The Gate of Unity – Chapter 9

אך הנה לכאורה אינו מובן מה שאמר אני הוי’ לא שניתי

At first glance, the verse, “I HaShem have not changed”, is not understood.

שזה מדבר במל’ דא”ס עצמו

Now, [this verse] is speaking in regard to Malchut of Ein Sof (The Infinite) Himself.

הרי אם בבחי’ מל’ דעשיה יש בו שינוי בין דין לחסד, שהוא בחי’ התפעלות כו’, מוכרח שגם במל’ דא”ס יש שינוי זה

However, if in Malchut of Asiyah (Actualization) there is a change between judgment and kindness, which is [only] an aspect of a reaction, then it must be that in Malchut of Ein Sof (The Infinite) this change also takes place[1].

מאחר שאמר אני אני הוא כו’ כנ”ל

After all, it states, “See now that I, I am He”.

וכן מלכותך מכ”ע בשוא ממש כנ”ל

It likewise states, “Your kingdom is the kingdom of all worlds”, literally equally,[2] as explained previously.

דהיינו כאשר עולה ברצונו הפשוט שבעצמות ממש, להיות חפץ חסד, הרי חפץ חסד העצמי הזה יורד עד למטה ממש בחפץ חסד דמל’ דעשיה

In other words, when the desire for kindness arises in His simple essential desire, this very same essential desire for kindness descends until the very end, to the desire for kindness of Malchut of Asiyah, literally[3].

וכן להיפך כפי המובן מכל הנ”ל

According to all the above mentioned, it is likewise understood that the opposite is true as well[4].

וגם הרי בכ”י מחדש מע”ב למטה מטה

Furthermore, we recite [daily],[5] “He renews every day…the act of creation” here below [in our physical world].

שהוא בקדמין ובחוכמתא דבראשית ברא

In other words, [“he renews”] in “Kadmin – Desire” and “Chochmeta – Wisdom”, [which are the translations] of “In the beginning He created”.

עד רום המעלות בעצמותו ממש

[These are “renewed”] all the way until the highest heights, literally in His Essential Self.

א”כ יש בחי’ חידוש גם בעצמיות אא”ס

This being the case, then [it seems] that there is a renewal even in the Essence of the Infinite Light (Atzmoot Ohr Ein Sof).

ואיך אמר אני לא שניתי כלל

How then can it state, “I HaShem have not changed”, [implying that there is no change] whatsoever?

וכן אנו או’ אתה הוא קודם שנבה”ע כו’ וכמ”כ קודם שהאציל כו’ וכידוע

Similarly, we say[6], “You are He before the creation of the world; You are He after the creation of the world”.  This [principle] likewise applies “before He emanated[7]”, as is known.

ועד”מ מאדם התחתון, הרי יש שינוי גם ברצון העצמי מרצון של דין לרצון של חסד וכידוע

Moreover, in the analogy of man below, there is change from a desire for judgment to a desire for kindness, even in the essential desire, as is known.

ואיך אנו אומרים יהי רצון מלפניך, רצון חדש, שיתהפך רצון של דין לחסד כו’

Likewise, how can we [pray and] request, “May it be desirable before You”, [requesting of G-d to have] a new desire; that a desire for judgment should be overturned into a desire for kindness?

ואנו רואין שנויים רבים בכל יום ושעה כו’ בכל אשר חפץ עשה תמיד בשמים ובארץ כו’.

[This question is further strengthened by the fact that] we see multitudes of changes every day, and every hour, in “everything that G-d desires” and constantly does in the heavens and the earth[8].

והתירוץ לכל זה הוא ענין הצמצום כידוע

Now, the resolution for all this is the matter of Tzimtzum[9], as is known.

דאם היה השפע דרך עילה ועלול, היה נופל ענין שינוי התפעלות כו’

For, if the influence was in a manner of cause and effect, then the matter of change and reaction would fall upon it.

אבל מאחר שההמשכה בבחי’ אור וזיו לבד, וגם הוא ע”י צמצום, ע”כ אין בעצמות אלקות שום שינוי כלל, גם במל’ דמל’ דעשיה

However, since the aspect of the drawing down [of influence] is only in an aspect of a light and ray, and this too is by means of Tzimtzum, there is therefore no change at all in the Essence of G-dliness, even in Malchut of Malchut of Asiyah.[10]

וכך הוא עד רום המעלות

Such is the case, all the way to the highest level.

ואחר הצמצום יש בחי’ שינוי, וזהו מצד המקבלים לבד כידוע.

After Tzimtzum [however] there is an aspect of change, but only from the perspective of the recipients, as is known[11].

וביאור ענין ההפרש בין אור לשפע ידוע לכל

The explanation of the difference between “Or (Light) and Shefa (Influence) is known to all[12].

ואמנם גם בבחי’ אור הוצרך להיות ע”י צמצום

However, even in the aspect of the light it was necessary for [its revelation] to be by means of Tzimtzum.

וע”כ צריך כל אדם לידע ענין הצמצום ולהתבונן בו בכל עולם לפי ערכו

It is therefore incumbent upon every individual to know the matter of Tzimtzum and to contemplate it[relative] to each world according its value.

כי הוא העיקר בכלל היחוד האלקי באין שינוי לגבי העצמות

This is because it is the main principle in the general matter of the unity of G-d, and [in understanding] how there is no change relative to the Essential Self [of G-d].

וכמו קמיה כחשיכה כאורה, רוחניות וגשמיות שוין, עד אצי’ ועשיה שוין כידוע

[This is to say] that before Him, “the darkness and the light are equal”,[13] the spiritual and the physical are equivalent, so much so that the world of Atzilut and the world of Asiyah are equal [before Him], as is known.

הגם שזהו לגבי בחי’ המקיף בלבד הנק’ סוכ”ע בכלל ובפרט

Now, the [above] is only in relation to the encompassing light, which is called Sovev Kol Almin (The light that encompasses or transcends all worlds) both generally and particularly.

שלמעלה מהדרגת האור שבבחי’ ממכ”ע כידוע

This [light] is higher than the level of light which is in an aspect of Memale Kol Almin (Permeating all worlds), as is known.

אך הנה גם בבחי’ או”פ, בחי’ ממלא בכלל ובפרט, אין שינוי כו’

However, even in the aspect of the pervading inner light of Memale, both generally and particularly, there is no change.

ועליון ותחתון שבו שוין

[Here too] its upper and lower [levels] are equivalent.

כמ”ש אני לא שניתי, ואני הוא בחי’ ממלא כידוע

This is as stated, “I HaShem have not changed”, and “I – Ani” refers to the aspect of Memale [the inner, pervading light], as is known.

וכן מ”ש את השמים ואת הארץ אני מלא, בהשוואה אחת דווקא מלא

Likewise it states[14], “Do I not fill the heaven and the earth?” He, specifically, fills them equally.

זה ג”כ בבחי’ או”פ וכמאמר לית אתר פנוי מיניה כידוע

This too [refers to] the aspect of the inner pervading light, as in the dictum[15], “There is no place devoid of Him”, as is known.

והיינו משום דגם בבחי’ ממלא בא ירידת האור והשפע ע”י צמצומים דוקא

The reason for this is because even in the aspect of [the pervading light of] Memale, the light and influence descends specifically by means of Tzimtzumim.[16]

וכידוע דגם בבחי’ הקו”ח שנמשך מעצמות אא”ס שנק’ ממכ”ע דאבי”ע בכלל, הרי הוא נמשך ע”י צמצום בתחלה בעצמות

As is known even the aspect of the line and thread (Kav V’Chut) which is drawn from the Essence of the Infinite Light and is generally called the pervading light[17] of the worlds of ABY”A[18], is, likewise, initially drawn by means of Tzimtzum in the Essence.

והוא צמצום הראשון הנק’ מק”פ וחלל ריקן כו’ כמ”ש בע”ח

This is the first Tzimtzum which is called the “empty place” and the “empty void”, as stated in Etz Chayim[19].

וכן בירידת הקו למטה בבחי’ עגולים ויושר כו’ עד שנעשה בחי’ כתר לא”ק הוא ע”י צמצום

This is likewise the case in the descent of the Kav[20]down, into the aspects of Igullim and Yosher[21], until it becomes the aspect of Keter of Adam Kadmon, [this too] is by means of Tzimtzum.

וכן מא”ק לע”י וא”א כו’

The same [principle] applies [in the descent] from Adam Kadmon to Atik Yomin and Arich Anpin. [It too is by way of Tzimtzum].

וגם באצי’ עצמו יש מסך בין כתר לחכמה בכלל

Even in the world of Atzilut itself, generally, there is a Masach[22] (screen) between Keter and Chochmah.

והוא מ”ש והבדילה הפרוכת פרסא בין כו’ כמ”ש בזוהר

This is the meaning of the verse[23], “The curtain shall be for you as a division between the holy and the holy of holies”, as explained in the Zohar.

וכן מאו”א לז”א ומז”א לנוק’ כידוע

Similarly, [there is a screen] between Abba and Imma to Zeir Anpin, and between Zeir Anpin and Nukva, as is known.

וממל’ דאצי’ לבריאה יש מסך, והמל’ בוקע המסך ונעשה כתר לבריאה

[Furthermore], between Malchut of Atzilut and Briyah, there is a Masach (screen) and Malchut penetrates the screen and becomes Keter of Briyah.

ועד”ז יש מסך בין בריאה ליצירה ומל’ דבריאה בוקע המסך ונעשה כתר ליצי’

In this manner, there is a Masach (screen) between Briyah and Yetzirah, and Malchut of Briyah penetrates the screen and becomes Keter of Yetzirah.

וכן מל’ דיצי’ בוקע המסך ונעשה כתר לעשיה

Similarly, Malchut of Yetzirah penetrates the screen and becomes Keter of Asiyah.

עד מל’ דעשיה שנק’ המלך המרומם לבדו כו’

[This continues] until Malchut of Asiyah, which is called “The King who is exalted and alone”.

כמאמרז”ל כברייתו של עולם, ברישא חשוכא והדר נהורא

This is also like the statement of the Sages[24], “Like the creation of the world: At first there was darkness, and then the light returned”[25].

וכן משאמרז”ל בתחלה עלה במח’ לברוא במה”ד, שהוא בחי’ הצמצום דשם אלקים שבמל’ דעשיה

Similarly, the Sages stated[26], “Initially it arose in His thought to create with the attribute of Judgment”.  This [attribute of Judgment] is the aspect of Tzimtzum, [which is] the name Elokim of Malchut of Asiyah.

כמ”ש בראשית ברא אלקים, בחוכמתא, בקדמין, רצון וחכמה דמל’ דעשיה וכו’ וד”ל:

This is as stated, “Bereshit Bara Elokim – In the beginning G-d (Elokim) created etc”[27].  [“Bereshit – In the beginning” is translated as] “Bechochmeta – With Wisdom”, and “BeKadmin – With Desire”, which is the desire and wisdom of Malchut of Asiyah.  This will suffice for those of understanding.

ועפ”ז יתורץ הכל דמ”ש אני הוי’ לא שניתי

According [to all of the above] everything is resolved [in regard to] the verse, “I HaShem have not changed”.

בין רצון של חסד או דין בכל עולם דאבי”ע

[This is to say that there is no change] between a desire for kindness or for judgment in all of the worlds of ABY”A.

היינו כמו שהוא קודם הצמצום ומסך שבוקע בו ונעשה כתר לעולם התחתון

In other words, [this refers to] how He is before the Tzimtzum or Masach (screen) through which [the light] penetrates and becomes the Keter of the lower world.

וע”ז אמר יהי רצון מלפניך דייקא

It is, specifically, to this aspect, [i.e. the Essence of G-d, that we pray and] say, “May it be desirable, specifically, before You”.

וכל בחי’ מעלה ומטה שבעולם זה שוין כו’

[Relative to the Essence of   G-d] all aspects of “higher” and “lower” in the world, are literally equivalent.

אבל אחר הצמצום נמשך הרצון בחכמה ומדות בשינויים עד מל’ דעשיה, אומרים יהי רצון מלפניך, בשינוי לענין עשיה בפועל ממש, מדין לחסד וכה”ג וד”ל:

However, after the Tzimtzum, the desire is drawn into the intellect and emotions with changes, until the aspect of Malchut of Asiyah [about which] we say, “May it be desirable before You”, [meaning that G-d should cause] a change in actual action, from judgment to kindness and the like.  This will suffice those of understanding[28].

 

End of Chapter Nine

 

 

 



[1] In the previous chapter we explained how the entire chaining down from beginning to end is literally an act of G-d, and that he is the perpetrator of everything that occurs.  This was the explanation of the verse, “See now that I, I am He”.  If this is the case, then certainly if there is any change at the end action, there must also be a change in the beginning, in His essence.  How then can we understand the aforementioned verse, “I HaShem have not changed?”

[2] As explained in the previous chapter, a King is as much King in his capital as he is in the farthest reaches of his Kingdom.  This is to say that he rules there as much as he does in his capital.  Likewise, from Malchut of the Infinite to Malchut of Actualization (Asiyah), G-d is equally King.  This is analogous to how a person’s innermost thoughts and end actions are all equally him, as previously explained.

[3] For example, when a very wise person takes a pen and writes down his wisdom, we do not say “If I could get my hands on such a pen I too would be wise”.  Likewise, we do not say, “It is not the wisdom of the pen. Rather it is the wisdom of the hand, because it is the hand which moved the pen in such a wise way.”  Rather, we immediately recognize that the person himself is wise, and that this is a revelation of his wisdom, not the pen’s wisdom and not the hand’s wisdom.

[4] This is to say that this is not true only with the desire for kindness, but, it’s opposite desire also reaches to the very essence.  The opposite of Kindness (Chessed), is Sternness (Gevurah). Additionally, this may be understood differently.  In other words, that the opposite is true as well.  Not only is the beginning bound up with the end, but from the end action we may deduce the initial desire, which is at the beginning.

[5] See the blessings before the Shema recital.

[6] See the morning prayers.

[7] See Avodat HaKodesh (R’ Meir ben Gabay) Chelek HaYichud, chapter 2.

[8] The question is quite clear.  We previously explained that the very end action is bound with the essence, literally.  Since we see changes down here in the final reaction, certainly in the original action there must be a change.  How, then, can the verse state, “I HaShem have not changed” and other such verses?  Furthermore, how is it possible for us to pray, asking G-d to overturn one desire for another desire, to bring about a different end action?

[9] This will be explained momentarily.

[10] In order to understand this paragraph, we must first understand the difference between a “light and ray” and an “influence” of cause and effect.  An example of an influence of light is when a teacher expresses an intellectual thought into speech.  Here, there is no change in his intellect at all, and it remains completely whole, as it was before he spoke.  His intellect did not diminish whatsoever.  Likewise, his speech itself did not diminish, in that he does not run out of words.  Furthermore, the recipient of this “light” did not receive the actual light of the intellect itself, but only a glimmer of it in the speech.  The intellect remains where it was the entire time, in the mind of the teacher.  This is an example of a “light and ray”.  In contrast, an example of the “influence of cause and effect” is when one lifts a heavy object.  Here, his strength will diminish slowly, and he will not be able to hold it indefinitely.  There is a diminishment from the time he picked it up to later, and, therefore, there is a change.  Furthermore, there is cause and effect here. Therefore if there is a difference in the effect it is because there is a difference in the cause. However, the chaining down of the worlds (Seder Hishtalshelut) is in the way of a “light and ray”.

[11] This is to say that there is no diminishment or change whatsoever in the Essence.  The appearance of change only comes about through the aspect of Tzimtzum, and then too it is only from the perspective of the recipients.  This may be understood from the example of a slide projector.  The slide projector emanates light.  When, one puts a slide of film over the projector the image on the screen changes.  However, clearly, no change has taken place in the light itself and certainly not in the projector.  Rather, the slide of film conceals some of the light to the recipients, so they only see the image of the slide.  As explained above, the chaining down of the worlds is in a way of a “light and ray”.  The allegory is therefore understood as follows:  The light source is analogous to the Essence of G-d, while the light emanating from the projector is analogous to the Infinite Light.  The slide is analogous to the aspect of Tzimtzum, which conceals the light, but only from the perspective of the recipients. From the perspective of the light source no change has taken place.  Therefore, since to begin with, the influence is entirely in the way of “light”, rather than “influence”, and furthermore, it is brought about through the aspect of Tzimtzum, in which there is no change, even to the light, it is quite clear that the Essence of G-d, Himself, has not changed at all.

[12] See footnote 10.

[13] Psalms 139:12

[14] Jeremiah 23:24

[15] See Tikkunei Zohar, 457 (91b) and 470 (122b) and other sources.

[16] This is the plural of Tzimtzum.

[17] Memale Kol Almin.

[18] This is an acronym for the four worlds, Atzilut, Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.

[19] See Etz Chayim, Shaar 1, Anaf 2 (Drush Igullim V’Yosher)

[20] The Kav is the thin band of limited revelation.

[21] This will all be explained later.  The main point here is that since the revelation is only by way of a “light and ray”, and this revelation is by means of Tzimtzum, there is no change at all.  There is no change in the Essence of G-d Himself.  Furthermore, since the light is also restricted by means of Tzimtzum, there is no change even in the light.  In order to truly appreciate and comprehend this, one must truly understand the manner of Tzimtzum, and how it is applied throughout the chaining down.  This will be explained later.

[22] This may be understood as follows.  The world of Atzilut corresponds to the general sefirah of Chochmah.  However, it is only from the last level of Chochmah that a flash of intuition comes into Binah. Furthermore, it is only through the intermediary medium of letters of description, that the light of the concept can be understood in Binah (Comprehension and grasp).  The actual light of the Chochmah itself is altogether beyond the grasp of Binah. When a person has an intuitive flash, he does not perceive the light of Chochmah directly.  The “light” which he “sees” is actually only the letters, which contain the light of intuition.  Nonetheless, through the secondary “light” of the letters of the Chochmah as they come into Binah, the primary “essential light” of Chochmah is recognized. It is only viewed through the screen and partition of the letters, which is called a Masach.

This may be understood by how a television works. Behind the television screen there is a “ray gun” which emits a ray onto the back of the screen. When the ray hits the phosphorus points on the screen, they light up. What the viewer sees on the television screen is not the original light of the “ray gun”, but the secondary light of the phosphorus.  There is no change at all in the original light emanating from the ray gun.  Furthermore, the secondary light is only an induced light.  Similarly, in the world of Atzilut itself, there is no change.  It is only in the Masach and Tzimtzum where there is change.  Likewise, in the Essence of the Infinite Light, and even in the Infinite Light before Tzimtzum, there is no change.  It is only after Tzimtzum, to the recipients, where there is change.  This should suffice for now, as this will all be explained later at great length.

[23] Terumah 26:33

[24] See Tractate Shabbat 77b

[25] The explanation of this is that first there was the concealment of the Tzimtzum and then afterwards there was the secondary induced light of the screen (Masach).  In other words, in the original Infinite Light, and in the Essence of G-d Himself, there is no change.  This is like the aforementioned allegory of the television.

[26] See Rashi on Bereshit 1:1

[27] In other words, the creation of the world is specifically through the aspect of Tzimtzum.  This is signified by the Torah’s usage of the name Elokim in verses pertaining to creation.  The name Elokim signifies the concealment of the name Havayah, which signifies revelation.  This is understood from the verse, “A sun and a shieldis Havayah Elokim.”  In other words, the Tzimtzum of the name Elokim is like a “shield” or “screen” that covers over the revelation of the name Havaya.

[28] An allegory used to explain this is a husband’s desire to please his wife.  Because of this desire, he purchases a beautiful diamond ring.  However, when he presents it to his wife, she does not like this particular ring, and is unhappy with it.  Her husband returns to the store, exchanges the ring for a different one which is even more splendid and opulent than the first one.  Again, his wife is displeased with it. Again he returns to the store. This time he purchases a sapphire necklace.  He brings it home and now his wife is pleased.  Now, throughout, there was never a change, whatsoever, in the essential desire of the husband.  It was only in the expression of this desire to the recipient (his wife) where change occurred.  Here too, in regard to G-d, in the Inneressential light, which is analogous to the inner desire of the husband to please his wife, no change occurs at all.  It is only in the restriction of revealing this desire, i.e. in selecting a specific emanation to express this desire, where change occurs.  Similarly, this is why we are capable of praying to G-d, and requesting of Him to change a revelation of judgment to a revelation of kindness.  In G-d’s essential desire there is no change.  It is only in the specific expression of this desire where there is the appearance of change.  However, even in this constricted expression of the Essence, it is still G-d Himself who is absolutely in control, as explained in the previous chapter.  This may be understood from the story of Esther.  When the wicked Haman, may his name and memory be blotted out, came to antagonize and attack the Jewish people, Mordechai did not bow down or appeal either to Haman or King Achashverosh.  Rather, he immediately recognized that G-d is the source of everything, including Haman.  He therefore gathered all the Jewish people to repent and appeal to G-d Himself to avert the evil decree. It is for this same reason that when we read the story of Esther on the festival of Purim, the written names of Mordechai and Haman are literally equal to each other.  When the Megillah is read, just as if the reader were to miss the word “Mordechai” we would not have fulfilled our obligation, so too, if he were to miss the word “Haman” we, equally, would not have fulfilled our obligation.  This is because the inner light of both Mordechai and Haman, is G-d Himself.  He is the active cause of them both.  This principle is true of everything in all of existence.

Now, these three chapters, seven, eight and nine, cannot not be fully understood to the beginner.  However, from chapters 10 to 54 the entire explanations of the entire chaining down (Seder Hishtalshelut) will be given.  Afterwards, one should return to these chapters and study them over again.

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