7 Tishrei 5781 / Friday, September 25, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
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Line and Sefirot    

Line and Sefirot

The body and soul illustrate the difference between the Line and the Sefirot. The body is divided into different limbs and organs. However, the soul is one unified whole.


Part 41 of "138 Openings of Wisdom" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato

Opening 29, part 2
Part 3: The Line shines within the inner essence of each Sefirah as the soul of the souls... The shining of the Line within the inner essence corresponds to the concept of the "irrigation of the Tree" mentioned in various places in the Zohar (see Tikkuney Zohar, Second Introduction, 17, 1). The "irrigation of the Tree" is not the same as the mental powers, for these vary according to the individual structure of each Partzuf, as explained in the writings of the ARI.
Part 4: ...and in this aspect it is completely equal on all levels. This is necessarily the case, as it states in the Zohar (Ki Tetze 281a): "He does not change in any place".
This fact is obvious, for the Line constitutes the perfect action of Eyn Sof, blessed be He, in executing all the bounded laws of the Residue, as explained earlier (Opening 25). We may discern the same perfection in Keter, the highest of all the laws and Sefirot, just as in Malchut, which is the last. For everything that Eyn Sof does, small or great, He does to perfection. If so, the Line is the same on all levels. It is indeed fitting that Eyn Sof does not change at all, and that only the Sefirot change. This is because the Sefirot shine according to the readiness of the created realms and beings to receive. Since there are differences between the degree of readiness of different receivers, there are differences between the Sefirot. However, the Line of Eyn Sof shines in accordance with His perfection, and change is not applicable on this level.
This difference between the Line and the Sefirot is also seen in the soul and the body. The body is divided into different limbs and organs, and the nature of one limb is not like that of another. However, the soul is all one. We cannot say that the part of the soul in the nose is not the same as the part of the soul in the arm. The entire soul exists equally in every part of the body. It is only the actions of the soul that vary according to the bodily parts involved, but the entire body is governed by one and the same soul. This means that the soul governs all the different actions of the body without itself changing in any way. The Line is like the soul in the body, for as explained earlier, the various powers are divided up in the Residue like bodily limbs, but the Line governs it like the soul. If so, the Line must be the same on all levels.
These two ideas -- that the Sefirot shine according to the readiness of the receivers, while Line is like the soul in the body -- are implicit in the Zohar. "The Master of the Universe deals with all the different creatures in each generation according to their deeds -- just as the soul acts in accordance with each individual limb. Depending on the limb with which a man performs a mitzvah, the soul is said to have the corresponding attribute.. (Zohar, Pinchas 256b).
A third distinction that must be made in this connection is between the root of the rule of unity (yichud) and that of the rule of reward and punishment, which I have already discussed. The root of the rule of reward and punishment lies in the Sefirot, and since the rule of reward and punishment is responsive to men's deeds, the Sefirot change accordingly. However, the rule of unity goes towards a single goal in every action with no change at all. This is the Line, which is equal on all levels. You must understand that the equality of the Line on all levels is absolute. For sometimes two things may be of equal value, or they may be equal in a certain aspect in virtue of which they are in the same position or come under one category. In some cases they may be completely equal.
However, the equality of the Line is absolute on all levels, and this should be obvious from all the proofs we have adduced, because the action of the Line is literally equal on every level without any change at all.
(Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum is the director of Azamra (http://www.azamra.org/).
The 138 Openings of Wisdom is available for purchase online at

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