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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Histaklut Pnimit

Inner Reflection
Talmud Eser Sefirot
(The Study of the Ten Sefirot)
Part 1

First, you must know that when dealing with spiritual matters that have no concern with time, space and motion, and moreover when dealing with Godliness, we do not have the words by which to express and contemplate. Our entire vocabulary is taken from sensations of imaginary senses. Thus, how can they assist us where sense and imagination do not reign?

For example, if you take the subtlest of words, namely Orot (Lights), it nonetheless resembles and borrows from the light of the sun, or an emotional light of satisfaction. Thus, how can they be used to express Godly matters? They would certainly fail to provide the reader with anything true.

It is even truer in a place where these words should disclose the negotiations in the wisdom in print, as is done in any research of wisdom. If we fail with even a single inadequate word, the reader will be instantly disoriented and will not find his hands and legs in this entire matter.

For that reason, the sages of the Kabbalah have chosen a special language, which we can call “the language of the branches.” There is not an essence or a conduct in this world that does not begin in its Shoresh in the Upper World. Moreover, the beginning of every being in this world starts from the Upper World and then hangs down to this world.

Thus, the sages have found an adequate language without trouble by which they could convey their attainments to each other by word of mouth and in writing from generation to generation. They have taken the names of the branches in this world, where each name is self-explanatory, as though pointing to its Upper Shoresh in the system of the Upper Worlds.

That should appease your mind regarding the perplexing expressions we often find in books of Kabbalah, and some that are even foreign to the human spirit. It is because once they have chosen this language to express themselves, namely the language of the branches, they could no longer leave a branch unused because of its inferior degree. They could not avoid using it to express the desired concept when our world suggests no other branch to be taken in its place.

Just as two hairs do not feed off the same foramen, so we do not have two branches that relate to the same Shoresh. It is also impossible to exterminate the object in the wisdom that is related to that inferior expression.

Such a loss would inflict impairment and confusion in the entire realm of the wisdom, since there is not another wisdom in the world where matters are so intermingled through cause and consequence. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, matters are connected and tied from top to bottom like a single long chain.

Thus, there is no freedom of will here to switch and replace the bad names with better ones. We must always provide the exact branch that points to its Upper Shoresh, and elaborate on it until the accurate definition is provided for the scrutinizing reader.

Indeed, those whose eyes have not been opened to the sights of heaven, and have not acquired the proficiency in the connections of the branches of this world with their roots in the Upper Worlds are like the blind scraping the walls. They will not understand the true meaning of even a single word, for each word is a branch that relates to its Shoresh.

Only if they receive an interpretation from a genuine sage who makes himself available to explain it in the spoken language, which is necessarily like translating from one language to another, meaning from the language of the branches to the spoken language, only then he will be able to explain the spiritual term as it is.

This is what I have troubled to do in this interpretation, to explain the Eser Sefirot, as the Godly sage the Ari had instructed us, in their spiritual purity, devoid of any tangible terms. Thus, any novice may approach the wisdom without failing in any materialization and mistake. With the understanding of these Eser Sefirot, one will also come to examine and know how to comprehend the other issues in this wisdom.

Chapter One

“Know, that before the Ne’etzalim were emanated and the creatures created, an Upper Simple Ohr had filled the entire reality.

These words require explaining: how was there a reality that the Ohr Pashut had filled before the Olamot were emanated? Also, the issue of the appearance of the Ratzon for the Tzimtzum in order to bring the perfection of His deeds to Light, as it is implied in the book, means that there was already some want there.

The issue of the middle point in Him, where the Tzimtzum occurred, is also quite perplexing, for we have already said that there is neither Rosh nor Sof there, so how is there middle? Indeed these words are deeper than the sea, and I must therefore elaborate on their interpretation.

There is not one thing in the entire reality that is not contained in Ein Sof. The contradicting terms in our world are contained in Him in the form of He is One and His Name One.

1. Know, that there is not an essence of a single being in the world, both the ones perceived by our senses and the ones perceived by our mind’s eye, that is not included in the Creator, for they all come to us from Him. Can one give that which is not inside one?

This matter has already been thoroughly explained in the books. We must see that these concepts are separated or opposite for us. For example, the term Hochma is regarded as different from the term sweetness. Hochma and sweetness are two separate terms from one another. Similarly, the term operator certainly differs from the term operation. The operator and its operation are necessarily two separate concepts, and moreover with opposite terms, such as sweet and bitter. These are certainly examined separately.

However, in Him, Hochma, pleasure, sweetness and acrimoniousness, operation and operator, and other such different and opposite forms, are all contained as one in His Ohr Pashut. There are no differentiations among them whatsoever as is the term “One, Unique and Unified.”

“One” indicates a single evenness. “Unique” implies that everything that extends from Him, all these multiplicities are in Him as single as His Atzmut. “Unified” shows that although he performs multiple acts, there is still one force that performs all these, and they all return and unite as One. Indeed, this one form swallows all the forms that appear in His operations.

This is a very subtle matter and not every mind can tolerate it. The Ramban has already explained to us the matter of His uniqueness as expressed in the words, “One, Unique and Unified.”

In his interpretation to Sefer Yetzira (Book of Creation), he explains the difference between One, Unique, and Unified: When He unites to act with One Force, He is called “Unified.” When He divides to act His act, each part of Him is called Unique, and when He is in a single evenness, He is called One, thus far his pure words.

By saying, “unites to act with One Force,” he wishes to say that He works to bestow, as worthy of His Oneness, and His operations are unchanging. When He “divides to act His act,” meaning when His operations differ, and He seems to be doing good and bad, then He is called “Unique” because all His different operations have a single outcome: good.

We find that He is unique in every single act and does not change by His various operations. When He is in a single evenness He is called “One.” One points to His Atzmut, where all the opposites are in a single evenness. It is as the Rambam wrote: “In Him, knower, known and knowledge are one, for His thoughts are far higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways.”

Two discernments in bestowal: before it is received and after it is received.

2. We should learn from those who ate the manna. Manna is called “Bread from the sky” because it did not materialize when clothing in this world. Our sages said that each and every one tasted everything he or she wanted to taste in it.

That means that it had to have opposite forms in it. One person tasted sweet and the other tasted it as acrid and bitter. Thus, the manna itself had to have been contained of both opposites together, for can one give what is not in one? How can two opposites be contained in the same carrier?

It is therefore a must that it is simple, and devoid of both flavors, but only included in them in such a way that the corporeal receiver might discern the taste he or she wants. In the same way you can perceive anything spiritual: it is unique and simple in itself, but consists of the entire multiplicity of forms in the world. When falling in the hand of a corporeal receiver, it is the receiver who discriminates a separate form in it, unlike all other forms that unite in that spiritual essence.

We should therefore always distinguish two discernments in His bestowal:

  1. The form of the essence of that Shefa Elyon before it is received, when it is still inclusive Ohr Pashut.

  2. After the Shefa has been received, and thus acquired one separate form according to the properties of the receiver.

How can we perceive the Neshama as a part of Godliness?

3. Now we can come to understand what the Kabbalists write about the essence of the Neshama: “The Neshama is a part of God above and is not at all changed from the “Whole,” except in that the Neshama is a part and not the “Whole.” It is like a stone that is carved off a mountain; the essence of the mountain and the essence of the stone are the same and there is no discernment between the rock and the mountain, except that the rock is a “part” and the mountain is the “whole.”

This is the essence of their words. It seems utterly perplexing and very difficult to understand how there could be a part and separation from Godliness that we could resemble to a stone that is carved off a mountain. The stone may be carved off the mountain by an ax and a sledgehammer, but in dealing with Godliness, how would they be separated, and with what?

The spiritual is divided by Shinui Tzura, as the corporeal is divided by an ax.

4. Before we come to clarify the matter, we shall explain the essence of the separation in spirituality: Know, that spiritual entities become separated from one another only by Shinui Tzura. In other words, if one spiritual entity acquires a second Tzura, then it is no longer one, but two.

Let me explain it in souls of people, who are also spiritual: It is known that the spiritual rule, that in a simple form there are as many souls as there are bodies where the souls shine. However, they are separated from one another by the Shinui Tzura in each and every one.

Our sages said, “As their faces are not the same, so their opinions are not the same.” The Guf can discern the Tzura of the souls, and tell if each specific soul is a good soul or a bad soul; likewise with the separated forms.

You now see that just as a corporeal matter is carved, severed and becomes separated by an ax and motion to increase the distance between each part, so a spiritual matter is divided, cut and becomes separated by the Shinui Tzura between each part. According to the difference, so is the distance between the parts, and remember that well.

How can there be Shinui Tzura in creation with respect to Ein Sof?

5. It is now clear in Olam ha Zeh, in the souls of people. However, in the Neshama, of which they said it is a part of God above, it is still unclear how it is separated from Godliness to the point that we can call it “a Godly Part.”

We should not say “by Shinui Tzura,” for we have already said that Godliness is Ohr Pashut, which contains the entire complete multiplicity of the forms and the oppositeness of the forms in the world, as He is One, Unique and Unified. In that case, how can there be a Shinui Tzura in the Neshama that would differ it from Godliness, separate it and become a part of Him?

Indeed, this question applies to Ohr Ein Sof prior to the Tzimtzum, for in the reality before us, all the Olamot, upper and lower, are discerned by two discernments:

  1. The first discernment is the form of this entire reality as it is before the Tzimtzum. At that time everything was without Gevul and without Sof. This discernment is called Ein Sof.

  2. The second discernment is the form of this entire reality from the Tzimtzum downwards. Then everything became limited and measured. This discernment is called the four Olamot: Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya.

It is known that there is no perception whatsoever in His Atzmut, and every thing that we do not attain and that has no name and appellation, how can we define it by a name? Any name implies attainment. It indicates that we have attained that name. Thus, it is certain that there no name and appellation whatsoever in His Atzmut. Instead, all the names and appellations are but in His Ohr.

That Ohr expands from Him and the Hitpashtut of His Ohr before the Tzimtzum, which had filled the entire reality without Gevul and Sof is called Ein Sof. Thus we should understand how Ohr Ein Sof is defined in and of itself, and has left His Atzmut so that we may define it by a name, as we have said about the Neshama.

Explanation about the text of our sages: “Hence there has been work and labour prepared for the reward of the Neshamot, for “One who eats that which is not one’s own, is afraid to look upon one’s face.”

6. To somewhat understand this sublime place, we must go into further detail. We shall research this entire reality before us and its general purpose. Is there an operation without a purpose? And what is that purpose, for which He has invented this entire reality before us in the upper and the lower worlds?

Indeed our sages have already instructed us in many places that all the worlds were not created but for Israel who keep Torah and Mitzvot etc. and this is well known. However, we should understand this question of our sages. They asked: “If the purpose of the creation of the Olamot is to delight His creatures, then why did He create this corporeal, turbid and tormented world? Without it, He could certainly delight the Neshamot as much as He wanted; why did He bring the Neshama into such a foul and filthy Guf?

They explained it with the verse, “One who eats that which is not one’s own, is afraid to look upon one’s face.” It means there is a flaw of shame in any free gift. In order to spare the Neshamot this blemish, He has created this world, where there is work. They will therefore enjoy their labor, for they take their pay from the Whole, in return for their work, and are thus spared the blemish of shame.

What is the connection between working seventy years and eternal delight, and you will not find a greater free gift than that?

7. These words are perplexing through and through. First, our primary aim and prayer is, “Spare us a free gift.” Our sages have said that the treasure of a free gift is prepared only for the highest souls in the world.

Their answer is even more perplexing: They said that there is a great flaw in free gifts, namely the shame that encounters every receiver of a free gift. To mend this, the Creator has prepared this world, where there is work and labour, so as to be rewarded in the next world for their labour and work.

But that excuse is very strange. It is like a person who says to his friend, “Work with me for just a minute, and in return I will give you every pleasure and treasure in the world for the rest of your life. There is indeed no greater free gift than that, because the reward is incomparable with the work. The work is in this transient, worthless world compared to the reward and the pleasure in the eternal world.

What value is there to the passing world compared to the eternal world? It is even more so with regards to the quality of the labour, which is worthless compared to the quality of the reward.

Our sages have said: “The Creator is destined to inherit each and every righteous person 310 worlds etc.” We cannot say that some of the reward is given in return for their work, and the rest is a free gift, for then what good would that do? The blemish of shame would still remain! Indeed, their words are not to be taken literally, for there is a profound meaning in their words.

The entire reality was emanated and created with a single thought. It is the operator; it is the very operation and it is actually the sought-after reward and the essence of the labour.

8. Before we delve into the explanation of their words, we must understand His thought in creating the worlds and the reality before us. His operations did not come to be by many thoughts as is our way. That is He is One, Unique and Unified, and as He is Simple, so His Orot extend from Him, namely Simple and Unified, without any multiplicity of forms, as it says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”

You must therefore understand and perceive that all the names and appellations, and all the Olamot, Upper and lower, are all one Ohr Pashut, Unique and Unified. In the Creator, the Ohr that extends, the thought, the operation and the operator and anything the heart can think and contemplate, are in Him one and the same thing.

Thus you can judge and perceive that this entire reality, Elyonim and Tachtonim as onein the final state of the end of correction, was emanated and created by a single thought. That single thought performs all the operations, is the essence of all the operations, the purpose and the essence of the labour. It is by itself the entire perfection and the sought-after reward, as the Ramban explained, “One, Unique and Unified.”

The issue of the Tzimtzum explains how an incomplete operation came about from a perfect operator.

9. The Rav elaborated in the matter of the Tzimtzum in the first chapters of this book, for it is a most serious matter. That is because it is necessary that all the corruptions and all the various shortcomings extend and come from Him.

It is written, “I form the light, and create darkness,” but then, the corruptions and the darkness are completely opposite to Him, so how can they stem from one another? Also, how could they come together with the Ohr and the pleasure in the thought of creation?

We cannot say that they are two separate thoughts; God forbid that we should even think that. Thus, how does all that come from Him down to this world, which is so filled with scum, torment, and filth, and how do they exist under a single thought?

Chapter Two

Explaining the thought of creation.

10. Now we shall come to clarify the thought of creation. It is certainly “The act ends in the preliminary thought.” Even in corporeal humans, with their many thoughts, the act ends in the preliminary thought. For example, when one builds one’s house, we understand that the first thought in this engagement is the shape of the house to dwell in.

Therefore, it is preceded by many thoughts and operations until this shape that one had pre designed is completed. This shape is what appears at the end of all his operations, thus, the act ended in the preliminary thought.

The final act, which is the axis and the purpose for which they were all created, is to delight His creations (as it is written in the Zohar). It is known that His thought ends and acts immediately, for He is not a human, who is obligated to act, but the thought itself completes the entire act at once.

Hence, we can see that as soon as He thought of creation, to delight His creatures, this Ohr immediately extended and expanded from Him in the full measure and form of the pleasures that He contemplated. It is all included in that thought, which we call “The Thought of Creation,” and examine that in depth, for the sages instructed brevity here.

Know, that we denominate this thought of creation by the name Ohr Ein Sof. That is because we do not have a single word and uttering in His Atzmut, to define Him by any name.

The will to receive is necessarily created in the Ne’etzal, because of the will to bestow in the Maatzil, and it is the Kli in which the Ne’etzal receives His Shefa.

11. This is what the Rav had said: “In the beginning, an Upper Simple Ohr had filled the entire reality.” Since the Creator contemplated upon delighting the creations and the Ohr expanded from Him and came out from before Him, the will to receive His pleasures was seemingly imprinted in Him at once.

You can also determine that this Ratzon is the full measure of the expanding Ohr. In other words, the measure of His Ohr and Shefa is as the measure of His desire to delight, no more and no less.

For that reason we call the essence of that will to receive that is imprinted in this Ohr through the power of His thought by the name “Place”. For instance, when we say that a person has a stomach big enough to eat a pound of bread, while another person cannot eat more than half a pound of bread, which place are we talking about? It is not the size of the intestines, but the measure of appetite. You see that the measure for the place of the reception of the bread depends on the measure and the desire to eat.

It is all the more so in spirituality, where the desire to receive the Shefa is the place of the Shefa, and the Shefa is measured by the intensity of the desire.

The will to receive contained in the thought of creation brought Him out of his Atzmut, to acquire the name Ein Sof.

12. Now you can see how Ohr Ein Sof departed from His Atzmut, in which we cannot utter any word, and became defined by the name Ohr Ein Sof. It is because of this above discernment, that in that Ohr there is the will to receive incorporated in it from His Atzmut.

This is a new Tzura that is not at all in His Atzmut, for whom would He receive from? This Tzura is also the full measure of this Ohr, and study it well, for it is impossible to elaborate here.

Prior to the Tzimtzum, the Shinui Tzura was indiscernible in the will to receive.

13. In His almightiness, this new Tzura would not have been defined as a change from His Ohr. This is the meaning of what is words (Pirkey Avot) “Before the world was created, there were He is One and His Name One.”

“He” indicates the Ohr in Ein Sof, and “His Name” implies the “Place”, which is the will to receive from His Atzmut, contained in the Ohr Ein Sof. He tells us that He is One and His Name One. His Name is Malchut de Ein Sof, being the Ratzon, namely the will to receive that has been engraved in the entire reality that was contained in the thought of creation.

Before the Tzimtzum, it is not considered that there is any change and differentiation between Him and His Ohr and the “Place.” They are one and the same. If there had been any difference and shortcoming in the Place compared to Ohr Ein Sof, then there would certainly be two Behinot there.

Tzimtzum means that Malchut diminished the will to receive in her. Then the Ohr disappeared because there is no Ohr without a Kli.

14. Regarding the Tzimtzum: The will to receive that is contained in Ohr Ein Sof, called Malchut de Ein Sof, which is the thought of creation and which contains the entire creation, embellished herself to ascend and equalize her Tzura with His Atzmut. She therefore diminished her will to receive His Shefa in Behina Dalet in the Ratzon. Her intention was that by so doing, the Olamot would emanate and be created down to Olam ha Zeh.

Thus the Tzura of the will to receive would be corrected and return to the Tzura of bestowal, and that would bring her to Hishtavut Tzura with the Maatzil. Thus, after she had diminished the will to receive, the Ohr naturally departed, for it is known that the Ohr depends on the Ratzon, and the Ratzon is the Place of the Ohr, for there is no coercion in spirituality.

Chapter Three

Explanation of the origin of the Neshama.

15. Now we shall explain the matter of the origin of the Neshama. It has been said that she is a part of God above etc. We asked: “How and in what does the Tzura of the Neshama differ from His Ohr Pashut, that separates her from everything?” We can now understand that there really is a great Shinui Tzura in her.

Although He contains all the conceivable and imaginable forms, still after the above words you find one Tzura that is not contained in Him, namely the Tzura of the will to receive, for whom would He receive from? However, the Neshamot, whose creation came about because He wanted to delight them, which is the thought of creation, were necessarily carved with this law of wanting and yearning to receive His Shefa.

That is where they differ from Him, because their Tzura is different from His. It has already been explained that a corporeal essence becomes separated and divided by the force of motion and remoteness of location. However, the spiritual essence becomes separated and divided by Shinui Tzura.

The measure of Shinui Tzura determines the measure of the distance between one another. If the Shinui Tzura becomes completely opposite, from one end to the other, then they are completely severed and separated and can no longer suck from one another, for they are regarded as alien to each other.

Chapter Four

After the Tzimtzum and the Masach that was placed on the will to receive, it became unfit to be a vessel for reception. It left the system of Kedusha (lit. Holiness) and the Ohr Hozer serves in its place as a vessel for reception, and the Kli of the will to receive was given to the impure system.

16. Since the Tzimtzum and the Masach were placed on that Kli, called “will to receive,” it was canceled and departed from the pure system, and the Ohr Hozer became the vessel of reception in its place.

Know that this is the entire difference between the pure ABYA and the impure ABYA. The vessel of reception of the pure ABYA comes from the Ohr Hozer that is established on Hishtavut Tzura with Ein Sof, while the impure ABYA use the will to receive that was restricted, being the opposite Tzura of Ein Sof. That makes them separated and cut off from the “life of lives,” namely Ein Sof.

Humanity feeds on the leavings of the Klipot, and thus uses the will to receive as they do.

17. Now you can understand the root of the corruption that was incorporated in the thought of creation, which is to delight His creatures. After the concatenation of the five general Olamot, Adam Kadmon and ABYA, the Klipot appeared as well in the four impure Olamot ABYA, because “One before the other hath God made them.”

In that state, the turbid corporeal Guf is set before us, about which it is written, “man's heart is evil from his youth.” It is so because its entire sustenance from its youth comes from the leavings of the Klipot. The essence of Klipot and impurity is the Tzura of wanting only to receive that they have. They have nothing of the will to bestow.

They are found to be opposite Him, for He has no will to receive whatsoever and all He wants is to bestow and delight. For that reason the Klipot are called “dead,” because they are opposite from the life of lives and therefore severed from Him without any of His Shefa.

The Guf, which is also fed on the leavings of the Klipot is also severed from life and is filled with filth because of the will to receive and not to bestow imprinted in it. Its desire is always open to receive the entire world into its stomach. Thus, “the evil are called dead during their lives,” because the Shinui Tzura in their Shoresh when they have nothing of the form of bestowal, severs them from Him, and they literally become dead.

Although it seems that the evil too have the form of bestowal when they give charity etc. it has been said about them in the Zohar, “Any grace that they do, they do for themselves,” for their primary aim is for themselves and their own glory.

However, the righteous who perform Torah and Mitzvot not in order to be rewarded, but to bestow contentment upon their Maker, thus purify their Guf, and invert their vessels of reception to the form of bestowal. It is as our holy Rav said, “I did not enjoy even in my little finger” (Ktuvot 104).

That makes them completely adherent with Him, for their Tzura is identical to their Maker without any Shinui Tzura. Our sages said about the verse, “say unto Zion: 'Thou art My people’,” that you are with Me in partnership. This means that the righteous are partners with the Creator, since He started creation, and they finish it, by turning the vessels of reception into bestowal.

The entire reality is contained in Ein Sof and extends existence from existence. Only the will to receive is new and extends existence from absence.

18. Know, that the existence from absence innovation that the Creator invented in this creation, which our sages said He generated existence from absence, applies only to the Tzura of the desire to enjoy that is imprinted in every creature. Nothing more was renewed in creation; and this is the meaning of “I form the light, and create darkness.” The Ramban interprets the word Creator as an indication of renewal, meaning something that did not exist before.

You see that it does not say, “create Light,” because there is no innovation in it by way of existence from absence. That is because the Ohr and everything contained in the Ohr, all the pleasant sensations and conceptions in the world extend existence from existence. This means that they are already contained in Him and are therefore not an innovation. That is why it is written, “form the Light,” indicating that there is not innovation and creation in Him.

However, it is said of the darkness, which contains every unpleasant sensation and conception, “and create darkness.” That is because He invented them literally existence from absence. It does not exist in His reality whatsoever, but was renewed now. The Shoresh of all of them is the Tzura of the “will to enjoy” that is contained in His Orot that expand from Him.

In the beginning it is only darker than the Ohr Elyon, and is therefore called darkness, compared to the Ohr. But finally the Klipot, Sitra Achra and the wicked,hang down and appear because of it, which severs them entirely from the life of lives.

This is the meaning of the verse “and her legs descend unto death.” Her legs indicate the end of something, and he says that they are the legs of Malchut, which is the will to enjoy that exists in the Hitpashtut of His Ohr. In the end, death extends from her to the Sitra Achra and those who are fed and follow the Sitra Achra.

Because we are branches that extend from Ein Sof, the things that are in our Shoresh are pleasurable to us, and those that are not in our Shoresh, are burdensome and painful.

19. Since this Shinui Tzura of the will to receive must be in the creatures, for how else would they extend from Him and switch from being Creator to being creatures? This is only possible by the above-mentioned Shinui Tzura.

Furthermore, this Tzura of the will to enjoy is the primary essence of creation, the axis of the thought of creation. It is also the measure of the delight and pleasure, as we have said above, for which it is called Place.

Thus, how can we say about it that it is darkness and expands to the Behina of death because it creates a separation and interruption from the life of lives in the receiving Tachtonim? We should also understand what is the great worry that comes to the receivers because of the Shinui Tzura from His Atzmut and why the great wrath.

In order to explain this subtle matter sufficiently, we must first know the origin of all the pleasures and sufferings that are felt in our world. Know this: every branch has an equal nature to its Shoresh. Therefore, every conduct in the Shoresh is desired and loved and coveted by the branch as well, and any matter that is not in the Shoresh, the branch too does not tolerate and hates.

This is an unbreakable law that abides between every branch and its Shoresh. Because He is the Shoresh of all His creations, every thing in Him and that extends from Him directly is pleasurable and pleasant to us, for our nature is close to our Shoresh. Also, every thing that is not in Him and does not extend directly from Him, but is rather opposite to creation itself, will be against our nature and will be hard for us to tolerate.

For example, we love rest, and vehemently hate motion, to the point that we do not make even a single movement if not to find rest. This is because our Shoresh is motionless and restful; there is no motion in Him whatsoever. For that reason it is against our nature and hated by us.

In much the same way, we love wisdom, power, wealth and all the virtues, because they are contained in Him, who is our Shoresh. We hate their opposites, such as folly, weakness, poverty, ignominy and so on, because they are not at all in our Shoresh, which makes them despicable and loathsome to us.

We should still examine how there is any Hamshacha that does not come directly from Him, but from the opposite of creation itself? It is like a wealthy man who called upon a poor fellow, fed him and gave him drinks and silver and gold every single day; and each day more than the day before.

There are two different things that you will find that this poor fellow felt regarding these wonderful gifts from the rich: On the one hand he tasted immeasurable pleasure by the multitude of His gifts. On the other hand, it became hard for him to tolerate the plentitude of the benefit and he was ashamed upon receiving it. This matter brought him intolerance due to the plentitude of the presents, showered on him every time.

It is certain that his pleasure from the gifts extended directly from the wealthy benefactor, but the impatience that he felt in the presents did not come from the wealthy benefactor, but from the very essence of the receiver. The shame awakened in him by reason of the reception and the free gift. The truth is that this too comes from the rich man, but indirectly.

Because the will to receive is not in our root, we feel shame and intolerance in it. Our sages wrote that in order to correct that, He has “prepared” for us labour in Torah and Mitzvot in this world, to invert the will to receive into a will to bestow.

20. We learn from all the above that all the forms that extend to us indirectly present a difficulty for our patience and are against our nature. By that you will see that the new Tzura that has been formed in the receiver, namely the “will to enjoy,” is not really any lower or lesser than Him.

Moreover, this is the primary axis of His creation. Without that, there would not be a creation at all. However, the receiver, who is the carrier of that Tzura, feels the intolerance due to his “self,” meaning because this Tzura is not in his Shoresh.

Thus we have succeeded to comprehend the answer of our sages, who said that this world was created because “one who eats that which is not one’s own, is afraid to look upon one’s face.”

It is seemingly perplexing, but now their words feel very pleasant to us, for they refer to the matter of Shinui Tzura of the will to enjoy, that is by necessity present in the Neshamot. This is so because “one who eats that which is not one’s own is afraid to look upon one’s face.”

Thus, any person who receives a present is ashamed when receiving it because of the Shinui Tzura from the Shoresh that does not contain that form of reception. In order to correct it, He created this world, where the Neshama clothes a Guf and the vessels of reception of the Neshama are turned to vessels of bestowal through the practice in Torah and Mitzvot in order to bring contentment to His Maker.

For herself, she would not want the distinguished Shefa, yet she receives it in order to bring contentment to her Maker, who wants the Neshamot to enjoy His Shefa. Because she is untainted by the will to receive for herself, she is no longer afraid to look upon her face, and thus reveals the complete perfection of the creature.

The need and the necessity in the long concatenation to this world will be explained below. This great task of turning the form of reception into the form of bestowal can only be conceived in this world

The evil are destroyed with double destruction, and the righteous inherit double.

21. Come and see, that the evil are destroyed with double destruction for they hold both ends of the rope. This world is created with a want and emptiness of the good Shefa, and in order to acquire possessions we need movement.

However, it is known that that profusion of movement hurts humans, for it is indirect Hamshacha from His essence. However, it is also impossible to remain devoid of possessions and good, for that too is in contrast with the Shoresh, which is filled with goodness. Consequently, we choose the torment of movement in order to acquire the possessions.

However, because all their possessions are for themselves alone, and “he who has a single portion wants a double portion,” one finally dies with only “half one’s desire in one’s hand.” In the end they suffer from both sides; from the increase of pain due to the multiplicity of movement, and from the regret at not having the possessions they need to fill their empty half.

The righteous inherit double in their Eretz: once they turn their will to receive into a will to bestow, and receive what they receive in order to bestow, then they inherit double. Not only do they attain the perfection of the pleasures and possessions, but they also acquire the equivalence of form with their Maker. Thus they come to true Dvekut (lit. Adhesion) and are therefore at rest, and the Shefa pours to them effortlessly, by itself, without making a single movement.

Chapter Five

The thought of creation compels every item in reality to stem from one another until the end of correction.

22. Now that we have acquired all the above, we will understand a little bit about the meaning of His uniqueness: His thoughts are not our thoughts and all the multiplicity of forms that we perceive in this reality is united in Him within a single thought, being the thought of creation to delight His creatures. This singular thought encompasses the entire reality with perfect unity through the end of correction, for this is really the entire purpose of creation and the operator.

Like the force that operates in the operated, that which is but a thought in Him, is a compelling force in the creatures. Because He thought about delighting us, it necessarily occurred in us that we receive His good Shefa.

It is the operation. This means that after this law of the will to receive pleasure has been imprinted in us, we define ourselves by the name “operation.” It is so because through this Shinui Tzura, we stop being a Creator and become a creature, stop being the operator and become the operation.

It is the labour and the work. This means that because of the force that operates in the operated, the desire to receive increases in us as the worlds hang down, until we become a separated Guf in this world. We become opposite to the life of lives, who does not bestow outside Himself whatsoever, and brings death to the bodies and every kind of torment and labour to the Neshama.

This is the meaning of the work of the Creator in Torah and Mitzvot. Through the He’arah of Kav in the restricted place extend the Holy Names, the Torah and the Mitzvot. By working in Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow contentment to the Maker, our vessels of reception slowly turn to vessels of bestowal.

This is the sought-after reward. This means that the more corrupted our vessels of reception are, the more impossible it becomes for us to open our mouth to receive His Shefa. This is so due to the fear of the Shinui Tzura for “One who eats that which is not one’s own, is afraid to look upon one’s face.”

This was the reason for Tzimtzum Aleph, but when we correct our vessels of reception to be in order to bestow, we thus equalize our Kelim with their Maker and become fit to receive His infinite Shefa.

You see that all these opposite forms in the creation before us, namely the form of operator and operated and the form of the corruptions and corrections and the form of the labour and its reward, all are included in His singular thought. In simple words, it is “to delight His creatures,” precisely that, no more and no less.

The entire multiplicity of concepts is also included in that thought, both the concepts of our Torah, and those of secular teachings. All the creations, worlds and various conducts in each and every one, stem from this singular thought, as I will explain further in the appropriate place.

Malchut de Ein Sof means that Malchut does not put up any Sof there.

23. We may now see the meaning of the Tikunim in the Zohar regarding Malchut de Ein Sof, for which the doors trembled from the cries of the doubtful. They asked: “Can we recognize a Malchut in Ein Sof? That would mean that there are the upper nine Sefirot there too!”

From our words it becomes very clear that the will to receive that is contained in Ohr Ein Sof by necessity, is called Malchut de Ein Sof. However, Malchut did not place a Gevul and an end on that Ohr Ein Sof because the Shinui Tzura due to the will to receive had not become apparent in her yet.

That is why it is called Ein Sof, because Malchut does not put a stop there, but only from the Tzimtzum downward. Only then does the force of Malchut put a Sof in every Sefira and Partzuf.

Chapter Six

It is impossible for the will to receive to appear in any essence, except in four Behinot, which are the four Otiot of HaVaYaH.

24. Let us elaborate a little on that issue so as to fully understand the Sof that occurred in Malchut. First, we shall explain what the Kabbalists have determined and what the Tikkunim of the Zohar present to us: There is no Ohr, great or small, in the Upper Olamot or in the lower ones, that is not arranged in the order of the four-letter name HaVaYaH.

This goes hand in hand with the law that is brought in the Tree of Life, that there isn’t an Ohr in the Olamot that is not clothed in a Kli. I have already explained the difference between His Atzmut and the Ohr that expands from Him. That happens only due to the will to enjoy that is contained in His expanding Ohr, being a Shinui Tzura from His Atzmut, who does not have that Ratzon.

The expanding Ohr is defined by the name Ne’etzal because this Shinui Tzura stops the Ohr from being the Maatzil and makes it a Ne’etzal. It is also explained that the will to enjoy that is contained in His Ohr is also the measure of the Gadlut of the Ohr. It is called the “place” of the Ohr, meaning it receives its Shefa according to its measure of will to receive and yearning, not more and not less.

It also explains that this will to receive is the entire Hidush that was renewed in the creation of the Olamot by way of making existence from absence. This Tzura alone is not at all incorporated in His Atzmut and the Creator has only now created it for the purpose of creation.

This is the meaning of “and create darkness,” because this Tzura is the Shoresh for the darkness due to the Shinui Tzura in it. For that reason it is darker than the Ohr that expands within her and because of her.

Now you see that any Ohr that expands from Him, instantly consists of two features:

Thus, the first feature is the Ohr, and the second is the Kli. For that reason, any expanding Ohr consists of four Behinot in the impression on the Kli. That is because the form of the will to receive, called Kli to the Ohr that expands in it, is not completed all at once, but by way of operator and operated. There are two Behinot in the operator and two Behinot in the operated, called “potential force” and “actual force” in the operator, and “potential force” and “actual force” in the operated, which make up four Behinot.

The will to receive does not permeate the Ne’etzal except through his own desire to receive of his own choice.

25. Because the Kli is the Shoresh of the darkness, as it is opposite from the Ohr, it must therefore start to operate slowly, gradually, by way of cause and consequence. This is the meaning of the verse: “The waters were conceived and begotten darkness” (Midrash Raba, Shemot, 80; 22).

The darkness is a result of the Ohr itself and is operated by it as in conception and birth, meaning a potential and actual. This means that in any expanding Ohr, the will to receive is necessarily incorporated. However, it is not regarded as a Shinui Tzura before this Ratzon is clearly set in the Ohr.

The will to receive that is incorporated in the Ohr by the Maatzil is not enough for that; but the Ne’etzal himself must independently display that will to receive in him, in action, meaning of his own choice. This means that he must extend Shefa through his own will, more than the measure of the Ohr of the Hitpashtut in him by the Maatzil.

After the Ne’etzal is operated by his own choice in increasing the measure of his desire, the yearning and the will to receive become fixed in him, and the Ohr can clothe this Kli permanently.

It is true that Ohr Ein Sof seemingly expands over all four Behinot, reaching the full measure of the Ratzon by the Ne’etzal himself, being Behina Dalet. That is because he would not go beyond his own Atzmut anyhow and acquire a name for himself, meaning Ein Sof.

However, the Tzura did not change at all because of the will to receive in His almightiness, and there is no change distinguished there between the Ohr and the place of the Ohr, which is the will to enjoy; they are one and the same thing.

It is written in Pirkei Avot, that “Before the Olam was created, there were He is One and His Name One.” It is indeed difficult to understand this double reference “He” and “His Name.” What has His Name got to do there before the Olam was created? He should have said, “Before the Olam was created He was One.”

However, this refers to Ohr Ein Sof, which is prior to the Tzimtzum. Even though there is a place there and a will to receive the Shefa from His Atzmut, it is still without change and differentiation between the Ohr and the “Place.”

He is One, meaning OhrEin Sof. “His Name One” is the will to enjoy that is incorporated there without any change whatsoever. You must understand what our sages implied, that the “His Name” is Ratzon in Gimatria, meaning the “will to enjoy.”

All the Olamot in the thought of creation are called Ohr Ein Sof, and the sum total of the receivers there is called Malchut de Ein Sof.

26. It has already been explained regarding “The act ends in the preliminary thought,” that it is the thought of creation that expanded from His Atzmut in order to delight His creatures. We have learned that in Him, the thought and the Ohr are one and the same thing. It therefore follows that OhrEin Sof that expanded from His Atzmut contains the entire reality before us through the end of the future correction.

This is the end of the act, because in Him, all the creations are already complete with all the joy that He wished to bestow upon them. This entire reality in its complete satisfaction is called OhrEin Sof, and that which contains them is called Malchut deEin Sof.

Chapter Seven

Although only Behina Dalet was restricted, the Ohr left the first three Behinot as well.

27. It has already been explained that the middle point, which is the comprehensive point of the thought of creation, namely the will to receive in it, embellished herself to equalize herself with the Maatzil more intensely. From the perspective of the Maatzil there is no Shinui Tzura in His almightiness.

However, the point of the Ratzon felt it as a kind of indirect Hamshacha from His essence, as with the story about the rich man. For that reason she diminished her Ratzon from the last Behina, which is the entire will to receive in its Gadlut, so as to increase the Dvekut through a direct Hamshacha from His essence.

Then the Ohr was emptied from the entire place, meaning from all four degrees that exist in the place. Even though she diminished her Ratzon only from Behina Dalet, it is the nature of the spiritual that it is indivisible.

Afterwards, a Kav of Ohr extended once more from the first three Behinot, and Behina Dalet remained a vacant Halal.

28. After that Ohr Ein Sof Nimshach once more to the place that was emptied, but did not fill the entire place in all four Behinot, but only three Behinot, as was the Ratzon of the point of Tzimtzum. Hence, the middle point that has been restricted remained empty and hollow because the Ohr illuminated only as low as Behina Dalet, but not all the way, and Ohr Ein Sof stopped there.

We will henceforth explain the matter of the Hitkalelut of the Behinot in one another in the Upper Worlds: You can now see that the four Behinot are integrated in one another in such a way that within Behina Dalet too there are also all four Behinot. Thus, OhrEin Sof reached the first three Behinot in Behina Dalet and she alone remained empty and without Ohr.

Chapter Eight

Hochma is called Ohr, and Hassadim is called Mayim (water). Bina is called Mayim Elyonim, and Malchut is called Mayim Tachtonim.

29. Now we shall explain the meaning of the four Behinot of cause and consequence, necessary to complete the Tzura of the will to receive. It is written, “The waters were conceived and begotten darkness.” It means that there are two Behinot of Ohr in Atzilut. The first Behina is called Ohr, namely Ohr Hochma, and the second Behina is called Mayim, which is Hassadim.

The first Behina extends from above downwards without any assistance from the lower one. The second Behina extends with the help of the inferior, hence the name Mayim, for it is the nature of the Ohr to be above and the nature of the Mayim to dwell below.

There are also two Behinot within the Mayim: Upper Mayim, by Behina Bet in the four Behinot, and Lower Mayim, by Behina Dalet in the four Behinot.

Explanation of Hitpashtut Ohr Ein Sof into the four Behinot in order to uncover the Kli, which is the will to receive.

30. For that reason, any Hitpashtut of Ohr Ein Sof consists of Eser Sefirot. It is because the Ein Sof, which is the Shoresh and the Maatzil, is called Keter. The Ohr of the Hitpashtut itself is called Hochma, being the entire measure of Hitpashtut of the Ohr from above, from Ein Sof.

It has already been said that the will to receive is incorporated in every Hitpashtut of Ohr from above. However the Tzura of the Ratzon does not actually become apparent before the desire to extend Ohr awakens in the Ne’etzal more than the measure of his Hitpashtut.

Thus, because the potential will to receive is incorporated immediately in the Ohr of the Hitpashtut, the Ohr is compelled to bring the potential to the actual. Consequently, the Ohr awakens to extend additional Shefa, more than the measure of its Hitpashtut from Ein Sof. It is in that Ohr that the will to receive actually appears and acquires the new form in Shinui Tzura. That makes it darker than the Ohr for it gained Aviut by the Hidush Tzura.

This part that has become more Av is called Bina, as in the verse, “I am understanding (Bina), power (Gevura) is mine.” Indeed, Bina is a part of Hochma, meaning the very Ohr of Hitpashtut Ein Sof. However, because she increased her Ratzon and drew more Shefa than the measure of her Hitpashtut in Ein Sof, she thus acquired Shinui Tzura and grew a little more Av than the Ohr. In that manner she acquired her own name, namely the Sefira of Bina.

The essence of the additional Shefa that she extended from Ein Sof by the power of her Hitgabrut of Ratzon is called Ohr Hassadim, or Upper Mayim. That is because this Ohr does not extend directly from Ohr Ein Sof like Ohr Hochma. Instead, it is assisted by the Ne’etzal who intensified the Ratzon, consequently acquiring a separate name, Ohr Hassadim or Mayim.

Now you find that the Sefira of Bina consists of three features of Ohr: the first – Ohr Atzmut of Bina, which is a part of the Ohr Hochma. The second is the Hitabut (thickening) and the Shinui Tzura in her, acquired by the intensification of the Ratzon. The third is the OhrHassadim that came to her through her own Hamshacha from Ein Sof.

However, that still does not complete the entire vessel of reception, since Bina is essentially Hochma, who is indeed transcendent, being a direct Hitpashtut from Ohr Ein Sof. Consequently, only the Shoresh for the vessels of reception and the operator of the operation of the Kliappeared in Bina.

Afterwards, that same Ohr Hassadim that she extended through the power of her Hitgabrut extended from her once more, and some He’arah of Hochma was added. This Hitpashtut of Ohr Hassadim is called Zeir Anpin, or HGT.

This Ohr of Hitpashtut also increased its desire to extend a new Shefa that is greater than the measure of He’arat Hochma in its Hitpashtut from Bina. This Hitpashtut is also regarded as two Behinot, because the Ohr of Hitpashtut itself is called ZA or VAK, while its Hitgabrut is called Malchut.

This is how we come by the Eser Sefirot: Keter is Ein Sof; Hochma is the Ohr of Hitpashtut from Ein Sof; and Bina is the Ohr Hochma that intensified in order to increase the Shefa, by which it gained Aviut. ZA, which consists of HGT NHY, is Ohr de Hassadim, with He’arat Hochma that expands from Bina, and Malchut is Hitgabrut Bet to add Hochma more than exists in ZA.

The four Behinot in the Ratzon are the four letters of HaVaYaH, which are KHB TM.

31. The four Otiot of the four-letter Name: The tip of the Yod is Ein Sof, meaning the operating force in the thought of creation, which is to delight His creatures, namely the Kli of Keter.

The Yod is Hochma, meaning Behina Aleph, which is the actual in the potential that is contained in the Ohr of the Hitpashtut of Ein Sof. The first Hey is Bina, meaning Behina Bet, which is how the potential becomes actual, meaning the Ohr of Hochma that became more Av.

Vav is Zeir Anpin or HGT NHY, meaning the Hitpashtut of Ohr de Hassadim that came about through Bina, meaning it is Behina Gimel. The force for the performance of the operation, the lower Hey in HaVaYaH, is Malchut, meaning Behina Dalet. It is the manifestation of the complete act in the vessel of reception that has intensified to extend more Shefa than its measure of Hitpashtut in Bina. That completes the Tzura of the will to receive and the Ohr that clothes its Kli, being the will to receive that is completed only in this fourth Behina and not before.

Now you can easily see that there isn’t an Ohr in the Elyonim or the Tachtonim that is not arranged under the four-letter Name, being the four Behinot. Without it, the will to receive that should be in every Ohr is incomplete, for it is this will that is the place and the measurement of that Ohr.

The Otiot Yod and Vav of HaVaYaH are thin because they are only potential Behinot.

32. This might surprise us, since Yod implies Hochma and Hey implies Bina, and the entire Atzmut of the Ohr that exists in the Eser Sefirot is in the Sefira of Hochma, while Bina, Zeir Anpin and Malchut are merely Levushim compared to Hochma. Thus, Hochma should have taken the greater letter in the four-letter Name.

The thing is that the Otiot of the four-letter Name do not imply and indicate the amount of Ohr in Ein Sof. Instead, they indicate measurement of impact on the Kli. The white in the parchment of the scroll of Torah implies the Ohr, and the black, being the Otiot in the scroll of Torah, indicates the quality of the Kelim.

Thus, because Keter is only the Behina of Shoresh de Shoresh to the Kli, it is therefore implied only in the tip of the Yod. Hochma, which is the force that has not actually appeared, is implied by the smallest among the Otiot, namely the Yod.

Bina, where the force is carried out in action, is indicated by the widest letter, the Hey. ZA is only the force for the performance of the act, and is therefore implied by a long and narrow letter, being the Vav. Its thinness indicates that the essence of the Kli is as yet concealed and remains in potential, and its length indicates that at the end of its expansion, appears the complete Kli.

Hochma did not manage to manifest the entire Kli in her Hitpashtut, for Bina is an incomplete Kli, but is the operator of the Kli. The leg of the Yod is short, insinuating that it is still short, meaning did not manifest the force in it, and through its expansion, the entire Kli.

Malchut is also implied by the letter Hey, like Bina, which is a wide letter, appearing in its complete Tzura. It should not surprise you that Bina and Malchut have the same Otiot, because in the Olam Tikun they are indeed similar and lend their Kelim to one another, as the verse says, “So they two went.”

Chapter Nine

Spiritual movement means renewal of Shinui Tzura.

33. We should still scrutinize the meaning of time and movement that we come across in almost every word in this wisdom. Indeed, you should know that spiritual movement is not like tangible motion from one location to another; it refers to a renewed Tzura.

We denominate every Hidush Tzura by the title “movement.” It is that Hidush, meaning that Shinui Tzura that was renewed in the spiritual. Unlike its general preceding form in that spiritual, it is regarded as having been divided and distanced from that spiritual. It is considered to have come out with its own name and authority, by which she became exactly like a corporeal essence that some part departed from and moved about to a different place. For that reason the Hidush Tzura is referred to as “movement.”

Spiritual time means a certain number of renewals of Shinui Tzura that stem from one another. Former and latter mean cause and consequence.

34. With respect to the spiritual definition of time, you must understand that time is essentially defined by us only as a sensation of movements. Our imagination pictures and devises a certain number of consecutive movements, which it discriminates one by one, and translates them like a certain amount of “time.”

Thus, if one had been in a state of complete rest with one’s environment, he would not even be aware of the concept of time. So it is in spirituality: A certain amount of renewals of Tzura is considered as “spiritual movements.” Those are intermingled in one another by way of cause and consequence and they are called “time” in spirituality. Also, “before” and “after” are always referred to as cause and consequence.

Chapter Ten

The entire substance that is ascribed to the Ne’etzal is the will to receive. Any addition in it is ascribed to the Maatzil.

35. Know, that the distinguished will to receive in the Ne’etzal is his Kli. Know also, that it is the general substance that is ascribed to the Ne’etzal. It follows that the entire existence besides him is ascribed to the Maatzil.

The will to receive is the first Tzura of every essence. We define the first Tzura as “substance” because we have no attainment in the essence.

36. Weperceive the will to receive as an incident, as a Tzura in the essence. Yet, how do we perceive it as the substance of the essence?

Indeed, it is the same with essences that are near us. It is our conduct to denominate the first Tzura in the essence by the name “the first substance in the essence” because we have no attainment and perception whatsoever in any substance, as our five senses are completely unfit for it. The sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, offer the scrutinizing mind merely abstract forms of “incidents” of the essence, formulating through the cooperation with our senses.

For example, if we take even the smallest, microscopic atoms in the smallest elements of any essence, separated through a chemical process, they too would merely be abstract forms that appear that way to the eye. More accurately, they are distinguished and examined by the ways of the will to receive and be received that we find in them.

We can utilize these operations to distinguish and separate the various atoms to the very first matter of that essence. However, even then they would be no more than forces in the essence, not a substance.

Thus you find that even in corporeality we haven’t any way by which to understand the first substance, except by assuming that the first Tzura is the first substance that carries all other incidents and forms that come afterwards. Indeed, it is all the more so in the Upper Worlds, where tangible and fictional do not abide.