The root of the creations is in the seven lower Sefirot, while the first three only direct them. When the vessels broke, the first three Sefirot did not break, but were flawed through their connection with the lower seven.
The root of the created worlds and beings lies only in the seven lower Sefirot, which are the Seven Days of Creation, while the first three Sefirot are only crowns over the lower seven, to direct and repair them. Accordingly damage is not applicable to the three first Sefirot in their intrinsic essence, since they are above the level affected by men's deeds. Thus sins do not damage them, but rather, they drive them away. Accordingly, the first three Sefirot endured. Nevertheless, even in their case, what exists in them to serve the needs of the lower seven was not repaired, for if it had been repaired, all of the seven lower Sefirot would also have been rectified. Accordingly even in the first three Sefirot, those aspects that relate to the seven lower Sefirot became flawed. What this did was to prevent the proper spread of their power to repair the seven lower Serfirot. For if it were constantly spreading, there would be no damage in the world.
On the basis of our overall conspectus of the breaking of the vessels, which took place for the sake of the governmental order, we will now explain the process in detail.
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: The root of the created... This explains what was already rectified in these Sefirot. Part 2: Nevertheless, even in their case... This explains what still remained unrectified.
Part 1: The root of the created worlds and beings lies only in the seven lower Sefirot... This is something accepted by all the Kabbalistic sages, who called these the seven Sefirot of building (בנין, binyan, or the "constructive" Sefirot), and thus it says "The world is built on Kindness (חסד, chessed)" (Psalms 89:3), Chessed being the first in the building.
...which are the Seven Days of Creation... This is clear proof -- for everything that was created is surely included in these seven days alone. Even according to the self-evident, simple meaning of the Bible, if everything came about in these seven days, it means that these seven days are sufficient to serve as the root. All the more so when we already know that kabbalistically, the seven days constitute the actual rule of the seven Sefirot, in that each one functions according to its power on that day. (See Ramban, Commentary on the Torah, Genesis 1:3.) Since everything came forth in the Seven Days of Creation, it must certainly be the case that everything came out of these Sefirot.
...while the first three Sefirot are only crowns over the lower seven... Everything that stands outside a thing's essential being -- in the sense that the thing's essential being is complete without it -- can only be an extra crown adorning that thing but not an integral part of it. So it is in the case of first three Sefirot, which are not the actual root of what goes on in this world but rather, they are crowns over that root. This is properly so, because everything that happens in the world must certainly have a root of its own just to keep it in existence. It is not the basic existence of things in this world but rather their status that has to change depending on men's deeds. Accordingly, two roots are needed here: a root for the unchanging existence of things and a root for their changing status.
This is the reason for the institution of the seven lower and three upper Sefirot. The seven lower Sefirot are the root of the created realms and beings in their essential existence, which is unchanging. And it is the seven lower Sefirot that produce the different aspects of the creation. From Chessed there is a constant flow of water and from Gevurah fire, while Yesod is always the source of the structure. From Chessed comes wisdom, from Gevurah wealth, from Tiferet life, and so on. However, any increase or decrease in degree or status in all these aspects depends upon the three first Sefirot. When they shine strongly in the seven lower Sefirot, the latter will bring forth superior offspring in a state of greater repair. But if they shine in only a limited way, the offspring of the seven lower Sefirot will be lowly and lacking in repair. Thus the seven lower Sefirot are the root of the created realms and beings while the three first Sefirot are crowns over them.
...to direct them... I have explained elsewhere how the seven lower Sefirot are governed in all aspects through the first three Sefirot (see Klaley Kin'at HaShem Tzeva'ot #11, Daat Tevunot p. 332ff). If so, the first three also contain Kindness, Judgment and Mercy in order to complete the governmental order and allow each part to rule as needed (and thus the upper three Sefirot correspond to Kindness, Judgment and Mercy).
...and repair them. For when they shine over the seven lower Sefirot, this immediately brings them to a greater state of repair and gives them greater status purely in virtue of the fact that they come under their influence. However, if the three upper Sefirot leave, the many flaws rooted in the intrinsic nature of the lower seven function by default. (But when they are under the influence of the upper three, their intrinsic flaws become inoperative.)
Accordingly damage is not applicable to the three first Sefirot in their intrinsic essence... For man's deeds have no influence for better or for worseexcept on those levels in which he is rooted: any flaw reaches only the seven lower Sefirot.
...since they are above the level affected by men's deeds. For men's deeds affect only the various aspects of the world made to serve his needs and all their roots.
Sins do not damage them... This is entirely consistent with their purpose. We have already explained that they are crowns over the governmental order, which send their influence over the seven lower Sefirot and bring about their repair. Thus they contain aspects to which men's deeds are relevant and aspects to which they are not. Men's deeds have no bearing on their intrinsic existence, whereas the spread of their influence is subject to men's deeds inasmuch as this reaches the seven lower Sefirot and affects their repair. Thus sins cannot damage them or cause darkness in them in the same way as they can in the case of the lower seven, where they cause deficiencies when the influence of the upper three is lacking, leaving darkness in its place.
...but rather, they drive them away. This is a flaw in the lower seven, and this is the darkness mentioned above, which develops in the seven lower Sefirot when the flow of blessing is lacking.
Accordingly, the three first Sefirot endured. For since destruction is not applicable in their case, it was therefore unnecessary for any breakage to occur in them, for the only purpose of the breaking of the vessels was to make a place for destruction, and here destruction is of no relevance.
Part 2: Nevertheless, even in their case, what exists in them to serve the needs of the lower seven was not repaired... For each thing has its own repairs and arrangements to ensure that the function in question should emerge in the proper way. Thus the spread of influence from the upper three Sefirot to the lower seven requires arrangements to enable it to come forth in the proper way, neither less nor more than necessary. This is the aspect that was not repaired in the upper three Sefirot.
...for if it had been repaired, all of the seven lower Sefirot would also have been rectified. The aspect we are discussing is that whereby the three upper Sefirot rectify the lower seven. This is what we are saying was lacking in them. Obviously, if it had been present -- i.e. if they had been able to repair the lower seven -- the latter would have been repaired, whereas it was necessary that the seven lower Sefirot should not be repaired by the first three (since the breaking of the vessels was a necessity). If so, it must be that the repair of the seven lower Sefirot depends on the first three -- i.e. among their various aspects is the aspect whereby they repair them, and it is this aspect of being able to rectify the seven lower Sefirot that was lacking from the first three.
Accordingly even in the first three Sefirot, those aspects that relate to the seven lower Sefirot became flawed. I.e. their "back parts" (אחוריים, achorayim), which are those that relate to the seven lower Sefirot. (These are their Netzach-Hod-Yesod, which pass the influence of the higher level to the lower.) This also applies to the "back parts" of Netzach-Hod-Yesod of Keter, which channel Kindnesses and Severities to Abba and Imma, as explained elsewhere. (See Etz Chayim, Shaar Shevirat HaKelim ch. 2; Pitchey Chochmah VaDaat #43, Shaarey Ramchal p. 184.)
What this did was to prevent the proper spread... We have already said that the breaking of the vessels was the root of all the damage. And since it was necessary that the Sefirot should be made in such a way that they could be flawed -- i.e. darkened -- they were therefore made to fragment, which was the preparation for this flaw. Likewise the break-up of the "back parts" of Abba and Imma was a preparation for the state of damage. However, there can be no damage in Abba and Imma themselves. Rather, the damage is in the same aspect in which the breaking of the vessels took place, and the aspect in which the breaking of the vessels took place is that which relates to the seven lower Sefirot. Accordingly, the damage is in what relates to the seven lower Sefirot -- i.e. that the power of Abba and Imma does not spread into the seven lower Sefirot continually in order to repair them.
...of their power to repair the seven lower serfirot. In any event some power must emerge from the upper three Sefirot to the lower seven. The flaw was that the power could not flow properly but was highly reduced. This is the mystery of the mentality of immaturity (מוחין דקטנות, mochin dekatnut), as will be explained in its place.
For if it were constantly spreading, there would be no damage in the world. Thus the reason is like the reason we stated above. They lacked what relates to the seven lower Sefirot, because it was necessary for the breaking of the vessels to occur in the seven lower Sefirot, and this itself is the reason for the necessary flaw in the first three -- so that there could be a flaw in the seven lower Sefirot. For without it, there would have been no flaw in them.
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138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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