The Zohar/Rav Brandwein Writings
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Introduction To The Zohar
by Rabbi Ashlag, Translated by Bnei Baruch
1) In this introduction, I would like to clarify matters that are seemingly simple. Matters that everyone fumbles with, and which much ink has been spilled over in attempting to clarify. Yet we have not reached a concrete and sufficient knowledge of them. And here are the questions: What is our essence?
What is our role in the long chain of reality, which we are but small links of?
When we examine ourselves, we find ourselves to be as corrupted and as low as can be. And when we examine the worker who has conceived us, we are compelled to be full of praise. And is it not necessary that from a perfect worker will come out only perfect works?
Our mind tells us that He is utterly benevolent, beyond compare. How, then, did He create so many creatures that suffer and agonize all through their lives? Is it not the nature of the good to bestow, or at least not to harm so?
How is it possible, that the infinite, with no beginning and no end, will extract from itself finite, mortal, transient creatures?
2) In order to clear all that up, we need to make some preliminary inquiries. And not, God forbid, where it is forbidden, meaning in His essence, of which we have no conception whatsoever, and thus have no thought of Him. But where the inquiry is required, meaning an inquiry in His deeds, as the Torah tells us: "know thou the God of thy father", and as it says in the poem of unification: "By your actions we know you".
Inquiry No. 1: How can we picture a new creation, meaning something new, that is not a part of Him, when it is obvious to anyone of right mind that there is nothing that is not a part of Him? Can one give what one does not have?
Inquiry No. 2: If you say that from the aspect of His almightiness, He certainly can create existence from existence, meaning something new that is not in Him, there rises the question - what is that reality, that can be conceived, which has no place in Him and is completely new?
Inquiry No. 3: Deals with what kabbalists have said, that a man's soul is a part of God, in such a way that there is no difference between Him and the soul, but that He is the "whole" and the soul is a "part". And they'd compared it to a rock carved off a mountain. There is no difference between the rock and the mountain, except that He is a "whole" and the rock is a "part". Thus we must ask: a stone carved from the mountain is separated from it by an ax made for that purpose, causing the separation of the "part" from the "whole". But how can you picture that about Him, that He will separate a part from His essence to become separated from Him, meaning a soul, to the point that it can only be understood as part of His essence?
3) Inquiry No. 4: Since the chariot of the Evil Side and the shells are at the other end of His holiness, that nothing farther remote can be conceived, how can it be extracted and made from holiness, much less that it will sustain it?
Inquiry No. 5: The matter of the rising of the dead: Since the body is so despicable, that immediately at birth it is doomed to perish and be buried. Furthermore, the Zohar said that before the body rots entirely, the soul cannot ascend to its place in Heaven, while there are still remnants of it. Therefore, why must it return and rise at the revival of the dead? Could the Creator not delight the souls without it? Even more bewildering is what our sages said, that the dead are destined to rise with their flaws, so that they will not be mistaken for another, and after that He will cure their flaws. We must understand why God would mind that they would not be mistaken for another, that for that he would recreate their flaw and then would have to cure it?
Inquiry No. 6: Regarding what our sages said, that man is the center of reality, that the upper worlds and this corporeal world and everything in them were not created but for him, and obliged man to believe that the world had been created for him. It is seemingly hard to grasp, that for this small human, who grasps no more than a wisp of this world's reality, much less of the upper worlds, whose height is immeasurable, that the Creator troubled Himself to create all this for him. And also, why would man want all that?
4) In order to understand these questions and inquiries, the trick is to start by looking at the end, that is at the purpose of creation. For nothing can be understood in the middle of the process, but only at its end. And it is clear that there is no act without purpose, for only the insane can be found to act purposelessly.
I know that there are those who cast over their backs the burden of Torah and Mitzvot (precepts), saying the Creator has created reality, then left it alone, that because of the worthlessness of the creatures, it is not fitting for the exalted Creator to watch over their petty little ways. Indeed, without knowledge they have spoken, for it is not possible to comment on our nothingness and lowliness, before we decide that we have created ourselves with all our tarnished natures.
But while we decide that the Creator, who is perfect in every way, is the one who created and designed our bodies, with all their admirable and contemptible attributes, surely from under the hand of the perfect worker there cannot emerge an imperfect act, since each act testifies to its performer. What fault is it of a bad garment, if some no-good tailor made it?
Such as this we find in the Talmud (Ta'anit 20): A tale about Rabbi Elazar who came before a most ugly man. He then said: "How ugly is that man". The man replied: "Go and tell the craftsman who made me - how ugly is this instrument you have made". Hence, those who claim that because of our nothingness and lowliness, it is not fitting for Him to watch over us, and therefore He has left us, do nothing more than publicly display their ignorance.
Try and imagine, if you had met some man, who would create creatures, precisely so that they would suffer and agonize their whole lives as we do, and not only that, but cast them behind his back, not wanting even to look after them, to help them a little. How contemptible and low you would regard him? Can such a thing be thought of Him?
5) Therefore, commonsense dictates that we grasp the opposite of what appears to be on the surface, and decide that we are truly noble and worthy creatures, of immeasurable importance, actually worthy of the worker who made us. For if you wish to find faults in our bodies, then behind all the excuses that you give yourself, it falls only on the Creator, who created us and the nature within us, for it is clear that he created us and not we. He also knows all the ways that stem from the nature and attributes He created in us. It is as we've said, that we have to contemplate the end of the act. Then we will be able to understand it all, as the saying goes: "Do not show a fool an unfinished work".
6) Our sages have instructed that the Creator created the world for no other reason, but to bestow to His creatures. Here is where we must place our mind and heart, for it is the final aim of the act of the creation of the world. And we must bear in mind, that since the thought of creation is to bestow to His creatures, He had to create in the souls a great amount of desire to receive that which He had thought to give. For the measure of each pleasure and delight, depends on the measure of the will to receive it. The greater the will to receive, the greater the pleasure, and the lesser the will, the lesser the pleasure from reception.
So the thought of creation itself, dictates the creation of an excessive will to receive, to fit the immense pleasure that his almightiness thought to bestow upon the souls. For the great delight and the great desire to receive must go hand in hand.
7) Once we have learned that, we've come to understand the second inquiry to its fullness, with complete clarity. For we have learned what is the reality that one can base clear decisions on, that is not a part of His essence, to the extent that we can say that it is a new creation, existence from existence. And new, that we know for sure, that the thought of creation is to bestow to His creatures, He necessarily created a measure of desire to receive from Him the bounty and delight that he had planned for them. Thus we see that that will to receive, which certainly was not a part of His essence before He had created it in the souls, because from whom could He receive, that is a novelty that is not in Him.
And along with that we understand, according to the thought of creation, that there was no need to create anything more than the will to receive. For this new creation is sufficient for Him to fulfill the entire thought of creation, that He had thought to bestow upon us. But all the filling in the thought of creation, meaning all the benefits He had planned to render us, stem directly from His essence, and He has not a need to recreate them, since they are already extracted, existence from existence, into the great will to receive that is in the souls. Thus we see that the whole matter of the renewed creation, from start to end, is only the "will to receive".
8) Now we've come to understand the words of the kabbalists in the third inquiry. We wondered how it was possible to say about souls that they were a part of God above, like a stone that is carved from a mountain, there is no difference between them except that one is a 'part' and the other is a 'whole'. And we wondered: it is one thing to say that the stone that is carved of the mountain becomes separated by an axe made for that purpose, but how can you say that about His essence? And with what were the souls divided from His essence and excluded from the Creator to become creatures?
From the above we clearly understand that just as the axe cuts and divides a physical object in two, so the spiritual change of form divides it in two. For example, when two people love each other, you say that they cleave to one another as one body. And when they hate each other you say that they are as far from one another as the east from the west. But there isn't a question of near or far in this case, but it goes to show the resemblance of form, that when they are equal in form, that each loves what the other loves and hates what the other hates, they become lovers and cleave to one another. And if there is some change of form between them, meaning that one of them likes something that the other hates and such, then to the extent that they differ in form, they become distant and hateful to one another. And if, for example, they are opposite in form, meaning that everything one likes is hated by the other, and everything he hates is liked by the other, they are deemed as far away from each other as the east from the west, meaning from one end to the other.
9) And you find that in spirituality the change of form operates as the axe in the corporeal world, and the distance between them is proportional to the oppositeness of form. From this we learn that since the will to receive pleasure has been imprinted in the souls, and since that form is absent in the Creator, because from whom can He receive, that difference of form, that the souls acquired, separates them from His essence, as the axe that carves a stone from the mountain. And because of that difference of form the souls were separated from the Creator and became creatures. However, everything the souls acquire of His light is extended from His essence as existence from existence.
It therefore turns out that as far as the light that they receive in their vessel (which is the will to receive) is concerned, there is no difference between them and His essence. That is because they receive, existence from existence, directly from His essence, and the difference between the souls and His essence is only that the souls are a part of His essence. That means that the amount of light they receive in their vessel, being the will to receive, is already separated from God because it is being received through difference of form of the will to receive, which made it a part through which they were separated from the 'whole' and became a 'part'. Thus, the only difference between them is that one is a 'whole' and the other is a 'part', as stone that is carved from a mountain. And scrutinize this meticulously for it is impossible to expand further on such a sublime issue.
10) Now we can understand the fourth inquiry: how is it possible that from His Holiness will emerge the chariot of defilement and shells, since it is at the other end of His Holiness and how can it be that He supports and sustains it? Indeed we must first understand the essence of defilement and the shells. Know, that it is the great will to receive, of which we said that it is the essence of the souls by creation. And because they are willing to receive the entire filling that is in the thought of creation, it does not stay in that form within the souls, because if it had, they would have had to remain eternally separated from Him, because the difference in form would have separated them from Him.
And in order to mend the separation that rests upon the vessel of the souls, He created all the worlds and separated them into two systems, as the verse goes: "One against the other God made them", which are the four worlds of ABYA of holiness and opposite them the four worlds of the impure ABYA. And He imprinted the will to bestow in ABYA of holiness and removed from them the will to receive for themselves, and placed it in the system of the impure worlds of ABYA. And because of that they've become separated from the Creator and from all the worlds of holiness.
For that reason the shells are called "dead", as the verse goes: "sacrifices of the dead (Psalms 106, 28)". And the evil are attracted to them, as our sages say: "The evil are called dead when they are still alive", because the will to receive imprinted in them in oppositeness of form to His Holiness separates them from the Life of Lives, and they are remote from Him from one end to the other. It is so because He has no interest in reception, only in bestowal, whereas the shells want only to receive for their own delight and nothing to do with bestowal, and there is no greater oppositeness than that. You already know that the spiritual remoteness begins with some difference of form and ends in oppositeness of form, which is the farthest possible distance in the last degree.
11) And the worlds concatenated onto the reality of this corporeal world, meaning to a place where there is a body and a soul and a time of corruption and a time of correction. For the body, which is the will to receive for himself, is extended from its root in the thought of creation, through the system of the impure worlds, as the verse goes: "and a wild ass's colt, shall be turned into man!" (Job 11, 12) and he remains under the authority of that system for the first thirteen years, which is the time of corruption.
And by observing Torah and Mitzvot (precepts) from thirteen years of age and on, in order to bestow contentment to his Maker, he begins to purify his will to receive, and slowly turns it in order to bestow, through which he extends a holy soul from its root in the thought of creation. And it passes through the system of holy worlds and dresses in the body. And that is the time of correction.
And so he accumulates degrees of holiness from the thought of creation in the Infinite, until they aid him in turning his will to receive for himself to be reception in order to bestow contentment to his Maker, and not for himself in any way. And by that, one acquires equivalence of form with his Maker, because reception in order to bestow is regarded as pure bestowal.
In Masechet Kidushin it says, that with an important man she gives and he says - by that you are sanctified. Because reception that is in order to delight the giver is deemed absolute bestowal and giving. By that one buys complete adhesion with Him, for the spiritual adhesion is no more than identicalness of form, as our sages said that "one does not cleave to Him, but to His attributes", and by that a man becomes worthy of receiving the delight and pleasure and the gentleness within the thought of creation.
12) Thus we have clearly explained the correction of the will to receive that is imprinted in the souls by the thought of creation. For He has prepared for them two systems of worlds, one against the other, through which the souls pass and divide into two aspects, body and soul, and dress one in the other.
And through Torah and Mitzvot they finally turn the will to receive to be as the will to bestow, and then they can receive all the pleasures in the thought of creation. And along with it they acquire a solid adhesion with Him because through the work in Torah and Mitzvot they have attained sameness of form with their Maker, which is deemed the end of correction. And then, since there is no longer a need for the evil Other Side, it shall be eliminated from the earth and death shall cease forever. And all the labour that was given to the world over the past six thousand years, and to each person for the duration of his seventy years of life, is only in order to bring them to the end of correction, to the above-mentioned sameness of form.
The issue of the formation and extension of the system of the shells and impurity from His Holiness is also thoroughly clear now, that it had to be in order to extend by it the creation of the bodies, which would then correct it through Torah and Mitzvot. And if our bodies, with their corrupted will to receive, would not have been extended through the impure system, we would never have been able to correct it, for one cannot correct that which is not in him.
13) Indeed we still have to understand, how could the will to receive have extended from the thought of creation in the Infinite, whose unity is beyond words and beyond description, when it is so flawed and corrupted? Indeed, by the very thought to create the souls, His thought completes it all, for He does not need an act the way we do. And right away there came to be all the souls and worlds that were destined to be created, filled with all the delight and pleasure and the gentleness He had planned for them to have, in the final perfection that the souls were destined to receive at the end of correction, meaning after the will to receive in the souls has been fully corrected and turned to pure bestowal, completely identical to the emanator.
That is because in His Eternalness, the past and present are as one, and the future is as the present and in Him there is no such thing as time. And because of that there was never the issue of the corrupted will to receive in its separated state in the Infinite. On the contrary, that identicalness of form, destined to be revealed at the end of correction, appeared instantly in the Infinite. And our sages said about that: "Before the world had been created there were He and His name as one". For the separated form of the will to receive had not been revealed in the reality of the souls that extended in the thought of creation, rather they were cleaved to Him in sameness of form, as "He and His name as one".
14) Thus you necessarily find that on the whole, there are three situations to the soul:
1st situation - Their presence in Infinity in the thought of creation, where they already have the future form of the End of Correction. 2nd situation - Their presence in the six thousand years, which were divided by the two above systems into a body and a soul, when the work in Torah and Mitzvot was given to them, in order to convert their will to receive and turn it to a will to bestow contentment to their Maker, and not to themselves at all. During that time there will be no correction to the bodies, only to the souls. That means that they have to eliminate any aspect of reception for themselves, and remain with but a will to bestow, which is the form of the will in the souls. Even the souls of the righteous will not be able to rejoice in Heaven after their departure, but only after the body rots in the dust.
3rd situation - That is the state of the End of Correction of the souls, after the revival of the dead. At that time the complete correction will come to the bodies, for then the reception itself, which is the shape of the body, will take on the form of pure bestowal, and become worthy of receiving for themselves all the delight and pleasure and goodness in the thought of creation. And with all that they will attain solid adhesion because of their equivalence of form with their Maker, since he now takes complete delight in bestowal. And in short I'll use from now on the names of these three situations, meaning 1st situation, 2nd situation and 3rd situation. And remember all that is said here in every situation.
15) When you examine the above three situations, you'll find that one completely necessitates the other, in a way that if one were to be cancelled, the others would be cancelled too.
If, for example, the third situation, which is the conversion of the form of reception to bestowal, had not materialized, then certainly the first situation would never have materialized as well. It is because the perfection did not materialize there, only because the future third situation had already been materialized there as though it were present. And all the perfection that was pictured there in that state is like a reflection from the future into the present, but if the future could be cancelled, there would not be any present. Therefore the third situation necessitates the existence of the first.
All the more so, when something of the second situation is cancelled, because there is where all the work that is destined to be over in the third situation, meaning the work of corruption and correction and the continuance of the degrees. Thus how will the third situation come to be? Therefore we see that the second situation necessitates the existence of the third.
And so it is with the existence of the first situation in infinity, where the perfection of the third situation resides. It definitely necessitates that it will be adapted, meaning that the second and third situations materialize, in complete perfection, no less and no more in any way. Thus, the first situation itself necessitates the materialization of two opposite systems in the second situation in order to allow the existence of a body in the will to receive, which has been corrupted by the system of impurity, thus enabling us to correct it. And if there hadn't been a system of impure worlds, we would not have that will to receive, and we could not have corrected it and come to the third situation, for "one cannot correct that which is not in him". Thus we need not ask how the impure system came to be from the first situation, for it is the very first situation that necessitates its materialization and that form of existence in the second situation.
16) Therefore, one must not wonder at how it was that the choice had been taken from us, since we must be completed and come to the third situation, since it is already present in the first. The thing is that there are two ways the Creator has set for us in the second situation to bring us to the third situation: A) The Path of observing Torah and Mitzvot. B) The Path of Pain, since the pain refines the body and will eventually compel us to convert our will to receive to take on the form of a will to bestow and cleave to Him. It is as our sages said - "If you repent, fine, and if not, I will place over you a king such as Haman, and he will make you repent". Our sages said: "If they are granted, I will hasten their time, and if not, in due time". That means that if, we are granted, through the first path, meaning by observing Torah and Mitzvot, we thus hasten our correction, and we do not need the harsh agony and the lengthening of time that they take in order to compel us to reform. And if not - "in due time".
That means that only when the pain will complete our correction and the time of correction will be forced upon us. On the whole, the Path of Pain is also the punishments of the souls in Hell. But the End of Correction, which is the third situation, is an utter must, one way or the other, because of the first situation. Our choice is only between the Path of Pain and the Path of Torah and Mitzvot. Thus we have made it very clear how the three situations of the souls are connected to one another and necessarily necessitate one another.
17) From all the above we thoroughly understand the third inquiry, that when we examine ourselves, we find ourselves to be corrupted and despicable as can be. But when we examine the Creator who created us, we must be exalted for there is no higher than Him, as becoming of the Creator who created us, because the nature of the complete is to perform complete acts.
Now we can understand, that our body, with all its little incidents and possessions is not our real body, since our real body, the eternal and complete body, already exists in Infinity, in the first situation, where it takes its perfect form from the future third situation, meaning receiving in the form of bestowal, that is equalized in form with the Creator.
And if our first situation necessitates that we receive the shell of that body in the second situation, in its corrupted and loathsome form, which is the will to receive for himself alone, which is the force that separates us from the infinite so as to correct it and allow us to receive our eternal body in practice, in the third situation, we need not protest against it. Our work cannot be done, but in a body as transitory and as wasteful as ours, for "one does not correct that which is not in him".
Thus we already are in that perfect, worthy state, adapted to the perfect operator who has made us in that second situation, for this body does not defect us in any way, since it is going to expire and die and is only here for the time necessary for its cancellation and reception of our eternal form.
18) With that we settle the fifth inquiry: how could it be that from the eternal would extend transitory, wasteful actions? And we see that indeed they have already been extended as they should, worthy of His eternalness, meaning eternal and perfect beings. And our eternalness necessitates that the shell of the body had been given to us only for a transitory, wasteful work, for if it had stayed in eternity, we would have remained separated from the Life of Lives for all eternity.
We've said before (item 13), that this form of our body, which is the will to receive for himself alone, is not at all present in the thought of creation, for there we are formed as the third situation, but it is a must in the second situation, in order to allow us to correct it. And we must not ponder other beings in the world but man, since man is the center of creation.
And all other creations do not have a value on their own, but to the extent that they are useful in bringing man to his completeness. Therefore they rise and fall with him without any regard for themselves.
19) With that we also settle the fourth inquiry: since the nature of the good is to bestow, how did He initially create beings that would be tormented and agonized throughout their lives? Because, as we've said, all our agony is necessitated from our first situation, where our complete eternity that comes from the future third situation compels us to go either by the Path of Torah, or by the Path of Pain, and to come to our eternal state in the third situation (item 15).
But this agony is felt only by the shell of our body, created only to be perished and buried. And that teaches us that the will to receive for himself, is created only to be eradicated, abolished from the world and turned it into a will to bestow. And the pains we suffer are but discoveries of its nothingness and the harm in it. Indeed, when all human beings agree to abolish and eradicate their will to receive for themselves, and have no other desire but to bestow upon their friends, all worries and jeopardy in the world would cease to exist. And we would all be assured of a healthy and complete life, since for each and every one of us there would be a whole world ready to satisfy his every need.
Indeed, when everyone has only the will to receive for himself, from here originate the pains, the wars and slaughter which we cannot escape. They weaken our bodies with all sorts of sores and maladies and you find that all the agonies in our world are but manifestations that are offered to our eyes, so as to push us to annul the evil shell of the body and take on the complete form of the will to receive. And it is as we've said, that the Path of Pain in itself can bring us to the desired form. Bear in mind that the Mitzvot (precepts) between man and man come before the Mitzvot between man and God, because the bestowal to his friend brings him to bestow to his Maker.
20) After all that we've said, we come to the resolution of the first inquiry: what is our essence? Our essence is as the essence of all the details of reality, which is no more and no less than the will to receive. But it is not as it is now in the second situation, which is the will to receive for himself alone, but as it stands in the first situation in infinity, meaning in its eternal form, which is reception in order to bestow contentment to his Maker.
And although we have not yet actually reached the third situation, and still we lack time, it does not in any way alter our essence, because our third situation is necessitated from our first. Thus "All that is bound to be collected, is deemed collected". And the lack of time is regarded a deficiency only when there is a doubt of whether or not he will complete what needs to be completed in that time.
And since we have no doubt about that, it is as though we have already come to the third situation, and the body, given to us in its present corrupted form, in no way flaws our essence, since it and all its possessions are to be eradicated completely along with the whole impure system, from which they originate. "And all that is bound to be burned, is deemed burned", and regarded as though it never existed. Indeed the soul that is dressed in that body, whose essence is also made up only of a will, but a will to bestow that is extended from the four worlds of the holy ABYA exists forever. For that new form of will to bestow is equalized in form with the Life of Lives and is not in any way exchangeable.
21) And do not be led astray by the philosophers who say that the very essence of the soul is a substance of the mind, and that it only exists through the concepts it learns and from there it grows and they are its essence. And the question of the continuance of the soul after the departure of the body depends solely on the extent of concepts it has acquired, until in the absence of such concepts, there remains nothing to continue. That is not the Path of Torah. It is also unaccepted by the heart, and anyone who ever tried to acquire some knowledge knows and feels that the mind itself is a possession and the possessor.
But as we've said, all the substance of the renewed creation, both the substance of the spiritual objects and the substance of the corporeal objects, is no more and no less than a will to receive. And although we said that the soul is all will to bestow, it is only through corrections of returning light that it receives from upper worlds. Indeed, the very essence of the soul is also a will to receive. The difference that we can tell between one object and the other is therefore apparent only in its will, for the will in any essence created needs, and the needs create thoughts and concepts so as to attain those needs, which the will to receive necessitate their reception.
And just as human desires differ from one another, so are their needs, thoughts and ideas. For instance, those whose will to receive is limited to beastly desires, their needs, thoughts and ideas all aim to satisfy that desire in its beastliness. And although they use the mind and reason as humans do, it is, however, enough for the slave to be as his master. And it is as a beastly mind, since the mind is enslaved and serves the beastly desire.
And those whose will to receive takes mainly human desires, such as domination, over others and respect, which are absent from the beast, the majority of their needs, thoughts and ideas revolve solely around satisfying that desire as much as they can. And those whose desire is mainly for knowledge, the majority of their needs, thoughts and ideas are to satisfy that desire as much as they can.
22) These three desires are mostly present in every man, but they mingle in different quantities, and hence the changes from one person to the next. And from the corporeal attributes we can deduce about the spiritual objects, relating to their spiritual value.
23) Human souls also, the spiritual ones, that through the dresses of the returning light received from the upper worlds from which they come, have only the will to bestow contentment to their Maker, and that will is their essence. It turns out that once dressed in man's body, it generates in him needs and desires and ideas to satisfy his will to bestow to its fullest, meaning to bestow contentment to his Maker, proportional to the size of his will.
24) Since the essence of the body is but a will to receive for itself, and all its manifestations and possessions are fulfillments of that corrupted will to receive, which had initially been created so as to be exterminated from the world in order to come to the complete third situation at the End of Correction, therefore making it transitory and mortal. It is, along with all its possessions, as a fleeting shadow, leaving nothing when it is gone.
And since the essence of the soul is but a will to bestow, and all its manifestations and possessions are fulfillments of that will to bestow, which already exists in the eternal first situation and in the future third situation, therefore it is immortal and irreplaceable. The soul, with all its manifestations is eternal and exists forever. Absence does not apply to them upon the departure of the body. On the contrary, the absence of the corrupted form of the body, greatly strengthens it, thus enabling it to rise to the Heavens. Thus we have clearly shown that the persistence in no way depends upon the concepts it has acquired, as philosophers claim, but its eternality is in its very essence, meaning in its will to bestow, which is its essence. And the concepts it acquires are its reward, not its essence.
25) From here we come up with the full solution of the fifth inquiry: since the body is so corrupted that the soul cannot reside in it before it rots in the ground, why does it return at the revival of the dead? And also the question about the words of our sages: "The dead are destined to be revived with their defects, so that they'll not be mistaken for another".
And you will clearly understand it from the thought of creation itself, meaning from the first situation. Because we've said that since the thought was to delight His creatures, it necessitates that He must have created an overwhelmingly exaggerated desire, to receive that great bounty in the thought of creation. For "the great delight and the great will to receive go hand in hand". And we've stated there, that this exaggerated will to receive is all the renewed substance that He had created, for He needs nothing more in order to carry out the thought of creation. And it is the nature of the perfect worker, that He does not perform anything needlessly, as the poem goes: "of all your work not a thing was forgotten, you did not subtract and you did not add".
We have also said there, that this exaggerated will to receive, has been removed completely from the holy system and was given to the system of the impure worlds, from which extends the bodies of this world and their livelihood. Until a man reaches thirteen years of age, and through the work in Torah and Mitzvot begins to attain a holy soul, at which time he is nourished by the system of the holy worlds, to the extent of the size of the holy soul he has attained.
We have also said above, that during the six thousand years that are given to us for work in Torah and Mitzvot, no correction comes to the body, meaning to its exaggerated will to receive. All the corrections that come through our work amount only to Nefesh, which by that climbs the degrees of holiness, which means only the enhancement of the will to bestow, that extends with the soul.
And for that reason the body is bound to die, be buried and rot, because it has not been corrected in any way. But indeed it cannot remain that way, for if he should abolish the exaggerated will to receive, the thought of creation could, God forbid, not be carried out. Meaning that all the great pleasures that he thought to bestow upon the creatures will be received, for "the great will to receive and the great pleasure go hand in hand". And to the extent that his will diminishes, so diminish the delight and pleasure from reception.
26) We have already stated that the first situation necessitates the third situation, to fully materialize as was in the thought of creation, not omitting a single thing. Therefore, the first situation necessitates the revival of the dead. That means that their excessive will to receive, which had already been eradicated and rotten in the second situation, must now be revived in all its exaggerated measure, with no restraints whatsoever, meaning with all its flaws.
Then begins the work anew, in order to convert that excessive will to receive in order to bestow. And then we will have doubled our gain: That we have a place in which to receive all the delight and pleasure and the gentleness in the thought of creation, since we already have the body with its greatly excessive will to receive, which goes hand in hand with these pleasures.
Since our reception in that manner will only be in order to bestow contentment to our Maker, that reception will be regarded as complete bestowal. And that would bring us to equivalence of form, which is adhesion, which is our form in the third situation. Thus we see that the first situation necessitates the revival of the dead.
27) Indeed there cannot be a revival of the dead, but only near the End of Correction, that is toward the end of the second situation. For once we have been granted the denial of our excessive will to receive and have been granted the will to bestow alone, and once we've been endowed with all the wonderful degrees of the soul, called Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechida, through our work at negating that will to receive, we have come to the greatest perfection, until the body could be revived with all its excessive will to receive, and we are no longer harmed by it and separated from holiness because of it.
On the contrary, we overcome it and give it the form of bestowal. And indeed that is done with every corrupted attribute that we want to remove from it. That at first we must remove it completely, until there is nothing left. Then we can receive it again and conduct it through the middle line. And as long as we have not fully removed it, it is impossible to conduct it in the desired middle line form.
28) Our sages said: "The dead are destined to be revived with their flaws and then be healed". That means that in the beginning the same body is revived, which is the excessive will to receive, without any restraints, meaning just as it grew under the nourishment of the impure worlds before the Torah and Mitzvot have corrected it in any way. And that is the meaning of - in all their flaws.
And then we embark on a new kind of labour - to insert all that exaggerated will to receive in the form of bestowal. Then it is healed, because it now attained equivalence of form. And they said that reason is that "no one can say that it is another". Meaning that it cannot be said about it that it is in a different form from the one it had in the thought of creation, since there stands that excessive will to receive, aiming to receive all the bounty in the thought of creation.
It is only that in the meantime it's been given to the shells for purification. But in the end, there must not be a different body. For if it were diminished in any way, it would be deemed entirely different and unworthy of receiving all the bounty in the thought of creation as it received is the first situation.
29) Now we can resolve the above second inquiry: what is our role in the long chain of reality that we are but tiny links of, during the short span of our days? Bear in mind that our work along the seventy years of our days is divided in four: 1st division - It is to attain the excessive will to receive without restraints, in its entire corrupted multitude from under the hands of the four worlds of the impure ABYA. For if we do not have that corrupted will to receive, we cannot correct it, for "one cannot correct that which is not in him".
Thus, the will to receive that is given at birth is not enough, but it must be a cradle to the impure shells, for no less than thirteen years. That means that the shells must dominate it and give it their lights, for their lights increase its will to receive. That is because the fillings that the shells supply the will to receive with only increase the desire of the will to receive.
For example, when an infant is born, he has a desire for the smallest things and no more. However, when the Evil Side fills up its measure, it immediately grows and he wants twice as much. Then, when the Evil Side gives him the doubled amount, he instantly wants four times the amount. And if he does not overcome it through Torah and Mitzvot and turns it into bestowal, it increases throughout his life, until eventually he dies without attaining half his desires. That is regarded that he is at the hand of the Evil Side and the shells, whose role is to expand and increase his will to receive and make it exaggerated and unrestrained in any way, so as to provide one with all the material he needs to work with and repair.
30) 2nd division - From thirteen years and on. At that point the point in his heart, which is the posterior of holiness, is given strength. Although it is dressed in his will to receive at birth, it only begins to awaken after thirteen years, and then he begins to enter the system of the holy worlds, to the extent that he observes Torah and Mitzvot.
And its primary role is to attain and increase the spiritual will to receive, because at the moment of birth he has only a will to receive for material things. Therefore, although he has attained the excessive will to receive before he turned thirteen, it is not yet the completion of the growth of the will to receive, for the primer growth of the will to receive relates only to spirituality.
Because if, for example, before he turned thirteen he desired to take in all the wealth and respect in this corporeal world, which is apparently not eternal, and for all of us is but a fleeting shadow. Whereas when he attains the excessive spiritual will to receive he wants to swallow - for his own delight - all the wealth and delights in the eternal upper world, which is an eternal possession. Thus the majority of the excessive will to receive is completed only with the will to receive spirituality.
31) Our sages say - "The leech has two daughters, crying, give, give (Proverbs 30, 15)": "A leech means Hell. And the evil are caught in that Hell and cry as dogs "Hav Hav (Heb: give give)", meaning - "give us the wealth of this world and the wealth of the next world".
Yet it is a much more important degree from the first, because aside from attaining the full size of the will to receive and all the material he'll need for his work, it is this degree that brings him to For Her Name. As our sages said: "One should always observe Torah and Mitzvot not For Her Name, because from observing not For Her Name, one comes to For Her Name".
And therefore the degree that comes past the thirteen years is deemed holy. It is as the sacred servant who serves her mistress, which is the Holy Divinity. For the servant brings him to For Her Name and he attains the inspiration of the Divinity. Indeed one should take every measure suited to bring him to For Her Name, because if he does not strain for that and does not come to For Her Name, one falls in the pit of the impure servant, which is the opposite of the holy servant, whose role is to confuse man that from not For Her Name he'll not come to For Her Name. And about her it's been said: "handmaid that is heir to her mistress (Proverbs 30, 23)", for she will not let a man near the mistress, who is the Holy Divinity.
And the final degree in that division is that he will fall passionately in love with God, as one falls passionately for a corporeal love, until the object of passion remains before one's eyes all day long and all night long, as the poet says: "when I remember Him, He will not let me sleep". Then it is said of him: "but desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13, 12)". Because the five degrees of the soul are the tree of life, which continues for five hundred years, each degree lasting a hundred years, meaning that he will bring him to receive all the five aspects of NRNCY (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechida) clarified in the third division.
32) 3rd division - Is the work in Torah and Mitzvot, meaning in order to bestow and not in order to be rewarded, which cleanses the will to receive for himself and turns it to a will to bestow. And to the extent that he purifies the will to receive he becomes worthy of receiving the five parts of the soul called NRNCY.
That is because they are only applicable with the will to bestow and cannot dress in his body as long as the will to receive is in control, which is opposite in form from the soul, or even only different to it. That is because the matter of dressing and the equivalence of form go hand in hand. And when he attains a complete will to receive and needs nothing for himself, he will find that he has attained equivalence of form with his upper NRNCY, which extend from the origin in Infinity in the first situation, through the Holy ABYA to gradually be dressed in him.
4th division - Is the work that is conducted after the revival of the dead. Meaning that the will to receive, which had already been completely absent through death and burial, is now revived in its worst form of an excessive will to receive, as our sages said: "The dead are destined to be revived with their flaws". And then it is turned into reception in the form of bestowal. However, there are distinguished individuals who have been given this work while still living in this world.
33) And now remains the sixth inquiry. Our sages said that all the worlds were not created but for man. And it seems very peculiar, that for such a small man, whose worth is no more than a wisp compared to the reality before us in this world, much less compared to the upper spiritual worlds, the Creator would go to all the trouble of creating that for him. And even more peculiar is what would man need all these vast spiritual worlds for?
And you must know that any contentment of our Maker from bestowing upon His creatures depends on the extent that the creatures feel Him, that He is the benevolent and it is He who delights them. For then He takes great pleasure in them, as a father playing with his favorite son, to the degree that the son feels and recognizes the greatness and sublimity of his father and his father shows him all the treasures he had prepared for him. As the verse goes: "Efrayim my dear son, a darling child, for whenever I speak of him, I earnestly remember him still: therefore my entrails are moved for him, I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord (Jeremiah 31, 19)".
Observe carefully these words and you can learn and know the great delights of the Lord with the complete ones who have attained the capability to sense and recognize His greatness in all manners He has prepared for them, until He relates to them as a father relates to his darling son. And we need not continue on that, for it is enough for us to know that for this contentment and delight with those complete ones, it was worth His while to create all the worlds, higher and lower alike.
34) In order to prepare His creatures to reach the aforementioned exalted degree, the Creator thought of four degrees that evolve one out of the other. They are called: still, vegetative, animate and speaking, and they are indeed the four phases of the will to receive that each of the upper worlds are divided by. For although the vast majority of the will is in the fourth phase of the will to receive, it is impossible for it to materialize all at once, but by the preceding three phases that gradually expose and develop it, until its form has been completed.
35) In the first phase of the will to receive, called still, which is the preliminary exposure of the will to receive in this corporeal world, there is but a general movement that includes the whole of the still category. But in particular items there isn't any movement apparent. That is because the will to receive generates needs and the needs generate sufficient movement, enough to attain what it needs. And since there is only a small will to receive, it dominates the whole of the category at once, but its power over the particular items is indistinguishable.
36) The vegetative is added to it, which is the second phase of the will to receive. Its size is larger than the still and its will to receive dominates each and every item of the category, because each item has its own private movement that spreads up and down and to the sides, and moves where the sun shines. The matter of eating and drinking and extraction of waste is also apparent in each item. However, it still lacks an independent, individual sensation to each item.
37) Over that comes the animate category, which is the third phase of the will to receive. Its measure is already completed to a great extent, for this will to receive already generates in each separate item an individual independent sensation, which is the life that is unique to each item separately. Indeed they do not yet have the sensation of others, meaning that they haven't the preparation necessary to participate in other's pains or their joys etc.
38) Above all comes the human species, which is the fourth phase of the will to receive. It is the complete and final measure, and its will to receive includes the sensation of others as well. And if you wish to know the precise difference between the will to receive in the third phase that is in the animate, and the fourth phase of the will to receive in man, I shall tell you that it is as the worth of a single creature against the whole of reality. For the will to receive in the animate, which lacks the sensation of others, can only generate needs and desires to the extent that they are imprinted in that creature alone.
Whereas man, who can feel others, becomes needy of everything that others have too, and is thus filled with envy to acquire everything that others have too. When he has a certain share, he wants to double it, therefore his needs forever multiply until he wants to swallow all that there is in the whole world.
39) And after we've shown that the purpose the Creator desires of creation is to bestow upon His creatures, so that they may know His genuineness and greatness, and receive all the delight and pleasure He had prepared for them, as the verse goes: "Efrayim my dear son, a darling child (Jeremiah 31, 19)". You clearly find that this purpose does not apply to the still and the great spheres such as the earth, the moon, or the sun, however luminous, and not to the vegetative and not to the animate, for they lack the sensation of others, even from among their own species. Therefore how can the sensation of the Godly and His bestowal apply to them?
Man alone, after having been prepared with the sensation of others of his own species who are like him, after delving in Torah and Mitzvot, will overturn his will to receive to a will to bestow, and come to equivalence of form with his Maker. Then he receives the degrees that had been prepared for him in the upper worlds, called NRNCY, and by that he becomes qualified to receive the purpose of the thought of creation. After all, the intention of the creation of all the worlds was for man alone.
40) And I know that it is completely unaccepted in the eyes of some philosophers. They cannot agree that man, which they think of as low and worthless, is the center of the magnificent creation. But they are like a worm that is born inside a radish and thinks that the world of the creator is as bitter and as dark as the radish it was born in. But as soon as the shell of the radish breaks and it peeps out, it wonders and says: "I thought the whole world was the size of my radish, and now I see before me a grand, beautiful and wondrous world!"
So too are those who are sunk in the shell of the will to receive they were born with, and did not taste the unique spices, which are Torah and the practical Mitzvot, that can break this hard shell and turn it into a will to bestow contentment upon the Maker. It is certain that they must determine their worthlessness and emptiness, as that is what they really are like, and cannot comprehend that this magnificent reality had not been created but for them.
Indeed, if they had delved in Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow contentment to their Maker with all the required purity, and would try to hatch from the shell they were born into and receive the will to bestow, their eyes would immediately open to see and attain all the pleasant and sweet, beyond words, degrees of wisdom, intelligence and clear mind, that have been prepared for them in the spiritual worlds. Then they would themselves say as our sages said: "A good guest what does he say? Everything the host did, he did for me alone."
41) But there still remains to clarify why would man need all those upper worlds the Creator had built for him? What use has he of them? Bear in mind, that the reality of the worlds is generally divided into five worlds, which are: 1. Adam Kadmon, 2. Atzilut, 3. Briah, 4. Yetzirah, 5. Asiah. Indeed in each of them there is an infinite number of details, which are the five sfirot - Keter, Chochma, Binah, Tifferet, Malchut. Because the world of Adam Kadmon is Keter, and the world Atzilut is Chochma, and Briah is Binah and Yetzirah is Tifferet and the world Asiah is Malchut. And the lights that dress in those five worlds are called YCNRN, as the light of Yechida shines in Adam Kadmon, the light of Chaya shines in Atzilut, the light of Neshama shines in Briah, the light of Ruach shines in Yetzirah and the light of Nefesh shines in Asiah. All these worlds and everything in them are included in the holy name Yod Hey Vav Hey, and the tip of the Yod. In the first world, Adam Kadmon, we have no perception. Therefore the tip of the Yod of the name indicates it, and we do not speak of it and always mention only the four worlds ABYA. The Yod is the worlds Atzilut, the Hey is Briah, the Vav is Yetzirah and the bottom Hey is Asia.
42) We have now explained the five worlds that include all the spiritual reality that extends from Infinity onto this world. Indeed they are included one in the other and in each of the worlds there are the five worlds, the five sfirot - Keter, Chochma, Binah, Tifferet, Malchut, where the five lights - NRNCY are enclothed, which correspond to the five worlds.
And besides the five sfirot KCBTM in each world there are the four spiritual categories - Still, Vegetative, Animate, Speaking - where the soul of man is regarded as the Speaking in that world, and the Animate is regarded as the angels in that world. The Vegetative are called the clothes, and the Still are called the halls. And they all are enclothed one over the other - the Speaking, which are the souls of people, are enclothed in the five Godly sfirot - KCBTM - in that place. The Animate, which are the angels are enclothed over the souls, the Vegetative - which are the cloths - encloth the angels and the Still - which are halls - revolve around them all.
The enclothment means that they serve one another and evolve one from the other, as we have clarified with the corporeal Still, Vegetative, Animate and Speaking of this world, that the three categories - Still, Vegetative, Animate - did not extend independently, but only so that the fourth category, which is man, may evolve and rise by them. Therefore, their whole purpose is to serve man and be useful to him.
And so it is in all the spiritual worlds. The three categories - Still, Vegetative, Animate - in that world extend only in order to serve and be useful to the Speaking in that world, which is the soul of man. Therefore it is deemed that they all encloth man's soul, meaning to serve him.
43) When man is born, he immediately receives a holy soul. But not an actual soul, but the posterior of it, meaning its last category, which is called a "point" because of it smallness. And it is enclothed in a man's heart, meaning in his will to receive, which is found primarily in a man's heart.
And know this rule, for all that you'll find in reality in general, you will also find in every world, even in the smallest particles of it. That just as there are five worlds in reality, which are the five sfirot KCBTM, so there are five sfirot KCBTM in each and every world, and there are five sfirot in the smallest particle of that world.
Thus we have stated that this world is divided into Still, Vegetative, Animate and Speaking (SVAS). And they correspond to the four sfirot CBTM - Still corresponds to Malchut, Vegetative to Tifferet, Animate to Binah, Speaking to Chochma and the root of them all corresponds to Keter. Indeed even in the smallest particle of the each species in the SVAS there are four inner categories of SVAS, so that in a single item of the speaking species, meaning even in one person, there are also SVAS, which are the four parts of his will to receive, where the point from holiness is enclothed.
44) Earlier than thirteen years of age there cannot be any detection of the point in his heart. But after thirteen years, when he begins to delve in Torah and Mitzvot, even without any intention, meaning without any love and fear, as there should be with someone who serves the king, even not For Her Name, the point in his heart begins to grow and reveal its action.
Mitzvot do need an aim, and even aimless acts can purify his will to receive, but only in the first degree, called Still. And to the extent that he purifies the still part of the will to receive he builds the six hundred and thirteen organs of the point in the heart, which is the Still of the holy soul. And when all six hundred and thirteen mitzvot are completed in action, that completes the six hundred and thirteen organs of the point in the heart, which is the Still part of the holy soul, whose two hundred and forty-eight spiritual organs are built through the observance of the two hundred and forty-eight mitzvot of "do" (precepts that you have to perform in action - the translator), and its three hundred and sixty five spiritual tendons are built through the observing of the three hundred and sixty five mitzvot of "do not do", until it becomes a whole partzuf (spiritual face) of holiness in Nefesh. Then the soul rises and encloths the Malchut in the spiritual world of Asiah.
And all the spiritual particles of Still, Vegetative and Animate in that world, which correspond to that sfirah (singular of sfirot) of Malchut of Asiah, serve and aid that partzuf of Nefesh of man that has risen there, meaning to the extent that the soul educates them. For those concepts become spiritual nourishment to it, giving it strength to grow and multiply, until it can extend the light of the sfirah of malchut of Asiah in all the desired perfection, to light a man's body. And that complete light aids man to add toil in Torah and mitzvot and receive the remaining degrees.
And as we have stated, that immediately at the birth of a man's body, a point of the light of Nefesh is born and enclothed within him, so it is here, when his partzuf of Nefesh of holiness is born, a point from one degree higher is born with it, meaning the last degree of the light of Ruach of Asiah, and is enclothed inside the Partzuf of Nefesh.
And so it is in each degree. That with each new degree that is born, there instantly appears the last degree of the next degree in height. For that is the whole connection between higher and lower through to the top of the ladder. And through that point from the higher degree it becomes able to rise to the next degree.
45) The aforementioned light of Nefesh is called the light of Still of holy of the world Asiah. It corresponds to the purity of the still part of the will to receive in a man's body. It shines in spirituality much like the Still category in the corporeal world, whose particles do not move independently, but there is a general movement that surrounds all the details equally. And so it is with the light of the Partzuf of Nefesh of Asiah, although there are six hundred and thirteen organs to it, which are six hundred forms of receiving the bounty, yet these changes are not apparent, but just a general light whose action surrounds them all equally, without distinction of details.
46) Bear in mind, that although the sfirot are Godly, and there is no difference in them from the head of Keter in the world of Adam Kadmon, through the end of Malchut in the world of Asiah, there is still a great difference with regard to the receivers. For the sfirot are deemed lights and vessels. And the light in the sfirot is pure Godliness. But the vessels, called KCBTM in each of the lower worlds - Briah, Yetzirah, Asiah, are not deemed Godliness. They are rather covers that conceal the light of infinity within them and ration a certain amount of light to the receivers, that each will receive according to its degree of purity.
And from that aspect, although the light is one, we still name the lights in the sfirot as NRNCY because the light is divided according to the attributes of the vessels. Malchut, which is the coarsest cover, hides all the light of the Infinite. The light that it does pass on to the receivers is only a small portion related to the purification of the still body of man. It is called Nefesh.
The vessel of Tifferet is finer than Malchut and the light it passes from the Infinite relates to the purification of the vegetative part of man's body, because there is more light active there than the light of Nefesh. It is called Ruach.
The vessel of Binah is finer still than Tifferet, and the light it extends from the Infinite relates to the purification of the animate part of man's body, and it is called the light of Neshama.
The finest of all is the vessel of Chochma. The light it extends relates to the purification of the speaking part of man's body. It is called the light of Chaya, and its action is beyond measurement.
47) In partzuf Nefesh, which man has attained through observing Torah and Mitzvot without intent, there already dresses a point from the light of Ruach. And when one strives to observe Torah and Mitzvot with the desired intent, he purifies the vegetative part of his will to receive and to that extent builds the point of Ruach into a partzuf, that by performing the 248 mitzvot of Do with the right intent, the point expands through its 248 spiritual organs. And by observing the 365 mitzvot of Do Not Do the point expands through its 365 tendons.
When it is completed with all 613 organs, it rises and dresses over the sfirah of Tifferet in the spiritual world of Asiah that extends to it from infinity a greater light, called the light of Ruach, which comes against the purification of the vegetative part of a man's body. And all the items of still, vegetative and animate in the world of Asiah, which relate to the stature of Tifferet, aid man's partzuf of Ruach to receive the lights from Tifferet in all its entirety, as was done before in the light of Nefesh. Because of that it is called "Sacred Vegetative".
The nature of its light is as the corporeal vegetative, where one can differentiate substantial movement in each item, so is the spiritual light of vegetative able to light ways to each and every organ of the 613 organs in the partzuf of Ruach, each of them indicates to the action related to that organ. With the extension of the partzuf of Ruach there also extended the point of the next in height degree, meaning a point of the light of Neshama, which is enclothed in its internality.
48) And by observing the secrets of Torah and Mitzvot he purifies the animate part of his will to receive, and builds the point of the soul, that is enclothed in its 248 organs and 365 tendons. When the construction is completed and it becomes a partzuf, it rises and enclothes the sfirah of Binah in the spiritual world of Asiah, which is much finer than the preceding vessels - Tifferet and Malchut. By that it extends a great light from infinity into the vessel, which is called the light of the soul.
And all the items of Still, Vegetative and Animate in the world of Asiah that relate to the degree of Binah aid man's partzuf of Neshama receive all its lights from the sfirah of Binah. And it is also called "sacred animate" because it corresponds to the purification of the animate part of man's body. And so is the nature of its light, as we've seen with the corporeal animate (chap 37), which gives an individual a sensation of freedom and independence from the rest of the partzuf, to each and every organ of the 613 organs of the partzuf.
Until its 613 organs are deemed 613 partzufim (faces), unique in their type of light, each in its own way. And the supremacy of this light over the light of Ruach in spirituality is as the supremacy of the animate over the still and vegetative in the corporeal world. And there also extends a point from the sacred light of Chayah, which is the light of the sfirah of Chochma with the extension of the partzuf of Neshama and enclothed in its internality.
49) And when he has attained the great light called Neshama, where each of the 613 organs of that partzuf light in its own unique way, each as an independent partzuf, opens before him the possibility to observe each mitzvah according to its genuine intent, for each organ of the partzuf of Neshama lights the path of each mitzvah that is related to that organ.
And through the great strength of those lights he purifies the speaking part of his will to receive and turns it into a will to bestow. And the point of the light of Chayah, which is enclothed within its spiritual 248 organs and 365 tendons, builds itself accordingly.
When it is completed into a whole partzuf it rises and dresses the sfirah of Chochma in the spiritual world of Asiah, which is an immeasurably fine vessel. Therefore it extends a tremendous light from infinity called the light of Chayah or "Neshama to Neshama". And all the Still, Vegetative, and Animate details in Asiah that relate to the sfirah of Chochma aid him in receiving the light of Chochma to the fullest.
And it is also called the Sacred Speaking, corresponding to the purification of the speaking part of a man's body. And the stature of that light in Godliness is as the stature of the speaking in the corporeal world, meaning that he attains the sensation of others. Thus, the measure of that light over the measure of the spiritual Still, Vegetative and Animate is as the measure of the corporeal Speaking over the corporeal Still, Vegetative and Animate. And the light of infinity dressed in that partzuf is called: "Yechidah".
50) Indeed you must know that these five lights - NRNCY - that were received from the world of Asiah are no more than a NRNCY of the light of Nefesh and as yet have nothing of the light of Ruach. That is because the light of Ruach is only present from the world of Yetzirah onwards, and the light of Neshama from the world of Briah, and the light of Chayah from Atzilut and Yechida from AK.
But everything that is in the general is found in the particular as well, and to the smallest possible detail. Thus there is the whole of the NRNCY in the world of Asiah as well, although it is only NRNCY of Nefesh. And by the same principle there is a NRNCY in Yetzirah, which is a NRNCY of Ruach. And there is a NRNCY of Neshama in Briah, a NRNCY of Chayah in Atzilut and a NRNCY of Yechidah in AK. The difference between each world is as we've specified before regarding the difference between each of the NRNCY of Asiah.
51) And know that repentance and purification cannot be accepted unless they are totally permanent, that there he will not fail again, as the verse goes: "how do we tell a true tshuva (repentance)? Until He who knows all mysteries will testify that he will not fail again". And it turns out that what we've said, that if one purifies the still part of his will to receive he attains a partzuf of Nefesh of Asiah, and rises and dresses the sfirah of Malchut of Asiah.
That means that he will definitely be endowed with the permanent purification of the still part, in a way that he will never fail again. And then he can rise to the spiritual world of Asiah, for he has attained purification and equivalence of form with that world.
But as for the other degrees, which we've said to be Ruach, Neshama, Chaya and Yechidah, against which are his vegetative, animate and speaking parts of the will to receive, they have to be purified so that they dress and receive those lights, although their purification does not have to be permanent, "until He who knows all mysteries will testify that he will not fail again".
That is because the whole of the world of Asiah, with all its five KCBTM sfirot, are actually no more than Malchut which relates only to the purification of the still. And the five sfirot are but the five parts of Malchut. Therefore, since he has already attained the purification of the still part of the will to receive, he already equalizes in form with the world of Asiah. But since each and every sfirah from the world of Asiah receives from its corresponding sfirah in the higher worlds, for example - Tifferet of Asiah receives from the world of Yetzirah, which is all Tifferet and the light of Ruach. Binah of Asiah receives from the world of Briah, which is all Neshama. Chochma of Asiah receives from Atzilut, which is all Chochma and the light of Chaya. Thus, although he has permanently purified only the still part, if he has purified the remaining three parts of his will to receive, even though he has not done so permanently, he can still receive the lights of Ruach, Neshama and Chaya from Tifferet, Binah and Chochma of Asiah, although not permanently. That is because when one of these three parts of the will to receive has awakened, it immediately loses these lights.
52) After he permanently purifies the vegetative part of his will to receive he permanently rises to the world of Asiah, where he attains the permanent degree of Ruach. There he can also attain the lights of Neshama and Chaya from Binah and Chochma of Yetzirah, regarded as Neshama and Chaya of Ruach even before he has purified the animate and speaking parts permanently, as we've seen in the world of Asiah. For after he has permanently purified the vegetative part of his will to receive he is already in equivalence of form with the whole of the world of Yetzirah, to its highest degree.
53) After he purifies the animate part of his will to receive and turns it into a will to bestow "until He who knows all mysteries will testify that he will not fail again", he is already in equivalence of form with the world of Briah and he rises and permanently receives the light of Neshama. And through the purification of the speaking part of his body he can rise up to the sfirah of Chochma and receive the light of Chaya, although he has not yet permanently purified it, as with Asiah and Yetzirah. But the light that he receives is also not permanent.
54) And when he permanently purifies the speaking part in him he attains the equivalence of form with the world of Atzilut, and he rises and permanently receives the light of Chaya. And when he rises higher still, he attains the light of infinity and the light of Yechida is enclothed in the light of Chaya, and here there is nothing more to add.
55) And thus elucidates our question: what does man need the upper worlds that the Creator created for? What need has he of them? For now you'll see that it is impossible for man to attain bringing contentment to his Maker, but through the aid of these worlds. For he attains the lights and the degrees of his soul, called NRNCY, according to the measure of the purity of the will to receive. And in each degree that he attains, the lights of that degree in the purification aid him.
Thus he rises in degrees until he attains the amusements of the purpose of the aim that is in the thought of creation (see chap 33). The Zohar asks about the verse "He who comes to purify is aided": aided with what? And it replies that he is aided with a sacred soul. For it is impossible to purify as desired by the thought of creation, but for the aid of all the NRNCY degrees of the soul.
56) And you must know that the above NRNCY that we have spoken of so far are five parts, by which all of reality is divided. Indeed all that is in the whole, exists even in the smallest particle of reality. For example, even in the still part of the spiritual Asiah alone, there are five degrees of NRNCY to attain, which are related to the general NRNCY.
Thus it is impossible to attain even the light of still of Asiah but for the four parts of the work. Therefore, no man from Israel can excuse himself from observing them all, according to his stature. And he should observe Torah and Mitzvot with intent, in order to receive the Ruach of his stature. And he should delve in the secrets of the Torah according to his stature, so as to receive the Neshama of his stature. And the same applies to the Ta'amim (tastes) of the Mitzvot, for it is impossible to complete even the smallest light of holiness without them.
57) Now you can understand the aridity and the darkness that have befallen us in this generation, such as we have never seen before. It is because even the worshipers of the Lord have abandoned the study of the secrets of the Torah. The RAMBAM has said about this: if a line of a thousand blind walk along the way, and there is at least one amongst them who can see, they are sure to take the right path and not fall in the pits and obstacles along the way, since they take after the sighted leader. But if there is no such person, they will undoubtedly stumble over every hurdle on the way and fall into the pit. And so it is with the issue before us. Even if only the worshipers of the Lord were dealing with the internality of the Torah and were to extend a complete light from infinity, the whole generation would follow them, and everyone would be sure to succeed. But if the worshipers of the Lord have distanced themselves from this wisdom, it is no wonder the whole generation is failing because of them. And because of my great sorrow I can pursue it no further!
58) Indeed I have known the reason: that it is mainly because faith has generally diminished, especially faith in the holy men, the wise men of all generations. And the books of Kabbalah and the Zohar are full of corporeal parables. Therefore people are afraid lest they will fail with materializing and will lose more than they will gain. And that is which prompted me to compose a thorough interpretation to the writings of the ARI and now to the holy Zohar. And I have removed completely that concern, for I have proven the spiritual message behind everything, which is abstract and devoid of all physical resemblance, above space and time as the readers shall see, in order to allow all of Israel to study the Zohar and be warmed by its sacred light.
And I have named that commentary The Sulam (ladder), to show that the purpose of it is, as with every ladder - that if you have an attic full of goods, then all you need is a ladder to reach it, and then all the bounty of the world is in your hands. But the ladder is not a purpose in and of itself, for if you pause midway and not enter the attic, the purpose will not be fulfilled.
And so it is with my commentary to the Zohar. Because there has not yet been created the way to clarify these most profound of words. But nonetheless I have constructed a path and an entrance for all, that using it they can rise and scrutinize in depth the book of Zohar itself, for only then will my purpose of this commentary be completed.
59) And all those who know the ins and outs of the holy book of Zohar, that is who understand what is written in it, unanimously agree that it was composed by the Godly Tanna (sage) Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Only those who are far from this wisdom doubt this origin and tend to say, relying on opponents' fabricated tales that its composer is Rabbi Moshe De Leon, or others of his time.
60) And as for me, since the day I have been endowed with a glance into this holy book through the light of God, it has not crossed my mind to question its origin, for the simple reason that the content of the book brings to my heart the merit of the Tanna Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai far more than all other sages. And if I were to clearly see that its composer is some other name, such as Rabbi Moshe De Leon, than I would praise his merit more than all other sages, including Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
Indeed, judging by the depth of the wisdom of this book, if I were to find that its writer is one of the forty-eight prophets, I would have found it a lot more acceptable than to relate it to one of the sages, and even more so if I were to find that Moses himself received it from the Lord on Mt. Sinai. Then my mind would really be at peace, for such a composition is worthy of him. Therefore, since I have been blessed with presenting an interpretation that enables every examiner to understand its content, I think I am completely excused from bringing myself into that examination. That is because any examiner of the Zohar will settle now for no less than the Tanna Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai as its writer.
61) That brings us to the question: why was the Zohar not revealed to the early generations, whose merit was undoubtedly greater than later ones and they were more worthy? We must also ask, why was the commentary to the Zohar not revealed before the time of the ARI, why was it not revealed to his predecessors? And most perplexing of all: why were the words of the ARI and the commentary to the Zohar not revealed until today?
The answer is that the world, during the six thousand years of its existence, is like one partzuf that is divided into three parts: head, interior, end, meaning - CBD (Chochma, Binah, Da'at), CGT (Chesed, Gvurah, Tifferet), NHY (Netzah, Hod, Yesod). Or as our sages said: "Two thousand years of Tohu (chaos), two of Torah and two of the days of the Messiah. In the first two millenniums, which are as head or as CBD, the lights were very small, and they were regarded as a head without a body, which only has the light of Nefesh, because there is a contradicting virtue between lights and vessels: with vessels the rule is that the first vessels grow first in each partzuf, and with the lights it is the opposite - the smaller lights dress first in the partzuf.
Thus, as long as there are only the upper parts of the vessels, meaning the CBD vessels, only the light of Nefesh can dress in the partzuf, which are the smallest lights. That is what's written about the first two millenniums, the Tohu years. And the second era of the world, which are vessels of CGT dresses the light of Ruach in the world, which is Torah. Therefore the middle millenniums are called Torah. And the last millenniums are vessels of NHYM (Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut). Therefore at that time the light of Neshama dresses in the world, which is the greater light, hence the name - the days of the Messiah.
Each partzuf is built the same way: in its vessels of CBD, CGT, down to the chest, the lights are covered and the revealed mercies do not begin to light. That means that the appearance of the light of Chochma only occurs from the chest down, meaning in the NHYM. That is the reason that before the vessels of NHYM were revealed to the world, which are the last two millenniums, the wisdom of the Zohar in particular and the wisdom of the Kabbalah in general were concealed from the world.
But during the time of the ARI, when the time of the completion of the vessels below the chest had drawn closer, there revealed in the world the light of the sublime wisdom through the soul of the Godly Rabbi Itzhak Luria (the ARI), who was ready to receive that great light. And therefore he had discovered the primary issues in the book of Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah, until he overshadowed all his predecessors.
However, since these vessels were not as yet completed (since he passed away in 1572), the world was not yet worthy of discovering his words, and they were only told to a chosen few, who were prohibited to tell them to the world.
And now, in our time, when we are nearing the end of the last two millenniums, we are given the permission to reveal his words and the words of the Zohar throughout the world to a great measure, in such a way, that from our generation onwards the words of the Zohar will become more and more revealed in the world, until the full measure is discovered as God wills it.
63) Now you can understand that there really is no end to the merit of the first generations over the last, as that is the rule in all the partzufim (faces) either of the worlds or of the souls, that the finer is constructed first in the partzuf. Therefore the finer vessels of CBD were constructed first in the world and in the souls. Thus, the souls that descended in the first two millenniums were much higher than the latter ones. Yet they could not receive the full light because they lacked the lower vessels in themselves and in the world, which are CGT NHYM.
And afterwards too, in the middle millenniums, when the vessels of CGT came to the world and to the souls, the souls were indeed in and of themselves very fine, because the merit of the vessels of CGT is very close to that of CBD. Yet the lights were still concealed in the world because of the absence of the vessels below the chest from the world and from the souls. Therefore in our generation, although the essence of the souls is the worst, which is why they could not be constructed until this day, however they are the vessels that complete the partzuf of the world and the partzuf of the souls from the vessels' point of view, and the work is not completed but through them.
For now, when the vessels of NHY and all the vessels, head, interior, end are in the partzuf, full measures of light (head, interior, end) are now being extended to all those who are worthy. Therefore, only after the completion of these lowly souls can the supreme lights be revealed, and not before.
64) Indeed our sages have asked about this: "Rabbi Papa said to Avy: How were the first different that a miracle had happened to them, and how are we different that a miracle does not happen to us. Is it because of the study? During the years of Rabbi Yehuda the whole study was Nezikin (section of the Talmud - C.R.), whereas we are learning the whole Mishna. And when Rabbi Yehuda studied Okatzin he said - I find here the essence of Rav and Shmuel, whereas we are learning thirteen yeshivot in Okatzin. When Rabbi Yehuda took off one shoe the rain came, whereas we torment our souls and cry out, and no one notices. He replied: the first gave their souls to the sanctity of the Lord.
Thus, although it is obvious that the first were much greater than the last, from the Torah and the wisdom point of view, Rabbi Papa and Avy were merited more than the first. Thus we see that although the first generations were higher than the last in the essence of their souls, because the finer is constructed first, still the wisdom of the Torah reveals more and more in recent generations. And that is because - as we have said - the stature is being completed by the last generations, which is why more complete lights are extended to them, although their essence is far worse.
65) And we should not ask because of that: why then is it prohibited to disagree with the first in the revealed Torah? It is because as far as the practical part of the mitzvot is concerned - it is the opposite, meaning the first were more complete in them than the last. That is because the act extends from the sacred vessels of the sfirot and the secrets of the Torah and its ta'amim (tastes) are extended from the lights in the sfirot.
You already know that there is a contradicting value between lights and vessels - in the vessels the lights grow first, which is why the first are more complete in the practical part than the last. But with the lights, where the smaller lights come first, the last are more complete than the first.
66) Bear in mind, that everything has internality and externality. Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is generally considered the internality of the world, and the seventy nations are considered its externality. Within Israel also, there is internality, which are the wholehearted worshipers of the Lord, and externality, who do not devote themselves entirely to the work of God. And among the nations of the world as well there are internal parts, which are the Righteous of the Nations, and an external part, which are the rude and the destructive among them.
And also within the worshipers of the Lord that are within Israel, there is internality, which are those who are endowed with the comprehension of the soul of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, and externality, which are those who merely observe the actual part of the Torah. And in every man from Israel there is internality, which is the Israel within him, being the point in the heart, and externality, which is the Nations of the World within him, being the body itself. But even the Nations of the World within him are regarded proselytes, because by cleaving to his internality, they become like proselytes from the Nations of the World, who cleave to the whole of Israel
67) When a man from Israel enhances and dignifies his internality, which is the Israel in him, over his externality, being the Nations of the World in him, meaning that he dedicates the majority of his time and efforts to enhance and exalt his internality, for the good of his soul, and a minor effort, the mere necessity, to sustain his Nations of the World, meaning his bodily needs, as it says (Avot 1) - "make your Torah permanent and your labor transient", by that he makes - in the internality and externality of the world - the Sons of Israel soar upwards and the Nations of the World, which are the general externality, recognize and acknowledge the value of the Sons of Israel.
And if, God forbid, the contrary occurs, that a man from Israel enhances and regards his externality, which is the Nations of the World in him, higher than the Israel in him - as it says (Deuteronomy 28) "The stranger that is in the midst of thee", the externality in him will soar upwards, and you, that is the internality, the Israel in you, will plunge deep down. That causes the externality of the world in general, which are the Nations of the World, to soar ever higher and overcome Israel, degrading them to the ground, and the Sons of Israel, the internality of the world, to plunge, God forbid, deep down.
68) Do not wonder, that a single person will trigger with his action, a descent or an ascent to the whole world. For it is an unbending law, that the general and the particular are as equal as two drops in a pond. And all that is customary in the general is customary in the particular as well. Moreover, the particulars compose everything that is in the general. For the general cannot come to be, but after the particulars have been revealed, according to the quantity and quality of the particulars. Evidently, the act of a particular, according to its value, raises or declines the whole. That will clarify the words of the Zohar, that through the study of the Zohar and the Wisdom of Truth, they will be redeemed from exile, into complete deliverance. But what is really the connection between the study of the Zohar and the deliverance of Israel from amongst the nations?
69) It's been thoroughly clarified, that the Torah too has its internality and its externality, as does the whole world. Therefore, he who delves in the Torah also has those two degrees. And upon increasing his toil in the internality of the Torah and its secrets, to that extent he makes the virtue of the internality of the world, which is Israel, rise ever higher over the externality of it, meaning the Nations of the World. And all the nations will recognize and admit to the ascendancy of Israel over them, until the words - "And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall posses them in the land of the Lord (Isaiah 14, 2)" "Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the peoples: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders (Isaiah 49, 22)" - finally come true.
But if, God forbid, the contrary occurs, that the man from Israel degrades the virtue of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, dealing with the customs of our souls and their degrees, and also in the part of the reasoning of the mitzvoth (precepts), with regard to the virtue of the externality of the Torah, that deals solely with the practical part alone, and even if he dedicates some time to the internality of the Torah, but just a little of his time, when it is neither night nor day, as though it were, God forbid, redundant, by that he causes degradation and decline of the internality of the world, which are the Sons of Israel, and enhances the domination of the externality of the world - meaning the Nations of the World - over them, and they shall humiliate and disgrace the Sons of Israel, and regard Israel as redundant, as though the world has not a need for it, God forbid.
And furthermore, by that they make even the externality of the world overcome its internality. For the worst of the Nations of the World, which destruct and damage it, mount higher over the internality of them, which are the Nations of the World, and then they cause the ruin and the heinous slaughter our generation witnessed, may God protect us from now on.
Thus you see that the redemption of Israel and indeed its rise depends upon the study of the Zohar and the internality of the Torah. And vise versa, all the ruin and decline of the Sons of Israel, is a result of their abandoning of the internality of the Torah, degrading it and turning it to something seemingly redundant, God forbid.
70) The correction of the Zohar says (correction 40): "Awaken and rise for the Divine Presence, for your heart is empty, without the wisdom to know and to attain it, although it is within you." And the secret of it is, as it says: that a voice pounds within the heart of each and every one of Israel, to pray for the rising of the Divine Presence, which is the assembly of the souls of Israel. But the Divine Presence says, I have no strength to pick myself up from the dust, for all the flesh is but hay. They are all like hay eating beasts. Meaning that they perform the precepts mindlessly, just like beasts, and all its grace is as the flower of the field, all the good deeds they do, it is for them they do it.
That means that in the good deeds that they perform, they do not mean to please their maker, but only to please themselves. And even the best of them, who have dedicated all their time to the Torah, did not do it, but for the benefit of their own body, lacking the desired aim, to please their maker.
It is said about the generation of that time: "a spirit leaves so as never to return, that is the spirit of the Messiah, the one who should deliver Israel from exile and from trouble to complete redemption, to fulfill the words: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord. That spirit left and alights not in the world."
Alas, these people, who make the spirit of Messiah vanish from the world, so as never to return, make the Torah dry, without the moist of mind and knowledge, for they confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah, and do not wish to try and understand the wisdom of the Kabbalah, to know and educate themselves in the secrets and the reason behind the Torah and the precepts. Alas, they cause by their deeds the poverty, the ruin and the robbery, the looting, the killings and destruction in the world.
71) And the reason for that is, as we've said, that since all those who delve in the Torah, depreciate their own internality, and the Torah's internality, leaving it as though it were redundant in the world, and studying it only at a time that is neither day nor night. And they are like blind men searching the wall, causing by that the proliferation of their own externality, meaning the benefit of their own body, and they regard the externality of the Torah higher than its internality - thus causing the expansion of each external aspect in the world over its internal parts, each according to its own essence.
Because the externality of the whole of Israel, meaning the Nations of the World among them, intensifies and revokes the internality of the whole of Israel, which are the Greats of the Torah. And the externality within the Nations of the World too, which are the destructors among them, intensifies and revokes the internality among them, which are the Righteous of the World. And the externality of the whole world, being the Nations of the World, intensifies and revokes the Sons of Israel, which are the internality of it.
In such a generation, all destructors of the Nations of the World raise their heads and wish primarily to destroy and kill the Sons of Israel, as it says: (Yebamot 63) "No calamity comes to the world but for Israel", as it says in the above corrections, that they cause poverty and ruin and robbery and killings in the whole world.
And since, through our many faults, we've witnessed the aforesaid in the corrections, and not only that, but the calamity struck at the very best of us, as it says: (Baba Kama 60) "And it does not start, but from the righteous". And of all the glory Israel had had in the countries of Poland and Lithuania etc. there remains but the remnants in our holy land. Now it is upon us relics, to correct that dreadful wrong. And each of us remainders, will take upon himself, heart and soul, to intensify from this day forth, the internality of the Torah, and give it its worthy place, above the externality of the Torah.
Then, each will be awarded with the intensification of his own internality, meaning the Israel in him, which is the needs of the soul over the aspect of his own externality, being the Nations of the World in him, which are the needs of the body. And that force will come to the whole of the people of Israel, until the peoples of the world within us recognize the virtue of the Greats of Israel over them, and listen and obey them. And also the internality of the Nations of the World, which are the Righteous of the World, will overcome their externality and subdue them, which are the destructors. And the internality of the world too, which are Israel, shall rise with all the praise and virtue, over the externality of the world, which are the nations. Then, all the Nations of the World will recognize and admit to the ascendancy of Israel over them.And they shall carry out the words: "And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall posses them in the land of the Lord (Isaiah 14, 2)". And also: "and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders (Isaiah 49, 22)". And that is what the Zohar says: "That through this composition, which is the book of Zohar, they will be freed from exile with mercy (Nasah 124)". Amen, may it be so.