Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
AV is Arich Anpin, the root of AV, SaG, MaH and BaN -- Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva.
When two or more names reach the same numerical total through different pathways, it is understood that this is a single essential root with which each one must be joined. Each follows its own pathway, but at the end of its winding and turning, this is where it reaches. And this is the mystery of the name of AV (72), which is contained in the four names of AV, SaG, MaH and BaN. For while each one has its own individual pathway, they all arrive at this. This shows that it is one essential root which all of them must reach, each one in its own way. And the truth is that this comes from Arich Anpin, from which Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva emerge. Thus Arich is one single AV whose four Yuds bring forth AV, SaG, MaH and BaN. And each one of them must arrive at the meaning indicated by its root, which is the name of AV, and this is the strongest power they contain.
We have explained that the vessels continued to exist during the time when they were not functioning, and later (Opening 57) we will discuss how this came about through the order of the 288 sparks. We must now explain some general matters that need to be understood first. (For an explanation of the four main expansions of HaVaYaH, see the note at the beginning of Opening 22.)
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: When two or more... This sets forth the general principle involved here. Part 2: And the truth... This explains how that principle applies in the matter under consideration.
Part 1: When two or more names reach the same numerical total through different pathways... For each name can only expand in accordance with its constituent letters and the particular way in which they become "filled", and if so, they must necessarily follow different pathways in order to reach the same total. For we are not now talking about cases where the sums of the numerical values of the constituent letters of various names are simply equal, because this has a different significance: it is then clear that the names in question are related to one another in terms of their number, and both are involved in a total number of functions identical to the simple numerical value of the names. Here, however, we are dealing with a phenomenon that signifies something different, inasmuch as we see a single total which the various names can reach only by expanding in different ways. (The numerical values of the various expansions are not simply equal, but different numerical operations must be performed in order for them to reach the same total, as explained in greater detail below.)
...it is understood that this is a single essential root with which each one must be joined. For as you have already heard, number is not merely arbitrary and without reason. Quite the contrary, it is of great significance since it shows the number of powers that join together in the function in question. The reason for any given number of powers is bound up with the type of control exercised by the different levels that rule in the function in question, as already discussed in connection with the subject of the "trees" (see Opening 31). For the rule of one level gives rise to one array of powers as signified by the particular expansion associated with it, while the rule of another level gives rise to a different array and expansion. According to the expansion, so are the functions that emerge in the same numbers on those different levels. Thus when two names are seen to arrive at the same total, it is understood immediately that this number is one essential order which the other levels have to reach. (Since this number is an essential root, it is also essential in the other names. Thus not only the expansion of AV but also all the other expansions eventually reach the total of 72=CHeSSeD, showing that the root of all the different governmental orders is Kindness.)
Each follows its own pathway, but at the end of its winding and turning, that is where it reaches. Two things are involved here. (1) Each expansion follows own individual pathway according to the different aspects that emerge from it, because each one gives rise to numerous effects and has great ramifications in the governmental order. (2) Nevertheless, all the different effects and ramifications lead eventually to the same goal, which is determined by one power that holds overall sway over all those different expanded names in all their ramifications.
And this is the mystery of the name of AV (=72), which is contained in the four names of AV, SaG, MaH and BaN. This is already quite clear from the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and the holy ARI. For each of the four names contains 72 in a different way.
In the case of the expansion of AV itself, 72 is the simple sum of the numerical values of its constituent letters. In the case of SaG (=63), we reach 72 by also reckoning an additional ten units for the ten individual letters of the expansion aside from their numerical value. (63 + 10 = 73; the extra unit is the kolel signifying the overall unity.) In the case of MaH (=45), we reach 72 when we reckon the numerical value of the simple name (=26) without adding units for the letters. Thus 45 + 26 = 71 (and one extra unit for the kolel brings the total to 72). In the case of BaN (=52), we reach the total of 72 when we reckon the fourfold form (ריבוע, ribu'a) of the name, i.e. Yud (10) + Yud-Heh (15) + Yud-Heh-Vav (21) + Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (26) = 72.
For while each one has its own individual pathway, they all arrive at this. As we have just said, in order to reach this total, different calculations are necessary in each case.
This shows that it is one essential root which all of them must reach, each one in its own way. This means that it was necessary overall (and not only in connection with our present subject of the fall of the 288 sparks) that these names should exhibit this phenomenon, while it has a particular significance in the present connection notwithstanding all the other reasons for the numerical values of each of the different expansions as explained in the writings of Rabbi Chaim Vital. For how could it be pure chance and for no reason that each of the different expansions has a way of reaching the total of 72? This must certainly have significance, for we see that it has to be this way. On the contrary, we find so many reasons for it to work out this way that there must necessarily be some underlying internal cause.
Part 2: And the truth is that this comes from Arich Anpin, from which Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva emerge. This is bound up with the underlying mystery contained in the teaching in the Idra Zuta (p. 288a) that "only the Torch is found by itself". It is impossible to compare the relationship that Abba, Imma, Zeir and Nukva have with Arich Anpin to the relationship that Zeir and Nukva have with Abba and Imma. Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva are all of levels that clothe Arich Anpin, for Abba and Imma clothe Arich from the throat to the navel, just as Zeir and Nukva clothe Arich from the navel and below. Arich Anpin, however, cannot be said to clothe a particular level, since it is one Partzuf that encompasses the entire universe from the top all the way to the bottom, while Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva are all branches of it and clothe it.
And the truth is that, as taught by the ARI, nine Sefirot of Arich Anpin are called essential roots of Atzilut, while all the other Partzufim are branches of Arich (see Etz Chayim, Shaar Arich Anpin ch. 2). Accordingly we must consider them two levels: Atika Kadisha (the "Holy Ancient One") is Arich Anpin, while the other four Partzufim are together called the "name of Atika", as explained in the Idra (ibid.).
Thus Arich is one single AV whose four Yuds bring forth AV, SaG, MaH and BaN. For we see that there are these four names of AV, SaG, MaH and BaN, which are respectively Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva, but we find no name for Arich Anpin, and sometimes AV is Arich Anpin. The explanation is that there is a name AV that is the essential root of all the other four names, which issue forth from its four Yuds. For we already know that each Yud indicates a Havayah, as stated in the Tikkuney Zohar. And this overall AV is Arich Anpin, and from the four Yuds emerge AV, SaG, MaH and BaN, which are Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva.
And each one of them must arrive at the meaning indicated by its root, which is the name of AV... For they are surely four garments or branches of Arich Anpin in that each one performs its own separate function, and accordingly each one of them has a name of its own signifying its individual function. But in one respect they are all equal, and this is that they emerge from a single root and are thus four different particulars emerging from one root. And this is precisely what they must show -- that their individual functions all emerge from the same root. This is why each one in its own individual way, according to its intrinsic nature, must arrive at the meaning indicated by its root, which is the name of AV.
...and this is the strongest power they contain. For the fact that the root is visible in the branches shows how the root and branch are joined together. Clearly the strongest power in Abba and Imma, Zeir and Nukva is the fact of their being attached to Arich Anpin, which is the root. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, since the root is the source, as long as the branch is attached to it, the root sends into it a great power of endurance. Secondly, since Arich Anpin itself is the great and awesome root that is beyond the reach of any flaw or damage -- because the Other Side does not reach there in any way -- accordingly, when Arich Anpin radiates in the branches, its attachment to them certainly puts great power in them through the very great power which it possesses.
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by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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