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Section One
Section Two
Section Three
Section Four
Section Five
Section Six
Section Seven
Section Eight
Section Nine
Section Ten

Section One

Section One
Section Two

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The Realm of Desire

We will now explain the next step in the process of revelation and creation, the realm of desire (Keter). As explained above, the Kav HaMidah (The Measuring line), is similar to the assessment that the teacher makes of the student before the actual line of explanation. As such, the Kav HaMidah precedes the Kav V’Chut (The line and Thread), which is the actual line of revelation itself. The very beginning of the Kav V’Chut is the general desire for the whole of Creation. This is called the Igul HaRishon (The First Circle). It is called a circle because it is an all encompassing general desire that includes everything in it. It is also called the Ratzon HaKadoom (The Primal Desire), because it is the general all inclusive desire which includes all subsequent desires.  

Now, it must be understood that there is a profound difference between the “Simple essential desire” (Ratzon HaPashoot B’Atzmooto) before the Tzimtzum, mentioned above, and this desire after Tzimtzum.  The desire before the Tzimtzum is still absolutely one with the essential simple singularity of Ohr Ein Sof. Before Tzimtzum there was G-d and His name alone, as explained above. Therefore, the way the desire exists in Ohr Ein Sof cannot be defined as a general desire which includes particulars within it. Since it is totally one with the essence, only the essence exists, as a simple singularity with no parts. Even the levels of Yachid, Echad and Kadmon, mentioned above, have no actual existence at all, but are rather merely Heyulie abilities of G-d, who is Kol Yachol (has infinite abilities). They therefore cannot be defined as general desires which include particulars.  Only after Tzimtzum, when the desire becomes revealed, can it be defined as a general desire which includes many particulars.

However, even though there is a distinction between the desire before Tzimtzum and the desire after Tzimtzum, and they are not at all comparable to each other, nonetheless, the post-Tzimtzum desire is like a “Carbon copy”, so to speak, of the simple essential desire before the Tzimtzum.

The entire Creation, from beginning to end, is implied in this general post-Tzimtzum desire.  Each particular of the general desire is subdivided into smaller particular desires, and each of those subdivides into even smaller particulars etc.  Each desire is only a particular, relative to the general desire that encompasses it, but is a general desire, relative to the particulars included in it. In this sense, the desires are like concentric circles. The most general desire encompasses all the particular desires within it and each subsequent desire is encompassed by the desires above it, but encompasses the desires below it, like layers of an onion.  

This may be illustrated by the general desire to have a dwelling place. There are many particulars of what a dwelling place could be. It could be a Palace, a castle, a brick house, a wooden shack, a straw hut or an igloo etc. Each of these is one particular in the general desire for a dwelling place. On the other hand, each is a general desire relative to its own particulars. For instance, a brick house is comprised of many rooms, such as a living room, bath room, kitchen etc. Here the desire for a brick house is the general desire, whereas the desire for a kitchen is only a particular of the general desire for a house. Likewise, the desire for a kitchen is general relative to its particulars, such as the desire for a refrigerator, an oven, a toaster and a sink etc. The desire for an oven, likewise, is general, relative to its particulars etc. In the same way, the general desire for all of Creation includes within itself all the particular desires for all the levels of existence which result from it. Each of these levels is a general desire relative to the levels that follow it, but a particular desire relative to the levels that precede it. The general primal desire of Creation, the Ratzon HaKadoom, is an all encompassing “circle” which contains all subsequent desires and each subsequent desire encompasses all the particular desires that follow it and is contained by the desires that precede it.     

Now, the difference between the desire before the Tzimtzum and the desire after the Tzimtzum may be compared to the human soul before it is invested in a body and after it is invested in a body.  Before a person is born, we cannot speak of any “natural tendencies” or “desires.”  Only after he is born in a body can we say, with certainty, that a baby possesses primal urges and desires that will affect and encompass his entire life.  For example, we can say with certainty that he will desire a place to live in, even though, at this point, he has no clue of what a house is. Before his soul was invested in a body, on the other hand, we could not say this at all.  Nonetheless, concealed within the soul, even before it was invested in a body, was the Heyulie for this desire, but only in the way of a Heyulie, not in an actual way. Now that the soul is invested in a body, however, there are actual primal urges and desires.  For this reason, before the soul is invested in the body, since all that exists is the essential singularity of the soul, we cannot speak of general and particular desires. However, once the soul enters the body, we may now speak of a general primal desire which includes, hidden in itself, every desire this person will ever have during his lifetime.

The Primal Desire

From the Kav HaMidah (The Measuring Line), which, in a person, is the slight extension from the Reshimu (Impression) of his soul, a general desire that includes his entire life is revealed.  This general desire is his very identity. It defines who and what he is. This general desire is his Ratzon Kadoom (Primal Desire). This is to say that his natural tendencies and primal defining desires come into being.  Hidden in these primal tendencies are all the desires he will have during his lifetime.  For example, every person has the primal desire and need to understand and be understood, to love and be loved, to communicate etc.  These primal desires include every subsequent desire that should ever arise during the course of his life.  This is evidenced in the fact that a newborn squirrel is born with the natural tendency and primal urge to live in a hole in a tree and that he enjoys eating acorns etc. These are all defining characteristics of a squirrel. A human newborn, on the other hand, is born with the desire to live in a house and may grow up loving strawberry sundaes topped with chocolate fudge and whipped cream, all of which a squirrel would consider to be quite inedible. In the same way, since the Ratzon HaKadoom (The Primal Desire of Creation), is the desire for everything in existence. It defines all of existence and is its essential identity, so to speak.    

Ratzon HaKadoom – The Primal Desire

From the above we understood that the Kav (line) draws the inner desire from the heyulie of the self into revelation. This primal desire encompasses the entire Creation and includes all the particular desires which issue afterwards into a revealed state. We compared it to the natural tendencies of a human being that define who and what he is.    However, the analogy is not actually like the analogue, because in regard to G-d, we cannot say that He has a nature which compels Him to act in any particular way. He defines nature, rather than being defined by it.    

Rather, it must be understood that since the Ratzon HaKadoom (Primal Desire) follows the Tzimtzum and Reshimu (Restraint and impression) and even the Kav HaMidah (Measuring Line), therefore, from G-d’s perspective it relates to the world rather than to Himself. The Ratzon HaKadoom is the all-encompassing defining desire of the Creation. It defines the world rather than G-d. However, since it’s ultimate source is in G-ds simple essential desire above Tzimtzum, therefore, the Ratzon HaKadoom is like a “carbon copy” of it and is thus the motivating factor for Creation. It, therefore, is the primal desire for the entire Creation and includes within itself every desire that will ever be. Because it is an identical “carbon copy” of G-d’s “Essential desire”, therefore, from our perspective, we see it as being totally one with G-d and His original desire for creation.  However, this is not at all the case from G-d’s perspective.

The Sefirot of Igullim – Circles

Now, the Ratzon HaKadoom includes ten general sefirot within itself, like concentric circles. For this reason it is also called, “The First Circle” (Igul HaRishon).  This first circle is the primal desire for pleasure and desire (Keter).  The next circles are the primal desires for wisdom and understanding (Chochmah & Binah).  Next is the circle of Chesed, which is the primal desire for kindness and love.  It is followed by the circle of Gevurah, which is the primal desire for might.  Following is the primal desire for mercy (Tiferet).  Then, is the primal desire to triumph (Netzach).  This is followed by the primal desire for honor and splendor (Hod), after which is the primal desire to be influential (Yesod). The final, innermost circle is the primal desire for action or communication (Malchut).  These ten constitute the sefirot of primal desire.

Each of these sefirot includes ten particular sefirot etc.  However, the particular sefirot are not recognizable.  At this point there is no visible division into particular desires, even though all the particulars are included there and come from there. For example, a person’s desire to understand a specific wisdom is hidden within his primal desire to be wise, his desire to do a specific kindness is hidden within his primal desire to be kind, etc. Here, though, the sefirot are general primal desires.  These sefirot are called Igullim (Circles).  From this it is apparent that in the Sefirot of Igullim (Circles), which are primal desires, the original primal desire is the outermost circle, while the desire for the action is the innermost circle.

The Sefirot of Yosher – Upright

From the last circle of the Ratzon HaKadoom (Primal Desire), which is the primal desire for action, the Ratzon L’ratzon (the Desire for the Desire), comes into being.  This is to say that the primal desire for action, gives rise to a desire to facilitate and bring about the action. This second level of desire is a completely new existence relative to the level of primal desire, for it must be understood that the primal desire is not an active desire at all. Rather, it is the defining “identity” of the person. This is to say, that imbedded in his identity is the fact that he will have certain wants and desires.

If a person’s primal desire is the desire to be honored, for instance, this will give rise to a desire for the means to bring about honor. Therefore, as the means to actualize his primal desire to be honored, it may bring about a “desire for a desire” to be wise. This Ratzon L’Ratzon (Desire for a Desire) is his “Self perception” of himself as a person who is wise.  He will have a drive to acquire wisdom, but it will really be secondary to the true underlying motivating desire to be honored. He may not be consciously aware of this altogether and will actually perceive himself as a person who seeks wisdom, but in truth he is seeking honor, for if honor would not be given to him, his enthusiasm for wisdom would dissipate. Of course, a person’s primal desire may truly be to be wise, which will give rise to a self perception of being a person who seeks wisdom. Such a person will continue to seek wisdom whether or not he receives honor. 

We see from the above, that in the Sefirot of Yosher (The Upright Sefirot), the original primal desire is enclothed within the second desire.  The second desire is then enclothed in thought, which is then enclothed in emotions, until the final actualization of the desire, which is its outermost “garment”, so to speak. Unlike the Sefirot of Igullim (Sefirot of Circles), here the original primal desire is the innermost thing and the final action is the outermost thing.  When we look at a human being, for example, what we see are his final actions. Enclothed within his actions are his emotions, and enclothed within his emotions are his thoughts. Enclothed within his thoughts is his self-perception (Ratzon L’Ratzon) and enclothed within his self-perception is his “Primal desire” (Ratzon HaKadoom).  We therefore see that the outermost thing is the action and the innermost is the primal desire.  This is called Adam D’Yosher (The Upright Man), because it operates as a human being (who stands upright) would.

Adam Kadmon – Primal Man (Ratzon L’Ratzon)

As stated above, from the desire for actualization of the Igullim (Malchut of Igullim), which is the last circle of the Sefirot of Igullim (Circles), comes about the “Desire for the desire” (Ratzon L’Ratzon), which is in the form of an upright man, (Adam D’Yosher).  This ‘upright man’ is called Adam Kadmon (Primal Man). 

Once a person’s primal desire comes to the final primal desire to bring it into actuality, he formulates a Ratzon L’Ratzon (Desire for a desire), which is a new desire based on how the primal desire will relate out, to others.  This secondary desire may be seen as “Self-perception”.  This is how he perceives himself as being for the entire duration of his life span. It is how he wants to be seen after a lifetime of seventy or more years etc.  For instance, because of his primal desire to be honored, he may perceive himself as being a very wise person.  This desire is “created”, so to speak, to facilitate the primal desire to be honored. 

Now, this “self perception”, likewise, is a general desire which encompasses many particular desires. This is to say that because he perceives himself as a wise person, he has particular desires, such as the desire to study profound books on many important subjects.  He will want to be well versed in all the arts and sciences, as well as History, philosophy, law, great literature etc. On the other hand, if he would be offered a pulp romance or a comic book to read, he would reject it with disdain, since it does not fit his self-perception. Another example of this is a person who sees himself as a kind person.  This self-perception includes every kind act he will ever do.  Because he sees himself as kind, he will despise cruelty and callous behavior.

Now, although the Ratzon L’Ratzon (Desire for a desire) is his “Self-perception” and encompasses all his subsequent desires, nevertheless, it is still subject to change by being revamped or reformulated. For example, a person whose “primal desire” is for honor, but whose “desire for a desire” is for wisdom, may change his “desire for a desire” to desire wealth, if he thinks it will bring him greater honor.    

From this we see that whereas the Ratzon HaKadoom (The original primal desire), relates solely to the end result and actually only to himself, on the other hand, the desire for the desire, which is how he sees himself, already relates to that which is outside of himself and conforms to it, even though it is still all about himself. This is to say that if his Ratzon HaKadoom is for honor, his Ratzon L’Ratzon may vary according to what is valued in that society. If it is a society that values wisdom he will seek wisdom, if it is a society that values fame, he will seek fame and if it is a society that values wealth, he will seek wealth. The “Desire for the desire” (Ratzon L’Ratzon) may change, but the “Primal desire” (Ratzon HaKadoom) remains the same. Furthermore, the “Primal desire” (Ratzon HaKadoom) is the actual intended end result.

However, it must be noted that in regard to how it is above, in the process of creation, we cannot say that the “outside” shapes G-d’s desire for a desire, since there is no “outside” in relation to Him.  Actually, it is the other way around. Because G-d desired to create the world to be something that has the appearance of being outside of Himself, He therefore created the desire for a desire for the world. Not visa versa.

From the above we see that Adam Kadmon (The desire for the desire-Ratzon L’Ratzon) is the link between the Emanator and the emanated, between G-d and the world. Because of this, the term, “The desire for the desire” has two meanings. On the one hand it means the desire to fulfill the desire that preceeds it, and on the other hand, it means the desire to bring about the desire that follows it. Futhermore, since the Ratzon L’Ratzon (The Desire for the desire) is like a “new” creation in comparison to the Ratzon HaKadoom (Primal Desire) and is changeable, as explained above, it is therefore called, “The General Adam D’Briyah (The General Man of the Created Realm).

Malchut and Keter        

Now, the general rule is that the lowest level of the upper realm, becomes the highest level of the lower realm.  This is to say, that the Malchut of the upper world, becomes the Keter of the lower world.  For instance, as mentioned before, the sefirah of Keter is desire, and the sefirah of Malchut is speech.  From this we understand that the speech of the king becomes the inner motivating desire of the servant or that the speech of the teacher becomes the inner motivating desire of the student etc. Likewise, the last level of Adam Kadmon (Primal Man) becomes the source of Atzilut (The World of Emanation). This is to say that Malchut of Adam Kadmon becomes the Keter of Atzilut.

Keter of Atzilut,  Atik Yomin & Arich Anpin - Pleasure and Desire

The first sefirah of every level is its Keter which is the desire to bring it about, for if there were no desire for it, it couldn’t exist.   This principle applies both above, in regard to the creation of the world, and below, in man.  It is an observable fact, that if one does not desire something, he will not do it. This is true even when he does something he does not want to do. In such a case, there is another, overriding desire which compels him to do that which he would not otherwise do. For instance, if a person hates his job, he does it anyway because his desire to survive overrides his hatred for the work.  Above too, the desire for something is what gives it its existence. Therefore, the Keter of Atzilut is the desire to bring about the world of Atzilut.

Now, there are really two parts to the sefirah of Keter.  The external aspect of Keter is desire, and its inner aspect is pleasure.  In truth, these two aspects are inseparable from each other, for the one cannot be found without the other.  Furthermore, pleasure does not necessarily precede desire nor must desire precede pleasure.  In any case, of the two, pleasure is the internal and desire is the external, simply because a desire is for the pleasure.  Therefore, even though desire may precede pleasure, nevertheless, it is only for the pleasure.  We may therefore conclude that there is a desire and a pleasure for everything that exists and that pleasure is the internal of the two. It is the desire and pleasure for something that brings it into being and keeps it in existence.  This principle applies in the negative sense as well. There is even a pleasure and desire which gives evil its existence.  How can this be understood? What pleasure or desire could G-d possibly have in evil? 

As we see, most games, sports, stories, novels and movies involve an opponent in order to create a challenge. Even computer games have “bad guys”. The reason for their existence is to destroy them.  It is the adversity of the opponent that creates the challenge and gives excitement and purpose to the game.  If there were no opposition to overcome, there would be no pleasure or sense of accomplishment in the game whatsoever.  Likewise, though it is not a game, the existence of evil in the world is for the pleasure gained by its destruction and to create free choice and challenges for human beings.

These two parts of Keter are called Atik Yomin (The Ancient of Days), and Arich Anpin  (The Long Face).  Atik Yomin corresponds to pleasure and Arich Anpin corresponds to desire.

The difference between the desire of Arich Anpin (The long Face) and the desire of Adam Kadmon (Primal Man) is that the desire of Adam Kadmon is not yet for any specific thing.  Rather, it is the general perception of himself, as a whole, which includes many particular desires in it.  In Adam Kadmon the specific desires are completely concealed in a way of a heyulie.  Arich Anpin, on the other hand, is already a desire for something “outside of himself”, so to speak. It is a desire for the revelation of a specific thing. Furthermore, in Adam Kadmon, the desire is actually not for anything external altogether. It is all still solely for himself.  An example of this is a person who desires a beautiful car. In his A’K (Adam Kadmon) it is not actually a car that he wants. Rather, the desire of his A”K (Adam Kadmon), is that he envisions himself in the car. It is all about himself, not the car.  Only in Arich Anpin does the desire for the car itself become revealed.  We, therefore, see that the desire of Arich Anpin is already for something outside of Himself, whereas in Adam Kadmon it is still all about Himself.  This is the way it is in the desire, which is Arich Anpin. However, the pleasure of it, is still all about Himself.  For this reason, Atik Yomin, which is the pleasure of it, still relates to the Self, and is still considered to be part and parcel of the Self.  In contrast, Arich Anpin already relates outward, toward the world. For this reason it is considered to be the source of Atzilut (the world of Emanation).

The Enclothement of Atik in Arich    

More particularly speaking, it is only the upper three sefirot of Atik which are considered to be part of the Self. This may be understood as follows.  Each of these two parts of Keter, contain ten sefirot as well.  The seven lower emotional sefirot of the pleasure (Atik Yomin) are enclothed in the sefirot of the desire (Arich Anpin) and enliven them.  The sefirah of Chesed of Atik (Kindness of Pleasure) is enclothed in Keter of Arich (Desire of Desire).  This may be comprehended by understanding what Chesed of Atik is.  Being that the general matter here is pleasure, therefore all its particular sefirot, are aspects of pleasure.  Chesed is when something spreads forth in great abundance.  Therefore, Chesed of Atik (Kindness of Pleasure) represents an abundance of pleasure in something.  Now, when there is an abundance of pleasure in something, this enlivens the desire for it. We therefore understand how Chesed of Atik (Kindness of Pleasure) is enclothed in Keter of Arich (Desire of Desire).

Now, as mentioned before, Gevurah (Sternness) is the opposite of Chesed (Kindness).  Therefore, if Chesed of Atik represents abundant pleasure in something, Gevurah of Atik represents the pain in something.  We now can understand why Gevurah of Atik (Sternness of Pleasure) is enclothed within Chochmah of Arich (Insight of Desire).  The Chochmah (Insight) of a desire means that it should be in a specific way, with precision.  If nothing was painful, there would be no need for any specific desires, that it should be one way and not the other.  It would make no difference at all what we did, because the pleasure for everything would be equal. It is specifically Chochmah (Insight) which determines what is or isn’t desirable.  For this reason Chochmah of Arich (Insight of Desire) is the source of the mitzvot (commandments) of the Torah.

(The above principle applies to the enclothement of all the seven lower sefirot of Atik (Pleasure) within the seven upper sefirot of Arich (Desire).  An additional example is how Malchut of Atik (Kingdom of Pleasure) is enclothed in Netzach of Arich (Conquest of Desire).  Malchut of Atik represents the great pleasure of being the king and ruling over others.  It therefore is easy to see why Malchut of Atik is enclothed within Netzach of Arich which represents the desire for conquest.)

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