is called Katnut (small state). In other words, the ascent of Malchut to Bina is designated by the entry of the letter Yod into the word Light (Ohr = Aleph-Vav-Reish +Yod = Aleph-Vav-Yod-Reish = Avir—air). This means that because of Malchut’s ascent to Bina, the Partzuf lost its Light and was left with air.
In such a state, the degree or Partzuf is called Katnut (smallness), where Sefirot Keter and Hochma have only the Light Nefesh-Ruach, as Sefirot Bina, ZA and Malchut are below the Parsa, and do not receive the Light. The Parsa prevents the Light from spreading below it. Sefirot Keter-Hochma and Bina-ZA-Malchut are designated by the following letters:
In the reverse order, these letters form the Creator’s name Elokim, where GE = letters Mem + Yod = IM (pronounced as MI), and AHP = letters Aleph + Lamed + Hey = ELEH. Since man attains the Creator from below upwards, the Creator’s name ELOKIM is read from below upwards.
After the birth of all the worlds and the descent of the entire Creation to our world, all the Partzufim of the world of Atzilut and the worlds of BYA passed into the state of Katnut. Thus, the Light is present in GE, but absent in AHP. AHP of the Upper Degree fell into GE of the lower degree, thus forming the spiritual ladder between the Creator and man in our world, and the lowest part of the last spiritual degree of the world of Assiya fell into a point in man’s heart. Consequently, all the intermediate degrees now exist one inside the other: AHP of the Upper Degree is inside GE of the lower one:
The sum of man’s desires is referred to as his heart. Since the nature with which we are born is absolute egoism, man does not feel the spiritual point in his heart. However, at some point in one of his reincarnations, man begins to gradually strive towards attainment of the causes of life, its evaluation; he yearns to attain himself, his source, just as you do right now. Man’s aspiration to the Creator is precisely this aspiration to attain his origin. Man’s discontent in life often helps him in this search, when there’s nothing that appeals to him in his surroundings. Such circumstances are sent from Above in order for man to start feeling an empty point in his heart, and to stimulate in him the desire to fulfill it.
The Creator manifests as the altruistic property to bestow pleasure without any benefit for Himself. From this, we can understand the property of Sefirot Keter, Hochma, and Bina that share the Creator’s property of bestowal. The only creation is Malchut, the will to receive the Light (pleasure). All of us and our entire world are the lowest part of this egoistic Malchut.
However, if one (Malchut) raises MAN, the request for his spiritual ascent, by making efforts to free himself from egoism and by praying to the Creator for help, the Light AB-SAG descends from Above. It comes from the world of AK, brings Malchut altruistic strength and enables her to return from Bina back to her place. In other words, Malchut’s ability to refrain from selfish reception of pleasure is complemented with the strength to receive pleasure for the Creator’s sake, to receive the Light of Hochma within AHP, for His sake.
Subsequently, AHP, or Sefirot Bina, ZA and Malchut, become reactivated, the Partzuf regains all five Kelim (parts), the letter Yod disappears from the word Avir (air), and it turns to being Ohr (Light). In that state, all five Lights NRNHY fill the Partzuf, the letters MI join the letters ELEH, forming the Creator’s name—Elokim. This state is called Gadlut (greatness/adulthood).
As a result of Malchut’s ascent to Bina, the Upper Partzuf establishes contact with the lower one. As a result, the lower Partzuf can ascend to the level of the Upper One. This is the reason for the second restriction: to give the lower ones (man) the opportunity to ascend to the World of Infinity, up to the Creator Himself.
In order to establish this contact, the Upper Partzuf deliberately diminishes itself, descends to the level of the lower Partzuf, and becomes similar to the lower one in its properties. AHP of the Upper Partzuf willingly falls into GE of the lower one, as though it has no strength to receive the Light, and they become a single whole. This is similar to a scenario when a strong individual joins a society of criminals, imitating their behavior, so that after being admitted into their circle and establishing contact with them, he will gradually influence and correct them.
How? The Upper Light (the so-called Light of ^ ) comes and provides AHP of the Upper Partzuf with the strength to ascend to their GE. And GE of the lower Partzuf ascend together with them: because they were a single whole and equivalent in their properties below, they receive the same strength to ascend.
Upon receiving the Light of AB-SAG, GE of the lower Partzuf become like Upper One. Therefore, we should not regard the second restriction as negative, but as help from the Upper Partzuf. It descends to the lower Partzuf by corrupting its own properties in order to equalize itself with the lower one, so as to subsequently ascend together with it to its previous level. This way, the lowest degree can ascend not only to the next Higher One, but also to the Highest Degree of the spiritual ladder.
Partzuf YESHSUT is AHP of Partzuf Bina of the world of Atzilut, and all that it receives and passes to ZON of the world of Atzilut subsequently descends to the worlds of BYA and then to us.
In the small state (Katnut), AHP of YESHSUT falls into ZON. Then YESHSUT receives strength, and by elevating its AHP, it elevates ZON, too. By ascending to YESHSUT, ZON become similar to it and receive the Light at the level of YESHSUT. ZON can never receive the Light of Hochma in their own level; they can only receive the Light of Hassadim, the Light essential to their existence.
ZON of the world of Atzilut are called Olam (world), just as our world is also called Olam, for all that ZON de Atzilut receive can be received by man in this world. And vice versa—all that ZON de Atzilut cannot receive is unattainable to man, for we attain only up to the level of ZON, and not higher.
And since ZON cannot receive the Light of Hochma in their place, the Creator purposely initiated the second restriction, thereby lowering the Sefirot of AHP of Partzuf YESHSUT down to ZON, so that ZON would be able to ascend to YESHSUT and higher, up to the Highest Degree. Hence, it is said in the Torah (Beresheet Barah): “In the beginning the Creator created all in judgment (restriction), but after seeing that the world (ZON) cannot exist (receive all of the Light of Hochma prepared for it), added to judgment the property of mercy.”
In the beginning, He elevated Malchut (the restriction of YESHSUT, for Malchut is restricted from receiving Light) to Bina (mercy of YESHSUT). As a result, AHP of YESHSUT fell into ZON and merged with them. However, the world (ZON) still cannot exist in this way. Hence, the Creator added mercy to judgment: He gave YESHSUT the strength to elevate its AHP together with ZON to the degree of YESHSUT. There, ZON receive the Light of YESHSUT and pass it down to all the worlds of BYA and to our world.
Each of the ten Sefirot in turn consists of ten individual sub-Sefirot. Malchut ascends to Bina in each individual Sefira, i.e., to the full height of the ten Sefirot; in each particular Sefira, Malchut moves up from its place to the place of Bina in that Sefira:
The sign | signifies a particular Parsa in a Sefira, the restriction imposed on the spreading of Light. GE that remain in each Sefira above the Parsa are called the “right line,” for there is Light in them. Malchut that ascends to Bina in each Sefira creates the “left line” with her restriction on the reception of Light. A Zivug made on the elevated Malchut (only on the free, unrestricted Kelim KHB) allows the Light of Hassadim to shine in GE, and this reception of the Light of Hassadim in GE is called the “middle line.”
Now let us clarify what is written in The Zohar: There are ten Sefirot: Keter (K), Hochma (H), Bina (B), Hesed (H), Gevura (G), Tifferet (T), Netzah (N), Hod (H), Yesod (Y), and Malchut (M). However, there are actually only five of them: Keter (K), Hochma (H), Bina (B), Tifferet (T), and Malchut (M). This is because Tifferet (alternatively called Zeir Anpin—ZA) consists of six Sefirot, from Hesed to Yesod. Five Sefirot KHB-ZA-M created five Partzufim in each world. In the world of Atzilut, these Partzufim are Arich Anpin (AA), Aba ve Ima (AVI), and Zeir Anpin and Nukva (ZON). Keter is called AA; correspondingly, Hochma and Bina are called AVI; and ZA (Tifferet) and Malchut are called ZON.
The essence of the seven days of creation lies in Partzufim ZA and Nukva of the world of Atzilut, which consist of seven Sefirot: HGT-NHYM. And from the description of creation it transpires how AVI (Hochma and Bina) beget ZON (all of creation, including us) and elevate them to their final state during the 6,000 years. This is what The Book of Zohar tells us.
Rabbi Hizkiyah began his explanation of Nukva of the world of Atzilut by clarifying the birth of ZON from Ima (Bina), called Elokim. That is why he began his explanation with a rose, Nukva of ZA. At the utmost completion of its development, Nukva of ZA is called Knesset Israel, the Assembly of Israel. For Nukva consists of all the souls called Israel; hence, it is said that a rose is Knesset Israel.
There are two states in a rose (Malchut). The lowest, initial, small state (Katnut) is when Malchut consists only of Sefira Keter filled with the Light Nefesh, while her other nine Sefirot are those that fell from the world of Atzilut to the world of Beria. The other state of Nukva is mature, big, complete (Gadlut), when her nine Sefirot ascend from the world of Beria back to the world of Atzilut, and complete the full ten Sefirot of her Partzuf. Then, being equal to her husband, Malchut ascends together with him to AVI and clothes them, i.e., receives their Light.
The clothing of the lower, outer Partzuf onto the Upper, Inner One means that the lower Partzuf attains a part of the Upper One, ascends to a Higher spiritual level, and becomes in some way similar to the Upper Partzuf.
In that state, ZA is called Israel, from the letters LI (to me) and ROSH (head), which signifies the state of Gadlut, while Nukva is called “the Assembly of Israel,” for she accumulates all of the Light of her husband, ZA, and passes it to the lower ones—the souls in the worlds BYA.
Nukva’s state of Katnut is called “a rose among thorns,” for nine of her lower Sefirot in the Katnut state fell under the Parsa of the world of Atzilut, thereby losing the Light of the world of Atzilut, and becoming as dry as thorns. And in her Gadlut state, Nukva is simply called “a rose” or “the Assembly of Israel.” This is why it is written, “there is a rose, and there is a rose.”
The color red designates the rose’s connection with the outer, impure forces, which, because of this connection, can suck the strength (Light) from it. This is because nine of her Sefirot are in exile below the world of Atzilut, in the world of Beria, which may already contain impure forces. And the rose also has a color white in its Sefira Keter, for her Sefira Keter is in the world of Atzilut, above the Parsa, where there is no contact with the lower, impure forces. In other words, there are two opposite states: perfection and its absence, Light and darkness. They are felt by him who merits it.
It is therefore written that just as a rose among thorns is tinged with red and white, so does the Assembly of Israel consist of judgment and mercy. This shows that in ^ , when Malchut is called Knesset Israel, even though she ascended to Bina and clothed her, she still retains the property of judgment, of restriction—an attitude that’s tough and just, rather than compassionate. This is so because she needs a screen (a force of resistance to her egoistic desires), which, if available, enables Malchut to receive the Upper Light.
The law, judgment, or restriction does not allow for the reception of Light in egoistic desires. The screen, the aspiration to oppose one’s egoistic desires, repels the Upper Light (pleasure) back to its source, the Creator. The Light that man sends back is called “Returning Light” or the “Light of Judgment.” To the extent of the intensity of the reflective force (i.e., the force of resistance to one’s will to receive), man is allowed to receive the ten Sefirot of the Upper Light (called the Direct Light or the Light of Mercy) for the Creator’s sake, in precisely these altruistic desires. And that is why, even in its complete state, the Assembly of Israel consists of judgment and mercy, which corresponds to the red and white colors of a rose among thorns.
And this is the pool made by King Shlomo (Solomon). It is built on twelve bulls, for the nine lower ^ of Malchut that fell to the world of Beria were corrected there from twelve heads of bulls. One of their Sefirot, Keter, which remained in the world of Atzilut, is called the “pool” that is built on these bulls. Together, they are called thirteen rose petals. (The reason why the ten Sefirot of Malchut are divided by ten-Hassadim or thirteen-Hochma will be clarified later).
The Light of a complete Nukva is called Hochma, as it contains the Light of Wisdom, and originates from the thirteen names called “the thirteen attributes of mercy.” However, the main thing that Rabbi Hizkiyah wants to tell us is that a rose among thorns is above the Assembly of Israel, because, as is well known, all that is present in Nukva’s complete state must exist in her small state as well, albeit in diminished similarity.
Therefore, it is said that the properties of white and red in the small state correspond to the properties of mercy and judgment in the big state. And the thirteen petals of the small state, when corrected, create in ^ the thirteen attributes of mercy in her big state. Later on, we will see how these thirteen attributes of Malchut of the world of Atzilut change her in both the small and big states.
It is written that, in the process of creation, “in the beginning Elokim (Bina de Atzilut) created” Nukva of ZA with thirteen words: ^ , SHAMAIM, VE’ET, ARETZ, VEARETZ, HAITA, TOHU, VABOHU, VECHOSHECH, AL, PNEI, TEHOM, VERUACH (from the word “Elokim” to the word “Elokim”). And these thirteen words signify the thirteen petals of a rose among thorns (her small state), like the pool built by the King Shlomo, which stands on thirteen (twelve) bulls (nine lower Sefirot of Malchut without Light, as they are in the world of Beria, below the Parsa of the world of Atzilut). These words are the preparation for the purification and correction of the Assembly of Israel in order to receive the thirteen attributes of mercy.
These thirteen attributes of mercy (the Light of a complete Nukva) surround her and shine upon her from all sides, and guard her from the touch of foreign (egoistic) desires. After all, until she is filled with all the Light of Hochma in her complete, big state, there’s a potential for foreign, egoistic desires to cling to and feed off her.
2. Afterwards, the name ^ is mentioned once more, “Elokim soars.” Why is it mentioned in this sense? So as to bring out the five rigid leaves that surround the rose, which are called “salvation.” And these are the five gates. And it is said of this secret, I will raise the “cup of salvation” (Psalms, 116:13). It is the cup of blessing. The cup of blessing must rest on five fingers, just as a rose rests on five rigid leaves that correspond to the five fingers. And this rose is the cup of blessing, from the second to the third mention of the name Elokim (Beresheet, 1:2-3), there are five words: “soars,” “over,” “the surface,” “of the waters,” “and said”—in all, five words parallel the five leaves. And further, “The Creator said: ‘Let there be Light’—this Light was created, however, it was concealed and enclosed within that covenant that entered the rose and fructified it. And it is referred to as “A fructiferous tree, wherein is the seed thereof” (Beresheet, 1:12). And this seed exists in the mark of the covenant.
The five leaves are the five Sefirot of the Light reflected from Malchut, which she raises from the Zivug de Hakaa. The direct incoming Light is called five Hassadim HGT-NH, and it clothes into five parts (types of restrictions) of the Returning Light HGT-NH, called the five rigid leaves of a rose, which correspond to the text from the second (the spirit of God soared over the waters) to the third (and said) mention of the word Elokim in the Torah.
These words explain how the five rigid leaves (attributes) can be extracted from Malchut so that she will be fit for a Zivug and achieve the big state. And during the big state, when the five rigid leaves become five restrictions, they are defined as the five gates of reception of the Light of Hassadim of the Direct Light, and they are called salvation, and Malchut is called the cup of salvation or the cup of blessing and good fortune, for, thanks to these leaves (restrictions), Malchut can receive the Light of Hassadim—a blessing.
The cup of blessing must rest on five fingers, for Malchut can receive the Light of Hochma only if she is clothed in the Light of Hassadim beforehand. Therefore, first she has to make a blessing, which means to receive the five parts (NRNHY) of the Light of Hassadim with the help of five fingers (five restrictions), and only then to receive in them (i.e., in the corrected intentions) the Light of Hochma.
Hence, a cup of wine must be raised with two hands, as five fingers of the right hand symbolize mercy—Hassadim, and five fingers of the left hand symbolize restrictions. However, having started the blessing, the cup must only be held with the five fingers of the right hand (Hassadim, bestowing). Otherwise, the impure forces that take from the left (receiving) side become active, as such forces cling only to a place where there is reception of Light.
What follows is the big state of Malchut, which corresponds to the words of the Torah: “Let there be Light.” These are the five lights, in which Adam saw the world from end to end, as it is written in the Talmud (Hagigah, 12). But the Creator saw that there would be transgressions in the generations of the Flood and the Tower of Babel, and concealed this Light. And the following generations will then need to attain it on their own.
Previously, these five Hassadim were in Yesod of ZA, and Malchut received from it, and not from Bina, called Elokim, as she does now. Yesod de ZA is called the mark of the covenant with the Creator (after the corrections, called circumcision, are made), and five Hassadim received on the five restrictions are called “seed.” The main force of restrictions and the impact forces of the screen, with which it repels the Light, are in Ateret Yesod (the end of the Sefira Yesod). There occurs Zivug de Hakaa, from which Malchut receives the Light. Only at the end of correction will this Zivug pass on to Malchut herself.
Therefore, during the 6,000 years, the screen that is in Yesod, strikes at the incoming Light (pleasure) with its five restrictions (the forces that oppose egoistic reception of pleasure), thus creating five parts of the Returning Light, and receiving in them the five parts of the Light of Hassadim. Subsequently, ZA passes these five Lights of Hassadim from his Yesod to Nukva. And these five Lights of Hassadim are called “seed.”
3. Just as the covenant is conceived from that seed in forty-two Zivugim, so the secret name fills and inseminates all forty-two letters of the initial act of creation.
The name “forty-two” = MB = Mem + Bet = 40 + 2 is composed of HaVaYaH (four letters), filled HaVaYaH (ten letters), and doubly filled HaVaYaH (twenty-eight letters). In all, 4 + 10 + 28 = 42, signifying the seed that exists in the mark of the covenant that is enclosed in five Hassadim and five Gevurot.
There are two aspects to Nukva: her body (Partzuf), which emerges from Bina, and her Zivug, called the secret of unity with ZA. Nukva can be in two states: small or big (Katnut or Gadlut respectively). The small state is an incomplete, insufficient state of Malchut, but it is necessary as preparation for the big state, called the revelation of the secret, of the concealed.
And since the big state reveals the small, and all that is concealed in the small state becomes clear in the big, he who is in a state of spiritual descent does not see the reasons for his state, but it all becomes clear to him when he attains the big state that follows.
As a result of the ascent of Malchut of AVI to their Bina, Partzuf of Bina (AVI) was divided into two parts: the upper part, GE, acquired the name AVI, while the lower part, AHP, became known as YESHSUT. AVI are filled with the Light of Hassadim, since they wish for no other, and YESHSUT receives it from them, for, although it desires the Light of Hochma, it cannot receive it in view of the fact that Malchut of AVI ascended above it.
However, although there is no Light of Hochma in AVI, they do not suffer without it whatsoever, and therefore exist in perfection called GAR, even in the absence of the Light of Hochma. And even when one raises MAN requesting strength (i.e., the Light of Hochma) so as to overcome his impure desires, AVI do not receive the Light of Hochma. YESHSUT receives this Light and passes it to ZA. Hence, although AVI are below the Rosh of AA, and there is no Light of Hochma in them, they do not suffer from it.
However, YESHSUT suffers from the absence of the Light of Hochma, wishing to pass it to ZA, so it waits for MAN from ZA in order to ascend to AVI in the form of Sefira Daat. For when the lower ones raise MAN, the whole of Bina ascends to the Rosh of ^ ; YESHSUT receives the Light of Hochma from AA and passes it to ZON. This corresponds to the disappearance of the letter Yod from the word Avir (air), and Avir turns into Ohr—Light (Hochma) once more.
However, for all that, even in the Rosh of AA, AVI remain only with the Light of Hassadim (air). Hence, the heads of both AA and AVI are called “Supreme Waters” or “Heaven.” This is considering the fact that AVI can be beneath the Rosh of AA; however, since it does not affect their independence and perfection, it is as if they are in the Rosh of AA.
Under AVI there is a firmament (Parsa) of the world of Atzilut, which separates the Kelim of bestowal from the Kelim of reception of the world of Atzilut. YESHSUT and ZON (inferior waters) that need the Light of Hochma stand below the Parsa, which is in the chest of AA. It is therefore said that the inferior waters weep (i.e., their state is small), for they feel the lack of Ohr Hochma and wish to ascend to the Rosh of AA. In no way should one confuse the Parsa of the world of Atzilut (located within the world of Atzilut) that divides it into GE and AHP with the Parsa below the world Atzilut that separates it from the worlds of BYA.
The Light that is received above the Parsa of the world of Atzilut is called the Light of Mem-Bet (MB). However, the seven Sefirot of ZON (six Sefirot of ZA and one Sefira of Malchut) that designate the seven days of creation cannot receive this Light of MB, as they are located below the Parsa and receive only the Light of Hassadim (minimal sustenance) from YESHSUT.
However, when the lower ones (man) raise MAN, and MAD descends from AB-SAG (the Light that brings Bina back to the Rosh of AA), YESHSUT receives the Light of Hochma and passes it to ZON, allowing ZON to ascend above the Parsa that stands in the Chazeh (chest) of AA, and receive the Light of MB.
That is why the Light of MB in ZON is manifested in thirty-two Elokim and ten sayings, where thirty-two Elokim represent YESHSUT in the state of ascent, when YESHSUT receives thirty-two streams of wisdom (Hochma) that create in it the thirty-two names of Elokim, mentioned in the act of creation: “In the beginning the Creator created,” and so on.
The ten sayings are five Hassadim. After ZON have already received the Light of Hochma from thirty-two Elokim, the five Lights of Hassadim that were received from AVI (signifying MB) are called “Supreme Waters.” We see that the five Hassadim in ZON do not turn into the name MB before they receive from thirty-two Elokim. It is therefore said that thirty-two Elokim and ten sayings form the name MB, i.e., in the state of ascent.
Hence, Rabbi Hizkiyah said that the five Lights in the saying “Let there be Light” (signifying the five Hassadim) are called “seed” (abundance), which Yesod of ZA passes to Malchut. And it is called MB, although essentially it is merely five Hassadim; however, since it has the Light of Hochma that was received from thirty-two Elokim of YESHSUT, it refers to MB.