Ten Luminous Emanations - Chapter 1 of 16

This Sefer is a rearrangement of the ARIzal Teachings as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital in the Sefer ETz Chaim and edited by his son Shemuel Vital. According to legend the ARIzal told Rabbi Chaim Vital that he would reincarnate in order to make the teachings more readable and understandable. The students of Rabbi Ashlag taught that Rabbi Ashlag was that reincarnation and that this Sefer consisting of 16 Sections which i am calling Chapters is the effect of an Ibur of the ARIzal into Rabbi Ashlag.

This english translation is based on the readings from the Benai Baruch website www.kabbalah.info. In my opinion the translation is not perfect yet it is what is available to the English speaking public.

The Esser Sefirot by Rabbi Ashlag is a reordering of the verses in the Etz Chaim by Rabbi Chaim Vital who wrote the teachings of the ARIzal. Rabbi Ashlag reordered the verses to make it easier for us in our generation to understand it. I will bold the verses from Etz Chaim, use regular font for the English translation of Rabbi Ashlag's Commentary and identify my own commentary specifically.

The translation uses identifying numbers to relate a concept or word definition to different sections of the writings. Rabbi Ashlag's commentary is identified as Ohr Penimi or Inner Light and there is a deeper commentary as well. these identifying numbers help the student to follow the concept through all of the sections. I will define these words as we go along in an incomplete manner. Just sufficient to start the process of understanding. Yet as one reads further the understanding will grow as to definitions of concepts. Do not let this bother you. Kabbalistic writings are meant to be read a number of times as the Light within the writing helps the student break the Klipot (shells) that keep him/her separated from full enlightenment.

This section explains the issue of Tzimtzum Aleph, when Ohr Ein Sof became restricted in order to emanate the Ne’etzalim (chanoch adds: Creations) and create the creatures; containing five issues:

1. Before the Tzimtzum Ein Sof filled the entire reality.

2. The reason for creation was the revelation of His Names and Appellations.

3. The Tzimtzum of the Ohr around the middle point.

4. The Halal that remained after the Tzimtzum was Agol.

5. Because Ohr Ein Sof was even, the Tzimtzum was also even. This is the meaning of the Igul.

chanoch's Commentary

In the translation into English there are many Hebrew Words that need two types of translation. One is the simple meaning in the physical world and the other is a spiritual definition. Many times these definitions are further down the page. Many times they are left undefined and just have a transliteration in the reading/writing. I will try to help with these issues as they arise.


Tzimtzum is the term that the ARIzal uses to express the Creator's withdrawel into him/her/it self that leaves a space for mankind to assist in the Creation by correcting him/her self. Spiritually it creates the first paradox: as how can the Creator withdraw into him/her/it self and still remain unchanged.

Ein Sof is "without end". Spiritually this refers to the Creator of phase one of the four phases. Phase one is part of the line (will be defined later) while the Endless world or Ein Sof is part of the Circle. Ein Sof has continuity while the line has a beginning a middle and an end.

Ohr translates as Light. The Kabbalists refer to God as Light since physical light has an essence of complete sharing with no diminished of itself.

Halal This word would lead to less confusion if it was spelled in the transliteration as Chalal. It means space, cavity, void, vacuum, casualty, hollow, and socket. The spiritual ideal of Chalal is the space/cavity/void/vacuum created by the Tzimzum.

Agolis a difficult word to translate. It is similar to the Aramaic word Tam which translates as "simple". Its spiritual meaning is complete. One definition which is not complete is something that has no discernment or degrees. Everything is the the same. This does not imply equal just no differences. Sounds like a paradox doesn't it?

IgulThis is another difficult word to translate. The shoresh of this word is wave. When spelled without the vav it means drop or droplet. How it applies will be defined below. Here it is being used to imply a wave as opposed to a particle. This is similar to the scientific issue of the question is Light a wave or a particle? This question has not been answered in science as of yet. The Kabbalists define it as the Keter - sometimes it is LIght and sometimes vessel.

Returning to the actual translation

Before the Tzimtzum Ein Sof filled the entire reality

1. Know, that before the Ne’etzalim (chanoch adds: potential creations) were emanated and the creatures created (1), an Upper Simple Ohr (2) had filled the entire reality (3). There was no vacant place (4), such as an empty Avir (5) and a Halal (6), but everything was filled with that simple, boundless Ohr (7).

It did not have a Behina of Rosh, or Sof (8), but it was all one, Simple Ohr (9), completely even (10), called Ohr Ein Sof (20).

Ohr Pnimi

Bear in mind, that the entire wisdom of Kabbalah is founded on spiritual matters that do not take up time or space. They are not subject to change or absence and all the changes that are spoken of in this wisdom do not imply that the first form becomes absent and is replaced by a different form. The above change Rather implies an additional form, while the first does not move from its place, as absence and change are corporeal conducts.

It is difficult for novice, for they perceive matters by means of corporeal boundaries of time, space, change and exchange. However, the authors only used those as signs to point to their Upper Roots.

For that reason I will make an effort to give every word its spiritual identity, detached of space, time and change. It is upon the readers to memorize the meaning of these words thoroughly, for it is impossible to repeat them every time.

chanoch's commentary

It is recommended that the student of Kabbalah reread these first few paragraphs any time he sits down with a new book of Kabbalah. It is also recommended by Rabbi Ashlag in many places to refrain as much as possible from using two dimensional charts, graphs, glyffs, or other pictures as that tends to distort the understanding of the student. Give the process of learning follow its natural course which is usually not immediate.

1. The issue of spiritual time is explained thoroughly in Histaklut Pnimit Chapter 9, item 33.

chanoch's Commentary

Time in all levels (spiritual and physical) refers to the distance between cause and effect. Spiriutal time is different than physical time and that will be explained in Chapter 9 of the Esser Sefirot. As said above there are 16 Chapters or sections and they are discussing the evolution (not revolution even as the big bang sounds like a revolutionary event) from the Ein Sof to the physical world. This is a long and involved process that includes 1 thought and many steps. The thought is the thought of creation - "Reveal Me PLease". The steps are the 4 phases expanded many times.

2. It refers to the Ohr that expands from the Atzmut (chanoch adds: Essence) of the Creator. Know, that all the names and appellations that appear in the wisdom of Kabbalah are not at all in the Atzmut of the Creator, but only in the Ohr that expands from His Atzmut. However, we cannot utter even a single word regarding His Atzmut, for the rule is that anything we do not attain, we do not know its name. Remember that and you will not fail.

3. It is seemingly perplexing, for it speaks of the time before the Olamot were created. Thus, which reality exists here, that the Ohr Elyon should fill? The thing is that all the Olamot and the Neshamot (souls) that exist and that are destined to be created with all their incidents until the end of their correction, are all included in Ein Sof in their full measure and glory.

Thus, there are two rudiments we should discern in reality before us:

They are fixed and exist in Ein Sof with their full measure and glory. How they are arranged and hang down and innovate before us after Tzimtzum Aleph in the five Olamot: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya. The Rav writes that the Ohr Elyon that extends from His Atzmut “had filled the entire reality,” meaning the entire reality of the first rudiment, relating to their existence in Ein Sof before the Tzimtzum. He tells us that the Ohr Elyon filled them entirely, until they had no vacant place left where correction and perfection could be added whatsoever.

chanoch's Commentary

The endless world includes everything and nothing. It includes everything in potential which is what the previous paragraph is describing. It includes nothing in actuality since there is only Light fulfilling vessel with no discernment, grade, or difference within or between light and vessel, in the Ein Sof. Light and Vessel are One. Spiritually an amazing paradox which we are incapable of understanding according to Rabbi Ashlag, although from time to time we can experience aspects of this unity. Contemplate this distinction between understanding and experiencing many times during your studies. This contemplation will help your spiritual growth to unify experience and understanding.

4. It means that before the Olamot (chanoch adds: worlds) were created there was only Ein Sof. There was not a “vacant place,” meaning a place of dearth that would qualify for corrections because the Ohr Elyon (chanoch adds: Upper Light) filled that place. It left no room for the Tachtonim (chanoch adds: potential energies) to distinguish themselves and add something to His completeness.

Because of the Tzimtzum there came about a wanting and a vacant place for the corrections. However, do not be mistaken to think that the book speaks of a corporeal place. (chanoch reiterates: It is not a physical space. Contemplate what this vacant place looked like to you. If you "see" anything close to resembling physical space - start your contemplation over.)

5. This does not refer to corporeal air whatsoever; but there is a spiritual Ohr that is called by that name. There are two Behinot (features) of Ohr in each complete Partzuf: Ohr Hochma and Ohr de Hassadim.

Ohr Hochma is the Atzmut of the Partzuf, meaning its vitality. Ohr Hassadim only operates as a clothing Ohr over the Ohr Hochma in the Partzuf since Ohr Hochma cannot permeate the Partzuf if it does not wear the Ohr Hassadim first.

However, sometimes, when the Partzufim are in Katnut (chanoch adds: Smallness), they do not have more than Ohr Hassadim. You should know then that Ohr Hassadim is called Avir or Ruach. When it is by itself, without Ohr de Hochma, it is called “empty Avir,” meaning empty of Ohr Hochma. Then it waits for Ohr Hochma to clothe it and fulfill it. (chanoch adds: Ohr Hochma does not clothe Ohr Hassadim, the opposite occurs. Ohr Hochma does fulfill Ohr Hassadim and Ohr Hassadim is said to be a garment for Ohr Hochma. Yet it is time for you to realize that Ohr Hochma and Ohr Hassadim are vessels not light. How can that be? RELATIVITY.)

The Rav tells us that before the Olamot were created, meaning in Ein Sof, such empty Avir did not exist in reality at all, because there was not any dearth there. (chanoch adds: dearth means lack)

6. To understand that word, you must first know the essence of a spiritual Kli. Since the Ne’etzal receives its sustenance from the Maatzil, it necessarily implies that it has a Ratzon (desire) and yearning to receive that Shefa from Him.

Know, that the amount of that Ratzon and yearning is the entire substance that exists in the Ne’etzal. Thus, every thing that exists in the Ne’etzal that is not that substance, no longer relates to its substance, but to the Shefa that it receives from the Maatzil.

Furthermore, this substance determines the Gadlut (chanoch adds: greatness) and the level of each Ne’etzal, each Partzuf, and each Sefira. The Hitpashtut of the Ohr Elyon from the Maatzil is certainly immeasurable, but it is the Ne’etzal that limits the Shefa, for it receives no more and no less than its measure of desire to receive. This is the criterion in spirituality, because there is no coercion there; it depends entirely on the Ratzon.

For that reason we call this will to receive the “Vessel of Reception” of the Ne’etzal. It is regarded as its substance and the reason that it stopped being regarded as a Maatzil and was denominated as a Ne’etzal. The Ne’etzal is defined by a substance that does not exist in the Maatzil whatsoever, for there is absolutely no will to receive in the Maatzil, because from whom would He receive?

chanoch's commentary

Try to imagine the endless world as a cup/glass made of frozen water. Now fill the cup/glass with cold water that has frozen into ice. Disregard the change in dimension from water to ice. the cup is completely filled there is no space not filled with ice. Now let us focus on an atom or better yet an eletron that is at the limit of the ice and not yet part of the glass. Now answer the question is that electron light or vessel relative to the endless world. when the glass captures the electron has it changed from light to vessel or back again? This is what the above paragraph is trying to teach us.

Returning to the translation

Now we will explain how there are four degrees in this substance, from Katnut to Gadlut (of reception). The fourth degree, being the Gadlut of the reception, is complete only in Ein Sof, before the Olamot were created. It is the only one that was subject to the Tzimtzum, and we will clarify henceforth that it was emptied of every Shefa that she had from Ein Sof and remained a vacant Halal. This is what the Rav means when he says that before the Olam was created, meaning in Ein Sof, this vacant Halal did not exist.

7. This means that there is nothing that the lower ones can add to it by means of their actions.

8. The terms Rosh and Sof will be explained below.

chanoch's commentary

Section 7 refers to "simple Light". This will help to understand that line.

9. Meaning without discriminating small and great, every thing is even.

10. Where there is no Zakut (chanoch adds: spirituality for the time being) and Aviut (chanoch adds: physicality for the time being) by which the degrees are set. These discriminations were established only with the renewal of the Tzimtzum. (chanoch adds: there are two major Tzimtzum with different consciousness that will be discussed in the evolutionary process. For now it is sufficient to just know this information.

20. We should ask: since we have no attainment in Ein Sof, how then do we know Him by name? After all, each name designates the attainment that we attain in Him, according to the definition of that name. We cannot excuse ourselves by saying that the name merely points to the negation of attainment, for then we should have named Him “Unattainable.”

The thing is that that name indicates the entire difference between Ein Sof and all the Olamot beneath it. The Tzimtzum took place after Ein Sof. Thus, in every place this force awakens, it restricts the Ohr and that ends the He’arah in that place. (chanoch adds "impression" - this is a deep concept that will take a lot of understanding. One metaphor is the impression made on a piece of paper by the ink left on the paper from a rubber stamp. Is the impression on the paper the same as the signature of the person assuming the rubber stamp is of a signature?)

Hence, any Sof and Sium in any He’arah in any Partzuf come solely from the Tzimtzum. Moreover, all the beings and their various fillings in the Olamot come about and are innovated because of that Sof and Sium.

It is called Ein Sof because the Tzimtzum does not apply there, indicating that there isn’t any ending there whatsoever. With that we can deduce that this Ohr is Pashut and completely even, for one depends on the other.

chanoch's Commentary

The words from the Hebrew and Aramaic meanings of even, simple, complete, and ordered have different meaning yet come from the same concept in spirituality. In the Ein Sof there is no end. Therefore there is no change. Therefore there is only evenness which is simple which is complete, which is perfect. Everything that comes from the Ein Sof is in a limited state in comparison to its state in the Ein Sof. It is no longer perfect and therefore has some sort of lack. These are the worlds. They are not perfect yet. They were perfect and are no longer perfect. Why? Due to the Tzimzum. Who created the Tzimzum? The vessel. The Creator does not bring about pain and suffering since all of pain and suffering comes from the lack created by the Tzimzum. You are the cause of your own lack. Contemplate this. Learn to live with this knowledge and learn to create perfection by restoring fulfillment to the desires. Not your desires but the desires of others. Do not worry about your desires since you will be fulfilled by others.

The reason for creation was the revelation of His Names and Appellations

2. When it rose upon His Simple Ratzon (30) to create the Olamot and emanate the Ne’etzalim to bring the perfection of His deeds, His names and appellations to light, which was the reason of the creation of the Olamot,

Ohr Pnimi

30. We need not wonder how there is a Ratzon in Ein Sof, who is higher than any notion, to which we can say, “rose upon His Simple Ratzon.” You should comprehend what has been said above that in every Ne’etzal there is by necessity a will to receive the Shefa from the Maatzil.

However, in Ein Sof it is a “Simple Ratzon” because He is One and His Name One. The Ohr in Ein Sof is called He and the will to receive is called His Name, and they are simple unity without any form of separation.

However, we should not resemble the unity and separation discussed here with corporeal unity and separation that are distinguished by motion, nearness and distance. That is because the spiritual essence does not take up any space.

Having said that, you should know that separation in spirituality occurs only by means of Shinui Tzura. Thus, if one spiritual thing acquires an additional Tzura that is unlike its current Tzura, it stops being one and becomes two separate entities. Their distance from each other is measured by the oppositeness of their forms. (chanoch adds: difference of the desire to receive. The more opposite the further the difference. Giving is the absolute opposite of receiving. there can be no greater distance between these two spiritual entities.)

Just as corporeal entities connect and separate through proximity and remoteness, so spiritual entities connect and separate according to their difference and equivalence of form. The Shinui Tzura separates them from one another, and the Hishtavut Tzura brings them together. Remember that for it is the key element to this wisdom.

Now you will understand the meaning of the aforementioned words “He is One and His Name One,” and the simple unity we are so meticulous about in Ein Sof. Indeed this unity is of the wonders of His almightiness.

We have witnessed the difference between the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal that was formed by Tzura of that will to receive that exists in the Ne’etzal and not in the Maatzil. Because of that Shinui Tzura the Ne’etzal became separated from the Maatzil and acquired its own separate name, meaning Ne’etzal, and not Maatzil.

The above explanation might mislead us into thinking that Ohr Ein Sof, called “He,” is not entirely adherent with Ein Sof, called “His Name,” meaning the will to receive the Ohr and the Shefa, called “He.” That is because the Ohr Elyon that extends from his Atzmut, called “He” has but one attribute – to bestow - and none of the Tzura of the will to receive.

However, Ein Sof, called “His Name,” which does have a will to receive, is therefore different from the Ohr Elyon, which has no will to receive whatsoever, as has been explained, and we know that Shinui Tzura separates. However, the Midrash and the Rav tell us that it is not so. Instead, He is One and His Name One in Simple Unity, means that there is no difference between them.

Although there is necessarily a difference of form between “He” and “His Name,” it is nevertheless completely inactive there. We do not understand it, but it is undoubtedly so. It is said about that, that there is no perception or thought in Ein Sof whatsoever, since this matter is above our mind (will be discussed further in the next item).

The Tzimtzum of the Ohr around the middle point

3. Ein Sof then restricted Himself (40) in His middle point (50), in the very middle, restricted that Ohr, and drifted (60) to the sides around that middle point (70).

Ohr Pnimi

40. You already know the meaning of He is One and His Name One. Although there is Shinui Tzura with respect to the will to receive incorporated in Ein Sof, that still does not create any differentiation between that and the Ohr Elyon, and they are in simple unity.

Still, this Shinui Tzura has become the reason and the cause for the creation of the Olamot, “to bring the perfection of His deeds, His names and appellations to light,” as the Rav says here. The creation of the Olamot and their concatenation down to Olam ha Zeh, created and renewed the possibility to give room for work in Torah and Mitzvot not in order to receive, but only to bestow contentment upon the Maker.

chanoch adds and stresses: Bestowing contentment to the Maker is the essence of Torah Lishmah or Lishmo.

It is then that the Neshamot become able to invert the form of the will to receive in them, which separates them from the Maatzil, into the form of the will to bestow contentment upon Him, which is what He wants (see item 90). This is the Hishtavut Tzura with the Maatzil, called Dvekut (adhesion) and unification. It is so because then they have already been stripped from the form of the will to receive and acquired the form of the will to bestow, being the form of the Maatzil Himself.

You already know that Hishtavut Tzura makes the spirituals become one. For that reason the Olamot return to their previous condition.

This is the meaning of the Rav’s words, “When it rose upon His Simple Ratzon to create, etc.” “It rose” means that He increased the purification and Dvekut by diminishing the measure of the will to receive imprinted in him in order to equalize the form with the Ohr Elyon.

The will to receive in Ein Sof, called Malchut de Ein Sof, or “His Name,” did not have any dearth in Dvekut with the Ohr Elyon because of its Shinui Tzura. However, it embellished himself in order to equalize its form with the Ohr Elyon and depart from the great will to receive, called Behina Dalet, so as to cleave more strongly to the Ohr Elyon.

The proximity of the Tzura makes for Dvekut. It is expressed in the words “it rose,” meaning Malchut de Ein Sof, being the Ratzon Pashut, rose and cleaved to the Ohr Elyon, meaning diminished her will to receive.

This is the meaning of the words of the Rav, “Ein Sof then restricted Himself.” It has already been explained above (item 6) that the entire measure of His Shefa and Ohr and the height of the Ne’etzal are measured by the amount of the will to receive in him.

Thus, since the above Malchut de Ein Sof restricted herself and diminished her will to receive, the Ohr and the Shefa departed due to the scantness of the desire. This is the meaning of the Tzimtzum. The ascent of the desire caused the departure of the Shefa and the Ohr from there.

50. It is perplexing, for since there is neither Rosh nor Sof there, how is there middle? Moreover, are we dealing with a corporeal matter here? The thing is that it has already been explained that there is necessarily a will to receive in Ein Sof too. However, it is Ratzon Pashut, without discriminations of great and small, because the will to receive there is not regarded as a Shinui Tzura that makes any separations. Consequently, it is in no way inferior to the Ohr Elyon.

You should know that the Ohr Elyon must expand via four degrees before it uncovers that will to receive in its fullest and permanent measure in the Ne’etzal. The reason for it is that the will to receive is incorporated in the Hitpashtut of Ohr from the Shoresh, and by that the Ohr is considered to have departed from the Maatzil and acquired its own name, meaning Hitpashtut from the Maatzil.

As long as this Shinui Tzura of the will to receive was not incorporated in it, it was still regarded as a Maatzil and not as Hitpashtut that departed and shifted from the Maatzil. That is because the only difference in spirituality is the Shinui Tzura (see item 6 and Histaklut Pnimit).

However, as much as this Ratzon became disclosed by the force of the Ne’etzal, it still was not permanent in the Ne’etzal. It means that the Ne’etzal must yearn to receive the Shefa before it is considered that the will to receive appeared by the force of the Ne’etzal himself.

This yearning can only be when he does not have the Shefa, for only then is it possible to want it in a way that the will to receive will be uncovered through his own strength. It is then that the vessels of reception are completed permanently.

You should also know that any Hitpashtut of Ohr from the Maatzil must consist of a will to bestow, just as it consists of a will to receive. Otherwise, the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal would have been in oppositeness of form, meaning a total separation, and the oppositeness of form would then depart them from one another as the west departs from the east.

Thus, each Ohr that expands from the Maatzil must be incorporated of a will to bestow as well, so that the Ne’etzal will have proximity of form with the Maatzil. When the will to bestow appears in the Ne’etzal, a great Ohr Nimshach to him from the Maatzil, related to that awakening. This Ohr is always referred to as Ohr de Hassadim.

Hitpashtut Aleph from the Maatzil, in which the will to receive is incorporated, is always referred to as Ohr de Hochma, or Ohr de Atzmut. You should memorize these two types of Orot.

The second Ohr, being Ohr de Hassadim, is much lower than the first Ohr, being Ohr de Hochma. That is because it is extended by the Hitgabrut and the awakening of the Ne’etzal by his own force, as he wants to equalize his form with the Maatzil, for which reason he intensifies himself and awakens toward the will to bestow.

However, Hitpashtut Aleph, being Ohr de Hochma, Nimshach directly from the Maatzil and the Ne’etzal has no part in its extension. For that reason it is much higher than it.

For that reason Ohr Hochma is regarded as the Atzmut and Haiut (sustenance) of the Ne’etzal. Ohr de Hassadim is only considered as Ohr for corrections, for the completion of the Ne’etzal.

Now you will understand the four Behinot and degrees that must be in every Ne’etzal. First, the Ohr expands from the Maatzil as Ohr Hochma, containing only the “will to receive.” This is Behina Aleph.

Then, the will to bestow intensifies in that Ohr, and it extends Ohr de Hassadim. This Hitgabrut is regarded as Behina Bet. Then this Ohr de Hassadim expands intensively (will be explained below), and this is Behina Gimel.

After the above three Behinot fully emerge, the force of the will to receive incorporated in Hitpashtut Aleph reawakens and draws Ohr Hochma once more. This completes the permanent will to receive in the Partzuf that appears as yearning, when there weren’t Ohr Hochma in the Partzuf but Ohr de Hassadim, after Behina Gimel, when the Ne’etzal could yearn for Ohr Hochma.

It is this yearning that determines the will to receive in him, and completes his vessels of reception, which was absent in Hitpashtut Aleph. For that reason the vessels of reception are completed only in this Behina Dalet, also called Hitgabrut Bet.

Once Behina Dalet was completed in Ein Sof, the Tzimtzum occurred in her, meaning the departure of the will to receive from Behina Dalet, causing the departure of Ohr Ein Sof from there.

This completes the explanations of the four Behinot that must exist in every Ne’etzal. Behina Aleph is called Hitpashtut Aleph, or Hochma; Behina Bet is called Hitgabrut Aleph, or Bina; Behina Gimel is called Hitpashtut Bet, or Zeir Anpin; Behina Dalet is called Hitgabrut Bet, or Malchut.

The two expansions are regarded as males, for they are Shefa that extends from the Maatzil. Hitpashtut Aleph is Shefa of Ohr Hochma, and Hitpashtut Bet is Shefa of Ohr de Hassadim. The two Hitgabruiot (pl. for Hitgabrut) are regarded as two females, for they are an awakening of the Ne’etzal and the intensification of the Ratzon by his own power.

The first Hitgabrut is the awakening in the Ne’etzal for the will to bestow, which becomes the Shoresh for the Ohr de Hassadim, and Hitgabrut Bet is the awakening of the Ne’etzal for the will to receive, which becomes the complete vessel of reception in the Partzuf. It is always referred to as Behina Dalet.

This Behina Dalet is called “The Middle Point” in Ein Sof. It is that which the Rav refers to when he says, “restricted Himself in His middle point.” It is called by that name for it is a vessel of reception for Ohr Ein Sof, which is immeasurable and boundless.

For that reason it is like a point in the interior and the middle of that Ohr, while the Ohr revolves around it and cleaves to it from all around immeasurably. Only thus can it sustain the Ohr Elyon immeasurably and boundlessly.

However, in the vessels of reception after the Tzimtzum and below, meaning in the lower Ne’etzalim, there are vessels that hold their Ohr in their Pnimiut and Toch. It means that the walls of the Kelim, being their four Behinot, place a Gevul and a measurement on the Ohr inside them, because of their Aviut.

However, in Ein Sof, where Ohr and Kli are in simple unity, meaning He is One and His Name One (see item 30), the Kli does not limit that Ohr that it holds. Hence, the Ohr in it is regarded as Ein Sof.

Now we have thoroughly explained the issue of the middle point in Ein Sof. We have shown that it does not refer to a corporeal and tangible place and area, but Behina Dalet, which is incorporated in Ein Sof, is called by that name to indicate its simple unity with the Ohr Elyon. Also, the Tzimtzum in that middle point has already been explained above (see item 40).

60. The term “spiritual distance” has already been explained in item 30. It has also been explained that there weren’t any distance between Ein Sof and the middle point, meaning between the Ohr and the Kli.

However, after it restricted the Ohr from the middle point, it uncovered a Shinui Tzura from the Ohr. That is because the Ohr hasn’t any will to receive, but the point is indeed a will to receive, which differs from the Ohr. Because their Tzura is different, they are as far apart from each other as is the difference between them. This is what the Rav meant in the word “drifted.”

70. The above-mentioned four Behinot are also called “four sides.” The Rav tells us that although the Tzimtzum was only in the middle point, meaning Behina Dalet, the Ohr nonetheless departed from all four Behinot as well. It happened because there is no partial in spirituality, and thus it departed from the three Behinot as well.

The Halal that remained after the Tzimtzum was Agol

4. Then there was a vacant place (80), Avir, and an empty Halal, from the very middle point. Behold, this Tzimtzum was even around that empty middle point (90), in such a way that that place of Halal was Agolon every side, completely even (100). It had not a shape of a Meruba (square), a perpendicular angle, for Ein Sof too had restricted Himself like an Igul, even on all sides.

Ohr Pnimi

80. Has already been explained in items 4 and 5.

90. Meaning without discriminations of great and small. We should not wonder about that, since the Shinui Tzura in the middle point had already been exposed by the departure of the Ohr from it. Consequently, the smaller measurements were necessarily recognized as well, one smaller than the other.

For example, Behina Gimel is purer than the middle point because the measure of her will to receive is less than Behina Dalet. Similarly, Behina Bet is purer than Behina Gimel because her measure of will to receive is smaller than Behina Gimel, and Behina Aleph is the purest of all, for she has the least will to receive, rendering her Shinui Tzura the least apparent.

Thus, we have a differentiation of great and small in the degrees. In that case, why does the Rav say that the Tzimtzum was even around that point? The answer is that the Tzimtzum did not turn the middle point into a Sof. In other words, if the Ohr had left the point because of her Shinui Tzura, then it would certainly become a Sof, meaning the lowest degree.

Then we would also regard the three preceding Behinot as more important than the middle point, as one above the other. However, it was not so, for the Tzimtzum did not occur due to the Shinui Tzura in the point. This cannot be, for we are still concerned with Malchut de Ein Sof, in which there is no Shinui Tzura between her and the Ohr; they are both in simple unity, meaning He is One and His Name One.

The Tzimtzum occurred only because His Ratzon Pashut wished to create the Olamot etc. (see item 40). It means that He wanted that Hishtavut Tzura which is destined to appear by the creation of the Olamot, meaning the form of reception in order to bestow contentment to the Maker.

There is a great virtue in that: on the one hand, it is complete bestowal, because the Ratzon is only to bestow contentment upon the Maker and not at all for one’s “self.” That makes the Tzura completely equal with the Ohr Elyon of the Maatzil, and in complete adhesion with Him.

On the other hand, it is possible to deepen and increase the vessel of reception indefinitely and eternally. That is because now the form of reception does not produce any Shinui Tzura, as it comes from within the will to bestow.

Our sages have said that with an important personality, if she gives the matrimony capital, and he says, “With this I thee sanctify,” then she is sanctified. It is written in the Torah “and giveth it in her hand,” meaning it is the husband who is to give the matrimony capital.

However, because he is important, the pleasure she receives from him is exactly the same as giving. An important person who receives money from her is similar to him giving her money. It is written in the Torah “and giveth it in her hand,” because he receives only in order to bestow contentment to the woman, to honor her with his reception.

We learn from the above that the primary reason for the Tzimtzum was the desire for the new form of reception in order to bestow that is destined to appear by the creation of the Olamot (see item 40). However, it was not at all by reason of the Aviut she felt in the middle point, for there were no Aviut and difference there at all.

Hence, the middle point did not become a Sof because of the Tzimtzum. Thus, it is impossible to distinguish a small matter from a great one. That is why the Rav writes that the Tzimtzum was “completely even.”

100. It means that there was some image that had to have been made by reason of the Tzimtzum, though the Tzimtzum was even (as explained above thoroughly), and not because of any Shinui Tzura. After the Tzimtzum and the departure of the Ohr from that middle point, it became apparent that the Ohr Elyon is unfit to cleave to it because of her Tzura of the Gadlut of reception.

Because that became known she fell from the degree she had had in Ein Sof, and was now regarded as Sof, meaning the lowest possible Aviut. Only that middle point remained a vacant Halal, unfit to clothe the Ohr (see item 6), and the three former Behinot in virtue and purity were still fit to clothe the Ohr even after the Tzimtzum.

We have explained above (previous item) that she did not become a Sof for the above reason. This is the meaning of the precision of the Rav when he says that “that place of Halal was Agolon every side, completely even.” He wishes to say that it is not an actual Sof, but is like the Sof in a round picture, whose Sof is in the middle.

You can compare these four Behinot to four circles one within the other, like onionskins. The central Igul is Behina Dalet, surrounded by Behina Gimel, surrounded by Behina Bet, surrounded by Behina Aleph. This way there is no up or down, right or left.

For example, Behina Aleph is above all of them in its one half, and below all of them in its other half, and so it is in all the Behinot. Therefore, there is not up or down, right or left here. There is no difference between their virtue, and they are all completely even.

It has already been explained (above item) that the reason for the Tzimtzum was not the Shinui Tzura. This is also the meaning of the precision of the Rav “Agolon every side, completely even.”

Because Ohr Ein Sof was even, the Tzimtzum too was even. This is the meaning of the Igul

5. The reason was that since Ohr Ein Sof was completely even, it had to have restricted itself evenly on all sides, and not restrict itself on one side more than on the others.

It is known in the wisdom of geometry that there is none so even an image as the image of the Igul (200). However, this is not the case with the Meruba (300), with the bulging perpendicular angle, the Meshulash (triangle) (400), and all the other images. For that reason the Tzimtzum had to have the form of an Igul.

Ohr Pnimi

200. Has already been explained in the previous item.

300. If there had been a differentiation of up and down, right and left there, it would appear in the image of a Meruba, which contains these four sides, being the four names of these Behinot. However, it was not so, but in the form of an Igul, which does not contain these discernments.

400. Indicating a degree that has but three Behinot, lacking Behina Dalet, meaning three sides – up, right and left. It lacks the bottom side, hence the name Meshulash.