THIRD EXPLANATION



Rabbi Azriel of Gerona's Text

QUESTION: If the questioner persists: How do you arrive at the assertion that the sefiroth exist? I rather say that they do not exist and there is only Eyn-Sof!

ANSWER: Eyn-Sof is perfection without any imperfection. If you propose that He has unlimited power and does not have finite power, then you ascribe imperfection to his perfection. And if you claim that the first limited being that is brought into existence from Him is this world -- lacking in perfection -- then you ascribe imperfection to the force which stems from Him.

Since we should never ascribe imperfection to His perfection, we are compelled to say that He has a finite power which is unlimited. The limitation first existentiated from Him is the sefirot, for they are both a perfect power and an imperfect power. When they partake of the abundant flow stemming from His perfection they are perfected power, and when the abundant flow is withdrawn they possess imperfect power. Thus, they are able to function in both perfection and imperfection, and perfection and imperfection differentiate one thing from another.

Now if you were to claim that He alone willed the creation of the world without recourse to the sefirot, the response to this assumption is that the intention indicates an imperfection in the intender. Alternatively, if you claim He did not intend His creation -- if such were the case -- then creation was a random accident. All things which are the outcome of a random accident have no order. Yet we witness that creation is ordered, with the sun during the day and the moon and stars at night. They exist by an order and by order they are generated and pass away.

This order by which they exist and pass away is called the sefiroth, for they are the forces behind every existent being in the realm of plurality. Since the existentiation of created beings is brought about by means of the sefirot, each one differs one from the other: some are elevated, some are lowly, while others intermediate. This is the case despite the fact that they are all derived from one principle. Every being is from Eyn-Sof, and nothing exists outside of Him.


Reb Yakov Leib's Commentary

By way of an introduction, let me say that R. Azriel's Third Lesson -- about the absolute perfection of Ayn-Sof and its consequent inability to bring forth imperfection -- is totally consistent with Luria's later doctrine of Shevirit HaKelim (Shattering of the Sefirotic Vessels) from which the Holy Sparks and their Kelippot are said to have been created.

That is, the cataclysmic event of Shevirit HaKelim was not an accident proceeding from any weakness in the composition of the initial Ten Sefirot, but an intentional design element built into Adam Kadmon when God first created him "in his own image" and out of the primordial vessels. (Genesis 1:26)

In other words, the wholeness of God -- by including all that has, does, and will ever exist -- must perforce include the condition of imperfection as well as that of perfection, which is to say "evil" as well as "good." For this reason, the Baal Shem Tov states, ". . . when God built and destroyed the worlds" -- thus demonstrating a divine intentionality behind the Shattering of the Vessels.

And for what purpose did Eyn-Sof intentionally "build and destroy" these worlds by which destruction the Holy Sparks were created? In order, the Baal Shem Tov goes on to say, that mankind "shall raise and purify [the holy sparks] upward from stone to plant, from plant to animal, from animal to speaking being." Thus, God made happen the cataclysm of Shevirit HaKelim in order to grant His beloved creation, mankind, an unmerited opportunity to raise themselves to partnership with Him by virtue of His unlimited grace.

Finally, I want to call attention to the exquisite, mathematical logic by which R. Azriel constructs his arguments. It is a small lesson in itself in what differentiates useless "personal opinion" from sublime "reasoned truth." Were it only possible that all of us could do the same. In what follows, I will do a statement by statement commentary on key points of R. Azriel's Third Lesson.


*   *   *   *

        "Since we should never ascribe imperfection to His perfection, we are compelled to say that He has a finite power which is unlimited."

This is one of the exquisite paradoxes of R. Azriel's arguments: that is, how can anything perfect (i.e., "good") also be imperfect (i.e., "evil")? Yet, since Ayn-Sof contains all things, it must perforce contain "imperfection" as well as "perfection" in order to fulfill its omnipotency. Thus, when addressing God in the "Lord's Prayer," the alleged Jewish "messiah," Jesus of Nazareth, could presumably say, "And lead us not into temptation" (Matthew 6:13) -- which clearly implies and acknowledges God's capacity for evil -- and the Baal Shem Tov could state:

"The indwelling Glory embraces all worlds, all creatures, good and evil. And it is a true unity. How can it then bear in itself the opposites of good and evil? But in truth there is no opposite, for the evil is the throne of the good." ("Instructions in Intercourse with God," In Hasidism and Modern Man, Martin Buber, Horizon Press, 1958, page 208)

        "The limitation first existentiated from Him is the sefiroth, for they are both a perfect power and an imperfect power. When they partake of the abundant flow stemming from His perfection they are perfected power, and when the abundant flow is withdrawn they possess imperfect power."

This appears to be the proposition on which Luria would later base his notion of "light" in the doctrine of TzimTzum; that is, the "extension" and "withdrawal" of the Perfect Light of creation into and away from the primordial space He has created within Himself for the creation of Adam Kadmon, or the primordial Ten Sefiroth (Genesis 1:3).

This is the divine "Light of the Righteous" which God, according to the Kabbalah, "put away" for the coming of the Messiah (Pirke de Rabbi Eliezar 4A.i.) -- and on the basis of which the so-called "Jesus" could allegedly say of himself, "I am the light of the world [i.e., by which it was created]" (John 9:5), and other Messianic avatars, such as Moses and Sabbatai Zevi (and even Jung), were accompanied by extraordinary light phenomena. (With regard to Sabbatai Zevi, for example, see Scholem's Mystical Messiah, page 451 and f.n. 286; also, see my previous posts in the Jung Seminar Lectures about the light from Jung's face which my mentor, James Kirsch, witnessed first-hand and related to me.)

        "Since the existentiation of created beings is brought about by means of the sefiroth, each one differs one from the other: some are elevated, some are lowly, while others intermediate."

This refers, of course, to the "lightning-bolt order" in which we typically see the "Tree" of the Ten Sefiroth represented. (See the interactive diagram of the Ten Sefirot.)

        "This is the case despite the fact that they are all derived from one principle. Every being is from Eyn-Sof, and nothing exists outside of Him."

Similarly, Jung states that the archetypes are "contaminated with each other" -- which is to say that they, like the pseudopodia of an amoeba, are all merely extensions of a single, trans-existent entity, namely the Self, or God. Similarly, in the Ten Sefiroth each Sefirah "contains" all the remaining nine others, being only a "specialization" of the whole totality. This is, of course, very much like the "fractal" images created in chaos-theory physics, in which each separate "piece" of the image contains the whole.

        "All things which are the outcome of a random accident have no order. Yet we witness that creation is ordered, with the sun during the day and the moon and stars at night."

This proposition is echoed in Stephen Hawking's "string theory" of astrophysics which proposes that God is "proven" by the extreme precision with which the universe is held together. (See, for example, his book, A Brief History of Time.)

        "If you claim [Ayn-Sof] did not intend His creation....then creation was a random accident. This order by which they exist and pass away is called the sefirot, for they are the forces behind every existent being in the realm of plurality. They exist by an order and by order they are generated and pass away."

Modern chaos theory proposes that under the apparent randomness of matter (which is to say the Ten Sefiroth) is a "strange order," which can be taken, by those of us who care to, as God.



EXPLANATION: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11




BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
| Sabbatai Zevi | Jacob Frank | Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain |
| A Critical Re-Assessment of Sabbatai Zevi |
| Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain's Professions of a Holy Sinner |
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| A Neo-Sabbatian Discourse on the Son of God |
| A Primer of "Yalhakian" Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah |
| Participating in the Continuing Incarnation of God |
| Sabbatai Zevi's 'God of the Faith' | Evolution of the Ego |
| Two Torahs of Kabbalah: Torah D'Atziluth & Torah D'Beriah |
| On the Limits of Antinomianism | The Transformation of God |
| Commentary on the 13th Century "Treatise on the Left Emanation" |
| A Selection of Neo-Sabbatian Quotations Culled from Various Sources |
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| A Commentary on the Book of Job | Kabbalah and the Interpretation of Dreams |
| To Die for the People: A Kabbalistic Reinterpretation of the Crucifixion of Jesus |
| The Shemot Shel Katzar Tikkunim: Revealing the Concealed Names of God |
| The Christian Myth of Melchizedek vs. Hereditary Jewish Priesthood |
| The Apocrypha of Jacob Frank | The Tikkun of Raising Animals |
| Appointment in Smyrna: A Neo-Sabbatian Odyssey |
| Sabbatai Zevi and the Mystery of the Red Heifer |
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| Exegesis on the Rod of Aaron |
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