Histaklut Pnimit - Inner Reflection - Talmud Eser Sefirot -(The Study of the Ten Sefirot)

Part 1 - Chapter 1

First, you must know that when dealing with spiritual matters that have no concern with time, space and motion, and moreover when dealing with Godliness, we do not have the words by which to express and contemplate. Our entire vocabulary is taken from sensations of imaginary senses. Thus, how can they assist us where sense and imagination do not reign?

For example, if you take the subtlest of words, namely Orot (Lights), it nonetheless resembles and borrows from the light of the sun, or an emotional light of satisfaction. Thus, how can they be used to express Godly matters? They would certainly fail to provide the reader with anything true.

It is even truer in a place where these words should disclose the negotiations in the wisdom in print, as is done in any research of wisdom. If we fail with even a single inadequate word, the reader will be instantly disoriented and will not find his hands and legs in this entire matter.

For that reason, the sages of the Kabbalah have chosen a special language, which we can call “the language of the branches.” There is not an essence or a conduct in this world that does not begin in its Shoresh in the Upper World. Moreover, the beginning of every being in this world starts from the Upper World and then hangs down to this world


Thus, the sages have found an adequate language without trouble by which they could convey their attainments to each other by word of mouth and in writing from generation to generation. They have taken the names of the branches in this world, where each name is self-explanatory, as though pointing to its Upper Shoresh in the system of the Upper Worlds.

That should appease your mind regarding the perplexing expressions we often find in books of Kabbalah, and some that are even foreign to the human spirit. It is because once they have chosen this language to express themselves, namely the language of the branches, they could no longer leave a branch unused because of its inferior degree. They could not avoid using it to express the desired concept when our world suggests no other branch to be taken in its place.

Just as two hairs do not feed off the same foramen, so we do not have two branches that relate to the same Shoresh. It is also impossible to exterminate the object in the wisdom that is related to that inferior expression.

Such a loss would inflict impairment and confusion in the entire realm of the wisdom, since there is not another wisdom in the world where matters are so intermingled through cause and consequence. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, matters are connected and tied from top to bottom like a single long chain.

Thus, there is no freedom of will here to switch and replace the bad names with better ones. We must always provide the exact branch that points to its Upper Shoresh, and elaborate on it until the accurate definition is provided for the scrutinizing reader.

Indeed, those whose eyes have not been opened to the sights of heaven, and have not acquired the proficiency in the connections of the branches of this world with their roots in the Upper Worlds are like the blind scraping the walls. They will not understand the true meaning of even a single word, for each word is a branch that relates to its Shoresh.

Only if they receive an interpretation from a genuine sage who makes himself available to explain it in the spoken language, which is necessarily like translating from one language to another, meaning from the language of the branches to the spoken language, only then he will be able to explain the spiritual term as it is.

This is what I have troubled to do in this interpretation, to explain the Eser Sefirot, as the Godly sage the Ari had instructed us, in their spiritual purity, devoid of any tangible terms. Thus, any novice may approach the wisdom without failing in any materialization and mistake. With the understanding of these Eser Sefirot, one will also come to examine and know how to comprehend the other issues in this wisdom.


“Know, that before the Ne’etzalim were emanated and the creatures created, an Upper Simple Ohr had filled the entire reality.”

These words require explaining: how was there a reality that the Ohr Pashut had filled before the Olamot were emanated? Also, the issue of the appearance of the Ratzon for the Tzimtzum in order to bring the perfection of His deeds to Light, as it is implied in the book, means that there was already some want there.

The issue of the middle point in Him, where the Tzimtzum occurred, is also quite perplexing, for we have already said that there is neither Rosh nor Sof there, so how is there middle? Indeed these words are deeper than the sea, and I must therefore elaborate on their interpretation.

There is not one thing in the entire reality that is not contained in Ein Sof. The contradicting terms in our world are contained in Him in the form of He is One and His Name One.

1. Know, that there is not an essence of a single being in the world, both the ones perceived by our senses and the ones perceived by our mind’s eye, that is not included in the Creator, for they all come to us from Him. Can one give that which is not inside one?

This matter has already been thoroughly explained in the books. We must see that these concepts are separated or opposite for us. For example, the term Hochma is regarded as different from the term sweetness. Hochma and sweetness are two separate terms from one another. Similarly, the term operator certainly differs from the term operation. The operator and its operation are necessarily two separate concepts, and moreover with opposite terms, such as sweet and bitter. These are certainly examined separately.

However, in Him, Hochma, pleasure, sweetness and acrimoniousness, operation and operator, and other such different and opposite forms, are all contained as one in His Ohr Pashut. There are no differentiation among them whatsoever as is the term “One, Unique and Unified.”

“One” indicates a single evenness. “Unique” implies that everything that extends from Him, all these multiplicities are in Him as single as His Atzmut. “Unified” shows that although he performs multiple acts, there is still one force that performs all these, and they all return and unite as One. Indeed, this one form swallows all the forms that appear in His operations.

This is a very subtle matter and not every mind can tolerate it. The Ramban has already explained to us the matter of His uniqueness as expressed in the words, “One, Unique and Unified.”

In his interpretation to Sefer Yetzira (Book of Creation), he explains the difference between One, Unique, and Unified: When He unites to act with One Force, He is called “Unified.” When He divides to act His act, each part of Him is called Unique, and when He is in a single evenness, He is called One, thus far his pure words.

By saying, “unites to act with One Force,” he wishes to say that He works to bestow, as worthy of His Oneness, and His operations are unchanging. When He “divides to act His act,” meaning when His operations differ, and He seems to be doing good and bad, then He is called “Unique” because all His different operations have a single outcome: good.

We find that He is unique in every single act and does not change by His various operations. When He is in a single evenness He is called “One.” One points to His Atzmut, where all the opposites are in a single evenness. It is as the Rambam wrote: “In Him, knower, known and knowledge are one, for His thoughts are far higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways.”

Two discernments in bestowal: before it is received and after it is received.

2. We should learn from those who ate the manna. Manna is called “Bread from the sky” because it did not materialize when clothing in this world. Our sages said that each and every one tasted everything he or she wanted to taste in it.

That means that it had to have opposite forms in it. One person tasted sweet and the other tasted it as acrid and bitter. Thus, the manna itself had to have been contained of both opposites together, for can one give what is not in one? How can two opposites be contained in the same carrier?

It is therefore a must that it is simple, and devoid of both flavors, but only included in them in such a way that the corporeal receiver might discern the taste he or she wants. In the same way you can perceive anything spiritual: it is unique and simple in itself, but consists of the entire multiplicity of forms in the world. When falling in the hand of a corporeal receiver, it is the receiver who discriminates a separate form in it, unlike all other forms that unite in that spiritual essence.

We should therefore always distinguish two discernments in His bestowal:

The form of the essence of that Shefa Elyon before it is received, when it is still inclusive Ohr Pashut. After the Shefa has been received, and thus acquired one separate form according to the properties of the receiver.

How can we perceive the Neshama as a part of Godliness?

3. Now we can come to understand what the Kabbalists write about the essence of the Neshama: “The Neshama is a part of God above and is not at all changed from the “Whole,” except in that the Neshama is a part and not the “Whole.” It is like a stone that is carved off a mountain; the essence of the mountain and the essence of the stone are the same and there is no discernment between the rock and the mountain, except that the rock is a “part” and the mountain is the “whole.”

This is the essence of their words. It seems utterly perplexing and very difficult to understand how there could be a part and separation from Godliness that we could resemble to a stone that is carved off a mountain. The stone may be carved off the mountain by an ax and a sledgehammer, but in dealing with Godliness, how would they be separated, and with what?

The spiritual is divided by Shinui Tzura, as the corporeal is divided by an ax.

4. Before we come to clarify the matter, we shall explain the essence of the separation in spirituality: Know, that spiritual entities become separated from one another only by Shinui Tzura. In other words, if one spiritual entity acquires a second Tzura, then it is no longer one, but two.

Let me explain it in souls of people, who are also spiritual: It is known that the spiritual rule, that in a simple form there are as many souls as there are bodies where the souls shine. However, they are separated from one another by the Shinui Tzura in each and every one.

Our sages said, “As their faces are not the same, so their opinions are not the same.” The Guf can discern the Tzura of the souls, and tell if each specific soul is a good soul or a bad soul; likewise with the separated forms.

You now see that just as a corporeal matter is carved, severed and becomes separated by an ax and motion to increase the distance between each part, so a spiritual matter is divided, cut and becomes separated by the Shinui Tzura between each part. According to the difference, so is the distance between the parts, and remember that well.

How can there be Shinui Tzura in creation with respect to Ein Sof?

5. It is now clear in Olam ha Zeh, in the souls of people. However, in the Neshama, of which they said it is a part of God above, it is still unclear how it is separated from Godliness to the point that we can call it “a Godly Part.”

We should not say “by Shinui Tzura,” for we have already said that Godliness is Ohr Pashut, which contains the entire complete multiplicity of the forms and the oppositeness of the forms in the world, as He is One, Unique and Unified. In that case, how can there be a Shinui Tzura in the Neshama that would differ it from Godliness, separate it and become a part of Him?

Indeed, this question applies to Ohr Ein Sof prior to the Tzimtzum, for in the reality before us, all the Olamot, upper and lower, are discerned by two discernments:

The first discernment is the form of this entire reality as it is before the Tzimtzum. At that time everything was without Gevul and without Sof. This discernment is called Ein Sof.

The second discernment is the form of this entire reality from the Tzimtzum downwards. Then everything became limited and measured. This discernment is called the four Olamot: Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya.

It is known that there is no perception whatsoever in His Atzmut, and every thing that we do not attain and that has no name and appellation, how can we define it by a name? Any name implies attainment. It indicates that we have attained that name. Thus, it is certain that there no name and appellation whatsoever in His Atzmut. Instead, all the names and appellations are but in His Ohr.

That Ohr expands from Him and the Hitpashtut of His Ohr before the Tzimtzum, which had filled the entire reality without Gevul and Sof is called Ein Sof. Thus we should understand how Ohr Ein Sof is defined in and of itself, and has left His Atzmut so that we may define it by a name, as we have said about the Neshama.

Explanation about the text of our sages: “Hence there has been work and labour prepared for the reward of the Neshamot, for “One who eats that which is not one’s own, is afraid to look upon one’s face.”

6. To somewhat understand this sublime place, we must go into further detail. We shall research this entire reality before us and its general purpose. Is there an operation without a purpose? And what is that purpose, for which He has invented this entire reality before us in the upper and the lower worlds?

Indeed our sages have already instructed us in many places that all the worlds were not created but for Israel who keep Torah and Mitzvot etc. and this is well known. However, we should understand this question of our sages. They asked: “If the purpose of the creation of the Olamot is to delight His creatures, then why did He create this corporeal, turbid and tormented world? Without it, He could certainly delight the Neshamot as much as He wanted; why did He bring the Neshama into such a foul and filthy Guf?

They explained it with the verse, “One who eats that which is not one’s own, is afraid to look upon one’s face.” It means there is a flaw of shame in any free gift. In order to spare the Neshamot this blemish, He has created this world, where there is work. They will therefore enjoy their labor, for they take their pay from the Whole, in return for their work, and are thus spared the blemish of shame.

What is the connection between working seventy years and eternal delight, and you will not find a greater free gift than that?

7. These words are perplexing through and through. First, our primary aim and prayer is, “Spare us a free gift.” Our sages have said that the treasure of a free gift is prepared only for the highest souls in the world.

Their answer is even more perplexing: They said that there is a great flaw in free gifts, namely the shame that encounters every receiver of a free gift. To mend this, the Creator has prepared this world, where there is work and labour, so as to be rewarded in the next world for their labour and work.

But that excuse is very strange. It is like a person who says to his friend, “Work with me for just a minute, and in return I will give you every pleasure and treasure in the world for the rest of your life. There is indeed no greater free gift than that, because the reward is incomparable with the work. The work is in this transient, worthless world compared to the reward and the pleasure in the eternal world.

What value is there to the passing world compared to the eternal world? It is even more so with regards to the quality of the labour, which is worthless compared to the quality of the reward.

Our sages have said: “The Creator is destined to inherit each and every righteous person 310 worlds etc.” We cannot say that some of the reward is given in return for their work, and the rest is a free gift, for then what good would that do? The blemish of shame would still remain! Indeed, their words are not to be taken literally, for there is a profound meaning in their words.

The entire reality was emanated and created with a single thought. It is the operator; it is the very operation and it is actually the sought-after reward and the essence of the labour.

8. Before we delve into the explanation of their words, we must understand His thought in creating the worlds and the reality before us. His operations did not come to be by many thoughts as is our way. That is He is One, Unique and Unified, and as He is Simple, so His Orot extend from Him, namely Simple and Unified, without any multiplicity of forms, as it says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”

You must therefore understand and perceive that all the names and appellations, and all the Olamot, Upper and lower, are all one Ohr Pashut, Unique and Unified. In the Creator, the Ohr that extends, the thought, the operation and the operator and anything the heart can think and contemplate, are in Him one and the same thing.

Thus you can judge and perceive that this entire reality, Elyonim and Tachtonim as onein the final state of the end of correction, was emanated and created by a single thought. That single thought performs all the operations, is the essence of all the operations, the purpose and the essence of the labour. It is by itself the entire perfection and the sought-after reward, as the Ramban explained, “One, Unique and Unified.”

The issue of the Tzimtzum explains how an incomplete operation came about from a perfect operator.

9. The Rav elaborated in the matter of the Tzimtzum in the first chapters of this book, for it is a most serious matter. That is because it is necessary that all the corruptions and all the various shortcomings extend and come from Him.

It is written, “I form the light, and create darkness,” but then, the corruptions and the darkness are completely opposite to Him, so how can they stem from one another? Also, how could they come together with the Ohr and the pleasure in the thought of creation?

We cannot say that they are two separate thoughts; God forbid that we should even think that. Thus, how does all that come from Him down to this world, which is so filled with scum, torment, and filth, and how do they exist under a single thought?

Meaning of Words

Please note: Forgetting the meaning of a word regarding some issue is worse than erasing that word from the issue. This is because the alien perception would blur the matter entirely. Hence, accustom yourself through the Table of Questions and Answers, until you can answer them by heart without trouble.

1. What is Ohr?

1. Ohr (Part 1, Histaklut Pnimit, 18)

Every thing in the Olamot that exists as “existence from existence,” which is everything but the substance of the Kelim (see items 2 and 24)

chanoch adds: Ohr is Light; Light is fulfillment of any desire of the vessel; Light is the Cause while vessel is the effect; The Thought of Creation is to Reveal the Light of the Creator.

2. What is Ohr and Kli?

2. Ohr and Kli (Part 1, Chap 1, Ohr Pnimi, 6)

The will to receive in the Ne’etzal is called Kli; and the Shefa that he receives is called Ohr.

chanoch adds: find the words you do not understand in this section and make sure you understand the meaning including these additional meanings. An example would be Ne'etzal and Shefa. If the word is not in this list send me an email to add it. It would be helpful if you find the number that refers to the word in the writings above.

3. What is Ohr Agol?

3. Ohr Agol (Part 1, Chap 1, Ohr Pnimi, 100)

An Ohr that makes no discernment of degrees.

chanoch adds: an example of Ohr with degree is a $1000 in a bank account. There is actually 1000 $1 amounts in the account. So the Ohr with degree is adding each of the $1 together. The Ohr without degree is having 1000 $1 bills without counting the bills. Contemplate this.

4. What is Ohr Pashut?

4. Ohr Pashut (Part 1, Chap 1, Ohr Pnimi, 30)

An Ohr that that is mingled with the Kli to the point of indiscriminating the Ohr from the Kli.

chanoch adds: i think this is a confusing definition. Pashut means simple. Pashut also means unclothed. Light can not be revealed without a vessel therefore there is no perception of the LIght without a vessel. The vessel is concealed in Ohr Pashut. contemplate this.

5. What is Ohr Hochma?

5. Ohr Hochma (Part 1, Chap 1, Ohr Pnimi, 50)

An Ohr that is Nimshach to the Ne’etzal in the first Hitpashtut, being the general sustenance and Atzmut of the Ne’etzal.

chanoch adds: i think this is a confusing definition. Light of Wisdom is the meaning of Ohr Hochma. Hochmah is two hebrew words Coach = power; Mah = what? the question word. Ohr Hochmah is the Light / Power of Question.