Explanation of the Article, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”

Explanation of the Article, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”

Four Phases of Direct Light

The learning begins with a discernment called “The connection between the Creator and the created beings,” since we do not speak of the Creator Himself and we cannot attain Him. Instead, “By Your actions we know You,” meaning all the attainment is only in the operations that are extended from Him.

This connection is also called “the purpose of creation.” Our sages attained that His desire and goal are to do good to His creations. Hence, the order of evolution begins from this discernment until it reaches the souls, whose root is the soul of Adam HaRishon, which is extended from the internality of the worlds of BYA.

Allegorically speaking, when He wished to benefit His creatures, He wanted to give them 100 kilograms of pleasure. Hence, He had to create such creations that would want to receive it. We learned that the desire to receive delight and pleasure is the very essence of the created being and after whom Creation is called “existence from absence.” He created it so His thought of delighting His creations would be realized.

For the will to receive to be born, there had to be an order of development by four discernments, since one can enjoy something only according to one’s yearning for it. This is why we call the vessel by the name, “will to receive” or “yearning.” That is, according to the measure of the need, so is the measure of the yearning to satisfy the need.

There are two conditions for the making of the yearning:

1. One should know what to yearn for. One cannot yearn for something of which one has never seen or heard.

2. One will not have the yearned for thing, since if he has already obtained his wish, he loses the yearning.

To meet these two conditions, four phases emerged in the will to receive, and along with their root, they are five phases. The fifth phase is called a “vessel that is suitable for reception of delight and pleasure.”

This is their order:

1) Keter: His desire to do good to His creations.

2) Hochma: His desire to do good to His creations created a deficiency existence from absence, and along with it, created the light. Thus, the abundance and the desire to receive the abundance came together. This is so because the desire still did not know what to want; hence, it was born along with the filling. However, if it has its filling, it does not have the desire for the filling, as written concerning the second condition. This phase is called phase one of coarseness.

3) Bina: Since the light comes from the Giver, the force of bestowal is included in this light. Hence, at its end, Hochma wants equivalence of form, meaning to not be a receiver but a giver. There is a rule in spirituality: “Any generation of a new form is considered a new discernment.” Hence, this discernment is given its own name—Bina, and this is phase two of the coarseness. We also learned that the light that expands while the lower one wants equivalence of form is light of Hassadim [Mercy], and this is the light that shines in Bina.

Question: If Bina yearns to bestow, why is she called the second phase of coarseness? On the contrary, she should have been finer than phase one of the coarseness.

Answer: I explained it with an allegory: A person gives his friend a gift and the friend receives it. Afterwards, he reconsiders and decides that it is not in his interest to receive, and returns the gift. In the beginning, he was under the influence and domination of the giver; hence, he received. But once he received, he felt that he was the receiver, and that sensation caused him to return the gift.

Lesson: In phase one, he received due to the domination of the giver, but he still did not feel like a receiver. And when he saw and felt that he was the receiver, he stopped receiving, and this is phase two. In other words, in that state, he felt that he was the receiver, and hence wanted to bestow upon the Giver. This is why phase two is called Bina, for she Hitbonena [examined/observed] that she is a receiver and therefore wanted to bestow. This is also why we learn that the beginning of the learning is from Bina down.

4) ZA: At its end, Bina received, as a kind of drive—which stems from the purpose of Creation—that she must receive since the purpose of Creation was not for the creatures to engage in bestowal. On the other hand, she also wanted equivalence of form, bestowal. Therefore, she compromised: She would receive Hassadim [mercy] and illumination of the light of Hochma.

This is called phase three of coarseness, since she already draws Hochma, but there are still Hassadim in her. This is the reason for the name Zeir Anpin [small face]. Hochma is called Panim [face], as in “A man’s wisdom illuminates his face,” but it receives this light of Hochma in a Zeir, meaning a very small extent. But this discernment is still not considered a vessel, since if it can bestow and receive only an illumination of the light of Hochma, it is a sign that its craving to receive is incomplete, since it still has the strength to engage in bestowal, too.

5) Malchut: At its end, phase three is prompted from above to receive abundantly because of His desire to do good to His creations. After all, the purpose of Creation was not for the lower ones to receive in Zeir Anpin. Hence, this awakening causes Malchut to have a desire and craving to receive the light of Hochma as it shone in phase one, when she had all the light of Hochma.

But the difference between phase one and phase four is that in phase one, it could not be said that she enjoyed the light of Hochma since she still did not have the yearning and deficiency, since the abundance and the vessel came together. But phase four yearns for the light of Hochma while she does not have it; hence, when she receives, she feels the delight and pleasure that come with satisfying her deficiency.

Only this phase is called “a vessel,” since it wants only to receive. All the phases prior to her are called “Light without a vessel.” And when this phase four receives the light, it is a state called “the world of Ein Sof,” and also “filling the whole of reality.”

Question: If we are dealing with spirituality, where there is no time and no place, what does “filling the whole of reality” mean?

Answer: Let us return to our allegory from the beginning of the explanation, the allegory that He wanted to give His creatures 100 kg of pleasure and therefore had to create 100 kg of deficiency and desire to receive in the creatures, corresponding to the pleasure. When the 100 kg of deficiency receives the 100 kg of filling, this is called “filling the whole of reality,” meaning no deficiency is left unfulfilled.

Now we will explain the meaning of the name Malchut of Ein Sof [Malchut of infinity]: This Malchut, which yearns to receive abundance to fill her deficiency, is called “receiving in order to receive.” This means that she receives in order to satisfy her lack. At a later stage, she put an end and restriction on using this vessel. But in the initial stage, which we are dealing with, she still did not make that Sof [end] and Sium [conclusion]. Hence, this state is still called Ein Sof [no end].

We learned that, at its end, after receiving the abundance, a desire to bestow awakened in Hochma, fitting the Emanator’s desire to bestow. Also, once Malchut received the light, it evoked within her a desire to bestow, since this light possesses the power of bestowal. Bina wished to bestow, but did not succeed because in Bina’s way, the purpose of Creation is missing. Even her subsequent reception of illumination in ZA was not enough since the Creator’s desire to do good to His creations was in abundance, not in ZA. Hence, how could Malchut achieve equivalence of form and obtain the purpose of Creation, too?

It is said about it that she invented something new: Malchut would receive everything, but unlike Ein Sof, where it was all in order to receive, she would do it in order to bestow. Thus, on one hand she would be realizing the purpose of Creation of doing good to His creations, since she would be receiving. On the other hand, her aim would be to bestow, which is equivalence of form.

The First Restriction

When that Malchut said that she did not want to receive in order to receive, it is as though she repelled the light. That state is called restriction. There is a rule in spirituality: Any appearance of a new form is considered a new phase. Therefore, we should discern two states:

1. When phase four received all the light with a vessel called “yearning.” This is called “filling the whole of reality,” as well as “the world of Ein Sof.”

2. After she wanted equivalence of form, that state is considered a different world, called “the world of restriction,” from which the light departed.

Hence, as we discerned that Hochma received and Bina repelled the light, Malchut remained as she was in the state of the world of Ein Sof—receiving all the light—and now we discern a new Malchut, which repels the light.

We should know that in the first state, called Ein Sof, it was “He and His Name are one,” meaning that the light and the vessel were one discernment. Only after the restriction was there a distinction of the four phases, or ten Sefirot, since the light departed from them.

Question: With this restriction, the light departed from all ten Sefirot. This is perplexing since the restriction was on reception in order to receive, which is phase four, and not on the rest of the phases!

Answer: The first three phases are not regarded as vessels; they only prompt an order of development, at the end of which the vessel, called “receiving in order to receive,” is born and becomes separated from the Giver. But the first three phases are still not separated from the Giver.

After Malchut was born, she obtained her causes. Hence, it cannot be said that after the restriction the light remained in the first nine, since they are not vessels. The only vessel is Malchut, and if she does not want to receive, all the light departs and she does not receive anything.

The Ari also says, “The restriction was equal,” namely without distinction of degrees.

Question: If this is so, why did we say that the four phases became distinct after the restriction?

Answer: The distinction was made with respect to cause and consequence, but there was no distinction of Above and below.

Question: What do Above and below mean in spirituality?

Answer: Importance—whereas cause and consequence do not imply importance. For example, the Vilna Gaon was caused by his father, but who was more important, the cause or the consequence?

We need to understand why there was no distinction of Above and below. Malchut received the light that “fills the whole of reality,” and this is not considered a deficiency or inferiority in importance. Hence, she could have remained in that state, had she not chosen to make the restriction.

This is what the ARI wishes to imply when he says that the restriction was equal, that Malchut was not of inferior importance, but that the restriction was made through her own choice. But afterwards, when Malchut does not receive due to the prohibition, she becomes inferior in importance. Then, what is farther from Malchut becomes of Higher importance, and what is nearer to Malchut becomes of lower importance.

The Ten Sefirot of circles and the Line of Ein Sof that Fills Them

After the restriction, the vessels were left empty, and within them records of the light they had had. They are called “the ten Sefirot of circles in the world of restriction.” They are called circles to imply that the issue of Above and below does not apply to them, as it is in a corporeal circle.

Because Malchut is the operator, since she is the actual vessel, Malchut of the circles drew the light once more to receive it in order to bestow. And here we learn a new rule: “A desire in the upper one becomes a binding law in the lower one.” Hence, now she is forbidden to receive.

I once offered an allegory about that: The eve of a new month is a time for saying the small Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] prayer and for awakening to repent. Sometimes, a person debates whether or not to fast on that day, too. It is not mandatory to fast and there is no prohibition on the food itself, too. Hence, the choice is in one’s own hands.

If, in the end, a person decides to fast. If he later regrets and wishes to eat, the rule is that the food is now forbidden, so “he shall not break his word,” concerning the oath. Thus, we see that initially, there was no prohibition on the food, but after he had chosen to avoid eating, the food became forbidden.

Lesson: In the beginning, Malchut did not want to receive through her own choice. But now that she draws the light again, it is already prohibited to receive the light. And if there is a prohibition, there are already above and below in importance. Hence, this extension is called “a line that is extended from Ein Sof from above downwards.”

We also learned that even though the circles drew the light, they received it only from the line. We must understand why this is so: Any new form in spirituality is a new discernment. Hence, there are two kinds of vessels:

1. Vessels in which there is no prohibition on reception.

2. Vessels that were extended now, with the extension of the light, and whose Malchut is called Malchut of straightness, on which there is prohibition to receive, due to the rule: A desire in the upper one becomes a binding law in the lower one.

We also learn that the circles should receive light from what they had drawn anew. This light is called “a line.” It contains Above and below in importance, and there is no other light. This is the meaning of the circles having no light but from the line.

Yet, there is a big difference between Malchut of circles and Malchut of the line. Malchut of circles had the light in the form of “filling the whole of reality,” while Malchut of straightness never had any light, nor will it ever have light in its vessel, called “receiving in order to receive.”

The Line and the Coupling by Striking

Thus far, we have discussed three states:

1. The will to receive that was created in the world of Ein Sof and received all the light.

2. In the world of restriction, it became apparent that the will to receive must be corrected for the purpose of decoration.

3. In the line, it is apparent that the vessel must be corrected due to the deficiency. Otherwise, the light does not expand to it.

Now we shall speak of the line. We have already learned that the line has Above and below in importance, since Malchut of the line was forbidden to receive because she is regarded as receiving in order to receive. The rule is that in all the degrees, Malchut’s name was not changed, and it is “receiving in order to receive.” And her light is reflected light, meaning she wishes to bestow upon the upper one.

When the light was extended to Malchut, she made a coupling by striking, a screen, which implies ending the light and making calculations. For example, she assumed that she could receive only twenty percent of the light in order to bestow. Hence, she decided to clothe only that much light.

However, she felt that there was too much pleasure in the remaining eighty percent, and if she were to receive it, it would be in order to receive. Hence, she decided not to receive that part of the light. So what is the difference between a restriction and a screen?

  • A restriction occurs through choice, as we learned that Malchut had all the light and she chose to not receive it.

  • A screen is the domination of the upper one on it. Thus, even if the lower one wished to receive, the upper one would not let it.

The meaning of the term coupling by striking is as follows: In corporeality, it sometimes happens that when people disagree, they strike one another. In spirituality, when two things contradict one another, it is considered that they strike one another.

What is the dispute? The upper one, who wishes to do good to His creations, awakens in the lower ones a desire to receive all the light. But the lower one wishes the contrary, to equalize its form, and hence does not wish to receive at all. This is the striking that takes place between the upper one and the lower one.

In the end, they equalize with one another and create a union and coupling between them. In other words, the lower one receives the light as the upper one wishes, but only as much of it as it can receive in order to bestow, as the lower one wishes. Thus, there are two things here: 1) equivalence of form, and 2) reception of the light.

However, the coupling is possible only if a striking preceded it, since without the striking, and with the lower one’s desire to receive the light, this would be oppositeness and separation from the Creator. This process of coupling by striking is called Rosh [head]. A Rosh means root, a potential which needs a process of realization. The Rosh exists because of the existence of a Sof, a prohibition on reception. Hence, Malchut is compelled to calculate, which is called a Rosh, preceding the actual reception.

Accordingly, we can understand the words of the ARI in the beginning of Talmud Eser Sefirot [The Study of the Ten Sefirot]: “Behold that before the emanations were emanated and the creatures were created, etc., and there was no such part as head, or end,” etc. This is so because in Ein Sof, there was still no prohibition on receiving; hence, it immediately received it. But now that an end was made, we should distinguish between the Rosh, which is the potential, and the Guf, which is the realization.

And afterwards she receives in practice, meaning the twenty percent that she receives in order to bestow are called the Toch [interior] of the degree, and the place of the expansion of the light is called from the Peh [mouth] to the Tabur [navel]. Malchut of Toch stands at the Tabur and says, “What I receive from here on, meaning the eighty percent, will be in order to receive. Hence, I do not want to receive, so I will not be separated.” Thus, the light departs, and this discernment is called the Sof of the degree.

The Clash between Internal and Surrounding in the Partzuf

Everything discussed here concerning the RTS [Rosh, Toch, Sof] concerns the first Partzuf, called Galgalta, which operates with the coarseness of phase four. And we learned that Galgalta received the maximum it could receive in order to bestow. It could not receive more.

Yet, we learned that in the thought of creation, the vessel received everything. This is so because the vessel of reception in order to receive was created by the Creator, while in the vessel that the lower one makes, called “in order to bestow,” there is a limit to the amount it can receive. It follows that there is no vessel that can receive the eighty percent of light that remained outside the Partzuf. So what will become of them?

To correct that, a clash of internal and external occurred. These are the words of the ARI concerning this issue in Part 4, Chapter 1, Item 4: “When the Inner lights connect to the Surrounding lights, they connect inside the Peh. Hence, when they emerge together outside the Peh, tied together, they strike each other and clash with each other, and their strikings give birth to the vessels.” Thus, it is through the clash that the vessels are made.

We need to understand 1) why the inner light and surrounding light strike each other, and 2) why the vessels were made through this striking.

Answer: We have already said that in spirituality, striking occurs when two things are in opposition to one another. But we also need to understand why the striking occurs “when they emerge together outside the Peh.”

At the Rosh of the degree, 100 percent of the light expands without a distinction of internal and surrounding. This is so because His desire to do good to His creations is complete. But the lower one, who is limited, calculates and decides, for example, that it can receive only twenty percent in order to bestow. This occurs in the Rosh, in potential. “When they emerge outside the Peh”: Emergence, in spirituality, is called “revelation,” when what was in potential is revealed in practice. At that time, it receives a part and repels a part to become surrounding light.

This surrounding light seemingly comes to the screen of the Guf and argues, “Admit that your conduct, meaning the fact that you are holding a screen, is not good, since how will the purpose of Creation of doing good to His creations be realized? Who will receive all the light?”

On the other hand, the inner light agrees with the screen, since the very expansion of the light within is through the screen and the reflected light. This dispute is called the clash of surrounding light and inner light, or clash of surrounding light in the screen.

In truth, the surrounding light is right; hence, the screen agrees with it. And since it agrees, it can no longer repel and raise reflected light, and therefore can no longer receive in order to bestow. Consequently, the light departs and the screen is refined, meaning stops receiving. This state is called judgment and posterior.

Since each phase consists of four phases, the screen departs gradually, beginning with phase four in phase four, then from phase three in phase four, etc., until it rises to the Peh of the Rosh, the source from which the screen of the Guf arrived. In other words, it stops receiving altogether.

As it rises, it uses a smaller coarseness each time, and thus receives smaller light in order to bestow. For example, when it ascends to phase one, it can receive only the light of Ruach. When it rises to the root phase, it can receive only the light of Nefesh in order to bestow. Finally, it cannot receive anything in order to bestow and thus stops receiving altogether.

Question: What is the benefit of the surrounding light, which wants to shine because of the purpose of Creation, and therefore wants the screen to receive more? After all, things are unfolding in contrast to its will, meaning the screen loses even what it had!

Answer: All the degrees that appeared during the departure are not residue of what it had in the beginning, since there is a rule: “There is no innovation of new light that is not extended from Ein Sof.” This means that each phase that appears is a new phase. Thus, in the beginning, it could not receive anything more. But now that phase four has departed, it can receive more, namely from phase three.

This is the meaning of the vessels being made through the clash. That is, prior to the clash, it did not have any more vessels for reception, since it received all it could with the aim to bestow. But after the clash, when the screen of phase four was refined, there was room to receive on phase three, since it departed from phase four and had nothing. And when it departed from phase three, it could receive on phase two.

But this still leaves the question: What is the benefit if it receives less each time?

Answer: There is no absence in spirituality. This means that anything that appears remains, except he does not see it and cannot currently enjoy it, but only from the present. When the work is done, all the lights will appear at once. Thus, in the end, he will have gained.

Baal HaSulam once said an allegory about this: Two people who were childhood friends separated as adults. One of them became a king, and the other, indigent. After many years, the poor one heard that his friend had become a king and decided to go to his friend’s country and ask him for help. He packed his few belongings and went.

When they met, he told the king about his dire state, and this touched the king’s heart. The king said to his friend: “I will give you a letter to my treasurer to allow you into the treasury for two hours. In those two hours, whatever you manage to collect is yours.” The indigent went to the treasurer, armed with his letter, and received the longed for permit. He walked into the treasury with the box he was used to using for his beggary, and within five minutes, he filled his box to the brim and merrily stepped out of the treasury.

But the treasurer took his box from him and spilled its entire contents. The indigent started sobbing but the treasurer told him, “Take your box and fill it up again.” The poor man walked into the treasury once more and filled his box. But when he stepped outside, the treasurer spilled its contents as before.

This cycle repeated itself until the two hours were through. The last time the beggar came out, he told the treasurer: “I beg you, leave me what I have collected, for my time is through and I can no longer enter the treasury.” Then the treasurer told him: “The contents of this box is yours, and so is everything that I had spilled out of your box for the past two hours. I have been spilling your money every time because I wanted to do you good, since each time, you were coming with your tiny box full and you had no room to put anything more into it.”

Lesson: Each reception of light in order to bestow remains. But if the light remained, we would not want to receive anymore, since we would not be able to receive in order to bestow on more than we had received. Hence, each degree must depart, and each time we correct a vessel of will to receive with the aim to bestow until all is corrected. Then, all the lights will shine at once.

Now let us return to explaining the refinement of the screen. The first expansion that emerged from the Peh down is called tastes, from the verse, “as the palate tastes its food.” After the clash of surrounding light, the screen began to be refined, and on its way produced a new degree each time. These degrees are called dots.

I have already explained the words of the ARI that the vessels were made through the clash, since now he has the ability to receive more light. But Baal HaSulam interprets the making of the vessels differently: While the light was in the vessel, the light and the vessel were mixed in each other. Through the clash, the light departed and the vessel became apparent.

Interpretation: While the light shines in the vessel, the deficiency of the vessel is indistinguishable; hence, it does not merit the name vessel. This is because without the vessel, the light cannot shine. Hence, they are of equal importance. But once the light departs, the vessel is distinguished as a vessel, and the light, as light.

The dot of restriction is the reason why the degrees that emerge during the refinement are called dots.

And what is the dot of the restriction? The Zohar says that Malchut is called “a black dot without any white in it.” This means that during the darkness, Malchut is called “a dot.” When there is restriction, and it is forbidden to receive in order to receive, it becomes dark. In other words, the point of restriction is present wherever it is impossible to receive in order to bestow and there is a desire to receive in order to receive.

We should also explain the difference between Rosh, Toch, and Sof: Rosh is considered “potential,” meaning there is no reception there. Two parts expand from the Rosh:

  • One part can receive the light, and it is called ten Sefirot of Toch. The light is the abundance that enters the vessels, and it is called inner light, which is light of Hochma—the light of doing good to His creations.

  • The second part that expands from the Rosh is the part of the will to receive in order to receive, which it does not want to use. It says that it does not want to receive there, meaning it ends it. Hence, this part is called “ten Sefirot of Sof [end].”

Question: We learned that the word Sefirot comes from the word “sapphire,” meaning it shines. But if Malchut of the Guf, called Malchut of Tabur, does not want to receive and puts a Sof on the light, why is this part called Sefirot?

Answer: They are called ten Sefirot because, in truth, the light did shine for them. An explanation on that matter can be found in Part 4, Chapter 5, Item 1, where he explains the difference between Toch and Sof: “From Peh of AK emerged ten internal Sefirot and ten surrounding Sefirot. They extend from opposite the anterior to opposite the Tabur of AK. This is the majority of the light, but it also shines through the sides and all around that Adam,” meaning not necessarily opposite the anterior, but also from the sides.

In Item 2, he interprets the words of the ARI as follows: “In short, we will explain that from Tabur up it is called anterior. This is because the light of Hochma, considered the essence of the light, expands there, and from Tabur down it is called posterior, since it is considered receiving in order to receive. Hence, the light of Hochma does not expend there, but comes through the sides.”

Further down that page, it continues, “…because through the reflected light that phase four brings to the Partzuf, which is light of Hassadim.” This means that Malchut of Tabur does not want to receive there, since there it is a will to receive in order to receive. Instead, it wants equivalence of form, called Hassadim. “Thus, she receives illumination of Hochma, as well, though in the form of ‘female light,’ meaning only receiving and not bestowing.” “Receiving and not bestowing” means that she does not want to bestow the light upon herself, but, to the contrary, she says that she does not want to receive.

And through this adhesion, an illumination of the light of Hochma shines upon her, and this is called “illumination of Hochma.” Accordingly, the difference between Toch and Sof is that the light of Hochma shines in the Toch and in the Sof. As long as she does not want to receive for the purpose of equivalence of form, the light that shines is light of Hassadim in illumination of Hochma.

We still need to explain why the names in light of Hassadim are “right” and “left,” and in the light of Hochma they are called “long” and “short.” When the light shines, in Hassadim it is called “right,” and in Hochma “long.” When it does not shine, in Hassadim it is called “left,” and in Hochma “short.”

What do these names mean?

Answer: We learned that light of Hochma shines in the vessels of reception in order to bestow, of course. Hence, the measure of illumination depends on its measure of coarseness. This is called “above” and “below,” and this is why the names in light of Hochma are “long” and “short.” But light of Hassadim is not drawn through coarseness and is not dependent on it. Hence, the names in light of Hassadim relate to width: “right” and “left,” implying that they shine in the same level, and it does not matter to them if there is more coarseness or less coarseness.

An Inner Partzuf

Thus far we have discussed the first Partzuf of AK, called Galgalta or the Inner Partzuf of AK. Now we will explain the inner Partzuf. There is a rule that in all the worlds, there is an inner Partzuf with four clothes. We will explain it in AK: Partzuf Galgalta has complete HaVaYaH within its degree, and a complete degree emerges from each letter in this HaVaYaH.

  • The Rosh, called Keter or “the tip of the Yod,” is unattainable.

  • From the Peh to the Chazeh it is called Yod of HaVaYaH, and from there emerges Partzuf AB of AK, which clothes it.

  • From its first Hey, called Bina, emerges Partzuf SAG, from the Chazeh down.

Thus, the Yod-Hey, which are AB and SAG, clothe it from Tabur up. Below Tabur, it is Vav-Hey of HaVaYaH.

  • The Vav is called the upper third of NHY, called Partzuf MA, and from it emerges the world of Nekudim, which clothes there.

  • From its last Hey, called Malchut, which are the two lower thirds of NHY of AK, emerged Partzuf BON, called “the world of Atzilut,” which operates with the root coarseness.

The Records

When the light departs from Partzuf Galgalta, empty vessels remain, and within them records from the lights that shone within the vessels. The meaning of records is as we see in corporeality: When a person eats a tasty dish or hears of something pleasant, he is left with a taste of what he had, evoking him to draw again what he had had. Similarly, a record is a yearning for what he had had.

There are two discernments in the records: 1) the refined light in the record, and 2) the coarse light in the record.

This means that as the general direct light shone in vessels called “the general reflected light,” when the direct light departs, it leaves a record that is a part of the direct light. This record clothes in part of the reflected light that was there, meaning it leaves an impression of the fact that it worked with the aim to bestow. This is called a record from the reflected light.

  • What remains of the direct light is called “the refined light in the record.”

  • What remains of the reflected light is called “the coarse light in the record.”

Both are clothed in the general reflected light, called vessel, and both are one phase.

Explanation: When the light shines in the vessels, we say that the light and the vessel are mixed in one another until the light and the vessel become indistinguishable. This means that they are performing the same action, and one cannot be without the other. It is like meal and appetite: they both perform the same action, since it is impossible to eat if there is appetite but no meal, and it is also impossible to eat if there is a meal but no appetite. But afterwards, when the light departs, we discern the vessel, meaning the reflected light receives the name vessel.

So it is concerning the records: When the refined light and the coarse light are together, they are both called light and they are mingled in one another. And when the fine light is separated from the coarse light, the coarse light receives a new name: sparks.

We should understand why it is that when the general direct light departs, the general reflected light is called vessel, but when the direct light in the record departs, the coarse light in the record is called spark, meaning a spark of light.

Answer: We should say that when the general direct light departs, it does not shine at all. But when the direct light in the record departs, it shines from afar.

Now we can understand the matter of the root of the vessels and the root of the lights: There is a rule that all the worlds emerge in the form of seal and imprint. This means that as the discernments emerge the first time, the worlds expand from above downward by that same order. The first time that vessels emerged was in Partzuf Galgalta. This is why it is considered “the root of the vessels.”

This means that when the light shines in the vessels, they are mixed. For this reason, it is impossible to distinguish the light from the vessel. But after the departure of the light, the vessels appear. Also, records from the light remain in the vessels: a record of the light of Keter in the vessel of Keter, a record of the light of Hochma in the vessel of Hochma, etc. Hence, when we speak of the vessels, we begin with KHB.

And when the second Partzuf emerged, called AB, where the light of Hochma shines, following the rule that each light that comes shines in the finest vessel, called Keter, now the light of Hochma shines in the vessel of Keter. This is called “the root of the lights,” which are arranged in this order, the order of HBD. By this we can understand why he sometimes starts the ten Sefirot with KHB and sometimes with HBD.

Tags and Letters

Now we shall explain the matter of tags and letters. We learned that the records that remained from the tastes are called tags. Sometimes he calls the records that remain of the dots by the name letters. The reason for it is that when the entire Partzuf Galgalta is refined, which is phase four of coarseness, the screen incorporated the records of all the levels that departed. This screen rose to the Rosh of the degree and asked for the powers it had lost. Since the last phase is lost due to the clash of surrounding light that weakened the force of the screen, it could not overcome phase four, but only phase three, which is similar to the dots.

We learned that two kinds of records remained—a record from the light of Keter that was clothed in the vessels, called phase four of clothing. However, it lost the record from the strength and overcoming. It is said about that, “the last phase is lost,” and what remains is only phase three of coarseness.

It follows that when the screen of the Guf of Galgalta ascended to the Rosh of Galgalta, it asked for the power of the screen for both kinds of records:

1. On phase four, the record from the level of the tastes.

2. On the coarseness of the level of the dots.

Hence, two couplings were made at the Rosh of the degree:

1. On phase four of clothing at the level of Keter.

2. On phase three of coarseness at the level of Hochma.

We also learned that phase four of clothing shines only at the Rosh of the degree of the lower one, the Rosh of AB. But phase three of coarseness has expansion in the Guf, as well. Since the Guf is called vessels and letters, the record of coarseness, meaning the record of dots, is called letters. This is so because afterwards, vessels expand from this record, while the record of clothing remains as tags, shining only at the Rosh of the degree.

Orally, he explained it in this manner: phase three of coarseness of AB and phase three of Galgalta are not identical, since phase three of AB is phase three of the general coarseness, while phase three of Galgalta is phase three of phase four of the coarseness. Even so, phase three of AB is still extended from phase three of Galgalta. Hence, here he ascribes the record of coarseness on which Partzuf AB emerged to the record of dots, whose highest phase is three.

The Continuation of the Cascading

Let us return to clarifying the continuation of the cascading. Once the surrounding light canceled the screen of the Guf of Galgalta, the screen of the Guf rose to the Rosh. Since the last phase was lost, there was a coupling at the Rosh of Galgalta on the records of four-three only, and it expanded from the Peh to the Chazeh.

Since the screen of the Tabur is incorporated in the coarseness of the Rosh while it is in the Rosh, there are two discernments to make in it:

1. Its own phase—the screen of the Tabur;

2. The coarseness of the Rosh.

Once this screen descended from Peh to Chazeh, which is phase three, it is considered that the light of AB shines in the internality of the vessels of Galgalta, meaning the inner AB, a coupling was made on what was incorporated in the coarseness of the Rosh. From the Chazeh to the Peh of Galgalta, a new degree emerged, called “the Rosh of the outer AB,” and from the Chazeh to the Tabur emerged the Guf of AB.

Question: This is perplexing. After all, there is a rule that the next degree should fill the empty vessels of the previous degree. So why does AB not expand below the Tabur of Galgalta?

Answer: It is because it does not have a screen on phase four. Hence, were it to expand below and see the will to receive that is present there, it would not be able to overcome it. This is why it remained above the Tabur.

In Partzuf AB, too, there was a clash of surrounding light, and Partzuf SAG emerged from the records of Partzuf AB. These are still the records from above Tabur of AK, but the records from below Tabur of AK have not yet been filled.

This Partzuf SAG emerged on records of phase three of clothing and phase two of the coarseness, as well as filled the empty vessels of Partzuf AB. However, it could not descend below Tabur of Galgalta and fill the empty vessels there since it has phase three of clothing, which are vessels for drawing Hochma. It follows that this phase, called the tastes of SAG, expanded to Tabur of AK.

But the Nekudot [dots] of SAG, considered merely Hassadim, since they do not have the above-mentioned phase three, could expand below Tabur of Galgalta, although there is phase four of coarseness there, which is a vessel of reception on which it is impossible to place a screen. Still, because the Nekudot of SAG are vessels of bestowal, they have no interest in vessels of reception. Hence, they expanded below Tabur of Galgalta and filled the empty vessels that were there.

Yet, since they saw the will to receive that was there, they wanted to receive in order to receive, as they did not have a screen on phase four. And since we learned that there was a restriction on receiving in order to receive, the light immediately departed from them.

Question: We learned that the Nekudot of SAG are vessels of bestowal. Thus, how were they restricted?

Answer: There is a difference between GAR of Bina and ZAT of Bina, since we learned that ZAT of Bina should receive Hochma in order to bestow upon ZA, but GAR of Bina engage solely in bestowal.

Now we can understand that GAR of Bina, which are GE, were not mixed, and therefore the GE remained in the degree and were not restricted, while ZAT of Bina, called AHP, departed from the degree because they wanted to receive in order to receive. This is called the second restriction.

It follows that in HBD, HGT of the Nekudot of SAG, which are GE, there is no mixture of phase four. Hence, their place is still considered the place of Atzilut. Below the Tabur of the Nekudot of SAG, clothing the two bottom thirds of NHY of AK, the quality of reception in order to receive governs.

When Partzuf SAG rose to the Peh of the Rosh, two couplings were made there at Rosh of SAG:

1. A coupling on the records of the tastes of SAG that did not descend below Tabur of AK, and from which the Partzuf of the upper MA emerged.

2. A coupling on the records of the Nekudot of SAG that were restricted and mingled with phase four below Tabur of AK, from which MA emerged—the world of Nekudim. This coupling took place on half a degree of phase one of coarseness and on phase two of clothing.

Therefore, we must understand that Malchut does not draw light on her own vessels of reception, but only on vessels of bestowal due to the restriction. Because of it, were she to use the vessels of reception, it would be in order to receive.

Here, too, we learn that the light expands in both the inner vessels of SAG, and in the outer vessels of SAG. We should know that as a rule, he does not speak of the upper MA, since we are speaking primarily about the association of the quality of mercy with judgment, which begins in Partzuf MA, which is the world of Nekudim.

We learned that there are two Roshim [pl. of Rosh] in the world of Nekudim: 1) from the coarseness, and 2) from the clothing. Keter is called phase two of clothing, and AVI are phase one of coarseness. Since phase two of clothing cannot draw light, since there is no deficiency there, it needs the association with the coarseness, which has the power to draw light. We also learned that the level of light that shines there is VAK of Bina, in the form of “for He desires mercy,” which frees the degree from the need for Hochma.

This light is also called the correction of lines. Hence, we learned that the correction of lines shines only at the Rosh, since the clothing does not have expansion in the Guf. But the Guf had only a small illumination, and it was not satisfied with the state of Katnut [smallness/infancy]. Hence, when the light of Gadlut [greatness/adulthood] came, the vessels of bestowal of the Guf broke, as well.