Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom


Opening 33

The branches of Adam Kadmon successively reveal the Likeness of Man

AV, SaG, MaH and BaN are revealed from Adam Kadmon. AV corresponds to the Chochmah of Adam Kadmon and what exists here does not come within our grasp. It sends forth its light by way of the hairs of the head, through which the brain reveals its contents while itself remaining concealed. But SaG reveals the lights that are concealed in AV, and this is the emanation that constitutes Atzilut, which little by little becomes increasingly revealed. Accordingly, the inner light and encompassing light are initially far from one another, but they steadily come closer together, little by little, until they reach the mouth, where a Vessel is made. There the Likeness of Man is properly rooted, and this is the aspect of MaH and BaN that is revealed afterwards.

Having discussed in general terms how radiations of light emerge from Adam Kadmon, we must now explain the details.

The proposition has three parts. Part 1: AV, SaG, MaH and BaN... This is what is revealed overall. Part 2: AV corresponds to the Chochmah... This discusses AV in particular. Part 3: However, SaG... This discusses SaG in particular.

Part 1: AV, SaG, MaH and BaN are revealed from Adam Kadmon. For you have already heard that all that exists in all the different orders of the body is revealed in the face. And it is what is revealed in the face itself that is revealed through the apertures, the fissures through which the soul breaks through. Now everything in the entire body consists of Av, SaG, MaH and BaN. If so, that which is revealed is Av, SaG, MaH and BaN.

Part 2: AV corresponds to the Chochmah of Adam Kadmon... The underlying secret of Chochmah (, "wisdom") and Binah (, "understanding") is that Chochmah is how things are arranged in the depth of the mind (, machshavah, lit. "thought"), but Binah constantly reveals the hidden mysteries of Chochmah. AV corresponds to the picture formed in the depth of the mind of Adam Kadmon. ...and what exists here does not come within our grasp. For the nature of Chochmah is to be hidden and concealed.

It sends forth its light by way of the hairs of the head... The hairs of the head are the first radiant splendor: this is comparable to the beard, which is the first radiant splendor of the face, as discussed in the previous Opening. It is from the hairs of the head that the light of AV goes out as a second radiant splendor, comparable to the second radiant splendor discussed in the case of the face. ...through which the brain reveals its contents... The secret of the hairs, in every place they are found, is that they are connected with what is arranged within the brain inside the head. This is revealed outside, on the head, in the category of "hairs". (The letters of the Hebrew word , sei'ar, a "hair", are the same as , sha'ar, a "gateway" and the root , sha'er, "to form a mental estimate".) Everything connected to the hairs and all their laws follow the nature of the brain the way it is inside. This will be explained further in its proper place (Opening 105). ...while itself remaining concealed. The light of AV that emerges is concealed, since it corresponds to Chochmah, whose nature is to be concealed.

Part 3: But SaG reveals the lights... This is Binah, which, as I have said, reveals the lights of Chochmah that are occluded -- ...that are concealed in AV... For the lights of SaG are not other lights that did not develop out of AV. If that were the case, AV would be a separate aspect by itself, marked by the fact that its actions and effects are not revealed, while the lights of SaG would be a quite different aspect, since their effects are revealed. If this were so, we would fall into the problem of disconnected scatteredness. This is the apparent "jumping" that I discussed earlier (Opening 32), where you start with one aspect and then, before knowing where it leads, jump to another having no connection with the first. You cannot say such a thing, because this would not be knowledge but bewilderment. The proper way, if these lights that we are discussing are the lights of government, is that they should follow a developmental sequence, one after the other, from beginning to end.

The truth is that all the levels discussed in the Kabbalah, from the beginning of Adam Kadmon to the end of all of Asiyah, are all bound up with each other and develop one from another. The difference between them is that every higher level is more concealed than the level below it, such that things move from a state of concealment to one of revelation, but all are one interconnected chain. Thus all that is revealed afterwards in the form of the lights of SaG is what was initially concealed in the light of AV. The lights of SaG themselves are not a multitude of scattered, unconnected aspects. They constitute a single whole that steadily becomes increasingly revealed, stage by stage.

...and this is the emanation that constitutes Atzilut. For the intention from the very outset was to bring into being the root of the Likeness of Man in a way closely relating to the lower creatures, so that it should serve as the root for their service. This root is the emanation that constitutes Atzilut, which is built of MaH and BaN after they were joined together. For the lights there are the actual causes of all the different aspects of This World, being close to them and related to them in a fitting way, which was not the case on the earlier levels (the lights of AV and SaG), which constitute only the root of these actual, direct causes.

You will be able to understand this through what I have already said in connection with the successive concealments produced by the Line of Measurement -- that each successive degree of concealment causes new effects according to the concealment in question (see Opening 30, Part 2). The Likeness of Man could only emerge in this way in its various aspects following this gradation and a succession of increasing degrees of concealment, until they reached the level called Atzilut, but not above this. Thus Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote that even though we use the terms ear and eyes in the case of Adam Kadmon, this is only to "break through" and make sense to the human ear -- to give us a feint indication of something that is intrinsically beyond our grasp (Etz Chaim, Shaar Ozen, Chotem, Peh ch. 1, p.34a, TaNTA ch. 1, 20:3). For these terms do not properly apply except where the light stands on a level that relates to the lower realms so that the lower realms can emerge from there in accordance with the law of gradual progression. But here above (on the levels of the lights of SaG and the worlds of Vision and Hearing) the use of these terms is purely figurative inasmuch as this is the place of the root of these phenomena below.

Thus we find that what had to be revealed was the underlying Likeness of Man. If so, we may say that what had to be revealed was Atzilut, and the intention of the successive degrees of concealment was to bring the light eventually to this level. But all that we are talking about now is contained in the parts of this radiant splendor that we have been discussing. These parts stand in a hierarchy one under the other, in accordance with the principle of the Line of Measurement, which is that the light of each successive level is less than that of the level above it. The end goal of these lights is Atzilut. If so, we may say that the purpose of the different parts of this radiant splendor is to bring about Atzilut. ...which little by little becomes increasingly revealed... gradually, until it reaches the point that it comes into acexistence. Accordingly their various aspects follow a gradual order, one under another.

Accordingly, the inner light and encompassing light are initially far from one another, but they steadily come closer together, little by little... For we certainly see in these lights something that advances gradually, stage by stage, and this is the steadily increasing closeness of the inner light and the encompassing light. Since it is the end of this gradation that actually brings forth the root of the Likeness of Man, as discussed below, if so we may directly infer that in these lights Atzilut is successively revealed little by little.

...until they reach the mouth, where a Vessel is made. What we see is that the end of this gradual process is the formation of the Vessel, and the Vessel relates to the lower realms, as it goes on to say.

There the Likeness of Man is properly rooted... This signifies two things. The first is that the concept of the Vessel relates to the Likeness of Man, for the essence of the Likeness of Man is the existence of the body and the soul within it, and the true root of the concept of the body is the Vessel. And since the Vessel is the end level that we see in the lights of the Ear, Nose and Mouth, if so, we know clearly that the lights of the Ear, Nose and Mouth lead gradually to the Likeness of Man based upon the body. The second thing signified here is that the lights of the Mouth are actually made to provide the root of the World Nekudim (Openings 36-58). The gradation is seen even more clearly in the fact that even the lights of the Eyes themselves, as will be discussed later, follow in gradation after the Mouth. This indicates that Atzilut specifically is the Likeness of Man through the mystery of MaH and BaN, which is where the vessels are found in all their details. And the root of this lies in the lights of the Mouth, which is the overall Vessel prior to the detailed revelation of everything connected with it. This is surely the nature of gradation: first comes the overall whole, and afterwards the details. We may not make only one level out of what are actually two levels.

Accordingly, we see that the lights of the Mouth are the location of the Vessel, for this is the level on which it already becomes revealed, albeit in a general way. The lights of the Eyes contain the aspect of the Vessel in a detailed way, through the mystery of MaH and BaN, as will be discussed below in its proper place. Accordingly the lights of the Mouth contain what was necessary in order to bring forth the various aspects of the Vessels in their place in all their details. All the aspects discussed in the Kabbalah in connection with the lights of the Mouth in their entirety are to be understood as preparations for what must come into being later in Atzilut in its place. This includes the revelation and the perfection of the Vessels, and that it should be by way of departure (, histalkut) of the light. This is the root of all that relates to man's service. And the rectification is to be afterwards in Atzilut, as will be discussed in its place.

...and this is the level of MaH and BaN that is revealed afterwards. This is the end of the entire chain of development: the Likeness of Man in its place, in the mystery of MaH and BaN, as discussed above, and as will be discussed further later on.

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Translated by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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