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Preface to the Book of Zohar

1. The profoundness of the wisdom in the holy Book of Zohar is enclosed and caged behind a thousand locks, and our human tongue too poor to provide us with sufficient, reliable expressions to interpret one thing in this book to its end. Also, the interpretation that I have made is but a ladder to help the examiner rise to the height of things and examine the words of the book itself. Hence, I have found it necessary to prepare the reader, to give him a way and an inlet in reliable definitions, concerning how one should contemplate and study the book.

2. At the outset, you must know that all that is said in The Book of Zohar, and even in its legends, is denominations of the ten Sefirot , called KHB (Keter, Hochma, Bina), HGT (Hesed, Gevura , Tifferet), NHYM (Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut), and their combinations. Just as the spoken language, consisting of the twenty-two letters with their various permutations, are entirely adequate for uncovering the essence of any object or learning, so too are the concepts and permutations of the ten Sefirot sufficient to disclose the entire wisdom contained in the book of Heaven.

However, there are three limitations that one must be very prudent with and not exceed while studying the words of the book. I shall first present them briefly, and then I shall elaborate on them.

3. First limitation : Four categories exist in the conducts of knowledge called, “Matter”, “Form Clothed in Matter”, “Abstract Form”, and “Essence”. It is the same in the ten Sefirot as I shall explain below. One must be aware that The Book of Zohar does not engage at all in the Essence and the Abstract Form in the ten Sefirot, but only in the Matter in them, or in the Form in them, while clothed in Matter.

4. Second limitation: The comprehensive Godly reality, concerning the creation of the souls and the conducts of their existence are discerned by us in three discernments:

  • Ein Sof (lit. Infinity) ;
  • The world Atzilut ;
  • The Three worlds called Beria, Yetzira and Assiya.

Know that The Book of Zohar engages only the worlds BYA (Beria, Yetzira and Assiya). It touches on the worlds Ein Sof and Atzilut to the extent that the worlds BYA receive from them, but The Book of Zohar does not engage in them at all as they are for themselves.

5. Third limitation: There are three aspects in each of the worlds, BYA .

  • Ten Sefirot, which are the Godliness that shines in that world;
  • The Souls, and the Spirits of people;
  • The rest of reality, called Angels, Clothes, and Palaces, whose elements are innumerable.

You should know that although the Zohar elucidates extensively in the details in each world, you should still know that the essence of the words of the Zohar are always focused on the souls of the people in that world. It explains other discernments only in order to know the measure that the souls receive from them. The Zohar does not engage in that which is not connected to the reception of the souls in even a single word.

It explains other discernments only in order to know the measure that the souls receive from them. The Zohar does not engage in that which is not connected to the reception of the souls in even a single word. Thus, you must conclude every word that is brought in The Book of Zohar, only with respect to the reception of the soul.

These three fundamental discernments are most severe, and if the reader does not know how to be prudent in them, and takes matters out of context, he or she will immediately be confused in the matter. For this reason I have found it necessary to trouble and expand the understanding of these three limitations as much as I can, in such a way that they will be understood by everyone.

7. You already know that the ten Sefirot are called Hochma, Bina, Tifferet, Malchut and their root, called Keter. (They are ten because Tifferet alone consists of six Sefirot, called Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod. Remember that in all the places where we are used to saying ten Sefirot which are HB TM ).

In general, they consist of all four worlds ABYA. This is because the world Atzilut is Sefirat (Sefira of) Hochma; the world Beria is SefiratBina; the world Yetzira is SefiratTifferet; and the world Assiya is SefiratMalchut. In particular, not only does each and every world has ten Sefirot HBTM, but even the smallest element in each world has these ten Sefirot HBTM, as it is written in the Introduction (items 44, 51, and 61).

The Zohar compared these ten Sefirot, HBTM, to four colors:

  • White for SefiratHochma;
  • Red for SefiratBina;
  • Green for SefiratTifferet;
  • Black for SefiratMalchut.

It is similar to a mirror that has four panes painted in the four above colors. The light in it is one, but it is colored when traveling through the panes. Though the light in it is one, it is nevertheless turned into four kinds of light: white light; red light; green light; and black light.

Thus, the Light in all the Sefirot is complete Godliness and simple unity from the top of Atzilut to the bottom of Assiya. The division into ten Sefirot HB TM is because of the Kelim (lit. Vessels) called HB TM . Each Kli (singular for Kelim) is like a fine partition that the Godly Light travels through to the receivers.

For this reason it is considered that each Kli makes the Light a different color. The Kli of Hochma in the world Atzilut transports white Light, meaning colorless, because the Kli of Atzilut is similar to the light itself. The light of the Creator does not suffer any changes while passing through it because the Kli of Atzilut is like the Light itself, and the Godly Light is not induced into any change when traveling through it.

This is the meaning of what is written in the Zohar about the world Atzilut, “He, His Life, and His Essence, are one.” Hence, the Light of Atzilut is considered white, but when the Light travels through the Kelim of the worlds Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, to the receivers, it is changed and dimmed. Such is the example of the red Light for Bina, which is Beria, the green Light, like the light of the sun, for Tifferet, which is the world Yetzira, and the black Light for SefiratMalchut, which is the world Assiya.

8. In addition to the above, there is a very important intimation in this parable of the four colors. The Upper Lights are called Sefer (lit. book), as it is written (Sefer Yetzira, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1), “And He created His world in three books: A book, an author, and a tale. The writing also says, “and they appeared as the book of heaven” (Isaiah, 34).

The disclosure of the wisdom in each book is not in the white in it, but only in the colors, meaning in the ink. This is where the letters within the book in its combinations of the wisdom come from to the reader.

On the whole, there are three kinds of ink in this book, red, green and black. Correspondingly, the world Atzilut, which is Hochma, is all Godliness, like the white in the book. It means that we have no perception in it whatsoever, but all the disclosure in the book of heaven is in the Sefirot Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut, which are the three worlds BYA , since they are considered the ink in the sky.

Their letters and combinations appear in the three above-mentioned kinds of ink, and it is only through them that the Godly Light appears to the receivers. At the same time, we must note that the white in the book is the primary subject of the book, and the letters are all “predicates” on the white in the book. Thus, had it not been for the white, there would have been no existence for the letters, and the whole manifestation of Hochma in them.

Similarly, the world Atzilut, which is SefiratHochma, is the primary subject of the manifestation of the Hochma that appears through the worlds BYA . This is the meaning of, “ In wisdom hast Thou made them all .”

9. We have said in the third limitation that the Zohar does not speak of the world Atzilut in and of itself, since it is regarded like the white in the book, but according to its luminescence in the three worlds BYA . It is so because it is comparable to the ink, the letters, and their combinations in the book.

It is like that in two manners: One is that the three worlds BYA receive the luminescence of the world Atzilut in their own place, at which time the Light is greatly reduced as it passes through the Parsa below the world Atzilut . In the end, it is discerned as merely a luminescence of the Kelim of Atzilut .

The other is the path of the ascent of the worlds BYA above the Parsa to the place of Sefirot Bina , Tifferet and Malchut of Atzilut . At that time they clothe the world Atzilut , meaning receive the Light in the place of its luminescence, as it is written in the Preface, from item 155 onward.

10. Yet, the allegory is not at all similar to the lesson, because in the book of wisdom in this world, both the white and the ink in its letters are lifeless. The disclosure of the wisdom induced by them is not in their essence itself, but outside them, meaning in the mind of the scrutinizer.

However, regarding the four worlds ABYA, which are the book of Heaven, the Lights in the spiritual and corporeal reality are present in them and extend from them. Thus, you should know that the white in it, which is the subject in the book, is the learned subject matter itself, while the three colors of the ink elucidate that subject.

11. Here we should study these four manners of perception, presented above in the first limitation:

  • Matter;
  • Form Clothed in Matter;
  • Abstract Form;
  • Essence.

Yet, I shall first explain them using actual examples from this world. For example, when we say that one is a strong person, a truthful person, or a liar etc., we have before us:

  • One’s matter, meaning one’s body;
  • The form that clothes one’s matter, meaning a strong, a truthful, or a lying person;
  • The abstract form. You can undress the form of a strong, a truthful, or a liar, from the matter of that person, and study these three forms in and of themselves, unclothed in any matter or body. This means examining the attributes of strength, truth and falsehood, discerning merit or demerit in them while they are devoid of any substance.
  • One’s essence.

12. Know that the fourth manner, being the essence of the person in itself, without the matter, is completely inconceivable for us. This is because our five senses and our imagination do not offer us anything more than the revelation of the actions of the essence, but not of the essence itself.

For example, the sense of sight offers us only shadows of the visible essence, according to how they are formed opposite the light. Similarly, the sense of hearing is but a force of striking of some essence in the air. The air is rejected because of its force, strikes the drum in our ear, and we hear that there is some essence in our proximity.

The sense of smell is but air that comes out of the essence and strikes out nerves of scent, and we smell. Also, the sense of taste is but a result of the touching of some essence on our nerves of taste.

Thus, all that these four senses offer us is but manifestations of the operations that stem from some essence, and nothing of the essence itself.

Even the sense of touch, the strongest of the senses, separating hot from cold, and solid from soft, all these are but manifestations of operations within the essence; they are but incidents of the essence. The hot can be chilled, the cold can be heated, the solid can be turned to liquid through chemical operations, and the liquid made into air, meaning only gas, where any discernment in our five senses has been expired. Yet, the essence still exists, because you can turn the air into liquid once more, and the liquid to solid.

Thus, you evidently find that the five senses do not reveal to us any essence at all, but only incidents and manifestations of operations from the essence. It is known that that which we cannot feel, we also cannot think of; we have no way to perceive it.

It follows, that the thought has no perception in the essence whatsoever. Moreover, we do not even know our own essence. I feel and know that I take up space in the world, that I am solid, warm, and that I think, and other such manifestations of the operations of my essence. Yet, if you ask me what is my own essence, from which these manifestations stem, I do not know what to reply to you.

You therefore see that providence has prevented from us the attainment of any essence; we attain only manifestations and reflections of operations that stem from the essences.

13. We do have full perception in the first category, which is Matter, meaning these manifestations of operations that manifest from each essence. This is because they quite sufficiently explain to us the essence that dwells in the substance, in such a way that we do not suffer at all from the lack of attainment in the essence itself.

We do not miss it just as we do not miss a sixth finger in our hand. The attainment of the matter, meaning the manifestation of the operations of the essence is quite sufficient for our every need and every conception, both to attain our own being, as well as to attain the entire being outside us.

14. The second category, which is the Form clothed in Matter, is a satisfactory and clear attainment too. This is because we acquire it through practical and real experiments that we find in the comportment of any matter. All our higher, reliable perception stems from this discernment.

15. The third category is the Abstract Form. It means that the form has been revealed clothed in some matter once, after which our imagination can abstract it from any matter altogether. Such as that are the virtues and the good attributes that appear in moral books, where we speak of properties of truth and falsehood, anger and strength etc. when they are devoid of any matter. We ascribe them merit or demerit even when they are abstract.

You should know that this third manner is unacceptable to the prudent erudite, since it is impossible to rely on it by one hundred percent, because being sentenced while not clothed in matter, they might be mistaken in them. Take for example one with an idealistic morality, meaning one who is not religious. Because of his or her intensive engagement in the merit of the abstract form of truth, that person might decide that even if the entire world is lost, he or she will not utter a deliberate lie, even when saving people from death by lying.

This is not the rule of Torah , as there is nothing that stands before life-saving (Yoma 82). Indeed, had one learned the forms of truth and falsehood when they are clothed in matter, they would have been comprehended only with respect to being beneficial or detrimental to the matter.

In other words, after the many ordeals that the world has been through, having seen the multitude of ruin and damage that deceitful people have caused with their deceitfulness, and the great benefits that truthful people have brought by keeping themselves to saying only words of truth, they have come to agree that there is no more important merit than the attribute of truth, and no such disgrace as the attribute of falsehood.

If the idealist had understood that, he would certainly have agreed to the rule of Torah . He would find that falsehood that saves just one person from death is far more important than the entire merit and praise of the abstract attribute of truth.

Thus, there is no certainly at all in those concepts of the third category, which are the abstract forms, much less with abstract forms that have never been clothed in any substance. Such concepts are nothing but a waste of time.

16. Now you have thoroughly studied these four categories, Matter, Form in Matter, Abstract Form, and Essence, in tangible things, where it has been clarified that we have no perception whatsoever in the fourth category, being the essence. Also, the third category is a concept that might mislead. Only the first category, which is the Matter, and the second category, which is the Form Clothed in Matter, they alone are given to us in clear and sufficient attainment by the Upper Governance.

Through them you can also perceive in the existence of the spiritual objects, meaning in the Upper Worlds ABYA, since you haven’t a tiny item in them that is not divided by the four above categories. If, for example, you take a certain item in the world Beria, then there are Kelim there, which are of a red color.

The Light of Beria travels through it to the children of Beria, and you find that the Kli in Beria, which is the color red, is considered Matter, or an object, meaning the first category.

Even though it is only a color, which is about an incident and a manifestation of an operation in the object, yet, we have already said that we have no attainment in the Essence itself, only in the manifestation of the operation from the Essence. We refer to that manifestation as an Essence, or as Matter, or a body, or a Kli (see item 13).

A Godly Light that travels and clothes through the red color is the form that is clothed in the essence, meaning the second category. For this reason the Light itself seems red, indicating the clothing of its luminescence through the essence, which is considered the body and the substance, meaning the red color.

If you want to undress the Godly Light from the object, being the red color, and discuss it in and of itself, without clothing in an object, this already belongs to the third category, the Form removed from the Matter, which might be subject to errors. For this reason it is strictly forbidden in studying the Upper Worlds. No genuine Kabbalist would engage in that, much less the authors of the Zohar.

It is even more so with the Essence of an element of creation, as we have no perception even in the essence of the corporeal objects, all the more so in the spiritual objects.

Thus you have four categories before you: A) The Kli of Beria, which is the red color, considered the essence, or the substance of creation; B) The clothing of the Godly Light in the Kli of Beria, which is the form in the Essence; C) The Godly Light itself, removed from the essence of Beria; D) The essence of the item.

Thus the first limitation has been thoroughly explained, which is that there is not even a single word of the third and fourth categories in the entire Zohar, only from the first and second manners.

17. Along with it the second category is clarified. Know that just as we have clarified the four manners in the first category only in the world Beria, so are they in the general four worlds ABYA. The three colors, red, green, and black, in the three worlds BYA , are considered the substance, or the essence. The white color, which is considered the world Atzilut, is the form clothed in the matter, meaning in the three colors called BYA .

Ein Sof in itself is the essence, as we have said about the first category, that we have no perception in the essence, which is the concealed fourth category in all the objects, even the objects in this world (see item 12).

The white color in itself is unclothed in the three colors in BYA , meaning when the Light of Wisdom is not clothed in Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut. Rather, it is an abstract form. We do not engage in it, and the Zohar does not speak of it at all, but only of the first category, being the three colors BYA , considered substance, namely the three Sefirot Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut.

They are also of the second manner, which are the luminescence of Atzilut, clothed in the three colors of BYA , meaning Light of Wisdom clothed in Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut, which are in turn, a form clothed in matter. These are the two that The Book of Zohar is concerned with in all the places.

Hence, if the reader is not prudent in defining his or her thought, to always learn the words of the Zohar strictly under the limitation of the two above-mentioned categories, the matter will be immediately and entirely confused for that person, as he will take the words out of context.

18. As the four categories in the general ABYA were explained, so it is in each and every world, even in the smallest item of some world, both at the top of the world Atzilut, and at the bottom of the world Assiya, because there is HB TM in it. You find that SefiratHochma is considered “a form”, and Bina and TM are considered the “matter” in which the form clothes, meaning the first and second categories that the Zohar engages in.

Yet, the Zohar does not engage in Sefirat Hochma when stripped of Bina and TM , which is a form without matter. It is even more so with the essence, considered the Ein Sof in that item.

Thus, we do engage in Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut, in every item, even in Atzilut, and we do not engage in Keter and Hochma of every item itself, even in Malchut of the end of Assiya, when undressed, but only to the extent that they clothe Bina and TM . Now the first two categories have been thoroughly explained. All that the authors of the Zohar engage in is the matter, or form in matter, which is the first limitation, as well as in BYA , or the luminescence of Atzilut in BYA , which is the second limitation.

19. Now we shall explain the third limitation. The Zohar engages in the Sefirot in each and every world, being the Godliness that shines in that world, as well as in every item of the SVAS (Still, Vegetative, Animate and Speaking), being the creatures in that world. However, the primary aim of the Zohar pertains solely to the speaking in that world.

I shall give you an example from the conducts of this world. It has been explained above (Introduction, item 42), that the four kinds, Still, Vegetative, Animate and Speaking in each and every world, are the four parts of the will to receive, even in this world. Each contains its own four kinds of SVAS. You find, that a person in this world should nurture and be nourished by the four categories SVAS in this world.

This is so because our food too consists of these four categories, which in turn, extend from the four categories SVAS in the human body. These are A) wanting to receive according to what is necessary for one’s existence; B) wanting more than is necessary for provision, craving luxuries, but restricted solely to physical desires; C) wanting human cravings, such as respect and power; D) wanting knowledge.

These come to us in the four parts of the will to receive in us. Wanting the necessary provision is considered the Still of the will to receive. Wanting physical lusts is considered the Vegetative of the will to receive, since they come only to increase and delight one’s Kli (lit. Vessel), which is the flesh of the body. Wanting human desires is considered the Animate in the will to receive, since they magnify one’s spirit; and wanting knowledge is the Speaking in the will to receive

20. You find that in the first category, being the necessary measure for one’s provision, and in the second category, the physical desires that exceed one’s measure for sustenance, one receives from lower things: the still, the vegetative, and the animate. However, in the third category, which is the human desires, such as power and respect, one receives and is nurtured from its own species, equal to him. In the fourth category, being knowledge, one receives and is nurtured by a higher category than one’s own, meaning from actual wisdom and intellect, which are spiritual.

21. You will find it similar in the Upper, Spiritual Worlds. It is so because the worlds are imprinted from one another from above downward. Thus, all the categories of SVAS in the world Beria leave their imprint in the world Yetzira, and the SVAS of Assiya are imprinted from the SVAS of Yetzira. Lastly, the SVAS in this world is imprinted from the SVAS of the world Assiya.

It has been explained above in the introduction, item 42, that the still in the spiritual worlds are called Heichalot (lit. Palaces), the vegetative is called Levushim (lit. Clothes or Dresses), the animate are named Mala'achim (lit. Angels), and the speaking is considered the Neshamot (lit. Souls) in that world. Also, the Ten Sefirot in each world are the Godliness.

The human souls are the center in each world, which is nourished by the spiritual reality in that world, as the corporeal speaking feeds on the entire corporeal reality in this world. Thus, the first category, which is the will to receive one’s necessary provision, is received from the luminescence of the Heichalot and Levushim there.

The second category, being the animate surplus that increases one’s body, is received from the category of the Mala'achim there (see Zohar Tikkunim , Tikun 69, p. 105, row 32). These are spiritual illuminations surplus to one’s necessary measure for existence in order to magnify the spiritual Kelim whose soul clothes in.

Thus, one receives the first category and the second category from lower categories than one’s own, which are the Heichalot , the Levushim , and the Mala'achim there, which are lower than human Neshamot. The third category, which is human desires that increase human spirit, is received in this world by one’s own species. It follows that one receives from one’s own species too, meaning from all the Neshamot in that world, by which one increases the luminescence of Ruach of one’s Neshama (singular for Neshamot).

The fourth category of the desire (for knowledge) is received there from the Sefirot in each and every world. From them one receives the category of HBD to one’s soul.

It follows that in every single world where one’s soul is present, it should grow and be completed through all the categories present in that world. This is the third limitation we have mentioned.

One must know that all the words of the Zohar, in every item of the Upper Worlds that are dealt with, the Sefirot , the Neshamot, and the Mala'achim, the Levushim and the Heichalot , though it engages in them as they are for themselves, yet the examiner must know that they are spoken primarily with respect to the measure by which the human soul there receives from them and is nourished by them. Thus, all their words concentrate on the needs of the soul. If you learn everything according to that line, you will understand, and your path will be successful.

22. After all that we have yet to explain all these corporeal appellations explained in The Book of Zohar concerning the ten Sefirot. Such as that are up and down, ascent and descent, contraction and expansion, smallness and greatness, separation and mating, and numbers and the likes, which the lower ones induce through their good or evil actions in the ten Sefirot.

These words are seemingly perplexing. Can it be that Godliness would operate itself and would undergo such changes because of the lower ones? You might say that the words do not refer to the Godliness itself, which clothes and shines in the Sefirot , but only to the Kelim of the Sefirot .

These in turn, are not Godliness. They were rather renewed with the creation of the worlds in order to conceal or reveal the measure of attainment in the proper ration and measure for the souls to bring them to the desired end of correction. It resembles the parable about the four-color glazes of the mirror (see item 7), dyed in white, red, green and black. It resembles also the white in the book, and the substance of the letters in the book.

All that is possible in the three worlds BYA , where the Kelim of the Sefirot are renewed and are not Godliness. However, it is not at all correct to comprehend this rule with respect to the world Atzilut , where the Kelim of the ten Sefirot are complete Godliness, one with the Godly Light in them.

It is written about that in the Tikkunim (corrections to the Zohar): “He, His Life, and His Self, are one.” He, pertains to the essence of the Sefirot , which is the Ein Sof . His Life pertains to the Light that shines in the Sefirot , called Light of Haya (lit. Life). This is so because the entire world Atzilut is considered Hochma (lit. Wisdom), and the Light of Hochma is called the Light of Haya. This is why it is called “Life”. His Self pertains to the Kelim of the Sefirot .

Thus, everything is complete Godliness and unity. How then is it possible to perceive these changes there, which the lower ones induce? At the same time we must see that if everything is Godliness in that world, and nothing of the renewed creatures is to be found there, where then do we discern there the three above discernments in the Tikkunim of the Zohar, He, His Life, and His Self? After all, it is utter unity!

23. To understand that you must remember what is explained in item seventeen. It explains that a necessary object is an essence that we have no perception of, even in the corporeal essences; even in our own essence, all the more so in The Necessary.

The world Atzilut is a Form, and the three worlds BYA are Matter. The luminescence of Atzilut in BYA is a form clothed in Matter. Hence, you see that the name Ein Sof that we mention is not at all a name for a necessary essence, since how can we define by a name or a word every thing that we do not attain?

Since the imagination and the five senses do not offer us anything with respect to the essence, even in corporeality, how can there be a thought and a word in it, much less in The Necessary Himself? Instead, we must understand the name Ein Sof as defined for us in the third limitation, that all that The Book of Zohar speaks of pertains precisely to the souls (see item 21).

Thus, the name Ein Sof is not at all The Necessary Himself, but pertains to all the worlds and all the souls incorporated in Him, in the Thought of Creation. It is in the form of, “The end of an act is in the preliminary thought.”

Ein Sof is the name of the connection that the entire creation is connected in until the end of correction. It is that which we refer to in the introduction (item 13) as the First Situation of the souls, since all the souls possess a reality in Him, filled with all the pleasure and the gentleness at the ultimate height that they will actually receive at the end of correction.

24. I shall give you an example from the conducts of this world. Take a person who wants to build a handsome house. In the first thought, one sees before him an elegant house with all its rooms and details etc. as it will when its building is finished.

Afterwards one designs the plan of execution to its every detail. He will explain to the workers every detail in its due time, the wood, the bricks, and the iron, and so on. Afterwards one begins to actually build the house, to its end, as it was set before him in the preliminary thought.

Know, that the Ein Sof pertains to that first thought, in which the entire creation was already pictured before Him in its utter completeness. However, the lesson is not quite like the example, because in Him, the future and the present are alike, and the thought ends. He does not need tools of actions as do we. Hence, in Him it is actual reality.

The world Atzilut is like the details and the design of the plan, which will later need to manifest in when the building of the house actually begins. Know, that in these two, the preliminary thought, which is Ein Sof , and the contemplated design of the details of the execution in its due time, there is still not even a trace of the creatures. This is still in potential, not in actual fact.

It is like a human: even though one calculates all the details, the wood, the bricks, and the metal that he will have to make while executing, it is essentially a mere conceptual matter. There is not even a trace of any actual wood and bricks in it. The only difference is that in a person, the contemplated design is not considered an actual reality, but in the Godly thought, it is a far more actual reality than the actual real creatures.

Thus we have explained the meaning of Ein Sof and the world Atzilut , how all that is said about them is only with respect to the creation of the creatures, though they are still in potential, and their essence is not known even a bit. It is similar to our parable of the person who designs a work plan, which does not contain any wood, and bricks, and metal.

25. The three worlds BYA and this world are considered execution from potential to actual, such as one who builds one’s house in actual fact, and brings the wood, the bricks, and the workers until the house is complete. Hence, the Godliness that shines in BYA clothes the ten KelimKHB HGT NHYM to the extent that the souls should receive in order to reach their perfection. These are real Kelim with respect to His Godliness. It means that they are not Godliness, but are renewed for the souls.

26. In the above parable you learn and find how the three categories of the person who contemplates building the house are connected to one another by way of cause and consequence. The root of all of them is the first thought since no item comes in the contemplated plan, except according to the end of the act that emerged before him in the preliminary thought.

Also, one does not execute anything during the building but only according to the items set out for him in the contemplated plan. From this you learn about the worlds that there is not a tiny renewal in the worlds that does not extend from Ein Sof , from the first situation of the souls, which are there in their ultimate perfection of the end of correction, pertaining to “The end of an act is in the preliminary thought.” You will find all that will manifest until the end of correction contained in there.

In the beginning it extends from Ein Sof to the world Atzilut , as in the parable, where the contemplated plan extends from the first thought. Each and every item extends from the world Atzilut to the worlds BYA , like the parable, where all the details stem from the contemplated plan when they are actually executed in the building of the house.

Thus, there is not a single tiny item, renewed in this world, that does not extend from Ein Sof , from the first situation of the souls. From Ein Sof it extends to the world Atzilut , meaning to the specific association to the renewed thing in this world de facto. From the world Atzilut , the renewal extends to the three worlds BYA where the renewal appears in actual fact, where it departs from the form of Godliness and becomes a created being, a made creature, until it extends to the lower one in this world.

Understand that thoroughly and compare everything to the conduct of building a house in a corporeal person, and then you will thoroughly understand. It has been explained that you have not a renewal that is made in the world that does not extend from its general root in Ein Sof and from its private root in Atzilut . Afterwards it travels through BYA and adopts the form of a creature, and then it is made in this world.

27. Now you can see that all these changes, described in the world Atzilut, do not pertain to Godliness itself, but only to the souls, to the extent that they receive from Atzilut through the three worlds BYA . The meaning of the actuality of that world is with respect to the conceptual plan, to the preliminary thought, which is Ein Sof.

However, in both Ein Sof and in the world Atzilut , there is still nothing in the form of souls, just like there is nothing of the wood, the bricks, and the metal, in the contemplated design of the person who designs it. The existence of the souls begins to manifest in the world Beria. For that reason the Kelim of the ten Sefirot , which actually measure the ration to the souls, are necessarily not Godliness, but are renewed. This is so because there cannot be any changes and numbering in the Godliness.

For this reason we ascribe the three colors red, green, and black, to the Kelim of the ten Sefirot in BYA . It is conceivable that they will be discerned as Godliness since there is no renewal whatsoever in Him.

However, the Light clothed in the ten Kelim in BYA is simple Godliness and unity, unchanged at all. Even the Light clothed in the lowest Kli of Assiya is complete Godliness without any change at all, since the Light is in itself one, and all the changes made in its luminescence are made by the Kelim of the Sefirot, which are not Godliness. These generally comprise of the three above shades, and from these three shades, many thousands of particular alterations were made.

28. Nevertheless, the Kelim of the ten Sefirot of BYA certainly receive every item and smallest details of the changes, since there is the conceptual plan of all the items that will come in the order of the actual construction of the house in BYA . Hence, it is considered that the Kelim of the ten Sefirot HB TM in BYA receive from their corresponding feature in the HB TM in Atzilut, meaning from the conceptual design there.

This is so because every item in the execution stems from every item in the conceptual plan, as we have elaborated before. Hence, in this respect we call the Kelim of Atzilut , white, though it is not at all a color.

Nevertheless, it is the source of all colors, and like the white in the book of wisdom, where although there is no perception in the white in it, and the white is meaningless to us, it is nonetheless the carrier of the entire book of wisdom. This is because it shines around and inside each letter and gives each letter its unique shape, and every combination its unique place.

We might say the opposite, that we have no perception in the substance of the red, or green, or black letters, and all that we perceive and know in the substance of the letters of the book is only through the white in it. It is so because through its luminescence around the letter and inside each letter, it creates shapes in them, and these shapes reveal to us the whole wisdom in the book.

It is comparable to the ten Sefirot of Atzilut : even though they resemble the white color, it is impossible to discern anything in them, neither a number, nor any change such as the described. Yet, all the changes necessarily come from the ten Kelim of the Sefirot of Atzilut in the luminescence of the white to the worlds BYA , which are the three colors of the substance of the letters, although for itself, there are no Kelim there, as it is all white. It is like the parable of the white in the book with respect to the letters and their combinations, since its luminescence to BYA makes the Kelim in them.

29. From what has been explained, you will see that the Tikkunim of the Zohar divide the world Atzilut into three categories: He, His Life, and His Self, although it is simple unity there, and there is nothing of the creatures there.

He pertains to Godliness as it is in itself, which we have no perception in. It is imperceptible by us, as has been explained in all the essences, even the corporeal ones (see item 12). His Self pertains to the ten Kelim HB TM there, which we have likened to the white in the book of wisdom.

Even a number cannot be noted in the white since there is nothing there to make a number, as it is all white. Nevertheless, we not only give a number to them, but the multitude of changes that appear in BYA , which are the substance of the letters, are first found in Kelim HB TM in Atzilut itself.

It is the comportment of the white, which gives all the shapes of the letters in the book, while there is no form in itself. Thus, you find that the white is divided into a multitude of changes according to their luminescence in BYA , like the conceptual plan that is executed in the actual work in the construction of the house.

It follows, that these changes that are executed in BYA are only from the luminescence of the Kelim of the ten Sefirot HB TM of Atzilut . We find the multitude of changes in the white from the attitude of the receivers in BYA , and from the attitude of Atzilut itself, like the white in itself without clothing in the ink in the letters, where no numbers are found, or anything. Thus we have thoroughly explained the Self, which are the Kelim, which in themselves are simple unity, like He is.

30. His Life pertains to the Light that clothed in the white, which is the above Kelim. This Light is understood to us only with respect to the souls that receive from Atzilut, and not in the Godliness in and of itself. This is because ‘He’ means when the three worlds BYA rise to Atzilut with the souls of people, at which time the Light that they receive there is considered the Light of Hochma (lit. Wisdom), called the Light of Haya.

It is in that respect that we name the Light there, “His Life”, and this is also what the Tikkunim of the Zohar write, that He, His Life, and His Self, are one. All these three categories relate to the receivers, where His Self is the luminescence of the Kelim in the place of BYA under the Parsa of Atzilut .

The Light of Atzilut will never go below the Parsa of Atzilut , but only the luminescence of the Kelim. The category of His Life is the luminescence of the Light of Atzilut itself, meaning when BYA rise to Atzilut , while He pertains to the essence of Godliness, which is unattainable whatsoever.

The Tikkunim of the Zohar say that although we, the receivers, should discern these three categories in Atzilut , it is nonetheless only with respect to the receivers. However, concerning the world Atzilut itself, even His Self is considered He, meaning the essence of Godliness. Because of that there is no perception whatsoever in the world Atzilut itself. This is the meaning of the white color, in which there is no perception for itself, and it is all utterly simple unity there.

31. The Zohar describes the Kelim HB TM in Atzilut as growing or lessening by the actions of people. Also, we find (Zohar, Ba), “Will give anger and strength to the Creator,” meaning in Godliness itself. This is not to be taken literally, as there cannot be any changes in Godliness whatsoever, as it is written, “I the Lord change not.”

Yet, the thought of creation was to delight His creatures, from which we learn that He has a desire. We find in this world, that the givers’ contentment grows when the receivers from Him multiply, and He wishes to proliferate the receivers. Hence, in this respect we say that the Lights in Atzilut grow when the lower ones are awarded the bestowal of Atzilut , or that it is nurtured. Conversely, when there are no lower ones worthy of receiving His abundance, the Lights diminish to that extent, meaning there is no one to receive from them.

32. You might compare it to a candle. If you light a thousand candles from it, or if you light none, you will not find any changes induced in the candle itself resulting from it. It is also like Adam ha Rishon (lit. The First Man): if he had progeny of many thousands offspring, or if he had none at all, it would not induce any change at all on Adam ha Rishon himself.

Likewise, there is no change at all in the world Atzilut itself whether the lower ones receive its great abundance lushly, or not at all. The above-mentioned greatness lies solely on the lower ones.

33. Thus, why did the authors of the Zohar have to describe all those changes in the world Atzilut itself? They should have spoken explicitly only with respect to the receivers in BYA , and not speak so elaborately of Atzilut, forcing us to provide answers.

Indeed, there is a very trenchant secret here: this is the meaning of, “ and by the ministry of the prophets have I used similitudes ” (Hosea 12). The truth is that there is a Godly will that these similitudes that operate only in the souls of the receivers will appear to the souls, as He Himself participates with them, to greatly increase the attainment of the souls.

It is like a father who constrains himself to show his little darling son a face of sadness and a face of contentment, although there is neither sadness nor contentment in him. He only does it to impress his precious son and expand his understanding, in order to play with him.

Only when he grows will he learn and know that all that his father did was no more real than mere playing with him. So is the matter before us: all these images and changes begin and end only with the impression of the souls. Yet, by a will of God they appear to be seen in Him Himself. He does that in order to enhance and expand the attainment of the souls to the utmost, in accordance with the thought of creation, to delight His creatures.

34. Let it not surprise you, for such a conduct you find in our corporeal perception too. Take our sense of sight for example: we see a great world before us, and all its wondrous filling. But in fact, we do not see all that except in our own interior. In other words, there is a sort of a photographic machine in our hindbrain that portrays everything that appears to us, and nothing outside of us.

He has made for us there, in our brain, a sort of a polished mirror that inverts everything that is seen there, so that we see it outside our brain, in front of our face. Despite the fact that what we see outside us is not a real thing, we should still thank His providence for having made that polished mirror in our brain, enabling us to see and perceive every thing outside us. This is because by that, He had given us the power to perceive every thing with clear perception and knowledge, and measure every thing from within and from without.

Without it, we would lose most of our perception. The same holds true with the Godly will for Godly perceptions. Even though the changes are all made in the interior of the souls, they nevertheless see it all in the Giver Himself, because only in this manner are they awarded all the perceptions and the pleasantness in the thought of creation.

You can also deduce that from the above parable. Even though we actually see every thing before our face, still, everyone reasonable knows with certainty that all that we see is only inside our own brain.

The same holds true for the souls. Though they see all the changes in the Giver, they still have no doubt that all these are only in their own interior, and not at all in the Giver. Examine these words, for it is not in my power to elaborate in them further.

35. These matters are at the core of the world, and I am very worried that the examiner will err in perceiving them, it is worth my while to trouble further and bring the golden words of the Zohar itself in these matters, and interpret them to the best of my ability: “Should one ask, ‘It is written in the Torah, ‘ for ye saw no manner of form.’ Thus, how do we depict names and Sefirot in Him?’ It will answer that person, ‘I saw this form as in the words, ‘and the similitude of the Lord doth he behold’’” (ParashatBa, item 215).

It means that Sefirat Malchut , where all the souls and the words are rooted since she is the root of all the Kelim, by way of, “The ones that receive from her, and must acquire the Kelim from her,” she is considered a similitude to them. It is therefore said about her, “ and the similitude of the Lord doth he behold.”

Even this similitude that we name in Sefirat Malchut , is not in her place with respect to herself, but only when the Light of Malchut descends and expands over the people. At that time it appears to them, to each and every one, according to their own appearance, vision, and imagination, meaning only in the receivers, and not at all in Sefirat Malchut herself.

This is the meaning of, “ and by the ministry of the prophets have I used similitudes.” Because of that, the Creator will tell them: “Although I manifest to you in your forms, meaning in vision and imagination, yet, ‘To whom then will ye liken Me, that I should be equal?’” After all, before the Creator created a similitude in the world, and before He formed a form, the Creator was unique, formless and imageless.

One who attains Him prior to the degree of Beria, which is Bina, where He is beyond any similitude, it is forbidden to ascribe Him there a form and an image in the world, neither in the letter Hey, nor in the letter Yod, or even call Him by the holy name HaVaYaH, or by any letter and point.

The writing says, “for ye saw no manner of form.” It means that the verse, “for ye saw no manner of form,” pertains to the ones that are awarded attaining Him above the degree of Beria, which is Bina. This is because there is no form and imagination whatsoever in the two Sefirot Keter, Hochma, meaning Kelim and limits (item 18). The Kelim begin from SefiratBina downward.

This is the reason that all the implications in letters, in points, or in the holy names are only from Bina downward. They are also not in the place of the Sefirot themselves, but only with respect to the receivers, as with SefiratMalchut.

36. There seems to be a contradiction in their words: first they said that the forms extend to the receivers only from SefiratMalchut, and here he says that the forms extend to the receivers from Beria down. The thing is that indeed, the form and the similitude extend only from Behina Dalet, which is Malchut. From her the Kelim extend to the place of the receivers, and nothing of the first nine Sefirot, which are Keter, Hochma, Bina, and Tifferet.

Yet, the association of Midat ha Rachamim with Din was made in the World of Tikun . It raised SefiratMalchut, considered Midatha Din , and brought her into SefiratBina, regarded as Midat ha Rachamim .

Hence, from that time on, the Kelim of Malchut have become rooted in SefiratBina, as he says here. For this reason the Zohar begins to speak from the actual root of the pictures, which are the Kelim. It says that they are in Malchut, and then it says that they are in Beria, because of the association made for the correction of the world.

Our sages also said, “In the beginning the Creator created the world in Midatha Din ; He saw that the world can not exist, He associated Midat ha Rachamim with her. Know, that the ten Sefirot KHBTM have numerous appellations in The Book of Zohar , according to their manifold functions.

When they are called Keter, Atzilut , Beria, Yetzira , and Assiya , their function is to distinguish between the anterior Kelim, called Keter and Atzilut , meaning Keter and Hochma , and the posterior Kelim, called Beria, Yetzira , Assiya , meaning Bina , Tifferet , Malchut . This discernment emerged in them by the association of Midat ha Din with Rachamim .

The Zohar wants to insinuate the matter of the association of Malchut in Bina . For that reason the Zohar calls Bina by the name Beria. It is so because prior to that association, there was no image and form in Bina , even with respect to the receivers, but only in Malchut .

37. It continues there: “After it made that form of the chariot of the Upper Adam, it descended and clothed there, and it is named in it in the form of the four letters HaVaYaH , meaning the EserSefirot KHBTM . This is because the tip of the Yod is Keter, Yod is Hochma, Hey is Bina, Vav is Tifferet, and the last Hey is Malchut. This is so that they would attain Him through His attributes, meaning the Sefirot, in every single attribute in Him.

38. Explanation of the matters: From Beria on, meaning from Bina, after it had been associated with Midatha Din , which is Malchut, the similitudes and the forms extend to the receivers, which are the souls. Yet, not at in her own place, but only in the place of the receivers.

He says that at that time he made the form of the chariot of the Upper Adam, and came down and clothed in the form of this Adam. In other words, the whole form of Adam , in his 613 Kelim, extend from the Kelim of the soul. It is so because the soul has 613 Kelim, called 248 organs and 365 spiritual tendons, divided into five divisions according to the four letters HaVaYaH , and the tip of the Yod .

Her Rosh is considered Keter, and from the Peh to the Chazeh it is Hochma . From Chazeh to the Tabur it is Bina , and from the Tabur to Sium Raglin it is the two Sefirot Tifferet and Malchut .

In addition, the Torah as a whole is considered Partzuf Adam , pertaining to the 248 positive Mitzvot, corresponding to the 248 organs, and the 365 negative Mitzvot, corresponding to the 365 tendons. It contains five divisions, which are the five books of Moses, called “The image of the Upper Adam ,” meaning Adam of Beria, which is Bina , from which the Kelim begin to extend in the place of the souls.

He is called Upper Adam because there are three categories of Adam in the Sefirot : Adam of Beria, Adam of Yetzira , and Adam of Assiya , though there is no similitude in Keter and Hochma at all, which could be named by some letter and point, or by the four letters HaVaYaH . Since here it speaks of the world Beria, it therefore makes the precision saying Upper Adam .

At the same time, you must always remember the words of the Zohar, that these images are not in the place of the Sefirot Bina , Tifferet , and Malchut , but only in the place of the receivers. Yet, these Sefirot dispense these Kelim and Levushim (lit. Dresses) so that the souls would attain it through the Light that extends to them in a measure and limit according to their 613 organs. For this reason we also call the givers by the name Adam , though they are merely in the form of the white color (see item 8).

39. It should not be hard for you with the four letters HaVaYaH and the tip of the Yod , which are five Kelim, as we have mentioned. This is because the Kelim are always called letters, and they are the meaning of the Sefirot KHBTM .

Thus it is clarified that there are Kelim in Keter Hochma too, which the tip of the Yod and the Yod of HaVaYaH imply. It says that the similitudes and the attributes, which are the Kelim, begin from Beria downward, meaning only the three Sefirot Bina , Tifferet , and Malchut , and not in Keter and Hochma, meaning from the perspective of the essence of the Sefirot.

Yet, it is known that the Sefirot are integrated in one another. There are ten Sefirot KHBTM in Keter, KHBTM in Hochma, KHBTM in Bina, as well as in Tifferet and in Malchut.

Accordingly, you find that the three Sefirot Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut, that the Kelim come from, are found in each of the five Sefirot KHBTM . Now you see that the tip of the Yod , which is the Kelim of Keter, indicate Bina and TM that are incorporated in Keter.

The Yod of HaVaYaH , being a Kli of Hochma, indicates Bina and TM incorporated in Hochma. Thus, the KeterHochma incorporated even in Bina and ZON , do not have Kelim, and there are KelimBina and TM incorporated even in KeterHochma.

In this respect there really are five categories in Adam. The Bina and TM in all five Sefirot dispense in the form of the chariot of Adam. For this reason, there is Adam in the category of Keter, called Adam Kadmon, and there is Adam in the category of Hochma, called Adam of Atzilut. There is Adam in the category of Bina, called Adam of Beria, there is Adam in the category of Tifferet, called Adam of Yetzira, and Adam in the category of Malchut, called Adam of Assiya.

40. He named Himself Elokim , Shadai Tzvaot, and Ekie, so that every single attribute in Him would be known. The ten names in the torah that are not to be erased pertain to the ten Sefirot. It is written in the Zohar (Vaikra, item 168), “SefiratKeter is called Ekie, SefiratHochma is called Ko, and SefiratBina is called HaVaYaH (punctuated Elokim ), SefiratHesed is called Kel, Sefirat Gevura is called Elokim , and SefiratTifferet is called HaVaYaH . The two Sefirot Netzah and Hod are called Tzvaot, SefiratYesod is called El Hay, and SefiratMalchut is called Adni.

41. Had His Light not expanded on all creations by seemingly clothing in these holy Sefirot, how would the creations come to know Him? How would they keep the verse, “ the whole earth is full of His glory”? In other words, by that it explains the Godly need to appear to the souls as if all these changes in the Sefirot are in Him. It is in order to give the souls room for sufficient consciousness and attainment in Him, for then the verse, “the whole earth is full of His glory” shall come true.

42. Yet, woe to one who ascribes any measure to Him, who would say that there is a measure in Him for Himself, even in these spiritual measures by which He appears to the souls. It is all the more so in the corporeal measures of a human nature, made of dust, and are transitory, and worthless.

As we have said above (item 14), although it is a Godly will that the souls would see that the changes that are in them, are in the giver, it should nonetheless be clear to the souls that there is no change and measurement in Him whatsoever. It is only a Godly will that they will imagine so, as it is written, “ and by the ministry of the prophets have I used similitudes .”

Should they go wrong in that, woe to them, for they will be instantaneously lost from the Godly abundance. It is even more so with the fools who imagine in Him an incident of the transitory, worthless flesh and blood incidents. It is good for the reader to know it for the rest study the rest of this Zohar, explaining the matter of the ten Sefirot and the three worlds BYA , and this is not the place to elaborate further.


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