Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
The coupling of Abba and Imma - root of Zeir Anpin's Mental Powers - is constant; that of Israel Sabba and Tevunah - which transfer them to Zeir Anpin - is periodic.
The interactive coupling of Abba and Imma above is continuous so as not to interrupt the proper functioning of the Mental Powers at root. However, through Israel Sabba and Tevunah the Mental Powers extend to produce Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin in the order that befits him.
Having discussed Abba and Imma in themselves, let us now examine their coupling.
The interactive coupling of Abba and Imma above is continuous so as not to interrupt the proper functioning of the Mental Powers at root.
As discussed earlier, the governmental order depends on the Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin. It is these Mental Powers that are liable to "ascend" (to be enhanced) or "descend" (to be diminished) as required for the functioning of reward and punishment in the world according to men's deeds. And the strength of the flow of influence into the world is in proportion to the strength of these Mental Powers.
However, it must be understood that for any given light to carry out its function, its source must be strong and enduring. The light may then spread forth or not depending on what is required - but it cannot go out of existence altogether at a certain time such as to require literally a new creation at some other time in order to produce the same light. In these terms, Abba and Imma are the very source and root of the Mental Powers of Zeir Anpin, and this root must not be impaired. However, the role of Israel Sabba and Tevunah is to bring the Mental Powers into Zeir Anpin. Since the Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin are subject to ascents and descents, the coupling of Israel Sabba and Tevunah is not constant.
It could be objected that in the teachings of the ARI of blessed memory we seem to find the opposite - that the coupling which produces the Mental Powers is not continuous, while the coupling that channels vitality to the worlds is continuous (see Etz Chayim, Shaar Hazivugim ch. 1).
The answer is that here we are talking about qualities possessed by the Partzufim that enable them to function properly in the governmental order rather than about the actual functioning of the Partzufim in itself. For the lights descend level by level in the chain of development as required by the governmental order. The Mental Powers contained in Zeir Anpin are the foundation of the overall governmental order of Justice based on Kindness-Judgment-Mercy. All the rest of the Partzuf of Zeir Anpin - Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet and Netzach-Hod-Yesod - follows accordingly, but the essential root is the Mental Powers. Understand that we are now talking not about the functioning but rather about the nature the actual lights themselves on various different levels - i.e. about the role of each light in the governmental order, not how it actually executes that role or function.
When the overall light reaches the level to produce Chochmah-Binah-Daat in Zeir Anpin - this being the level of Abba and Imma - it can then be said to have reached the stage of setting the governmental order on its proper foundation. However, while the role of Abba and Imma is to produce this Chochmah-Binah-Daat in Zeir Anpin, Abba and Imma are still only the root, because the light is not yet on the level required for the actual government of the world. The actual transfer of Chochmah-Binah-Daat to Zeir Anpin is accomplished by Israel Sabba and Tevunah.
In accordance with the principle that each function has a root, Abba and Imma -which are the root of Chochmah-Binah-Daat in Zeir Anpin - have their own root above. This is Chochmah S'tima'ah, which contains the root of Kindness-Judgment-Mercy, and this is what produces Abba and Imma - the general and the particular. Abba's entire function is bound up with Kindness-Judgment-Mercy, but as one whole, whereas Imma differentiates Kindness-Judgment-Mercy into their particulars - yet Imma is still called a root. This root subsequently extends further in order to fix the governmental order of Justice in Zeir Anpin on its proper foundation by producing Zeir Anpin's Mental Powers in him. This institutes the governmental order in its proper place with a degree of power suited to the worlds.
Accordingly we said that the coupling of the supreme Abba and Imma - which are Kindness-Judgment-Mercy only at root - is continuous, because Abba and Imma are in a continuous state of repair, being a revelation of the underlying unity of MaH and BaN (the perfection that must be attained in the end). Likewise all the benefits produced by their coupling are continuous.
However the function of Israel Sabba and Tevunah is to extend downwards for the sake of Zeir Anpin, and they are thus closer to the level of the Zeir Anpin (which is subject to ascents and descents, immaturity and maturity etc.) The state of repair in Israel Sabba and Tevunah is accordingly not continuous. On the contrary, when there is no need for any new action - i.e. to generate new Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin - Israel Sabba and Tevunah merely transfer influence already prepared and rectified at root through the coupling of Abba and Imma to channel vitality to the worlds. In this case, the Mental Powers transferred by Israel Sabba and Tevunah derive from the previous coupling.
However, when new Mental Powers are required in Zeir Anpin, Israel Sabba and Tevunah must also be included in the process of coupling that produces them since they have to take the new aspect produced through the coupling and bring it down into Zeir Anpin. (In this case Israel Sabba and Tevunah do not simply transfer influence from Abba and Imma but extend and join with them as they couple, thereby forming one Partzuf.) But when Israel Sabba and Tevunah function in Zeir Anpin through being clothed therein, there is certainly no need for them to couple - involving new arousal and excitement - because they then serve only to channel influence from Abba and Imma. The latter, however, are the very root of Kindness-Judgment-Mercy, and accordingly their interactive coupling must be in a constant state of repair.
In sum: we must distinguish between the intrinsic nature of these Partzufim on the one hand and their actual functioning on the other. Their intrinsic nature as the root of the Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin remains constant, but their functioning - to spread and actually transfer the Mental Powers to Zeir Anpin - is not constant but depends on men's deeds. Nevertheless, they function in accordance with their intrinsic nature. The coupling that channels vitality to the worlds derives from the root of the governmental order (Abba and Imma), which is always in a state of repair. However the coupling that produces new Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin - i.e. when Chochmah and Binah, Israel Sabba and Tevunah join together - has as its purpose the spread of these powers to the lower realms. And since it depends on men's deeds, it is therefore not constant.
However, through Israel Sabba and Tevunah the Mental Powers spread forth to produce Mental Powers in Zeir Anpin in the order that befits him. Their purpose is to bring the government from the root to its proper place.
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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