The Line shines within the Sefirot though a garb.
The Sefirot are what came forth from the Space brought into being at the time of the Tzimtzum. Each Sefirah is a part of the Residue. Within each Sefirah lies an inner essence that exists in virtue of the Line of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, which enters into it. The Line shines within the inner essence of each Sefirah as the soul of the souls, and in this aspect it is completely equal on all levels. However, the soul, which is the garb within which the Line is clothed, is made to match each Partzuf according to what it is, and this is what distinguishes the different Partzufim from one another. The difference is not in the Line but in its garb, which is the soul.
Having discussed the Line and the Residue in general terms, we must now examine the details and discuss how the Sefirot came into being.
The proposition consists of four parts: Part 1: The Sefirot are what came forth... This explains the external structure of the Sefirot. Part 2: Within each Sefirah. This explains the inner essence of the Sefirot. Part 3: The Line shines... This is a level of interiority that is even more concealed. Part 4: ...and in this aspect it is completely equal... This explains the difference between the first and second levels of interiority.
Part 1: The Sefirot are what came forth from the Space brought into being at the time of the Tzimtzum. As explained earlier (Opening 26), it is this Space or Place that gives existence to what exists, and anything not already rooted in it cannot come into being afterwards. Accordingly, before this Place existed, nothing could exist. After this Place was produced, the Sefirot came forth, emerging in accordance with the nature of the Place. The Place is such that nothing exists except the Residue, for that was all that was left when the Place came into being. As discussed earlier (Opening 27), that could be revealed came forth already in the Residue. If so, the Sefirot come only from the Residue.
Each Sefirah is a part of the Residue. The name Residue was applicable as long as no further action took place beyond the fact that this is what was left as a result of the Tzimtzum (see above, Opening 26, Part 1). In other words, before the Line began to activate the Residue, the latter was defined as being what remained of the light of Eyn Sof after the Tzimtzum -- a Residue. Afterwards, the Line began to activate the Residue, and its various parts were structured and made into worlds and Partzufim, so that each Sefirah, wherever it may be, is one part of the Residue.
Clearly each Sefirah must be part of the Residue, because the Residue is the totality of all that is destined to exist in the Sefirot in every place they are. The Residue consists of the totality of everything as a single whole. In this aspect the Residue is therefore called only the root of what was destined to come afterwards, but the truth is that it is the totality of all that is destined to be. Everything that came afterwards is all only the details of the Residue. Every detail is part of the overall whole. If so, everything that exists in the Sefirot on every level is part of the Residue. Even though many different levels emerge later, this does not belie the fact that ultimately everything is rooted in and derives from the Residue. The various different levels could emerge only where we find them, but this is not a reason to say that they are not part of the supreme Residue, for as explained earlier, what was not initially included in the whole cannot exist afterwards as a detail.
Part 2: Within each Sefirah lies an inner essence. The inner essence (פנימיות, pnimiyut) is the "interiority" of the Sefirah. Within the Residue, everything follows the form of Adam, as will be explained at greater length below (Opening 31), and as discussed earlier (Opening 27) in terms of the soul and the body. This inner essence is the soul (נשמה, neshamah) of the Vessel, and within it is the soul of the soul, just as in the case of man -- as will be discussed further below.
...that exists in virtue of the Line of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, which enters into it. For every connection between two things always generates an additional intermediary between them. The inner essence exists in virtue of the Line of Eyn Sof, because it was actually generated by the entry of the Line into the Residue. The truth is that when the Line entered into the Residue, a brilliant radiance shone from it, accommodating itself to the place it entered. This is the soul of the Vessel, and this soul is the underlying root of the individual mental powers (מוחין, mochin) that constitute the particular soul of each of the various different Partzufim. For each Partzuf has its own unique mental powers depending on its level. These souls are all a garb for the Line of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, Who does not change in any place. The various different mental powers are what each of the different Partzufim receives individually from the Line but the Line itself is the same everywhere.
Part 3: The Line shines within the inner essence of each Sefirah as the soul of the souls... The shining of the Line within the inner essence corresponds to the concept of the "irrigation of the Tree" mentioned in various places in the Zohar (see Tikkuney Zohar, Second Introduction, 17, 1). The "irrigation of the Tree" is not the same as the mental powers, for these vary according to the individual structure of each Partzuf, as explained in the writings of the ARI.
Part 4: ...and in this aspect it is completely equal on all levels. This is necessarily the case, as it states in the Zohar (Ki Tetze 281a): "He does not change in any place". This fact is obvious, for the Line constitutes the perfect action of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, in executing all the bounded laws of the Residue, as explained earlier (Opening 25). We may discern the same perfection in Keter, the highest of all the laws and Sefirot, just as in Malchut, which is the last. For everything that Eyn Sof does, small or great, He does to perfection. If so, the Line is the same on all levels. It is indeed fitting that Eyn Sof does not change at all, and that only the Sefirot change. This is because the Sefirot shine according to the readiness of the created realms and beings to receive. Since there are differences between the degree of readiness of different receivers, there are differences between the Sefirot. However, the Line of Eyn Sof shines in accordance with His perfection, and change is not applicable on this level.
This difference between the Line and the Sefirot is also seen in the soul and the body. The body is divided into different limbs and organs, and the nature of one limb is not like that of another. However, the soul is all one. We cannot say that the part of the soul in the nose is not the same as the part of the soul in the arm. The entire soul exists equally in every part of the body. It is only the actions of the soul that vary according to the bodily parts involved, but the entire body is governed by one and the same soul. This means that the soul governs all the different actions of the body without itself changing in any way. The Line is like the soul in the body, for as explained earlier, the various powers are divided up in the Residue like bodily limbs, but the Line governs it like the soul. If so, the Line must be the same on all levels.
These two ideas -- that the Sefirot shine according to the readiness of the receivers, while Line is like the soul in the body -- are implicit in the Zohar. "The Master of the Universe deals with all the different creatures in each generation according to their deeds -- just as the soul acts in accordance with each individual limb. Depending on the limb with which a man performs a mitzvah, the soul is said to have the corresponding attribute.. (Zohar, Pinchas 256b).
A third distinction that must be made in this connection is between the root of the rule of unity (יחוד, yichud) and that of the rule of reward and punishment, which I have already discussed. The root of the rule of reward and punishment lies in the Sefirot, and since the rule of reward and punishment is responsive to men's deeds, the Sefirot change accordingly. However, the rule of unity goes towards a single goal in every action with no change at all. This is the Line, which is equal on all levels. You must understand that the equality of the Line on all levels is absolute. For sometimes two things may be of equal value, or they may be equal in a certain aspect in virtue of which they are in the same position or come under one category. In some cases they may be completely equal. However, the equality of the Line is absolute on all levels, and this should be obvious from all the proofs we have adduced, because the action of the Line is literally equal on every level without any change at all.
However, the soul, which is the garb within which the Line is clothed... The garb (לבוש, levush, a "garment", corresponding to the צלם, tzelem, "form" or "likeness") is an intermediary between the soul and the body, relating to the body. When the soul clothes itself in this garb, it executes the necessary functions in accordance with the nature of that body, but when it is outside of the body, it does not act in that way. This is the garb with which the Holy One, blessed be He, clothes the soul when it enters the body, and the Zohar (Mishpatim 96b) explains that if it were not for this garb, the soul would have no connection whatever with the body. Prior to its entry into this world, the soul was like an angel without an evil inclination and without free will. However, on entry into the body, the soul became invested with an evil inclination and with free will. This is the result of its being clothed in this garb of the body.
Just as the garb of the soul affects the way it acts in the body, so too all the different garbs of the various Sefirot and Partzufim affect and change the action of the Line clothed within them in accordance with their particular nature.We find this idea in the statement in the Zohar (Terumah 139a) that bronze is a garment worn by the Indwelling Presence in order to give nourishment to the realm of the husks (קליפות, kelipot). Similarly, the Tikkuney Zohar (Tikkun 22, 65a) states that "The clothes that He wears in the evening, He does not wear in the morning..."). For the essence is always one and the same, but He clothes Himself in different garbs and executes all the different actions that He performs according to the nature of these various garbs. We see this written explicitly: "And He wore righteousness as a coat of mail. and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing " (Isaiah 59:17). Thus, when the Supreme Will wanted to bring in the Line to govern the Residue, which is as distant from Him as the body from the soul, an intermediary garment was needed between them, just as the soul needs an intermediary garment in order to connect with the body. It is through this garb that He does what He has to do in the Residue.
...is made to match each Partzuf according to what it is... Each Partzuf has its own distinctive "garb" depending on the governmental power which it needs to receive from the Line, which is equal on all levels. The Partzufim can only receive from the Line through this garment. If so, this garment must exist in each Partzuf according to its nature, in order that the Line may act equally through each one of these different garbs.
...and this is what distinguishes the Partzufim from one another. For all the different aspects of the Sefirot above correspond to the order of the Form of Adam as we find it here below in this world (as will be discussed later). For this form is rooted above on all levels. And just as we can make inferences from the Sefirot to add to our understanding of the Form of Adam, so we can make inferences about the Sefirot from the Form of Adam as we find it in this world, as will be discussed later. Now we see that all human bodies have the same general form. The differences between one person and another in terms of character traits, wisdom and intelligence lie in the soul. Similarly, the differences in one and the same person at different times and in all that pertains to the conduct of the body and its actions derive from the soul.
It is truly the same in the upper realms, and so you will find throughout the writings of the ARI and in all the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The fundamental concept here is that of the mental powers (מוחין, mochin): these are the inner essence (פנימיות, pnimiyut, the "soul") of all the Partzufim. They are the source of all government, and each Partzuf is governed by its mental powers. These mental powers change in the Partzufim themselves at different times, thereby affecting and changing their nature and functioning, as I will explain to you below in its proper place. These mental powers are what we call the "garb" of this inner Line, which is the soul of the souls. It is through these different garbs that the Partzufim are distinguished from one another in all their various different aspects, both qualitatively -- whether they incline towards Kindness, Judgment or Mercy -- and quantitatively, in terms of whether they are great or small in stature and value. For according to what they are, so they receive light from the Line garbed within them.
Thus: The difference is not in the Line but in its garb, which is the soul. For the difference between the different Partzufim in terms of their stature could be seen as problematic, because this depends upon how close to or far away from Eyn Sof, blessed be He, they are. But since the Line of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, is completely equal on all levels, it would seem that they should all be equal in stature. However, as I have explained, although the Line is exactly the same, the garments are different, and each Partzuf receives from the Line according to the nature of the garb. Thus the Partzufim may be great or small depending on the preparedness of the soul of any given Partzuf to receive from the Line within it.
From the discussion in this and the previous Opening, you should understand that there are three aspects to the Sefirot: (1) the vessels; (2) the mental powers; (3) the inner and encompassing lights. The vessels are the different levels of the Residue -- the laws that exist after the concealment of perfection. Through the inner and encompassing lights, Eyn Sof is found on all the different levels. The mental powers are the garments (of the Line) and are made to suit each Partzuf depending on what it is. It is through these mental powers that Eyn Sof, blessed be He, connects with and governs each one according to its particular nature, as discussed above.
The mental powers include a Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chayah and Yechidah in their own right. The Chayah and Yechidah here are not the same as the encompassing lights of which we speak in connection with the "inner and encompassing lights" (see Opening 28), for otherwise, various passages in the writings of the ARI would be completely contradictory. However, I will not expand on this now, because it is something that is quite visible in the passages which speak about the mental powers and those which speak about Eyn Sof, blessed be He, and the encompassing level. The way to resolve the contradictions is as I have explained here, and this way you should find everything to be clear. For the lights have their own individual way of spreading forth, and thus they reach the Partzufim in the same way discussed there, be it in the "garb" of Wisdom or the "undershirt" of Understanding, all as discussed there.
In the prophetic vision, the Partzufim thus appear with their mental powers together with the Line, which is the inner essence equal in all of them.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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