Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
Back-to-Back - and the Separation to come Face-to-Face
The state of Back-to-Back is one of excitation of Strengths that flash forth and attach themselves to one another while the Faces have no function or power and do not turn to shine to one another. And then the influence that needs to descend even at that time gains sway - but it gains sway in that mode of flashing excitation. This requires the Separation in order to leave all the Strengths to Nukva and to complete the Male on all his levels so as to sweeten and repair her.
We will now complete our discussion of Nukva's different states in relation to Zeir Anpin.
The proposition consists of two parts: Part 1: The state of Back-to-Back. This explains the concept of Back-to-Back. Part 2: This requires. This is the repair that brings them Face-to-Face.
Part 1: The state of Back-to-Back is one of excitation of Strengths. The concepts of the Face and Back were discussed earlier (see Opening 76). The Face consists of those lights that shine to their receivers, while the Back consists of lights that do not shine to those looking there. Every level includes both aspects. All that shines comes from the category of Kindnesses, while that which does not shine comes from the category of Strengths. When we say Back-to-Back it means that the aspects of Zeir Anpin and Nukva that do not shine are both aroused at once.
.that flash forth and attach themselves to one another. When one aspect or function becomes linked with another, the lights are said to be attached to one another. The government is then the product of this concentration of Judgments and as a result is one of Harsh Judgment.
.while the Faces have no function or power. In the state of Back-to-Back the lights of the Face do not hold sway. Instead of the lights cooperating with one another to radiate in a revealed manner and generate repair, the state of Back-to-Back is one in which two different kinds of Judgments are aroused - Judgments of the Male and Judgments of the Female - but not in a constructive, orderly manner.
.and do not turn to shine to one another. In terms of the archetypal man, the state of Back-to-Back was when Adam and Eve were attached together in this way and did not see one another. Similarly on the level of the Partzufim, the state of Back-to-Back is one in which the lights do not turn to one another in due order to receive what they need for their completion. Instead they all flash at once with no coordination whatever (like two people both talking at once).
The intention of the rectified order was first to reveal the different levels of government stage by stage, showing all their various aspects and how they develop separately - Kindness by itself and Judgment by itself - and then afterwards to reveal the balance of right and left. For balance is only possible when there are two different sides - the right, Kindness, and the left, Judgment. However in this Back-to-Back state of excitation, everything flashes at once - making it impossible for the government to be revealed in a graded, orderly way. Zeir Anpin and Nukva both operate with Judgment, and there is no balance or coupling.
And then the influence that needs to descend even at that time gains sway. Influence needs to come down all the time, but in order to be properly attuned it must descend in an orderly way - as explained - from the male to the female. The influence must be channeled through the successive revelation of all the powers as linked together in the chain of development from the head all the way to the end of the Male and from there to the Female. When the two operative Partzufim are joined with one another in a state of repair - i.e. Face-to-Face - this makes the lights join together and interact so as to be revealed in coordination.
However in the state of Back-to-Back they are like two flames flashing at once but each closed up in itself so that neither reveals its lights. Influence must come down, because without it the world could not survive at that time. But the influence is incomplete and is not properly attuned. The excitation causes a surge of influence, but the influence is one of Judgment, which sustains the creations in a limited way with no radiation of the Face whatever, as the proposition continues:
.but it gains sway in that mode of flashing excitation. In other words, not with a full radiation.
Part 2: This requires the Separation. Initially the government is such that the full force of Judgment flashes forth but with no preparation of the powers required to enable the operative Partzufim to modulate and channel the influence in an orderly way (i.e. in stages culminating in Coupling).
Afterwards Abba and Imma must complete the repair of this root - i.e. the Back-to-Back state of Zeir and Nukva. Their repair follows a specific order corresponding to Zeir and Nukva's functions in the government on the sides of Kindness and Judgment respectively. All the powers are then properly divided with the Kindness on one side - Zeir Anpin - and the Judgment on the other side - Nukva. This leads to an orderly government in which Kindness has its full effect and Strength has its full effect. And afterwards they join together to operate in consensus in the proper way.
.in order to leave all the Strengths to Nukva. Zeir Anpin gives Nukva his original back parts, which all thus remain as levels of Nukva, whose government is based on Judgment. Instead of them, other new aspects are found in Zeir Anpin stemming from Kindness, and even his back parts - which Zeir Anpin receives anew from Abba - are in the category of Kindness.
The reason why Zeir Anpin and Nukva were initially joined together was because in truth all these aspects belong to Nukva, which is made up of Strengths, except that before the Separation Zeir Anpin was also using some of them to serve as his back parts because his own powers of Kindness were not yet sufficiently repaired to be able to rule and function. This is the secret of the verse: "You forgot (Heb. TeShi) the Rock that gave birth to you" (Deuteronomy 32:18) -"His power weakened (Heb. TaShaSh) like a female" (Brachot 32a; cf. Rashi on Numbers 11:15).
The essential underlying foundation of all this is that even Zeir Anpin is rooted in Imma, as discussed in connection with the Primordial Kings (see Opening 52). Imma's strengths - which are female aspects - are the root of the Primordial Kings, from which Zeir Anpin is built. This is the secret of the verse: "Everything was from the dust" (Ecclesiastes 3:20). The reason why men's sins cause such great damage is that they bring things back to this root of Back-to-Back. Zeir Anpin and Nukva then both remain rooted in this female aspect. This is why the Rabbis pointedly said, "His power weakened like a female".
Afterwards Zeir Anpin's own intrinsic aspects become truly revealed, and he then leaves all the female aspects to Nukva, giving her his back parts, while asserting himself in his own male aspects of Kindness - so that even his back parts are then in the category of Kindness. These Kindnesses come to him through MaH from Abba - from all the places on the right, which is the Male aspect. Zeir Anpin then truly has the power to govern and couple in the proper way, as the proposition goes on to say.
.and to complete the Male on all his levels. Zeir Anpin must take his male aspects so that he and Nukva can come back Face-to-Face with one another so as to be mutually repaired with all their powers fully revealed with abundant light. This is the mystery of the Radiation of the Face (Heb. he'arat panim). Zeir Anpin then acts to sweeten the Nukva, as the proposition continues: .so as to sweeten and repair her.
The sum of the matter is that Zeir and Nukva derive from Imma's Strengths, which are female. Initially Zeir Anpin's power is therefore not like that of a male but weakened like that of a female. Coupling - which channels the light through the entire chain of development - would then be highly dangerous, because excess influence improperly channeled gives nourishment to the unholy forces.
Accordingly Zeir and Nukva do not then look each other in the face so as to reveal their powers in the full sequence of cause and effect until the influence flows only after all due preparation and with goodwill. Instead all that is seen are the female aspects, which the Male and Female use together in one surge of excitation - yet both of them are still fully closed up. Until Abba and Imma come and repair Zeir Anpin, distributing the powers in the proper way with Kindness alone on one side and Strength alone on the other. All the female aspects are now left exclusively to Nukva while all the male aspects are renewed in Zeir Anpin. He then receives the power to sweeten and repair the Nukva as well by Coupling, as will be discussed presently.
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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