Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
The Partzufim - male and female, and the differences between them
Some of the Partzufim are male and some are female. That is, some of them channel Kindness and some Judgment. Through their coupling, the flows are joined together, giving birth to the necessary action. For there is nothing that does not have the agreement of the two qualities of Kindness and Judgment. And there are certain differences in the lights of the male and female as well as a real difference in their law of operation. But as regards any difference in form - any real difference - this is found only in the lights that are involved in the channeling, namely the Yesods, for these are the ones that channel, and all the different parts of the Partzuf are drawn to them to channel forth in accordance with their law.
Having discussed the Partzufim and what they have in common, we must now explain in what respect they differ from one another.
This proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: Some of the Partzufim... This states in general terms in what respect the Partzufim differ from one another. Part 2: And there are certain differences... This explains where this difference lies.
Part 1: Some of the Partzufim are male and some are female. This is obvious, because the intention follows the principle of Balance (מתקלא, mat'k'la) - to repair everything through the mystery of male and female, as discussed earlier (Opening 65).
That is, some of them channel... For as you have already heard, the function of the Partzufim is to channel the light that originates from Eyn Sof, blessed be He, so that it should be drawn down continually through a chain of cause and effect.
That is, some of them channel Kindness and some Judgment. This has already been explained in connection with the mystery of MaH and BaN. The principle that underlies the flow of influence (השפעה, hashpa'ah) is that this flow must be a combination of Kindness and Judgment. There are three reasons for this. The first is that there has to be reward and punishment. The second reason is that the actual flow of sustenance (שפע, shefa) that needs to enter the world on all sides must come with the agreement of these two qualities. Where necessary, Judgment will agree with Kindness, and where necessary, the reverse. This way the government in its entirety extends to all that exists. Any place where it is proper to give sway to the influence of Kindness is within the reach of the influence of Kindness, while any place where it is necessary to give sway to Judgment is within the reach of the power of Judgment. However, both Kindness and Judgment are required to supervise all the details so that in a place where it is necessary to strengthen the one or the other, they will see to it to do so, whereas in a place where they must agree, they will see to it to agree.
The third reason why the flow of influence must be a combination of Kindness and Judgment is because the creations themselves include some that emerge from, display and reveal the root of Kindness while others derive from and allude to the side of Judgment. Both must exist continually. Even in a single creature, there are aspects that stem from the side of Kindness and aspects that stem from the side of Judgment. The same applies to MaH and BaN, as discussed earlier. Every creation must be a combination of these two factors, and each root must influence and sustain its offshoot.
Through their coupling, the flows are joined together... The purpose of coupling is so that the resultant influences should not emerge from two places in two different directions. Rather, the resultant influence will already be a combination of all these factors and will divide up afterwards down below to reach the necessary places.
...giving birth to the necessary action. After the combining of the influences is complete, the action goes forth. The reason is because there is no action whatever that will not include a share of both Kindness and Judgment, and therefore the action is only born out of these two influences after they have already been joined together.
For there is nothing that does not have the agreement of the two qualities of Kindness and Judgment. It is impossible to conceive of anything, however small, that is not a combination of these two. That is why every action requires all this in order to be able to come into being.
Part 2: And there are certain differences in the lights of the male and female... This is obvious, because the lights produce their effect according to their function, and if the effects are different we may infer that there is a difference in the lights - one is the light of Kindness while the other is the light of Judgment.
...as well as a real difference in their law of operation. The difference is not necessarily in the form of the lights but in their character. This is plainly visible in the human form: there are innate differences between males and females in aspects like voice, appearance, physical strength and so on. The root of all this must lie above.
But as regards any difference in form... As stated above, the difference is not in the form of the lights but rather in their character. On the contrary, they are equal inasmuch as they share the same overall form of the species. However, in their specific individual form there will certainly be a difference, except that it is a difference that is not tangible (e.g. the softer lines of the female face), as stated above.
- any real difference - we are not talking about a quantitive difference, one of more or less, but rather about a substantive difference. The only such difference is in their Yesods, as the proposition goes on to state.
...this is found only in the lights that are involved in the channeling... For each light functions according to its purpose, and its form is suited to its required function. The function changes according to the change in the form in which that function is rooted. Since different influences have to be drawn down, the lights involved in the channeling of the influence have to be different, which is why it is in their nature to draw down a different influence.
...namely the Yesods... In the human form it is obvious that there is a genuine and complete difference between the organs of reproduction of the male and female. This shows that it is here that the root of the difference lies, because aside from this, both male and female consist of 613 parts and other shared aspects. Where they differ is in the way they draw down their influence. The truth is that there is a difference between male and female in everything relating the Yesod. The proof case is that of the castrate (who has no beard etc. - a change in form that depends on the Yesod).
...for these are the ones that channel... This is obvious, for the function of the Yesod is only as "a river coming out from Eden" (Genesis 2:10) - drawing the influence to the necessary place.
...and all the different parts of the Partzuf are drawn to them to channel forth in accordance with their law. For the Yesods are aroused first, and in proportion to their arousal, so they draw forth influence from all the different parts of the Partzuf. The other limbs draw down influence from Eyn Sof above, until everything is drawn down to the Yesod, as will be discussed later in its proper place. All this is clearly visible in the human form. And since the entire channeling of influence depends upon the Yesods and the other limbs are subject to them in this respect, it is sufficient for the difference to be in the Yesods in order to bring about the necessary difference in the government.
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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