Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
Atik elevates man's service to the World of Reward.
Until MaH and BaN everything proceeded in a state of repair and no delay was necessary there. But the damage was in BaN and its repair is through MaH, and they had to be given a place in which to do what is in their power - until they will return to a level beyond that of the worlds, while the level of existence of the lower creations will be raised successively higher and higher through the mystery of the branches of Adam Kadmon until the end of all ascents.
Therefore since Atik is the foundation of the interconnection of MaH and Ban, it is Atik that stands to transfer things from this present governmental order to the governmental order of eternity. For every deed by man below has an effect on the interconnection of MaH and BaN and goes on to be fixed for eternity. When all the work of the lower creations will have been completed, everything necessary in the interconnection of MaH and BaN will be complete and what is necessary will be fixed for all eternity in accordance with the deeds performed by man. Thus we see that everything is in the merit of man below and in accordance with his deeds.
The proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: Until. The place of service is from Atzilut and below. Part 2: Therefore since. How the service ascends to eternity, which is the level of the reward.
Part 1: Until MaH and BaN. The phenomena of breaking and repair are found only in BaN. For even though there was a certain aspect of concealment on the level of the Akudim (the lights of the Mouth of Adam Kadmon), this was not because of any breakage. Rather, it was a certain process brought about in order that it would afterwards be possible for the breakage to occur in the Nekudim (see Opening 33).
.everything proceeded in a state of repair. Evil was not rooted there and accordingly there was nothing to hold back the radiation. .and no delay was necessary there. As soon as the process began it was completed at once, for such is the nature of that level. (This comes to explain why only one thousand years each are required for the ascents to the Eyes, Nose and Mouth of Adam Kadmon while the repair of BaN requires six thousand years, as discussed further below.)
But the damage was in BaN and its repair is through MaH. Here things take longer because the work necessary on this level cannot be completed all at once. First there was the damage, and this made it necessary for man to come afterwards and complete the repair of these defects.
.and they had to be given a place in which to do what is in their power. This is the whole concept of the six thousand years of the existence of this world. .until they will return to a level beyond that of the worlds... i.e. beyond the level of the worlds of Atzilut-Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. For the lower realms were created with an aspect of damage and defect deriving from BaN, and completion of this branch is held up until after the creation of evil and the creation of the lower worlds - until evil is repaired by the lower creations, this being their service. This branch (BaN) will then be complete and return to a state of repair like the other branches of Adam Kadmon (the Ears, Nose and Mouth and above).
.while the level of existence of the lower creations will be raised successively higher and higher through the mystery of the branches of Adam Kadmon, until the end of all ascents. (This refers to the period from the seventh millennium to the tenth and thereafter to eternity.) While it is true that the lower creations emerged from this lowest branch (BaN), they must rise up to all the branches (i.e. those of AV and SaG - the lights of the Ears, Nose and Mouth). For all those branches were successive levels required to produce the lower realms (through the developmental chain that consists of all the branches of Adam Kadmon down to BaN, for each branch develops out of the preceding branch). All of them must act to influence the lower creations until everything made for their sake has carried out its allotted share. (For the branches of the Ears, Nose and Mouth were also made for the sake of the lower creations - to perfect them in the World of Reward.)
Thus the lower creations came into being only through the lowest branch - BaN - and they therefore had to descend level by level down to there. Then man came forth to perform his service, after which, in the World of Reward, he will receive successive influences, one after the other, from all the branches that came forth for his sake - the Ears, Nose and Mouth. What will they do for him? They will elevate his plane of existence. For he exists already, but the plane of his existence will be qualitatively purer, higher and better. When all these ascents are complete, it can be said that each of the branches of Adam Kadmon will have carried out its allotted share in the repair of the lower creations that developed from them.
The branches of the Ears, Nose and Mouth have a different function from that of BaN and their effect on the lower creations is different. BaN, the lowest branch, included all the defects we have discussed in connection with the breaking of the vessels, with two results. Firstly, this is what provided man with his service, because it was the need to repair the defects that created the possibility of service. Secondly, the repair is protracted - it takes six thousand years. However the function of the other branches - the Ears, Nose and Mouth - is only to raise the lower creations to ever greater levels of perfection (and the time needed for the ascent in each case is only one thousand years). Initially the lower creations are subject to the mode of government of this lowest branch. Afterwards they will be governed through the part above it, then through the next higher part, each reaching his fitting level, and this is the order of the levels.
Thus the existence of the lower creations will only attain its necessary level of perfection after all the ascents in the tenth millennium. From then on is eternity, of which we have no conception whatever. The creation will then already have been totally perfected, having completed all ascents.
Thus we see that while the lowest branch functioned to give the lower creations the opportunity of service, the other branches - which require no repair - do not provide any possibility of service but rather give radiance and delight in proportion to the merit already attained through the earlier service.
(Summary of Part 1: (1) The ascents to the Ears, Nose and Mouth require only one thousand years in each case whereas the complete repair of the branches of MaH and BaN takes six thousand years. This is because in the Ears, Nose and Mouth there is no evil to hold up their repair, which is not so in the case of MaH and BaN. (2) Just as the branches of BaN emerged through the chain of development from those of the Ears, Nose and Mouth, so the Ears, Nose and Mouth bring completion to the lower creations when they ascend to them in the World of Reward. This is how the Ears, Nose and Mouth fulfill their function.)
Part 2: Therefore, since Atik is the foundation of the interconnection of MaH and Ban. For the essence of Atik is the Balance, as discussed earlier (Opening 59 Part 1 and Opening 96 end).
.it is Atik that stands to transfer things from this present governmental order to the governmental order of eternity. Why is Atik said to be the conveyor that makes the transfer between the affairs of this world and eternity? The reason is because all the affairs of this world depend on the mystery of MaH and BaN and their repair, which provided man with the possibility of service. In proportion to the repair carried out by man, so the radiance shines to him afterwards from the supreme branches. Since Atik is the very foundation of the interconnection of MaH and BaN, being entirely built of all their different aspects, Atik is bound up with man's service in the sense of determining the reward. This is why Atik is said to be the conveyor or transmitter from one governmental order to another - from that of the period of work to that of the period of reward, as the proposition goes on to explain.
For every deed by man below has an effect on the interconnection of MaH and BaN and goes on to be fixed for eternity. I have already explained that it is man's deeds below that bring about the repair above, and the repair is only in MaH and BaN. However its effect does not end there. That would have been the case had there been no reward except in this world. However the main reward will be in the World to Come, after we pass from the government of MaH and BaN to the government of the other branches - those of SaG followed by those of AV. If so, the other branches must be affected by this service - not in the sense of being rectified, since they do not need repair, but rather in the sense that they radiate afterwards in proportion to the repair carried out below, which makes the receiver fit to receive.
One level is therefore necessary in order to take these repairs - which were originally acts of service rectifying Atzilut and its branches - and transfer them to a plane on which there are no more repairs since no more are needed, but where the repairs already carried out elicit the radiation of the eternal reward that will be given when the branches of AV and SaG rule. The level that accomplishes this transfer is Atik, which is outside the world itself but rather stands as head to the world. (The first three Sefirot of Atik are not clothed in Atzilut and thus Atik in its intrinsic essence is beyond Atzilut but stands as head over it.) At the same time Atik, as Malchut of Adam Kadmon, is also connected with what is above it. (As head of Atzilut Atik relates to the world of service, while as Malchut of Adam Kadmon Atik has the power to transfer the service to the world of reward - in the sense of fixing the measure of the reward for each repair.) This is how Atik accomplishes this transfer.
When all the work of the lower creations will have been completed. The truth is that when the time of service is complete, it will mean that the time of the repair of all the levels (including the branches of AV and SaG) will be complete. For even though the upper branches require no actual repair, man has to be repaired in the sense of being fit to receive their lights through merit and not as a gift of charity, for this was the original intention. (The upper levels are repaired through the repair of the receiver, because only then is the giver able to influence the receiver.)
Thus the actual repair in MaH and BaN brought about through man's deeds elicits a corresponding radiation of the lights of the other branches, and accordingly when those lights shine it will be through merit, since their radiation was elicited through man's merit during his repair of MaH and BaN. Thus the time of man's service is only during the rule of MaH and BaN, but the effects of this service reach the very summit of all levels until the entire repair of MaH and BaN will be complete. Thus it is man's merit that calls forth each of these levels - the Ears, Nose and Mouth - to shine their lights in turn, each in its proper time (in its respective millennium).
.everything necessary in the interconnection of MaH and BaN will be complete and what is necessary will be fixed for all eternity according to the deeds performed by man. The end effect reaches eternity in the way explained above.
Thus we see that everything is in the merit of man below and according to his deeds. This is what it all comes down to in the end: the intention is that everything should be attained through merit and not through charity.
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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