Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
Letters and Names
The government of the worlds is implemented through the letters.
In order to produce an actual effect, all of the supernal lights must enter into the category of letters. The letters constitute a complete order that exists to bring all things into actual being. This is the meaning of the verse: "...and through the word of HaShem the heavens were made" (Psalms 33:6). For speech exists only in virtue of the letters of which it is made up.
Having explained what the Sefirot are, we now turn to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with which they are associated, as discussed by the kabbalistic sages.
The proposition consists of two parts: Part 1: In order to produce... This introduces the subject by explaining that the lights can operate only through the letters. Part 2: The letters constitute... This explains what the letters are.
Part 1: In order to produce an actual effect, all of the supernal lights... The entire purpose of the wisdom of the Kabbalah is to understand the particular root of each of the different phenomena we find in the world. Anything that can exist without being dependent on something else must have its own root.
To apply this to the subject of our present discussion: The lights are preparations on the level of thought for all of the different created realms and beings and the entire governmental order through which they are run. However, for these to come into actual existence is a further stage, because thinking about something does not necessarily make it actually happen. If so, we need to identify a separate root through which they actually come into being. The particular root involved here is the letters. Accordingly, in order for the supernal lights to produce an actual effect, they must enter into the category of letters. The letters consititute a single root produced through a separate radiation. Everything prepared in the Sefirot on the level of thought must enter this level and pass through this root in order to come into being in actuality.
Part 2: The letters constitute a complete order... Each root that we can identify as serving a particular purpose or function is ordered appropriately in its own unique way, and everything that has to pass through the root in question must enter into this unique order. Since the letters are the root through which what is conceived in thought is executed in actuality, accordingly, when the thought is ready to be implemented, it requires the order of letters ...which exists to bring all things into actual being. The letters do not stand as part of the governmental order in the same way as the attributes and Sefirot, which define and shape it. Rather, the purpose of the letters is to put into actual effect the governmental order already prepared on the level of thought. The order of the letters is so arranged as to ensure the fulfilment of the executive function dependent upon it.
This is the meaning of the verse: "...and through the word of HaShem the heavens were made" (Psalms 33:6). For initially there is the thought -- Adam Kadmon -- but this is concealed. The revelation of thought comes about through speech, which consists of letters. Whatever is concealed in thought must enter into the category of speech in order to be revealed. However, the component parts and organizing principles of thought are by no means identical with those of speech, for a thought is in the mind, whereas in speech we express our thoughts in words and letters. In order to communicate what is in our minds, what is conceived in thought must be submitted to the rules of language and cast in the form of letters and words. The same applies in the upper worlds. The first order is that of thought. Its revelation comes about through speech. What is conceived in the mind within the parameters of thought can come forth in speech only within the parameters of speech, namely through the letters.
For speech cannot exist without letters. The verse provides clear proof that all things come into being through the letters, for speech is made up of letters. The actual creation of the universe came about through speech. If so, the actual creation of the universe came about only through the letters, as will be discussed further below.
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