Filed under: Creation, Divine essence, Divine names, Introduction to Kabballah
Kabbalah explains the very origins of creation and the continual flow to the creation of the Divine energies. In the Kabbalah, G-d is referred to as the Ein Sof; meaning the infinite Being that has “no end.” In the act of creation, G-d made something finite out of the infinite. This is a wondrous thing. How did this come about?
The power and ability of the Ein Sof is called the Or Ein Sof (the Light of the Ein Sof). Because physical light is perceived as being ethereal and intangible, and because light gives life and warmth, it is often used in Kabbalah as a metaphor for Divine Power.
There was a quantum leap from infinite to finite, calling this leap of states Tzimtzum (contraction). By this the God made a place to create the worlds as before this his infinite light fill all places. Before creation, the prevalent manifestation was that of the infinite Light. Contained within the Or Ein Sof in a most sublime way was the potential for finitude, however initially it was undistinguished from the powerful manifestation of the Or Ein Sof. In order for creation to take place it was necessary somehow to conceal this infinite Light, thus creating a vacuum for the Finite Light to be revealed. With regards to Tzimtzum–G-d purposefully drew back the infinite to create a space in which finitude could be realized. This concealment of the Or Ein Sof is called by the Arizal the Tzimtzum HaRishon. This “first” Tzimtzum was the most radical in the sense that it was the quantum leap. It must be noted that the concealment of the Or Ein Sof did not affect Atzmut itself (the essence of G-d ) which transcends everything, including changes. For the God in His essence never changes. This is what Malachi the prophet meant when he spoke, “I, G-d, have not changed.” G-d remains the same after creation as before creation. He remains totally aloof from any change within the creation. All change takes place within a manifestation of revealed power–the Or Ein Sof.
One may draw an analogy to a ray of light from the sun. While it is within the sun, the ray has no independent identity because it is totally nullified by the greater light of the sun itself. Only when the ray has left the sun can it be recognized and perceived as having an independent identity.
Another aspect involves a gradual contraction of Divine Power that flows into this finite world. It enters the world in a ray of “light” at all times. This ray is called the “Kav”, it continually nourishes the world.
It is explained that what was left after the Tzimtzum were the “letters of the residue-tracing” (Reshimu). The Zohar states that “He engraved letters in the supernal purity” (i.e. in the Or Ein Sof). This means that when it arose in G-d’s will to create the world, “G-d measured out within Himself in potential what would exist in actuality.” In the Zohar, this act of measuring out is referred to as “engraving letters.” These letters are the instruments for structuring and formation of the Divine’. They are letters of the Torah.
The infinite is given Finitude, parameters and definition by the form of definitive language and its Letters. These letters are dimensions of Divine energy. Letters are the building blocks of words which can build sentences, speak a language, and subsequently communicate. The Kabbalah calls these letters “Vessels” (Kelim), and the meaning within the words “Lights” (Orot). Every sentence is composed of letters which are the Vessels for the meaning of the sentence, and the message conveyed which is called the Light (Or). The revelation of Vessels came about through the Tzimtzum, although they existed in an abstract form before the Tzimtzum. As previously stated, within the Or Ein Sof was also the power of finitude. Prior to the Tzimtzum these “Letters” were filled with Or Ein Sof and they represented only the potential for limitation. The form of a “letter” is a “vessel”, the “cavana” (intent) filling the letter is its light.
In order for there to be diversity within the creation, it was necessary to reveal different qualities or attributes of light of the Divine. These “attributes” are called Sefirot and they are the building blocks of creation. Every Sefirah (attribute) is composite of Lights and Vessels.
It must be emphasized that the existence of the Sefirot in no way implies plurality within Divinity. The Sefirot are not separate entities within the Or Ein Sof. To quote from Sefer Yetzirah, “The ten Sefirot are bli mah (without substance); their end is wedged in their beginning, and their beginning in their end, like a flame bound up in a coal. For G-d is One, and there is no second to Him.” This same metaphor is employed in the Zohar, “The Holy One blessed be He, emits ten crowns, supernal holy crowns with which He crowns Himself. He is they and they are He, just as the flame is bound up in the coal, and there is no division there.”
The initial Tzimtzum concealed the Or Ein Sof so that within a circle is left a void within which something finite can be created. The next stage of creation was the introduction into this circle of a beam of pre-Tzimztum light called the Kav. Contained within this Light were all the ingredients for the creation of the various worlds. The difference between a circle and a beam of Light is that the circle has no beginning and no end. The circle represents the Infinite Light, the Light that surrounds all worlds. It is called “Or Makkif” (a transcendent Light). The Kav is a chain of unfolding worlds, levels of energy that can be drawn into creation. The “Kav” is like a ladder with various rungs of levels of energy. In the higher worlds, the Light is very intense and G-d’s presence is absolutely manifest. As the Kav progresses below, the measure of Light is reduced further and G-d’s presence becomes more concealed within the Vessels. At the center of the circle is this world. This is the lowest point of the line at which the Light is totally concealed within the physical creation.
The “kav” passes through the The Four Worlds Atzilut – Emanation Beriah – Creation Yetzirah – Formation Asiyah – Action and reveals “light” (Divine qualities of the sefirot of each of these worlds) to souls in this world according to their individual merit and the needs of the creation at any given moment.
The purpose of the Tzimtzum was not concealment, but was really done for revelation— a descent for the purpose of ascent. Through Tzimtzum a finite world was created. The Torah and Mitzvot (commandments) can be likened to clothing or garments that are covering the Or Ein Sof. This world, with all its limitations, cannot contain the Infinite Light in its revealed state, but it requires physical garments for the infinite light to become revealed in our finite word so to this end the God has given us his commandments in the Torah. Within this world one could reveal Or Ein Sof spreading it out in this world when its light is enclothed within Torah and Mitzvot By this there is fulfilled the purpose of creation to create a dwelling for God in this lowest realm.
It should also be noted that our actions and Mitzvah performance will eventually precipitate the revelations of the Messianic Era and the Resurrection. Exile (concealment of the Divine light) is a result of sin. It blocks the flow. Mitzvah (commandments, literally means in Hebrew attachment) Draw new flow, Divine energy into creation. The real purpose of Exile is so to reveal “self-sacrifice” for Mitzvah observance. “self-sacrifice” to do God’s will in great love. This acts as an arousal from below and elicits a response from above in the form of revelation in the Messianic Era.
Kabbalah explains the various names of G-d. The Tetragrammaton, Y-H-V-H, can be said to be composed of three words: Haya—He was, Hoveh— He is, Yihyeh—He will be. This name which is called “ineffable” as it cannot be pronounced by human voice alone. Those who say this name when not in a state of absolute purity or with out knowledge of the know intentions only bring judgment upon themselves. It is the energy of God that transcends “nature” and its laws. By this name is the power by which miracles have been produced. The Bible begins with the creation of this world it is with the name Elokim. The numerical value of Elokim is the same as the word “nature” (hateva), implying G-d’s Presence within creation with in its set laws of nature. Kabbalah talks of the “unification” (yichud) between Havaye and Elokim.
The Torah tells us, “Know this day that Havaye is Elokim.”
In the mundane activities of business pursuits, eating, etc., one should “know G-d in all their ways.” In spiritual activities, one stands above the creation when praying or learning Torah. The purpose of creation is the fusion of the two. This is achieved only through a total “nullification” to G-d Himself in fulfillment of His desire in creation. Make your “mundane activities” SPIRITUAL.
AND SEE GOD IN ALL