Introduction to the Book - Panim Meirot Umasbirot Part 2

by Rabbi Ashlag

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18) Now we come to the heart of the matter and the mistake that concerned his leg. This Tree of Knowledge of good and evil was mixed with the Vacant Space, meaning with the Gadlut form of reception upon, which the Tzimtzum was implemented, and from which the Ohr Elyon departed.

It has also been explained that Adam ha Rishon did not have any of the Gadlut form of reception in his structure, which extends from the Vacant Space. Instead, he extended solely from the system of Kedusha, concerned only with bestowal.

It is written in The Zohar (Kedoshim), that Adam ha Rishon had nothing of this world. For this reason, the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden to him, as his root and the whole system of Kedusha are separated from the Sitra Achra, due to their disparity of form, which is the separation.

Thus, he, too, was commanded and warned about connecting to it, as thus he would be separated from his holy root and die like the Sitra Achra and the Klipot, which die due to their oppositeness and separation from the Kedusha and the Life of Lives.

However, Satan, which is SAM, the angel of death that was clothed in the serpent, came down and enticed Eve with deceit in its mouth: “Ye shall not surely die.” It is known that any lie does not stand if it is not preceded by words of truth. Hence, it started with a true word and revealed the purpose of Creation to her, which came only to correct that tree, meaning to invert the great vessels of reception to the side of bestowal.

It said to her that God had eaten from this tree and created the world, meaning looked at that matter in the form of “The end of an act is in the preliminary thought,” and for this reason He has created the world. As we have seen above, the whole matter of the first Tzimtzum was only for man, destined to equalize the form of reception to bestowal.

This was the truth, which is why it succeeded and the woman believed it when she prepared herself to receive and enjoy solely in order to bestow. You find that at any rate, evil vanished from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, and the Tree of Knowledge of good remained.

This is because the evil there is only the disparity of form of reception for “self,” which was imprinted in him. Yet, with reception in order to bestow, he is brought to his complete perfection, and thus you find that she has made the great unification, as it should be at the end of the act.

However, that sublime Kedusha was still untimely. She was only fit to endure it in the first eating but not in the second eating. I will explain to you that one who abstains oneself from pleasure before one has tasted and grown accustomed is not like one who abstains from pleasure after having tasted and become connected to it. The first can certainly abstain once and for all, but the other must exert to retire from one’s craving bit-by-bit until the matter is completed.

So it is here, since the woman had not yet tasted from the Tree of Knowledge, and was completely in bestowal. For this reason, it was easy for her to perform the first eating in order to bestow contentment upon the Creator in absolute Kedusha. However, after she had tasted it, a great desire and coveting for the Tree of Knowledge was made in her, until she could not retire from her craving, since matters had gone out of her control.

This is why our sages said that she ate prematurely, meaning before it was ripe, before they acquired strength and power to rule over their desire. It is similar to what the sages said in Masechet Yevamot, “I have eaten and I shall eat more.” This means that even when he had explicitly heard that the Creator was in wrath with him, he still could not retire from it, since the lust had already been connected to him. You find that the first eating was on the side of the Kedusha, and the second eating was in great filth.

Now we can understand the severity of the punishment of the Tree of Knowledge, for which all people are put to death. This death extends from eating it, as the Creator had warned him, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The thing is that the Gadlut form of reception extends into his limbs from the Vacant Space, and from the Tzimtzum onward it is no longer possible for it to be under the same roof with the Ohr Elyon (Upper Light). Hence, that eternal breath of life, expressed in the verse, “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” had to leave there and depend on a slice of bread for its transient sustenance.

This life is not an eternal life as before, when it was for himself. It is rather similar to a sweat of life, a life that has been divided into tiny drops, where each drop is a fragment of his previous life. And this is the meaning of the sparks of souls that were spread throughout his progeny. Thus, in all his progeny, all the people in the world in all the generations, through the last generation, which concludes the purpose of creation, are one long chain.

It follows that the acts of the Creator did not change at all by the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. Rather, this Light of life that came at once in Adam ha Rishon extended and stretched into a long chain, revolving on the wheel of transformation of form until the end of correction. There is no cessation for a moment, since the actions of the Creator must be alive and enduring; “Sanctity is raised, not lowered.”

As is the case of man, so is the case with all the creatures in the world because they all descended from an eternal and general form, on the wheel of transformation of form, as did man.

Both man and the world have an inner value and an outer value. The external always ascends and descends according to the internal, and this is the meaning of “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Instead of the previous breath of life that the Creator had breathed in his nostrils, there is now a sweat of life in his nostrils.

19) Our sages said (Babba Batra 17), “He is the evil inclination, he is Satan, he is the angel of death. He descends and incites, ascends and complains, he cometh and he taketh his soul.” This is because two general corruptions occurred because of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge.

The first corruption is the matter of “ascends and complains.” He had been tempted to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and acquired a vessel of reception of the Vacant Space in the structure of his body. That, in turn, caused hatred and remoteness between the eternal Light of life that the Creator had breathed in Adam’s nostrils, and Adam’s body.

It is similar to what they said, “All who is proud, the Creator says, ‘he and I cannot dwell in the same abode.’” This is so because pride stems from the vessels of reception of the Vacant Space, from which the Ohr Elyon had already departed from the time of the Tzimtzum onward.

It is written in The Zohar that the Creator hates the bodies that are built only for themselves. For this reason, the Light of life fled from him, and this is the first corruption.

The second corruption is the descent of the 288 sparks that were already connected in the system of Kedusha. They were given and descended to the system of Sitra Achra and the Klipot so the world would not be destroyed.

This is so because the system of Kedusha cannot sustain and nourish people and the world, due to the hatred that had been made between the Kedusha and the Kelim of the Vacant Space. This follows the law of opposites, “he and I can not dwell in the same abode.” Hence, the 288 sparks were given to the system of the Sitra Achra so they would nurture and sustain man and the world all through the incarnations of the souls in the bodies, as it is written, “Ten thousand for a generation, and for a thousand generations,” until the end of correction.

Now you can see why they are called Klipot. It is because they are like the peel on a fruit. The hard peel envelops and covers the fruit to keep it from any filth and harm until the fruit is eaten. Without it, the fruit would be corrupted and would not fulfill its purpose. Thus you find that the 288 sparks were given to the Klipot, to sustain and qualify reality until they connect and attain their desired goal.

The above-mentioned second corruption is the matter of “cometh and taketh his soul.” I wish to say that even that tiny part of the soul that remains for a person, as “sweat of the previous life,” is also robbed by the Sitra Achra, through that same bestowal that she gives him from the 288 sparks that have fallen into her.

To understand that, you need a clear picture of the Sitra Achra as she really is. Thus, you will be able to examine all her ways. All the parts of reality of the lower world are branches, extending from their roots like an imprint from a seal from the Upper World, and the Upper from the one Above it and that Upper from its own Upper.

Know that any discernment in branches about the roots is only on the basis of their substance. This means that the substances in this world are corporeal bases, and the substances in the world of Yetzira are spiritual bases, relating to the spirituality in Yetzira. So it is in each and every world.

However, the occurrences and the comportments in them have the same value from each branch to its root, like two drops in a pond, and like the imprint whose form is identical to the seal from which it was imprinted. And once you know that, we can seek that branch that the upper Sitra Achra has in this world, and through it, we will also know the root of the upper Sitra Achra.

We find in The Zohar (Parashat Tazriya) that the afflictions in people’s bodies are branches of the upper Sitra Achra. Hence, let us take the Animate level and learn from that. We find that the spouting that occurs in its body through attainment of pleasure is what proliferates its life. For this reason, Providence has imprinted in the little ones, that every place they rest their eyes on gives them pleasure and contentment, even the most trifling things.

This is so because the level of the small must proliferate sufficiently to grow and sprout, and this is why their pleasure is copious. Thus you find that the Light of pleasure is the progenitor of life.

However, this law applies only in pleasures that come to the level as a whole. But in a pleasure of separation, when the pleasure is concentrated and received only by a separated part of the level of the Animal, we find the opposite rule. If there is a defective place in its flesh, which demands scratching and rubbing, the act of scratching carries its reward with it, as one feels great pleasure pursuing it. However, that pleasure is sodden with a drop of the potion of death: if one does not govern one’s desire and pays the haunting demand, the payment will increase the debt.

In other words, according to the pleasure from scratching, so will the affliction increase and the pleasure will turn to pain. When it begins to heal again, a new demand for scratching appears, and at a greater extent than before. And if one still cannot govern one’s desire and pays to saturate the demand, the affliction will grow as well.

Finally, it brings it a bitter drop, entirely poisoning the blood in that animal. You find that it died by receiving pleasure, since it is a pleasure of separation, received only by a separated part of the level. Hence, death operates in the level in the opposite manner from the pleasure administered to the entire level.

Here we see before us the form of the upper Sitra Achra from head to toe. Her head is the will to receive for herself alone, and to not bestow outside of herself, as is the property of the demand in the afflicted flesh with respect to the entire animal. The body of the Sitra Achra is a certain form of demand that is not going to be paid. The repayment one makes increases the debt and the affliction even more, as with the example of receiving pleasure by scratching.

The toe of the Sitra Achra is the drop of the potion of death, which robs it and separates it from the last spark of life it had left, like the drop of the potion of death that intoxicates all the blood in the animal.

This is the meaning of what our sages said, “in the end, it cometh and taketh his soul.” In other words, they said that the angel of death comes with a drawn sword and a drop of poison at its tip; the person opens his mouth, he throws the drop inside, and he dies.

The sword of the angel of death is the influence of the Sitra Achra, called Herev [.22.] because of the separation that grows according to the measure of reception, and the separation destroys him. One is compelled to open one’s mouth, since one must receive the abundance for sustenance and persistence from her hands. In the end, the bitter drop at the tip of the sword reaches him, and this completes the separation to the last spark of his breath of life.

20) As a result of these two corruptions, man's body was corrupted, too, as it is precisely adapted by Creation to receive the abundance of its sustenance from the system of Kedusha. This is so because in any viable act, its parts are guarded from any surplus or scarcity. An act that is not viable is because its parts are imbalanced and there is some shortage or surplus in them.

As he says in the Poem of Unification: “Of all Your work, not a thing You have forgotten; You did not add, and You did not subtract.” It is a mandatory law that perfect operations stem from the perfect Operator.

However, when a person passes from the system of Kedusha to the system of the Sitra Achra, due to the barnacle attached to his construction by the Tree of Knowledge, many parts of him are already in surplus, needless. This is because they do not receive anything from the abundance of sustenance dispensed from the authority of the Sitra Achra, as we find with the Luz bone (Zohar, Midrash HaNe’elam, Toladot), and also in a certain portion of each and every organ.

Hence, one must receive sustenance into one’s body more than is necessary, since the surplus joins every demand that rises from the body. Hence, the body receives for them. However, the surplus itself cannot receive its share; thus, its share remains in the body as surplus and litter that the body must later eject.

In consequence, the feeding and digesting tools exert in vain. They diminish and lessen to extinction because their sentence is predetermined, as that of any imbalanced act, destined to disintegrate. Thus you find that from the perspective of the construction of the body, too, its death depends on cause and effect from the Tree of Knowledge.

Now we have been awarded learning and knowing the two contradicting, opposite conducts (Item 11). The sustenance and keeping of the created beings has already passed from the system of Kedusha to the system of the Sitra Achra. This is so because of the barnacle of the great will to receive for oneself, connected to the created beings by the eating from the Tree of Knowledge. It induced separation, oppositeness, and hatred between the system of Kedusha and the structure of the bodies of the created beings in this world.

And when the Kedusha can no longer sustain and nurture them from the high table, to not destroy reality and to induce an act of correction for them, it gives the collective abundance of the sustenance of reality – her 288 sparks – to the system of the Sitra Achra, so they will provide for all creations in the world during the correction period.

For this reason, the conducts of existence are very confused, since evil sprouts from the wicked, and if the abundance is reduced to the created beings, it certainly brings ruin and destruction. And if abundance is increased, it brings excessive force of separation to the receivers, as our sages said, “He who has one hundred, wants two hundred; he who has two hundred wants four hundred.”

It is like the separated pleasure that the separated and defected flesh senses, where increased pleasure increases separation and affliction. Thus, self-love greatly increases in the receivers, and one swallows one’s friend alive. Also, the life of the body shortens, since the accumulation of reception brings the bitter drop at the end sooner, and wherever they turn they only condemn.

Now you can understand what is written in the Tosfot(Ktubot p104): “When one prays that Torah will enter one’s body, one should pray that no delicacies will enter one’s body.” This is because the form of self-reception, which is the opposite of Kedusha, increases and multiplies by the measure of pleasure that one’s body acquires.

Thus, how can one obtain the Light of Torah within one’s body, when he is separated and in complete oppositeness of form from the Kedusha, and there is great hatred between them, as with all opposites: they hate each other and cannot be under the same roof.

Therefore, one must first pray that no delights or pleasures will enter one’s body, and as the deeds in Torah and Mitzvot accumulate, one slowly purifies and inverts the form of reception to be in order to bestow. You find that one equalizes one’s form with the system of Kedusha, and the equivalence and love between them returns, as prior to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. Thus, one is awarded the Light of the Torah, since he entered the presence of the Creator.

21) Now it is thoroughly understood why the answer of the angels regarding man's creation, which we learned in the Midrash (Item 11), is not presented. It is because even the angels of Mercy and Righteousness did not agree to the present man, since he has gone completely out of their influence and has become completely dependent on the Sitra Achra.

The Midrash ends: “He took Truth and threw it to the ground. They all said immediately, ‘Let Truth spring out of the earth.’” This means that even the angels of Mercy and Righteousness regretted their consent, as they never agreed that Truth would be disgraced.

This incident occurred at the time of the eating from the Tree of Knowledge, when Truth was absent from the management of the sustenance of reality, since the scrutinizing force imprinted in man by Creation, which operates by the sensation of bitter and sweet, has weakened and failed (Item 17).

This is so because the provision for sustenance, which are 288 different Behinot, were already as clear as day, connected in the system of Kedusha. And “the palate tasteth its food,” to attract in full all that is beloved and sweet, and to reject all that is bitter, so no man shall fail in them.

However, after the first tasting of the Tree of Knowledge, for which the Gadlut form of self- reception has stuck to them, their body and the Kedusha became two opposites. At that time, the abundance of sustenance, which is the 288 Behinot, went to the hands of the Sitra Achra.

You find that the 288 sparks that had already been sorted were remixed by the Sitra Achra. Thus, a new form was made in reality – the form whose beginning is sweet and whose end is bitter.

This was because the form of the 288 has been changed by the Sitra Achra, where the Light of pleasure brings separation and a bitter drop. This is the form of falsehood; the first and foremost progenitor of every destruction and confusion.

It is written, “He took Truth and threw it to the ground.” Thus, because of the serpent, a new discernment was added to man – the active cognitive force. It operates by discernments of true and false, and one must use it throughout the correction period, for without it the benefit is impossible (Item 17).

Come and see all the confusion caused by the fall of the 288 sparks into the hands of the Sitra Achra. Before they tasted from the Tree of Knowledge, the woman could not even touch the forbidden thing (Item 17). By mere nearness to the Tree of Knowledge, she tasted bitterness that tasted like death. For this reason, she understood and added the prohibition on touching. And after the first eating, when the Sitra Achra and falsehood already controlled the sustenance of reality, the prohibition became so sweet in its beginning that they could no longer retire from it. This is why he said, “I have eaten and I shall eat more.”

Now you understand why the reward in the Torah is intended only for the ripe bodies. It is because the whole purpose of the Torah is to correct the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, which induced the confusion of the conduct of the sustenance of reality.

It is for this correction that the Torah was given – to elevate the 288 sparks to Kedusha once more. At that time, the conduct of the sustenance will return to the Kedusha and confusions will cease form the modes of the sustenance of reality. Then, people will be brought to their desired perfection by themselves, solely by the discernment of bitter and sweet, which was the first operator, prior to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge.

The prophets, too, speak only of this correction, as it is said, “All the prophets prophesied only for the days of the Messiah.” This is the meaning of the restoration of the modes of sustenance of the world under sorted Providence, as it was prior to the sin. “But for the next world” implies the end of the matter, which is the equivalence of form with the Maker, “neither hath the eye seen a God beside Thee.” It is also written that in the days of the Messiah, if Egypt does not rise, it will not rain on them, meaning through discernments of good and bad.

22) Now we understand the words of our sages that the Creator did not find a vessel that holds a blessing for Israel but peace. We asked, “Why was this statement chosen to end the Mishnah?”

According to the above, we understand that the eternal soul of life that the Creator had blown in his nostrils, only for the needs of Adam ha Rishon, has departed because of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. It acquired a new form, called “Sweat of Life,” meaning the general has been divided into a great many particulars, tiny drops, divided between Adam ha Rishon and all his progeny through the end of time.

It follows, that there are no changes in the acts of the Creator, but there is rather an additional form here. This common Light of life, which was packed in the nose of Adam ha Rishon has expanded into a long chain, revolving on the wheel of transformation of form in many bodies, body after body, until the necessary end of correction.

It turns out that he died at the very day he ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and the eternal life departed him. Instead, he was tied to a long chain by the procreation organ (which is the meaning of the copulation, called “Peace”).

You find that one does not live for oneself, but for the whole chain. Thus, each and every part of the chain does not receive the Light of life into itself, but only distributes the Light of life to the whole chain. This is also what you find in one’s days of life: at twenty, he is fit to marry a woman; and ten years he may wait to bear sons; thus, he must certainly father by thirty.

Then he sits and waits for his son until he is forty years of age, the age of Bina (understanding), so he may pass onto him the fortune and knowledge he has acquired by himself, and everything he had learned and inherited from his forefathers, and he will trust him to not lose it for an ill matter. Then he promptly passes away, and his son grips the continuation of the chain in his father’s place.

It has been explained (Item 15) that the incident of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge was mandatory for Adam ha Rishon, as it is written, “Libel is terrible for the children of men.” This is so because one must add to one’s structure an outer Kli to receive the Surrounding Light, so the two opposites will come in one subject, in two consecutive times. During the Katnut period, he will be dependent on the Sitra Achra. His vessels of reception of the Vacant Space will grow to their desired measure by the separated pleasures that one receives because of them.

Finally, when one reaches Gadlut and engages in Torah and Mitzvot, the ability to turn the great vessels of reception in order to bestow will be readily available. This is the primary goal, called “The Light of Truth,” and “The Seal” (Item 14).

However, it is known that before one connects to the Kedusha, one must retire once more from any form of reception that he had received from the table of the Sitra Achra, as the commandment of love came to us, “with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Hence, what have the sages done by this correction if one loses everything he has acquired from the Sitra Achra?

For this reason, His Providence provided the proliferation of the bodies in each generation, as our sages said, “He saw that the righteous were few, He stood and planted them in each generation.” This means that He saw that in the end, the righteous will repel the matter of self-reception altogether and thus their Surrounding Light would diminish, since the outer Kli that is fit for it will be repelled from them.

For this reason, He planted them in each and every generation, because in all generations, a large number of the people are created primarily for the righteous, to be the carriers of the Kelim of the Vacant Space for them. Thus, the Outer Kli would necessarily operate in the righteous involuntarily.

This is so because all the people in the world are attached to one another. They affect one another both in bodily inclinations and in opinions. Therefore, they necessarily bring the inclination for self-reception to the righteous, and in this manner they can receive the desired Surrounding Light.

However, accordingly, the righteous and the wicked should have been of equal weight in each generation. Yet, this is not so, and for each righteous, we find many thousands of vain ones. Yet, you must know that there are two kinds of governance in creation: a) a qualitative force; b) a quantitative force.

The force of those that hang about the feet of the Sitra Achra is meager, contemptible, and low, undesirable, and purposeless, and they are blown like chaff in the wind. Thus, how can such as those do anything to wise-hearted people whose way is clear with desire and aim, and a pillar of Upper Light shines before them day and night sufficiently to bring the tiny inclinations in their hearts?

Hence, He provided the quantitative force in Creation, as this force does not need any quality. I will explain it to you by the way we find the qualitative force in strength, such as in lions and tigers, where because of the great quality of their strength no man will fight them.

Opposite them, we find strength and power without any quality, as in the flies. But because of their numbers, no man will fight them. These wanderers roam man's house and set table freely and it is man who feels weak against them.

However, with wild flies, insects, and other such uninvited guests, although the quality of their strength is greater than the domestic flies, man will not rest until he entirely banishes them from his domain. This is so because nature did not allot them the reproduction ability of flies.

Accordingly, you can see that there must necessarily be a great multitude for every single righteous. They instill their crude inclinations in him through the power of their numbers, as they have no quality whatsoever.

This is the meaning of the verse, “The Lord will give strength unto His people.” It means that the eternal Light of life, attained by the whole chain of creation, is called “Strength.” The text guarantees that the Creator will surely give us that strength.

Yet, we should ask, How so? Since every person is not whole in and of himself, as our sages have written, ‘It is better for one to not be born than to be born,’ why then are we sure of His eternity?”

And the verse ends, “the Lord will bless his people with peace,” meaning the blessing of the sons. It is as our sages said in Masechet Shabbat, “who makes peace in the house is idle.” It is so because through the sons, this chain is tied and linked through the end of correction. At that time, all the parts will be in eternity.

For this reason, our sages said, “The Creator did not find a receptacle that holds a blessing for Israel, but peace.” Because as His blessing is eternal, the receivers should be eternal.

Thus you find that through the sons, the fathers hold, and create among them the chain of eternity, fit to hold the blessing for eternity. It follows that it is peace that holds and conducts the wholeness of the blessing.

Hence, our sages ended the Mishnah with this verse, since peace is the vessel that holds the blessing of the Torah and all the Mitzvot for us until the complete and eternal redemption soon in our days Amen, and everything will come to its place in peace.