What happened to the vessels when they were broken. The difference between the breaking and the repair.
During the time when the vessels were broken, the power of government was taken from them. They also did not stand arranged in a complete form. Rather, they were various kinds of incomplete powers that were unfitted to carry out any function. And their source maintained them in this state until a new radiation came that was to complete them and give them form and function.
Having explained what happened when the vessels broke, we must now explain what happened thereafter.
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: During the time when the vessels were broken... This explains in general terms what happened to the vessels during the time when they were broken. Part 2: And their source... This explains difference between the breaking and the repair.
Part 1: During the time when the vessels were broken, the power of government was taken from them. The concept of being broken applies to things that are unfit to carry out their function. This has two meanings that are both really one. For as you have already heard, the Sefirot are the underlying measures of all that exists (i.e. of the separate realms and beings) and the Sefirot themselves are also the laws of government. In other words, it is the separate creations that are subject to the governmental order, while the Sefirot are the laws of the governmental order itself. Thus when one part holds sway over the creations, it results in one type of government, and when a different part holds sway, the result is a different type of government.
Thus when the Supreme Mind made the calculation of how the creations would exist in an unrectified state, when strict Judgment is unmitigated, the consequence of this was quite evident: only defects could exist in these creations -- the creations themselves were damaged. The creations then appeared as if they had lost their ability to carry out their good function, and only their bad parts ruled over them, causing damage to their intrinsic form. Corresponding to this state of destruction on the level of the creations, what we see above (on the level of the Sefirot in their broken state) is faulty laws of government that are unable to accomplish anything. This is the destruction and ruin explained earlier (see Opening 37, Part 1), which did not allow the good laws to operate, with corresponding effects on the creations.
They also did not stand arranged in a complete form. Breaking means two things. It means that the vessel is unfit to carry out its work (the Sefirah does not have the power to govern), and also that its form or structure is imperfect. The one results from the other. It is because of the imperfection in its form that it is unfit for its work. Sometimes a thing can break in such a way that it retains a form fit for some other work. However, when the breakage is very great, it is left in no form for any kind of work. The breaking of the vessels was a breakage that left no form whatever, in the sense that the broken vessels were the measure of the creations when in a state of existence lacking all repair. In their broken state, the vessels themselves are governmental laws that are unable to execute any creative function (פעולה של הויה, pe-ulah shel havayah).
Rather, they were various kinds of incomplete powers that were unfitted to carry out any function. It is not that the creative powers and laws (הויות וחוקים, havayot ve-chukim) ceased to exist. They existed, but they could not function in any way at all because of the great damage and destruction, which they could not escape. Thus they existed, but they lacked what they needed in order to be able to function.
Part 2: And their source maintained them in this state... For they did not cease to exist, which means that their source -- the lights -- were in existence, and the source maintained them in existence, except that it kept them in existence in a state of disrepair, and they were given no repair until the arrival of a new radiation, as it goes on to say.
...until a new radiation came... For this was only one state, as discussed earlier (see Opening 36 Part 2) in connection with the mystery of the scattered sparks (which kept the broken vessels in existence). Afterwards, the Supreme Will wanted to complete and perfect the Form of Man in all its aspects. It was then that a new radiation came to complete them, this being the name of MaH, as will be discussed later.
...that was to complete them... through giving them proper existence. This is the mystery of the selection and purification, whereby the name MaH sifted out and gathered to itself parts of BaN, as will be discussed later. ...and give them form and function. This is their state of existence as the Partzufim, which were made afterwards through the mystery of rectification, as will be discussed below.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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