The Zohar/Rav Brandwein Writings
Kabbalah News/Essays Search Our Site Kabbalah Audio Files Contact Us Home
Introduction to the Zohar, Lesson 8, Vayakhel, 5765, March 3, '05
By our Honorable and Holy Master, Teacher and Rebbi, Rabbi Avraham Brandwein, Of Yerushalayim, Israel, may he live long and happily, Amen.
Section 8: “From here we also have come to comprehend the view of the Kabbalists, which we brought in the third inquiry. We wondered upon them, how is it possible to say about the souls that they are a part of G-d from Above, identical to a stone that has been hewn from a mountain, that there is no difference between them, except in that one is a “part” and the other is the “whole”? And we wondered, you can accept that the stone that has been separated from the mountain, that it was made its “part” by means of a chopping tool, prepared for the purpose, but in His Essence, may He be blessed, how is it possible to say such a thing? With what were the souls divided from His Essence, may He be blessed, that they went out from being included in the Creator to become created beings?”
According to this, to what is compared the chopping tool, which separates the soul from G-dliness, that it should be just a part of G-d. Also, how is it possible in spirituality to distance a part from one place to another?
“In what has been explained, the matter can be well understood, for just as the chopping tool cuts and separates a physical object, to divide it into two, so too a change in form separates, in the spiritual, to divide it into two. For example, when two people love each other, you say that they are attached to each other like one body. And in the opposite, when they hate each other, you say that they are distant one from the other, like the distance from east to west. Here there is no issue of closeness in space or a distance of space, but the intent is regarding the similarity (or equalness) of form. When they are similar in their form, one to the other, that one loves everything that their friend loves and hates everything that their friend hates, etc., so they love one another and are attached one to the other. If there is between them some difference in form, that one loves something, even though the other person hates it, etc., in the measure of the difference in form, they are hateful and distant one from the other. If for example they are opposite in form, that everything that one loves the other hates, and everything that one hates the other loves, then they are distant one from another, like the distance from east to west, i.e. from one extreme to the other.”
For it is possible for two people to be in the same room, but if their viewpoints are different, they are distant one from the other. If they are similar in their viewpoints, then even if each one is in a different country, across the sea, they are considered close to one another. This is as it is written in Mishley (Proverbs Chapter 18), “He will seek desire, and be separate.” When there are two friends, and one is drawn after his egotistical desire, he becomes separate from his friend.
Section 9: “And you find that, in spirituality, a change in form accomplishes the same as a chopping tool, which separates physical objects. Also, the measure of distance is according to the amount of oppositeness of form. From here you can understand that since the desire to receive pleasure is implanted in the souls, as mentioned above, as we clearly proved, that this form is not found at all within the Creator, may He be blessed, for Heaven forefend, from whom will He receive? So, this change in form, which the souls achieved, acts to separate them from His Essence, may He be blessed, like the comparison to the chopping tool, which hews the stone from the mountain, in the manner that through this change in form, the souls went out from being included in the Creator, and separated from Him to become created beings.”
The explanation is that the Creator, may He be blessed, has no “lack”, for He is complete in all completeness. Therefore, He does not have the desire to receive, and all of His actions come from his desire to only emanate and bestow goodness. According to what has been explained, closeness and distance, in spirituality, is measured according to the difference in form. Since the form and makeup of the soul is just to receive for itself, it is an opposite form from the Creator, may He be blessed. Therefore, the person is found at the most extreme distance from the Creator. This is what we are commanded in the Torah, to walk in His ways, and to cleave to Him, and Chazal say, “How is it possible to cleave to Him?” rather, cleave to His Middos (behavioral attributes); just as He is compassionate, also you be compassionate; just as He does acts of kindness, also you should do acts of kindness.
With the above explanation, of how it is possible to cleave to Him, for the issue of Deveykus (cleaving) is the similarity of form, and just as the Creator, may He be blessed is an emanator, also we, through acts of emanation, are similar to His actions and we cleave to Him.
We find that we have here three distinctions: similarity of form, difference of form, and oppositeness of form. Similarity (equalness) means that both wills are entirely equal in everything. Difference means that the wills are equal but not in everything. Oppositeness means that there is no shared will; on the contrary, whatever one wants, the second hates.
We need to point out that the designation is similarity of “form”, not similarity of “matter”, since each person must protect their Essence, but the goal is shared and everyone has the desire to actualize the goal.
For example, in a refined country, there needs to be people with different roles, like doctors, workers, etc., but the goal of all of them is the maintenance and development of the country. Also, a husband and wife, when love is between them, the Shechinah dwells amongst them, as Chazal say, “If a man and woman merit, then the Shechinah is between them, which is Yud and Hay (Man is Ish – Aleph Yud Shin, and woman is Isha – Aleph Shin Hay). If they do not merit, then they have just fire, Aleph Shin (the Yud and Hay are withdrawn and only Aish – fire - Aleph Shin remains in their names). It is understandable that each person is different, but the goal must be shared.
Therefore, the designation is the similarity of form, not similarity of matter. Also, regarding our issue, the Creator is the emanator and the created being is the recipient, but if the intent of the recipient is not to fill one’s selfish desires, but rather, through one’s receiving, the individual can cause pleasure to the Creator in that His Will is fulfilled, then there is a similarity of form, since the Creator is an emanator and the created being is an emanator, by their act of receiving.
“However, whatever the souls obtain from His Light, may he be blessed, is drawn out Yesh MeYesh (something from something), from His Essence, may He be blessed. If so, we find, that from the aspect of His light, Yisborach (may he be blessed), which is received through the vessel in the souls, which is the desire to receive, there is no difference at all between them and His Essence, Yisborach. The only difference between the souls and His Essence, Yisborach, is only in that the souls are a “part” of His Essence, Yisborach, which is that the amount of light that they received within the vessel, which is the desire to receive, it is already a separate part from G-dliness, because it is subjected to a change of form, by the desire to receive. This difference in form makes it into a “part”, through which it went out from the level of the “whole” and became the level of a “part”.
In summation, the desire to receive is compared to a chopping tool, which hews a stone from a mountain. The soul is a vessel with a desire to receive; therefore, it is separate from His Essence. The reason the soul is called a “G-dly” part is that the light that shines into the vessel is not comparable to the light in His Essence, Yisborach, before it became enclothed within the vessel. This is like pieces of glass which are colored red, blue or green etc., which are placed facing the sun. We then distinguish new lights, red light, yellow light, etc. It is understood, that in the sun itself there is no change, but the light of the sun, when it shines through the colored glass, it is the subject, which is carried by the object, the glass. Therefore it is considered a part of the light. Likewise with G-dliness, there is no change, but since every vessel is limited and receives according to its level, therefore, the light within it is called a G-dly part. This is what is written here that, “the amount of light that they received within the vessel, which is the desire to receive, it is already a separate part from G-dliness, because it is subjected to a change of form, by the desire to receive.”
“So, there is no difference between them, except that one is the “whole” and the other is a “part”, like a stone which is hewn from a mountain. Think deeply about this, for it is impossible to lengthen this matter further at such a high place as this.”
In order to understand what is the analogy to a mountain and a stone hewn from the mountain, let us bring the words of the Holy Arizal, from the Sefer Talmud Esser Sefiros, from our Rebbi the Baal Hasulam, may the righteous be remembered for a blessing. The essence of his words is that before the worlds were created, the Light of Ain Sof (the Infinite One) filled all of existence. This means that the great light, which the Creator wanted to bestow goodness upon the created beings, shined within the vessel. Since this vessel was not limited, and it received the light in an infinite manner, therefore, this vessel is called Malchus of Ain Sof (Kingship of the Infinite One). This state was called “He and His Name are One.”
Afterwards, Malchus Tzimtzumed (restricted) itself, and a result of this Tzimtzum was that the great light withdrew. From the Tzimtzum onward, every Sefirah receives only a “part” of the light, not the “whole” as it was in Ain Sof.
According to this, it is understood that the “mountain” is Malchus of Ain Sof, since the stone is a term for the desire to receive, as the verse says, “The builders rejected the stone,” and “Stones which the water has worn down.” This Malchus, which is the great desire to receive, it received all of the light, and therefore was called the “mountain”. A result of the Tzimtzum was that every vessel, which is every Sefirah of Malchus within every level, is like a stone that has been hewn from the mountain.
This is what is written, that in the future Havaya will be One and His Name will be One. Everything will revert back to Ain Sof. This is what is written in Yeshaya (Chapter 2), “And it will be in the end of days, the mountain of the House of Hashem will be established on the top of the mountains and lifted above the hills, and all Nations will flow to it, etc.”