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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Tzimtzum and Kav. Chapter 2

Talmud Eser Sefirot
(The Study of the Ten Sefirot)
Part 2

Explains how Ohr Ein Sof extended a Kav to the Olamot that were emanated and created in the place of the Halal that was restricted; containing five issues:

1. A Kav extended from Ein Sof into the Halal.
2. The Rosh of the Kav touches Ein Sof, not its Sium.
3. Ohr Ein Sof expands to the Olamot through the Kav.
4. All the Olamot are in the place of that Halal that has been restricted.
5. Prior to the Tzimtzum there was He is One and His Name One, and the mind cannot attain Him.


A Kav extended from Ein Sof into the Halal

1. After the above Tzimtzum there remained a place of Halal and vacant, empty Avir in the middle of that Ohr Ein Sof (1). Then there was a place for the Ne’etzalim and the Nivraim (creatures) and the Yetzufim (creations) and the Naasim (formed).

Then, one Kav Yashar extended from Ohr Ein Sof (2), from His Ohr Agol (3) from above downward (4), and hung down into that Halal.


Ohr Pnimi

1. Do not be misled into the thought that the Tzimtzum of the Ohr from the middle point caused any changes in Ein Sof. There is no change and absence in spirituality, and all the more so in such a sublime place.

The above Tzimtzum became a new essence, in addition to Ein Sof. Thus, Ein Sof remained in its entire simple unity as before the Tzimtzum, as He is one and His Name One.

The Tzimtzum on the middle point is perceived as a new Olam that came out, from which the Ohr departed and left an empty Halal as we’ve explained above. It is in the place of that Halal that all the Olamot were emanated.

2. We should not perceive this act in its superficial meaning, as a human act, where one does one thing, and then another, while no longer performing the first act. There is no greater materialization than that, because He is not subject to change and episodes.

It is written: “I the Lord do not change.” We are not discussing His Atzmut, but only the Ohr that expands from Him. However, because there is no change and incident and motion in His Atzmut, and He is in complete and utter rest, so must be the Ohr that expands from Him, as long as it does not reach the Ne’etzal, meaning as long as it did not clothe the Kelim.

Only then does it come to exit His Atzmut and become a Ne’etzal that is renewed and receives from Him. We have already explained that this renewal revolves primarily on the Kli of the Ne’etzal, meaning the will to receive in the Ne’etzal. Although this Ratzon is spiritual, it is nonetheless a Hidush Tzura and an incident, because it is not necessitated in His Atzmut.

However, the Ohr that clothes it is not renewed, for it extends from His Atzmut as existence from existence. The actuation of the Ohr Elyon is according to the measure of the Kli, meaning the Kli is affected and receives from the Ohr Elyon as a Hidush, which is necessarily an incident.

You should know that all the innovations and the concatenation of degrees regard only impact on the Kli and its reception from the Ohr Elyon, for only that is subject to change and multiplication. However, the Ohr itself is always in complete rest, as it expands from His Atzmut. Understand that well and remember every single word of it for the rest of the study in this wisdom.

According to the above, you can thoroughly understand that the Ohr Elyon does not stop shining for the creatures even for a moment. It is not subject to change and innovations, but is in complete rest. The whole issue of the Tzimtzum and the aforementioned departure of the Ohr regard only the influence on the Kli and its reception, meaning the middle point.

In other words, although the Ohr Elyon does not stop shining, the Kli did not receive any of its He’arah because it diminished itself. It diminished its will to receive, so as not to receive in its Behina Dalet, being the middle point, but only in its three preceding Behinot, whose will to receive is frailer, and where the will to bestow dominates (see item 50).

Thus, the Ohr Elyon was not affected by the Tzimtzum and did not change its way. Just as it illuminated in Ein Sof, so it illuminated during the Tzimtzum and after the Tzimtzum and in all the Olamot, even in Olam Assiya. It did not stop shining for a minute, but it is the Kelim that make all those changes, for they only receive according to their measure, being the measure of their will to receive.

Now you can understand what the Rav meant in the words, one Kav Yashar extended from Ohr Ein Sof.” It means that the place of the Halal itself, meaning the Kli that had been emptied of Ohr Ein Sof itself, caused the Hamshacha of the Kav from Ein Sof, by reason of the diminution that was renewed in its will to receive.

The measure of its current reception, after the Tzimtzum of its Behina Dalet, is called Kav, meaning relating to its previous reception in Behina Dalet that filled the entire place. However, now that she does not have that great will to receive, but only the previous three Behinot of the Ratzon, whose will to receive is frail. It is regarded as that Kli not receiving more of the Ohr Ein Sof, but only one Kav of Ohr.

The entire place of the Kli remains empty and vacant from Ohr because that minute Ohr that she receives now is not enough to fulfill the entire place of the Kli. That happened because of the wanting of Behina Dalet that diminished it.

We see that the Ohr Elyon was not at all stopped by the Tzimtzum, and did not change so as to extend the Ohr as one Kav. Instead, this whole great change happened because of the vessels of reception that were diminished and became unable to receive from Ohr Ein Sof more than a very small measure, called Kav, according to the measure of her desire. That is because she does not want more than that measure.

3. We have already explained the meaning of the Agol (round) image (Chap 1, item 100). He tells us that even after the Tzimtzum, the Ohr Elyon remained in the form of an Igul, meaning without discrimination of degrees. Its four Behinot are of equal virtue (there), and the reason is (above item) that the Ohr Elyon is not subject to change and incidents. These above occurrences of innovations are only with respect to the Kelim.

4. Do not forget that we are not discussing corporeal terms whatsoever. Instead, the more Zach is called higher, and the more Av is called lower. Anything that can be perceived as Hitpashtut of Ohr from the Maatzil and its permeation in the Ne’etzal is regarded primarily as a renewal of the Shinui Tzura that exists in the Ne’etzal. In other words, it refers to the will to receive that does not exist in the Maatzil and was renewed in him.

Because of that, the Ne’etzal is considered to be far, Av, low, and inferior to the Maatzil. It is the Shinui Tzura from the Maatzil that does all that and separates him from being a Maatzil to being a Ne’etzal.

You should also know that this Shinui Tzura, namely the will to receive, does not appear at once, but is conceived slowly, over four Behinot. Its form is complete only in Behina Dalet.

It therefore turns out that the entire form of its will to receive is very frail, meaning the first Behina of the four Behinot. This Behina is regarded as the closest to the Maatzil, more important, purer and higher, because her Shinui Tzura is not as great as in the three Behinot that follow.

Behina Bet, whose Ratzon is greater than Behina Aleph, is regarded as farther from the Maatzil, more Av, lower and indeed inferior to the first Behina. Finally, Behina Dalet is the farthest from the Maatzil, lower, more Av and inferior to all of them.

That is why the Rav writes that the Kav Nimshach from above downward, meaning from the first Behina to the forth [and not all the way], which is the lowest. The above matter of above and below was renewed with the emergence of the Kav. Before the Kav illuminated, meaning during the Tzimtzum, there was no up or down there (see Chap 1, item 100).

However, after she received the Ohr merely as a Kav, meaning not in all four Behinot, but only in her first three Behinot,Behina Dalet remained dark, without Ohr. Only now did it become known that Behina Dalet is low, Av and inferior, and that the three preceding Behinot are erected on top of her, according to their purity and proximity to the Maatzil. However, during the Tzimtzum, when the Ohr left all four Behinot at once, that discernment among the degrees had not yet occurred.


The Rosh of the Kav touches Ein Sof, not its Sium

2. The Upper Rosh of the Kav (5) extended from Ein Sof Himself and touched it (6), although the Sium of that Kav, down at its end (7), does not touch Ohr Ein Sof.

Ohr Pnimi

5. Meaning the first Behina of the four Behinot (see above item).

6. Behina Aleph, being the Upper Rosh, is the closest to Ein Sof, meaning to the Maatzil. For that reason she is regarded as touching Him, because the Shinui Tzura in Behina Aleph is not apparent enough to separate it from the Maatzil.

7. “Down at its end” implies Behina Dalet, the farthest and lowest of them all (Chap 2, item 4). She does not receive the Ohr Elyon and is therefore regarded as not touching Ohr Ein Sof and as separated from it.


Ohr Ein Sof expands to the Olamot through the Kav

3. Ohr Ein Sof extended and expanded down through that Kav.


All the Olamot are in the place of that Halal that has been restricted

4. He emanated and created and made and formed (8) all the Olamot in that place of that Halal.

Ohr Pnimi

8. It implies the four Olamot called Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya, which contain all the inner innumerable Olamot. These four Olamot extend from the four above Behinot: Atzilut from Behina Aleph; Beria from Behina Bet; Yetzira from Behina Gimel and Assiya from Behina Dalet.


Prior to the Tzimtzum there was He is One and His Name One, and the mind cannot attain Him

5. Prior to these four Olamot (9), the Ein Sof was He is One and His Name One (10), in wondrous and concealed unity. Not even the angles that are close to Him (20) have the might and the attainment of Ein Sof, for there is not a created mind that can attain Him, for He has no place, no boundary, no name (30).

Ohr Pnimi

9. Called Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya (see above item), which contain all the Olamot. Before all that, meaning before the Tzimtzum, these four Behinot were considered to be one above the other (see Chap 2, item 4), but as Simple Unity (Chap 1, item 30). The meaning of Simple Unity is that there is no differentiation of degrees or between Ohr and Kli, but He is One and His Name One (see Chap 1, item 30).

10. “He” implies the Ohr Elyon. “His Name” implies the will to receive that is necessarily there (see Chap 1, item 30). His Name is (in Gimatria) Ratzon, implying the will to receive.

20. This means that now, after the Olamot have been created, even the angles, which are spiritually the closest creations, do not have attainment in Ein Sof.

30. Since in Ein Sof it is He is One and His Name One, and since there is no place and Kli apparent there at all, no mind of a creature can attain Him, for there is no attainment without a Kli.

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