THE KNOWLEDGE OF G-D
Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah in General
Before we continue to explain the next part of the creation and expression of G-d, let us first have a general overview of the next three worlds, Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah (Creation, Formation and Action). In general, these three worlds are known by the acronym BiY”A. Generally, the world of Atzilut corresponds to the general sefirah of Chochmah. The reason for this is because Atzilut itself is still totally bound up with the essence, and is therefore still considered to be part and parcel of the infinite world of total G-dliness. Furthermore, just as Chochmah is called “Ain” (Nothingness) and Binah is called “Yesh” (Somethingness), this applies likewise, to the world of Atzilut relative to the lower worlds which follow it. In contrast, the worlds of Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah generally correspond to thought, speech and action. Briyah corresponds to thought, Yetzirah corresponds to speech and Asiyah corresponds to action. As was explained before, it is only in these realms of thought, speech and action, where “somethingness” arises. Being that Binah represents comprended thought, it is called Yesh (Somethingness). Likewise, the six emotions are felt emotions of the heart, and Malchut is the “revealed world” of action or speech. Therefore, they too are in the realm of somethingness.
(Because of this sense of somethingness, it is in these three worlds that evil arises, as will be explained later.)
The Masach – Screen, Between Atzilut and Briyah
We will now explain the chaining down of the worlds of Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah (Creation, Formation and Action). However, we must first understand the partition between Atzilut and Briyah. This partition is called the Masach (Screen). It is stated that Malchut of Atzilut breaks through the screen, thus becoming the Keter of Briyah. (This was explained earlier that the influence from the Malchut (Speech) of the upper world becomes the motivating desire (Keter) for the lower world. The allegory was given of a king and his servant or a teacher and his student.)
We will now explain this screen. The meaning of the verse “For with You is the source of life, in Your light we see light”, is that from G-d’s primary light, a secondary light becomes visible. What is seen is only a radiance of a radiance. This is similar to the impression of the letters of a signet into to the wax. The impression that remains in the wax is only an impression of the letters of the signet. Likewise, the light and life force of the world of Briyah is only a “radiance of a radiance” of the Malchut of Malchut of Atzilut, which only shines through a partition and becomes the Keter of Briyah.
This may be understood as follows. As mentioned above, the world of Atzilut corresponds to the general sefirah of Chochmah. However, it is only from the last level of Chochmah that a flash of intuition comes into Binah. Furthermore, it is only through the intermediary medium of letters of description, that the light of the concept can be understood in Binah (Comprehension and grasp). The actual light of the Chochmah itself is altogether beyond the grasp of Binah. When a person has an intuitive flash, he does not perceive the light of Chochmah directly. The “light” which he “sees” is actually only the letters, which contain the light of intuition. Nonetheless, through the secondary “light” of the letters of the Chochmah as they come into Binah, the primary “essential light” of Chochmah is recognized. It is only viewed through the screen and partition of the letters, which is called a Masach.
This may be understood by how a television works. Behind the television screen there is a “ray gun” which emits a ray onto the back of the screen. When the ray hits the phosphorus points on the screen, they light up. What the viewer sees on the television screen is not the original light of the “ray gun”, but the secondary light of the phosphorus. Furthermore, the ray gun itself is just receiving the letters of binary code, which receives from the letters of the television waves, which receive from the letters of the broadcast, which receives from the letters of the video feed, which receives from the letters of the actors on the set, which receives from the letters of the director etc. The entire process chains down many levels and there is a profound “switch over” between one level and the next, so that one level is completely different from the other. Nonetheless, the ultimate purpose of this chaining down of lights and vessels is so that the viewer could sit in his living room and watch the show. This final act was the original desire and intention in the mind of the producer. This too is the aspect of a Masach.
Likewise, the light and life force of the world of Briyah only receives its light through a Masach (Screen), which is made up of the external letters of the higher world of Atzilut. This is to say that the Malchut of Malchut of Atzilut (The most external letters of the upper world of Atzilut), becomes the light and life force of the Keter of Briyah (The desire to bring about the world of Briyah).
The Source of the Masach
Now, the source of this Masach (screen) is from the “Garment” of the Chashmal which encompasses from the externality of Binah until under Malchut of Malchut. (As explained before, the Chashmal is created from the letters of Binah. In other words, the Chashmal only comes about once the concept becomes firmly established in one’s mind in a way of actual letters. It was explained above that the Chashmal is also called “The Protector of the Emotions”, and that the emotions are encompassed by it. Furthermore, the letters of the Chashmal even encompass and cause the speech and action. In other words, as explained above, after a person has done the analysis into something and come up with a conclusion, he will usually act upon it without going back and rethinking the whole matter over and over again in his mind. This indicates that the garment of the Chashmal encompasses from the externality of Binah (Analysis and comprehension) through Malchut of Malchut.)
It was further explained that this garment is similar to an allegory, which enclothes a deep concept within it. It is through the medium of the allegory that the light of the concept may radiate and be perceived. Nonetheless, the light of the concept may only be perceived when the letters of the allegory are in order. However, if the letters are confused, the allegory actually conceals the concept rather than reveals it. This may be compared to a teacher. If he presents the subject in a logical, orderly fashion, explaining it step by step and with great precision, then the students will understand the concept clearly. This is because his letters were in order. However, if the opposite is true, and he presents the subject out of order, the students will not understand the subject at all. Even if they do understand some points somewhat, they will not see how all the “Pieces of the puzzle” fit together. This is because the letters are not in order.
From all the above, it is understood that since there is no comparison between Atzilut and Briyah, between Chochmah and Binah or between the influencer and recipient, there must be the Tzimtzum of this Masach, just as the first Tzimtzum was needed between the “Essence of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) and the line of action (The Kav). However, there is a difference. There was not an actual Masach in the first Tzimtzum. There was only a concealment of the Infinite Light. As mentioned before, this is because it was all still completely within himself. In contrast, from the aspect of Atzilut which is still infinite, to the aspect of Briyah which is finite, there needs to be a screen (A Masach), which completely separates and limits the light. This is to say that for there to be a change from intangible to tangible, there must be an “allegory”. This is like the example given above of the difference between Chochmah which is intangible and Binah which is fully tangible.
Nonetheless, there is a benefit to the fact that it is G-d himself who creates this Tzimtzum and Masach (Screen). This is like the teacher who creates the allegory for the analogue or conversely, like a teacher who purposely jumbles up the letters or the pieces of a puzzle in order to challenge the students to put it back together again. In such a case the confusion is only on the part of the students rather than the teacher. In the same way, for G-d, no change has taken place. From His angle it is all part and parcel of Himself, similar to a snail whose shell is part and parcel of itself. To G-d, the Tzimtzum too, is not a true Tzimtzum and is not a separation from His perspective. It is only so from the perspective of the recipients. This also explains the statement, “I am first and I am last”. “I am first”, refers to the first Tzimtzum, and I am last, refers to the last Tzimtzum. It is all an act of G-d, from beginning to end. Moreover, it is specifically the last Tzimtzum, which is the final act, which arose first in G-d’s thought and desire.)
The Expansions of the Holy Name
We may now understand what was mentioned earlier about the expansions of the Holy Name of G-d, Havayah. We explained earlier that there are four general expansions of the ineffable name of G-d.
The first is YOD-HY-VYV-HY (Hebrew) and is expanded with Yods. This is the name of 72-A"V (H) which is its numerical value. This name corresponds to Chochmah.
The second is YOD-HY-VAV-HY (Hebrew) and is expanded with Yods and an Aleph. This is the name of 63-SA"G (H) which is its numerical value. This name corresponds to Binah.
The third is YOD-HA-VAV-HA (Hebrew) and is expanded with Alephs. This is the name of 45-M"AH (H) which is its numerical value. This name corresponds to Zeir Anpin, the six emotional attributes.
The last is YOD-HH-VV-HH (Hebrew). This is the name of 52-B"AN (H) which is its numerical value. This name corresponds to Malchut.
These names can be further expanded, so that for example the “YOD” can be expanded to “YOD-VAV-DALET” (which is the spelling of the letter “YOD”).
In general, everything in existence is an expansion of an expansion of an expansion etc, of the ineffable name of G-d, as stated, “I Havayah have not changed”. Just as He was one and alone before the creation of the world, so is He one and alone after its creation. These expansions are explanations, so to speak. For example, the expansion of the letter “YOD” to “YOD-VAV-DALET” is an explanation of the letter “YOD”. The letters “VAV” and “DALET” can also be explained. In other words, the expansion of “VAV” is “VAV-ALEF-VAV”. The entire expansion is nothing more then the revelation and explanation of the details and the details of the details, until the finest detail. This is similar to the statement that King Solomon said three thousand allegories. This means that he said an allegory, which is an explanation of the analogue. In order for the allegory to be understood, he said another allegory on the first allegory, i.e. an explanation on an explanation. Then he said a third allegory on the second allegory, i.e. an explanation on an explanation on an explanation, until be brought the subject down, level by level, three thousand times. The analogue was enclothed in the first allegory and the first allegory was enclothed in the next allegory, etc. Each subsequent allegory brought about greater and greater revelation. Likewise, as explained before, a name is a description and explanation which reveals the essence of the thing being described. Therefore, the expansions of the name of G-d are explanations of explanations, revealing revelations upon revelations of the understanding of G-d, who is the original analogue. The expansions of the name of G-d are the details which reveal the whole.
However an allegory may conceal rather than reveal. If the recipient is unaware that this is an allegory which contains deeper meaning, he will learn nothing from it. Even if he knows it is an allegory, but cannot decipher its meaning, he will come up with wrong or shallow interpretations that will have little or nothing to do with the analogue. In the same way, the expansions of the name of G-d, may conceal rather than reveal. Each subsequent expansion will conceal more, to the point where there is a concealment of a concealment of a concealment etc. In other words, when one hasn’t got a clue as to what is being explained, each detail that is given to him, will confuse his understanding all the more, and the analogue becomes more and more concealed and removed from him, until to he is totally lost and separate from it. This is similar to an allegory that is misunderstood, such as the allegories of King Solomon. When the allegories are misunderstood, the last allegory, which is the three thousandth one, becomes the most concealed and appears to be a completely separate entity from the analogue. In the same way, this world is an allegory of an allegory or an expansion of an expansion etc, of the name of G-d. If it is understood correctly it reveals G-d all the more. However, if it is misread or misunderstood it may conceal G-d’s light totally.
The Lower Unity
From all the above we may understand the statement of the twelve sons of Yisrael to their father. They told him, “Hear O Israel, The L-rd our G-d, The L-rd is one!” (“Shma Yisrael, Havayah Elokeinu, Havayah Echad”). It is explained in the Talmud that what they were saying was that just as in your heart there is only one (Only G-d exists), so too in our hearts there is only one. As explained above, Yaakov is Tiferet of the world of Atzilut, which is totally bound up with the self of G-d. In contrast, the consciousness of the sons of Yaakov was in the world of Briyah. What they meant was that just as in Atzilut “He and His life force (lights) and organs (vessels) are one”, likewise, in Briyah only G-d exists. In other words, just as before Tzimtzum there was “He and His name alone”, so too after Tzimtzum, there is only He and His name alone, as explained above on the verse, “I Havayah have not changed”. This is also the explanation of the verse, “Havayah is one, and His name is one” (The name is bound up with the bearer of the name). (As mentioned before, Adam Kadmon, is called the General Man of Briyah. This being the case, Ohr Ein Sof would be called the General Man of Atzilut.)
The World of Briyah – Creation
We will now explain the worlds of Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, which are called the three “garments” of thought, speech and action. All the principles necessary to understand these three worlds were explained above. All that remains is for the student to apply them to these worlds. From this point, the details will be given in shortened form due to the constraints of this book. (With G-d’s help there will be subsequent books that will delve into these worlds at greater length and breadth.)
As explained above, from the Malchut of the higher world becomes the Keter of the lower world. Therefore, from the Malchut of Malchut of Atzilut is drawn the Atik and Arich of Briyah (The pleasure and desire to create something out of nothing). Just as it arose in G-ds simple and essential desire (Ratzon HaPashoot) to emanate (Atzilut), so too, it arose in his simple desire (Ratzon HaPashoot) to create (Briyah). This is called Keter Malchut of Briyah (The desire to actualize the world of Briyah). From this pleasure and desire for creation, is drawn the intellect for the desire, i.e. Chochmah and Binah of Briyah, which are called, “Abba & Imma of Briyah”. From Abba and Imma of Briyah, (The intellect for the desire to create), are drawn the emotions of creation, which is called Zeir Anpin of Briyah. From Zeir Anpin of Briyah – (The emotions for creation) is drawn the actualization of the world of Briyah, (Malchut of Briyah). As mentioned before Malchut is the letters and vessels for the light. Therefore, Malchut of Briyah is the letters of actualization and revelation of the light of the world of Briyah. Malchut of Briyah is therefore the source of the actualization of the souls and angels from nothing to something in the world of Briyah.
Now, just as above in Atzilut there are ten sefirot, lights, vessels, enclothements, chambers, and unifications etc. so too in Briyah all these matters apply. However, as mentioned before, there is no comparison between Atzilut, which in general corresponds to Chochmah, and Briyah which in general corresponds to Binah. One who understands this will be able to contemplate and understand the relationship between these worlds.
The World of Yetzirah - Formation
Now, just as the worlds of Atzilut and Briyah arose in G-d’s simple and essential desire (Ratzon HaPashoot), so too, Yetzirah arose in His simple essential desire. From Malchut of Malchut of Briyah is drawn Atik and Arich of Yetzirah (The pleasure and desire for the world of Formation). Here too, there is a Masach between Briyah and Yetzirah just as there is between Atzilut and Briyah. In other words, just as there is no comparison between thought and emotion and there must, therefore, be a Tzimtzum in between them, so too, between Briyah (thought) and Yetzirah (the emotions) there is a Masach.
Just as above, Keter Malchut of Briyah is the desire to actualize the world of Briyah, so too, Keter Malchut of Yetzirah is the desire to actualize the world of Yetzirah. From this pleasure and desire for Yetzirah (emotions), there is drawn the intellect for the desire, i.e. Chochmah and Binah of Yetzirah, which are called “Abba & Imma of Yetzirah”. From Abba and Imma of Yetzirah, (The intellect for the desire for Formation), is drawn the emotions of Formation, which is called Zeir Anpin of Yetzirah. From Zeir Anpin of Yetzirah, The emotions for Formation are drawn into the actualization of the world of Yetzirah, (Malchut of Yetzirah). As mentioned before Malchut is the letters and vessels for the light. Therefore, Malchut of Yetzirah is the letters of actualization and revelation of the light of the world of Yetzirah. Therefore, Malchut of Yetzirah is the source of the actual existence of the souls and angels of the world of Yetzirah.
The World of Asiyah - Action
Now, just as the worlds of Atzilut, Briyah and Yetzirah arose in His simple essential desire (Ratzon HaPashoot), so did the world of Asiyah. From Malchut of Malchut of Briyah is drawn Atik and Arich of Asiyah (The pleasure and desire for the world of Action). Here too, there is a Masach between Yetzirah and Asiyah, just as there is between Atzilut and Briyah and Briyah and Yetzirah. In other words, just as there is no comparison between emotions and actions and there must be a Tzimtzum between them, so too between Yetzirah (emotions) and Asiyah (action) there is a Masach.
Just as Keter Malchut of Briyah is the desire to actualize the world of Briyah, and Keter Malchut of Yetzirah is the desire to actualize the world of Yetzirah, likewise, Keter Malchut of Asiyah is the desire to actualize the world of Asiyah. This is as stated, “For my glory, I have created, formed and made”. From this pleasure and desire for actualization, is drawn the intellect for the desire, i.e. Chochmah and Binah of Asiyah, which are called “Abba & Imma of Asiyah”. Then, from Abba and Imma of Asiyah, (The intellect for the desire for actualization), are drawn the emotions of actualization, which are called Zeir Anpin of Asiyah. From Zeir Anpin of Asiyah, the emotions for the world of Asiyah are drawn into actualization in Malchut of Asiyah. As mentioned before Malchut is the letters and vessels for the light. Malchut of Asiyah then, is the letters of actualization and revelation of the light of the world of Asiyah. Therefore, it is Malchut of Asiyah which is the source of the actual existence of the souls and angels of the world of Asiyah.
The lowest angels of the lowest level of Asiyah receive their life force from Malchut of Malchut of Asiyah. Then, from the dross of the light of these angels life force descends to power the planets and constellations. This is the source of all the energy and influence of our universe. The energy and influence of the planets and constellations, in turn, affect everything that exists on our planet, be it inanimate, vegetative, living, or speaking beings, including the climates, which affect the economies, as stated before. Furthermore, they are the source of the compositions of the four foundations of fire, vapor, water and earth, from spiritual compositions to physical compositions. For example, it is stated that, “the land gives rise to wise people”. This is because it falls under the influence of the constellation, “Machkim” (The one who makes wise). This is true of everything that exists on this planet, even to the smallest blade of grass. All things receive their energy and influence from the planets and constellations. They, receive their energy from the dross of the angels, which receives its energy from the angels, which receive their energy from Malchut of Malchut of Asiyah.
Everything that G-d Desired, He Did
From all the above, it is clearly understood how everything that exists and that takes place, is exactly according to the simple essential desire (Ratzon HaPashoot) in the essence of the Infinite Light. One may now understand the process from the simple essential desire for kindness which arose in G-d’s simple will, until the last particular desire for actualization, both in general and particular, which is called Keter and Atik of Asiyah. This is as stated, “Everything that G-d desired He did”, in actuality. All of these desires were included in the simple essential desire of his essence. Just as when a human being has a desire for a certain thing, even though it immediately becomes divided into particular desires from one level to another, until the final desire for the final act, nonetheless, all of it arose in one instant in his essential desire, without a differentiation of levels at all.
For example, when it arises in a person’s desire to eat pizza, his desire immediately divides into several other desires, such as the desire to get his wallet, his keys, to get into his car, to drive to the pizza parlor, to order the pizza, to pay for it and then finally the desire to sit down and actually eat the pizza. All these desires were included in the original desire. (Moreover, it is the final act of eating the pizza which arose first in thought.) Therefore, because in his essence all these desires are literally one, therefore, in reality, there is absolutely no difference between the desire to emanate and the desire to create, form and act and all their particulars etc. In other words, “I am first” which refers to Malchut of the Infinite Light which is the source of the desire for Emanation, and “I am last”, which refers to the last desire of Malchut of Asiyah which is the desire for this world (Olam HaShafel – The Lowly World).
Relative to G-d Himself, the source of Atzilut and the source of Asiyah are equal. This is also the meaning of the statement, “Everything that G-d desired He did, in the heavens and the earth”. “The heavens” refers to the upper purity before the Tzimtzum (The Encompassing Infinite Light - Sovev Kol Almin), and “the earth” refers to the lower purity after the Tzimtzum (which includes the entire chaining down of the line of revelation). For example, in the evening prayer we say, “He arranges the stars at their watches according to His desire”. This means that the stars, planets and constellations, which only receive from the external vessels of Malchut of Malchut of Asiyah, are also only according to His simple desire within the essence of the Infinite Light. This is true to the finest detail of the finest atom or subatomic particle etc.
The Chambers & Angels
In each of the lower worlds of Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah there are seven chambers within which the angels reside. To understand what these are, we must understand the source of the chambers. Furthermore, we must understand why in Atzilut these chambers do not exist.
The source of the chambers is the Chashmal, which is also called Nogah, as mentioned earlier. This Chashmal encompasses from the externality of Binah until below Malchut, that is, it encompasses seven sefirot. It is for this reason that there are specifically seven chambers and not ten. Furthermore, because Chochmah itself is above any definition of a Chashmal, it is not applicable to speak of Hechalot (Chambers) or Malachim (Angels) in Atzilut. Binah, however, is the source of the Chashmal. It is therefore applicable to begin to speak about Chambers and Angels in Briyah.
It must be understood that the Chambers and Angels come from the Kelipah (The external shell of the world they are in). In other words, their source is not from the lights, but rather from the external vessels. In essence, what the angels are, is the “somethingness” of the world they are in. This is how they receive their existence. However, though they have a felt existence and sense of self, (Since they are from the Kelipat Nogah-Shining Shell of that world), nonetheless, they are still totally sublimated before G-d. In order to understand this properly, we must clearly understand Kelipat Nogah – “The Intermediary Shell” or “The Shining Shell”.
The Intermediary Shell – Kelipat Nogah
In order to understand the “Intermediary shell – Kelipat Nogah” we must understand the progression from absolute sublimation and selflessness to total self absorption and egotism. Chochmah is totally sublimated to the essential self. Because of this a person has no conscious awareness of Chochmah, since it is totally sublimated to its source. This is called “Bittul B’Metziut” (Nullification of existence). Chochmah is therefore called “Ain” (Nothingness).
In contrast, in Binah one is aware of his thoughts. He can feel his thoughts, plus his thoughts have feeling, (He “feels” the idea). Now, the thought level of Binah is also sublimated to the self. However, since Binah consciousness is a “Yesh” (A Something), relative to the “nothingness” of Chochmah, it therefore is only on the level of, “Bittul HaYesh” (The sublimation of the somethingness of Binah to the nothingness of Chochmah). This means that his thoughts (Binah) are sublimated to and cannot exist without his Chochmah (Insight) and Keter (Desire). Furthermore, although in relation to the insight, which is above it, the thought of Binah is a “something”, nonetheless, relative to that which is below it, thought is very refined. In other words, it is refined relative to the emotions which are below it.
Now, as mentioned before, the emotions are felt in the way of a Yesh (Something) to an even greater degree than the thoughts. Nonetheless, even in the emotions, and even in the gut responses of the emotions, they receive from that which is above them, and are totally sublimated to the desire, and the thought. This too is in the way of “Bittul HaYesh” (The sublimation of the “somethingness” of the emotions to the “nothingness” of thought and desire). In other words, the existence of the emotions is recognizable and felt, but, on the other hand, the emotions cannot exist on their own without the desires and thoughts which bring them into existence. They are not independent entities. Their entire being and activation comes about from the desire and the intellect, just as intellect exists and is activated by the desire (Keter), as explained above.
Now, relative to action, the emotions are refined. Nonetheless, it is self understood, that although the action also comes totally in a way of a “Yesh” (A somethingness), nonetheless, it too is completely sublimated to the desires, intellect and emotions, and cannot exist without them.
We see that in Chochmah there is no sense of self and seperateness at all, in Binah there is a sense of self and seperateness but in a very refined way, in the emotions there is a greater “felt” emotion and sense of self, and in action there is an even greater and total sense of self. Nonetheless, all these levels are totally sublimated to the essence of the soul and cannot exist without it, as stated at the beginning of the book, that there is an inner identity, the soul, who desires the desires. This inner identity is, likewise, the thinker who thinks the thoughts, the feeler who feels the feelings and the actor who acts the acts, and though he is not his desires, thoughts, feeling and actions, nonetheless, they are not something outside of him and have no independent existence separate from him.
In the same way, Atzilut (Chochmah) is completely sublimated to G-d and cannot exist as something separate from His essence, as mentioned before that, “He and His life force and organs are one”. Just as insight cannot exist independently of the soul, so too, Atzilut cannot exist independently of G-d. In Briyah (Binah-Thought), though there is a sense of separateness, it is in a totally refined way and just as thought cannot exist independent of the thinker, so too Briyah cannot exist independently from G-d. The same principle holds true in Yetzirah and Asiyah. In Yetzirah (Zeir Anpin – the emotions) there is an even greater sense of self and separateness, and in Asiyah (Malchut - action) there is a total sense of self. However, they too, are completely and totally sublimated to the essence of G-d and cannot exist independent of Him, as explained above.
From the above we understand that Atzilut is completely good, Briyah is a mostly good with a little evil, Yetzirah is half good and half evil, and Asiyah is mostly evil and a little good. In truth, since all these worlds are G-d’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, so to speak, they all are good. However, here, the definition of “goodness” is “awareness of G-d”, and the definition of “Evil” is “awareness of self”. In Atzilut, there is total awareness of G-d and no awareness of self. In Briyah there is a majority awareness of G-d and a minority awareness of self. In Yetzirah there is an equal division of the two, and in Asiyah there is a majority of awareness of self and a minority of awareness of G-d. Nonetheless, there is awareness of G-d in all of them and each one is sublimated to G-d in its own way. Moreover, none of them can exist independently of him.
In contrast, our world, which is called “The Lowly World” is a world of total “evil” and “self absorption”, meaning that there is no innate sublimation to G-d at all. Even though, of course, this world is no less dependent on G-d than the upper worlds, however, this is totally concealed, and the world and everything therein seem to be independent entities.
Now, this “felt” awareness of self in each world is called Kelipat Nogah, (The intermediary shell). This Kelipat Nogah is the source of all the angels and chambers of each world. From the above, it is understood that the angels have no existence of their own, and can only act in accordance to G-d’s essential desire.
Olam HaShafel – The Lowly World
Now, our world is the world of total Kelipah (External shells). Because of this we perceive ourselves as independent entities, totally separate from G-d and G-dliness. Moreover, this is the very reason we perceive ourselves at all. In other words, every human being has an awareness of self solely because we live in a world of Kelipah. This is in contrast to the worlds detailed above, which are higher than our world. There, there is a balance between “good” and “evil”. Our world, however, is completely “evil”. There is basically an absolute concealment of G-dliness (which is the very definition of “evil”). It is specifically because of this that there is no innate sublimation to G-dliness, whatsoever, on the part of human beings. However, for this very reason, it is specifically human beings who have the free choice and the ability to accept the yoke of G-d’s kingship upon themselves and sublimate themselves to G-d’s commandments and desire, solely because they freely choose to do so, as opposed to the angels who are compelled by their nature. Therefore G-d specifically loves and desires us over and above all the angels, even the highest angels in the highest worlds.
This physical world is made up of two general levels of
(External shells). The first level is Kelipat Nogah, which
contains some good in it (in a concealed way).
It can therefore be transformed and sublimated to G-dliness
through the efforts of
Now, it is solely through the contemplation of G-dliness that a person can have any emotions or relationship with G-d. As explained before, the emotions are born of the intellect. One cannot have any true emotions about what he does not know. Since G-d desires that we have an emotional attachment and delight in Him, rather than in the false imaginations of this world, the only way to achieve this is through the deep contemplation and study of the secrets of the Torah, which is Kabbalah, and more specifically, the secrets of the secrets, which is Chassidut. (However, one must take great care to follow this path in a way of Truth, for there are many ways that a person may delude himself, as will be discussed in part three of this book.)
As mentioned before, everything in existence may either be a revelation or a concealment of G-dliness. G-d has placed it into our hands to transform the “cloak of leather”, which is an external garment that conceals G-d, into a “cloak of light” which reveals G-d. It is specifically through the deep contemplation and analysis of G-dliness that this “new” garment is created. Furthermore, it is specifically through the deep contemplation on all the above, on the part of all people, that an era of G-dly revelation will be ushered in, an era in which our physical eyes will behold G-dliness, and we will literally be able to point and say, “This is my G-d and I shall praise Him”.
As mentioned before, the ultimate intention in creation is for the complete revelation of G-dliness. However, G-d desired that the revelation should be according to our efforts, and that only then will there be a true and complete appreciation of it. Light can only be appreciated when it is revealed out of the darkness. This is as stated, “The reward is commensurate to the difficulty”. (This is the reason for the long and dark exiles which the Jewish people have had to endure.) G-d, therefore, created our world, a world of human beings, where there is a complete concealment of G-d, no awareness of Him, and a total sense of self existence separate and apart from Him. This is to say that this physical world is a place of total darkness.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon each individual to contemplate and analyze all the teachings of this book in a way of Hitbonenut, which means to go over and over it and to analyze it deeply, as it says, “Turn it over and over (in your mind), for everything is in it”. One should analyze and investigate every detail in depth, so that he will come to truly grasp its true essence. Furthermore, it is specifically the imparting of this “Knowledge of G-d” to others which will usher in the Messianic Age, as the Rambam (Maimonides) rules concerning the time of Mashiach, “The entire occupation of the world will be only to know G-d, therefore the Jewish people will be great sages who know the hidden matters and grasp the knowledge of their Creator according to the capacity of Man, as it says, ‘For the earth shall be filled with The Knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean floor.’”