Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom

Opening 32

The radiance of Adam Kadmon

The face is made to radiate that which is arranged within, inside the body, and emissions of this radiation emerge from each of the sense organs. Accordingly, four worlds emerge: the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech. The forehead also emits its own radiance. Thus all the worlds are nothing but the radiant splendor and shining glory of Adam Kadmon, while Adam Kadmon is more elevated than them and cannot be apprehended.

Having discussed the subject of Adam Kadmon in general, we will now start to go into the details, following the order of the Likeness of Man -- the human form. We begin by discussing a phenomenon that we must first examine as it is manifested in the human form itself, in order to be able afterwards to understand the government of the worlds in accordance with the underlying secret of this phenomenon.

The proposition consists of two parts: Part 1: The face is made to shine... This is the phenomenon that we must understand as manifested in the human form, namely, the face. Part 2: Thus all the worlds... This is the underlying secret corresponding to this phenomenon in the scheme of worlds.

Part 1: The face is made to radiate... To explain this matter: The parts of the body and their functions here below always signify parallel aspects of the government above. Now the face exists as one part of the body through which the soul (נשמה, neshamah) turns to and supervises what concerns the body in relation to that which is outside of it, through the faculties of vision, hearing, smell and speech. The soul remains in its sanctuary and through these organs experiences all these sensations.

There are two things that we must consider here: the fact of the existence of the apertures (נקבים, nekavim) found in the face, and the use that the soul itself makes of them. The truth is that the very apertures themselves are made by the soul. When the body of the embryo is being formed, the spirit (רוח, ru'ach) that builds it breaks through there so as to form the aperture, whereas in the other limbs and body parts the spirit remains inside. Afterwards, sensory experience comes about through these apertures. However, this breaking through by the soul is not dependent on the senses themselves, for there are cases where a person has a given organ but not the associated sense. Furthermore, a person does not constantly hear, smell or speak even though these apertures are open.

Up to this point we have been considering the apertures through which the soul supervises that which relates to the outside. Another phenomenon is that of the face itself (i.e. the facial expression), which also shows the state of the inner spirit in its place, be it settled or agitated. It must be that the face was intentionally made to do this, for the other limbs of the body do not do so. There is also something else that is not visible today but which ought to be able to be seen: the face should have a shine or radiant splendor (זיו, ziv) like that of the sun. This was seen in the case of Moses our Teacher, the very skin of whose face radiated (Exodus 34:29). Similarly, the sages said of Pinchas that when the Holy Spirit rested upon him, his face flashed like lightning (Vayikra Rabbah 1:1). The reason why this radiant splendor is not seen today is that man's face is incomplete after the sin of Adam. However, initially Adam had this radiant splendor, as stated in the Zohar (Bereishit 142b) and Midrashim. In the future too, all will shine with this splendor, as it is written: "And they that are wise shall radiate splendor like the splendor of the firmament" (Daniel 12:3).

From all of the above, we see that the face is made to turn to others, and the face is prepared for this. We can discern three different aspects. The first is the face itself, ready in all its parts to shine forth and radiate the inner light of the soul and show it to the outside through the expression of the face and its radiant splendor. Secondly there are the apertures made by the breaking through of the spirit during the process of building the body. Thirdly, there are the sensory experiences of the soul through these apertures.

Let us now consider how all this applies above: The "face" consists of the vessels in the Residue through which the Light of Eyn Sof -- the "soul" within -- turns to others so as to govern the Partzufim themselves, which constitute the orders of government of the worlds. For you have already heard earlier that just as it is the soul that governs the body, so it is the Inner Essence (פנימיות, pnimiyut) that governs the Partzufim (see Opening 29). These vessels are the "face" with all that is instituted in it through the mystery of the Thirteen Rectifications of the Beard, which comprise the entire face. (In Adam Kadmon, the Thirteen Rectifications are not present as such, but their roots are there.) These all shine and give rise to the radiant splendor of the face. Nevertheless, the radiance is occluded, for it has to pass through the face itself. Even so, everything that is arranged in the entire body stands to be seen in the face, for things are so ordered that everything connected with the soul is visible in the face, as discussed in the Zohar in connection with the secrets of physiognomy (Zohar, Yitro and Tikkuney Zohar). Thus the soul causes the face to shine with radiant splendor, and this is the mystery of the 370 and 150 Lights of the Face (Idra Rabbah, Zohar, Naso 128b), indicating the government of Arich Anpin and Zeir Anpin respectively. Afterwards, having been included there in a general way, the soul flashes and breaks through to make four apertures: the eyes, the ears, the nose and the mouth.

Understand what these fissures (בקיעות, "breakthroughs") signify above. It is not that they broke through one time and went out. Here below as well, if the radiant splendor were visible, we would see how the aspect of the soul that is already included in the face to show the state of the soul emits a continuous shine of radiant splendor that breaks through and goes out literally through these apertures. However, now that the radiant splendor has been concealed, its only visible action is to break through to produce these apertures. And because it comes from the soul, which is now concealed, just as the radiant splendor is not visible on the face, so too what emerges through these fissures and apertures is also not visible. Quite the contrary: on the face there is at any rate the visible facial expression, for the soul has a certain garb, namely the face itself. But coming through the apertures we see nothing at all, because the soul goes out with no garb at all.

Note the great difference between the radiant splendor visible on the face and what passes out through the apertures. What is visible on the face gives a comprehensive expression of all the different aspects of the soul. But emerging through the apertures are individual aspects depending in each case on the place from which they come forth. These aspects prepare what is necessary for providence through the mystery of vision, hearing, smell and speech.

Aftthese fissures with the lights that are in them become the "senses". These are the actual government, inasmuch as the soul uses these emerging lights in order to supervise properly. However, the root of providence is itself traced in accordance with the function of each of the different senses to the very interior of Adam Kadmon, which we are not talking about. What we are talking about now is what breaks through and goes out in order to produce the apertures and also the senses. This forms a second radiant splendor that covers the radiant splendor of the actual face itself. Accordingly, the Kabbalistic masters stated that this second glow is drawn forth against the face but is not directly attached to the face (for only the first radiant splendor, that of the face itself, is directly attached to it). All this would be visible if the radiant splendor were visible.

Thus we find that the inner soul is hidden within the body and is not seen at all. Afterwards, it is seen through the expression of the face, and the radiant splendor starts -- this is the first or "inner" radiant splendor. While the soul is still there, it gains force and breaks through and is actually seen through these four fissures. It is from there that a second radiant splendor that emerges comes forth and stands over the first, "inner" radiant splendor of the face, which is thus like a glow within a glow. It is from this second radiant splendor that the senses exist through the power of the movement of the soul within that splendor. But the fact that the radiant splendor exists on the outside at all is because the soul broke through to make the holes.

Clearly, if the soul produced four faculties, all different from each other, no less and no more, this must have come about through the power contained within it, which was able to bring forth this, no less and no more. If so, the action that the soul performs through one fissure is different from the action it performs through a different fissure. Accordingly, hearing is rooted in one fissure, vision in another, smell in another and speech in yet another. The truth is that according to the powers contained in the inner soul, so it was that through one power the soul was drawn to one of the organs suited and ready for that power to function, and the soul broke through it and went out. Through a different inherent power, the soul was drawn to a different organ, and broke through it and went out. Thus the Otzrot Chaim states: "But the wise will understand that the light of the brain is called AV, while the light of the ear is called SaG..." (Gate of TaNTA, end of ch. 2, gloss).

In sum: the soul is made to shine in the face and also to break through and go out completely with no barrier before it in order to operate the senses. Moreover, it is actually through standing and shining in the face that the soul breaks through to form these fissures for the senses. Thus the face consists of vessels ready for two things. The face itself is made to emit its radiation even while this is still within the vessels (before breaking through). On the other hand, the fissures or apertures of the senses are there to give the soul a place to exercise its control and to supervise. Even as the soul stands in its place, it is seen through the fissures that it made initially, and it then produces the second glow. This consists of what was visible in a general way in the first radiant splendor but which is now seen in its particulars through these fissures. What is seen of the soul through each one depends on the nature of the particular fissure through which the soul is seen. All this is besides the actual senses themselves. For even though they are produced in these very fissures, the truth is that they are made within this general radiant splendor, each one through the power of a different movement made by the soul according to the law governing the quality of its different senses.

As to what is visible of the soul on the face, we have already said that this expresses the overall state of the soul, and it is from this aspect that the fissures we have discussed emerge. Accordingly, we may make inferences from the radiant splendor that emerges and becomes visible through these fissures (the second glow) as to what exists in the face itself in the mystery of the first, "inner" radiant splendor that I mentioned. And from this radiant splendor of the face, we may make inferences as to what is contained within the body -- the soul itself, its state and purpose.

If you examine the matter carefully you will find that the government is concealed within the heart and in all the body and is revealed in the face, and from there it is revealed through the fissures. The last revelation is thus the radiant splendor emerging through the fissures, and it is with this that we are concerned in our studies of the Kabbalah. For this is the light that reaches us and it is only this that we are truly able to apprehend. All that is more interior than this is too elevated for us and we cannot know it. The details of this radiant splendor constitute all the worlds in their various aspects. For only the parts of this radiant splendor and its movements are revealed to us and no more. All we know is that this whole matter is rooted deep, deep within the interior of the supreme government.

From this you can understand the low level of the knowledge that created beings are capable of attaining, for the true nature of the government is exalted far above them, and they know nothing except the superficial level closest to them. This external level contains the complete cycle of government in its entirety from the beginning until the end and all the worlds that we will be discussing.

Indeed, one principle that you must constantly bear in mind is that everything done in any given place is done in accordance with that place. To take an example from the subject of our present discussion: what is seen of the soul through the face is ordered in a way suited to this visibility, and similarly, what is revealed through the fissures made by the soul is arranged in an order suited to this revelation. This is the order that it is possible for the creatures in the lower realms to apprehend. This means that they see only the outermost aspect of the measure laid down for the government of the worlds. Even so, what they see is the truth of the matter according to the way it is in depth. However, the intellect is inadequate to apprehend the entire matter in its true inner essence and depth and to encompass all that exists there. Accordingly, we say they were given a complete and sufficient picture to enable them to understand the matter to the extent to which they are able to receive.

This can be compared to the case of a sage who wants to teach his wisdom to his student. If the student is unable to receive the full depth of this wisdom, the teacher gives him enough of a picture of this wisdom as he is fit to receive. The picture is faithful to the full depth of the sage's wisdom, yet it is concise and comprehensible to the student. If he will later enter into the depth of this wisdom, he will find even greater benefit in it than he could have thought possible at the outset, "like the superiority of the light that comes out of the darkness" (Kohelet 2:13).

It could be objected: We said earlier that the government lies in the Residue while the Line is concealed within it (see Opening 27). But from our present discussion it appears that on the contrary, the entire government derives from the Line, for we see that the government comes about only through what emerges from these apertures, which is from the interior, which is the Line. If so, surely the government is from the Line.

This may be answered as follows. What is revealed cannot be said to be revealed in accordance with the level of the soul. On the contrary, we must say that it is revealed according to the level of the body. This is because man is made up of a soul clothed within a body built of apertures and cavities: the cavities are container vessels while the apertures are vessels of exit. The soul fills the container vessels whemitting light through the exit vessels. All this is in accordance with the way the body works and the nature of its vessels. When the soul goes out through these exit vessels, it makes a radiant splendor around the body. The soul adds nothing to the body, which remains what it is. For even when the soul brings forth its lights, it brings them forth only in accordance with the nature of the body. This is the implication of the above-quoted passage from Otzrot Chaim stating that "the light of the brain is called AV while the light of the ear is called SaG". However, the vessels that bring forth the light exist only to reveal what takes place inside the container vessels. Thus the root of the government lies in the interconnection of the soul and the body inside, but the government is revealed in the face, and then an even greater revelation comes in the radiant splendor emerging from the fissures with all that is revealed there.

Accordingly, the Line governs on its own level, which is different from that of the Residue, whose government is subject to it. For I have already stated that the soul brings forth its lights in accordance with the body. Thus when we consider the overall order of government -- the entire structure of Adam Kadmon -- we find that the full cycle of the government as it is revealed to us consists only of what is revealed after the Line has already clothed itself within the Residue through the surrounding radiant splendor. Besides what is revealed through this radiant splendor, everything the Line does in clothing itself in the Residue is unknown to us.

...that which is arranged within, inside the body... What is revealed is the actual order that exists within. Accordingly there is a direct parallel between what is revealed and that which exists within. Indeed, we can tell in detail which part of the interior is revealed in one place in the face and which part in a different place.

...and emissions of this radiance emerge from each of the sense organs... This is as we have said above, that what radiates initially in the face in a general way emerges in a more revealed manner in the sensory faculties. Accordingly, four worlds emerge: the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech. Since there are four faculties, four things therefore emerge and are revealed from them. Indeed, all that is fit to be revealed will be revealed through these four. For this reason there are four and no more: the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech. These are not the actual vision, hearing, smell and speech themselves, but their worlds -- what emerges from them.

The forehead also emits its own radiance. This too is something that is not seen now, but if the radiant splendor of the forehead were visible like the radiant splendor of the other senses, it would be visible. For there is a very subtle fissure, and this is the secret of the Tefilin which stand on the forehead. Of the Tefilin, it is written: "And all the peoples of the earth will see that the Name of HaVaYaH is called upon you" (Deuteronomy 28:10).

Part 2: Thus all the worlds are nothing but the radiant splendor... As already stated in the commentary on the first part of the proposition, all the worlds discussed in the Kabbalah are levels of this radiant splendor. ...and shine of Adam Kadmon... Shine and radiation are the appropriate terms for that which is not the essence of a thing itself but which shines and radiates from the essence. The radiation is on a lower level than the essence itself. These worlds are thus a mere radiation that emerges from Adam Kadmon. They do not reveal all that is revealed in Adam Kadmon in itself but much less.

Here lies the answer to an apparent difficulty about these worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech, which appear not to follow the order of the rest of the Tree. The world of Beriyah, for example, emerges from Atzilut in the sense of being a single continuation of it, emerging like a seal stamped with all the Sefirot of Atzilut, which pass through a screen. Each Sefirah in Atzilut actually brings forth the corresponding Sefirah in Beriyah. Yetzirah emerges from Beriyah in the same way, and similarly Asiyah from Yetzirah. It is therefore fair to say that they are one under the other, for they emerge one from the other. Similarly in the case of the Partzufim: Abba and Imma emerge from Arich Anpin through the process of internal coupling (זיווג, zivug) within, while Zeir Anpin and Nukva emerge from Abba and Imma through their coupling. This is not the way in which the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech emerge from Adam Kadmon. Rather, these emerge from within through the sensory organs.

This gives rise to two difficulties. The first is that we cannot say that the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech are under Adam Kadmon in the way that Abba and Imma, Zeir Anpin and Nukva are under Arich Anpin, as mentioned elsewhere. For the former do not emerge from Adam Kadmon in same the way that the latter emerge from Arich Anpin through the process of coupling whereby the higher Partzuf brings forth the lower one. The second difficulty is that the emergence of the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech from Adam Kadmon seems inconsistent with the developmental mode (השתלשלות, hishtalshelut). This requires that first one world should be completed, after which another world should emerge from it on the next level and with a power less than that of the higher world. This is the pathway visible in the Sefirot from after the Tzimtzum onwards, but the emergence of the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech seems to follow a different pathway that is inconsistent with this order.

The question immediately arises as to why these worlds did not emerge from and come under Adam Kadmon in exactly the same way as the other worlds emerge one from another. Or if these emerged in this way, why did others not emerge from Adam Kadmon in the way that Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah emerged from Atzilut? In short, we do not see here a direct continuation as would have been appropriate in accordance with the developmental pathway. Rather it seems like a jump from one pathway to another and from one aspect to another. We do not see a single, complete, consistent order binding everything together in this way at all.

These difficulties may be resolved in the light of our earlier discussion. It is true that contained within the Empty Space formed through the Tzimtzum is only one overall existence: this is Adam Kadmon complete in all aspects -- soul, body and radiant splendor. This constitutes the entire government of the Name of HaVaYaH, blessed be He, besides which nothing else exists. However, inasmuch as this government is very deep, we cannot understand it, and only a glimmer is revealed to us. (This answers the first objection -- that the worlds of Vision, Hearing, Smell and Speech are not "under" Adam Kadmon -- for they are a part of Adam Kadmon.) This glimmer is the smallest, most concise picture of this government. This alone is what we can speak about in Adam Kadmon. It is here that we can distinguish the different levels, one under the other, in a developmental chain. These are the different aspects of the revealed government. However the revealed government does not emerge as a continuous gradation that develops out of Adam Kadmon. Rather, this is all that can be revealed of Adam Kadmon, and we must consider this to be also part of Adam Kadmon. (This answers the second difficulty -- that these worlds do not develop out of Adam Kadmon but rather are of and in Adam Kadmon.) We can only say that Adam Kadmon constitutes all that exists in accordance with the order of the Name of HaVaYaH, blessed be He. The intrinsic essence of Adam Kadmon cannot be apprehended. It is only the radiation of Adam Kadmon that can be apprehended, and this contains all the levels and aspects discussed in the teachings of the Kabbalah.

...while Adam Kadmon is more elevated than them and cannot be apprehended. This explains why we do not occupy ourselves with the intrinsic essence of Adam Kadmon but instead speak in terms of these worlds. What this means, as discabove, is that Adam Kadmon is the concealed source of the government, while the radiant splendor is what is revealed of Adam Kadmon. This is not a confused order, nor does it jump from path to path. On the contrary, it is a fitting order and one that is properly arranged.

The way this appears in the prophetic vision is as written in the kabbalistic texts: there is a single Partzuf or visage (that of Adam Kadmon) whose face radiates. Emerging from it are all these lights in the order given in the texts.





Translated by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5763 - 2003 All rights reserved