How the Line governs the Residue.
Rooted in this Residue was everything that is destined to exist, and what was not rooted there cannot come into being afterwards. Even so, all that is rooted there could not have come into being without the Unlimited Himself governing it. Nevertheless, the Unlimited acts only in accordance with what is rooted in the Residue. This is like the soul, which governs the body only according to the nature of the body. The action of the Unlimited within the Residue is called one Line from Eyn Sof, blessed be He, that enters into the hollow cavity. For what He actually brings about within the Residue is in accordance with the nature of the created realms and beings. Yet in bringing it about, He Himself acts on His own level of intrinsic perfection. As far as the created realms and beings are concerned, it is the Residue. But through the Line, He acts on His own intrinsic level of perfection. Further, while what was produced is, as far as the creatures are concerned, the Residue, the way in which Eyn Sof operates it is through the Line, which is on His plane of limitlessness, just as He is without limits.
Having explained what the emanated light is, it is now necessary to explain what it produced.
The proposition has four parts. Part 1: Rooted in this Residue... This explains the distinctive quality of this Residue. Part 2: Even so, all that is rooted there... This explains that the Residue requires the Unlimited. Part 3: Nevertheless, the Unlimited acts only. This explains that the Unlimited governs the Residue as the soul governs the body. Part 4: The action of the Unlimited in the Residue is called one Line. This explains the Line in relation to the Residue and how the Unlimited looks down providentially upon the level of the Residue via the Channel or Pipe.
Part 1: Rooted in this Residue is everything that was destined to exist... This is obvious, because, as has already been explained, the Residue consists of what remained of the Primordial Light that departed through the Tzimtzum. For the Residue consists of all that was originally included in the Primordial Light as the root of the lower realms and beings. This remained in the Residue after the departure of all the other powers that were not part of the root of the lower realms and beings. Now, everything that was destined to exist in the lower realms was certainly originally included in the Primordial Light in the category of the root of the lower realms. If so, the Residue is the root of everything destined to exist in the lower realms.
The proof that everything destined to exist was originally included in the Light that departed is simple. For what departed was Eyn Sof, blessed be He. Now Eyn Sof includes everything. If so, everything was originally included in what departed.
.and what was not rooted there cannot come into being afterwards. It would not be enough for the Residue to be merely the root of the general categories found in the lower realms, which afterwards divide into their particulars down below. All of the lower worlds and beings must necessarily be rooted in the Residue: every single detail must be rooted there. The proof of this is that it is not possible that any detail could exist that is not included in the All-Powerful. The Residue is the revelation of everything that was included in the All-Powerful as the root of the lower realms and creatures. If so, it must be that even all the details were also included in the Residue.
Part 2: Even so, all that is rooted there could not have come into being without the Unlimited Himself governing it. For there are entities whose movements are self-generated, and others whose movements depend upon another. For example, the movements of the body depend upon another, while the movements of the soul are self-generated. All this must have a root above. If so, among the lights there must be some whose movements are self-generated, and they are the root of those entities having this property, while different lights, whose movements depend upon other lights, are the root of those entities that have that property.
The Residue is the root of the body, while the Unlimited is the root of the soul. The Unlimited is self-governing, while the movement of the Residue is through the Unlimited. This is what is implied by the words without the Unlimited Himself governing it. This means that while the Residue contains all the laws and principles by which the lower realms and beings are governed, the source of this government is not there but in the Unlimited. Everything in the Residue is under His control, like an axe in the hand of the hewer.
Two corollaries emerge from this. The first is that the work of the Residue exists only through the Unlimited. The second is that it is the Unlimited that governs the Residue. The word "governs" implies more than mere movement. For if the Unlimited did no more than set the Residue in motion, we could have said only that it could not exist except through the Unlimited. But we are saying that He governs it: that He actually governs and orders what happens in the Residue itself. Let us explain these two corollaries more fully:
(1) The work of the Residue exists only through the Unlimited. This means that even though what Eyn Sof brings about is, as far as thelower realms and creatures are concerned, within limits, this does not mean we can say that He executes what He does in a limited manner like a human being. The way in which He acts is beyond our ability to grasp, because He acts without limits. However, His Will decreed that even though He continues acting in His way, we receive only what reaches us, which is within limits. It is therefore true that the results of His action are within limits but not His actual performance of that action. For the lower creatures can receive only what they are ready and able to receive. Accordingly, in all of our discussions, we are speaking only about the results of His action, which are within bounds and limits. But the way in which Eyn Sof actually executes what He does is far beyond us. We cannot understand it, and we should not inquire into it, for the boundaries of our knowledge include only what is done and what it means. How it is done, we cannot know.
For example: We know that contracted Sefirot exist made from His light, but how He acted to conceal and contract His light we cannot say. This is not the case from the Tzimtzum and downwards, where we can say this. For we can specify the different parts of the Partzufim, when they hold sway, how the effects they cause emerge, and what happens to them when they bring forth new effects. This is not so in the case of Eyn Sof, to Whom we cannot attribute different "parts" or anything of the kind. Accordingly it is impossible to say how He acted or how these Sefirot radiate from Him now, for the way He acts is without limits.
Let me prove to you that the way He acts in all that He does must be without limits. For in Eyn Sof by necessity there can be no change. To act at one time in one way and at another time in a different way would be a change. If so, Eyn Sof, blessed be He, does not act at one time in one way and at another time in a different way. We are forced to say that the way in which Eyn Sof acts is the same, and that the very act which comes to us within limits is executed by Him in His way, without limits, while we receive what relates to us. That there can be no difference in the way Eyn Sof acts is obvious, for we cannot in any way attribute bodily accidents to Eyn Sof, and change is certainly a bodily accident, which therefore cannot exist in Him. This is quite clear from the words of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who said: "He does not change in any place" (Zohar, Ki Tetze 281a. See also Zohar III, 257b, as discussed in Opening 29).
In sum, we have two things: (1) The results of Eyn Sof's action; (2) His execution of that action. It is the results that reach us, and these are within limits. However, the way in which He executes the action is concealed from us, and this is without limits. The limited result of His work is the Residue. But the work has to be executed, and His execution of it is without limits, for it is performed by Eyn Sof, blessed be He, Who acts without limits. Thus we see that what is rooted in the Residue exists only through the Unlimited, but if the execution of the action had also been within limits, the Residue would have functioned by itself without need of the Unlimited.
(2) The Unlimited actually governs and orders the Residue directly at one and the same time as He executes His work in His aspect of limitlessness. For in this way He brings it about that even though the accomplished work follows a different path -- the way of bounds and limits -- even so, its entire destiny is laid down by Him and its government is under His control. To explain: The Unlimited has the unique property of possessing the ultimate perfection, and in His perfection He is entirely good, as we explained earlier when speaking about His unity. Before Him, there is no evil. It is only when His perfection is concealed that evil has any existence, but as soon as His perfection is revealed, evil does not exist any more, as it says, "He will consume death for ever" (Isaiah 25:8).
In order to reveal His unity in the clearest way, He concealed His perfection and instituted a way of imperfection in order to create and govern imperfect creatures. This is the Residue. For even if God's creatures could attain the ultimate perfection, they still could not attain His perfection, for since they are created beings, they could never attain the level of the Creator. Indeed, inasmuch as this Residue came into being through the concealment of perfection, it has many deficiencies and imperfections rooted in it. The truth is that the intention of these deficiencies is thereby to make it possible for His creatures to exist on different, graded levels and to draw closer to perfection gradually, level by level. This would not be possible if there were no bounds and limits, for the Unlimited contains no levels, and accordingly He is perfect from the very outset.
However, this Residue could have come into being in two ways. Either it could have been subject to a single imperfect law governing imperfect creatures in such a way that they could never emerge from their imperfections. Alternatively, it could come into being subject to a single law such that the very deficiencies it contains will gradually be turned around until they attain the perfection that was concealed at the outset.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Reward and punishment indicate a lack of perfection, for in a state of complete perfection, everything must be good. With the concealment of perfection, the government hangs in the balance whether to confer goodness or the opposite, depending on men's deeds in the lower world. This is rooted in the Residue, which contains everything connected with reward on the one hand and punishment on the other: everything is prepared and ready, waiting for the arousal from below -- men's initiatives in the lower world. But it could have been that things would go on this way forever, with the righteous receiving their reward and the wicked being punished. This would have been the case were it not for the fact that the Residue is governed by the Unlimited. However, since everything in the Residue is governed by the Unlimited, it must be that the pathways of the Residue go around until they reach perfection, not that they remain as they are. For this reason, there is a limit to the period of choice, reward and punishment: "The world will exist for six thousand years" (Sanhedrin 97a). The Residue is thus like a wheel that turns through just so many degrees until it completes the entire cycle, and at the very end there will be perfect rest.
Thus we see that it is Eyn Sof, blessed be He, Who acts in His intrinsic perfection on His plane of limitlessness. It is Eyn Sof Who executes even what is done within limits. And just as the execution of the action is carried out to perfection, so too the intention of the action is to bring everything to perfection. It is in order to accomplish this very purpose that the action is executed within limits and without perfection. And what is the benefit of this? That even though the intermediary is imperfect -- for the work is deficient -- nevertheless, the result is to bring everything to complete perfection at the end of all the cycles.
Part 3: Nevertheless, the Unlimited acts only in accordance with what is rooted in the Residue. Even though we have said that the source of the government is Eyn Sof, blessed be He, in His intrinsic perfection, nevertheless He has already decreed that this action should reach the lower realms and creatures only within the limited order constituted by the Residue. The goal is to attain perfection, and the truth is that the action itself is perfect, for all is good, as it says, "All that the Merciful One does is for good" (Berachot 60b) and "I will thank you, God, for you were angry with me" (Isaiah 12:1). But in the lower realms the perfection is concealed, and nothing reaches them except as permitted by the law of concealment. However, the law of concealment was brought about by His perfection, and thus it goes in one direction in such a way that it certainly comes to complete perfection, as discussed above.
This is like the soul that governs the bosolely according to what the body is. This means two things. Firstly, the entry of the Unlimited to govern the Residue does not add any new power to the Residue but rather moves and arranges what was already rooted in it. This is like the soul in the body. The soul does not add anything new to the body but simply animates what is already naturally present in the body. Secondly, the presence of the Line of Eyn Sof in the Residue is itself the root of the soul in the body in this world, and accordingly what happens to them is parallel.
Part 4: The action of the Unlimited in the Residue is called one Line. In other words, the entry of Eyn Sof into the government of the Residue is called a Line from Him that enters inside the cavity. In speaking of a Line, we are saying that a single Line was drawn down from the encompassing Eyn Sof, blessed be He, like a channel or pipe, into the cavity. Through this Channel, light descended from Eyn Sof to what is inside the cavity, and by this means the Emanator is attached to that which was emanated.
To explain: Included among the powers of the All-Powerful is the power to watch over the action of another who exists within limits, separate from Himself. Even though the truth is that, "There is none besides Him", and Eyn Sof, Who has no limits, negates any other existence, nevertheless, included in His comprehensive power is the ability to look down over and govern the limited creation. And since the way of bounds and limits came into being as a new creation, Eyn Sof, Who is All-Powerful, surely watches over it.
Thus we have here three aspects: (1) Eyn Sof's action in His intrinsic perfection -- executing the very things that we receive within limits. (2) What we receive, as we receive it, within limits. (3) The way the All-Powerful looks down to the very way of limits and boundaries whereby we receive. The way the All-Powerful looks down to the level of limitations is through this Channel, which is also a Line from Eyn Sof, blessed be He. Through it He looks down into and watches over the Residue in accordance with the nature of the Residue, which is within limits. What we receive (#2) is the totality of the Residue. The very thing that Eyn Sof, blessed be He, executes in His perfection (#1) is drawn down from Eyn Sof, blessed be He, into the cavity by way of (#3) the Channel or Pipe.
In other words, clothed and concealed within Eyn Sof, blessed be He's looking down to the pathway of limits in His intrinsic all-powerfulness (#3, the Channel) is His all-powerful execution of what takes place in the Residue (#1, the Light in the Channel). Accordingly, we will call the one a Channel or Pipe and the other a Line drawn down within it. Through this light drawn in through the Channel or Pipe, the Residue receives its light from Eyn Sof, blessed be He, and this is how the Emanator is attached to that which He emanated.
It is precisely this light that governs the Residue as the soul governs the body. For as you have already heard, the way the All-Powerful looks down into the Residue, through the Channel, is not a radiation different from the Residue: He looks upon it as what it is. However, this Light within the Channel is something different from the Residue, for it is on the level of the supreme perfection of Eyn Sof, blessed be He. Whereas in the Residue there are successive levels of concealment and deficiency, as will be discussed later on, in the soul all is in accordance with goodness and perfection. Thus Eyn Sof is without limits in all His powers and we have no connection with His limitlessness except through this one aspect: His power to actually produce a work outside of and separate from Himself. With this we have a connection, for this too is His work, and even with us, He does it in His perfection and limitlessness. Except that we only receive within limits, like the voice that spoke with Moses, which was heard by none except him, even though it was a great voice that did not cease. We therefore say that this is how the Emanator is connected with what He emanated.
You must understand that the Channel or Pipe is not a particular aspect of His creative act. The two operative aspects are the Light drawn in -- the Line -- and the Residue. The Channel or Pipe simply transfers the action of the Light, which is without limits, to the resulting work, which comes to us within limits -- namely the Residue. The Channel itself does not act. The Residue contains all the laws of reward and punishment, because this way we can see clearly the damage to the worlds through the flaws caused by the sinners. The Light within -- the Line -- is on the level of Unity, where everything is good and there is no evil at all and no flaw, as it says: "Is corruption His? No: His children's is the blemish...!" (Deuteronomy 32:5). And it is He who governs the Residue, as we have said above, so that in the end there will only be good and perfection.
And these two pathways are called the Name (ων, Shem) and the "Form of Address" (λιπει, kinui). Now the encompassing Eyn Sof, blessed be He, is complete perfection, and since good negates evil, showing evil and its remedy is not applicable on that level, for "From the beginning He tells the end" (Isaiah 46:10), and all is seen to be good. However, after the Tzimtzum and the concealment, things divide into two: the Name and Form of Address. This means that in the end, the Name will rule and be revealed, while the rule of the "Form of Address" will return to Him, and everything be in the state of supreme perfection that already exists in the encompassing Eyn Sof.
.one line from Eyn Sof, blessed be He... For although the Residue has many parts, they are not separate but constitute a complete structure. Only in relation to us are they many, for we can only apprehend each thing by itself. However, the entire new creation brought into being by Eyn Sof, blessed be He, is a complete whole, and the All-Powerful looks down over this totality in all His power as one complete whole. Thus Eyn Sof in His intrinsic perfection executes a single act, and accordingly we say that it is a single Line.
You must understand that we are not saying one part but one line. This is because in Eyn Sof, blessed be He, there is no such thing as different parts. In His very perfection and complete limitlessness, He looks down upon the creation. This overall looking down is called a line, namely a ray, like a sunray emerging from the overall radiance of the sun.
...that enters into the hollow cavity... This is obvious in accordance with the image in the prophetic vision, as we have stated above.
[From this point on until the end of the Opening, Ramchal's commentary diverges from the phrasing of the initial proposition.]
.within which was afterwards created... That is, after the Line entered the Residue and ordered it into its various divisions, the Residue became worlds, as will be discussed later. The Line itself became concealed within the Residue, and accordingly the Line governs the Residue.
As we have said above, through the Line, Eyn Sof, blessed be, He executes this limited act in accordance with His intrinsic perfection. The Channel or Pipe is like a garment for the Line itself such that we may say that overall, the descent of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, into the cavity is a single Line constituted by the Channel and the Light drawn down within it. For the Line is comprised of these two, and together they are called one Line in the teachings of the ARI.
The way this appears in the prophetic image is that a single line descends from the encompassing Eyn Sof and fills the Residue. This is the Channel or Pipe between Eyn Sof and what is inside the hollow cavity, so that they are attached to one another.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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