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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Chapter One

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

Explains the four Behinot in the Aviut, which are the four Kelim and their Shoresh; containing eight issues:

1. The Sefirot of all the Olamot have Atzmut and Kelim.
2. Ohr Ein Sof first expanded as Kelim, and then the Orot clothed them.
3. The Hitpashtut of the Ohr implies a greater Hitabut than before, meaning the Ohr became Av and was made into ten Kelim.
4. A Masach is made in Kli de Malchut.
5. This Masach separates between Olam Atzilut and Olam Beria.
6. The Zivug de Hakaa of Ohr Ein Sof in the Masach that raises Ohr Hozer from below upward.
7. To the place that Ohr Ein Sof reaches, it is regarded as Olam Atzilut.
8. Four Behinot in the Hitabut of the Ohr Elyon:
a) In its Hitpashtut to from Keter to Hochma; b) In its Hitpashtut to Bina, where Harchaka is added to it; c) In its Hitpashtut to ZA, where a Halon and a narrow Nekev occurred in it; d) In its Hitpashtut to Malchut, where a narrow Nekev and a Harchaka occurred in it.


There is Atzmut and Kelim. Ohr Ein Sof expanded first as Kelim. After that the Orot clothed them, being the Atzmut.

1. All the Olamot (1) have Atzmut (2) and Kelim (3). First (4) expanded (5) the Ein Sof (6) as Eser Sefirot de Atzilut, as Kelim. That is because Hitpashtut (7) indicates a greater Hitabut of Ohr than before (8).

It turns out that these Eser Sefirot are Eser Kelim that were created by the Hitpashtut of Ein Sof itself, except now the Ohr became more Av and Kelim were made through the Hitpashtut (9). After this Hitpashtut, by which Eser Kelim were made, the Atzmut of Ein Sof was clothed inside them (10). This is the meaning of Atzmut and Kelim.


Ohr Pnimi

1. They are five Olamot, called: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya. The word Olam comes from the word He’elem (lit. Concealment) because each time the Ohr Ein Sof becomes more hidden in them, as the Rav will explain henceforth.

2. See Table of Questions Part 2 item 56.

3. See Table of Questions Part 1 item 25.

4. Meaning the very beginning of every single Olam.

5. See Table of Questions Part 2 item 14.

6. Meaning unattainable. It is called Ein Sof to indicate that the Sefira of Malchut ha Mesayemet that stops all the degrees does not put a stop and cessation here on the Ohr Elyon (See Table of Questions Part 1 item 40). Quite the contrary, it is in here that the bestowal of the Ohr begins.

7. Hitpashtut indicates a Hitabut of Ohr that is more than it was in the Maatzil. Otherwise, how would that Ohr cease to be a Maatzil and merit the name Hitpashtut of Ohr from it outwardly? The issue of the Hitabut is the meaning of the Shinui Tzura that the Ohr acquires because it becomes a Ne’etzal (see Histaklut Pnimit, Part 2, item 5).

8. See above Histaklut Pnimit Part 2, item 5.

9. That teaches us that the Kelim are consequences of the Ohr itself. That is because as the Ohr expands to the Ne’etzal, it descends by four Behinot HB ZON. In the end, it generates the will to receive in the Ne’etzal, and it is this Ratzon that is Behina Dalet, which is the essence of the Kli of the Ne’etzal. It is Aviut that the Ohr acquired during its Hitpashtut.

However, the three first Behinot are but causes for Behina Dalet to appear. The inevitability and the order of these four Behinot was explained in previous parts and it is needless to elaborate here too (see Part 1, Chap 1, item 50).

10. Hitlabshut is like concealment. That is because the clothes hide the one who wears them, yet it is done because of that person’s desire to be seen. Without the Tikun of this concealment it is impossible for it to become revealed. For that reason it hides itself in it and shows itself through it.

Such a Tikun is always called Malbush or Levush. Thus, the Levush is used for two things: concealment and revelation.

It is the same with our matter because it is impossible to attain the Ohr in the lower ones without a Kli. Hence, the Ohr becomes clothed in a Kli so that the Tachton may attain it by that Kli it is clothed in, and examine it closely.


The Tikun of the Masach to detain the Ohr Elyon from clothing Kli de Malchut stops between Olam Atzilut and the rest of the Olamot.

2. When the above Hitpashtut reached Malchut de Atzilut (20), the Upper Maatzil saw that the Tachtonim do not have the strength to receive that Ohr (30) should it expand further. Then, when the tenth Kli of Atzilut was completed (40), one Masach and Pargod was made there (50), interrupting between Atzilut and the rest of the Olamot below it (60).


Ohr Pnimi

20. Meaning after the Ohr had expanded in the first three Behinot called: Hochma, Bina, ZA, and after it completed its Hitpashtut in ZA, it came to expand in Behina Dalet, called Malchut. The Ohr cannot expand in Malchut before it expands in the three former Behinot, for they generate each other by way of cause and consequence.

30. Because the force of the Tzimtzum rides over Behina Dalet (the last Behina), Behina Dalet does not have the strength to receive Ohr (see Table of Topics, Part 1, item 81, and Part 1, Chap 2, item 2).

40. That refers to Behina Dalet, called Malchut. By that he tells us that we should note that the Kli of Malchut and the Masach in it are two separate matters. The Kli of Malchut is an Ohr that became Av at the level of Behina Dalet, which is affected by the Tzimtzum, and the Masach and the Pargod were erected in her later (see Table of Questions, Part 2, item 43).

50. Masach and Pargod are one thing. It means that a detaining force was made there, which is a sort of a shielding partition above Malchut, so that the Ohr Elyon would not break into her (see Table of Questions, Part 2, item 43).

60. It means that this Masach not only protects Malchut, as mentioned above, but also separates between Olam Atzilut and the rest of the Olamot.


By the power of the Hakaa of Ohr Ein Sof in the Masach, the Ohr returned upward as Ohr Hozer that clothes the Ohr Elyon. The entire place until the Kav of Ohr Ein Sof is regarded as Olam Atzilut.

3. Then Ohr Ein Sof that expands up to there struck that Masach (70). By the power of the Hakaa of the descent (80), it struck it and returned upward as Ohr Hozer to its place (90). Then Olam Atzilut was completed in its Kelim (100) and Ohr Ein Sof clothed them once more as Atzmut (200). Thus, to the place where Ohr Ein Sof reaches by this manner, it is called Olam Atzilut (300), because it is the Ohr itself, but after its Hitabut (400).


Ohr Pnimi

70. The encounter of the Ohr Elyon with the Masach is compared to two hard objects where one of them is trying to break the other’s Gevul. The other stands firmly against the first and prevents the first from trespassing. Such an encounter is called Hakaa.

However, when two liquids encounter they do not prevent each other from trespassing and mixing; hence there is no Hakaa between them. The same applies to two supple objects; their Hakaa is not really felt because they let each other permeate the other’s boundary and push their outer shell to some extent.

However, with hard objects, one does not let the other move one from one’s place even a little. Consequently, their encounter is perceived as Hakaa (beating).

Since the Tzimtzum was primarily done by the Ne’etzal and not at all by the Maatzil, the Ohr Ein Sof is not at all meticulous about that Tzimtzum in Malchut. Instead, it stretches down to Malchut too. Moreover, it does it forcefully, because Ein Sof filled Behina Dalet too before the Tzimtzum (see Part 1, Chap 1, item 20 and item 50). For that reason it has no reason to change its way and it always descends to the Kli of Malchut with its Ohr.

However, the Masach and Pargod erected in Malchut impede and detain the Ohr. It does not let it expand within even a bit, which is why we find that “Ohr Ein Sof that expands up to there struck that Masach (see Table of Questions, Part 2, item 43).”

80. Has been explained in the above item.

90. That measure of Ohr that should have been accepted in Malchut, which she did not receive due to the detainment of the Masach, that entire measure rose back up and clothed all three Behinot of the Ohr Elyon up to Hochma. This is regarded as the “place” of that Ohr Hozer. This is the meaning of the words of the Rav “returned upward as Ohr Hozer to its place (see Histaklut Pnimit, Part 2, item 62).”

100. That is because the ascent of the Ohr Hozer and its clothing of the Ohr Elyon from above downward make the Kelim for the Ohr Elyon.

200. After the Ohr Hozer rose back up, Ohr Ein Sof clothed this Ohr Hozer as Atzmut that is clothed in the Kelim.

300. Meaning up to the Masach in Kli Malchut, because the Masach pushed it back up and did not let it expand further.

400. He wishes to say that the force of detainment in the Masach did not act on the Sefirot of Atzilut above Malchutat all, but only from Malchut downwards. That is why Ohr Ein Sof expands down to the Masach in Malchut as Atzilut without any detainment. However, Ohr Ein Sof that glitters and passes through the Masach downwards is greatly diminished because of this and its essence is no longer regarded as Ohr Ein Sof.


There are four Behinot in the Hitabut of the Ohr Elyon:
1) Reception from the Elyon, called Hochma.
2) Harchaka from Hochma, which is Bina.
3) Halon and a narrow Nekev, which is ZA.
4) Harchaka from Hochma and a narrow Nekev, which is Malchut.

4. This Hitabut of the Ohr (1) is because he who sees a great light cannot tolerate it, if not through some distancing or some sort of a screen, or both. However, the Ein Sof shines in Keter de Atzilut (2) without any Masach and Harchaka at all, hence the name of Keter – Ein Sof.

Hochma receives through Keter (3) but Bina received the Ohr Ein Sof through Harchaka (4), because now the Ein Sof is far from her and she can receive it (5). ZA does not receive the Ohr but through a narrow Nekev and a Halon (6). The Atzmut of the Ohr passes through that Halon without any Masach, but there is no broad path, only a very narrow one.

However, he is near (7) because there isn’t a great distance between Bina and ZA (8). Nevertheless, Nukva de Zeir Anpin receives her Ohr through the Nekev and Halon as does ZA, but it is in Harchaka (9).


Ohr Pnimi

1. This Aviut has already been explained. It does not appear in the Ohr at once, since it is opposite from the Ohr. Instead, it hangs down from Zach to slightly more Av and from there to a slightly more Av, until it completes its Aviut, called Behina Dalet, or Malchut.

These four Behinot are called: Hochma, Bina, ZA and Malchut and must be present in every Ne’etzal. The reason for the necessity and the definition of these four Behinot has been explained thoroughly above (Part 1, Chap 1, item 50). Study there for I rely on it and do not bring it here due to its length, though every word of it is needed.

2. Every Olam and every Partzuf, wherever it is, must receive its Shefa from Ein Sof. Hence, the inspiration of Ein Sof that is ascribed to a certain Olam Or Partzuf is called the Keter of the Olam and the Keter of the Partzuf. It is also called the Maatzil of that Olam.

It is written, “the Ein Sof shines in Keter de Atzilut.” It means that there is an inspiration of Ein Sof there, with respect to Olam Atzilut. That is why Keter it is called Ein Sof or Maatzil.

3. The Hitpashtut of Ohr Ein Sof that extends first from the Keter to the Olam is called Ohr Hochma. It is necessary that the will to receive the Ohr will be incorporated with this Ohr Hochma, for otherwise Ohr Ein Sof would not be regarded as expanding.

However, this will to receive is not really regarded as Shinui Tzura and Aviut because this will to receive came to her from the Elyon, meaning from Keter. This is because the will to bestow in Keter necessitates the existence of a will to receive in Hochma.

That is the meaning of the words of the Rav “Hochma receives through Keter.” It means that the reception in Hochma came to her from Keter and by His power. Thus, Aviut from that type of will to receive is very frail indeed; it is called Behina Aleph.

4. Hochma becomes more Av as it expands because when she completes her Hitpashtut, the desire in her increases and she extends Ohr de Hassadim from Ein Sof and distances herself from Ohr Hochma (see Part 1, Chap 1, item 50). Because this Hitgabrut was made by her own awakening and not by an Upper Force, that Ratzon is regarded as frail Aviut, but more than in Hochma.

It is therefore necessary that due to this change, Hochma became a separate Behina, called Bina or Behina Bet. This is the meaning of the Rav’s words “Bina received the Ohr Ein Sof through Harchaka.” That is because this Aviut de Behina Bet is called Harchaka, because she distanced herself from receiving Ohr Hochma in order to receive the Ohr Hassadim.

This Hitgabrut of Ratzon is still not regarded as complete Aviut because it comes from a will to bestow and equalizes in form with the Maatzil (see Part 1, Chap 1, item 50). However, it is more Av than Behina Aleph because the entire Ratzon in Behina Aleph is not hers but comes from Keter. Behina Bet acts out of her own Hitgabrut of Ratzon, and that is why Behina Bet is regarded as the Shoresh of the complete will to receive, for by that it is regarded as more Av than Behina Aleph.

5. After Bina awakened to draw Ohr Hassadim from the Maatzil it drew far from the Ohr Hochma. Otherwise she would not have been able to receive Ohr de Hassadim, because Ohr Hochma is extended by the will to receive, and Ohr Hassadim by the will to bestow (see Part 1, Chap 1, item 50).

Thus, Behina Aleph and Behina Bet are opposites from the beginning of their creation. That is why the Rav writes, “now the Ein Sof is far from her and she can receive it.” it means that she drew far and became a third degree from Ein Sof, which is an average between Bina and Ein Sof.

She left it because now that she distanced the Ohr Hochma and became a third degree, Hochma being Behina Aleph, second to Ein Sof, and Bina being Behina Bet and third from Ein Sof, she could now receive the Ohr Hassadim that she drew. Had she not distanced herself to a third degree, she would not have been able to receive.

We must know that the word “far” is a term that indicates diminution of Hochma, as it is written, “I said: 'I will get wisdom'; but it was far from me.” It is also the meaning of the verse, “And his sister stood afar off,” and there is no reason to discuss it any further.

6. Bina also becomes more Av at the end of her Hitpashtut because she distances the Ohr Hochma from her. It is known that Ohr Hochma is the primary essence of the Ne’etzal. Thus, at the end of her Hitpashtut, the will to receive He’arat Hochma into the Ohr de Hassadim increased in her.

Because the only difference between spirituals is the Shinui Tzura, this new He’arah emerged, meaning Ohr de Hassadim inside which there is He’arat Hochma, and acquired a separate name, being Zeir Anpin. It is called by that name because Ohr Hochma is called Ohr Panim (Facial Light), as it is written, “A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine.” Because it has no more than He’arat Hochma, but its essence is only the Ohr de Hassadim of Bina, it is called Zeir Anpin, meaning “Small Face”, indicating a small amount of Ohr Hochma.

It is also called Behina Gimel. Its Aviut is called “Halon and a narrow Nekev” because it’s been explained (Part 1, Chap 2, item 70) that a Masach that appears in the Elyon because of the Hitkalelut of the Tachton in it is called Halon. That is because it has no Dinim (pl. for Din), but only a reason for the He’arah, like a window.

Because any Aviut and Masachim (pl. for Masach) in Atzilut come from the Hitkalelut of BYA in it, Aviut de ZA is called a Halon for the He’arah of Ohr Gadlut, and the name “narrow Nekev” is given to the He’arah of Katnut. However, Behina Bet is not even called a Halon, but a Harchaka.

7. Meaning, there isn’t the Harchaka of Hochma that exists in Bina there because the only difference between him and Bina is that he has He’arah from Hochma. That is why the Rav writes, “However, he is near,” meaning there isn’t Harchaka in him.

8. The Hitpashtut of Ohr Bina to Behina Gimel, which is ZA, does not generate Harchaka. On the contrary, it generates closeness of Hochma. It has already been explained that “near” and “far” are definitions of Hochma.

9. After the three Behinot of Aviut fully expanded to the point that ZA was fully expanded, the complete will to receive that is fit for reception had awakened. It is called Behina Dalet, or Malchut, or Nukva de ZA (see Part 1, Chap 1, item 30), where the Tzimtzum was.

Thus, from the Tzimtzum onward this Behina Dalet no longer receives Ohr Ein Sof. Hence, her Behina of Aviut is called Harchaka. She too has two degrees called Halon and narrow Nekev as in ZA. The influence of the Gadlut is called Halon, and the influence of Katnut is called narrow Nekev.

There is a big difference between the Harchaka in Behina Bet and the Harchaka in Behina Dalet: Harchaka de Behina Bet is a voluntary Harchaka, as it is says, “because He delighteth in mercy,” meaning she wants Hassadim and not Hochma. Harchaka de Behina Dalet, however, is a forced Harchaka, due to the Masach that was erected in Behina Dalet.

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