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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Chapter Six

Talmud Eser Sefirot
(The Study of the Ten Sefirot)
Part 3

Explains how the Sefira Keter contains two Behinot: 1. The last Behina of Ein Sof, For example, Malchut de Malchut de Ein Sof, called Atik; 2. The Shoresh of the Ne’etzalim, called Arich Anpin. Together they are called Keter. Containing four issues:

1. In the Eser Sefirot, there are no more than four Behinot HB TM, and Hochma is the first.
2. Keter is sometimes counted in the Sefirot, and sometimes not, and Daat is counted instead.
3. Keter is the middle between the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal, containing two Behinot: A. The Maatzil, for example Malchut de Malchut de Ein Sof, called Tohu and Atik; B. The Ne’etzal, which is the Shoresh of the Ne’etzalim, called Bohu, or AA.
4. Similarly, Malchut de Malchut de Olam Atzilut is Atik de Olam Beria.


There are no more than four Behinot HB TM in every Ne’etzal, and Hochma is the first Sefira in the Ne’etzal.

1. We will now speak once more of the Upper Olamot. After we have explained the parable, we will now explain the moral. The moral is made of four rudiments only (1), being the four Otiot HaVaYaH, namely Hochma, Bina, Tifferet and Malchut, and that is why Hochma is first.


Ohr Pnimi

1. He wishes to say that you should not take the moral of the parable that he introduced, that there is a median Behina between each two Behinot, for that is why there are five Behinot in the Elyonim, meaning four Behinot and a median. He warns and says that the Elyonim have no more than four rudiments ERMA, which are the four Otiot HaVaYaH.

It is so because the middle Behina is not counted among the four Behinot. And the Rav concludes, “and that is why Hochma is first.” It indicates that no Behina is counted prior to that, for the middle Behina, namely the Nitzotz of the Creator, is Ein Sof, which is not counted in the degree.

The Nitzotz of the creature, called Yechida or Keter, has been clarified as basically only the Shoresh of the four Behinot HB TM (see Chap 5, item 20). Hence, the beginning of Yechida is Behina Aleph too, called Hochma, which is why there are only four Otiot in the name HaVaYaH, and not a specific letter for Sefirot Keter.


Keter is sometimes counted among the Eser Sefirot and is sometimes not, and Daat is counted Instead.

2. You should also understand what is written, that Keter is always the highest Behina (2), which is not included in that Olam. It is like the crown of a king; it is above his head and not a part of him. Hence it is not regarded as a part of the Sefira, and Daat, mentioned in Sefer Yetzira (Book of Creation), is counted instead.

However, sometimes we do count it in the Eser Sefirot. It will be explained by our earlier words that there is a median Behina between each and every two Behinot. It is similar to what nature scientists have written and the Ramban wrote in the beginning of the verse, “Now the earth was Tohu (unformed) and Bohu (void).”

He also wrote in Sefer HaBahir (Book of the Bright), that before He created the four rudiments, He created one substance, called Hiuli (primeval, formless). This is something that is prepared for acquiring the Tzura of the four rudiments later on, but it does not take any form whatsoever. Because it precedes the Tohu, it is called “Zero”, and “they are accounted by Him as things of nought, and vanity.”


Ohr Pnimi

2. It refers to the Nitzotz of the Creator that is clothed in Keter, being Ein Sof, which is not at all the Partzuf itself.


Ein Sof is called zero, Keter is called Tohu, and after that Bohu, consisting of five rudiments.

3. The thing is that Ein Sof is called “Zero” because there is no perception in it. It has no substance (3) and no form (4). After that comes Tohu, which is the Keter (5), and after that Bohu, containing four rudiments HB TM.


Ohr Pnimi

3. (See Table of Questions, Part 2, item 26). The will to receive in the Ne’etzal is Ohr that became Av and it is the entire substance of the Ne’etzal, from which his vessels of reception were formed. It is certain that this will to receive is nonexistent whatsoever in Ein Sof (see Ohr Pnimi, Part 1, Chap 1, item 50).

The Rav wrote, “Ein Sof is called “Zero” because there is no perception in it. It has no substance,” meaning from the perspective of the will to receive, and it is known that there is no attainment in the Ohr without a Kli.

4. The four Behinot HB TM are called “Four Forms” because they come from levels of degrees that stand one below the other, appearing in the substance of the Ne’etzal (see Ohr Pnimi, Part 1, Chap 1, item 50), but all this is not in Ein Sof.

5. Meaning in the median between the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal because it contains the roots of the four forms of the Ne’etzal in potential, but not in actual fact.


Tohu contains the four rudiments of the Ne’etzal, potentially, not actually.

4. Explanation: It is necessary to have an intermediate degree between the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal, for the distance between them is as between heaven and earth. How can one shine in the other and create one another, when they are two ends, if there is nothing close to the Maatzil and close to the Ne’etzal that is in between them and connects them?

This Behina is Keter, called Tohu (6), for it contains no rudiment and is therefore not implied in the name HaVaYaH at all, only in the tip of the Yod, though as a median. It is so because Keter is like the substance of the seal, called Hiuli, potentially containing the Shoresh of all four rudiments, but not in actual fact.

It is called Tohu because it perplexes humans’ thoughts, and they say: “We see that it is shapeless, yet we see that it is a Ne’etzal (7) and has all four forms (8).”


Ohr Pnimi

6. It means that the four Behinot HB TM are also called “Four Rudiments”, for there is no Behina of them in Tohu.

7. It means that it has already left the Maatzil, which is Ein Sof, called “zero”.

8. Meaning the four Behinot HB TM, also called “Four Forms”. However, they are only in potential, but not in actual fact. Bohu is the Nitzotz of the creature, containing the roots of the actual Behinot, which is the Hitpashtut of Ein Sof to make Kelim by Hakaa on the Masach (see Part 3, chap1, item 1).

The four Behinot de Ohr Yashar that expanded from Ein Sof are clothed with Ohr Hozer that ascends from below upward, and Atzmut Ein Sof is clothed in this Ohr Hozer as Rosh of a degree. However, these Kelim are called “Roots of Kelim” that are not completed but only after their Hitpashtut below the Masach.


Keter might be described as a Ne’etzal, relating to Ein Sof, and as the Maatzil relating to the Ne’etzalim.

5. It turns out that we can call it Ein Sof and Maatzil, as is the opinion of some Kabbalists, that Ein Sof is Keter, but we can also call it Ne’etzal, because Ein Sof is certainly greater than it. For that reason the sages warned in that regard, “Do not ask about that which is beyond you.”

However, it is all we can speak of, for the Keter is the median between the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal. The reason for it is that it is the last Behina in Ein Sof. It emanated one Behina (9) that contains the Shoresh of the entire Eser Sefirot in hiding and great subtlety. In fact, the Ne’etzal cannot be subtler than that, for Tohu, which is above it, is not more but the absolute zero (10).


Ohr Pnimi

9. Called Bohu, for it is already called the Rosh of the degree.

10. Relates to the beginning of matters, meaning that the very last Behina in Ein Sof is called Tohu.


Keter contains two Behinot: the last Behina of Ein Sof, which emanated a second Behina, which is the Shoresh of the Ne’etzalim.

6. Thus, this Behina has two degrees: The first is the lowest of low among all the Behinot of Ein Sof. For example, it is as though we said that it is Malchut in Malchut, even though it is not so. That is because there is no image or a Sefira there whatsoever; we only say so for purpose of clarity. That lowest degree in Ein Sof contains everything above, and receives from everyone, as it is known that Malchut receives from everyone.

This low degree emanated the second Behina, which is the highest degree in the Ne’etzalim. It contains the Shoresh of all the Ne’etzalim and bestows upon all of them. Thus, the smaller than all the emanators emanated the best of all the Ne’etzalim, and there is no other degree between them because after that Maatzil, there is no closer and more similar Ne’etzal to Him than Him.


The Behina of the Maatzil in Keter is called Atik and Behinat Shoresh of the Ne’etzalim in Keter is called Arich Anpin.

7. These two Behinot are actually one Behina called Keter. Kabbalists referred to it as Ein Sof with respect to one Behina in her, and some Kabbalists called it Keter with respect to a second Behina in her, counted as one of the Eser Sefirot.

However, we think like neither, but that it is a median Behina between Ein Sof and the Ne’etzalim and has a Behina of Ein Sof and a Behina of the Ne’etzalim. These two Behinot are called Atik and Arich Anpin, and they are both called Keter.


The last Behina of Atzilut, being Malchut de Malchut de Atzilut, became Atik in Olam Beria and clothed AA in Beria.

8. It is written elsewhere that Malchut in Malchut in Olam Atzilut clothes Rosh de Beria, which is Keter, called Arich Anpin. It is Atik of Olam Beria.