Details of the Residue that filled the Empty Space.
This emanated light was called a Residue of the Primordial Light, which because of its supreme greatness could not be apprehended. This Residue is called the Place (or Space) of all that exists, because this is what gives them existence, which the aspect of limitlessness would not give them. This place or space is said to be empty, and it is void of the light of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, in the sense that His limitlessness is not found there as at first.
Having explained that as a result of the Tzimtzum, a new light emerged, we must now understand further details about this light.
The proposition has three parts: Part 1: This emanated light... This explains that the emanated light was only a trace of the first light that disappeared. Part 2: This Residue is called... This explains that this emanated light has the power to provide a place or space for all that exists. Part 3: This place or space is said to be empty... This explains the concept of "emptiness" as it applies to this "place".
Part 1: The light that was emanated was called a Residue... It was called a Residue, but only until new developments took place in it. This is because different names and descriptions are given to the lights according to their different functions, and the very light which we are presently calling the Residue will later be called "worlds", "buildings", "structures" and various other names. However, before we trace these later developments, we shall refer to it by the term that applied to it originally, when it was called the Residue.
It was called the Residue, even though this term does not fit completely. This is because a residue is a trace left over from something that is in the same category, only greater, while the remaining trace is less. However, in the case in hand, the light that disappeared was not visible light, while the light that remained is visible light. Thus they are not in the same category, and the light that remained is not exactly a "residue" of the Infinite Light. We cannot truly say that it is a residue of that Light, only that it is called a residue. As to why it is so called if it is not really a residue, you will see later.
...a Residue of the Primordial Light... This indicates that the light that remained was not new and different from the light that disappeared, but rather that it was like a small part of it. Prior to the act of Tzimtzum, it was not recognizable as something separate in itself, but after the Tzimtzum it could be recognized as such.
We will be able to gain a deeper understanding of this entire matter by considering the relationship between Malchut and the other Sefirot as found in the lower realms from Atzilut downwards. In other words, the relationship between Malchut and the other Sefirot, as found in the worlds of Atzilut and below, will provide an analogy through which we may understand the relationship between the Residue and the departed Primordial Light of Eyn Sof. This is because the Residue is called Malchut of Eyn Sof.
Let us first consider the analogous case. Malchut is the root of the created worlds and their inhabitants. And what is Malchut? Malchut is the last part of the Sefirot of Zeir Anpin (i.e. the last part of all the Sefirot making up the Partzuf of Zeir Anpin -- Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod -- representing all of the upper Sefirot. Each of the upper Sefirot includes all ten Sefirot and therefore has its own individual Malchut.) For the root of the lower realms and beings is the last part -- the last power -- found in each individual Sefirah.
Now we may object: If so, this would imply that the lower realms have ten roots -- these being the ten last parts of all ten Sefirot -- not just one root in the overall Malchut. The answer to this is that the law that the lower creatures should exist is called Malchut (the overall Malchut). This is a bond of all the powers contained in the ten Sefirot to bring forth the lower realms. For each Sefirah contains a power that relates to bringing forth the lower realms and beings, and this is its individual Malchut (such as Malchut of Chessed, Malchut of Gevurah, etc.). The overall Malchut is the law that the lower realms should exist. And from what is this law or light constructed? It consists of the totality of the powers existing in each of the individual Sefirot to bring forth the lower realms.
In other words, the overall Malchut is a bond of all the individual Malchuyot of each of the ten Sefirot. Even so, these separate powers would be hanging in suspense, but for one general, overall law which they need: namely that the lower realms should exist. This gelaw or power (the overall Malchut) includes all of these specific powers (the individual Malchuyot of each of the ten Sefirot). This is what makes the potential actual. The bond of all these powers contained in each of the individual Sefirot to bring forth the lower realms is the law called Malchut.
Having understood the analogous case, the relationship between Malchut and the higher Sefirot as manifested in the realms below, let us now apply this understanding to the subject of our present discussion, the upper level -- the relationship between the Residue and the departed Light of Eyn Sof. For all that remains revealed after the Tzimtzum is spoken of as Malchut of Eyn Sof. In other words, all that departed -- leaving only the specific power to create independent worlds and beings -- may be considered parallel to the nine upper Sefirot as manifested in the lower realms. On the other hand, what remains after the Tzimtzum -- created worlds and beings existing within bounds and limits -- may be considered parallel to the Malchuyot of these nine Sefirot. And what is Malchut? The overall Malchut is the bond of all the powers found in the individual Sefirot to bring forth the lower worlds. Malchut is the general law that all the Sefirot should bring forth the lower realms and beings according to what is rooted within them.
We therefore call this light that is revealed in the Residue after the Tzimtzum "Malchut", and we say that it is like the last part of all that departed, which we have compared to the nine higher Sefirot. Accordingly we call it a Residue of all that departed.
We must distinguish between two different aspects here. The bond of these parts, namely the law that the lower realms should exist -- this being the overall Malchut in its proper place -- we will term the Place or Space of the lower realms. This is the power that gives a place for their existence. But inasmuch as the overall Malchut is built of the residue of all that departed and includes the power contained in each Sefirah to bring forth the lower realms, we can term this the actual root of the lower realms.
These two aspects are also found in Malchut below. For Malchut is a "place" or "space" in the sense of providing the possibility for lower realms to exist. In addition to this, Malchut itself is also the individual root of each one of them, because the overall Malchut includes all the individual Malchuyot of all the other Sefirot.
...which because of its supreme greatness could not be apprehended. Here is the reason why we may call this a Residue even though it is not strictly in the same category as the light of Eyn Sof, which cannot be seen, while the light of the Residue has an end and a limit and can be seen. The reason is because there is a way in which they can be considered to come under one category. Since we have called Eyn Sof, blessed be He, "Simple Light", and the light of the Residue is also light, if so they both come into the category of light, even though the one cannot be seen, while the other is visible light. For we may consider the ability to be seen a contingent occurrence in the Residue that could not apply to the first light.
This is supported by the point made earlier (Opening 5) that even in the case of the Sefirot, the ability to be seen is not intrinsic to their nature but was willfully instituted. He wanted the minimal power that constitutes the realm of limits and boundaries to be visible, while that which is beyond limits He did not want to be visible. Accordingly we apply the word Residue to the limited power subsumed within His limitless power. The Supreme Will wanted that this limited power should be capable of being seen.
One could object: Firstly, how can we say that what departed was nine Sefirot? Surely the Sefirot are limited, whereas what departed is without limits and if so, cannot be considered in the category of nine Sefirot? Further, the nine Sefirot are nine separate functions, whereas in the case of the Unlimited, it is impossible to speak of separate parts. If so, what departed was not nine Sefirot, for you cannot ascribe parts to the Unlimited. Clearly, there is no difference between one part and another except in virtue of the boundary that divides between them, whereas on the level of the Unlimited, the concept of boundary is not applicable in any way, and if so, it is impossible to speak of parts.
These objections may be answered as follows: It is true that the Sefirot are limited, while that which departed is without limits, and from this side we should not have compared what departed to the Sefirot. It is impossible to compare what departed, which is without limits, to these parts that remained, which fall within the category of limitation. Nevertheless, the nine Sefirot, although limited, do still give an indication of the Unlimited, while Malchut is actually on the boundary.
For the root of the matter is that the limited functions necessary for the entire existence of created realms and beings are in truth nine parts, which constitute the structure of Malchut itself. This is the pathway of limitation and boundaries that had been subsumed within Eyn Sof, as discussed earlier (Opening 24). However, the Unlimited overwhelmed each of these nine, bringing them back beyond limits. Thus we find here ten Sefirot: nine levels of limited action (e.g. the Malchut of each individual Sefirah: Malchut of Chessed, Malchut of Gevurah, etc.) all having one objective and all considered as constituting one Sefirah -- the overall Malchut.
The sway which the Unlimited has over each of them is considered as the other nine Sefirot (e.g. Chessed of Chessed, Gevurah of Chessed, etc. and so too in the case of every Sefirah, with the exception of the Malchut of each one). From their side they are not divided, for the Unlimited holds sway over every part of the pathway of limitation and boundaries, bringing it back beyond limitation. Inasmuch as the Unlimited holds sway over these nine Sefirot, bringing them back beyond limitation, they are spoken of as the nine Sefirot of Eyn Sof, but not on account of what they are in themselves. However, the Sefirot after the Tzimtzum are all parts of Malchut: after the Tzimtzum, we are speaking of the nine Sefirot only from the aspect of their Malchut, and accordingly they are all limited. The Malchut of each of the individual Sefirot is the pathway of limitation and boundaries that was subsumed in Eyn Sof as a hypothetical possibility prior to the Tzimtzum, while the upper nine Sefirot of each individual Sefirah indicate the Unlimited, Who holds sway over the pathway of limitation. They are not the Unlimited in Himself, but give enough indication of Him as is necessary for the sake of the government, as will be explained in its proper place.
Part 2: This Residue... The existence of this Residue depends upon the bond of all the individual Malchuyot of the nine higher Sefirot, this being the law that the lower realms should exist -- Malchut, the tenth law of the Ten Laws constituted by the Ten Sefirot. Accordingly, the bond of the last, bottommost powers contained in the Unlimited, which joined together to make the Residue in this way, is the overall Malchut. This is the "place" of the created realms and beings, for this is the law that gives them existence. The Residue itself is made up of these powers that were joined together, these being the root of the lower realms, as below.
... is called the place of all that exists because this is what gives them the ability to exist, which the aspect of limitlessness did not give them. It is called a "place" or "space" inasmuch as it fulfills the function of a place or space, which contains that which stands within it. However, it is not a place in the physical sense of being an actual place containing whatever stands within it. For the concept of physical space is not applicable to the Sefirot, since they are Godliness, and in Godliness there are no physical accidents.
Part 3: This place is said to be empty -- (ημμ, Chalal, literally "hollow") in the sense that it serves as a container to hold others. It is a particular level whose essence is such tit needs others to exist in and depend upon it (like a space waiting to be built up, which is empty as long as it is not filled with buildings). Since the essence of Malchut is to enable worlds to exist dependent upon it like branches, we say metaphorically that it has a "container". And as long as only this level existed and the worlds did not exist, we say that the container was "hollow" and "empty". As soon as the worlds dependent upon it exist, we say that its hollow is full.
Indeed, as long as the Unlimited held sway, everything was completely perfect. As soon as the Unlimited departed, Malchut was revealed as a "container", but initially it was not revealed as being filled with all its worlds, but rather as an empty space. Nevertheless, it was not completely hollow, for the root of the worlds that were destined to emerge was present in the form of the Residue, except that the Residue was like air, in the sense that the worlds were not discernible. Accordingly, even though its container was full (i.e. of air) it is called "hollow" in relation to Eyn Sof, blessed be He. For initially, prior to the Tzimtzum, there was no need for any further perfection, and even after the Tzimtzum, the encompassing Eyn Sof lacks no perfection whatever. That which is still in need of perfection is called "hollow" -- i.e. lacking in perfection in relation to the perfection of Eyn Sof. We therefore say that afterwards, when the Line came down and made the Residue into Sefirot, we say that it "filled" this "hollow". This is why the kabbalistic sages said that the Line "filled" the hollow, and that the entire hollow space was filled with the ten Sefirot of Adam Kadmon (Etz Chayim 1:4).
It could be objected: What need is there to say that it is called "hollow" in relation to Eyn Sof? Should we not say it is called "hollow" because it is still in need of perfection? The answer is that inasmuch as the container was at that time filled with the Residue, it should not have been called hollow. However, in relation to the encompassing Eyn Sof, blessed be He, Who is perfect in every way and to Whom the concept of further perfection is not applicable, it is called hollow. It is also called hollow relative to what it was when it was filled with the Unlimited, which departed from it.
...and it is empty of the light of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, in the sense that His limitlessness is not found there as at first. This explains why the worlds can exist on this level in the hollow of which we are speaking, because the Unlimited -- which would otherwise not permit the existence of separate levels -- is not found there after the Tzimtzum.
The way this appears in the prophetic vision is as a hollow, vacated space, filled with a fine light that we call the Residue. This is the "place" in which all the created worlds will stand, as I have explained.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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