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

Opening 52

The intrinsic essence of Zeir Anpin (of the Primordial Kings) is stern judgment -- divisiveness and limitation -- out of which comes the Other Side. Zeir Anpin is rectified and sweetened by Imma through the arousal of the Nukva.

The root of Zeir Anpin's essential nature lies in Imma's stern judgments -- her five mighty powers. In accordance with this essential nature, each light stands by itself and does not join with any other. This is because the nature of Judgment is not to display brotherly love. Rather, all is dejection and angry faces. However, Imma overcomes this with her sweetening power. As the stern Judgment subsides, so the dejection passes and brotherly love reigns. It is for this purpose that Imma enters into Zeir Anpin and makes brotherly love reign among his Sefirot. This is done through Malchut, for the latter was instituted as the container vessel for all of them, so that instead of each light shining separately by itself, they should all be directed to one single place. A connection then develops between them, and they all turn to Malchut as the "hind of love" (Proverbs 5:19), and they themselves join with one another. The more they turn to her, the stronger the bond of brotherly love between them, and this brings great joy.

This is what was lacking in the Primordial Kings, for the Six Directions were not turned towards Malchut and therefore did not escape the sadness and angry faces, and Imma still allowed them to remain that way. Accordingly, the first three Sefirot of Zeir Anpin were missing, for these result from Imma's entry into and repair of Zeir Anpin. The others were then termed the domain of the many (רשות הרבים, reshut harabim), and this was the state from which the Other Side emerged, which is why its nature and function is only to cause separation.

Having discussed the three first Sefirot, we must now discuss the lower seven.

The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: The root of Zeir Anpin's essential nature... This introduces the idea of how the Sefirot connect and bond together. Part 2: This is what was lacking... This explains how this applies in the case of the Primordial Kings.

Part 1: The root of Zeir Anpin's essential nature lies in Imma's stern judgments (דינים, dinim)... The function of Zeir Anpin is to govern according to strict Judgment, as brought out by the comment in the Zohar on the verse, "HaShem, He is the God" (Kings I, 18:39): " 'HaShem' (YKVK=Kindness) applies to Atik (=Arich Anpin); 'the God' (אלקים, Elokim=Judgment) applies to Zeir Anpin" (Idra Rabba, Naso 138b). For Arich Anpin is the rule of Chessed and every aspect of mitigation -- mitigating all the stern judgments wherever they may be. But the function of Zeir Anpin is the opposite. Its root lies in stern judgment, except that the powers of mitigation hold sway over it. However, these powers of mitigation can depart from Zeir Anpin, leaving the stern judgment in its full force, which can cause total devastation. This is not so in the case of Arich Anpin, which is intrinsically inclined to Kindness and does not require mitigation by others, with the result that it always on the siof Kindness.

Now the root of the stern judgments lies above, but it is not clearly discernible there because Kindness holds sway above. However, when it reaches Yesod of Imma, it comes to a level where it can be revealed, producing there the five "mighty powers" (גבורות, gevurot) according to the mystery whereby "stern judgments are stirred up through her (i.e. Imma)" (Zohar, Vayikra 65a). The wording is precise: the stern judgments "are stirred up through her". For Imma is not intrinsically an aspect of Judgment, yet the attribute of Judgment derives from Imma.

Thus the five mighty powers in Yesod of Imma already enter the category of revealed Judgment, and from there stems the root of Zeir Anpin, which constitutes the governmental order of Justice (משפט, mishpat), as will be discussed below. Its essence is first and foremost strict Judgment, but at certain times the power of mitigation gains strength and holds sway over it. This is the underlying secret of the saying of the sages that, "Everything came from the earth (עפר, aphar), including even the sphere of the sun" (Zohar, Tzav 34b; Midrash Rabba Bereishit 12:11). The "sun" is an allusion to Zeir Anpin, while the "earth" refers to the five mighty powers, which had already reached this level (in Yesod of Imma) of being actual powers of severity. Out of this was built Zeir Anpin, whose essence is mighty powers and stern Judgment, over which the power of mitigation holds sway only afterwards.

...her five mighty powers. The powers revealed in Yesod of Imma are already recognizable as having the aspect of severity, and accordingly it is from there that Zeir Anpin receives its root.

In accordance with this essential nature, each light stands by itself and does not join with any other. For the nature of Zeir Anpin can be compared to a dejected soul whose inner powers stand quiescent without arousal or excitement, making the face show only dejection. However, when these soul-powers are aroused and excited, the face shows laughter and happiness. These innate soul-powers exist in the soul all the time, but when each power stands separately without flashing in excited interaction with the others, this is the state of dejection.

This is because the nature of Judgment is not to display brotherly love. Rather, all is dejection and angry faces. For the nature of Kindness is that of the welcoming right arm, and when love reigns, the creations themselves all behave to one another in a brotherly manner, showing each other smiling faces. But the state of stern judgement is one of hatred and rejection. The faces show anger, and everything is heavy with depression.

We have here two things that are bound up with one another -- the plane of the roots (the Sefirot) and that of the creations. For Kindness begets love, and through it the soul radiates with joy, showing a smiling face. Judgment, on the other hand, begets hatred and rejection: the soul is dejected and does not radiate, while the face shows anger. Accordingly, on the plane of the roots, when the Sefirot are levels of stern judgement that push the creatures away without allowing them to become attached to them, those very levels themselves stand in a corresponding state of "dejection", lacking in joy or excitement. However, when they are levels of kindness that bring love to the lower creations, there is a corresponding increase of joy and excitement in those very levels themselves. Moreover, as you have already heard, the Sefirot are the measures of all that exists, and the Supreme Mind calculated the state in which the creations should exist in their time of disrepair, when each is separated from the other through hatred and dejection.

The state of disrepair below is thus bound up with the state of disrepair above, because you have already heard how aspects that lie at the root of the creations are actually visible in those creations themselves. Thus the separation and alienation seen in their root aspects (i.e. on the level of the Nekudim) correlates to the separation and alienation actually manifested among the created beings (thus when they themselves are separated from one another, it is an indication of division and separation among their roots).

However, Imma overcomes this with her sweetening power. This is the underlying mystery of how Imma completes Zeir Anpin, becoming "bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh" (cf. Genesis 2:23; see Etz Chayim, Shaar HaMochin ch. 1). For Zeir Anpin is intrinsically on the side of stern Judgment, while Imma gives him a share of the power of mitigation that is in her intrinsic nature. To the exent that Imma increases this sweetening influence, so the severity of Zeir Anpin is mitigated. This is the key to the concept of the different mentalities (מוחין, mochin) of Zeir Anpin in immaturity (קטנות, katnut, "smallness") and maturity (גדלות, gadlut, "greatness"). In the stage of immaturity, only the external aspect of this function of Imma is given to Zeir Anpin, causing minimal mitigation. However, as Zeir Anpin attains greater mental levels, the severity of the Judgment becomes increasingly mitigated, until it becomes completely sweetened.

The principle of stern Judgment is that its intention is to do justice and chasten the wicked. However, to the extent that it is mitigated, it does not carry out evil, and when it is completely sweetened it actually does good. At the same time, He remains the King of Justice, for the innermost heart of Zeir Anpin is to execute stern Judgment, except that the power of mitigation gains sway over this, causing the severity to sink down.

As the stern Judgment subsides, so the dejection passes and brotherly love reigns. The power of stern Judgment does not pass entirely but only subsides on account of the power of mitigation that holds sway over it. However, there is no change in the essential nature of Zeir Anpin. It is only the pain and sorrow that pass, for this is what results when stern Judgment holds sway.

It is for this purpose that Imma enters into Zeir Anpin... i.e. as mentioned above, Imma becomes "bone of his bones..." (through giving him her Netzach-Hod-Yesod). ...and makes brotherly love reign among his Sefirot. This is the bond in which Imma binds together the different parts of Zeir Anpin with flashing excitement and joy.

This is done through Malchut... The underlying principle here is that "Whoever remains without a wife remains without joy" (Yevamot 62b). This is also the mystery of the Shabbat. The greatness of the Shechinah -- the female aspect -- lies in bringing completion to the male. The underlying principle is that Imma does not rest upon Zeir Anpin except when the Nukva is with him, as is clear from many passages in the Zohar and Tikuney Zohar. This is explained by the fact that the Nukva is the root of the recipients, and when the lights look to shine blessing to their recipients, everything is full of joy and radiant excitement -- "God will rejoice with His works" (Psalms 104:34). However, this depends on the deeds of those in the lower realms. When the lower realms are ready, it means that the Nukva, which is their root, is prepared and ready to be filled (becoming a receiving vessel). The lights then flash with great power and joy, and all the gates are opened. Tzaddik, the active influence, is then blessed from Imma above and becomes filled with all good. However, if the lower realms are not prepared, God forbid, it means that their root -- the Nukva -- is not ready to receive. Of this it is said, "It grieved Him in His heart" (Genesis 6:6). All the lights are then occluded, and this is the mystery of, "The waters are gone from the sea (=Nukva) and the river (=Zeir Anpin) is parched and dried up" (Job 14:11), as explained in various places.

Thus it is Imma, who governs Zeir Anpin, that brings all this about. When Imma sees that the Nukva is ready for Zeir Anpin, Imma becomes aroused and directs Zeir Anpin using her mitigating influences, causing shining faces and joy everywhere. Blessing and sustenance then flow with abundant joy in the mystery of coupling and union (זיווג, zivug), as will be explained in its proper place with the help of Heaven(see Opening 138).

For Malchut was instituted as the container vessel for all of them... This is what brings about the connection and joining both above and below. Above -- on the level of Zeir Anpin -- all the lights are focussed on one place, and the intention in everything is to benefit the creatures of the lower realms and fill them at their roots. The entire will is focussed on this, and then everything goes towards this in one flash of excitement. All the different kinds of thoughts and strategies are directed to this one end with the radiant excitement of love.

Consider this mystery as we see it here below. When all the souls are able to attach themselves to the Shechinah (Divine Presence), each one then shows love to the other and Israel are called "one nation on earth" (Chronicles I, 17:21 etc.). For they literally become brothers and friends who are all running towards a single goal. However, when this is not the case but instead each is intent only on his own one-sided gain, there can be nothing except hatred. However, such a bond can exist only at a time of great repair, such as at the time of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, of which it is written, "Israel encamped there facing the mountain" (Exodus 19:2; the singular form of "encamped" indicates their unity at that time, see Rashi ad loc.). And it will be the same in the future.

...so that instead of each light shining separately by itself, they should all be directed to one single place. It has already been instituted as a law that all the influences come through Malchut. Accordingly, when Malchut is aroused, this connection is aroused as a matter of course. Now the mystery of Malchut is that of the Assembly of Israel (כנסת ישראל, Knesset Yisrael), i.e. everything goes only to this one place, and she arouses the actual love of the Supreme Mind in every aspect, for the higher powers are directed to her alone. Accordingly, as soon as she is ready to receive, immediately all the lights -- because of the love between the Holy One blessed be He and the Assembly of Israel -- become aroused and directed continually towards her, which automatically creates a bond of connection and mutual excitement between them. It is like a man who has tremendous love for his son or his wife, and all his thoughts are only to benefit them. If they happen to approach him, his soul takes fire with all its powers and he gives his son or wife his exclusive attention.

A connection then develops between them... As already explained, when the Nukva is ready, the connection is aroused as a matter of course. ...and they all turn to Malchut... Thus the sages commented on the verse, "And I will turn to you" (Leviticus 26:9) -- "I turn aside from all my other business" (Sifra). This means that all the supreme thoughts are directed only to Israel, which is the main essence, and therefore all the lights turn to shine to the Shechinah, and they leave everything else aside for this. ...as the "hind of love" (Proverbs 5:19)... This is a term of affection for the Nukva, indicating that when she is ready, love is aroused towards her.

...and they themselves join with one another. This is the mystery of the mutual flashing that I have mentioned: the greater the joy, the more the soul radiates with all its powers, and likewise the supreme lights all become merged in a single bond for the sake of the Shechinah.

The more they turn to her, the stronger the bond of brotherly love between them, and this brings great joy. After the first stirrings of the arousal, the excitement becomes continually more intense, because the attachment of the receiver becomes ever stronger, as does the attachment of the active influence (Zeir Anpin), while Imma in turn increases her various influences. We already know from our own feelings and experiences that this is the nature of the interaction.

Part 2: This is what was lacking in the Primordial Kings... As we have already stated, initially they were not made in their state of repair. And this is what was lacking, for evil as such did not yet exist but only the initial state of Zeir Anpin in the aspect of strict Judgment. Indeed, the Supreme Mind wanted to measure and display the functioning of strict Judgment in all its intrinsic severity, not as it appears when sweetened. Only afterwards was it to be revealed how it is mitigated, in order to display the functioning of the power of mitigation. For the entire supreme intention was to conceal the perfection in order to display the deficiencies and then show their repair and how it comes about. It was therefore necessary for each aspect to appear individually. Afterwards, the government of the world follows the same path so as to serve as the root to reveal this knowledge through the creations themselves with their unique form and qualities, and through the order of government to which they are subject.

...for the Six Directions were not turned towards Malchut... This shows the essential nature of the entire creation -- how everything is directed only towards those in the lower world, specifically Israel in the mystery of the Assembly of Israel. This is the meaning of the verse, "God will rejoice in His works" (Psalms 104:31): the arousal and flashing of the lights depends entirely on the creations in the lower world. Here the purpose of man's service is clearly evident, because here we see the link between the lights and the Assembly of Israel. As long as the latter was not in a state of repair or readiness for the supernal lights, all the gates were closed. When she is ready, they are immediately opened. The stronger the attachment of the lights to her, the wider open the gates become. The key to all this is the Supreme Imma (אימא עילאה, Imma Ilaa), who closes or opens the gates according to how ready the Nukva is for Zeir Anpin. We thus see how when the Nukva was not prepared for the Six Directions, everything went to ruin (and the vessels broke).

...and therefore did not escape the sadness and angry faces... Strict Judgment stood in its full force. Here we can see clearly how man's service brings about repair. Since the only purpose of strict Judgment is to withhold His influence from the lower creations during the time when they are not prepared, there is no other remedy except that the lower creations should be ready, and then He will send blessing. Accordingly, as long as the Nukva is not prepared, sadness reigns and this is what prevents the lights from shining since they do not reveal their goodness at all unless there is a vessel ready to receive them.

We thus see that the first thing rooted in Zeir Anpin is stern Judgment in its sad aspect, as stated above -- except that the mitigation comes and removes it. Accordingly, prior to the arrival of the power of mitigation, stern Judgment stands in all its sadness. The effects arising out of this state are what the Supreme Mind wanted to reveal first.

...and Imma still allowed them to remain that way. It is clear from what we have already explained that the intention was to show what develops out of Judgment unless it is mitigated.

Accordingly, the first three Sefirot of Zeir Anpin were missing... For the first three Sefirot were not revealed in Zeir Anpin in order to show what develops out of strict Judgment if it is all alone without Imma's mitigating influence. For in the later phases after the breaking of the vessels, this is something that no longer existed -- i.e. Zeir Anpin is not found without the mitigating power of Imma, because even in the immature state (קטנות, katnut), Zeir Anpin still retains mental powers (מוחין, mochin). Thus the state of breakage was worse than the state of immaturity, for when the vessels were broken, the influence of Imma was not present at all, and as a result there was literal destruction, "formlessness and void" (Gen. 1:2).

Likewise, the flood, which caused literal destruction, also resulted from a re-arousal of the breaking of the vessels, except that there was a certain difference. For in the flood the breakage was not absolute since there was an aspect of Imma that remained -- the ark. For this reason, the earth was not completely destroyed but only tothe depth of the plow, though I will not elaborate on this now. It is sufficient for you to understand that the state of breakage causes literal destruction, while the state of immaturity does not cause so much damage but results rather in exile. Of this it says, "I saw the land and behold, formlessness and void" (Jeremiah 4:23). Nevertheless this is not formlessness and void in the literal sense, because the world did not return to actual formlessness and devastation.

...for these result from Imma's entry into and repair of Zeir Anpin. As I wrote above, Imma became "bone of his bones". For the intrinsic essence of Zeir Anpin is only strict judgement -- the Six Directions -- while the mental powers (מוחין, mochin) are the mitigation -- Imma.

The others were then termed the domain of the many (רשות הרבים, reshut harabim, "the public domain")... This is the name given to them by the sages of the Kabbalah, and it applies when they were arranged one under the other (Etz Chayim, Shaar Shevirat Hakelim ch. 3). For proper government must be based on the consensus of all the Sefirot, as will be discussed later, and they need to stand facing one another with the center column joining them together. This way the effect is produced with the agreement of all the different levels, and this is termed the domain of unity (רשות היחיד, reshut hayachid, the "private domain").

However at first they were not given this repair, but each one was a separate matter, as if each one had to send its influence on its own, i.e. not through Malchut. Each one sent forth its own separate influence, and this is something that causes excess in the separate creations -- excessive separation and dissension. In this state there is no interrelationship between the different Sefirot except in terms of the developmental sequence whereby Gevurah emerges from Chessed, Tiferet from Gevurah, and so on. However they were not interconnected in a single governmental order in which everything stood together.

It was like one person who has many thoughts but does not go the full way in considering the connection between his various thoughts in order to produce a perfect result. Instead he dwells on one thought all by itself, then on another... but he does not weigh them against each other so as to bring everything together as a single whole.

What emerges stands in a state of complete disunity, with no interconnection between the different kinds. The gain that comes from understanding this is that we can thereby understand the nature of the Other Side, as it goes on to say. And the truth is that this is not the mode of blessing and sustenance, and accordingly, when they were in this state, they were unable to exert any influence.

...and this was the state from which the Other Side emerged... As I have already explained, at first all the different aspects of the governmental order were calculated individually, until the entire process can be seen before us like a set table -- from the concealment of the perfection until its return to be revealed again -- so as to understand thereby how evil turns back to good through the mystery of the unity, as stated above. Afterwards, each individual calculation by itself gave rise to one corresponding offspring among the separate creations. Thus it is that various different entities and contingencies emerge in the separate realms as manifestations of different aspects of the overall process. The nature of the different creations depends on the nature of their root, and they function according to that nature to the extent to which they are permitted in accordance with the overall direction of the complete governmental order (since the governmental order is the source of the separate creations.)

...which is why its nature and function is only to cause separation. This is its whole purpose -- to withhold the influence of the active source of influence from the recipients, to thwart the supernal lights both in general and in particular in order to close off their light. This is the way it was during the time when the judgment was unmitigated, and this restricted the flow of influence, as explained above. For it cannot be said that there is a flow of influence in a state of separation, for this is impossible, but rather, if there is a state of separation, the influence is withheld.





Translated by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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