Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
The Inner and Encompassing Mental Powers: the Tzelem
The entire array of Mental Powers with which Abba and Imma adorn Zeir Anpin all make up one entity of Ten Sefirot. This entity is unsuited to enter into Zeir Anpin because of the disparity in their respective levels - with the sole exception of its Netzach-Hod-Yesod, while the rest stays outside encompassing Zeir Anpin above his head. This entire entity is the TZeLeM (Heb. Tzelem). The letter Tzadde is the Netzach-Hod-Yesod: this specifically is what spreads to all levels of Zeir Anpin. What remains outside is the Lamed-Mem. These do not need to spread; rather they stand only in the mystery of Kindness-Judgment-Mercy, which are the basis of the entire governmental order.
Having discussed the Mental Powers that enter into Zeir Anpin, we will now discuss a related matter: the encompassing levels above them.
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: The entire array. This presents a fundamental premise about the Mental Powers. Part 2: This entire entity. This explains this premise in detail.
Part 1: The entire array of Mental Powers with which Abba and Imma adorn Zeir Anpin. Every aspect of the supreme lights divides into ten parts - Ten Sefirot. Thus the Mental Powers that actually enter into Zeir Anpin certainly divide into ten, because they enter into all his Ten Sefirot. (These are really nine since Malchut of Zeir Anpin is merely an adjunct of his Yesod - its Corona - while the essential Malchut of Zeir Anpin is Nukva.)
However, if we examine all these ten in relation to another phenomenon found in Zeir Anpin - his encompassing lights - we find that these ten (Netzach-Hod-Yesod as they divide up into the Ten Sefirot of the interior lights) are only one part of a single whole entity - the Ten Sefirot of the overall Mental Powers, which divide into two parts. This entity as a whole is the crowning adornment (Heb. ateret) that Zeir Anpin receives from Abba or Imma. The two parts of which it consists are the Interior and Encompassing Mental Powers. When we take them together as two parts of the one overall entity, we divide the entire entity into only Ten Sefirot, whose Netzach-Hod-Yesod then divide up in turn into the Ten Sefirot that actually enter into Zeir Anpin, while its Chochmah-Binah-Daat and Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet remain outside.
.all make up one entity of Ten Sefirot. The proof of this is that as soon as we examine these encompassing levels, we see that they too are drawn to Zeir Anpin from Abba and Imma in order to adorn him with their crowns. We can thus immediately infer that the entire array of Mental Powers make up a single overall entity of which the internal and encompassing lights are two parts.
This entity is unsuited to enter into Zeir Anpin because of the disparity in their respective levels. Only Netzach-Hod-Yesod of this entity are on the same level as Zeir Anpin, enabling him to receive them as his interior Neshamah. But the power of its Chochmah-Binah-Daat and Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet is in excess of what is needed for the Neshamah in Zeir Anpin's vessel - because everything follows the principle of gradation.
.with the sole exception of its Netzach-Hod-Yesod. For the same relationship always holds whereby the lowest part of the upper level is what becomes the interior soul of the lower level. Only Netzach-Hod-Yesod of the upper Partzuf can enter into the lower Partzuf because this alone can descend to the level of the lower Partzuf so as to serve as its inner soul. Thus only Netzach-Hod-Yesod of the overall entity enter into Zeir Anpin.
.while the rest stays outside. Zeir Anpin is unable to receive it within him because the light would be too close to the vessel and in excess of what the vessel is capable of concealing and holding within limits.
.encompassing Zeir Anpin above his head. Although unable to enter, the light shines over him and does not leave him, except that it does not come as close as the inner light but stands like one guarding him from above.
Part 2: This entire entity is the TZeLeM (Heb. Tzelem). It is called the Tzelem ("image") because this is none other than the "image of God" in which Adam was made (Genesis 1:27), and the very letters of the word signify the intrinsic essence of this entity.
The letter Tzadde of Tzelem is the Netzach-Hod-Yesod. For the three letters of the word Tzelem signify the three levels into which its Ten Sefirot divide. The lowest is that of Netzach-Hod-Yesod, which is here called the Interior Mental Powers. The second level is that of Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet: this is the First Encompassing Level. The third level of the Ten Sefirot of Tzelem is that of Keter-Chochmah-Binah-Daat, which is the Second Encompassing Level.
.this specifically is what extends to all the levels of Zeir Anpin. This is shown by the numerical value of the letters themselves, because the Interior Mental Powers spread into the nine Sefirot of Zeir Anpin in order to direct them all, and this is signified in the letter Tzadde, which has the numerical value of 90.
What remains outside is the Lamed-Mem. The Lamed (=30) signifies Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet, while the Mem (=40) signifies Keter-Chochmah-Binah-Daat.
These do not need to spread. As we have said, Netzach-Hod-Yesod divide up into nine Sefirot through the mystery of Tzadde. However these remain as they are - three as the Lamed and four as the Mem. For they cannot spread into the Ten Sefirot of Zeir Anpin but rather they stand as whole entities, though still ordered on the basis of Kindness-Judgment-Mercy. For Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferet clearly stand on the basis of Kindness-Judgment-Mercy, and the same is true of Keter-Chochmah-Binah-Daat, for in this case the intermediary divides into two - an upper one, Keter, and a lower one, Daat, which consists of both Kindnesses and Strengths. Thus the proposition goes on to state:
.rather they stand only in the mystery of Kindness-Judgment-Mercy, which are the basis of the entire governmental order. For they cannot be any less than this as they encompass the entire governmental order.
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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