Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
About Keter, the First Foundation, it is forbidden to ask. From Chochmah onwards it is a mitzvah to investigate.
As to why the entire structure exists in the way it does, this being the first axiom of the Sefirot, one may not ask a reason, for this is contingent upon the Supreme Will. However, everything that comes after this axiom it is permissible to inquire into and seek to understand, namely how these levels function in the government of the worlds.
Having explained this First Foundation, we will now discuss where it is forbidden to investigate and where it is permitted.
As to why the entire structure exists in the way it does, this being the first axiom of the Sefirot, one may not ask a reason... This is as I said above. This First axiom is Keter, of which the sages said: "Do not search out that which is too wondrous for you" (Chagigah 13a). For the light of Keter is the law that is the first of all the levels. This law institutes that precisely these should be the levels arranged in just the way they are now. Thus Keter is literally the totality of everything, and the Keter is bound up with Eyn Sof, blessed be He, Who is the all-powerful Will.
Accordingly it is impossible to understand the root of this Axiom and why it is precisely this way, because it is rooted in the All-Powerful, in the perfection of the Supreme Will. It is certainly forbidden to occupy ourselves with Eyn Sof, namely in His intrinsic perfection as it is from His side as the All-Powerful, for this is already beyond the grasp of thought. It follows that it is forbidden to exercise the mind in seeking to understand Keter in the sense of trying to discover its reason or purpose, for these are rooted above, as discussed earlier. Accordingly, of Keter and Eyn Sof it is said, "Do not search out that which is too wondrous for you... that which is covered from you" (ibid.) ...for this is contingent upon the Supreme Will, as we have said above.
However, Chochmah is the thought that divides things into their particulars in the proper way in accordance with what has already been laid in place in the First axiom, which instituted just as many levels and aspects as necessary. Chochmah then specifies all that is required for the government of the worlds in detail, as it is written: "You made them all with Wisdom - Chochmah" (Psalms 104:24). Now what exists in Chochmah also exists in Keter, in that Keter also includes everything involved in the government of the worlds. However since this is not in the sense of how they actually operate to govern but rather in the sense of their basic existence, the light of Keter does not reveal how they govern at all butonly the fact of their existence. Here there is a reason for their existence, and this depends upon the Supreme Will. This is what it is forbidden to investigate.
But when it comes to the way the worlds are governed as specified in detail in Chochmah, it is a positive mitzvah, a duty, to seek understanding and knowledge. Now Binah is the revelation of Chochmah, while Zeir (the "Small Face", Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet-Netzach-Hod-Yesod) and Nukva ("the Female", Malchut) are the totality of the entire government, dividing into seven categories. It is precisely these that were already rooted in Chochmah and there they were divided in the proper manner, while Binah brought them forth, each one by itself to its place in the proper way. In other words, the Mind (מחשבה, machshavah = Chochmah) calculated everything in its entirety, all being bound to their goal (= Keter), and this encompasses the totality of the entire government. But it is Binah that brings each one forth individually in actuality without its being bound to any other. On the contrary, each one must accomplish what it has to accomplish in its proper place. The seven lower Sefirot constitute the various types or varieties of Government. Accordingly, everything that comes after this First axiom is subject to inquiry. And thus:
.Everything that comes after this axiom it is permissible to inquire into and seek to understand, namely how these levels function in the government of the worlds.
We are not investigating either the essence of the Emanator, blessed be His Name, or even the essence of the Sefirot themselves, which are a single unity with the essence of the Emanator - for they are nothing but the powers of His thought. We are concerned only with the functioning of his powers, their actions and their government. Of this it is said: "In what is permitted to you, seek understanding." (Chagigah ibid.)
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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