Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
Sefirah and Partzuf: government - overall and individual
Note: The Hebrew word Sefirah has the connotations of radiating light, and also of counting: each Sefirah is one in a count of several. The Hebrew word Partzuf denotes the "face" or overall visage presented by a person to those who see him or her.
There is a Sefirah and there is a Partzuf. A Sefirah is a power that is one power out of the ten overall powers. As one of these powers, the Sefirah is the foundation on which the entire structure of particulars dependent upon it is built. But the Partzuf shows the complete perfection of each whole power in detail, seen explicitly in the form of the fundamental Likeness of Adam. Its root is in the secret of 613, which constitutes the entire structure of Adam.
We will now discuss another fundamental that must be understood in relation to the Sefirot themselves.
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: There is a Sefirah and there is a Partzuf. This introduces the subject of these two categories. Part 2: A Sefirah... This explains these two categories.
There is a Sefirah and there is a Partzuf. Two categories may be understood in relation to the Sefirot: Sefirah and Partzuf. And the Sefirot themselves sometimes appear like this and sometimes like that. But now we are going to say that the entire government of the worlds (Hanhagah) can be examined in terms of Sefirot and also in terms of Partzufim. These are the two pathways of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero of blessed memory (1522-70) and the Holy Rav, the ARI of blessed memory (1534-70).
A Sefirah is a power that is one power out of the ten overall powers. When we speak about the laws of the government, the Ten Sefirot constitute all the basic types of laws. It is clear that since the entire government is also included in them and the details of the government are many, if so these are the ten types that include all the details. As one of these powers, the Sefirah is the foundation on which the entire structure of particulars dependent upon it is built. Everything relating to the government must be understood in terms of these two categories: either which Sefirah is it or which Partzuf is it?
As we have already discussed earlier, the Partzufim are nothing but arrays in which the powers extend ordered along the lines of Kindness, Judgment and Mercy and their levels, in all their pathways, their laws of control and their mode of government.
Now the ten Sefirot are ten powers and no more, and they constitute the proper levels of Kindness, Judgment and Mercy as discussed by the first Mekubalim (Sefer Yetzirah 1:3, Rabbi Moshe Kordovero, Pardes, beginning). And these are the foundations of the entire government. But the detailed pathways of each one of these ten powers is what we call by the name of Partzuf. There is no Partzuf without a Sefirah. This means that in order to understand matters relating to a Partzuf, it is first necessary to understand the Sefirah and to undertand its function among the other ten powers. After this, we will seek to understand its pathways in detail, and then we will understand it as a Partzuf.
You will therefore not find it problematic why Rabbi Moshe Cordovero of blessed memory interpreted the entire Zohar only in terms of the Sefirot, for it is certainly true, of course, that the entire government depends upon the Ten Sefirot. Except that in this aspect, we understand the government through them but not through their parts - we know in general what comes out of them.
And when we know the Partzuf, besides knowing from which Sefirah something in the world comes, we will also know from which part and which aspect or feature of that Sefirah. Thus each Partzuf is initially a Sefirah: this is the foundation upon which that particular structure is built. More than that, it is a Partzuf. Thus the proposition continues:
But the Partzuf shows the complete perfection of each whole power in detail, seen explicitly in the form of the fundamental Likeness of Adam. To be called a Partzuf, it is not enough that it is a particular. It is because this particular is ordered according to the fundamental Likeness of Adam that it is called a Partzuf or "face".
Its root is in the secret of 613, which constitutes the entire structure of Adam. This is in respect of the way the array of parts extends. It is true that each Sefirah consists of ten, and there could have been any number of parts when the Sefirah divides up into its particulars. Nevertheless, in truth what the Supreme Thought calculated was 613, and this is what we see here below in the human form with its 248 bones and 365 sinews making a total of 613. So too the commandments of the Torah consist of 248 positive commandments and 365 prohibitions making a total of 613. For everything goes according to this measure.
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