13 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, October 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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HomeSpirituality and FaithKabbalah and MysticismVision of the Soul, Part 2
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Vision of the Soul, Part 2    

Vision of the Soul, Part 2

The created realms and their inhabitants were designed in such a way as...


The form in which the Sefirot appear is a spiritual form, yet even this form is not part of their intrinsic essence but only the form in which they appear when seen through the "looking glass" of Malchut.
Opening 9, Continued
...Accordingly the subjects of the prophetic vision do not necessarily appear in the same way as the corresponding physical objects would appear to the bodily eye. What is seen by the soul is a shining light that is understood as a circle (Igul) if what is seen is "circular", or as a straight line (Yosher) if what is seen in the vision is "straight". The same applies to all the other forms or pictures seen by the soul: it is not that the physical form itself is seen.
Part 2: Even the spiritual form that is seen is not of the intrinsic essence of the Sefirot themselves... For the created realms and beings are of two kinds: physical and spiritual, and each have their own respective forms. But the Supreme Glory does not intrinsically possess either of these two kinds of forms. However, it may appear through such forms, though not in a physical form, which is gross, but in a spiritual form, which is fine and subtle. It "appears" or is "seen" in the same way that thoughts "appear" or are "seen" in the mind. 
Even what is seen is not the actual divine powers themselves. This is obvious. For one who wanted to know these powers in their intrinsic essence would have to know Godliness in its intrinsic essence, because the Sefirot are pure Godliness. Since the essence of Godliness cannot be known at all, it is also impossible to know the essence of the Sefirot. Whatever is known of the Sefirot is only because it is permitted to see them in this way, not because they are this way intrinsically. What is known of them is this spiritual form. This spiritual form is not their intrinsic essence but only the form in which they are permitted to be seen.
The form in which they are seen is ...only the way they appear through Malchut, which shows these powers in this way. These powers constitute the order through which the creation is governed. The Supreme Will wanted that not only should this be the order governing the lower realms -they being the governed - but also that the order of government should be able to be seen in and through the lower realms themselves. The created realms and their inhabitants were designed in such a way as to show and illustrate God's system of government in the very form they take. There are just as many creatures as there are parts of the system of government. Thus each of the individual powers which constitute the overall system of government produces a creature that emerges from it and which provides a visual cognate of that power in its form, its structure and its qualities and attributes.
There has to be something in between that channels the laws of government in such a way that they are visible and manifest in the created realms themselves, causing different powers to appear in the form of an "ear", a "mouth", an "apple", "water", "silver" and so on. There certainly must be a light that has the power to translate and express the system of government through imagery in this way.
All this comes about through the attribute of Malchut, to which allusion is made in the verse: "And he beholds the likeness of God" (Numbers 12:8). Malchut is called "the likeness of God" because this is the attribute that produces the spiritual forms or likenesses in which the Sefirot appear. The attribute of Malchut is the root of all the lower realms and the source of their whole existence, and it is through the attribute of Malchut that the laws of God's government are seen in the forms of the bodies of the creatures of the lower realms. But there on the level of Malchut itself, the form is spiritual, because everything descends gradually, level by level. The spiritual form is inscribed in the attribute of Malchut and from there, the material form emerges afterwards.
Human beings do not have the power to apprehend the supernal lights except in the way in which those lights relate to themselves in lower realms, inasmuch as the supernal lights are the roots of the forms found in the lower realms and thereby relate to them. Thus we humans can perceive the Sefirot only through the lens of Malchut, which shows the supernal lights and their mode of government through imagery. Accordingly, ".let him that glories glory in this [Hebrew, zot], that he understands and knows Me" (Jeremiah 9:23). Here the word "this" alludes to the attribute of Malchut, for only in this way is it possible to attain any perception at all, as will be discussed further below.

To be continued.    
To purchase The 138 Openings of Wisdom, click here.
(Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum is the director of Azamra (http://www.azamra.org/).

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