Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
The difference between expansion and ascent
The Emanator blessed be His name instituted a certain law whereby the substance of the creations remains unchanged yet their soul may nevertheless be increased within them, giving them a higher status even though their body does not change. This is the Additional Soul given to man. Correspondingly in the higher realm too He instituted in the Sefirot the phenomenon whereby their exterior - which is the root of man's body - receives an interior soul beyond what is due to it according to its intrinsic nature, and this is called an ascent for it. As long as it is in the process of receiving its due, this is called growth towards completion. What is above this is an ascent. There are various arrangements like these, for this is the source of the addition that comes at different times on weekdays, Shabbat and the other holidays.
Having introduced the subject of ascents and descents, we will now examine their nature.
This proposition consists of two parts. Part 1: The Emanator. This explains the concept of the Additional Soul. Part 2: Correspondingly. This explains the corresponding ascents in the Sefirot.
Part 1: The Emanator blessed be His name instituted a certain law. This is something that we actually find in man here below, and from it we can understand the meaning of this ascent of the Partzufim, for what is hidden can be inferred from what is explicit.
.whereby the substance of the creations remains unchanged yet their soul may nevertheless be increased within them, giving them a higher status. For the quality of man's soul determines his status.
.even though their body does not change. This is the Additional Soul given to man. Experience proves the existence of the Additional Soul (Heb. nefesh yeteira) - another Neshamah that enters in addition to the first. This brings a great increase in status, yet there is no change in the body.
Part 2: Correspondingly in the higher realm too He instituted in the Sefirot the phenomenon. This phenomenon must necessarily have a root in the higher realm, for there is nothing that does not have a root.
.whereby their exterior - which is the root of man's body - receives an interior soul. This is what happens in the ascents of Shabbat and all the other ascents in which the interior and exterior are not renewed together but rather, the existing exterior receives a different interior. .beyond what is due to it according to its intrinsic nature. Even without this addition, the Partzuf already had full power on its level; the addition only increases its importance.
It could be objected that numerous differences exist between the Additional Soul as found here below and the root to which we have traced it in the world above.
(1) Here below the original soul does not go out of the body. Rather, the two souls are present at one and the same time - whereas in the upper realm the ascending Partzuf gives its original interior to the Partzuf beneath it while itself rising up to receive a different interior.
(2) This leads to a further difficulty. Here below it is truly no problem if the body does not change. It simply stays as it was with the first soul, which does not leave it. However in the upper realm it would appear that there would have to be some change in the exterior. Since the Partzuf in question receives a new, different interior, should it not also receive a new exterior?
(3) In the upper realm there is indeed a change in the exterior as well. This is because in the upper realm the transition from Immaturity to Maturity and likewise every ascent involves a new Pregnancy, Suckling and Mental Powers, as discussed in the teachings of the ARI. This implies that the entire structure is renewed, including the exterior.
A further problem is that we need to understand how in the upper realm the interior of Imma can become the interior of Zeir Anpin given that their functions are different from one another. Another problem is the very opposite of this: From where else could Zeir Anpin receive a new interior if not from the interior of the Partzuf above him, i.e. Imma?
In order to resolve these problems, it is necessary to understand the way in which the Supreme Lights affect man. It could have been that the actual substance (Heb. metziut) of the Partzuf, i.e. Zeir Anpin, would itself have been literally renewed. In that case the change would have been in its exterior, which is vested with executive power, as explained earlier (see Opening 27) in connection with the functioning of the Line (the interior) through the Residue (the exterior). This would have given him an interior consonant with this intrinsic change in him. If that had been the case in the upper realm, there would also have to be a corresponding change in the substance of the body here below with the entry of the Additional Soul.
But in fact these ascents are such that the substance of the acting entity continues to exist just as it is and the increase it receives is only in power and strength.
Thus when Zeir Anpin ascends to receive Imma's interior, this only means that he receives the light at great strength just as it radiates within Imma. However this light cannot give him Imma's intrinsic essence. On the contrary, Imma's inner power is certainly above the level of Zeir Anpin as is Imma herself. For Imma too has not changed her function, and what is left is only light in the sense of power - an increase of strength and power in the light of Zeir Anpin. But there is no change in Zeir Anpin's intrinsic essence.
Even though in the upper realm each ascent involves phases of Pregnancy, Suckling and Mental Powers that also renew the exterior, they do not change the intrinsic law and essence of the Partzuf but rather they are stages in its development. Similarly below, the body does not need to change in order to receive those lights but can do so without any change. Indeed, when the Additional Soul enters into man it certainly enters in stages - Pregnancy, Suckling and Mental Powers. However these are influences that man receives without undergoing any changes in his body - the exterior - because they do not change his intrinsic law but only give him greater power.
Thus we see that these ascents are such that in every case the exterior remains with its intrinsic functions unchanged, and what the ascending lower Partzuf takes from the upper Partzuf (i.e. what Zeir Anpin takes from Imma) or what the upper Partzuf takes in its ascent (i.e. what Imma takes for Zeir Anpin as she ascends) is still the same interior except with a stronger radiation.
When man's Additional Soul enters into him, his original soul functions only as if it is absorbed within the Additional Soul, which is the one that acts. However man does not exhibit the phenomenon whereby the ascending Partzuf leaves its original interior to the Partzuf below. Instead, in man the first soul remains absorbed and hidden within the Extra Soul.
In making inferences from the lower world to the upper world, what must always be understood is the interrelationship between one aspect and another on their level. There is no parallel between what exists above and what exists in this world except with respect to the interrelationship between different aspects. However the two realms are quite different in their intrinsic nature.
.and this is called an ascent for it. It is an ascent as distinct from all the levels of maturity prior to this, for the First and Second Maturity are only phases in completing the building and not ascents as such.
For as long as it is in the process of receiving its due. From the very outset the lights of the Partzuf are given all the powers necessary for its functioning - except that during Pregnancy and Immaturity they are closed up. They steadily expand little by little until they grow to the full extent ordained for them: this is called growth (Heb. hagdalah). Here below man grows in exactly the same way. The growing child contains everything found in the mature adult except that it is closed up and exists only in miniature. Afterwards he steadily expands until he reaches full size, by which time he has already brought forth and revealed everything inherent in his nature from the outset. All growth follows the same pattern.
.this is called growth towards completion. For when the Partzuf attains the ability to function and carry out its ordained purpose, it is said to be complete. Prior to this it was deficient, which is why it is called complete when it reaches this point.
What is above this is an ascent. An ascent means that one ascends above one's intrinsic level.
There are various arrangements like these. For everything goes in stages, and every level has its own unique arrangements.
.for this is the source of the addition that comes at different times on weekdays, Shabbat and the other holidays. All the different states of the Partzufim generate consequences down below. The effects of a given state are felt at the time when it holds sway - the holiness of Shabbat and festivals are felt on those particular days - and they also contribute to the overall government of the world. Thus besides their rule on those particular days, the holiness of Shabbat and the festivals contribute to bringing the overall governmental order to perfection.* Everything is designed to ensure that the cycle will be complete and suffice for all that is destined to happen in the world until everything returns to complete perfection at the final end in the future.
* "We sound the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah to strengthen the repair that took place with the Giving of the Torah and initiate what will be in the future." (Maamar Hachochmah, Malchuyot Zichronot VeShofarot)"It is like chopping away at a tree, striking blow after blow until one chops it down completely." (Ibid. Seder Leil Pesach)
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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