Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
Different times of ascent and descent
The worlds were created in such a way as to be able to rise above their intrinsic level. Indeed this was the very purpose for which they went down ever since their first descent at the time of the breaking of the vessels - in order to ascend little by little until everything would return to the level of completeness as before the breakage. And now there are ascents and descents depending on the different times, in order to govern the worlds with the necessary measure of increase and decrease as required in any given circumstances.
Having discussed the building of both Zeir Anpin and Nukva, let us now examine the repairs and ascents they undergo.
The explanation of the building of Nukva in the previous Opening is followed in this and the next Opening with a discussion of Zeir Anpin's maturity and various ascents - which do not depend on men's deeds. Discussion of the Nukva - whose various states do depend on men's deeds - is resumed in Opening 134.
The worlds were created in such a way as to be able to rise above their intrinsic level.
Men's whole task is to elevate and enhance the status of the creation. For the creation was placed on the lowest level in order to allow destruction to rule over it - so that men would be able to repair the damage, thereby acquiring merit. Men's merit and all their endeavors are bound up with elevating the creation to the highest level, rescuing it from destruction and ordering it in such a way as to prevent further damage.
This is the root of the ascents and descents discussed in connection with the Partzufim. When they rise above their lowest level to gain higher status, this is their ascent. When they go back down again, this is their descent. This is what causes the changing influences at different times in this world - on weekdays, Shabbat and other holidays etc.
Indeed this was the very purpose for which they went down. For had they been intrinsically lowly such as to require a change in their very nature in order to elevate them, it would have made man's path very difficult. But that is not the case. On the contrary, they stem from a high root and descended only afterwards. Man's task is to raise them up as they were before their descent.
.ever since their first descent at the time of the breaking of the vessels. For afterwards there was a further descent when the moon was made smaller, and Adam's sin was also a descent.
.in order that they should ascend little by little until everything would return to the level of completeness as before the breakage. This follows the principle that everything must be gradual and in stages.
And now there are ascents and descents depending on the different times. In the meantime there are both ascents and descents. For as long as the worlds have not reached their highest possible level they can still ascend and descend. No level is permanently attained through a one-time ascent. Time factors play a large part in this. As long as the ascent to a given level is not permanent it is possible to rise to and fall from it time after time.
These ascents and descents create differences between the weekdays and Shabbat and all the other significant days and times, as well as between the nights and the days of the actual holidays themselves. Shabbat and the holidays are all times of ascent, and then afterwards the cycle swings around into a descent. The different ascents and descents either enhance or lessen the status of the creations (and thus the descent on weekdays represents not a flaw as such but rather a lessening in status.)
.in order to govern the worlds with the necessary measure of increase and decrease as required in any given circumstances. The Supreme Thought has already calculated which ascent is necessary and which ascent is unnecessary at every juncture, instituting the different times accordingly. Everything is arranged to bring the world to perfect government through all the different changes in the times.
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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