The world of Nekudim is the material out of which all the details divide up.
The world of Nekudim was like one material out of which all the details must afterwards divide up. This is because all that exists, both above and below, is all only one system built of many details. It would not be comprehensive unless all its details stand in it equally. For in this way, everything in creation exists only for the glory of the Creator. This is the intent of the verse, "God has made everything for His own purpose" (Proverbs 16:4). In this are included all the creations, the good and the bad, for everything is only one system and one single existence of a creation that completes the revelation of the unity and glory of Eyn Sof blessed be He.
Having discussed Atzilut, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah as an overall whole in order to thereby explain what relates to the world of Nekudim, we now come to discuss the world of Nekudim in this light.
The proposition has two parts. Part 1: The world of Nekudim was... This presents the first principle regarding the world of Nekudim, which is the entirety of all that exists afterwards. Part 2: This is because... This explains how this is so.
Part 1: The world of Nekudim was like one material... The world of Nekudim is therefore not called a level on a scale, since it is only the totality of all that exists, level by level, after the world of Akudim (the latter being the light emerging from the mouth of Adam Kadmon. This extends to the navel, while Nekudim extends from the navel to the feet of Adam Kadmon). However, everything was still like material that had not received any form. (It was like a formless general substance out of which Atzilut, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah were later formed. Accordingly, Nekudim is not in itself a level in the order of the worlds.) Nekudim is a single general law which simply institutes the existence of all that is destined to exist. For as you have already heard, this world of Nekudim is nothing but the particular power in the Likeness of Man that stands to produce evil. However, the end goal is not to produce evil but that it should turn back to good. Except that it would be impossible for evil to turn back to good in actuality unless evil first exists in actuality.
When we examine what is involved in this in detail, we see that in order for all of evil to turn back to good, it requires everything that exists from the head of Atzilut to the end of Asiyah. This purpose is fulfilled neither by the Sefirot on their own nor by the separate creations on their own, but both are required in order to complete this purpose. Moreover, in this aspect there is no difference between the highest of all the Sefirot and the lowest of all the separate creations: both exist only to reveal the unity of Eyn Sof, blessed be He and blessed be His Name for ever and to all eternity. This is the intent of the verse quoted below: "God has made everything for His own purpose". Accordingly this was the first thing revealed now in the lights of the Eyes (from which the Nekudim emerged), where the Supreme Mind designed all the supreme laws of government (the Sefirot of Atzilut) and likewise all the separate creations (Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah) around this one common aspect: that they exist to reveal the supreme unity through bringing evil back to good.
Now you will see a major difference between this design (ציור, tziur, a "picture") in Nekudim and every other design on whatever level it might be -- and therefore the world of Nekudim is not the same as any other world, whether before it or after it. All the other worlds are separate realms structured according to a design in the Supreme Mind, but the designs themselves consist of different kinds of governmental laws. For example, the design of man's eye on the level of the thought in the Mind is one consistof various kinds of laws relating to supervision, and these laws themselves are the exact cognate of the human eye below in all its different parts and colors. However, what is extra here (in Nekudim) is that there are two designs: the design of the way the lower realms are to be governed, as mentioned above, and in addition, the design of the lower realms according to what they are in themselves.
For there are necessarily two entities (מציאויות, metzi-uyot) -- i.e. the Likeness of Man must be understood in two ways: (1) as the order of government (הנהגה, hanhagah) consisting of all these different kinds of governmental laws; (2) as the design of the image or representation (מראה, mar'eh) of that governmental order as seen in the separate creations themselves down below (for it is they who are the governed). One general law is necessary to give existence to both. To produce the separate creations in themselves, there has to be one power that governs the form in which they are designed, and this power stands over the separate creations themselves to maintain them in their appointed form. This is what Sefer Yetzirah calls Tzur Tak, (צור טק, TzuR TaK, "the 'knot of forms' -- for all the forms designed in the world were designed out of this" -- Raavad, Introduction to Sefer Yetzirah). This contains the power to bring forth the separate creations into actual being out of nothingness (יש מאין, yesh me-ayin) so as to be branches of it. This is because it is a unique kind of radiation that produces no other branches except separate creations, being out of nothingness, in accordance with the unique aspect of this power.
And indeed, this power does not exist as an intrinsic aspect of the Sefirot. (The Sefirot themselves are on the level of Godly light, whereas the separate realms which derive from this power are creations.) That is to say, it cannot simply be equated with the last level of the lights of the Sefirot (Malchut). This is because it comes forth according to the principle of being out of nothingness, which is not a gradual process but a radical leap. (Thus Tzur Tak, the power to produce being out of nothingness, is not simply a level on the scale. Rather it is a unique power that is impossible for us to understand since being out of nothingness is intrinsically beyond our comprehension.) Yet with the coming into existence of separate realms (Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah) -- an actual creation of being out of nothingness -- an extension is found to exist from the Sefirot (the Godly light of Atzilut) over these separate realms so as to bring them into existence as branches of that extension.
Now there is a difference between the aspect of the Likeness of Man included in this world (of Nekudim) by way of governmental laws and the aspect of the Likeness of Man included in it by way of the design of the image or representation (the separate worlds themselves). The aspect of the governmental laws was able to exist in its entirety with all its branches, which are only lights, just as is the root. However, the aspect manifested in the image or representation -- the separate creations -- could only exist in actuality through the power of Tzur Tak, its branches being contained therein in potential. (For Tzur Tak is a power and is not itself one of the separate creations, yet it produces separate creations, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, as its branches, and they are said to be "in potential" in relation to Tzur Tak, for they are not in the same category but emerge from it.) For its intrinsic nature is to produce separate branches corresponding to all the details contained in it. This is not so in the case of the other Sefirot, whose nature is not to produce anything as their branches except other lights.
To summarize: There are two kinds of roots. There is a root that produces branches of the same kind as itself, and a root that produces branches that are not of the same kind as itself. The totality of these two roots constitutes the world of Nekudim. That is to say, Nekudim is not to be identified as consisting of the roots themselves. Rather, it is the overall category that includes these two species of roots. Nekudim is the law that establishes the existence of these two roots, together with all their necessary offshoots. Nekudim may be called the beginning of all these offshoots, which also come forth level by level, changing from state to state. The start of both roots is in Nekudim, which is like their overall substance or material, out of which afterwards all the individual roots come forth one by one, garbed in their own separate design or form, and each one brings forth its respective branches in accordance with its intrinsic nature.
It could be objected that if so, Nekudim is a level on the way to Atzilut, and if so, we should count it between Akudim and Atzilut. Yet we said above (Opening 36 Part 2) that it cannot be counted as such, because if so, it could not be something that was afterwards negated. The answer is that this level cannot be counted together with the various levels of the lights of the branches of Adam Kadmon, because they do not come under the same category. For the different levels of the lights are different levels of the Likeness of Man descending in a graded way from power to power -- from a greater power to a lesser power. However, what we are talking about in the case of Nekudim is not a sequential development from above to below. Rather, the change of level is that of a single power that shifts from state to state (from the light of Tzur Tak, which is a Godly power, to the separate realms and beings, which exist as independent creations), and the difference between one state and another in the world of Akudim is not one of degree.
To return to the main theme: The world of Nekudim is an overall category that produces these two kinds of roots with all their offshoots: the lights governing Atzilut, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah are the offshoots of one root, and the separate creations themselves are the offshoot of a different root. This will help explain what you will always find us saying, that everything was made through the process of selection and purification (בירורים, birurim) of the primordial kings. For this is how the lights emerge out of this general category just as do the separate creations. However, it is only in respect of the overall goal of turning evil back to good that all are equal, as stated above. But although we say that Nekudim is a category, it must be understand as being more than a category, but rather as a single material or substance that includes all that comes after it.
This is the same as we said above (Opening 27) regarding the Residue. It is a category in the sense that it includes the entire array of all the details into which it will divide, but it is called a single material or substance. (I.e. the Residue constitutes the overall category of Tzimztum and is also the "substance" that includes the entire creation.) It is a single substance in the sense that it constitutes the totality of all the individual entities that must divide into their various divisions, each one by itself, according to their appropriate form.
...out of which all the details must afterwards divide up. This is what we said above, that all that exists, including both the lights and the separate creations, are only the details of this overall, all-embracing category.
Part 2: This is because all that exists, both above and below, is all only one system built of many details. This includes both the lights and the separate creations. It would not be comprehensive unless all its details stand in it equally. For the intention here is that everything connected in any way with evil must turn back to good so that through this complete return, the truth of His unity will be revealed and manifest. Accordingly, if any aspect of these details is lacking, the overal intention -- the revelation of this unity -- remains unfulfilled.
For in this way, everything in creation exists only for the glory of the Creator. This is the intent of the verse, "HaShem has made everything for His own purpose" (Proverbs 16:4). As I told you above,the common purpose of all the creations is for the sake of the Supreme Glory. In this are included all the creations, the good and the bad... For the unity is revealed through the good creations because the good in them is strengthened, just as it is revealed through the bad ones, because despite the fact that they are bad, they have to return to good.
...for everything is only one system and one single existence of a creation... For in accordance with the overall purpose as we have explained it, we can call everything that exists from the world of Nekudim and below one single existence such that all the different levels that we will discuss are nothing but parts of this overall existence ...that completes the revelation of the unity... For all of existence in all its parts is necessary in order for the Supreme Unity to be revealed to perfection. ...and glory of Eyn Sof blessed be He. For this is the definition of this entire matter: it is an existence made for the glory of Eyn Sof blessed be He, to reveal the glory of His unity through this existence.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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