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Baal HaSulam/Study of the Ten Sefirot/Vol. 1/Part 1
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Chapter 2
 

Chapter Two

Explains how the light of Ein Sof extended a line to the worlds that were emanated and created in the place of the space that was restricted; containing five issues:

A line extended from Ein Sof into the space

1. After the above restriction there remained a place of space and vacant, empty air in the middle of that light of Ein Sof(1). Then there was a place for the emanated beings and the created beings and the formed beings and the made beings.

Then, one straight line extended from the light of Ein Sof(2), from His circular light(3) from above downward(4), and hung down into that space.

Inner Light

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

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

The restriction on the middle point is perceived as a new world that came out, from which the light departed and left an empty space as we’ve explained above. It is in the place of that space that all the worlds were emanated.

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

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

Only then does it come to exit His self and become an emanated being that is renewed and receives from Him. We have already explained that this renewal revolves primarily on the vessel of the emanated being, meaning the will to receive in the emanated being. Although this desire is spiritual, it is nonetheless a new form and an “incident,” since it is not necessitated in Himself.

However, the light that clothes it is not new, for it extends from Himself as existence from existence. The actuation of the upper light is according to the measure of the vessel, meaning the vessel is affected and receives from the upper light as an innovation, which is necessarily an incident.

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

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

In other words, although the upper light does not stop shining, the vessel did not receive any of its illumination because it diminished itself. It diminished its will to receive, so as not to receive in its phase four, being the middle point, but only in its three preceding phases, whose will to receive is frailer, and where the will to bestow dominates (see item 50).

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

Now you can understand what the ARI meant by the words, “one straight line extended from the light of Ein Sof.” It means that the place of the space itself, meaning the vessel that had been emptied of the light of Ein Sof itself, caused the extension of the line from Ein Sof, by reason of the diminution that was renewed in its will to receive.

The measure of its current reception, after the restriction of its phase four, is called line, meaning relating to its previous reception in phase four that filled the entire place. However, now that she does not have that great will to receive, but only the previous three phases of the desire, whose will to receive is frail. It is regarded as that vessel not receiving more of the light of Ein Sof, but only one line of light.

The entire place of the vessel remains empty and vacant from light because that minute light that she receives now is not enough to fulfill the entire place of the vessel. That happened because of the wanting of phase four that diminished it.

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

3. We have already explained the meaning of the circular image (Chap 1, item 100). He tells us that even after the restriction, the upper light remained in the form of a circle, meaning without discrimination of degrees. Its four phases are of equal virtue (there), and the reason is (above item) that the upper light is not subject to change and incidents. These above occurrences of innovations are only with respect to the vessels.

4. Do not forget that we are not discussing corporeal terms whatsoever. Instead, the more refined is called higher, and the thicker is called lower. Anything that can be perceived as expansion of light from the Emanator and its permeation in the emanated being is regarded primarily as a renewal of the disparity of form that exists in the emanated being. In other words, it refers to the will to receive that does not exist in the Emanator and was renewed in him.

Because of that, the emanated being is considered to be far, thick, low, and inferior to the Emanator. It is the disparity of form from the Emanator that does all that and separates him from being an emanator to an emanated being.

You should also know that this disparity of form, namely the will to receive, does not appear at once, but is conceived slowly, over four phases. Its form is complete only in phase four.

It therefore turns out that the entire form of its will to receive is very frail, meaning the first phase of the four phases. This phase is regarded as the closest to the Emanator, more important, more refined and higher, because her disparity of form is not as great as in the three phases that follow.

phase two, whose desire is greater than phase one, is regarded as farther from the Emanator, thicker, lower and indeed inferior to phase one. Finally, phase four is the farthest from the Emanator, lower, thicker and more inferior to all of them.

That is why the ARI writes that the line extends from above downward, meaning from the first phase to the fourth [and not all the way], which is the lowest. The above matter of above and below was renewed with the emergence of the line. Before the line illuminated, meaning during the restriction, there was no up or down there (see Chap 1, item 100).

However, after she received the light merely as a line, meaning not in all four phases, but only in her first three phases, phase four remained dark, without light. Only now did it become known that phase four is low, thick and inferior, and that the three preceding phases are erected on top of her, according to their refinement and proximity to the Emanator. However, during the restriction, when the light left all four phases at once, that discernment among the degrees had not yet occurred.

The beginning of the line touches Ein Sof, not its end

2. The upper beginning of the line(5) extended from Ein Sof Himself and touched it(6), although the conclusion of that line, down at its end(7), does not touch the light of Ein Sof.

Inner Light

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

6. Phase one, being the Upper Rosh, is the closest to Ein Sof, meaning to the Emanator. For this reason, she is regarded as touching Him, because the disparity of form in phase one is not apparent enough to separate it from the Emanator.

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

The Light of Ein Sof expands to the worlds through the line

3. The Light of Ein Sof extended and expanded down through that line.

All the worlds are in the place of that space that has been restricted

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

Inner Light

8. It implies the four worlds called Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya, which contain all the inner innumerable worlds. These four worlds extend from the four above phases: Atzilut from phase one; Beria from phase two; Yetzira from phase three and Assiya from phase four.

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

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

Inner Light

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

10. “He” implies the upper light. “His Name” implies the will to receive that is necessarily there (see Chap 1, item 30). His Name is desire (in Gematria), implying the will to receive.

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

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