In order to understand the “Intermediary shell – Kelipat Nogah”we must understand the progression from absolute sublimation and selflessness to total self absorption and egotism. Chochmah is totally sublimated to the essential self. Because of this a person has no conscious awareness of Chochmah, since it is totally sublimated to its source. This is called “Bittul B’Metziut” (Nullification of existence). Chochmah is therefore called “Ain” (Nothingness).
In contrast, in Binah one is aware of his thoughts. He can feel his thoughts, plus his thoughts have feeling, (He “feels” the idea). Now, the thought level of Binah is also sublimated to the self. However, since Binah consciousness is a “Yesh” (A Something), relative to the “nothingness” of Chochmah, it therefore is only on the level of, “Bittul HaYesh” (The sublimation of the somethingness of Binah to the nothingness of Chochmah). This means that his thoughts (Binah) are sublimated to and cannot exist without his Chochmah (Insight) and Keter (Desire). Furthermore, although in relation to the insight, which is above it, the thought of Binah is a “something”, nonetheless, relative to that which is below it, thought is very refined. In other words, it is refined relative to the emotions which are below it.
Now, as mentioned before, the emotions are felt in the way of a Yesh (Something) to an even greater degree than the thoughts. Nonetheless, even in the emotions, and even in the gut responses of the emotions, they receive from that which is above them, and are totally sublimated to the desire, and the thought. This too is in the way of “Bittul HaYesh” (The sublimation of the “somethingness” of the emotions to the “nothingness” of thought and desire). In other words, the existence of the emotions is recognizable and felt, but, on the other hand, the emotions cannot exist on their own without the desires and thoughts which bring them into existence. They are not independent entities. Their entire being and activation comes about from the desire and the intellect, just as intellect exists and is activated by the desire (Keter), as explained above.
Now, relative to action, the emotions are refined. Nonetheless, it is self understood, that although the action also comes totally in a way of a “Yesh” (A somethingness), nonetheless, it too is completely sublimated to the desires, intellect and emotions, and cannot exist without them.
We see that in Chochmah there is no sense of self and seperateness at all, in Binah there is a sense of self and seperateness but in a very refined way, in the emotions there is a greater “felt” emotion and sense of self, and in action there is an even greater and total sense of self. Nonetheless, all these levels are totally sublimated to the essence of the soul and cannot exist without it, as stated at the beginning of the book, that there is an inner identity, the soul, who desires the desires. This inner identity is, likewise, the thinker who thinks the thoughts, the feeler who feels the feelings and the actor who acts the acts, and though he is not his desires, thoughts, feeling and actions, nonetheless, they are not something outside of him and have no independent existence separate from him.
In the same way, Atzilut (Chochmah) is completely sublimated to G-d and cannot exist as something separate from His essence, as mentioned before that, “He and His life force and organs are one”. Just as insight cannot exist independently of the soul, so too, Atzilut cannot exist independently of G-d. In Briyah (Binah-Thought), though there is a sense of separateness, it is in a totally refined way and just as thought cannot exist independent of the thinker, so too Briyah cannot exist independently from G-d. The same principle holds true in Yetzirah and Asiyah. In Yetzirah (Zeir Anpin – the emotions) there is an even greater sense of self and separateness, and in Asiyah (Malchut – action)there is a total sense of self. However, they too, are completely and totally sublimated to the essence of G-d and cannot exist independent of Him, as explained above.
From the above we understand that Atzilut is completely good, Briyah is a mostly good with a little evil, Yetzirah is half good and half evil, and Asiyah is mostly evil and a little good. In truth, since all these worlds are G-d’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, so to speak, they all are good. However, here, the definition of “goodness” is “awareness of G-d”, and the definition of “Evil” is “awareness of self”. In Atzilut, there is total awareness of G-d and no awareness of self. In Briyah there is a majority awareness of G-d and a minority awareness of self. In Yetzirah there is an equal division of the two, and in Asiyah there is a majority of awareness of self and a minority of awareness of G-d. Nonetheless, there is awareness of G-d in all of them and each one is sublimated to G-d in its own way. Moreover, none of them can exist independently of him.
In contrast, our world, which is called “The Lowly World” is a world of total “evil” and “self absorption”, meaning that there is no innate sublimation to G-d at all. Even though, of course, this world is no less dependent on G-d than the upper worlds, however, this is totally concealed, and the world and everything therein seem to be independent entities.
Now, this “felt” awareness of self in each world is called Kelipat Nogah, (The intermediary shell). This Kelipat Nogah is the source of all the angels and chambers of each world. From the above, it is understood that the angels have no existence of their own, and can only act in accordance to G-d’s essential desire.