This class is based on the Translation by Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum of the Sefer Mishkney Elyon which translates as "The Upper Temple" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("Ramchal"). Rabbi Greenbaum titled his translation as "Secrets of the Future Temple." It is available online.
Our tradition teaches that The Upper Temple will descend to Earth and will be completed by human beings and become the well desired Third Temple. This Sefer reveals many kabbalistic aspects of the Temple and the Services Performed within and around the Temple.
The array of the ten Sefirot through which God creates and sustains all the worlds constitutes the "Tree of Life." The first image conjured up by the word "tree" may be of those parts of a tree that are visible to the eye: the trunk and green foliage. But the life of the entire tree is in fact dependent on the flow of nutrients in the sap that rises up from the roots. The roots are normally invisible because they stretch deep underground.
The sap and its nutrients are the Shefa that flows to all parts of the tree. Only through this vitalizing flow of sap can the tree live and its branches produce their fruits.
All the different orders of creation, all the different species and all the individual creatures - from the souls and angels down to the animals, plants and other beings - "hang" somewhere on the "branches" of the Tree of Life, namely the Sefirot of creation. Each species and each individual creature manifests a different aspect of one or other of the Sefirot.
Contemplate the paragraph above. Each individual of any species has a root that hangs on the Tree of Life within a Sefirah. Where is your Sefirah on the Tree? Which is your Sefirah? Until you know this it is blocking the Third Temple from being manifested in the physical world. Until you know this YOU ARE BLOCKING THE MANIFESTATION OF THE THIRD TEMPLE AND THE COMING OF THE MASHIACH WHO TRADITION TEACHES FOLLOWS AS AN EFFECT THE MANIFESTATION OF THE THIRD TEMPLE.
For Your Information, the word Until in Hebrew is Ad עד is a component of the Hebrew word for this year 5774 תשעד. Do you think it is a good time to start or complete your search for particular Sefirah?
For those of you interested in starting here is some information for you:
All spiritual people come from the Malchut or above in the World of Atzilut.
All of the other nations come from the World of Brea.
For additional information - Ask a Dream question. Be ready for a major change in your life if you have the merit to receive and understand the answer. i am available to help in this search process.
Returning to the Translation
The "branches" of the Tree of Life receive their vitality from its "roots." These are the hidden Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge that are mother to the three main "columns" of the Tree of the Sefirot: Chesed, Kindness, Din, Judgment and Rachamim, balanced Mercy. When we think of a tree, we may think of the roots as being "below" in the ground. But in the case of the Tree of Life, the "roots" of the manifest phenomena of this world actually lie on planes that are "above" this world.
Please make sure you read the blog for the month of Kislev 5774. It will help explain this upside down world.
Returning to the Translation
In order for all the branches of creation to live and flourish, they must receive vitality from the very roots of the Tree of Life. Each branch receives its vitality through particular channels or pathways through which the vital sap reaches it. The branches must thus be connected with the roots in order to receive their vitality.
What is hinted at in this paragraph is that the Shefa for an individual can not be taken and utilized by another being or entity. This is the reason that theft is wrong spiritually. Yet we are told that life force energy can be utilized by other entities. When an entity is given permission to take this Nefesh or Chi (in Chinese) energy there is no theft even if the person would think that there is theft taking place. If you want to learn more of these happenings write to me or ask a question now.
Returning to the Translation
Central to all the teachings in Mishkney Elyon is the idea that the Temple is the place where all the different branches of creation reconnect with their roots through the Temple service. It is through this connection and joining of the branches to their roots that Shefa spreads to all the worlds.
Speaking of the "point" in heavenly "metaspace" that is the source of all the worlds, Ramchal writes:
"There is a special place where all these roots come together. In that place is the root of all things. In that place are the roots of the earth and all it contains, the heavens, the heavens of the heavens and all their hosts without exception. In the place where all these roots come together, in the middle, there is a single stone. This stone is most precious. It possesses every kind of beauty and charm. It is called the Foundation Stone (Even Shetiyah). There is a corresponding stone in this world - the lower world - in the place of the Holy of Holies.
"Stretching out in all directions from around this stone are channels and pathways leading to all things. At their start these channels are great highways governing and regulating all the different orders and species of created beings, all of which have a deep inner knowledge of their root paths. From here they all receive their share of the constant sustenance given to them by the King. Branching off from these highways are countless smaller pathways containing the individual roots of every single being in creation from the biggest to the smallest. Each one has its own unique pathway."
These pathways discussed by Ramchal are the subject of an illuminating teaching by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov:
"The world has a Foundation Stone. Channels emanate from this Stone, reaching every land. The wise King Solomon knew the details of these channels and was therefore able to plant all types of trees. If people knew the exact location of these subterranean channels, they would be able to grow fruit trees even in lands where they do not normally grow. Each channel has the power to stimulate a particular species. Even if a certain channel does not pass through a particular land, all the channels are intertwined and flow into each other. If one knew exactly where this happens, one could plant any type of tree. If one knew the location of all the channels, one could make any type of tree grow" (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom #60).
An obvious implication of these teachings is that the growth of actual trees and plants all over the world depends on these channels and the energy they receive from their root pathways. Since it is in the Temple that all the pathways join together, the Temple is among other things the key link in the entire global food chain. Indeed, many of the Temple rituals center on produce, such as the daily wheat and oil offerings, the wine libations, the Omer barley offering and that of the First Fruits.
This indicates that material prosperity throughout the world actually depends on the Temple. This explains why the sages of the Torah taught that since the destruction of the Temple the quality of all kinds of produce has declined (Taanit 23a etc.), while the prophets foresaw that with its rebuilding, the world will enter a new era of prosperity and peace.
Do you understand the meaning of these teachings? 1) All starvation in this world can be eliminated with this knowledge. 2) The "scientific truths" associated with the assertion that the Temple rituals relate to agriculture holidays of the pagans become patently false since cause is spiritual. The cause of agricultural harvest time is located in this spiritual Even Stiah or Foundation Stone.
Do you think that resources might be directed to people who have spiritual energy sensitivity in order to determine these root pathways?
From where does the Shefa flowing to all levels of creation come? As stated earlier, the flow of sustenance and blessing through the Tree of Life is channeled through the Sefirot.
To gain a better understanding of the Sefirot, we must start with the ultimate source of all Shefa: God. We cannot know why God "wanted" the creation, but it is a fact that the creation exists, and it did not create itself. In the Kabbalah, as in the Torah, the power that God emanates in order to bring about and sustain creation is called Light. But God is infinite, and so too is God's light. In the endless light of the Infinite God, nothing else can have independent existence since all things are there subsumed in the perfect unity of God.
To make it possible for a separate creation to come into being in order to fulfill God's purpose, Kabbalah teaches that the Infinite Light was "contracted" or "dimmed." This enabled different grades, aspects and "colors" inherent in the light to be revealed, leading eventually to the creation of the finite material realm that is the stage where we play out our lives in this world.
Much of the Kabbalah is concerned with explaining what happens as the Infinite Light is successively muted so as to shine in a measured way, thereby creating worlds that can "receive" the divine light without being obliterated. The Etz Chaim of the ARI gives a complete "history" of creation beginning with the first Tzimtzum, the "contraction" of the Infinite Light. This produced Chalal Panui, the "Vacated Space" that made it possible for "separate" finite worlds to exist.
Within the limits of this work it is impossible to do more than list some of the chief stages in the kabbalistic "history of creation." After the "contraction" of the Infinite Light, a single "line" of divine light entered the Vacated Space and spread in the form of Adam Kadmon, Primordial Man. The divine light shone in ten successive radiations, but the "vessels" were as yet unable to receive the intense light of the ten archetypal Sefirot and as a result the vessels "broke."
The "story" of the "breaking" and subsequent "repair" of the "vessels" intended to reveal the light of the Sefirot to God's creatures is central to the kabbalistic answer to the problem of evil. The "breaking of the vessels" brings into being a realm where Godliness becomes so hidden that evil may appear to be as strong and desirable as good. This sets the stage for the unfolding drama of God's choicest creature: Adam, Man, who is given the task of completing the process of Tikune, the "repair" or "rectification" of the sefirotic vessels. This he does by searching for, uncovering and embracing the true good that is itself the reward for his efforts in this world of good and evil.
The world attains a state of repair when the intended receivers of the good that God desires to give are properly aligned to receive it. The light must be suited to the vessels and the vessels to the light. In this way God's light can be perfectly revealed in a graded, balanced way on all levels. When the ten Sefirot shine in their rectified state, it is in a mode of alignment, balance and cooperative interaction between giver and receiver. When the Sefirot manifest in this rectified state, it is in the form of various levels of Partzufim.
A Partzuf is a person's "face" or "appearance" with his or her distinctive features, head, body, arms and legs. The human form reflects that of the Tree of Life, which is one of perfect balance. In the human body, the right and left sides meet and are balanced in the center column. The human form thus expresses the alignment and balance of right and left, giver and receiver. Another expression of this alignment and balance is when Male and Female interact and join together in mutual cooperation, stimulation, giving and receiving. In the terminology of the Kabbalah, this mutual interaction takes the form of Chibur, connecting, and Zivug, pairing and mating.
All these concepts of giver/receiver, right/left, male/female, mutual interaction, cooperation and stimulation are aspects of the array of Partzufim through which the ten Sefirot function in different ways on different levels to bring creation to its ultimate purpose. All the Partzufim have the same essential structure of "head, body, arms and legs," but the nature and function of each individual Partzuf depends on its level. Similarly, all people have the same fundamental bodily structure, but different individuals appear and function in very different ways because they are invested with different features and powers. In the garb of the various Partzufim, the Sefirot can send appropriate Shefa to the different levels of creation.
The main Partzufim of which the Kabbalah speaks are, starting from the top:
Atik, the "Ancient One" (the Crown of the Crown).
Arich Anpin, "The Long Face" (corresponding to the highest of the ten Sefirot, Keter, the "Crown").
Abba, "Father" (corresponding to Chochmah, Wisdom).
Imma, "Mother" (Binah, Understanding).
Zeir Anpin, "The Small Face," the "Son" (comprising the six Sefirot of Chesed, Kindness, Gevurah, Strength, Tiferet, Balance, Netzach, Victory, Hod, Splendor, and Yesod, Foundation).
Nukva, the "female," the "Daughter," corresponding to the last Sefirah, that of Malchut, Kingly Power, associated with Shechinah, God's Indwelling Presence.
The central focus in much of the Kabbalah is on the Partzufim of Zeir Anpin and Nukva and their interrelationship. This is because it is primarily through these two Partzufim that the world in which we live is governed.
In Mishkney Elyon the Nukva is usually referred to as Shechinah, the Indwelling Presence, or Malchut, Kingly Power, and sometimes simply as "She." Zeir Anpin is referred to as Melech, the King.
It is through cooperative interaction between the Partzufim and especially between Zeir Anpin and Nukva that the Shefa of sustenance and blessing flows into the world.
Now that you have become an expert in the Kabbalah i suggest you spend a significant amount of contemplation learning the true essence of the terms of Kabbalah and reread this section over and over to truly know the process of Shefa's route to the physical world.
The various Sefirot and Partzufim are different aspects of the Godly power or "light" that is the source of all creation. It is because of the different ways in which the unified light of God is "contracted" that it shines in these different ways on different levels.
In Mishkney Elyon, the various Sefirot and Partzufim are called Meorot, "luminaries" or "sources of light." (In the present translation this term has in most cases been translated as "lights" rather than by the more antiquated term "luminaries".)
Each different "light" is a particular kind of spiritual influence. Each of the different kinds of influences is called a Middah. The word Middah carries the connotations of both "measure" and "attribute." Each Sefirah, Partzuf or aspect thereof is a unique "measure" or level of the divine light. The particular "measure", level and intensity of any given aspect determine its unique quality and character, just as different wavelengths of light are seen as different colors. A given "measure" is thus at one and the same time an "attribute."
The very idea of measure involves number. Every day we measure distances, sizes, weights, heat, cold, electrical power, sound and much else using numerical scales of various kinds. Much of the success of modern science and technology is based on accurate, sophisticated measurement of different aspects of the physical world. For example, chemistry provides measurements of the electron configurations of the elements and precise formulae governing the ways they join together to form all kinds of compounds.
There would be less agreement between students of the mind and spirit about how to measure character traits and emotions. Yet it is precisely with the "measures" or Middot of Kindness, Strictness, Compassion, Balance and other spiritual qualities that Kabbalah is concerned. For it is with various combinations of these qualities that God governs the creation.
And the units of "measurement" are not numbers as we normally think of them but the twenty-two letters of the Aleph Beit, the "Letters of Creation."
Thinking of the Letters as a unit of measure is very creative. It will take significant contemplation before i am ready to discuss it
A letter is an Ot, a "sign." When we write for everyday purposes, the letters on the page are "signs" indicating the successive sounds making up the words with which we communicate our meaning. But when a chemist writes the letters of a chemical formula, what is important is not the pronunciation of the letters but rather how they are used to signify different elements and compounds. Everyone knows that the lines and shapes making up the letters and numbers in chemical formulae are not the elements or compounds themselves. They are "signs" that point to certain aspects of physical matter, helping us understand and sometimes manipulate them.
The letters of the Aleph Beit are of course used in simple written communication to signify how to pronounce and read the words of some message. But as written in the Torah, the letters of Aleph Beit are not merely signs as to how to read the scriptures in order to derive practical lessons to apply in our lives. While the Torah is certainly a communication to humanity on our level, it is at the same time a revelation of Godly power that goes far beyond us. The Torah is made up of words that read as a message teaching us wisdom, understanding and a path in life. At the same time these words are divine Names that are the "power formula" of all creation. The ink letters written on the parchment in our Torah scrolls are "signs" expressing and helping us understand, relate to and even manipulate the elemental powers that create and sustain the universe.
These elemental powers of creation are the "Letters of Creation", the twenty-two letters of the Aleph Beit as explained by Abraham in Sefer Yetzirah. Each of the twenty-two Letters of Creation is a precise degree, level or kind of Godly power or "light" capable of combining and interacting with all the other elemental powers so as to produce infinite numbers of different "formulae" giving rise to all the different phenomena of creation on all levels. Since all these powers are different levels, degrees or "measures" of Godly light, it is understandable why each of the letters of the Aleph Beit has its own distinct numerical value or Gematria.
The Letters of Creation are themselves the "vessels" of which the Kabbalah speaks, through which the light and power of the Sefirot are revealed. The Hebrew word for "vessel," Kli, has a connotation of measure. A cup holding a given measure of liquid is one kind of vessel. A given combination of letters is also a "vessel" that "holds" and channels a given measure of power. By themselves, the individual letters are "broken vessels" that can accomplish very little. But when these elemental powers of creation combine and interact in highly specific configurations or "formulae", they have the power to serve as instruments of Godly creation and blessing.
Each letter is a vessel. When the letters are combined into words there is a new vessel created. When the letters are powered by the vowels and different vowels there are two or more vessels created which are measures of the word vessel. When the letters are substituted for other letters there is new vessels created which are measures of the original word vessel which is the first time the word appears in the Torah. This is from which or where the rules of gematria and notariken and other Kabbalistic methods are developed. If one truly recognizes the power of this section one will realize that every word is actually included in every other letter. This is how we become co creators with the Creator. This system is overwhelmingly beautiful.
The different configurations of letters making up the words of the Torah are all "Names." The Kabbalah sees the entire Torah as a fabric of mathematically and semantically interconnected "Names" and "Names of names" woven around certain underlying "generic" Names of God. The different Names signify different divine powers and attributes, Sefirot and Partzufim, that actually exert their influence through the Names themselves. It is through these "Names" that the "lights" - the Sefirot and Partzufim - send Shefa into the creation.
The principle divine Names explicitly revealed in the Torah are:YHVH, יהוה the "essential" Name of God (Shem HaEtzem), known as the Name of Four Letters or Tetragrammaton, which may not be pronounced and is referred to as HaShem, "The Name," or HaVaYaH (a rearrangement of the four letters, denoting the Source of all Existence). This Name is the root of all other Names and is especially associated with the Sefirah of Tiferet, Perfect Beauty and Harmony, and with the Partzuf of Zeir Anpin, "The Small Face."
YAH, יה "God", associated with Chochmah, Wisdom, and the Partzuf of Abba, Father.
EHYH אהיה (Exodus 3:14), "I will be," associated with Binah, Understanding, and the Partzuf of Imma, Mother.
EL, אל literally "Power," associated with Chesed, Kindness.
ELOHIM, אלהים literally "The Powers," denoting the unified Source of all the revealed powers in the universe, associated with Gevurah, Strength, and also with Malchut, Kingly Power.
YHVH TZEVA'OT יהוה צבות and ELOHIM TZEVA'OT, אלהים צבות "God of Hosts," associated respectively with the Sefirot of Netzach, Victory, and Hod, Splendor.
SHADDAI, שדי "The Eternal," associated with Yesod, Foundation.
ADONAI, אדני "My Lord," associated with the lowest Sefirah, Malchut, Kingly Power, and with the Partzuf of Nukva, or Shechinah.
This is not a fixed list. This is not a complete list. It is actually doing you all a disservice to look at this list. Add to the list the Names within the 72 Names that are important to you. Add to this list Names like MAKOM - Place. And many other Names which are actually attributes of God. Names like the word for Love, Caring, Happy, and Joy. These are all attributes of God which are Names of God.
Besides these Names, many others are embedded in the biblical text in hidden ciphers or alluded to in other ways. A highly significant category of Names in Mishkney Elyon and Kabbalah generally is that of Miluim, literally "fillings." Each of the letters of the Aleph Beit not only has its "simple" form, the individual letter as it appears when written in a word; each letter also has its name, made up of itself and one or two other specific letters with which it combines to form the unique power-configuration that is the essence of the letter in question. For example, the letter Yud is represented in the Torah scroll as a simple dot י, yet the full name of the letter is spelled out with the letters Yud Vav Dalet יוד. The "filling" letters (in this case the Vav and the Dalet) are integral parts of the "formula" that gives the letter its power.
When the full name of each of the constituent letters of a Divine Name is written out, this is called a Milui, "filling" or "expansion" of that Name. For example, the simple letters of the divine Name EL are Aleph (=1) and Lamed (= 30), having the combined numerical value of 31. Spelling out in full the names of the letters Aleph אלף and Lamed למד gives us the Milui of EL, אלף למד: Aleph (=1) + Lamed (=30) + Peh (=80) + Lamed (=30) + Mem (=40) + Dalet (=4) = 185. The manifestation of the letters that were previously "hidden" gives the Milui expanded power, as reflected in its total numerical value. This power was present in potential in the "simple" letters of the Name since the "hidden" letters making up the full names of the "simple letters" are integral parts of those letters. When the "simple" letters are "filled" with their constituent letters in the Milui, this potential power is actually manifested.
Because of the great power of Hey and Vav, two of the letters of the Essential Name, they are capable of being "filled" with different letters. Thus the Hey can be spelled in full either as Hey Yud הי, Hey Aleph הא or Hey Hey הה, while the Vav can be spelled either as Vav Yud Vav ויו, Vav Aleph Vav ואו or Vav Vav וו.
This means that Names containing the letters Hey and Vav, such as the Essential Name and that of EHYH, can be "expanded" in various ways. Each of the different expansions is bound up with a particular Sefirah or Partzuf or aspect thereof. The four main expansions of the Essential Name of YHVH are:
The expansion of 72 ע"ב, so called because this is the numerical value of the sum of all the letters contained in this expansion: here the Hey's and Vav are filled with Yud's יוד הי ויו הי. This expansion is associated with the Partzuf of Abba, Father.
The expansion of 63 ס"ג, where the Hey's are filled with Yud's but the Vav is filled with an Aleph יוד הי ואו הי, associated with Imma, Mother.
The expansion of 45 מ"ה, where the Hey's and Vav are all filled with Aleph's יוד הא ואו הא, associated with Zeir Anpin, the "Small Face."
The expansion of 52 ב"ן, where the Hey's are filled with Hey and the Vav is spelled simply יוד הה וו הה. This expansion is associated with Nukva, the Female aspect.
The ultimate goal of creation is the complete revelation of God on all levels. In this rectified state, Giver and Receiver are perfectly aligned. The movement of creation towards this rectified state is characterized by various kinds of "joining" and "pairing" of the various Partzufim, some of which are more involved in "giving," while others are more associated with "receiving."
The supreme example of creative interaction, giving and receiving, is when Man and Wife align and join together in holy union - Yichud - to parent a child who will unite in one being essential qualities of both. They accomplish this through Chibur, חבור joining together, and Zivug זבוג , cooperative interaction.
This is the first time i have looked at these two words in Hebrew. The gematria relationship is very revealing and informative. Chibur is 216 which is the Hebrew word Aryeh or Lion which represents the Children of Israel. It is also the number of letters in the 72 Names. Zivug has a gematria of 18 which is well known to be the number of "Life." Yichud has a gematria of 28 which is the same gematria of Coach which means strength and or power.
Returning to the translation.
In a person's inner spiritual life, the Giver is God and the person or soul, the Receiver is the "Wife," while the "children" are the person's spiritual achievements and good deeds. Yichud, holy union, comes about when the receiver "joins" him or herself to God. One makes oneself the vessel for Godly light by binding all one's limbs and faculties to His service and filling one's mind and soul with the words of prayer coming from one's mouth into one's ears. When a person makes him or herself a vessel for Godly light on the level of thought, word and action, Shechinah, the Indwelling Presence, is aligned to receive from Melech, the King.
When this unification (Yichud) comes about, the receiving Partzuf of Nukva, the female, is aligned to receive from Zeir Anpin, the male. On the level of the Names of the two Partzufim involved, this union is expressed through the "joining" of the two Divine Names YHVH and ADNY to form new power-combinations. One of the better known examples of how these two names may be "joined together" is through Shiluv, "interweaving" the letters of the two names as in YAHDVNHY or AYDHNVYH, as printed in certain prayer-books. Those who know the meaning of these Shiluvim may visualize and contemplate them at appropriate points in their prayers, thereby unifying the Giver, the Holy One blessed-be-He, and the Receiver, the Shechinah.
The Shiluv method is much more than unifying the Giver, the Holy One blessed-be-He, and the Receiver, the Shechinah. A Name of anything (whether it is God or a human being or a thing) has its essence in the Hebrew Language. Actually, a name in any language when transliterated into Hebrew letters and then interweaved or Shiluv creates a unification or Yichud on the spiritual level. What this means is that the energy of one word is moved into the essence of the other word. And vice a versa depending on the word that starts the interweaving. Let me give an example. The word Shalom שלוםmeans Peace. When one interweaves my Name Chanoch חנוך with Shalom one is injecting Peace directly into my soul. This is because my Name is a metaphor for my soul. Here is the letter sequence that creates this unity. חשנלווךם
It is the Yichud or union of different Partzufim through the joining and connection of their associated Names that "makes" the Heavenly Temple. This will be more understandable if we grasp a very simple point that is the key to the mathematics of Mishkney Elyon. These involve little more than simple addition and multiplication.
The mathematical system of Mishkney Elyon is what in Hebrew is known as Gematria, the "Study of Numbers" (or Torah numerology). The term Gematria is derived from the ancient Greek word for what we call geometry. It is common knowledge that Gematria is the study of the numerical values of the letters and words of the Hebrew Torah. What is not generally realized is that Gematria, like geometry, is also the mathematics of space.
This is alluded to in Sefer Yetzirah, which says that "Two stones build two houses, three stones build six houses, four stones build twenty-four houses." (4:16). The "stones" are the letters of the Aleph Beit, the building blocks of creation. The concept of "stones" or "blocks" is intrinsically three-dimensional (see Sefer Yetzirah translated with a commentary by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in which he discusses the creation of multi-dimensional realities).
Geometry, the mathematics of space, was initially a practical science employed by ancient architects as they sought to build more ambitious projects. Ramchal in Mishkney Elyon brings kabbalistic Gematria to the level of sacred architectural geometry as he explains how interactions between the Divine Names of the Partzufim, all of which are also numbers, "create" the "space" of the Holy Temple.
Consider an example of how numbers create space: A room that is forty feet in length, twenty feet wide and twenty feet high is "created" by walls of appropriate length and height. In the language of Mishkney Elyon, the floor-space of such a room is created through the "joining" (Chibur) of forty and twenty. Chibur is the Hebrew word for the mathematical relationship expressed by x, the multiplication sign. We would say that the room is 40 by 20, and 20 high, or 40 x 20 x 20. The mathematics of Mishkney Elyon are no more complicated than that.
As Ramchal proceeds with his "tour" of the various areas of the Temple, he shows how each individual Hall, Chamber, Wall, Gate and Courtyard "appears" as a result of the "joining together" of some or all of the letters of various Divine Names. These names correspond to the Sefirot and Partzufim, which are the Middot, "qualities" or "measures." Chibur, "joining" and "multiplication" of the "measures," brings into being three-dimensional "spaces" where the axes of "length", "breadth" and "height" are the three "lines" or "columns" of Chesed, Kindness, Din, Judgment and Rachamim, Mercy and Balance (see Sefer Yetzirah 1:13).
The Temple that Ramchal explains to us in Mishkney Elyon is that seen by Ezekiel in his prophetic vision. The Angel appeared to the Prophet with his "measuring rod" and "linen cord", taking him on what today would be called a "virtual" three-dimensional tour of the entire Temple, showing him every detail and giving him exact measurements. These "measurements" are the Middot, the Sefirot and Partzufim, and their interactions and "joining" create "space". The Temple that Ezekiel saw exists in metaspace, or in the language of religion and Kabbalah, space as it is "above", "in Heaven".
Yet the Sefirot and Partzufim hold sway on all levels of creation, spiritual and physical. Numerical relationships between the various names are capable of being expressed in the form of the finite, physical three-dimensional "Halls", "Chambers", "Gates" and "Courtyards" of the Temple in this world. The Heavenly Temple is thus a hologram that exists on a level beyond space as we know it - "in Heaven" - and as such it is the very blueprint of creation. Yet this same hologram is destined to actually manifest in physical space in the form of the Third Temple on Earth. This will be the tangible embodiment of the holographic pattern.
The key principle governing all the relationships expressed in the holographic Temple is balance between the two "sides": the "right side" of Chesed, kindness and expansiveness, and the "left side" of Din, judgment and contraction. Chesed and Din, "right" and "left," are the Giver and Receiver/Male and Female of the Kabbalah equation. Balancing these two "sides" is the center column of Rachamim, mercy and compassion.
For the goal of creation is that God, Master of Compassion, should be perfectly revealed on all levels so as to "give" all creatures their own unique share of pure goodness. This "giving" requires a state of perfect balance between Giver and Receiver on all levels. This balance is expressed in the form of the Halls and Courtyards of the Temple, which is located in the place where all the roots of creation join together. The Temple and its services are ordered in such a way that Giver and Receiver join "face to face." This way all the "branches" - the souls, angels and other orders and levels of created beings - reconnect with their roots and receive their respective shares of sustaining Shefa from the Creator.
This section is truly overwhelming. I will discuss it in more detail when the Ramchal describes these aspects in his description with details of Ezekeials vision of the Temple.
The key to this rectified state of creation is Seder, Order. The Temple buildings and courtyards are ordered in space to provide a properly balanced environment for the interaction between Giver and Receiver. Within this space, the various daily, weekly, monthly and festival services constitute an order in time through which this interaction is continually maintained.
Ramchal explains the inner meaning of the Temple services and their role in bringing Shefa to the souls on their level and to the angels on theirs. All the different ranks and orders have their own designated areas and levels on the Temple Mount and are able to "ascend" to higher levels at specific times in order to receive their portion of Shefa "from the table of the King.". The angels "ascend" through the sacrificial offerings on the outer Altar while the souls ascend through the incense offering on the inner Altar.
Ramchal concludes his explanation of the Temple buildings and services with a discussion of the various levels of the Temple Mount and the steps that connect them. This links in with the discussion of Shefa, for it is on these "steps" that the various orders of creation "go up" to actually receive their share.
As the angels in the Heavenly Temple "ascend" to receive their Shefa, they chant, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the God of Hosts" (Isaiah 6:3) and "Blessed be the glory of God from His place" (Ezekiel 3:12). These verses are recited daily at high points in the Jewish prayer services. Ramchal's explanation of the "ascent of the angels" provides important keys to deeper understanding of the prayer services and how they channel Shefa to all the worlds. For the set daily prayers correspond to the Temple services (Berachot 26b) and the "order" or Seder that governs them is embedded in the order of prayers or Siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer-book.
This section is truly important. This is especially true since many people do not pray in a timely schedule or an orderly schedule. There are many people who do not understand what they are doing in the spiritual frame and the flow of Shefa. This is extremely important. Once the tools of Kabbalah begin to be spread more widely and the depths of this information is taught to many people there will be more and more people increasing this flow Shefa and the process of Creating unity and order in the universe will speed up.
Students of Mishkney Elyon are awed by the depth and holiness of the secrets it discusses, and rightly so. The Temple is the Gate of Heaven, a place which inspires utmost awe. It is a Torah commandment to respect and revere the Temple (Leviticus 19:30). Access to the innermost areas is strictly limited, and people may only ascend the Temple Mount in a state of purity and holiness.
Does it follow that knowledge of the inner meaning of the Third Temple should be out of bounds for most people?
The study of certain areas of Kabbalah requires due preparation as uninitiated students can seriously harm themselves and others if they gain a distorted view and misuse their knowledge. However, the ARI and other towering sages of the later generations sanctioned and encouraged the wider dissemination of works that explain the kabbalistic foundations of Jewish faith and belief. These have the power to deepen people's faith and invest their religious practice with greater meaning.
Kabbalah secrets are gleanings of divine wisdom that ultimately lies beyond the grasp of human intelligence. "The true goal of knowledge is the realization of one's ignorance" (Chovot Levavot 1:10). Yet Kabbalah is an essential part of the Torah "brought down" by Moses from Heaven to earth so that people might study and fulfill it. Kabbalah is the inner soul of the Torah since it deals with our relationship with God. Kabbalah works dealing with the underlying concepts of faith may be safely studied as long as the student is sincere, serious and willing to make some effort.
Even a partial reading of Mishkney Elyon with little or no understanding can greatly strengthen one's faith in the Temple and its importance. In the words of Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, who was the first to publish Mishkney Elyon in Hebrew:
"Even a person who has no previous knowledge of Kabbalah comes away from this work with a feeling of enhancement and can gain a great deal of important basic information as well as an understanding of how every detail of the Temple buildings and service is rooted in the most exalted heights. Seeing the splendor and glory of the House cannot but inspire us to hope, wait and pray with greater strength that the House will be built quickly in our days" (Introduction to Mishkney Elyon in Ginzey Ramchal p. 147)
Rabbi Ashlag directly contradicts Rabbi Greenbaum when he says that it takes effort to learn Kabbalah. This is what we discussed in Class 5 or 6 of the Ten Luminous Emanation Introduction. Actually they are both correct since they are speaking of different levels of consciousness and knowledge. The truth is for people in our generation the study of the Third Temple is imperative to cause a growth of certainty and a desire to bring the Third Temple. There are three effects that will happen in the levels of consciousness and then will be mirrored in the physical world.
First comes the in-gathering of the exiles and the return to the Land. Some people say this started in 1948 with the establishment of the modern State of Israel. Others say this must come in a miraculous way and be a Torah government. In any event we will see eventually if when looking back this was an effect or not.
Next comes one of two steps. Either the Resurrection of the Dead will take place or the building of the Third Temple will come down from Temple. In any event one of these actions will take place and then the other.
Finally the Mashiach will manifest and unify the Nations after teaching the Children of Israel and providing the human physical building of the Third Temple. Some people teach that there are two Mashiachs. One that will fight the war and the other will build the outer structure to the Temple that came down from Heaven. There is a teaching that the study of the Third Temple will build sufficient merit to save the Mashiach Ben Josef from having to die and be resurrected in this process.
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