THE KNOWLEDGE OF G-D
The Source of the Letters
Now, in order to understand the concept of the enclothements of thought, speech and action, we must first understand the source of the letters.
As mentioned earlier, in relation to names, the letters define and give description to everything. The letters give each thing tangibility and defined existence. It may therefore be stated that the source of the letters is literally in the very essence of the soul itself. If this were not so, there could not be any kind of revelation from the essence at all. For example, a desire cannot be revealed as a desire without its letters of description.
This is because without the letters that
1.) Define it as a desire, and
2.) Describe the desire,
there could be no revelation of the desire from the essence at all. It is specifically, by way of the letters that the desire can be revealed in the intellect of the desire. Without the letters which define it, it would be unable to descend from one level to the next, that is, from the desire of the desire (Keter of Keter) to the intellectual reasoning for the desire (Chochmah and Binah of Keter). Furthermore, the intellect and reasoning of the desire must have letters in order for the desire to descend to the emotions of the desire (CHaG’’aT, and NeH’’iY of Keter).
We are still speaking here in regard to the desire itself which is above the actual intellect and comprehension of Chochmah and Binah themselves. Nonetheless, from this example it is clear that it is specifically the letters which give something its description and tangibility so that it may descend and transform from one level to the next, from desire to intellect and from intellect to emotions etc. This is similar to the example given above of a person who wants a craftsman to make a chair for him but only tells him, “Make ‘it’ for me”. Nothing can be made because the craftsman has absolutely no description or definition of what his client wants. Only when he names or describes what he is picturing in his mind will it be possible for the chair to become a reality. Only then, when he gives over letters of tangible description and definition of the chair, can the craftsman translate his desire into the action of making a chair.
Clearly, only through letters can there be a chaining down of cause and effect (Seder Hishtalshelut), from the essence of the soul to the final action. What we further understand from this is that the very essence of the soul is the source of this power of description (i.e. the letters). For this reason it is stated in Etz Chaim that the essence of the soul is full of letters. This is also the reason why the human soul is called a “Speaking soul”.
Likewise, in G-dliness, it is understood that the source of the letters is the essential ability to give description and tangible existence to everything. This includes giving definition to both the infinite and the finite. In other words, infinity too is a defined state, just as the finite is a defined state, in that it is defined to being infinite. Now, being that the letters are the source of the “Somethingness” of everything that exists, their source must be higher than everything else. The source of the letters is, therefore, in the very essence itself. For this reason G-d is called the “True Something” (Yesh HaAmeety).
Vessels and Clothing
We must now understand why at times the letters are called “vessels” and at times they are called “clothing”. In general, as explained earlier, the vessels or organs are still considered to be a part and parcel of the essence and completely connected with it, just as one’s brain, or heart, is part and parcel of him. Likewise, the letters are called vessels because although they limit the light, they, nonetheless, are vessels which bring the light into tangible description and being.
However, at times the letters are called clothing. An article of clothing is not part and parcel of the wearer. It is subject to change or exchange with other clothing. Likewise, the letters are called clothing because they are not bound to this particular light and may be exchanged for different letters. This means to say that the same idea may be said in more than one way, as we see that two people may express the same idea using different words. Besides this, the letters may be put into a different order to mean something radically different then their original meaning, as we see with the letters of a ransom note which are cut out from a magazine.
The difference between these two aspects of the letters may be understood from the letters of the Torah. The letters of the Torah are ordered in a specific manner. It is specifically these letters in this particular order which makes it the Torah. Only this combination of letters reveals the light of the Torah to us and the letters may not be changed or exchanged. In this regard the letters of the Torah are its vessels.
However, there is another aspect in the letters of the Torah. This is the aspect of the external letters themselves. It is possible to rearrange the external letters of the Torah and make a whole new book out of them, a book that says something totally different. These are the letters which are called enclothements or “clothing”. These external letters are not connected to the inner essence of the Torah, because if one were to rearrange them, he would not have changed the Torah altogether. The Torah would continue to be the Torah. Rather the book lying before him would not be the Torah at all. It would be a different book written with the same letters, ordered differently. For this reason we are told that when the Romans burned the Torah scroll, the letters of the Torah were not burned at all, but rather floated up to heaven. What was burned was merely the “clothing”, the external letters which may be changed or exchanged. The essential letters of the Torah itself remained intact.
From this we understand that although letters which are “vessels” and the letters which are “clothing” look exactly alike, they, nonetheless, are two separate matters.
Souls taken from the ‘clothing’
It is stated in the Zohar, “He made clothing for them (the sefirot) from which the souls of human beings come out.” Now, according to what was explained above, how is it possible that from a totally separate thing, like clothing, the essence of the human soul can come out?
It must therefore be understood that what is considered to be a “garment” on one level can become the essential light of another level. This may be understood by examining what takes place when one person communicates a desire or an idea to another. From the essential desire of the first person, his desire descends, in the fashion explained earlier, until it is enclothed within his thought. It then descends further to his emotions, and finally, is “enclothed” in his speech. However, in and of themselves, the words he speaks are merely a conglomeration of external sounds which have no intrinsic connection to his desires, thoughts and feelings.
Let’s say he communicates his desire or idea over the telephone. The external sounds of his speech become “enclothed” and converted into electronic impulses that travel through the telephone lines. They then are reconstituted in the receiver on the other end of the line. The person on the receiving end is not hearing the voice or speech of the speaker at all. He is only hearing an artificial approximation of his voice, reconstituted from electrical impulses. He certainly cannot hear the thoughts of the speaker, and certainly not his desire. Actually all he is hearing are consecutive sounds. However, enclothed within these sounds is the desire, intellect, emotions, and speech of the speaker. If the listener is influenced by these thoughts and ideas, this “enclothement” may become his inner desire, intellect and motivation. What is a most external level relative to the speaker becomes the deepest motivating factor for the listener.
An additional example may be understood from the letters of this book. The letters themselves are nothing more than physical squiggles of ink on paper. Nonetheless, when they are absorbed by the reader they become his essential inner motivation and intellect. It is also understood that the external speech of a political or spiritual leader becomes the inner motivation and intellect of his devoted followers. From this it is clear, that what is an enclothement relative to one level, may be an essential desire and motivation relative to the next level.
We may now understand the above statement of the Zohar that what may be regarded as the essential soul relative to one level, may be regarded as a separate “garment” relative to the level above it.
The Two Types of Thought
Before we continue to explain the enclothements of thought, speech and action, it must be understood that there are different types of thought, each of which exists on many levels. The first type is thought which is desire. The second type is analytical thought. In regard to the first type, a desire may also be called a thought. For example, “He thought to do such and such”. This is because desire becomes immediately enclothed in thought. Therefore, the desire and the thought of the desire are as one. Therefore, to say, “It arose in his desire” is the same as saying, “It arose in his thought” because this type of thought is still desire.
We can clearly observe that when a desire arises in the brain it may stimulate the nerves in the brain without becoming enclothed in analytical thought at all. For example, when one moves his hand to pick something up, he does not need to think about it. The desire goes immediately from the nerves of his brain to the action of moving his hand, without becoming enclothed in thought at all. Now, of course, there is thought here too. The thought here, though, are the letters particular to the desire. This thought is called, “The Hidden Thought of Arich Anpin” (“Machshava Stima’ah D’Arich Anpin” or “Binah of Arich Anpin”).
This principle, that thought and desire are interchangeable, applies even to the highest levels. This being the case, the “Primal desire” (Ratzon HaKadoom) of Adam Kadmon is often called “The Primal Thought” (Machshavah HaKedoomah) of Adam Kadmon, because it too becomes immediately enclothed in its letters. This principle even applies higher, in the essence itself, so that the “Simple essential desire” (Ratzon HaPashoot SheBaAtzmoot), mentioned earlier, can also be called “The simple essential thought” (Machshavah Pashoota SheBaAtzmoot).
All the above is the first type of thought, which may also be called a desire. The second type of thought is the actual analytical and comprehensive thought in the brain of Binah. This type of thought cannot be called a desire at all. This will now be explained in greater detail.
Analytical and Comprehensive Thought
In general, there are three levels of the second type of thought, which is graspable, analytical thought.
1) The lowest level is Leah, which constitutes the letters of thought. These are the letters themselves. The letters, in and of themselves, have no meaning. For example, a child who knows the alphabet can copy the letters of this book, without even realizing that there is any meaning behind them. Another example of this is the fact that something could be said in one language which has a different meaning in another language. In Chinese, for instance, "cow" means "dog", but in English, "cow" means "cow". As we see, the letters themselves are quite external to the meaning. Even when they are placed in the same order, “cow”, they mean different things in different languages. These are the letters of thought, which are called Leah.
2) The next level is Malchut of Tvunah. This is the level of the inner letters, i.e. the meaning. For example, if you hear the word "cow", there is an inner meaning there. You think of a cow rather than a cat. If we sing "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream." there is the simple meaning of the words which every child understands. This level is also called Machshevet Sechel (Thought of the Intellect). However, the Machshevet Sechel is also a vessel for the following level;
3) The next level is Machshavah Iyunit, (Analytical thought). This is the thought of Binah. This is when we take the same ditty, "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream", and analyze it, to understand its deeper meaning. To do this we must begin with the straightforward meaning of the Machshevet Sechel (Thought of the Intellect). First we surmise that the first part of the sentence, "Row your boat gently down the stream" must be related to the second part of the sentence, "Merrily, life is but a dream", since they are two parts of a single statement. Next, we attempt to understand its deeper meaning, by analyzing the relationship between the two parts of the statement and the components of each part, until we have a flash of Chochmah (Insight) into the inner meaning of the song.
We now understand that there is a profound philosophical statement about life in this song. The “stream” is the flow of life, which, as a stream, flows in only one direction. Time only goes forward. It is impossible to turn the clock of our life backwards. The “boat” represents the body, which is the vessel for the soul as long as it remains in the physical world. Another word for a boat is a “vessel”. To “Row” the boat means to direct it. This should be done “gently”, which means, “easygoing”. This means that we should take the ups and downs of life in an accepting, trusting fashion. Finally, “Merrily, life is but a dream” means to be happy with life and take advantage of its opportunities while we still can because it does not last forever.
Now, during the entire process of analysis, the Machshevet Sechel (Thought of the intellect) is a vessel for the Machshava Iyunit (Analytical Thought). This is because throughout the analysis one is thinking into the meaning of the words. After all, what is being analyzed is the simple straightforward meaning of the words. It is specifically the meaning of the words which can contain the deeper, analytical meaning. For example, the reader of this book presently has all three levels in his mind:
1. The letters themselves (Leah)
2. The letters of meaning (Machshevet Sechel or Malchut of Tvunah)
3. The letters of analysis. (Machshava Iyunit of Binah)
The letters of thought contain the letters of the meaning, and the letters of the meaning contain the letters of the analysis. Furthermore, once one has the flash of Chochmah, mentioned above, and realizes the inner meaning of the song, it too is a meaning. Furthermore, every time he hears that song in the future, that will be the new simple, straightforward meaning which will come to mind. This is to say that the Machshavah Iyunit (Analytical Thought) is contained in the Machshevet Sechel (Thought of Intellect) and the Chochmah (Insight) which is caused through the Machshava Iyunit (Analytical Thought) becomes the new simple meaning. All of this is enclothed within the letters of thought which are called Leah.
Action of Thought
Now, in thought itself, there are three levels. There is thought of thought, speech of thought and action of thought. There is pictorial imaginative thought which is not in combinations or permutations of letters, just imagery. This is like the thought of a child, who does not yet have thought in combinations of letters. He only has pictorial thought with imagery recognition, which comes from the power of imagination. Now, although it is true that even in this pictorial thought there are divisions of particulars, nonetheless, it is only imagery and cannot yet be called true thought. It is for this reason that it is stated that a child does not have thought at all.
Later, the child matures somewhat, so that he has combinations and divisions of letters of thought. However, they are not yet complete. He still is only able to think in a very limited fashion. For example, he can think about something that he is given, and choose between it and something else, having a desire for one thing and a distaste for another. This is the beginning of actual thought, and is called “Action of thought”. Now, an adult also possesses “Action of thought”. In an adult this would be when he is thinking how to do something, such as writing, drawing or building something etc. It could also be when what he needs to do, arises in his intellect. For example, he thinks, “I need to clean this room” or “I need to lose some weight” etc. This is “Action of thought”.
We see that there are two general levels in action of thought. The lowest, cannot yet be considered true thought. Rather, it is the power to conjure an image in his mind. (Actually, this level is lower than “Action of thought”. Nonetheless, it is still higher than the imagery of dreams.) The second level, which is true “Action of thought”, is like the child who has matured slightly, as mentioned above, or like the adult who is thinking about what he needs to do.
Speech of Thought
The next level up in thought is “speech of thought”. There are two general levels here as well. The lower level of “speech of thought” is when one is listening to someone else speaking and it registers in his mind. This type of thought is lower than when he is thinking to himself, rather than hearing someone else speak.
The higher level of “speech of thought” is when he is thinking how to speak, or how to phrase what he is trying to say, before he actually speaks, and then he immediately speaks. From this level of “speech of thought” there is a descent to become “thought of speech” (which will be discussed later). This is to say that his thinking how to speak will become the thought of his speech, when he actually begins to speak.
Thought of Thought
The third level is “thought of thought”. In contrast to the above, this is when he is thinking to himself, without any intention of bringing out his thoughts into speech.
For example, this is when one is thinking the lyrics of a song to himself, in his head. This is a higher level of thought than if he were to hear someone else singing the song. However, he is not really thinking into the meaning of the words on this level of thought. He merely is thinking the words of the song, as if they are playing in his head. This level is the lowest level of “thought of thought” and is considered to be “speech of thought of thought”. (In “thought of thought” there also are the three levels, thought, speech and action. This level would be “speech of thought of thought”.)
The next level higher is actual thought in which he is thinking into the actual meaning. The words and combinations of the letters follow automatically, as is clearly observable that when one is thinking into the meaning of something, the combinations of letters of thought will automatically follow according to the ideas he is thinking.
For example, if he is thinking about business, the combinations and formulations of the letters of his thought (Leah) will be according to what he is thinking (Machshevet Sechel). If he is thinking about business matters, the combinations of letters will not be “baseball”. When he is thinking into the meaning of something, this is called “true thought of thought”. This is the power of the intellect to think any thing he wishes, just as the power of speech, is the power to speak anything he wishes.
As mentioned before, this level of thought (Machshevet Sechel) is the vessel for analytical contemplative thought (Machshava Iyunit). This type of thought is dependant on the power of Da’at, which is the power of attention and concentration to connect to a subject matter. It is for this reason that it says that toddlers do not have thought, because they have a weak attention span. As explained earlier, Da’at (Attention) is the vessel for comprehensive and analytical thought. Therefore, to the degree of Da’at that one possesses, will be his capacity for the analytical thought of Binah. (Nonetheless, the depth of the thought can only be according to the depth of the subject being comprehended, as mentioned earlier.)
The Dividing and Combining of the Letters
We must now understand the powers to divide and combine the letters of thought, on the third level which is “Thought of thought”. Through this, we will gain insight into the source of the powers to divide and combine the letters of speech.
As explained earlier, Binah is the analytical comprehension and explanation of a subject to its length and breadth. When one is thinking into the depth of a subject, since his mind is into the depth of comprehension, it is not yet divided into actual divisions and combinations of letters. Rather, it is completely in Machshevet Sechel, which, as mentioned before, is the matter of thinking the meaning in a holistic manner. For example, when I think “car” and when an automobile mechanic thinks “car”, we are both holistically thinking the same thing.
Now, the “Five severities of Understanding” (Hey Gevurot D’Binah), are the ability to bring down the light of this thought into divisions of various combinations in a detailed manner of specifics, rather than only holistically. We must therefore understand what the five Gevurot of Binah are.
These “Five Gevurot of Binah” are also known as “the protrusions of the seal” (Petoochei Chotam). When making a seal, or a stamp, one carves away the rubber leaving a protrusion of the remaining rubber, thus forming letters. Likewise, the “Five Gevurot of Binah” represents the ability to remove part of the whole. The particulars that remain become the focal point and stand out, so to speak. For example, when an automobile designer or engineer needs to think about designing the next model of vehicle, he no longer thinks “car” holistically. Now he thinks “engine” or “seats” etc. In effect, he has removed part of the whole, and now focuses on specifics.
(Nonetheless, he must still remember that he is thinking about the seat of a car, rather than any type of seat. This ability, to remember the holistic overview even when he is focusing on the specifics, comes from Chochmah. As mentioned earlier, Chochmah is the overview of the entire thing in a holistic way. It is for this reason that the power of memory specifically comes from Chochmah.)
Now, it is apparent from the above, that the function of the “Five Gevurot of Binah” is a matter of lessening and constriction. Nonetheless, the source of the power to combine the letters is actually higher than the power of the analytical comprehension of Binah which is the power to divide the letters. The source of the power to combine the letters is from Chochmah. This may be understood from the fact that a toddler, who does not yet have the ability to speak, nonetheless has the ability to choose between one thing and another. This is the power to divide. Because of this he can distinguish between one thing and another. Nonetheless, since he cannot speak, it is not yet in letters of thought.
However, as soon as he is able to combine the letters in his thought, he will also have the ability to articulate them in speech. (This is as mentioned earlier that the feet of Leah (The letters of thought) enter into the head of Rachel (The letters of speech). This is to say that from speech of thought comes thought of speech.) Furthermore, it is evident that when one articulates his thought in speech, in its combinations of letters, his ability to think actually becomes enhanced. This is because speech forces him to analyze it in his mind. This analysis is the power to divide and dissect the subject. When one is about to speak, as he is thinking how to articulate his thought, he is not thinking how to combine and formulate the words at all. Rather, he is analyzing the idea in his mind, tearing it apart and dissecting it. Only then can he speak. This is the meaning of the statement in Zohar that, “The mother (Binah-Understanding) lends the clothing (the five Gevurot) to the daughter (Malchut-Speech)”.
(This is also explained in the Zohar on the verse, “V’Kol HaTor Nishma B’Artzeinu – The voice of the dove is heard in our land”. The word “Tor” means “dove”, but it is also the masculine form of Torah. This is referring to the Giver of the Torah. The Zohar explains that “Aretz” (land) refers to Malchut (Speech). From this we understand that when one speaks the words of Torah, the voice of the Giver of the Torah is heard in his speech. Furthermore, the Halacha (Torah law) requires that when learning Torah it is incumbent to articulate it in speech. This is for the above reason. In addition, as mentioned above, when one speaks something out loud, it helps him to think it better as well. This is because speech causes the divisions of the letters in the intellect, as mentioned above.)
From the above, it is clear that the source of the power to combine the letters is not in Binah at all. Rather, Binah is the source of the power to divide. The power to combine is from Chochmah, which is a higher source. We see that a child can distinguish and comprehend the difference between something good and something bad, or between what he likes and dislikes, even before he is capable of speech. However, even though he has the power to divide and comprehend, he cannot combine the letters of thought until he becomes capable of speech. This is because the power to combine is higher than the comprehension of Binah.
The five organs of speech of the mouth (the throat, palate, tongue, teeth and lips) divide the letters of speech exactly according to how they were divided and combined in thought. (This is as explained above that “The mother (Binah) lends the clothing (the five Gevurot) to the daughter (Malchut)” etc.) Nonetheless, it is also stated in the Zohar, that “The father (Chochmah-Insight) founded the daughter (Malchut-Speech)”. In other words, whereas the power to divide the letters comes from Binah, the power to combine them comes from Chochmah.
Furthermore, this comes about automatically, as explained before, that the flash of intuition which brings everything together, comes about automatically. For example, if while dismantling a watch, a person focuses and pays close attention, carefully scrutinizing each piece and noting its relationship to all the other components of the watch, he will automatically be able to put it back together. Likewise the dividing of the letters, how the idea is dissected and analyzed, comes from the five Gevurot of Binah, whereas the combining of the letters, in which the words come together, comes about automatically from Chochmah. This is as explained before, that Chochmah and Binah are “The two lovers who never separate”. The one cannot function without the other. Likewise in order for language to take place, both the active dividing of the letters through Binah and the automatic combining of the letters through Chochmah must take place.
In summary, there are two general powers in thought, and two particular powers in thought. The first general power is the power of comprehension, to distinguish and comprehend the difference between one thing and another. This is the analytical thought of Binah. The second general power is the power to bring things together. This is the flash of intuition which comes automatically, from Chochmah.
The first particular power in thought is the power to divide the letters, which comes from the five Gevurot of Binah. The second particular power in thought is the power to combine and formulate these letters into words, which comes automatically from Chochmah. (This is called the ‘thread of thought’, which travels through the word, sentence or thought, thus holding it together.)
In speech, both powers are revealed simultaneously. This is to say that the divisions of the letters of speech are exactly according to the divisions of the letters of thought. Nonetheless, the combinations of the letters are specifically from Chochmah. It is for this reason that although the child may have thought, and be able to comprehend the difference between one thing and another, he cannot think in combinations of letters until he is able to speak in combinations of letters. Therefore, when we said before that “A child does not have thought”, we were specifically referring to the letters of thought.
That which is higher up, Comes Lower Down
From the above statement in the Zohar, “The father (Chochmah) founded the daughter (Speech)”, we see that the source of speech is actually higher than the source of thought. (Binah, only, “Lends the clothing to the daughter.”) Why then does thought precede speech? Furthermore, a human being is called a “speaking soul” or “speaking spirit”. Why is this so if we see that thought precedes speech by several years?
The reason for this is because as stated in Sefer Yetzirah, “The beginning is bound up with the end and the end with the beginning”. Therefore speech, which is the end, is bound up with the beginning (Chochmah). Furthermore, from this we see that something which essentially is higher descends further down. The example for this is a very large bonfire, whose light can be seen at a great distance. In contrast the light of a small fire will not be visible from far off.
Thought, Speech and Action of Thought, in the Essence
From all of the above, which is the allegory, we may now have a greater understanding in the analogue, which is the first source, the essence of the Infinite Light of G-d. When the desire to do kindness arose in His simple essential desire before the Tzimtzum, these three levels of thought, speech and action of thought existed in the way of a Heyulie. The essential heyulie “Action of thought”, in the essence itself, is like the end action which arose first in thought, as if He pictures in His mind every single detail of all Creation, to the finest detail. Furthermore, He pictures it as if it is something outside of Himself. This is similar to “Action of thought” in a human being, when he pictures what he needs to do, as mentioned above.
The essential heyulie “Speech of thought” is that He estimated within Himself, in potential, everything that will come out in the entire creation process. This is similar to what was mentioned earlier about the “Speech of thought” in a human being, in which he thinks what to speak immediately before actually speaking. This is what is meant by the first statement in the Zohar, that “In the beginning of the rule of the King, He engraved an engraving in the upper purity.” “In the beginning of the rule of the King”, is Malchut (Speech), However, the “Beginning of speech” is “Speech of thought”, as mentioned before. The Zohar continues, “He engraved an engraving”. This is to say, an engraving of letters in “Speech of thought” of everything that will come out after Tzimtzum, into revelation. This is as explained, that from “Speech of thought” comes “Thought of speech” (culminating with “Speech of speech”, when He actually speaks. This will be discussed later.) This is the essential heyulie “Speech of thought” of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) before Tzimtzum.
The essential heyulie “Thought of thought” is when He thinks the actual meaning in combinations of letters. This is when it arose in His simple thought and desire, “I Shall Rule” (Ana Emloch) etc. This thought is in accordance to His essential heyulie desire (Keter) and heyulie wisdom (Chochmah), as explained above. (Because of this when a person below performs the commandments and sublimates his desire to G-d’s desire, this reaches all the way up, to renew and awaken the essential original intention of G-d in His essential desire and thought for creation.)
(As mentioned before, all of these details exist in the essential singularity of Ohr Ein Sof (The Infinite Light) before the Tzimtzum, because if they do not, where did they come from? However, they do not have an actual existence there at all, but rather are there in a way of a heyulie (Ability). They are not anything separate and distinguishable from the Self, since only His quintessential singularity exists.)
Thought, Speech and Action of Thought
From the above, we can understand how these three aspects, “Thought of thought”, “Speech of thought” and “Action of thought” exist throughout the entire chaining down of the worlds. Just as in the essential desire of the quintessential Singularity before Tzimtzum, these three levels exist, so too they exist after Tzimtzum. As mentioned above, these three levels of thought exist in the Primal Thought (Machshavah HaKedoomah). Following that, they exist in the thought of Adam Kadmon. These three levels of thought then exist in the thought of Atik Yomin and Arich Anpin. Similarily, in a human being, from the hidden thought in the essence of his soul, the thought descends further and further through all the above levels until it finally comes out in revealed thought, enclothed in the emotions of the heart, which is called Leah. These three levels, thought, speech and action, are also included on the level of Leah, as explained.
(Generally speaking, these three levels of thought, speech and action, correspond to the worlds of Briyah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation) and Asiyah (Action). Thought corresponds to the world of Creation, as mentioned above that thought is like a creation of something from nothing. Speech corresponds to the world of Formation, and of course, Action corresponds to the world of Action.
From an even broader, more general perspective, Adam Kadmon is called “The Man of Creation” (Adam D’Briyah). Atik Yomin and Arich Anpin are called “The Man of Formation” (Adam D’Yetzirah), and Zeir Anpin is called “The Man of Action” (Adam D’Asiyah). Through the contemplation of this matter one may come to an understanding of a great many details in the chaining down of the worlds (Seder Hishtalshelut) all the way from the “Essential thought”, until the “Action of thought of Zeir Anpin”.)
Intellectual Thought, Malchut of Tvunah – Machshevet Sechel
It is self understood that the source of the letters of Leah, which is called Malchut of Tvunah or Machshevet Sechel, and is the thought of the meaning of the words of Leah, as explained before, also exists in the essential singularity of the Infinite Light before Tzimtzum (Atzmoot Ohr Ein Sof). It was explained that the letters of the thought of the meaning, which is called “Intellectual Thought” (Machshevet Sechel), is the source of the letters of thought, which is called Leah. Likewise, in the Ohr Ein Sof before Tzimtzum, the source of the letters of thought of “Ana Emloch” (“I Shall Rule”) is in Malchut of Tvunah of Atzmoot Ohr Ein Sof. This is also call, “The Intellectual Thought” (Machshevet Sechel) of the Essence of the Infinite Light (Atzmoot Ohr Ein Sof).
Furthermore, clearly, if the thought ceases, speech ceases as well. For example, if one is speaking and loses his thread of thought, his speech ceases as well, and all he can say is “uhhhh”. When he regains his thread of thought, he can continue to speak. This explains what was stated earlier that, “The feet of Leah” (Thought), is the source of “The head of Rachel” (Speech). Likewise, above, were the essential thought of HaShem to cease, His speech, which is the source of our existence, would likewise cease. This would bring an abrupt end to our existence, G-d forbid.
Speaking and Saying – Dibur and Amirah
It must be pointed out that there are two types of “speech”. There is actual speech and inner speech, which cannot be heard by others. As explained before, when we refer to speech, we are referring to G-d’s speech. For this reason the faculty of speech is called Malchut (Kingdom). When a king speaks it is tantamount to action. When a king says, “Move this mountain”, the mountain moves. However, if a king only desires something in his thought or in his heart but does not express it in speech, he cannot hold anyone accountable for not doing his will. When the king desires something in his mind, this is “Thought of thought” and when he desires something in his heart, this is “Speech of thought”. However, because he did not express it in actual speech, it does not become actualized.
Now, forty days before a child is born, his entire life is determined for him. Every detail of his entire life, who he will marry, where he will live, how much money he will make, even what piece of chicken he will eat on the Shabbat of a certain week of a particular year, has already been determined. Everything came into actual speech and has, therefore, been decreed. However, whether a person will be righteous or wicked is not predetermined, as the Talmud states, “Whether a person will be righteous or wicked, He (G-d) did not say.” It was not brought out into actual speech. Because of this there is the possibility of repentance, for if G-d actually said it, repentance would be impossible.
However, although G-d did not actually speak it, He nonetheless thought it, on the level of “Speech of thought”. This causes a person to have a natural tendency and predisposition toward good or evil. This is evident from the story of Yaakov and Esav. Yaakov was righteous, whereas Esav was wicked. Their father, Yitzchak, favored Esav over Yaakov. The commentaries explain that this was because Esav fooled Yitzchak into believing he was righteous. However, if Esav was righteous, was Yaakov not just as righteous? This being the case, why did Yitzchak favor Esav? The reason is because Yitzchak knew that in thought, G-d had determined that Esav would be wicked and that Yaakov would be righteous. When Esav fooled Yitzchak to think that he too was righteous, Yitzchak regarded him as being much greater than Yaakov for having overcome his natural tendencies, whereas Yaakov already had a natural predisposition toward righteousness. He felt that Esav’s accomplishment was greater and therefore more praiseworthy.
We see that there are two types of speech. There is “Speech of speech”, which is actual speech and there is “Speech of thought”, which is not a revealed speech. When one thinks something in his mind or feels something in his heart, he does not necessarily have to reveal it to others in speech. This is the matter of, “The heart did not reveal it to the mouth.”
In Kabbalah, actual speech is called Dibur, whereas, “Speech of thought” is called Amirah. Now, as explained earlier, the source of actual speech is higher than the source of speech of thought. This can be understood from the verse in the Torah where G-d tells Moshe to speak (Daber) to the men, and to say (Emor) to the women. The reason for the difference in terminology is because of the fact that men relate more to Chochmah whereas women relate more to Binah. (As is known, women were given an additional portion of Binah.)
The Closed Mem and the Open Mem
Now, as explained above, there is actual speech and there is speech of thought. Speech is known as the open Mem (מ), because of the fact that it is open and revealing. In contrast, thought is known as the closed Mem (ם), for it is hidden and concealed. (As mentioned earlier speech is called “The Revealed World” whereas thought is called “The Concealed World”.)
Now, in the thought of Binah itself, there is also an open Mem (מ) and a closed Mem (ם). These are called the “Open Saying” and the “Closed Saying”. In order to understand the difference between these two in thought, we must understand that which is explained in Kaballah, that the encompassing lights of Binah are square. If a person is in the middle of a square room, part of the ceiling is directly above him and close to him, and part of it is across the room and far from him. Likewise, the encompassing lights of Binah (Understanding) are square. In other words, the part of the concept under analysis which he understands is “directly above him”. The part of the concept which he does not yet understand is “across the room” and far from him. This is like the shape of the closed Mem (ם), which is a square. Therefore, within thought itself, the closed Mem (ם) refers to the encompassing lights, as explained.
(The encompassing lights of Binah are different than other encompassing lights, which are round. Something which is round is equidistant on all sides. This is not the case in regard to the encompassing light of Binah which is not equidistant. This is because, when it comes to understanding, there always is a part he understands, and a part which is concealed from him, which he has yet to understand.)
In contrast, the open Mem (ם) refers to how the ray from the encompassing light is revealed in divisions and combinations of letters of thought.
The Name: Elokim
We may now understand the name Elokim which is the aspect of the divisions of the combinations of letters of thought. Elokim is the aspect of Gevurah (Concealment and restraint), as in the verse, “For a sun and a shield is Y-H-V-H Elokim”. In other words, the name Elokim conceals the name Y-H-V-H, which is the aspect of revelation, like the sun. According to Kaballah, the one hundred and twenty combinations of the name Elokim are the source of creation. It is therefore the name Elokim which represents the divisions and combinations of letters, thus concealing the holistic revelation of the name Y-H-V-H and bringing about the revelation of particulars. As explained above, the five Gevurot, the division of the letters, and the name Elokim, are all like “The protrusions of the seal”. They bring particulars into a state of revelation from the holistic thought of Chochmah, as explained above. In other words, this is the power to restrain the holistic thought, leaving particulars of it in a revealed state, similar to the protrusions of a seal.
Now, as explained before, all these matters exist on different levels. This principle includes the name Elokim. The uppermost aspect of Elokim is in the essential thought of the essence of the Infinite Light. This name Elokim is the aspect of the Tzimtzum and concealment of the Ohr Ein Sof (The Infinite Light), leaving revealed only that which is necessary for creation, as explained before. Furthermore, as explained before, the entire purpose of the “lessening” of the light is for the purpose of revelation, and the entire light as it existed before Tzimtzum is contained within the Reshimu. It is specifically the name Elokim (The power of restraint) as it exists in the essence, which brings forth this particular line of creation, from the holistic “whole” of the Infinite Light.
From this we
understand the meaning of the first verse of the Shema
prayer, “Hear oh
The aspect of Elokim also exists on the level of the Primal Thought, after Tzimtzum. Here it conceals the holistic “whole” of the Primal Thought and desire, but brings forth particular revelations. The name Elokim also exists on the level of “Thought of Adam Kadmon”. Once again, it conceals the whole, but brings forth particulars. Following this is the aspect of Elokim of Atik and Arich etc. This continues until the aspect of Elokim of the five Gevurot of the divisions of letters in Binah and Leah etc.
(We now gained insight into how to fulfill the commandment to “contemplate” G-d’s unity while reciting this verse. One contemplates how everything that exists, whether it is the highest level of the highest world or the finest detail of the lowest world, is absolutely bound up and sublimated within the ultimate unity and singularity of G-d, which is its source.)
The Firmament on the Heads of the Chayot
The comprehension of Binah is also called by the term Rakiya (Firmament). This is to say that before a concept comes completely into comprehension, it is on a level higher than being limited within letters. For example, this is the explanation of a deep concept which has not yet completely settled in his mind in such a way that he has a “grasp” of it. This state is called “flowing waters” (Mayim D’Naidie), because it does not yet have any definite form and can manifest in any number of ways. In contrast, once the concept is completely grasped in the mind, in a way that it is limited and comprehended within the vessel of the brain, it is compared to “water which has become frozen” (D’Agleedie Maya), and is now established. In other words, now it has definite form.
This is the meaning of the verse in Ezekiel, “On the heads of the Chayot angels, a firmament with the likeness of ice.” The “Chayot” refers to the emotions. This is because the word Chayot which means “living beings” also means “life force” (Chayoot). This refers to the vitality of the emotions of the heart, which is the seat of the life force. “On the head of the Chayot” refers to Binah, for it is the comprehension and intellect of Binah which gives rise to the emotions. The prophet explains further, that it is specifically a “firmament” of the comprehension, in the “likeness of ice”, that gives rise to emotional life force. This is as explained before, that it is specifically concrete comprehension that gives rise to emotions. It is from this “firmament” that the “garment” of the “Chashmal” is drawn down, to encompasses and “enclothe” the emotions. This will now be explained.
The garment called ‘the Chashmal’
The “Chashmal” is called “The Protector of the Emotions”. The explanation is as follows. Once a person has already done the analysis, or has already come to an understanding of something, he does not need to rethink the entire matter over and over again, each time the subject comes up. For example, if a person contemplates the ill effects of cigarette smoking, once he has done the analysis, and comes to the conclusion that cigarettes are dangerous to one’s health, he does not need to rethink the whole matter every time he sees someone smoking or every time he is offered a cigarette. However, even though he does not rethink it, we nonetheless see that his emotions can become quite aroused about it. He does not contemplate and analyze the whole logic of it, all over again, but nonetheless, he becomes all “fired up” over it. He may no longer remember the details of the analysis or be able to logically explain why smoking is unhealthy, but, nonetheless, his emotions are aroused with disgust and indignation etc. This is called a Chashmal.
(In mankind, Chashmal’s do not only exist on an individual level, as in the above example, but also on a national level and even a multigenerational level. So for example, a previous generation may have done the analysis into a subject and come to a conclusion, and the following generations may just operate on the Chashmal which remained from previous generations. An example of this is the theory of evolution. In a previous generation certain individuals did an “analysis” of the available data and came to the conclusion that humans “evolved” from apes. Most people today, however, who subscribe to this belief have not done the analysis to arrive at this conclusion. Rather, they accept it as fact, and may even swear by it. Furthermore, if one were to tell them otherwise, their emotions would be ignited with fiery indignation and they would consider him to be an unenlightened ignoramus and a boor etc. Nonetheless, they cannot logically explain the truth of their position. Their emotions are merely operating on the basis that “Science” says so, and therefore it must be true. Another example of this is Christianity. Millions upon millions of people believe in Christianity blindly without ever having examined the truth or falseness of it, and yet they have fiery emotions about it. These emotions are not the result of their own intellectual investigation and understanding, but are the result of the “conclusions” of previous generations etc. They just “take their word for it” as absolute truth, without any thought or analysis into the actual truth or absurdity of it. This too is a Chashmal, but on a multigenerational or national level.)
From this we see that the “garment” of the Chashmal can have a life of its own, even when it becomes disconnected from its source. How is this possible? How can it exist disconnected from its source?
[The reason is because the root of the Chashmal is higher, in the essential Self, literally. This is similar to what was said before about the matter of allegories. The source of the allegory is actually higher than the analogue. It is specifically because of this that it can contain it. This is similar to how the letters have the capability of containing the concepts etc. It is specifically because their source is higher than the concept. Their source is literally in the essence itself. Nonetheless, the letters themselves are just separate “garments” which contain the concepts and reveal them, as explained above. In the same way, the original source and root of the garment called Chashmal is within the very essence Itself. It, therefore, can become disconnected from the intellect, yet remain vital.]