The Zohar/Rav Brandwein Writings
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Introduction to the Zohar, Lesson 7, Parshas Terumah, 5765, Feb. ‘05
By our Honorable and Holy Master, Teacher and Rebbi, Rabbi Avraham Brandwein, Of Yerushalayim, Israel, may he live long and happily, Amen.
We continue with Section 6: “Chazal have already taught us (see Etz Chayim, Shaar HaKelalim, beginning of Chapter 1) that Hakadosh Baruch Hu only created the world in order to give pleasure to his creations.” This means that the goal, for which the Creator created the creations, was because His Will is to give pleasure and bestow goodness. Therefore He created creations in order to bestow goodness upon them. Let us quote the words of the Holy Ari, in his work Etz Chayim and Shaar HaHakdamos, “When it arose in His simple Will to create the worlds, to bring out to light the completeness of His acts, names and appellations, which this was the cause of the creation of the worlds, since the name Havaya represents that He ‘was, is and will be’.” “Was” –refers to the past, before creation. “The present” – is during the creation. “Will be” – is the future, after it is converted into “what was”. Also the name Adni represents that He has servants and He is the master over them. Moreover, when He is merciful over them, He is called Rachum (the Merciful One). We find that when there are creations, His acts and Names come out into a revealed action.
Every name is given by the receiver. Someone who tastes a sweet taste gives the name “sugar” to the substance that they tasted, or if they sensed a salty taste, they give the name “salt”. Likewise, through the creations, who receive the goodness from the Creator, may He be blessed, bring out to light, in action, His Names and appellations, and apply Names to Him, like the Good One, the Bestower of Goodness to others, the Compassionate One, and the Merciful One.
“Here we need to place out eyes and thoughts that this is the final goal of His intention and act, in the creation of the world.”
This means that the Will of the Creator to give pleasure to the creations, this is the end of the act of the creation of the world. As we have learned, that it is impossible to understand the meaning of an act in the middle, i.e. in the stages of its development, but only in the end of the development, when the act is completed. After we know that the end of the act is when the creations will receive His Goodness and they will have pleasure, therefore, we must deeply think according to the end of the action, i.e. when His Will to bestow goodness is fulfilled in action, with the reception of goodness by the creations. This is the end of the intent and act of the creation of the world.
Seemingly, it should say that the end of the act of the creation of the world is that the creations will receive His pleasure, and not that the end of the act is the Will of the Creator, to give pleasure to His creations. However, the proper form of receiving the pleasure is only if there is an intent to do the Will of the Creator, that the creations will receive the Goodness, not since it is their intent to receive for themselves, but rather, in order that the Will of the Creator come out into action. So, in the end of the matter, even the end of the act, that it is His Will to give pleasure and the creations are getting pleasure, it is all the same.
This is what is written in Sefer Yetzirah (the Book of Formation) that the Creator is Echad, Yachid and Meyuchad, (One, Singular and Unique). It is explained in Talmud Esser Sefiros, in the explanation called Histaklus Penimis, “One” – this means that His Will is one, to only bestow goodness. “Singular” – when we sense evil, and we ask, “Here, (in this evil), where is His Will to do good? Then we are obligated to believe that a Singular force operates, even in this form that appears to us as evil, since, in the end of the matter, this action is part of the conditions for achieving perfection, to form a complete garment. “Unique” – is in the end of the action, when all will see and feel that all is good. Then He will be called Unique (an Absolute Oneness). Therefore, “Here we need to place out eyes and thoughts that this is the final goal of His intention and act, in the creation of the world.”
“We need to think deeply that since the thought behind the creation was in order to give pleasure to the creations, it must be that He created in the souls the greatest amount of desire to receive what He thought of giving them.” Why was it necessary to create such a great amount of desire? “Behold, the measure of the quantity of every delight and pleasure is measured by the amount of quantity of the desire to receive it, so that when the desire to receive is the greatest, behold, in that measure is the greatest amount of pleasure. And when the desire to receive is lessened, in that same measure is lessened the amount of pleasure from receiving. So, the thought behind creation itself obligates the necessity to create in the souls an inordinate amount of the desire to receive, which corresponds to the amount of greatest pleasure that His All-Capableness thought of to give pleasure to the souls, for the great pleasure and the great desire to receive fall in line with each other.” The measure of the greatness of pleasure is not dependent on the size of the “filling” which fulfills that desire to receive, but everything is dependent on the vessel, which is called the desire to receive. For example, a man who is in the desert, in the summer, with the weather of a heat spell, and he does not have water, if we say to him, “We want to give you pleasure, to give you a magnificent car and large house as a gift.” He will reply, “I do not want any pleasure in this world, just bring me a bottle of water to drink.” This means that from a drink of a bottle of water he will get the equivalence of all of the pleasures of the world. Likewise, when a man is starving, he will request, “Just bring me a piece of bread.”
When that man eats at home every day, that same measure of water or bread, he does not get the amount of pleasure like when he was starving or thirsty. Yet, seemingly, this is the same amount! Rather, from here we learn that it is all dependent on the “lack” (Chisaron), not on the amount that fills in the lack. Therefore, the vessel of receiving determines the amount of the greatness of the pleasure, “for the great pleasure and the great desire to receive fall in line with each other.”
For if there is only an appetite, and there is nothing to eat, then the appetite causes suffering. This means that if there is a desire to receive, but there is nothing to receive, then the desire alone causes suffering and pain. However, if there is an appetite and there is also what to eat, the result is that both the appetite and the food, which is the “filling”, both fall into line with each other, that in the combination of the two of them together then one receives the pleasure.
This is the cause and reason that, before the meal, people eat an appetizer or spicy and salty food, in order to increase the appetite, for when the appetite is the greatest, so too the pleasure derived from the meal will be the greatest, since the great pleasure and the desire to receive fall in line with each other and both of them are important, both the appetite and also the food.
“After we know this, we have already achieved to understand the second inquiry to its end, in absolute clarity, for we inquired to know what is the existence which is possible to clearly identify as not existing, nor included, in His Essence, may He be blessed, to the point that we can say that it is a new creation, Yesh MeAyin (ex nihilo)? Now that we clearly understand that the thought behind the creation is in order to give pleasure to His creations, consequently, He necessarily created the attribute of the desire to receive from Him all of this pleasure and Goodness that He intended for them. Behold, this desire to receive, certainly was not included within His Essence, may He be blessed, before He created it in the souls, for from whom would He receive? So, He created something new, which was not within Him, may He be blessed.
This means that the second inquiry was, what is the new creation which was not at all existent before, not even in potential, which is in the aspect of Yesh MeAyin (ex nihilo), which is the designation of a new “creation”?
The answer is that the “vessel” is called the “desire to receive”, which is the “lack” which is in the souls. This “lack”, understandably, was not existent within the Creator, may He be blessed, for from whom would He receive? Who would complete a lack for Him? So, He created all of existence, and He must necessarily exist, for before there were creations, there was no existence besides Him. The meaning of “lack” is to receive something that is from outside of the vessel. What thing could be outside of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, before the creation, that He would want to receive it? If we would consider that there is something, which is able to complete Him, then that thing, which completes Him, would be, G-d forbid, more complete than He! This is impossible to say. This is what is written in the Shir HaYichud (Song of Unity) for the third day, “Everything needs your righteousness, and You do not need your creations.” Before any creation, You existed, You alone; You needed nothing.”
Therefore, the desire to receive is an entirely new creation. However, we are the ones who give it a title and designate it as Yesh MeAyin (something from nothing).
This is not the case with the Light itself, which includes all of the source of pleasure and goodness; it spreads directly from Essence and it is not a new creation. It is designated as Yesh MeYesh (something from something).
“Together with this is understood, according to the thought behind creation, that there was no need at all to create any more than this “desire to receive”, for this “new creation” already suffices for Him, may He be blessed, to fulfill all of the thought behind creation, which He thought upon us, to give us pleasure. However, all of the “filling” in the thought behind creation, which is all of the types of goodness which He intended for us, is already drawn out in a direct flow from His Essence, may He be blessed, and there is no need to create them from new, at the time when they are already emanated Yesh MeYesh (something from something) to the great “desire to receive”, which is in the souls. So, it is absolutely clear to us, that all matter, from its beginning to its end, within the “new creation”, is just the “desire to receive”.
In our physical world, when a host wants to bestow goodness upon his guests, in order for them to receive pleasure, he prepares for them a feast of all types of food, as it says in the Zemiros (songs) of Shabbos, “To have pleasure in delights, geese, quail and fish, and delights of delicacies.” But the “lack”, which is the appetite, is already innate within the guest. However, in spirituality, there is no limit or change in spiritual light. If it changes, it is not larger or smaller, rather, all of the changes are caused by the vessels. If there is a vessel with a small desire, it will only experience the light as a small light. A vessel with a great desire will derive pleasure from the light in a much greater delight.
But together with this it is understood that it was not necessary to create any more than the desire to receive. Why?Since, in the “filling”, which is in the light that the Creator wanted to shine to the creations, therein is found all of the goodness, which is included in the light, therefore, an additional light was not needed, since the amount of quality or quantity of light is all established by the vessel. Therefore, what He needed to create was just the vessel. “However, all of the “filling” in the thought behind creation, which is all of the types of goodness that He intended for us, is already drawn out in a direct flow from His Essence, may He be blessed, and there is no need to create it from new.” Rather, the new “creation” is just the “lack”, which is called the “desire to receive”. With this, we have completed Section 7.