The Two Points
120. Rabbi Chiya began and opened, “The beginning of Hochma (wisdom) is fear of the Creator, and those who observe this rule receive all the goodness.” He asks, “The beginning of wisdom?” One should rather say that the end of wisdom is the fear of the Creator, for fear of the Creator is the property of Malchut, which is at the end of Hochma (wisdom). He replies: Yet, Malchut is the beginning of the entrance to the degrees of reception of the Supernal wisdom.” Hence, it is written, “Open to me the gates of justice,” meaning that the gates of Malchut, called “justice,” are the Creator’s gates. And if man does not enter these gates he shall not reach the Supernal King through any other, for He is concealed and detached, and has erected many gates on the path to Him.
Fear of the Creator is the Sefira Malchut. Yet, how can Malchut serve as an entrance if she is the last of the ten Sefirot? Indeed, she may be called the end of Hochma or of a Partzuf, but not the beginning. However, this is not an allegorical expression, but the essence itself, for HE IS CONCEALED AND DETACHED and no thought of man can attain Him. Hence, He has put up many gates ON THE PATH TO HIM, and thanks to these gates He grants sufferers the opportunity to draw closer to him, the opportunity for attainment.
This is precisely what the verse, “Open to me the gates of justice,” (Tehilim, 118) alludes to; these are the very gates that the Creator made, through which people can come to Him. HOWEVER, AT THE END OF ALL THE GATES ERECTED A SPECIAL GATE WITH MANY LOCKS. This gate is Malchut de Malchut, the ultimate point of all creation, the ultimate point of all Supernal gates.
And this last gate (from Above downwards) is the first gate to Supernal wisdom (from below upwards), for it is impossible to attain the Supernal Hochma (wisdom) without attaining precisely this final gate, as it is the first gate with regard to attainment of the Supernal wisdom. It is therefore written (Tehilim, 111:10): “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of wisdom,” as fear of the Creator is called the final gate, which stands first on the path to Supernal attainment.
121. And at the end of all the gates He erected a special gate with several locks, several entrances, and several chambers, one atop of the other. And He said, “Whoever wishes to reach Me, let this be the first gate on his way to Me.” Whomever enters through this gate – will enter.” Only this is the first gate to the Supernal wisdom, the gate of fear of the Creator, Malchut, which is hence called “beginning.”
The locks, entrances, and chambers are three successive processes of attainment, of realizing the spiritual in one’s inner sensation. The thought that created the world was the Creator’s thought to make a creation (the human soul) in order to fill it with delight. However, it is impossible to feel delight as long as one is removed from the Creator, for He is the only One in existence. And He has created us in such a way that the nearer we come to Him, the greater delight we feel, whereas and the farther we are from Him, the more we suffer.
Those of us who live in and perceive only this world can only accept the above words on faith or reject them. However, Kabbalists, who ascend spiritually and draw closer to the Creator, make these assertions and describe their attainments for us. And as to how and when we shall travel the same path to the Creator and attain complete unity with Him, this depends on us alone. However, regardless of whether we want to or not, we will need to travel the entire path from our world to complete unity with the Creator while still existing in this body, during one of our lifetimes in this world. This is the purpose of creation, and until it is fulfilled, man must reincarnate and return to this world, as the sages said: “The Creator wished to dwell in the lower ones.”
Our world is built completely opposite from the Creator, as it was created in the property of egoistic will to receive pleasure, and this property is the exact antithesis to the Creator’s property (desire) to delight us. Additionally, there is no trace of a will to receive pleasure in the Creator Himself.
It is hence said about a person in our world: “Man is born akin to a wild ass” (Iyov, 11:12). Therefore, to those who live in this world, the Creator’s governance seems completely opposite to the purpose of creation – to delight the creatures. After all, that is how we perceive His rule over us, and feel the surrounding world in our egoistic sensations.
According to the Creator’s plan, one must correct his egoistic desires and make them altruistic, whereupon the Creator fulfills them with supernal, absolute delight (to the extent of their correction). Until one attains this state, he continues to suffer from his desire to enjoy either this world or the spiritual.
These sensations are called “gate locks,” for all the numerous contradictions to the oneness of the Creator’s actions that we feel in this world separate us from the Creator and prevent us from drawing closer to Him. However, when we exert to observe the Torah and Commandments with love, with our heart and soul, as devotedly as it was prescribed for us, with the sole intention of pleasing the Creator and without any benefit for ourselves, all of the forces that separate us from Him and every contradiction that we overcome on our path to Him becomes a gate of attainment of His Supernal wisdom, of Ohr Hochma. This is because every contradiction reveals its own uniqueness in the attainment of the Creator’s governance.
Thus, those very questions and contradictions, which initially seemed to prevent us from accepting the oneness of the Creator’s governance, then turn into knowledge, thanks to which we come to understand and attain the oneness of His governance.
And those who merit this transform darkness into Light (within themselves) and bitterness into sweetness. This is how they feel their attainments – in precisely those past sensations of darkness and bitterness. For the forces that repel us from the Creator, that form our minds and are perceived by the body as bitter turn into gates of attainment of Supernal Degrees. This way, darkness becomes Light and bitterness becomes sweetness.
And the more negative the Creator’s governance is first perceived, the deeper man eventually comes to realize the perfection of His governance. At last, the entire world ends up on the scale of merit, for every force and insight now serve as SHAAREY TZEDEK (the gates of truth), through which one can enter and receive from the Creator everything that He intended to bestow at the Thought of Creation. Thus, it is written about such contradictions that turn into realization of unity: “These are the gates to the Creator; the righteous shall enter them” (Tehilim, 118:20).
Hence, until one merits turning his will “to receive for himself” into the will “to receive for the Creator” with the help of the Torah and Commandments, all the gates to the Creator have sturdy locks (the sensation of imperfection in the Creator’s governance), as they then play their opposite role: to distance and turn one away from the Creator. And they are called locks, for they lock the gates of contact with the Creator and distance us from Him.
However, if we make efforts to overcome them so they stop influencing us and weakening our love for the Creator, we will thus turn these locks into entrances, darkness into Light, and bitterness into sweetness. This is because for every lock we receive a special degree of attainment of the Creator. These degrees become entrances that lead to the degrees of sensation of the Creator Himself. And the degrees themselves turn into halls or chambers of wisdom.
Thus, we see that locks, entrances, and chambers constitute the three types of perception of one material, our will to receive or egoism. Indeed, before we turn the egoistic desire to receive into reception (of pleasure) for the Creator’s sake, altruism, this material transforms Light into darkness and sweetness into bitterness, in accordance with our (egoistic) taste. In other words, egoism finds suffering in the same types of influence that bring pleasure to altruism. Therefore, to perceive the Light (delight) that surrounds us, we only to need change our senses. But until we do, this Light will be perceived by us as darkness and suffering.
Initially, whatever examples of the Creator’s governance we see, they distance us from Him. This is because we perceive them negatively; at that very moment, our egoism (will to receive pleasure) begets locks. However, once we transform our desires to “reception for the Creator’s sake,” these locks become entrances, and entrances turn into chambers – vessels of wisdom, Ohr Hochma.
As we already know, the end of all the degrees, i.e., the very last degree, below which nothing can possibly exist, is called Malchut de Malchut. To attain Supernal wisdom, one must first overcome this last gate, which turns into the first gate to ascend from below upwards, toward the chamber of Supernal wisdom, the Sefira Hochma. All gates become entrances and chambers of the Creator’s wisdom. This is why it is written, IN THE BEGINNING (the first words in the Torah), for IN THE BEGINNING signifies fear of the Creator, the last gate (Malchut), which becomes the first on the path to attainment of the Supernal wisdom.
122. The letter Bet in the word BERESHEET (IN THE BEGINNING) indicates that the two are joined together in Malchut. Both are points: one is concealed, while the other is revealed. However, since there’s no division between them, they are called THE BEGINNING, which signifies only one, rather than two, for he who takes one, takes the other as well, and all is one, for He and His Name are one, as it is written, “And you shall know that this is the Creator’s only name.”
The Hebrew letter Bet has a numerical value of two, indicating two points. These two points symbolize the correction of the egoistic point of Malchut, onto which the point of mercy (Bina) imposes a restriction of use. Correction is achieved when Malchut (strictness) ascends to Bina (mercy), as it is written, “So they both walked” (Rut, 1:19), i.e., Bina and Malchut. Hence, the screen in Malchut consists of both points, and they are thereby joined together as one.
It is explained in Megilat Rut (The Book of Ruth) how Malchut (Ruth) merges with Bina (Naomi), which then leads to the correction of Malchut and the birth of David, the first King (the word King, Melech, is derived from Malchut, (kingdom) of Israel.
HOWEVER, ONE IS CONCEALED, WHILE THE OTHER IS REVEALED, for the judgment in the point of Malchut is concealed, whereas only the property of mercy in the point of Bina is revealed. Otherwise, the world could not exist, as it is written, “In the beginning, He created the world with the property of judgment, but seeing that it cannot exist, He attached to it the property of mercy” (Beresheet Raba, item 1).
Although the restriction is concealed, this does not mean that a Zivug is not made on it, since these two points merge into one, and the point of Malchut receives a Zivug together with the point of Bina, though it participates in it secretly. Therefore, it is written, IN THE BEGINNING, for the word “beginning” indicates one point, which includes two that are as one.
Because Malchut participates with Bina in all the Zivugim that are made during the 6,000 years (albeit secretly), she corrects herself to such an extent that at the end of all the corrections, even her property of restriction is corrected, and she acquires the property of Bina. It is written of this state that on that day He and His name will be one.
Since the property of restriction is also concealed within the letter Bet of the word BERESHEET (in the beginning), this property is called RESHEET (first) in Hochma (wisdom). However, the correction of this property occurs only at the end of corrections, when the Supernal wisdom is revealed, as the prophet said: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Creator” (Yeshayahu, 11:9). This is because the last gate will become the first. Hence, it is written, “That they may know that it is Thou alone whose name is the Lord, the Most High over all the earth,” (Tehilim, 83:19) for the Creator’s wisdom will be revealed in our world to all.
123. Why is Malchut called “fear of the Creator?” It is because Malchut is the Tree of Good and Evil: If man merits, it is good, but if he does not, it is evil. This is why fear dwells in that place. And this gate leads to all the goodness that exists in the world. ALL THE GOODNESS signifies two gates, two points that are as one. Rabbi Yosi said that ALL THE GOODNESS refers to the Tree of Life, for it is entirely good and completely without evil. And because it is without evil, it is entirely good, without evil.
It is written of the last gate: “THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM IS FEAR OF THE CREATOR.” So why is it called “fear of the Creator?” Because this is the secret of the Tree of Knowledge, by which Adam sinned, for the use of that point (egoistic desires) is punishable by death (disappearance of the Light). And great fear is needed to refrain from touching (using) it before all the other desires have been corrected. Nevertheless, at the end of correction, when even this point is completely corrected, death will cease to exist for all eternity. That is why it is called “fear.”
The Creator created one creation – the egoistic Malchut. The goal of creation is to fill her with the Creator’s Light using an altruistic intention. As a result, Malchut merges with the Creator and receives limitless delight.
Malchut, the only creation, consists of five parts: KHB ZA-M. Her parts KHB ZA, excluding Malchut de Malchut, have altruistic properties, which they received from the Light.
As a result of her decision to refrain from receiving Light into egoistic desires, called Tzimtzum Aleph (the first restriction), Malchut receives the Light only in her first four desires: KHB-ZA. Malchut de Malchut remains inaccessible to the Light. So how can she be corrected?
To correct Malchut de Malchut’s properties (desires), the Creator creates the conditions under which Bina and Malchut mix, and consequently, Malchut acquires the properties of Bina.
This process needs to occur more than once, so that all of Malchut’s parts will be mixed with Bina. Every time it takes place in an increasingly deeper layer of Malchut, it is called the breaking of holiness, for Bina descends and passes her properties to Malchut, but she herself breaks during this mixing, as though losing her altruistic properties.
Thus, we can conclude that all the shattering of vessels, the breaking of Adam’s soul, the ruin of the First and Second Temples, and other spiritual disasters take place not as punishment, for punishment (as we understand it) does not exist in the spiritual, but only so as to enable the altruistic desires of Bina penetrate deeper into the egoistic desires of Malchut.
The last point of Malchut, the yet uncorrected Malchut de Malchut, is that very point the use of which is punishable by death (the Light’s disappearance is considered death). It is forbidden to use Malchut de Malchut until all the other properties of Malchut (KHB-ZA) have been fully corrected. Or rather, if man refrains from using egoism (the point of Malchut de Malchut), and uses only his other altruistic desires, he gradually constructs a “non-reception” screen on Malchut de Malchut.
Having filled all of his corrected desires with Light, man achieves the end of correction – of what he could correct by himself. As soon as that happens, i.e., as soon as one receives the Light in all of his soul’s first nine Sefirot (KHB-ZA, excluding Malchut), the Light called Mashiach descends from Above, which imparts Malchut de Malchut with the altruistic property of bestowal, of acting for the Creator’s sake. This concludes the entire correction process of man’s soul, and he attains complete unity with the Creator. The Creator’s goal is for man to attain this state while still living in our world and in his physical body, to combine all the worlds, spiritual and material, within himself.
AND THIS GATE LEADS TO ALL THE GOODNESS, for there is nothing better than the revelation of the Supernal wisdom in the world, included in the Thought of Creation. And since fear of the Creator is the last gate to the Supernal wisdom, it also constitutes the gate to all the goodness.
THESE TWO GATES ARE AS ONE refers to the two points, Bina and Malchut, which are united in the letter Bet of the word BERESHEET (IN THE BEGINNING), the first word in the Torah. And the two points are mentioned because they allude to the state following the correction, when these two points are called “the two gates,” for both turn out to be good and free from evil, thereby bringing man only perfect goodness.
Nevertheless, until the end of correction, one must strain to separate within him the desires that refer to the point of Bina from those that refer to the point of Malchut, to reject the desires of Malchut, and, in defiance of egoism, use the desires of Bina. During man’s work on self-correction, called “6,000 years,” these two points are referred to as “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
RABBI YOSI SAID – Rabbi Yosi does not object to the words of Rabbi Chiya. They are talking about two different states: Rabbi Chiya alludes to a state past the end of correction of Malchut, when both points become a gate, and there is no more evil within them. And Rabbi Yosi explains a state in the correction process, when the two points, Bina and Malchut, exist within us as our Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Hence, he tells us that ALL THE GOODNESS IS (can only be found in) THE TREE OF LIFE.
ZA filled with the Light of Ima-Bina is called “The Tree of Life,” for he possesses only good properties. And the two points of good and evil, Bina and Malchut, remain within Malchut until the end of correction; hence, Malchut is called “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
124. To all those who act, it is the faithful mercy of David that upholds the Torah. Those who keep the Torah seemingly create it themselves. All those who study the Torah – there is no action in them as they study, but those who keep the Torah – in them there is action. And the world exists by this force, eternal are the wisdom and the Torah, and the throne stands just as it should stand.
It was previously said that fear of the Creator constitutes the last gate, though it is the first gate to the Supernal wisdom. It turns out that ALL THOSE WHO STUDY THE TORAH have already corrected the last gate, and the two points become for them two entrances, all goodness without evil. Hence, it is said that THERE IS NO ACTION IN THEM, i.e., no analysis of good and evil, for they have already corrected everything.
However, those who have not yet reached the end of correction are referred to as those who keep the Torah. There is action in them, for they have not yet corrected good and evil in everyone’s Tree of Good and Evil – not everyone has realized in one’s inner tree (in all of one’s properties) what is good and what is evil with regard to the spiritual truth.
It is therefore said that THOSE WHO KEEP THE TORAH SEEMINGLY CREATE IT THEMSELVES. As a result of man’s effort to refrain from their use, all the distracting and impeding forces (thoughts and desires) of the point of Malchut become gates, all the locks become entrances, and all the entrances become chambers of wisdom filled with Ohr Hochma.
It follows that all the wisdom and the entire Torah become revealed only through the efforts of those who keep the Torah. Hence, they SEEMINGLY CREATE IT THEMSELVES. The forces of good and evil are combined within them, and they become those who keep the Torah, for the Torah is revealed thanks to their inner work of separating and correcting good and evil.
Such people are called “those who act,” for they seemingly create the Torah by themselves. After all, without perceiving the Creator (The Torah, Light) as concealed, and then overcoming this concealment, thereby turning it into gates, entrances, and chambers the Torah could never have been revealed.
The perfection of the Creator’s actions lies in the fact that by creating man so paltry (with such insignificant egoistic desires, completely opposite to the Creator in his properties, and utterly powerless to change himself, the Creator gave man an opportunity to become like Him (in properties, greatness, and the sensation of creating himself), to create within and by himself all of the worlds and the Torah. By revealing the Light, it is as though man actually creates it.
Thus, since these individuals reveal the Torah, they are regarded as its creators. The word is SEEMINGLY used to indicate that the Torah was created before the creation of our world (Talmud, Pesachim, 54:1), and of course, it is the work of the Creator Himself. Yet, without the good deeds of those who keep the Torah, it would not have been revealed to the world. Hence, they are regarded as the makers and creators of the Torah.
The wisdom and the Torah are eternal; that is, they exist even after the end of correction, for fear of the Creator is needed even then. However, once the entire egoism is corrected, there is no place from which to take this fear, for the Tree of Good and Evil becomes only good, and can no longer furnish fear of the Creator.
However, because they received fear in the past, they can continue using it in the present, after the end of correction, when there is nothing left to fear, as there are no restrictions in Malchut. And the only reason they can do so is that during the correction they worked on creating within them the sensation of the Creator’s absolute rule and the eternity of the Torah. And since this fear is never-ending, the Creator’s throne remains forever standing in their attainment.