The production of evil and its future return to good. Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah became Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah but will later turn back into Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah.
That these vessels or garments should be the root of evil is not in itself an impairment, for on the contrary, this is the perfection of the creation according to the underlying intention -- to reveal the supreme unity of God, blessed be He. However, at first they were the root of evil -- which was actual evil. This evil must be turned back to good through the repairs carried out by men, and it will itself be to the glory of the King that men thereby attained merit.
In order to accomplish this in actuality, it was necessary for these garments to provide a place for it to come into being. This was through the selection and gradation that took place among them, until only the very last level of Malchut of Asiyah was left to produce it, and Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turned into Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. And when it is rectified and turned back to good, things return to the way they were at first, and there is no longer any need for it to exist in actuality, for it is sufficient tit once existed and has now been rectified. This is the meaning of the verse, "He has consumed death for ever" (Isaiah 25:8). And then Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turn back into Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah, and the last part of Malchut of Asiyah becomes integrated with its whole, and the supreme Atzilut of the generality of the Nekudim is revealed. The garments will then remain as the root of the evil that once existed but was rectified and brought back to good. Eyn Sof blessed be He will then be said to have completed His works, and He alone will be exalted in His unity.
Having said that these worlds will go back to being subsidiary to Atzilut in the form of its "garments", we must now complete our explanation of this matter and of how Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turned into Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah and must finally return to being Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah.
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: That these vessels... This explains what these garments were like before they produced evil and what they were like afterwards. Part 2: And in order to accomplish this in actuality... This explains the process that took place in accordance with this basic principle.
Part 1: That these vessels or garments should be the root of evil... Clearly, since they produced evil when they ruled by themselves, they are certainly like this in their nature. Yet this ...is not in itself an impairment... For if it were an impairment, the vessels would have to be nullified just like evil itself is nullified in the end. For just as the perfection that removes all deficiences removes evil itself, so to it would have to remove this impairment, which is a deficiency inasmuch as it is the cause of evil. Except that it is not an impairment, as it goes on to explain, and therefore they will endure.
...for on the contrary, this is the perfection of the creation according to the underlying intention -- to reveal the supreme unity of God, blessed be He. For the entire purpose was to demonstrate His true perfection by first showing exactly what the deficiencies are, so that through seeing their very power we may understand the nature of His true perfection, in that it removes these deficiencies. If there were to be nothing left in the very end to show what it was that had been deficient, what would have been gained from the entire existence of the world? The perfection would go back to what it was at first (had there been no evil) -- His intrinsic perfection alone, for He is perfect -- but this would not enable us to discern the real truth of this perfection as we should, through seeing its power to rectify the deficiencies. (The fact that the garments remain as the cause of evil is called a deficiency, but the fact that His perfection does not permit the evil to develop reveals the superiority of that perfection.)
However, at first they were the root of evil -- which was actual evil. Certainly when this root of evil had to come into being in order to demonstrate God's perfection, the initial purpose of its existence was to give existence to deficiencies through the concealment of that perfection. Afterwards, however, when the deficiencies are repaired, this root remains in order to show how that which was originally a deficiency has already been rectified. We will then see clearly the order and pathway whereby the deficiencies were rectified through the revelation of the perfection, which gradually, little by little, became continually more revealed, and likewise rectifies the deficiencies in the same gradual way.
All this can be seen and understood through this root. Initially it was the root of evil in the sense of actual evil. In other words, if evil carries out the evil incitement that is within its power, this is called actual evil. But when it is evil in its intrinsic nature yet it contains within it that which rectifies it -- in the sense that it can no longer do evil -- this is called evil that has turned back to good, because it has literally changed its function. Initially it was actual evil inasmuch as its own intrinsic nature was such that wherever it was found, it obstructed the flow of blessing and sustenance. However, when it turns back to good, it greatly increases the flow of sustenance and blessing in the place where it is found, and the flow of sustenance is in proportion to the intensity of the original evil. (The revelation of His unity is all the greater and the stature of those who choose good is enhanced.)
This is rightly so: the very evil that was so strong in its nature yet was nevertheless overcome by man is itself man's own witness to argue in his favor and show his merit. The stronger the evil, the greater the merit that is revealed through the power of the person who overcame it. The same applies in the case of the overall perfection. As long as evil is still not repaired, it is, as it were, a stain on the honor of the King. However, after evil is brought under control through the supreme unity, which rectifies the damage, evil itself turns back to show the glory of the King, as if to say: "See how such great evil is powerless to do anything because of the perfection of the One Master". Thus the evil itself returns to good and the flow of blessing is greatly increased, because the essential flow of blessing is that which comes from the revelation of God's unity, for this is the delight of the souls, as explained above.
These two aspects that we have mentioned -- the revelation of the glory of the King and man's merit -- are interconnected. For man's whole task is to reveal this unity, and when it is revealed, this is through the strong faith of the people of Israel, who believe in His unity and take courage in it even in the face of the worst troubles. Indeed, the entire practice of the commandments is bound up with the mystery of the revelation of the unity that started with the repair of the vessels, as discussed above. (The Holy One, blessed be He, started with the purification of the vessels, and man completes the process through carrying out the commandments. Then God can shine to the vessels, and this is the revelation of His unity.)
Evil thus has two functions. The first is at the start of its existence, when it produces every kind of deficiency and is, as it were, a stain on the glory of the King. Wherever it exists, it reduces the flow of blessing, and then it is called actual evil. The second function is after it already exists, when unity has already taken control over it and the evil no longer acts but rather it is the unity that functions in its perfection. Evil itself then shows the glory of the great untity of the King, as if to say, "This is what the King overcame through His great perfection". Wherever the evil was greater, the flow of blessing is now greater, all according to the work and effort involved. Man's merit is then in direct proportion to the greatness of the evil rectified through his efforts.
This evil must be turned back to good... i.e. so as to serve a good purpose, as explained above. In other words, it must be the rectified deficiency itself that brings about a more powerful revelation of God's perfection. Indeed, the stronger the evil becomes, it is simply an indication that a greater perfection wants to be revealed. This is obvious. For the meaning of perfection is that it has the power to rectify the deficiencies. Thus the perfection is all the greater when it rectifies a greater deficiency. If so, when the Supreme Will wanted to reveal His very great perfection, it was first necessary to reveal a very great deficiency. This itself is part of the revelation of the perfection itself, for it is impossible to understand the perfection without the preceding deficiency, which the perfection rectifies. If so, when He wants to reveal His perfect, most glorious power, wherein the souls have the greatest delight, this is impossible without first revealing a very great deficiency. For according to the deficiency that is revealed, so is the level of the perfection that is revealed at the end, and through a greater deficiency, a more perfect power is revealed.
You cannot say it would have been better had there bno deficiency and if the good destined to reign in the end had existed from the beginning. This is not so, for perfection does not only mean good, it means the repair of deficiency. Thus if there had been no deficiency, the perfection would not have been revealed but only the good. However, the true delight of the souls is not in good but in perfection (for only when the deficiency is overcome can they rise to new levels of attainment), and this perfection is His unity, as explained above (see Opening 4).
...through the repairs carried out by men... For the Supreme Will made the revelation of His unity contingent on the repairs carried out by men, so that they should be the ones who finally reveal it. It is they who (through their performance of the commandments and through their faith) are to bring it about that the supreme unity will want to be revealed in actuality and to rule, showing that it is in His power to make evil turn back to good in the end. Not only do they receive a good reward for their deeds -- this is the good that is revealed -- but they even receive a reward for their effort. This is that they can enjoy the good without even feeling any shame.
We thus see that evil itself turns back to good, for it is evil that brings about this extra repair (through necessitating the extra effort). The supreme perfection then becomes known in the process, since this is what repairs all these deficiencies, these being the punishments of the wicked. (In time to come it will be revealed how the punishment served only the purpose of repair, and if so the unity will be revealed even through the judgment of the wicked.) For evil itself exists only because it was His desire to conceal Himself, and if they fail to improve their behavior, they have to endure suffering. (This shows that evil brings no benefit but only troubles.) More than that, at the end of everything, the unity is revealed and evil itself turns back to good, for the unity is revealed and the deficiencies are rectified.
...and it will itself be to the glory of the King that men thereby attained merit. The fact that the revelation of the unity is contingent on men's deeds contains another repair for evil itself. This is that even its existence in the category of actual evil is itself for the glory of the King, for this is what makes it possible for men to attain merit, since they were forced to work and make repairs in order to reveal the supreme unity. If there had been no actual evil, they would not have had any merit. Therefore, through the repairs carried out by man, the deficiencies themselves are repaired through the revelation of the unity and perfection. (For it is thereby revealed that the deficiencies were brought about for a good purpose -- to give men a reward.) Then even its previous existence in the category of actual evil turns out to have been good.
Part 2: In order to accomplish this in actuality, it was necessary for these garments to provide a place for it to come into being. As explained above, the Supreme Will wanted the individual details of the process to be distinct -- the deficiencies by themselves and the repair by itself.
This was through the selection and gradation that took place among them... For initially, even though the vessels were broken, as stated above, everything was only in the Sefirot prior to the emergence of separate creations. Thus where we say that evil was revealed, this was not actual evil itself -- the Other Side -- but rather, the roots of evil, i.e. the strict judgments and flaws of all different kinds found in the lights themselves. Actual evil itself emerged only afterwards, following the repair -- in other words, after all the levels were instituted in their repaired state as laws in the governmental order. It was then that they brought forth the separate creations and the Other Side emerged in accordance with these roots revealed when the vessels broke. It was the breaking of the vessels that involved the separation into levels that we discussed above (Opening 47), where each level in succession turned away from producing evil, leaving only the lowest level of Malchut of Asiyah to produce evil. It was this lowest level of Malchut of Asiyah that brought forth evil into actuality, with aspects corresponding to all the roots contained in it from all of the Sefirot. For this Malchut includes all those roots and brings out their function into actuality in the form of the Other Side itself.
In order to accomplish this, a major gradation into different levels was necessary in the fallen garments, and out of three they became four. Thus Malchut of Asiyah as it is now is only one part of the original Malchut of Asiyah, for the other parts rose higher and did not remain on the same low level. What this means is that since all the other levels were intent on separating themselves from the production of evil, they left only this level of Malchut of Asiyah to carry out this function, while all the other parts separated from it. They also all separated one from another (for example, part of Yetzirah rose to Beriyah, and so on), until Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turned into Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah.
The task of producing evil was thus left to the very last of all of these levels, which, being only a part of what should have been Malchut of Asiyah, was no longer of great stature. And when the production of evil is no longer necessary, this level will go back to being included with the other levels that separated from it, and all of them together will make up Malchut of Asiyah instead of only this lowest part. Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah will go back to being only Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah, and the supreme Atzilut will be revealed over them as it was before the breaking of the vessels. ("In time to come... the name of SaG will return to its original status, while the name of MaH will not operate" -- Etz Chayim, Shaar HaTikun ch. 3, p. 49b.)
...until only the very last level of Malchut of Asiyah was left to produce it... For the different levels are actually powers that spread forth one after the other, each power less than the one before. For the concealment is more intense in the second than in the first (since the second is closer to Malchut, which produces evil). And although "two hundred includes one hundred" and the lower level is included in the upper, the mission of the lower level is nevertheless not revealed there as long as the upper level functions and the concealment has not yet reached the necessary degree of intensity to produce the lower level. Thus as long as the lower level was included as part of the upper level, its offspring did not emerge.
Since the intention was to bring forth evil, the upper levels were in the process of separating from the lower levels, where there was a corresponding increase in the degree of concealment. This was precisely what distinguished them from the upper levels, because the concealment on the lower levels was so intense that evil could emerge from them, which was not the case on the earlier levels.
The explanation of all this is bound up with the idea discussed earlier that everything which acquires its own independent function acquires its own name. Accordingly, this lowest level should not have been a separate aspect in itself but should rather have been subordinate to the function of the other parts which departed from it, and then its mission would have been like theirs. Instead of producing evil, it would have served to complete the earlier levels. But clearly, the reason why we call this lowest level a level on its own is because the light found there is on a level lower than that of the previous level, even though initially the lower level also came into the overall category of the first. This is the gradation that we are saying took place here.
...and Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turned into Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. For this did not take place on only one level. Much gradation was necessary in order to reach the point where they became four: Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. For this Asiyah is very lowly -- so much so that it was Malchut of Asiyah -- its lowest level -- that producevil.
And when it is rectified and turned back to good, things return to the way they were at first... For you have already heard how evil exists in two states. The first is when it is actual evil -- carrying out the evil in its power. The second state is when these very functions of evil will have sunk down in their place and will not operate. Evil is then said to have turned back to good, as stated above. Evil will no longer function because of the perfection that will be revealed, and the return of evil to good brings a flow of great blessing. The final state of repair will be when evil will no longer exist in the state in which it performs evil. Aspects of evil will exist only in the sense of being negated: they will not function because of the revelation of the unity, which prevents them from functioning.
There is nothing that does not have a root, and every separate function must have a separate root. As discussed earlier, the garments are the levels in which the various aspects of evil are rooted, but while these garments contain the potential for evil to exist, the evil aspects do not exist in them in actuality. The outcome is in the balance. If the garments rule alone without being subordinate to Atzilut, this shows that the concealment is intensifying, and the concealment may become so intense that they produce actual evil. But as long as they are subordinate to Atzilut, this shows that the unity is still revealed and in control, and then the concealment does not intensify to the point that they produce actual evil.
As mentioned above, the root of the existence of evil in the sense of actual evil lies in the lowest level of Malchut of Asiyah. Thus when the Supreme Mind wanted to produce evil, this was done by hiding Atzilut from the garments. They then ruled independently, and the concealment intensified to the point where that lowly power emerged and evil came forth -- actual evil. And when the unity is once again revealed and asserts itself to rectify the damage, the state in which evil actively produces evil has to be negated. Accordingly, the particular power that produced it in actuality no longer needs to exist, and the concealment that brought it forth disappears. Rather, the garments exist in the same way as they did in the beginning, where evil has the potential to be actual evil, except that it does not come forth because of the unity that has returned and consumed it, and which no longer allows it to exist in the state of actual evil. This necessarily shows the functioning of the unity. (The unity is revealed only after the emergence of actual evil. Evil has the power to spread, and is prevented only through the revelation of the unity. Thus evil continues to exist in its sunken state in order to show the power of the unity.)
...and there is no longer any need for it to exist in actuality... Evil as such -- actual evil -- is not seen in the garments as something capable of acting. On the contrary, it does not exist because of the unity. ...for it is sufficient that it once existed and has now been rectified. Initially it had to come out, because we did not yet know what it is so as to thereby understand the true power of perfection. But now that it has already existed and has been rectified, it is sufficient that it should be seen to be the same evil that once existed and could still exist were it not for the unity. This shows that it is the unity that brings about the repair and does not permit evil.
This is the meaning of the verse, "He will consume death for ever" (Isaiah 25:8). This is exactly what we are saying, that the evil becomes absorbed in or "consumed by" its root. And then Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turn back into Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah... In other words, with the return of the state of repair in the future, the Nekudim will have to be as they were before the breaking of the vessels. This is obvious, because what happened when the vessels broke is that they fell to Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, which afterwards became Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. They were thus missing the true Atzilut, this being what existed before the vessels broke. And this is what will be revealed in the future. If so, these worlds must all go back to being Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah in relation to the true Atzilut that will then be revealed.
...and the last part of Malchut of Asiyah becomes integrated with its whole... For this part of Malchut is only one part of the original Malchut, from which this lowly Malchut emerged after the departure of the first Atzilut. In the future, this last part of Malchut will be included in the overall Malchut from which it emerged.
The distinguishing feature of all that happens in the time of the repair is that it comes to rectify everything that became damaged at the time of the breaking of the vessels. The damage caused by the breaking of the vessels was as follows. Firstly, the original Atzilut became concealed. Secondly, the garments fell and went down until Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah turned into Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. This resulted in the last part of Malchut of Asiyah being left to produce evil in the category of actual evil. Thirdly, all of the garments remained flawed because of their role in the production of evil. Even though the upper levels separated themselves from this function, they were not completely dissociated from it as long as their final level was still involved in it.
Correspondingly, in the complete repair, the existence of evil in the sense of actual evil is nullified. (Evil no longer functions as such but remains only to reveal the unity.) So too, the part of Malchut that produced actual evil is "consumed" and absorbed by the upper parts. This automatically negates the gradation whereby Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah became Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah, for this was brought about for the sole purpose of producing evil. Once Malchut is no longer producing evil, Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah revert to being only Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah, while the Atzilut that was concealed becomes revealed over them. They then remain as garments that are without flaws. At first they were the root of evil, and the unity was concealed from them to the point that they produced the evil rooted in them as actual evil. Now, however, the powers that previously brought forth evil no longer do so because of the unity that is already revealed, which turns evil back to good, so that evil no longer has any existence in the sense of actual evil.
...and the supreme Atzilut of the generality of the Nekudim is revealed... For now that only the worlds of Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah are left, Atzilut comes to complete them, for this itself is the repair: the reason why they were subsumed to become Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah is precisely in order to accept this Atzilut over them.
The garments will then remain as the root of the evil that once existed but was rectified and brought back to good. For their initial purpose was to produce evil through the concealment of the unity. Now, however, they serve as powers that could produce evil were it not for the unity, but which can no longer produce it in actuality precisely because of the unity. This way they truly reveal the unity, for the entire process is seen there just as it is: evil had existence when the powers inherent in the garments spread, but now it exists no longer because of the unity that is revealed over them.
Eyn Sof blessed be He will then be said to have completed His works... This is the whole cycle, for this entire cycle was required in order to reveal the unity, and when it is completed, all the work that had to be done is complete. From then on the unity will already have been revealed, and all subsequent ascents will be in accordance with the unity already revealed and will therefore follow a different path. This is the mystery of the rest (орезд, menuchah) enjoyed by the world in the seventh millennium. The whole process from the beginning of the concealment until the revelation of the unity takes place for the entire duration of the first six millennia. This whole process was precisely what was needed in order to demonstrate clearly thetruth of what was known already.
It was already known in the beginning that God's unity is the underlying truth (for "before the creation of the world, He was one and His name was one" -- Zohar Chadash, Bereishit 10, Pirkey d'Rabbi Eliezer ch. 3). However, the Eyn Sof wanted to reveal this unity with total clarity in order to demonstrate the greatness of His perfection. To do so, He had to produce a great work -- the concealment of this very perfection to the point that deficiencies would come into being, until in the very end it would again be revealed. This way, what existed from the very beginning is finally visible. It can then be said that He will be at rest from this work, having completed what He thought to do, and this primordial unity will then be revealed. From then on there will be eternal delight -- this is the delight of the souls in the demonstration of the truth. This is the true delight, as explained earlier (Opening 4). The revelation of His unity will raise man to ever greater heights, as planned in His hidden thought.
As you can see, there is a difference between the six thousand years and what comes afterwards. The entire six thousand years are one continuous cycle that goes around until it reaches the point from which it departed, namely the unity, for it was from there that the cycle travelled and that is where it will return, and then it will rest. This is the rest of the life eternal. What will be from then on is something different and follows a path quite unlike the present path (whereby the revelation of the unity comes about through man's service).
The coming of the Mashiach is the beginning of the revelation of the unity. This is the mystery contained in the verse, "Make us glad according to the days wherein You have afflicted us" (Psalms 90:15). For the days of Mashiach are parallel to all the deficiencies which existed in the past (not in terms of the duration of the concealment, but in the sense that the revelation of the unity will be in proportion to the intensity of the previous concealment). In that time until the end of the sixth millennium, the unity must reveal its power on every side, and all the deficiencies will thereby be rectified. At the end of the sixth millennium, after the great Day of Judgment, in which everything that was done will be seen clearly in its true light, the unity will be said to have again been revealed. This work will then be complete and the cycle will come to rest. From then on deeper interior aspects will become visible, these being the very roots of this process. These are things that are revealed after the unity has come to be known. They are the deepest roots of the order of government, which are presently completely beyond our grasp.
In the seventh millennium itself the very root of what existed in this world throughout the period of the cycle will be revealed. The six millennia thus constitute the mystery of the world of Nekudim, while their complete rectification in the seventh millennium constitutes the mystery of the world of Akudim. The latter also contains a vessel, except that it is entirely subject to the soul, as explained in its place. As you have already heard, what was done in Akudim is the root of what was to be afterwards in the world of Nekudim. However, in Akudim the unity was revealed in everything so that there was no place for any breaking of vessels or anything else of what was to be afterwards (after the creation of evil as a consequence of the breaking of the vessels). Accordingly, after the unity is revealed, it will be known what stood ready in the supreme order of government, even with the revelation of the unity, to lead to this matter. For the vessel was already revealed there, as stated above, and preparations were laid down there for what is to be later.
Afterwards the world will be renewed in a different way unrelated to these aspects bound up with Akudim (which is the world of the Mouth). From then on (above the Mouth, from the eighth millennium onwards) the levels of attainment will be entirely different, bringing amazing delight to the souls that gain such a revelation of the supreme perfection -- and this must suffice for now.
("In the seventh millennium, the bodies will rise to the level of the Akudim, where the body is subject to the soul... but the body is still discernible. However, in the eighth millennium, the body will be merged with the soul as at first, as in the lights of the Nose. In the ninth millennium, it will be merged with the soul as in the lights of the Ear, yet the body is still somewhat discernible. In the tenth, it will return to the level of the World to Come, which cannot be understood in any way " -- Ramchal, Pitchey Chochmah VaDaat p. 48.)
...and He alone will be exalted in His unity. This is the mystery of the verse, "And God will be exalted alone on that day" (Isaiah 2:11). This implies that until then He does not wish to act as the unitary Master but rather like a mighty hero who possesses great power, as explained above (Opening 30). This gave a place for the Other Side to presume to challenge and fight against this power. Afterwards things go differently when the Eyn Sof, blessed be He, acts in the unity of His power like the unitary Master, literally and actually. Then things like the accusations of the Other Side and the destruction caused by evil have no further relevance. God alone acts with His power and will. This is complete good, and everything is thus in its proper state of repair, wholeness and perfection.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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